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Monday, June 26, 2017

Emery Superintendent Releases Sanitized Minutes

And Now, The (Expurgated) Official Record

Emery School District Superintendent John Rubio, responding to a crush of negative public comment at a much talked about recent School Board meeting, has released his official minutes of the public meeting that negates any mention of his own poor job performance, the locus of the public condemnation.  The June 15th denouncements (covered by the Tattler) by nine of the teaching and administrative staff members represented an indictment against Mr Rubio, accounting his hostility against them, charges of racist practices being promulgated by him and his general incompetence but they were reduced to one sentence in the minutes in which his name did not even appear.
In similar fashion, Mr Rubio failed to acknowledge the substance of the nearly 50 minutes of allegations against him made by the educators at the June 15th meeting, dismissing them at the time with an ignominious "I'm not perfect. I'm trying my best".

Here is the Emery School District's just released minutes of the June 15th incrimination against Superintendent Rubio:

Seven teachers, one former Classified instructional aide, and the outgoing K8 principal spoke to the Board regarding their perceptions of cultural sensitivity, issues surrounding race, wanting to feel more supported, stating that the town of Emeryville needs to commit to education, and the importance of mutual respect between the city and the district (asking if the city partnership is really a partnership).

In an act of record keeping asymmetry, the Superintendent then went on to document by name two other commenters at that meeting, both praising of the District; devoting four sentences to the official record by his hand for their contributions.

The Board will vote to approve these minutes (or an amended version of them) at their next meeting on Wednesday.

The Superintendent could not be reached to comment on this story.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Emery Schools Superintendent Dr Rubio Blasted by Outgoing Teachers

Teachers Blast Rubio,
'Bullying, Incompetent, Racist'

A roomful of vacating veteran teachers at the June 15th School Board meeting blasted Emery Unified School District’s Superintendent John Rubio for what they said was his incompetency, lack of leadership and racist practices he has instituted at Emeryville’s schools.  Among the nine speakers one of whom said by quitting she was “voting with my feet”, was the Anna Yates Elementary School Principal who is also leaving, citing that she was being “undermined” by the Superintendent.
The spectacle was summarily dismissed by Mr Rubio who tersely said of the criticism, “I’m not perfect. I’m trying my best” after the near 50 minute onslaught but before he urged the Board to move on to the business at hand.

The united teacher front, colleagues granting extra time by yielding their allotted three minutes to those speaking, is but the latest in a series of exigencies highlighting a school district in chaos led by a dysfunctional superintendent.  The portrait painted by the onslaught of distressed teachers is of an Emery superintendent that is a bully, leaving "even parents crying” as one teacher recalled, her colleague adding “I’ve never seen a lack of leadership as I’ve been seeing here.” 

The bullying recalled by the fleeing teachers has had a negative consequence for the District: the speakers excoriating Mr Rubio represent but a fraction of the 37% of teachers that have fled Emery in the last year, a hard number provided by the District itself but nonetheless refuted by the Superintendent.  The teacher retention crisis, brought on by Mr Rubio, has given Emery the dubious distinction being the worst among all school districts in the Bay Area.

Superintendent Rubio has faced a rocky road here at Emery, starting with his hiring of an abusive predator as the elementary school principal as his first act as superintendent, an act for which the District lost almost $100,000.  Mr Rubio also over saw a program wherein he turned over students private confidential information to a for profit online corporation without the consent of parents. He also made draconian budget cuts he claimed would improve educational prospects and he moved to cut community engagement in the building of the Center of Community Life.  The local press took Mr Rubio to task when he met with three allied Board members behind closed doors to work out details of an upcoming vote in an egregious Brown Act violation.  But perhaps the most distressing development has been the recent emerging story on his alleged violation of State ‘mandated reporter’ requirements in the on campus sexual assaults case

