Recap of Aug 28 membership meeting


  • The library is introducing new events.
    • September 4th the library is introducing the first ever LGBT collection.
    • The library now has a full staff for children’ programs.
    • Don’t forget to visit the library because it has much more programs.

Fossil Fuel Money Resolution Proposal

  • Hari submits “Draft Resolution on DNC Not Accepting Fossil Fuel Money”.
    • Crosby/Liz in favor
    • There are comments that it may not work.
    • Another comment was made regarding the source of individual money.
    • Vote count: 13 for, 8 against, 4 abstentions.

Environmental Proposals

  • Hari announced the latest environmental legislation including Senate Bill 100 on seeking Clean Energy by 2045. SB 100 calls for all energy produced to be renewable energy.
    • Bill just passed assembly with over 100 votes.
    • See handout.
    • SB-100 California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program: emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • Hari proposes Action #1: urge more California senator to vote for SB100. See for more links because it needs to vote for SB 100
  • Hari proposes Action #2: Urge senators to also pass AB-1775 (State lands: leasing: oil and gas.) and SB-834 (State lands: leasing: oil and gas) to prevent offshore drilling of the coast.

John Gioia Presentation

  • Thanking club for support on projects that the club and John accomplish together.
  • Accomplishments are results of teamwork with current club members.
  • John came in person to thank the club for all the accomplishments from the past such as:
    • Voting for a more progressive DA in the county.
    • Fighting the Sherriff on expanding the jail (even if it passed),
    • But ended ICE contract.
    • Contra Costa Cares passed.
  • Current projects include:
    • Producing Video to visit Canadian Tarzans – to fight proposal to restore pipeline to bring oil to California.
    • Air Quality Work.
    • Climate Change – sued EPA for trying to take away our authority on climate change.
  • Thanked us, again, for partnership on projects that we work together on.
  • Just before finishing, John noted that Greg Lyman would make a great member of the local Air Quality Board.

Ten day Notice Waiver Request

  • Greg requests waiving of 10 day notice rule to present the endorsements listed below:
    • Andy Katz
    • Endorsing all Democrats in statewide races
    • Endorsing El Cerrito’s Measure B for the Charter City Amendment
    • Endorsing statewide ballot measures
  • Motion made by Peter and seconded by Dwight to waive the 10-day notice rule on the four endorsements listed above.
  • Motion Passed with most present raising hand with one abstention.

Waiver/Endorsement Discussion

  • Michael requests clarification on Andy Katz’ party registration. Has Andy Katz re-registered as no party preference as of July 10th?
  • Hilary says don’t even vote on it.
  • Peter says that he emailed Andy Katz, asking him about his party registration, and there was no response.
  • Greg says to skip the Andy Katz vote.
  • Andy Katz is not endorsed, today, because he now filed as independent.

El Cerrito Charter Amendment Endorsement

  • Yes 29 votes

Endorse Democrats

  • Yes, 32 votes list of democrats

Diana Becton, Contra Costa District Attorney (DA)

Diana’s comments:

  • “Thank you, Janet, and thanks for letting me go out of order. Thank you very much for all your support that allowed me to be selected by the Board of Supervisors to fill an empty seat. I am the first woman, black, African American to fill the DA seat. So many things working on, while in office:
    • Governor signed SB-10 for bail reform.
      • Taking one step on addressing money and why people can’t get ahead.
    • Youth reform: Visiting youth ranch, which is full of black and brown children.
    • Working to bring diversion and supportive programs.
    • Addressing mental health issues, and
    • Implementing new efficiencies.
  • Thank you all from bottom of my heart.”
  • This is the first time that we had a DA Candidate visit our club.

Stege Sanitary District Candidate Forum


  • Juliet Christian-Smith is introduced first.
    • Over thirty thousand women running for office this year.
    • First reason to support Juliet is: 1. Represent a different perspective instead of being plagued by uncontested stagnation.
    • Check out three books from the library on the Stege Sanitary District.
    • Second reason to support Juliet is: she is focused on climate change and she wants waste water agencies to adapt system infrastructure to meet drier dry periods and wetter wet periods.
    • The district is heavily dominated by engineers that do not have climate change experience.
    • PhD UCB in Environmental Science.
  • Dwight Merrill, running for re-election

