John Bauters officially declares candidacy as Emeryville Council Race warms up

2 mins read

2014 candidate John Bauters has officially thrown his hat back in the Emeryville political ring with the launch of a new website and twitter account. The declaration kicks off the 2016 Emeryville Council race that could be a pivotal one for the Small Business community and projects like the Sherwin-Williams development.

Three seats are up for grabs including those currently occupied by Nora Davis, Ruth Atkin and Jac Asher. 88-year-old, 28 year Councilperson Nora Davis has already gone on record as saying she will not be seeking reelection (but I wouldn’t completely count her out ;). Asher and Atkin have not publicly declared their intent to run and rumors have pointed in either direction for both.

Bauters has established himself as a leader on the Planning Commission and Housing Committee and is regularly someone the current council turns to for his insight on Affordable Housing and Homeless issues. A relative newcomer in 2014, Bauters lost his bid by less than 200 votes. Bauters has procured the respect and endorsements of many in the community (including all five sitting councilpeople), has built bridges and is widely considered a favorite to claim one of the three vacating seats.

Council Incumbents (L-R): Jac Asher, Ruth Atkin & Nora Davis.



Four term, sixteen year incumbent Ruth Atkin has not formerly tipped her hand either way. Atkin has a reputation of being a pragmatist and has supported both job-creating development projects and social justice initiatives throughout her terms. While she helped spearhead the contentious Minimum Wage Ordinance, she also supported the Public Market Development Agreement that was opposed by the “RULE block” of Asher, Martinez and Donahue. Atkin does not formerly align herself with any of the other candidates and is considered to be a wild card on certain key issues. Atkin also has a high moral character and took a verbal stand against recent bullying and verbal harassment in our town.

Single term incumbent Jac Asher has established herself as the most powerful person in Emeryville Politics and effectively wields three votes as Mayor Martinez and Councilmember Donahue often blindingly follow her lead. Asher has some political victories under her belt but has also been a polarizing figure in her tenure by taking ideological positions and her close affiliation with Tattler Editor Brian Donahue. Nonetheless, she has the advantage of being an incumbent, the advocacy of RULE behind her and would likely receive the prized Democratic Party endorsement that a high percentage of disengaged voters mindlessly check. If Asher decided to run for reelection, she’ll have to get out from behind the dais and address criticism, somethings she’s been reluctantly to do thus far.

If Asher indeed decides not to run, RULE will surely be determined to keep their majority on council by presenting a candidate to push their social-justice first agenda. RULE has been holding regular outreach through The Tattler to identify potential candidates and influence council by proxy.

It’s foreseeable that former Councilmember Ken Bukowski could throw his hat back in the ring yet again despite some political baggage. Ken has been a force for transparency in our town by regularly recording sparsely attended meetings in our city and region and opening them up for more citizens to witness how our committees and agencies operate. No other Candidates are on my personal radar have but if history serves us, a fresh face will hopefully emerge in Emeryville Politics (Andre Carpiaux, are you listening?)

In a city with a high resident turnover and among the lowest voter turnout in the county, anything can happen. In 2011, All three candidates won their seats in 2011 with less than 1000 votes each. Emeryville has since shifted to an even year election cycle and in tandem with a hotly contested Presidential election, we should see a higher turnout. The official deadline to file candidacy papers for the November 8th election is Monday, August 8th at 5pm. If neither incumbent files, the deadline is extended another week.

Donations to John Bauters’ campaign can be made on JohnBauters.net. Interested Volunteers can provide their contact information through this online form.


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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. I’ve been really hoping to get more involved with the Emeryville counsel. Very interesting to read your take. So grateful to have you guys as a news source.

    • Thanks Alexandria! We have our opinions and priorities so I implore anyone to be more civically involved and understand what’s at stake this election. Feel free to reach out anytime if you need any further insight.

  2. I think the small business community would throw its full support behind any new candidate who had some business background. If any small business owners are out there reading this, please think about throwing your hat in the ring.

    We’re fighting for our lives, and we’d be happy to support someone who really cared about and understood small, locally serving businesses.The current city council is killing us.

  3. During all those 28 yrs Nora bossed bullied her fellows on her slate and it did damages to the opposite minority slate. A change will be better for the people of Emeryville It was dictatorship !

    • Mr. Carpiaux, would you be willing to run? You’d get my vote. Maybe you’re exactly the change Emeryville is looking for.

  4. I tried to run years ago in write-in slate. But first I am a foreigner and legally not eligible.When I pressed the secretary of State to state ” Bowens ” laws that forbid non – citizen to run for office, she accused me of ” harassment “. In any case I never got any answers and further communication were ignored. I was then officially censored to run and voice my opinions on matter of importance such as the escalation of the ” homeless ” situation that was taking place in the bay area as an indicator of social economic malaise. Its a contradiction in the office of registrar in Oakland as to what Write – in means. As such its impossible to run as a Write-in candidate yet a sizeable portion of the population is either foreigners or sympathize with the plight of the foreigners in social justice, jobs and other benefits, they have NO representation
    for whatever representation means. Our national mess about the immigration issue is a direct consequences that lack of representation at local or county level fails to improve since 1928
    the immigration status of those coming here. This is not a funny joke especially for those slotted not to be able to leave unless to be deported and you have to become a criminal for that something few are in the nature of becoming of them.
    During that period Nora Davis commissioned Karen Hemphill ( city clerk ) to call all those who
    would listen to bar me from running for city council as a Write – in candidate and I encountered stiff opposition from those homophobic folks. Its not a question of qualification its a political standing that those remand of the BYDAKAAT slate were afraid off and I was willing to challenge that slate dictatorship, remembering that those incumbent do call around their area of influences recommending who to vote for. The central labor council does not welcome foreigners

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