The teacher comments at the June 15th Board meeting however were mostly directed at Mr Rubio’s hostilities to teachers, treating them as “roaches and dogs” according to one of the teachers.  Teachers noted how the Superintendent ‘talks a good game’ especially on equitability at the District but “There is a surface politeness covering a man I have come to distrust, not responding to issues but instead attacking teachers.”  said one.  Another noted how racist practices had grown since Mr Rubio was hired on, stating “It has been difficult to be here and watch the institutional racism that I see around me” she said.
Teachers came to the defense of the elementary school principal.  One commented how Mr Rubio would subvert the principal, stating “I’ve seen many examples of how his leadership seems to lack the ability to reflect upon what he’s done, to ‘stay in his lane’ and let the principal do her job.”  For her part the Principal took the Superintendent to task for his “selective accountability”, her finding based work derided as ‘opinion’ and for keeping her in the dark about new directives coming from on high.

Teachers spoke of a changed district since the hiring of Mr Rubio, an “administrative heavy” district and that the fleeing teachers represent a loss of more than 100 years of institutional service and connection to the children. One teacher lamented the loss of the Anna Yates Elementary School campus before the building of the new Center of Community Life or Mr Rubio as Superintendent, “Our best years were when [Anna Yates] was Kindergarten through 6th grade” she said.
That same teacher finished her comment by informing the Board and Superintendent Rubio “The last few years have been so difficult that I must leave.”  She warned the Board they should be careful when hiring a new superintendent, presuming they would do that, stating, “Look for a superintendent that is competent and culturally sensitive.”

One particularly popular teacher (as confirmed by his colleagues) gave a heart rending accounting of the district under Superintendent Rubio and finished by saying to the assembled crowd he was leaving now and “I never thought I would leave here so early in my career.”
Another fleeing teacher was more circumspect about Emery Unified School District under John Rubio; standing with her young child at her side, she said simply “I would never send my son here.” 

Video provided by Ken Bukowski (action starts at the 1:10 mark) 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Dr John Rubio Failed to Report Allegations of Sexual Assault at Emery Schools

Superintendent: Children Lied, 'Mandated Reporter' Law Not Applicable

Emeryville Police are investigating two alleged sexual assaults at the K-12 campus of the Emeryville Center of Community Life, expressing concern that the School District failed to report either incident, a possible violation of California law.
Emeryville Police Chief Jennifer Tejada described the recent allegations involving students at the school as potentially "serious crimes" and has notified the Alameda County District Attorney of both cases.  She said her department is also conducting its own investigation.
John Rubio
Emery Schools Superintendent

The children are lying he says.  It's
better to error on the side of
NOT calling the police.

School Superintendent John Rubio, meanwhile, said he didn't make a report because he believed the students were lying and that no assaults occurred.  Speaking through the School District's attorney, Rubio said he came to this conclusion based on his "professional experience."  He said because he believed the allegations to be false, he was not bound by the state's mandated reporting law. 

California AB 1432 sometimes called the mandated reporter law, requires professionals who work with children, including teachers, school administrators, psychologists and others to notify police or child protective services when they receive a report of alleged abuse.  The law states that “No proof of abuse or neglect is needed, only ‘reasonable suspicion’ that child abuse or neglect may have occurred.” 
Mr. Rubio argues that that "reasonable suspicion" did not exist in either of the two incidences the students reported at the school.

Police have disclosed little information about the incidents, which came to light after a parent of one of the alleged victims went to the police and filed a report.  According to the police crime report, the incidents occurred on April 28 and May 1 and involved allegations of “lewd or lascivious” acts at the elementary school and “sexual battery” at the high school.  While all K-12 students share a campus at the Emeryville Center of Community Life, the elementary and high school are housed in separate buildings.
Police Chief Jennifer Tejada
She thinks there may be something
to the children's allegations and
she is running an EPD investigation.

At a May 11th meeting of the Emeryville Public Safety Committee, Chief Tejada expressed concern over the School District's failure to make a report, "My concern is around the lack of reporting for serious crimes" she said, adding, "We came across these crimes not through school personnel, who had previous knowledge of the alleged assaults."  

A mandated reporter who fails to make a required report is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.  Schools are required under the law to hold annual trainings of all school personnel.  That training is to occur within six weeks of the start of school and/or the first six weeks of employment.  The State has provided a free resource for schools that clearly sets forth all the law's requirements.  