    • Chemist and has been running a company.
    • Is smart and used a targeted approach to spend less money and achieve better results.
    • Is pro-active and innovative.
    • Implemented innovative contract.
    • Sewer lines are replaced cheaply under this innovative contract.
  • Jay James, Director
    • Engineering professorship in South Korea lives in Kensington, past Stege Director, Director of California Waste Water, Waste management facilitator for Oakland Airport.
    • Experience with sewer upgrades.
    • Has financial management skills and full management training.
    • Lower technical innovation, has not raised sewer rates in past three years.
  • Al Miller – running for Stege re-election
    • Appointed to Stege in 1985 and has been on Board since then.
    • BS in Chemical Engineering, Post-Doctoral Master’s degree in Naval Acoustics.
    • EPA sued us and it resulted in EBMUD building weather facilities for inflow infiltration.
    • The work caused an investment from $750k to over $2 million now.
    • Will continue without bonded indebtedness.

Questions and Answers

  • .Question #1: How to deal with draught
    • Juliet Christian-Smith – Be aware of Climate Change. EBMUD is about to get regulated by the EPA on nutrient filtration. We need to create a horizontal levee to hold nutrients back to treat them with natural filtration methods. Maintain water where it falls. Work with different filtrations.
    • Dwight Merrill – Juliet is correct; we will continue to cooperate with EBMUD. We currently work with Richmond to recycle water. Recycling water is currently very popular.
    • Jay James
      • James was asked if he was a registered democrat? No, Jay James responded that he is not a registered democrat.
      • Club members voiced that they would like to hear from all candidates running for boards.
      • How to guard against drought. EBMUD is not interested in our water so only way to improve is to use less of it ourselves. Work with EBMUD to persuade consumers to use less flushing water because it is also hard on our sewers.
    • Al Miller – Stege is focused on the wastewater. Stege was first water district to use recycled water to clean sewers. In first suit from EPA, the district response was to create a special sanitary district with cooperation from other districts in: Albany, Alameda, and Berkeley to respond to suit. The same group still exists with the same level of participation. Will continue to work with other cities and EBMUD to continue working on that effort.
  • #2: Proposition 218 created a situation where you cannot use one ratepayer to subsidize other ratepayers. How would you handle low-income payers?

    • Dwight: We are an enterprise district so look at factors such as amount of sewage discharge, distance to run mains to service, look at departments with short laterals, apartment units per foot of main. Have some flexibility to interpret rates.
    • James: Look at sewer usage. Apartment dwellers use less of the sewer and apartment units get 25% discount because they are closer to main line and have less sewer. It is based on cost of service.
    • Al: Never thought of this question. Similar to PGE, pay less if use less to support those that need it less.
    • Juliet: Agrees with Al. Offer voluntary programs on gas bill and electricity so one ratepayer can help. Offer programs to opt in to defray costs for others customers. There is another interesting infiltration and inflow (INI) suit taken over by the EPA. Infiltration due to large lots and other choices that homeowners make that can have costs for sewer system. Are there huge differences in rates between different customers? Stege was charged over $28k for being out of compliance and for having an overflow.
  • #3: What are major budget issues and how do we solve them?
    • Jay: We are over target reserves. Trying to get reserve funds down to target, which is a nice problem to have. We have this problem because we are getting great contract prices for rebuilding sewers. We get these rates because we are more flexible on using contract work and can be used as fill in so get half (1/2) the rate as Berkeley. We charge $17/month compared to Berkeley, because we have consent decree construction pricing. This is a nice problem to have.
    • Al: Yes, don’t agree with question because we don’t have a budget issue. We have a great savings rate and we are not raising rates.
    • Juliet: Consent decree is based on normal conditions and those predictions are changing. What was a five-year flood is now a yearly flood. So we need a performance based standard. We have too much flow going through the system. We need to consider replacing all the sewer laterals; because, we have a leaky system especially with being on a fault zone. We need to accelerate that.
    • Dwight: Financial condition is good. We are an enterprise system. We have tried to be efficient.
  • #4: What is your Five-Year Plan?
    • Al: Replace main line sewers as recorded by video van. This will cost over $2 million a year. Not contemplating to use public funds to replace private laterals until see it as a benefit to the district as a whole. Operate with lower rates. Maintenance crew of five has less worker’s compensation claims that other organizations. Wastewater collection operators are considered dangerous work and the ten (10) employees at Stege are long term working workers.
    • Juliet: 2020 is next check; so don’t have to waive benefits or costs. You get three votes for this position. You have 20 or more years of experience on this board. I have an environmental scientist perspective. Not functional but also safe for the fish and for the environment.
    • Dwight: The latest rate structure is based on ten-year infrastructure improvement plan. Do have 20-year infrastructure plan and don’t like to show it because things change. 7 cities and EBMUD share infrastructure improvements.
    • James: Doing now what will be doing for next five years. Replacing five more feet per year just to keep the ratchet in. Still have a target rich environment. Not replacing systems that do not need to be replaced. System is aging as it is getting replaced. Sewers are 30 years old now. It is working. Not sure that it will work in the long run because the structure of the consent decree is the real source of the problem.
  • #5: Now that the baby boomers are retiring; how will you recruit a diverse workforce for all 10 people?
    • Juliet: Very competitive to find people with the required background in this field. Very exciting job. Bay Area Water Supply association has series of training in High Schools and elementary schools to raise profile of Stege. Understand the pool of applicants. Use social media to promote district. Free advertising for people.
    • Dwight: We do have a diverse work force. Don’t know how it happened but staff have diverse backgrounds. Pay $12,000 per year to work with school outreach program to teach wastewater to young school children and do promote careers in sewage treatment.
    • James: Stege staff have an average rate of 12.7 years in the job. This is the highest since we started tracking. Don’t have tons of turnover. Have a diverse work force. Stege is known in the Bay Area sewer community as a place to work; because, management listens to labor and board listens to management. Stege is careful not to have toxic members in the board, management and work force.
    • Al: Good question. It does not reflect condition of work force. Only Special district that does not have a union. One employee tried to organize union and existing workers voted it down. Plan ahead and have someone lined up to backup general manager. Also trained senior maintenance managers as backups.

