I hope this note finds you, your friends and family enjoying everything the Bay Area has to offer at this time of year. Its been a few months since my last blog post. This post will cover the following items:
- State of the City Address
- Status Updates for some important projects and policies in Emeryville
- Upcoming Events
- Headlines for the Next Two Posts
The day after this post is published, there will be a new post that provides a snapshot about your three candidates for City Council, in their own words, as you consider your choices this fall. Come back to the blog home page to see the candidate post.
State of the City Address
I had the privilege of delivering the annual State of the City Address at City Hall on July 10th. Click here to peruse the 2018 State of the City slideshow presentation. If you would like to watch the presentation, You can visit this YouTube Video. The presentation begins at 05:30 into the video and is about 35 minutes of the total video. As discussed in my address, the Council has been proactive about managing the city's finances, making the following investments to protect the long-term health of the city:
- The Council is taking steps to prepare for our economic future. We made a $9.6 million payment into a Section 115 Pension Trust that will help keep city services stable in future years when pension costs charged to cities by the state increase.
- The City made an additional $4 million payment against unfunded liabilities, saving the local taxpayers over $11 million in interest payments of the next 30 years.
- The City made a $1 million contribution to the Disaster Preparedness Fund, moving us closer to our goal of $5 million on hand to help respond to the immediate needs of the city in the aftermath of a disaster.
Since the State of the City Address, the Council has directed an additional $1 million into our Disaster Preparedness Fund and toward pension obligations each, investing savings the city realized by operating below budget this past year.
On November 6th, residents will have the opportunity to vote on Measure S, a local ordinance that would allow the city to implement a tax of up to 6% on the gross receipts of cannabis businesses operating within the city. I strongly encourage residents to vote YES on Measure S as it will increase revenues to fund public works, public safety, and community services programs. Read all about Measure S, including the ordinance language here.
Updates on Projects and Policies
I am very pleased to report that the city has made excellent progress this year toward the goals and priorities we outlined for 2018 and beyond. As we continue to secure funding, complete projects and finalize the policies on our priorities list, we will be turning back to the community to help us identify the new priorities that should be added to this list.
- Measure C: Voters approved our $50 million affordable housing bond by a 72% majority. Thank you for your support. When issued, the bonds will be used to deliver on the ballot measure's promise to (1) build new affordable housing; (2) preserve and improve existing affordable housing; and (3) expand our first-time and moderate income homebuyer programs. We have asked staff to come back early in 2019 with a list of projects we can fund that meet those objectives.
- Emeryville Center for the Arts: At the outset of my term as mayor I asked the City Council to support a proposed process and timeline for securing a public-private partnership to fulfill the city's long-standing promise to build a community art center at the city-owned property located at 4060 Hollis St. On September 17th, after a very extensive public process, the council selected Orton Development for exclusive negotiation rights to be our private partner. You can view pieces of their proposal here. We hope to have the art center built in the next couple years.
- Rail Safety/Quiet Zone: After winning a competitive state grant that secured funding to install safety improvements at our three railroad crossings, we have begun project design review with the engineers at UPRR. That continues to progress with technical assistance from staff at the Alameda County Transportation Commission. We hope to have that project's design plans approved by this time next year so we can begin construction soon thereafter.
- Transportation Improvements: We have repaved approximately 1/3 of the streets in the city this year, eliminating potholes, improving bike safety and making our infrastructure stronger. We are currently installing bollards along the bike lanes on Horton St. from 53rd to 59th as a pilot to test their efficacy in eliminating the problem of delivery trucks parking in bike lanes. We recently gave city staff guidance to bring back plans that revision the future of 40th Street with a dedicated transit lane and cycle track. We will be installing traffic lights at Doyle/Powell and Harlan/40th in the spring for improved pedestrian safety. Also, we are going to improve all the Greenway street crossings with motion-activated warning lights, a raised crosswalk/speed table and other safety enhancements. Many more transit improvements are in the works or on their way.
- Smoking Ordinance: The Council approved a new Smoking Control Ordinance that will prohibit smoking in multi-unit residential buildings. The ordinance takes effect on December 1, 2018. In partnership with the Alameda County Health Department, the city has entered into an MOU for enforcement. Look for more information in the coming weeks about how to enforce your rights to smoke-free housing.
- Davenport Park Playground: On October 16th, the Council unanimously approved an appropriation of funds to install a children's playground and safety improvements at Davenport Park, just west of Trader Vic's and the Watergate complex. This will offer a walkable place for families on the peninsula to take their children for playtime.
There are a couple projects in the works:
- Parking Management Plan: We have spent the past year engaged with residents and businesses on this program. We continue to solicit and receive input and look forward to continuing to work with the community on refining the plan to ensure it meets the community's needs. You can view a current map of proposed street treatments here. The item will be discussed at the Council meeting on October 30th.
- South Bayfront Bridge: The long-awaited bridge between the Bay Street shopping center and 53rd/Horton Streets has been held up by negotiations regarding one final legal agreement with the UPRR. I remain optimistic that we will approve all agreements before the end of the year and move forward with construction in the coming year.
- Affordable Housing: The city's former Rec Services site located at 43rd and San Pablo is slated to become an affordable housing site that focuses primarily on the housing needs of seniors. Adjacent to Emery Villa and near the Senior Center, we will revisit and revise the RFP later this year. Additionally, the 87 units of 100% family affordable housing at 3706 San Pablo is well on its way to being completed by late 2019.
- Christie Park Opening: The planned opening of Christie Park on September 29, 2018 was delayed due to concerns about the readiness of the new sod. We are hoping to do a soft opening of the park any day now (!!!) and have a small neighborhood welcome event in the next couple weeks with a larger community celebration in the spring.
- Harvest Festival: October 27th from 3:30-5:50 at the ECCL. Come celebrate all things autumn with your family and the community.
- If you are a member of one of our Resident Advisory Committees, the City Council and I wish to thank you. RSVP to City Hall for the November 15th "Giving Thanks" event at the Senior Center where we will appreciate all your work on behalf of Emeryville.
- United Against Hate Week: Celebrated November 11-18th, the Bay Area Stands United Against Hate. Find the full calendar of Bay Area events here. Emeryville will be hosting an event on November 13th. I will provide more details in an upcoming post.
- Tomorrow I will post information about the candidates for City Council. You will not receive a separate notice by email for that update. Please visit my blog's Home Page tomorrow to learn more about those who wish to represent you on your City Council.
- At the end of the month I will be writing a post about United Against Hate Week and all the community celebrations we have held at City Hall this year. To the many of you who have come out to celebrate these events with us, thank you. To everyone else, we hope you'll join us on Nov. 13th.
It has been very rewarding to work with my council colleagues to bring many of the long-awaited projects and priorities of the city's residents and businesses to fruition this year. None of it is possible without community support and participation. Thank you for leaning in and working with the Council and city staff this past year. Together, we have made a lot of incredible progress!