Superintendent Rubio, who said he would answer questions from the Tattler only if they were in writing, did not answer a question of whether the District had met the state's training requirements. 

Chief Tejada said she was working with the School District to get them up to speed on their obligation under the law.  “We are in the process of taking care of the mandated reporter issues at the school,” she said.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Tattler Editor Named As Felony Arson Suspect

Tattler Editor Prime Suspect
in San Pablo Avenue Fire
Says E'Ville Eye Editor

The ATF and the Emeryville Police
Department call this person the prime
suspect.  Don't be fooled says
Rob Arias, this photo is fake news
distributed by a duped ATF/EPD.
The Emeryville Tattler editor Brian Donahue has been named as a prime suspect in a felony arson fire in a San Pablo Avenue apartment project at a June 8th joint EPD/ATF press conference held at the Emeryville police station.  The announcement came from the sidelines; Rob Arias, editor of the E'Ville Eye, a pro-business and developer friendly blog in town.  Mr Arias' announcement was not picked up by the gaggle of media outlets or Emeryville Police Chief Jennifer Tejada or the Federal agents from the bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms who told the assembled throng they chose instead to highlight a different suspect; a mysterious bicyclist caught by one of the 12 security cameras at the site.

The May 13th conflagration has been reported on widely by the Bay Area press corps likely because it was the second such fire in 10 months at the 'Maz' development site under construction.

Mr Arias implored attendees at the press conference to not be hoodwinked by the presentation of the photograph showing a bicyclist revealed by ATF agents but instead to direct their attention to the Tattler editor whom he revealed had done negative stories on the development project.   "Brian Donahue is the Mayor's own brother...he called the [Maz] development a 'men's dorm'" Mr Arias proclaimed, attempting to stoke the imaginations of any conspiratorially minded law officers or reporters at the conference.
E'Ville Eye Editor Rob Arias
Don't listen to the
Emeryville Police or the ATF;
Brian Donahue is the REAL suspect.

The Tattler has long called for residential development projects better than the Maz project.  Specifically, Emeryville needs more affordable units, more family friendly housing and more ownership condos, none of which Maz delivers on.

 Mr Arias's call for the arrest of the editor of the Tattler on June 8th was not his first; he has put his blog to work chronicling the crimes of Mr Donahue since he began the E'Ville Eye several years ago.  Careful readers of that blog will note however that despite the allegations of crimes committed, Mr Donahue, the editor of the other blog in Emeryville, hasn't been jailed or even arrested for his many crimes highlighted by Rob Arias in his blog.  Those facts however have not constrained Mr Arias and his heavily monetized E'Ville Eye who continue to warn anyone who will listen in Emeryville about how dangerous the Tattler is and why it needs to be shut down.

Mr Arias refused to comment for this story.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Letter to the Tattler: Shirley Enomoto

Recently received from Shirley Enomoto (references are made to the Tattler story of May 9th and earlier stories about how the School Board is refusing to audit Turner Construction for irregularities residents, students and teachers have noted in the recently finished Emeryville Center of 'Community' Life):

