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E’ville Digest: Measure O Opposition; Pak ‘N Save ‘Bomber’ Murder Charges Dismissed; ‘Perfect Day Trip’ Detailed; Emeryville Tax Proprietor Sentenced

3 mins read

Some notable coverage of Emeryville by The East Bay Times over the past two weeks.

Court reporter Nate Gartrell has been doing an excellent job of following up on the outcomes of some high profile legal cases in the city. He’s penned two recent courtroom stories including the sentencing of the proprietor of Emeryville Tax on San Pablo Avenue who was charged with tax fraud last year. The other details an incident where a man threw a molotov cocktail toward a gas line at the Emeryville Pak ‘N Save and was facing 19 counts of attempted murder.

EBT also recently published an editorial in opposition to the city’s Measure O citing how Emeryville’s transfer tax would be “the highest in California.” The unattributed editorial is listed under The East Bay Times “Endorsements” section.

The city has successfully passed a flurry of taxes on property owners in recent years including a similar transfer tax in 2014 (Measure V), a special assessment to fund the Emery Go-Round in 2015, 2018’s Measure C $50 million affordable Housing Bond and 2020’s Measure K (increase local teacher salaries) as well as Measure F (quarter percent sales tax increase to fund public safety and Child Care).

Less than a third of the registered voters in the city are property tax paying homeowners giving them little leverage in the outcome of these measures.

In addition, EBT reporter John Metcalfe details “the perfect day trip” through the city recently supplemented with 15 public art murals as part of the Sea Walls Mural Festival. Pixar, Fantasy Junction, Compound Gallery, the South Bayfront Bridge and the Public Market are among the other recommended stops.


Wondrous Brewing Co. proprietor Wynn Whisenhunt “commuting” to work past one of the Sea Walls murals on Hollis Street (Photo: Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group).

The perfect day trip to Emeryville, from restaurants to murals and Pixar

By John Metcalfe

In the 1960s, as if directed by a single frequency, people began arriving at Emeryville’s tidal mudflats for an extremely strange project. Using driftwood, scrap metal, broken glass and moth-holed fabric, they erected structures resembling totem poles and spacecraft, a crooked windmill and a Trojan Horse with rabbit anatomy. This ramshackle sculpture garden, a California College of the Arts archivist later wrote, “became a mysterious cultural landmark of the San Francisco Bay” that “exposed the populace to a radical form of public art.”

Read More on The East Bay Times (Paywall may apply)


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Measure O

Editorial: Emeryville voters should not let city take their home equity

When you sell your home in Emeryville, the city skims off 1.2% of the sales price. They call it a transfer tax. So, for example, the owner of a $500,000 property pays the city $6,000 right off the top from the proceeds.

It’s legalized equity theft. It’s one thing for cities to levy annual taxes for services they provide businesses and residents. It’s quite another when they take a large chunk of property owners’ equity when they move, when they’re no longer going to be using the city services that transfer taxes fund.

Read More on The East Bay Times (Paywall may apply)

Read the City’s FAQs and Fact Sheet on their website.


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‘Pak ‘N Save is f—d’: Judge throws out 19 attempted murder charges against man accused of trying to blow up everyone in Emeryville grocery store

By Nate Gartrell

An Alameda County judge dismissed 19 attempted murder charges against a Bay Area man accused of trying to blow up an Emeryville grocery store and kill everyone inside, court records show.

Brian Miller, 28, still faces two counts of arson, as well as a count of resisting an executive officer and another count of possessing a destructive device, court records show. But the mass dismissal means Miller no longer faces the chance of a life sentence if convicted.

Read More on The East Bay Times (Paywall may apply)


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Emeryville tax preparer sentenced to one year in federal prison for tax fraud

By Nate Gartrell
A woman who owned an Emeryville tax preparation company has been sentenced to 366 days in federal prison after pleading guilty to filing a false tax return, court records show.

Traci Austin, 44, of Brentwood, was sentenced Oct. 5 by U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam, who also ordered Austin to pay back $183,303 to the IRS. Federal prosecutors charged Austin last year with filing more than 40 false tax returns and accused her of hosting an illicit “tax school” where budding tax preparers could learn tricks of the tax fraud trade.

Read More on The East Bay Times (Paywall may apply)

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.

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