Emeryville City Council

City Council Filing Period Extended after No Incumbents File; School Board Incumbents See Challenger

2 mins read

The regular nomination period for the upcoming November 8th General Election closed on Friday at 5 p.m.. There were no filings by either incumbent for the two vacating Emeryville city council seats currently held by Scott Donahue and Dianne Martinez.

The nomination period will now be extended for five days until August 17th. All seats are four year terms.

In the 2020 General Election, Councilmembers Bauters, Medina and Patz were all appointed to another term as their were no challengers. The city would not be able to appoint councilmembers this election since the city is pursuing another ballot measure and will need to administer an election regardless (The city is looking to pass the yet unnamed/unspecified “Emeryville Neighbors Together – YES on Measure __ 2022” measure).

“Pursuant to California Elections Code §10229(b), the ability to appoint rather than elect City Council Members is removed when the City has a qualified measure on the ballot,” provided Emeryville City Clerk Sheri Hartz.

Emeryville, likely due to its small size and the transitory nature of its population, has had a hard time finding qualified candidates to run as of late.

The city saw no new challengers in the 2018 or 2020 elections (longtime former councilmember Ken Bukowski did run an unfunded campaign in a losing bid in 2018). The city did see a rather competitive race in this years’ Special Election to fill a seat vacated by resigned councilmember Christian Patz. Newcomer Courtney Welch defeated Charlotte Danielsson-Chang in a low-turnout race.

The position has a base pay of $13,888, comes with medical benefits and can be supplemented by serving on regional boards. 2022’s appointed Mayor John Bauters was compensated a total of $28,596 last year according to Transparent California.

The city has not had a business leader representative since 2016 when Nora Davis retired. Curiously, Emeryville’s three current councilmembers all are employed by political lobbying organizations:

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L-R: Incumbents Brynnda Collins, Susan Donaldson, Regina Chagolla and challenger Brian Donahue.

Four File for Three School Board Seats

School Board incumbents Brynnda Collins, Susan Donaldson and Regina Chagolla all filed for reelection for another four year term. They will be challenged by outgoing Councilmember Scott Donahue’s brother Brian Donahue. Donahue, a longtime resident, previously served on the city’s BPAC and ran a failed council bid back in 1997.

The younger Donahue is known as a disruptive force at public meetings and for using his opinion blog as an attack piece on elected officials and members of the community that do not conform to his strict “progressive” ideological beliefs.

A general contractor with no known experience in education policy, Donahue faces an uphill battle to unseat one of the three incumbents.

Browse the complete list of candidates on the Alameda County Website and view Emeryville candidates campaign statements and FPPC filings on Emeryville.org. Nominees for office will be listed in alphabetical order until ballot order is confirmed by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.

8/14 updates: Story had been corrected to reflect a technical error in filing protocols as well as clarify the inability of the city to appoint coucilmembers during this election since this election will include a ballot measure.

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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.


  1. The filing period is automatically extended 5 days when an incumbent announces they won’t run again. It has nothing to do with whether or not applications are received.

    • Thank you for this clarification. You’d think the city website section I was referred to by the city clerk would capture this. Since Scott doesn’t maintain a social media and Dianne uses hers to share cat memes, I didn’t know they made this official.

  2. Produced in partnership with the League of Women Voters, VotersEdge.org is a platform for voters to compare their options. However, VotersEdge.org is also a good platform for all candidates to get their information out free of charge. The League can also moderate candidate debates. You too can run and be successful without funds other than what it takes for filing.

  3. Rob, I’m confused. Emery High School is in Emeryville, is it not? The address is 1100 Steve Dain Drive, ​Emeryville, CA 94608. Could the city boundaries have changed recently so that the school is now in Oakland? I am aware that candidate Brian Donahue’s daughter is a student in the school. Your statement “A general contractor without any children in the district …” is factually incorrect. But that has not stopped you in the past since facts are not relevant for your unique style of creative “reporting.” Carry on, my friend. Your style is most entertaining.

    • Back when I was following the school board a little closer, he made a very public comment that he was pulling his child from the district which I was told he followed through on. If this has changed, I’ve happily updated this information.

    • He pulled his kid from the district and placed them somewhere else. The guy was a pariah (he’d never engage any of the other parents when at student/parent activities). For a time he had a bumper sticker on his truck that read something to the extent “abolish the school board”. Just one ginormous a**hole.

    • Mr Rhinehart, I served on EUSD school board when Mr Donahue attended many a meetings. He had indeed removed his child from the district. So Mr Arias is correct.

      Donn Merriam
      EUSD board of trustees 2014-2018

  4. Why is there no one Asian councilman / board member? So many Asian people in Emeryville but no representation at all. This is inequity and wrong.

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