I [recently] received the video from Ken Bukowski of the May 10 School Board meeting.  Since my name came up, I want to respond.
Paid expenses for Measure J began April 7,  2010, before voters approved Measure J in November 2010.  The Measure J Citizens Oversight Committee (COC) was formed in March 2011.  During the five months I was a member, the committee did not see any reports of paid invoices.  It was at the June 2011 meeting, held at the Emeryville Senior Center, where a "facilitator" was paid (with Measure  J bond revenue) to acquaint COC members with each another that I decided to quit the committee.  We were forced to sit at round tables with assigned seating,  as if we were in kindergarten.  I had  asked then EUSD Superintendent John Sugiyama (and incoming Superintendent Debbra Lindo seated beside him) what exactly the protocol was for COC members to see paid invoices and what were our responsibilities.   Mr. Sugiyama replied, "I don't know."  This was the night I decided to quit, after mulling it over for three months.  If you check the minutes of the COC meetings, the responsibilities of the COC were discussed for almost a year after the committee was formed.  If you were to ask the original 17 members if they saw each and every penny spent, I'm sure they would tell you "no."
The first report was a manually typed spreadsheet.  No explanations were offered and no account numbers were assigned for each expense.
The monthly reports I did receive, I entered in my personal quickbooks software program.
After leaving the committee, I requested that minutes, agendas, and the monthly report of paid invoices be sent to me.  I had to request this each and every month.  Either my request was not received or the person responsible for the distribution was not there, or the person responsible "forgot."
I strongly feel a financial audit is in order:  specifically to make sure that paid expenses were legitimate Measure J expenses.  The ballot measure states "no administrative salaries will be paid."  Project Director Roy Miller,  Community Involvement Director Hayin Kim, and her assistant, were all paid from bond revenue.  All three have since quit their positions.  Vehicles were purchased.  Almost $200,000 was paid for I-pads, five years before the Emeryville Center of Community Life (ECCL) had opened.  They are probably obsolete now, if the school district still has them. Brian Donahue stated at the May 10 meeting that they went missing.  Where were they stored?  Was anyone arrested for theft?

Shirley Enomoto
Former member of the Measure J Citizens Oversight Committee

Shirley Enomoto lived in Emeryville for 20 years (she recently moved away) and was a "trouble maker" she says, to City Hall for as many years.  A long time member of Residents United for a Livable Emeryville (RULE) and volunteer for the schools, Ms Enomoto also long rallied for fair treatment for senior citizens in our town.  

Monday, May 15, 2017

'Maz' Building Burns Again

San Pablo Apartment Building Burns Down 2nd Time

Despite two armed guards and 12 security cameras on duty, 'The Intersection' apartment project, also known as the Maz Project burned down Saturday night.  This is the second time for a suspicious fire in the controversial building happening before fire sprinklers were installed, the first fire happening at about the same point in the construction process 10 months ago.
Mayor Scott Donahue noted at least 35 ATF agents will be investigating the fire and he said of the developer, Rick Holliday who plans on building the project a third time, "I admire Mr Holliday's determination. He's probably the most Sisyphean developer in Emeryville history."

Demolition fire crews pulled down the construction crane Sunday night, creating a spectacular scene as the 44,000 pound counterweight crashed to the ground.  The Mayor said the neighboring Avelon senior housing building was evacuated in case of a possible trebuchet effect from the massive crane that could have impacted the Avelon building.

The apartment building has been criticized by many in town owing to it's lack of affordable family units and 100% market rate rental status.  The Tattler called the building a "men's dorm" and a "techie dorm" because of the large number of studio and one bedroom apartments in the approved but yet to be built apartment building.

Video credit: Lillian Schroth

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

School Board President Insists NO Audit of ECCL Project

Rift Between City & School District
Audit Latest Imbroglio

The City Council has suggested the School District Board of Trustees audit Turner Construction, the builder of the Emeryville Center of 'Community' Life in order to claw back some money the district might have overpaid for the building project but the Board President is demurring, indicating he is more inclined to try to get money out of its ECCL partner, the City of Emeryville instead.  It's part of a growing rift between the District and City Hall born out of differences in how to divide up cost overruns in the contentious schools/community center project.

The City/Schools Committee, consisting of the membership of the City Council and the School Board, met May 4th and the frosty relations were evident when Vice Mayor John Bauters suggested going to construction giant Turner, who has recently been indicted for bilking clients, to see if there may be recoverable costs to help offset the cost overruns of ECCL*.  The idea was embraced by the entire Council but Board President Merriam oddly said it would not be appropriate, a position he has held for quite some time even as he has refused to properly elaborate.
Mr Merriam joined with former Board President John Affeldt last summer in quashing an attempt to audit Turner, citing the existence of the Citizens Oversight Committee (COC) makes it unnecessary.
Emery School Board President
Donn Merriam

'Even though Turner Construction
has been caught overcharging 

clients, we must not audit them'.

Just two years ago the County of Santa Clara held Turner to task for cost overruns and delays.  Turner blamed the city for the issues.

