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Application Period Open for Vacant Emeryville City Council Seat

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The application period to fill a vacant Emeryville City Council seats is officially open. The vacancy came about as a result of second term Councilmember Ally Medina’s abrupt resignation back on December 20th.

The four current Emeryville councilmembers weighed in on the options for filling the seat at the January 17 meeting [2:18:28].

Other agenda items of note from the meeting were the swearing-in of new City Manager Paul Buddenhaggen and the return to in-person meetings on February 7th. The city will be using this meeting to test a hybrid format that will allow participates to speak remotely.

The Governor’s pandemic state of emergency will officially end on February 28 requiring local government meetings to be accessible to the public.

Allu Medina compensation.
Medina’s total compensation in 2021 included approx. 13k in base pay and eclipsed 30k with benefits and other compensation added (Data: Transparent California).

East Bay Times reporter Katie Lauer recently profiled the plight of some local elected officials including Medina and the challenges they face balancing the relatively low compensation with the time commitments. Emeryville has sought to address this issue by increasing councilmember pay while reducing their committee obligations.

Emeryville is among the smallest, least-populated cities in the Bay Area at 1.2 square miles and less than 13,000 residents. The city is not divided into districts but this equates to each of the five councilmembers representing about 2.5k residents.

By comparison, neighboring Oakland has seven council districts and a population of about 433,000 (averaging 61k constituents per councilmember but varies by district).

Being an Oakland City councilmember is considered a full time job, is compensated $91K annually (and significantly more with benefits) and includes dedicated staff support.


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Council Presented Options by Staff

Emeryville city staff presented available options which included appointment as well as holding a special election. City Council opted to a hold a special election in 2021 under similar circumstances when Christian Patz abruptly resigned. Council was not given the option to appoint someone as at the time a majority of the sitting councilmembers were appointed (Bauters, Medina & Patz).

The cost of holding a special election was estimated to cost the city $157,000 (as much as $21 per voter) and could not be held until the next election cycle on November 7.

Council collectively scoffed at the costs with Mayor John Bauters also noting the strain Medina’s departure put on the others who needed to fill her seats on regional bodies and committees.

Only a single community member objected to the decision calling out Bauters’ outsized influence on any appointee.

Despite some reservations, they unanimously voted to fill the seat through appointment.

15-Day Application Period Opens

Thea city officially posted the application last Friday. To qualify to serve as a councilmember, the applicant must be a resident and registered voter in the City of Emeryville.

The application posted asks for the candidate’s experience on any city advisory boards, organization memberships, work & volunteer experience as well as a 300 word or less statement addressing their qualifications and preparation for serving.

The pool of losing candidates from the recent election is considered one possibility to fill the vacancy. Eugene Tssui has expressed interest while Brooke Westling and Sukhdeep Kaur have indicated they are still evaluating this when we inquired with them.

The deadline to apply is February 10 at 5:00 p.m. The appointed Councilmember’s term will expire in December 2024.

Council is slated to review the applications, conduct interviews and make an appointment by mid-March.

Apply online through the city website.

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

7 Comments

  1. Isn’t the planning commission the minor league for city council? Pay your dues, kiss the right *sses and get rewarded. Hey kid…you’re goin’ to the show!

    • Totally agree and I regret omitting this. Bauters and Mourra both served on the PC prior. The housing committee and school board also seem to be pipelines to city council.

  2. $30,000 is peanuts compared to the payoff that tool received from unions.
    Current city council members focused on anti-capitalism, national partisanship, climate change falsehoods and white supremacy conjecture are not serving their constituents and overpaid. $5.50 / constituent vs. $1.47 = 3.7x.

  3. Most of the time local politicians don’t have direct say about state level legislation but in Bauters’ case, he works in Sacramento and did push for the passage of prop 47, you know the one dealing with making certain crimes misdemeanors.

    Why does emeryville pay the top ten salaries and benefits (some in excess of $250k) of city employees belong to the police department if they can’t do their job?

    https://www.kron4.com/news/bay-area/americas-1-most-dangerous-small-town-is-in-the-bay-area-safewise-report/ It’s the type and location of crime is where it gets noticed, that’s why is feels very acute.

    And when you have tone-deaf politicians (Scott Donohue) stating something to the tune of “it isn’t as bad as it was”, you feel they don’t represent you. Along with the actions or shall I say in-actions during the protests of 2020, shows who these sanctimonious hacks are beholden to..one guess, it isn’t the residents of this city.

  4. Let’s hope facts about EV’s quash David Mourra’s desire to electrify the police fleet:
    1. Studies show the mining and manufacture of EV’s generates double the carbon emissions as the manufacture of vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. So vehicles must be driven many years to “break even.” Many components are manufactured from minerals mined in China where environmental standards do not exist. Plus China can stop exporting them at any time. It could take a decade to develop mines in America to extract the required minerals.
    2. Also ignored – the power grid is primarily fueled by oil, coal, natural gas.
    3. EV’s are expensive. The initial cost is much more. Replacing the battery is expensive. The vehicles are heavier and therefore the tires wear out 20% faster. So taxpayers pay more to satisfy Emeryville council members fantasies. Sound familiar?
    4. Newsom will beg the police department to unplug the chargers so the a/c in his mansion can remain on during heat waves.

    • Actually, the permitting process takes longer than a decade. At the February 8, 2023 House Natural Resources Committee hearing on energy and minerals, Democrats complained the regulatory regime stands in the way of wind and solar projects. In the Duluth complex in northern Minnesota, the biggest copper and nickel find in the world, there’s a company in its 20th year of permitting and then there’s another one that has been in 9 years of permitting process. But Joe Biden just banned mining there. The deposits include vast cobalt reserves also. “It takes 16 years now to permit a new mine,” Rick Whitbeck, the Alaska director for Power the Future. “Part of the process — at least from the environmental activists — is to ‘litigate and make them wait,’ where they continuously file legal motions, find a friendly judge, and delay the permitting process.”

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