Former City Councilman Ken Bukowski Urges Council to Support Program for Poor

April 19, 2012
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Bukowski sends letter to City Council members urging their support of $50,000 needed to save ECAP

Ken Bukowski is seeking the Council’s support of a $50,000 allocation from the city’s General Fund to maintain the distribution of food and clothing by Emeryville Community Action Program (ECAP), located at 3610 San Pablo Ave. ECAP has provided food and clothing to the community for 15 years. Bukowski sent the letter to Mayor  Jennifer West, and Council members Jac Asher, and Ruth Atkin. He said he did not send it to Council members Nora Davis or Kurt Brinkman because they do not support his request.

Jennifer, Jac, and Ruth:

I bumped into Helen Bean and Michelle DeGuzman at ECAP (Emeryville Community Action Program) this afternoon. They have really cleaned up the place.

I sure hope you will support $50,000 of funding for ECAP ASAP. Please don’t insult them any further by mixing up potential funding for them with any other city expense. I can hardly believe the April 3 staff report would even suggest that any cessation of services to feed hungry people is OK …  For $50,000 each year, can you think of any other way to provide food and clothing for the needy?

You should be happy Ohana signed a lease. Stop and think of what the news would do if you brought an unlawful detainer action against ECAP. That has to be the ultimate insult. Why would you not have the ECAP lease as an enforceable obligation? Perhaps that is more important than funding for other projects.

We invested millions of dollars on the star intersection, so what? We don’t have any more money to invest, so that area isn’t going to change for a while, you can count on it. How do you compare that with taking food out of the mouth of hungry people?
From the report, I guess you would not even approve ECAP’s present location on San Pablo Avenue. I think this would be a great news story.  Emeryville will get such a black eye over this. If the staff does not like the location, they should find one that is acceptable (if that is possible.  I’m not sure any location is acceptable).

I attended an outdoor movie showing at Occupy Oakland. I know someone who is on the Occupy Oakland steering committee and they invited me to the movie. After the movie, in a conversation seeking to explore things they would be interested in, I mentioned the issue of ECAP. The issue got instant support. They would love to have a demonstration in front of City Hall over this. And to be truthful, I was actually sorry I mentioned it, because they were too interested. A rich city like Emeryville turning its back on the poor.  I said it would probably be worked out.

The city staff has not done anything for ECAP and you should be embarrassed.  They don’t want these poor people in town, and I think you have a duty to make sure the city does what it should and put it to rest. You are going to have lots of other important decisions to make in the budget process and any public controversy over this issue is unwise, and will increase the tensions over other issues.

I’m still in shock over the staff considering an unlawful detainer action against ECAP. Wow… rather than trying to assist them.

I hope you do the right thing.

Best,

Ken B

(To comment on this story, click on the headline to go to the story page, then scroll to the bottom).

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