Letter to the Editor: Rethink ECCL, Get Community Input, Don’t Waste Money

May 31, 2012
By
The State Department of Finance, charged with seizing the assets of former redevelopment agencies, has determined the $25 million ($4 million of which has already been spent) set aside for the Emeryville Community Center of Life (ECCL) is not an enforceable obligation. That decision means the money to build the City portion of the project — recreation/community center, social service offices — is likely to be lost.

That essentially means it is no longer a joint-use (school and city) project. Accordingly, the design of ECCL needs to be revisited. Does it make sense for the School Board to revise this project and simply rebuild the high school? Could some of the bond money be used for the Anna Yates Elementary School? For those of you who think you can challenge the State on this issue, think again. They are the ones who make the laws and, if needed, they will change the law to be able to take the money. We are not just losing $25 million. We are losing 10 years of staff time, and lots of community expectations. I urge the Emeryville City Manager, Patrick O’Keefe, and the City Council to examine reality and ask the community to weigh in on this latest turn of events. I suggest creating a community forum on this issue and inviting people to raise their concerns.

Careful consideration should be given before using any existing funds for a legal challenge against the State.

Future shortfalls in the school budget are not likely to be covered by additional taxes from property owners.

Ken Bukowski
Emeryville Property Owners Association

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One Response to Letter to the Editor: Rethink ECCL, Get Community Input, Don’t Waste Money

  1. ken bukowski on June 3, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Please read my comments about the below meeting notice for ECCL

    from Wendy Chew, Emery Unified School District

    Hi Everyone,

    We want to invite you all to Community Design Workshop 10, which will be held at City Hall Council Chambers on Thursday, June 14 from 6PM – 8PM. The topic for this workshop will be “Building Materials” — sounds pretty exciting to me! If you missed Workshop 9 and want to catch up with the design process, it is currently playing on Emeryville’s ETV (channel 27) at 12:00 noon and 12:30AM. The topic last month was “Design Guidelines.” In addition, you can always check out http://www.emeryvillecenter.org.

    The Nexus architectural design team is always excited to meet new and familiar faces and we hope you can make it out that evening. In the mean time, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 510-601-4950 or wendy.chew@emeryusd.org.

    Have a great weekend!

    Wendy, ECCL Administrative Program Assistant
    Emery Unified School District 510.601.4950
    ——————————————-
    memo from Ken Bukowski
    Re: ECCL Design Workshop

    Wendy:

    Thank you for the notice of the next design workshop. In view of the recent decision by thee State Department of Finance, and the legal opinion of the attorney from the Oversight Board, wouldn’t it be appropriate to address this issue before we keep moving down the same road, as if nothing is happening..?

    The loss of the City contribution to this project is not an easy pill to swallow, but the possibilities need to be factored into what we are doing. I think this preestablished meeting date would be a good time to talk about this topic.

    I am sending a copy to the Board Members for their input. A copy of the oversight committee attorney evaluation is available on the EPOA.US web page story about ECCL.

    best

    ken bukowski
    emeryville property owners association

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