John Bauters at a Regional Policy Forum

Since 2016, John has been a leader with a track record of accomplishing progressive change for the City of Emeryville and greater Bay Area on affordable housing, transportation, environmental, social justice and economic issues. Learn more about his work below.

Housing & Homelessness

We Continue to be Regional Leaders on Affordable Housing & Homelessness Services

The cost of housing in Emeryville, like most of the state, is unaffordable for the average working household. Home ownership in California is at an all-time low and many families are spending over 50% of their monthly income on rent alone. Addressing the shortage of affordable housing and ending homelessness are my top priority as your councilmember.

In 2018, Emeryville voters overwhelmingly approved Measure C, a $50 million affordable housing bond to fund new affordable housing production and preserve existing affordable housing within our city. The bond proceeds will be used to implement the city’s Affordable Housing Expenditure Plan. Measure C funds will leverage millions more in county, state and federal dollars for affordable housing investment, allowing Emeryville to produce affordable housing while only paying a fraction of the overall cost.

Emeryville has affordable housing dedicated to people experiencing homelessness, working families, seniors on fixed incomes, artists and transition-aged youth leaving foster care coming online in the next few years as a result of Emeryville voters commitment to being part of the solution. In April 2023, Governor Newsom and the California Department of Housing and Community Development announced that Emeryville had received a rare pro-housing designation from the state, making it eligible to be the first to receive funding for new affordable housing projects.

In 2017, the City Council also approved a Tenant Protection and Just Cause Eviction Ordinance that provides tenants across the city with additional rights and remedies. Along with our Smoking Pollution Control Ordinance in 2018, the Council has been busy providing protections to homeowners and renters alike to ensure housing in our city is safe, livable, and healthy.

While homelessness continues to rise in the Bay Area and across the state, due in large part to inadequate housing supply and affordability levels, Emeryville is not just providing housing to address the problem, but also providing compassionate shelter plus service care to our unhoused neighbors. In the 2022 Point-In-Time Count conducted by Alameda County, Emeryville was one of the few cities that successfully decreased homelessness.

To read more about John on housing and homelessness in the local press:

Transportation & Mobility

Building a Multi-Modal City for All Ages & Abilities

Emeryville’s geographic location makes it a natural transit hub in the Bay Area. Developing a safe multi-modal system that serves all ages and abilities means more choices and greater livability for everyone.

As a member of the Emeryville Transportation Committee, I have worked to bring traffic calming to residential neighborhoods, including the Doyle Street neighborhood project that included block closures near parks and playgrounds and car removal from southbound lanes. I championed the Railroad Safety Improvement/Quiet Zone Project that will finish construction in 2023 and successfully pushed for the placement of seating at every bus stop in the city in 2022.

In 2022, I was elected Chair of the  Alameda County Transportation Commission, where I have used my position to develop the county’s first Race & Equity Action Plan (REAP), the county’s first Countywide Bikeways Network, and begun the work to integrate climate action into the transportation planning of the future.

Other local projects in the works include the city’s plan for a complete redesign of 40th Street as a Complete Street, the completion of the Emeryville Greenway in 2023, and a left-turn bus-only on-ramp to I-80 Westbound from Powell Street in partnership with MTC.

In 2023, the Mayors Institute named me to their Inaugural Mayors Institute on Pedestrian Safety, along with 8 other mayors across the United States. I will continue to be a leader on transit equity, to leverage regional and state funding for local projects, and prioritize projects for investment that yield safe streets for our residents, businesses, and visitors.

To read more about John on the issue of transportation in the local press:

Community Safety & Social Justice

Community Safety with a Commitment to Social Justice

Community safety is critical to everything we do. This is accomplished through a combination of policies that reflect preparedness, a qualified and trained team of public safety professionals, and policies that balance the civil rights of marginalized community members against government overreach.

Since joining the city council, I have fought to protect the safety of our most vulnerable community members. My first act as a council member in 2017 was to coauthor the city’s Sanctuary City resolution. I have identified and pushed the city to end contracts with companies sharing personal and biometric data with ICE and have called for limits on the use of certain technologies like facial recognition that can be misused to target and discriminate against minorities. True community safety comes from making meaningful investments in community-based health, education, and youth programs.

