Business/Economy

Should Big Business in Emeryville Pay Their Fair Share?

May 16, 2011
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Should Big Business in Emeryville Pay Their Fair Share?

For years, the City Council has given the city’s biggest businesses the biggest tax breaks. Residents and small business owners in town have begun to ask why. On Tuesday, the City Council will decide whether to put an initiative on the November ballot asking voters to decide whether the city’s multi-billion dollar businesses should pay what every other business pays. Here’s the story on the city’s current business tax: Every city has a business license tax and every business in Emeryville grossing more than $5,000 must pay this tax. Businesses pay a percentage of their gross receipts whether they earn a profit or not. But the city’s big business — Pixar, Novartis, and Bayer, to name a few — which make billions in profits every year, are required to pay tax only on the first $146 million they earn. The rest is entirely tax-free. The pat reason given by the City Council majority is it must provide incentives so as not to lose big business to other cities. Yet Emeryville is among the most desirable places to do business in the Bay Area (see story in Business/Economy section on Santen moving its US headquarters to Emeryville). So, the City Council

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Emeryville: A Retrospective

May 9, 2011
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Emeryville: A Retrospective

COMMENTARY ~~ My favorite phase of the tide of change reshaping the city was the flourishing of artists’ studios and co-ops. Relatively low costs, empty buildings, and a critical mass of creative people lent the town an enviable, almost bohemian air. Peter Voulkos, the great sculptor, dined at Bucci’s, and the walls of a variety of businesses were graced with Emeryville-produced art. The residue of this flourishing still exists despite the rise of rental costs and other challenges. Whatever else happens, I hope Emeryville keeps giving artists breathing room. _______________________________________________________ I came to Emeryville in 1979 expecting to stay a few years.  Thirty-one years on, I’m still here.  Not surprisingly, things are different.  The great shift from a blue collar town of foundries and industrial shops to one featuring high-tech fabricating, office buildings, and retail shopping centers was already under way in the later 70’s.  The trend would accelerate. Politics was undergoing a sea-change, too.  When I arrived, then Chief-of-Police John Lacoste ran the town, some say from his favorite bar stool at the Town House, a hub of live music performances: Zideco, jazz, country and western, rock.  Whether old timers had it right about that bar stool, Lacoste was

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Emeryville Public Market: Youth-Led Program Doubles Compostables

May 8, 2011
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Emeryville Public Market: Youth-Led Program Doubles Compostables

The Emeryville Public Market’s food court serves close to 2,000 customers each day, with cuisine from around the globe, offered up by over 20 unique food retailers. Last year the Public Market’s property management company, TMG Partners, added a new item to the menu: a collection program for patrons’ food scraps and compostable dishware. A “key ingredient” of the program was hands-on help from Emeryville High School students. The efforts paid off. In 2010 alone, the Public Market collected 170 tons of compostables—double the amount of previous years. Collecting food scraps for composting wasn’t a new concept for the food vendors at the Emeryville Public Market. Back in 2006 TMG Partners had worked with the StopWaste Partnership to set up compostables collection in the kitchen and prep areas, keeping some 85 tons of discards out of the landfill each year. However, at the time they weren’t quite ready to also tackle “post-consumer” compostables—food scraps, napkins and paper cups left behind by customers. “Back then the food court was better known as Styrofoam Palace,” jokes Susan Shirk, property manager at the Public Market. “We simply couldn’t expect our patrons to separate their food scraps from non-compostable service ware, before rushing back

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Japanese Pharmeceutical Giant Moves US Headquarters to Emeryville

May 7, 2011
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Japanese Pharmeceutical Giant Moves US Headquarters to Emeryville

Santen Inc., a subsidiary of Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Osaka, Japan, has announced that its U.S. corporate headquarters, currently located in Napa, CA, will relocate to 2100 Powell in Emeryville in early July. “In the preparation of our new strategic plan we can see that there will be substantial expansion of the organization and we could not have accommodated this growth in the existing facility in Napa,” stated Akihiro Tsujimura, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Santen Inc. “Since we will experience a significant demand for new staff we believe that the new location will make it easier to recruit the highest quality talent as we will have increased access to the greater San Francisco Bay Area bio‐pharmaceutical talent pool.” In addition, it was noted that the increased interaction between the Company’s Japanese and European colleagues was a secondary driving force behind the relocation, seeking a more convenient location for international transportation. The new location in Emeryville was chosen for a number of reasons, including: • Access to a strong bio‐pharmaceutical talent pool • A location that would provide the greatest opportunity to retain the company’s existing experienced ophthalmic talent • Improved access to international transportation Santen will occupy nearly 50,000

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