Final: Closing Statements

  • Al: Posters from City about San Pablo avenue development; spending $14 million on San Pablo development area. Wants to run again so that developers pay cost of expanding system instead of existing ratepayers paying higher fees to increase costs to expand system. Asking for endorsement to do just that.
  • James: Stege Mission statement is to plan and operate a safe and efficient system. It is a Utility function. In charge of a utility, to run a safe, efficient, and low cost operation of the sewage. Have done that for the past 35 years.
  • Dwight: The San Pablo Specific Plan fee is probably too high. 10% of $9 million was $480k. It does not look like good math. Will review impact fee and perhaps adjust it. I am the 4th member of longevity. Jay, Al, and Beatrice O’Keefe have been doing a good job.
  • Juliet: Very happy to be running. Tried to be a scientist for a long time and doing it because it is good. The district could be done better and new ideas could help. Want to help community. It is not a spectator sport. Appreciate endorsement. I offer: 1. Different perspective 2. Understand challenges, and am 3. Qualified.

Endorsement Results

34 ballots distributed. 20 is 60%, so need at least 20 votes for Endorsement

  • Al Miller, 29 endorsements
  • Dwight, 28 endorsements
  • Juliet, 29 endorsements

California State Propositions

  • Proposition 1. Housing Bond
  • Proposition 2. Millionaire’s Tax
  • Proposition 3. Water Bond
  • Proposition 4. Bond for Children’s Hospitals
  • Proposition 5. Assessment transfer for elderly/disabled
  • Proposition 6. Repeals
  • Proposition 7. Repeals daylight savings time
  • Proposition 8. Dialysis Refunds
  • Proposition 9. Not on ballot
  • Proposition 10. Allows local rent control
  • Proposition 11. Ambulance employee break restrictions
  • Proposition 12 Farm Animal meet/egg ban

Proposition 1. Housing Bond

Issues $4 billion in bonds for housing programs and veterans home loans.
State club said, Yes.

Proposition 2. Millionaire’s Tax

Authorizes state to use revenue from millionaire’s tax for $2 billion in bonds for homelessness prevention housing. Could be Prop 63 money.
State club said, Yes.

Proposition 3. Water Bond

Issues $8.877 billion in bonds for water-related projects.
• Hillary recommends supporting Proposition 3. Some environmentalist like /don’t like.
• Hillary makes motion that it be moved to September Agenda
State club has no position.

Proposition 4. Bond for Children’s Hospitals

State club said, Yes.

Proposition 5. Assessment transfer for elderly/disabled

Opposed by California Teachers association
• Al has questions about proposition 5.
State club said, NO.

Proposition 6. Repeals – Negative because it would repeal Vote

Repeals 2017’s fuel tax and vehicle fee increases and requires public vote on future increases.
Vote No so that it does not repeal.
State club said, NO.

Proposition 7. Repeals daylight savings time

• Dwight would like pull and request that it be discussed in September
State club said, Yes.