Preparedness is also a key part of our safety plan. In 2023, the Emeryville City Council fully funded a $5 Million Disaster Reserve Fund, fulfilling a citywide goal that I’ve pushed for us to complete during my tenure in office.

In 2022, the City Council voted to eliminate many of the old criminal offenses enumerated in the Municipal Code, ensuring that our law enforcement personnel and resources are available and used at calls for service that most directly impact community safety while also eliminating pretextual reasons for a police stop. 

The safest communities are those that promote inclusivity, justice, and safety for everyone. I will always work to promote a safe and just Emeryville community for all.

To read about John on the issue of community safety and social justice in the local press:

Environmental Justice

Protecting Public Health and Habitat

Perhaps one of the most imperative issue for decision-makers today is addressing climate change through action. As a bayside community, Emeryville stands to face significant infrastructure, safety and health impacts by the effects of climate change.

Emeryville has a long history of being a city that disregarded environmental regulations. We were the city that smelted steel, burned rubber, dumped toxic chemicals into the soil and groundwater, and filled in the bay. Not exactly a sterling reputation to start from. But in recent years, our work has been so impactful that Opendoor named us the second-most “Eco-Forward City” in the US in 2023.

Since joining council in 2016, we have adopted a Lead Safety Ordinance to eliminate DIY repairs on old homes without proper protections and protocols, have instituted bird-safe building design guidelines to reduce aviary deaths against large windows, have banned crematoriums, and completed dozens of soil remediation projects to remove vapors and toxics from old industrial uses. On top of this, the availability of the free Emery-Go-Round and the growth of our active transportation network have given residents greater car-free options for daily life.

I have represented the cities of Alameda County on the Bay Area Quality Management District since 2018, and served as chair of the Board in 2022 and 2023. During my time there, we have adopted regulations that limits harmful particulate matter emissions from the region’s refineries, implemented clean air centers for use during wildfire smoke days, and approved zero NOx emission standards for water heaters and furnaces that will further reduce harmful health impacts in the years to come.

I have made meeting with students a priority during my time in office, and understand the importance of climate action today to the quality of their future. I’m honored that the Sierra Club of San Francisco Bay Chapter gave me their inaugural Visionary Award in 2022 for my work to make the region a more environmentally just place for everyone.

Economic Development

Creating a Financially Healthy City for Our Future

Emeryville continues to be a model city for fiscal responsibility and economic development. Whether it be an economic recession, a housing crisis, or a pandemic, the city has been able to withstand successive economic challenges by adopting solid fiscal policies, implementing healthy budget principles, and diversifying our local economy’s tax base to protect critical services residents and businesses rely on.

I have served as Chair of the city’s Budget & Governance Committee since 2016, where I have worked to implement fiscal policies that will ensure the city has funds to deliver on core city services for years to come, protection against economic downturns, and best practices for local governance. The city continues to receive a clean audit.

In 2018, residents approved both Measure C, a $50 million affordable housing bond which served as an investment in equitable housing opportunities, as well as Measure S, a progressive tax on cannabis that incentivized some of the state’s best cannabis businesses to relocate to Emeryville for manufacturing and distribution. In 2020, voters approved Measure F, which provided critical resources to support affordable child care in the city, as well as public safety staffing and a citywide Code Enforcement Officer. In 2022, voters approved Measure O, which helps us do environmental projects, preserve parks and playgrounds, and funds a Critical Needs Fund that can be used to address unplanned or emergency needs in the city as they arise.

When the COVID pandemic struck, the city moved to convert our facade grant program for new businesses modifying old buildings into a temporary rental assistance program for small, minority owned businesses. I worked with colleagues and staff to develop a parklet program that made converting on-street parking spaces into permanent outdoor dining without fees a possibility for small business and restaurant owners. I’ve partnered with small, local business leaders to start up our BizNexus Program as well as large corporate partners for environmental community clean-up events.

I will continue to look for ways to protect the city’s core services, to expand and diversify our local economy, and to support the businesses and workers that make up our local economy.