Mr Merriam's odd assertion of no Turner audit brings into question who's interests he has at heart.  The ECCL budget went significantly over budget and is still not complete.  Board member Brynnda Collins, when expressing her support for a Turner audit, questioned the quality of the work stating, "Big chunks of metal (are) falling and almost hitting a teacher."  There have been multiple suggestions of design flaws like lack of storage, concrete poured too thin and poor drainage.

It is clear to many there are enough reasons for an audit.  City Council member Bauters stated it could find enough savings to cover the remaining $370,000 the district owes Turner.
Los Angeles Unified School District routinely audits projects.  It should be noted LAUSD is so large that they have a group that audits every project. Turner recently was found to have overcharged them $190,000 on a $98 million project, almost exactly the same size project as ECCL.

Conflict of Interest?
Clearly audits are done and effective tools to protect taxpayer funds.  Which leads back to the question, does Board President Merriam have a Turner connection in his work as an employee of the architecture firm of Deems Lewis Mckinley (DLM)?  A Tattler search of their projects and Turner's revealed no direct overlap.  However it did turn up a project that involved Swinerton Management and DLM.  Swinerton worked on the ECCL project and frequently partners with Turner.

South San Francisco Unified passed a large bond project and used Swinerton to manage the project.  DLM bid on and was chosen to do the work. It is not clear if the Emery Board President personally worked on the project but the appearance of impropriety is evident.  Of course, an elected official should not be in the position to have to chose between what is best for their constituents and their pocketbooks.

The School Board is scheduled to discuss auditing the ECCL project at their May 10th meeting and Mr Merriam should leave the room while this is being discussed.  If he stays in the room, he should disclose the firm's relationship with Swinerton and have the legal counsel provide guidance.  It should be noted President Merriam has been caught violating simple rules of transparency because he claimed he was unaware of the conflict.

*NOTE: Although Turner Construction is a 'primary partner' with Turner GROUP Construction, it was Turner GROUP Construction that was indicted for bilking it's clients.  Turner Construction, the builder of the ECCL wasn't indicted but they were found to be overcharging their clients as the story states.  The Tattler apologizes for the mix up.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Emeryville Noise Ordinance Fails Relevancy Test (Again)

Favored Developer Tests Noise Ordinance,
Residents Lose

Wareham Breaks Law Four Times & is Rewarded By Council

Emeryville's Noise Ordinance, a 2003 law designed to protect resident's reasonable desires for some peace and quiet in a massively re-developing town, traditionally has not been able to stand up to the interests of developers and Emeryville's new progressive City Council, like their conservative predecessors showed us Tuesday they also have no interest in enforcing the ordinance.  In a 5-0 vote, the Council granted a waiver to Wareham Development to work Saturdays starting in May to help the corporation as they work on the controversial 17 story 'Transit Center' office tower project on Horton Street.

The waiver now gives official permission for Saturday work to Wareham who has already been busy working Saturdays in violation of the ordinance.  And tellingly, beyond simply granting a waiver for no reason other than helping Wareham increase its profit margin, the Council also saw fit to pardoning Wareham for the four previous violations of the Noise Ordinance over the last six Saturdays in which the police had to intervene to stop work at the site.
Wareham Gets a Pardon
The City Council is so incensed with
Wareham constantly violating our
Noise Ordinance, they're getting
rid of the ordinance so Wareham won't
have anything to violate. 

Emeryville's Weakest Law
The Noise Ordinance has never been enforced.  Indeed, the whole thing has served a different function; making City Council members look good to the cameras as they feign support for the ordinance.
Usually when developers seek to get a waiver for the Noise Ordinance from the City Council, a reason 'beyond their control' is offered such as an unusual amount of rain (even during a drought year as embarrassingly was the case for Turner Construction and the ECCL).  However Wareham on Tuesday only offered that certain jobs they need to complete for the construction of the Transit Center (welding, pouring concrete) are especially impactful and these components should be done on weekends because...well, no reason was given to that question.  The fact that these components of the job being loud and impactful (precisely the reason why the Noise Ordinance was passed; to protect our weekends from this) was not seen as something the community would object to by the Council, illustrates how inconsequential the ordinance is.

