With the gubernatorial recall behind us, Emeryville voters will be faced with one more decision this year. Emeryville will hold a Special Election on November 2 to fill the council seat vacated by resigned councilmember Christian Patz.
The filing deadline to declare candidacy and appear on the ballot ended on August 6. Two candidates emerged including Watergate Condominiums resident Charlotte Danielsson-Chang and Christie Core resident Courtney Welch.
Welch’s campaign has gotten off to a bit of a rocky start by submitting a candidate statement with a “factual inaccuracy” in it. The egregious error touched off a complicated petition process by the county elections official to remove it.
Welch’s original statement, published below in its entirety along with Danielsson-Chang’s, references her being “the first Black woman in 34 years to seek a seat on Council.” The statement is inaccurate as Brynnda Collins ran for office just five years ago. Collins fell short of being elected to council but now sits as President of the Emery USD School Board.
ECAP founder Nellie Hannon is regarded as the last Black woman to sit on council. Hannon served a single term from 1983-87. Garey Caffey was the last Black male to sit on council serving two terms from 1997 to 2005.
Welch was forthright about her error in her Twitter handle noting she was working to have the sentence deleted through the appropriate process. “As I go down this campaign journey, I always keep in mind the many women that came before me that sacrificed to give me the opportunities I have today.” Welch also noted that she had reached out to Collins to issue an apology for the slight.
Welch, an East Bay native, just recently moved her family to Emeryville in May of this year.
Quick note: there’s an inaccuracy in my candidate statement. It says I’m the first Black woman to *run* in 34 years. That isn’t true. EUSD Board President Brynnda Collins ran in 2016. We brought this to the city clerk and attorney’s attention last week.
— Courtney Welch (@cw4emeryville) August 9, 2021
“The Elections Official for the City of Emeryville has filed a Petition for Writ of Mandate with the Alameda County Court related to the Candidate Statement officially filed by Courtney Welch on August 4, 2021,” an annotation on the city website stated. “According to the remedy allowed to correct inaccuracies by California Elections Code §13313 (b)(1).”
The petition was ultimately accepted by the county and the sentence will be removed on the printed ballot.
Either of the candidates would be the first “Western” Emeryville resident to sit on council since the retirement of Nora Davis in 2016. Emeryville, largely due to its small size, is not broken up into geographical districts like its neighbors.
Ballots for the election are expected to arrive in early October. More information on the special election and links to resources are on Emeryville.org.
Below are the Candidate statements that will appear on the ballot. The omitted sentence in Welch’s statement appears in bold.
I earned a Juris Doctorate from Stanford and BA in Economics and Political Science from Berkeley. I was a first-generation college student (my dad finished 7th grade; my mom, 9th grade); we immigrated to the US from Sweden when I was 3. I built my 23 year law practice in the Bay Area while navigating the complexities of being a young mom in a male dominated industry, having two kids under age 2 when I started. My daughter shares my passion for educational equity teaching 4th grade at a school where 95% of students are below poverty level. My husband is Taiwanese-American, our children are biracial, and we’re the proud parents of a gay son. Our city faces complex challenges from the pandemic and increasing the engagement of all members of our community is essential to meet the challenges we face. Diverse input results in more innovative and effective solutions. I was CEO of an international tech nonprofit promoting innovation and entrepreneurship for 5 ½ years, I have been actively involved in AAPI empowerment through civic engagement since 2011 through my work with the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association and I’m currently a Commissioner for the County of Alameda Human Relations Commission. Endorsed by Emeryville City Council Member Scott Donahue.
As a community advocate, a mom and housing champion, I am honored to run for Emeryville City Council. I am an East Bay native and moved to Emeryville’s Christie Core neighborhood to raise my two sons. In a professional capacity, I work on affordable housing policy and currently serve on Emeryville’s Housing Committee, working with city and community partners to develop solutions to our housing crisis. In addition to my housing background, I am also a former small business owner and prioritize economic and small business development while balancing public health concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional priorities include increased public transit accessibility, addressing public safety concerns, keeping our budget financially solvent and ensuring that Emeryville’s working families are represented in government. As the first Black woman in 34 years to seek a seat on Council, I hope to earn your support.
Feature Image: @CW4Emeryville Twitter handle.