The four recent violations of the ordinance by Wareham have been assigned police department 'event numbers' but no provisions within the ordinance itself provides for a remedy for the residents or punishment against violators, leaving the resident's interests unsupported except by the City Council, if it were of a mind to support them.  However Tuesday's Council action, rewarding lawbreakers, tells the developer and business world that regardless of recent City Council elections, their interests are still sacrosanct in Emeryville at least when it comes to crashing and banging on weekends in our town.

Caught Again!
Transit Center workers get caught working on another Saturday in violation of our Noise Ordinance.  The workers tried to palm off the loud concrete form work as "cleaning" but they were cited (no fines) by police for violating the ordinance.  Wareham Spokesman Geoff Sears told the City Council Tuesday that workers have merely been "dewatering" the site after rain storms, a claim not supported by the observations of the Emeryville Police.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Maurice Kaufman 'Resigns'

Nora Davis' Star Begins to Set

Two Down, Two More To Go
News Analysis/Opinion
Long time Emeryville Public Works Director, Maurice Kaufman surprised many in town Monday when he announced he intends to quit effective in May, giving no reasons other than his desire for a new direction in his life.  This resignation of a department head at City Hall leaves speculation open that the major change in elected public officials in Emeryville last November, the election of three new progressive Council members, is the driving force behind this major shake up.  Given the particulars, we can say with few reservations that Mr Kaufman, hired by and the champion of former Councilwoman Nora Davis, was likely forced out.  This being a personnel matter and therefore not subject to public scrutiny, it’s all tight lips among the Council members and City Manager.  But to this consequential change we say: it’s about time and don’t let the door hit you on the way out Maurice. 
 Some were surprised as noted but not us; a severely out of balance polity can only continue to exist for so long before one way or another a correction is bound to take place. What is surprising is why it took so long to push Maurice along towards the exit.  

Primarily a traffic engineer, Maurice Kaufman had his time here but now he’s a dinosaur, a left over relict from the Nora Davis years when developers (and the cars they bring to a community) were king.  We remember when Maurice told us he's fine with traffic calming for bike safety as long as it doesn't impede car traffic.
Traffic Engineers Like Efficiency
Maurice Kaufman likes cars moving quickly
and efficiently.

Mr Kaufman was selected by Ms Davis to support her pro-business/developer philosophy, a role he performed quite well over the years.  It’s just that the people of Emeryville finally decided they’d had enough of that and they ‘voted with their votes’ for a change.  So slowly (very slowly) now the staff at City Hall is starting to finally show signs that the will of the people is being placated. With the head of Public Works gone it’s two down, two more to go on that account. 

Keeping on Nora Davis’ staff at City Hall with the new City Council was/is a piece of regrettable Californication in Emeryville.  A little have a nice day, we could never do anything so harsh as to fire somebody flawed public policy.  And the City Council continues to leave the remaining Nora Davis selected department heads on at their continuing peril.  For surely as night follows day, the will of the Council has been and will continue to be subverted by such a staff.  Want evidence of that? 
Here’s a little taste down through the years of Maurice Kaufman, Nora Davis’ favored City Hall staff manager (partial list): 

Imagine if there were ever another Democratic President elected in Washington (that would mean Donald Trump decided to allow it, admittedly a stretch) imagine if she decided to leave in place Trump's staff and cabinet and tried to govern.  That's what's been going on in Emeryville.  Elections as they say are supposed to have consequences.  
To the City Council: We're finished with Council member Nora Davis...she had her 30 year run and now it's time to move on.  Insofar as you gave Maurice Kaufman the heave ho last Monday, let's keep that momentum going.

So long Maurice Kaufman. We wish you all the best and no hard feelings… it’s just your time has passed in Emeryville.  Next!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

E'Ville Eye Editor Rob Arias Throws Another E'Vile Temper Tantrum

We Must Fight Blight!* Says Rob Arias
*Homeless People

Rob Arias, editor of the right wing pro-business blog the E'Ville Eye; a guy who always has a disparaging word for the working poor in our midst and who can always be counted on to crank up the hyperbolic invective against his favorite punching bag, homeless people, made quite a spectacle at the April 18th City Council meeting, even by his own pugnacious standards.  Down slammed the box filled with drug paraphernalia in theatrical fashion while he proceeded on with his infantile rage, voice cracking, about how the City Council is not doing it's job.  And by that Rob means they're not clearing away homeless people (from Oakland near Emeryville's border).

Rob's increasingly aggressive behavior against homeless people now finds obtuse expression in his attempt to highjack the City's Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to spend Emeryville taxpayer money on.... a dog park in Oakland.  Wait...what?
I am here to distract you.

Emeryville's right wing found themselves without a mooring after the Chamber of Commerce collapsed a couple of years ago and Rob, ever the entrepreneur, saw a niche to re-fix the pastiche of Emeryville's right wing around his new blog and make money while he's at it.  The demise of the Chamber of Commerce wasn't a random thing.  Rather it happened as a result of our citizenry's increasing expectation that their institutions should reflect their values. That left a small but angry base of right wing support for Rob's project.
Besides making money, Rob has used his blog for attacks on labor and homeless people.  He seems to hold a special kind of hatred for homeless people, seeing them as a problem best solved by clearance sweeps.  We remember Rob inveighing against 'those people' using Joseph Emery Park as "targeting" of the park.  Rob demanded the Emeryville police make sweeps of homeless people out of West Oakland at a Public Safety Committee meeting; they are drifting into his neighborhood he told the committee.  He's going to be a father he said and this will not stand he warned them.  Homeless people should not be seen by children...think of the children, he says in an attempt to shame the City to go all extra-legal on 'em.

After he was told Emeryville is not going to use its police to clear homeless people out of West Oakland near his residence, Rob came up with another idea: let's create a buffer at the border in the form of a dog park under the 40th Street Bridge he started calling the Halleck Beach Dog Park.  He used his blog to gather his minions and ultimately they descended on City Hall to berate and hector City Councilman John Bauters at an informal meeting the Councilman called to address the issue.  After explaining in his lawyerly way, the myriad problems with Emeryville locating a municipal park in Oakland, not the least of which is the large and ongoing expense that would be incurred, Mr Bauters skillfully separated the crowd away from the red herring of the dog park and exposed their true desires; they want to keep homeless people out of Emeryville, the dog park is just a means to that end even if some of them like dogs.

Councilman Bauters' blog and his (rather wonky) story on the Halleck Beach Dog Park may be viewed HERE.

The Halleck Beach Dog Park
Clean, no blight.
Never mind the use of a sociopathic overlay while formulating public policy and its attending problem of Constitutional prohibitions, we're not going to use our local government to adapt Rob's new word for homeless people unveiled at the John Bauters meeting, 'blight', nor sign on to do to them as the old Redevelopment Agency did to blight in a more decorous and genteel era when the word was merely used to describe decrepit buildings, not people.
Adding to the current state of callous narcissism emanating out of Washington and taking over the polity, Rob Arias is our own little local installment in this growing culture of cruelty sweeping the nation.

Like all (privileged) children who disparage authority not doing their bidding, Rob cries 'it's not fair' to the City Council...'you should be pushing MY agenda...clearing away homeless people and protecting my real estate investment.'  Many techie newcomers to Emeryville, those for whom we have built housing here exclusively over the last twenty years, obviously agree with Rob.  These are his readers.  They are concerned, besides wanting to know about the latest ramen shop and crime blotter (with its Black suspects), many of them attended the meeting about the dog park.  They scolded Councilman Bauters; Rob's right, Emeryville should remain "clean", no blight here they insisted.  That's Rob's community.

Like so many others on the right wing, Rob co-opts the language of the left; he calls himself a "community activist" and he is an activist (for his specific community) although not one normally associated with that title.  What Rob has done for community activism, he's also done for blight.  Community activism now includes reverse Robin Hood policies and blight now includes poor people (that need to be cleared out) in Rob Arias' Emeryville.