Proposition 8. Dialysis Refunds – state and county

Requires dialysis clinics to issue refunds to revenue.
Pro labor, SEIU supports this.
State club said, Yes.

Proposition 9. No go Splitting California into three

Not in ballot.

Proposition 10. Allows local rent control

Would get rid of Contra Hawkins, which limits local city rent control.
State club said, Yes.

Proposition 11. Ambulance employee break restrictions

Opposed because against labor
Allow ambulance providers to require workers to remain
Require that employees that take a break they still be on call. Employers got this on there.

  • Greg Motions that it be moved to September agenda.

State club said, NO

Proposition 12. Farm Animal meet/egg ban

Ban sale of meat from animals confined in spaces below specific sizes
These are already in the door handles.
State club said, Yes

  • Janet moves that we consent and endorse county and state endorsements except for: To Be Discussed in September Meeting
    • Proposition 3. Water Bond
    • Proposition 5. Assessment transfer for elderly/disabled
    • Proposition 7. Repeals daylight savings time
    • Proposition 10. Allows local rent control
  • Peter seconds
  • Motion Passed

Precinct Walking

  • Walking will be printing the endorsement pages on Wednesday September 26th;
  • Get together on Thursday night 9/27 after 7 pm at Janet’s House.
  • Need more walking volunteers.

Recap of July 24 membership meeting

Proposed Agenda

  • 6:00     Doors Open: Pizza Available $5 per person
  • 6:30     Call to Order – Janet Abelson
  • 6:30     Approval of Minutes of June 26, 2018 Meeting
  • 6:35     Treasurer’s report – Greg Lyman
  • 6:40     Summary of EBoard actions of June 4, 2018 – Janet Abelson
  • 6:45     Committee reports
  • 6:55     ECDC board for next year – Peter Chau
  • 7:00     Upcoming endorsement meetings – Peter Chau, Mister Phillips
  • 7:05     October 20 Dinner  – Mark your calendar
  • 7:10     Fall Precinct Walking Volunteers
  • 7:15     Announcements

Program Presentations

  • 7:25     Charter City            Greg Lyman and Paul Fadelli, El Cerrito City Council Members
  • 7:55     Rising Sea Levels     Robert Cheasty, Executive Director, Citizens for East Shore Parks

Meeting Minutes: Started Taking meeting Minutes at 6:45pm

  • Annual Dinner
    1. Question: What is the price for Annual Dinner? Answer: $20/person, $40/two people.


  • League of Women voters at Rockefeller Lodge on San Pablo on August 25 from 11 am to 2p
    1. Nancy skinner, guest speaker, Diana Becton, and Fiona Ma
  • August 5th invitation and all are welcome to the Annual Reception for Mark DeSaulnier, in Walnut Creek, at the ShadeLands Ranch Museum
    1. The cost is pay what you can pay
    2. 2660 Ygnacio Valley, Walnut Creek
  • Rita Xavier, running for Richmond City Council
  • Joan is not getting Newsletter in the mail
    1. Hari Lamba will double check email address to ensure that members are getting the Newsletter
  • The Truth Act Forum newsletter was presented (Exhibit 1).
    1. It is from Aaron Davis, Bay Area News Group, on requests to the Contra Costa County Sherriff to share ICE data in regards to the California Truth Act.
    2. An Excerpt from the flyer is “in denying those requests, the Sheriff’s department has declared in a June 12 response to the News organizations requests for public information under the Truth Act that “it does not track or compile such data and would be burdened if forced to turn over …”
    3. See California State Law AB-2792 “Local law enforcement agencies: federal immigration policy enforcement: ICE access. (2015-2016): “

“This bill, the Transparent Review of Unjust Transfers and Holds (TRUTH) Act, would require a local law enforcement agency, prior to an interview between the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and an individual in custody regarding civil immigration violations, to provide the individual a written consent form, as specified, that would explain, among other things, the purpose of the interview, that it is voluntary, and that the individual may decline to be interviewed. The bill would require the consent form to be available in specified languages. The bill would require a local law enforcement agency to provide copies of specified documentation received from ICE to the individual and to notify the individual regarding the intent of the agency to comply with ICE requests. The bill would require that the records related to ICE access be public records for purposes of the California Public Records Act. The bill, commencing January 1, 2018, would require the local governing body of any county, city, or city and county in which a local law enforcement agency has provided ICE access to an individual during the last year, to hold at least one public community forum during the following year, as specified, to provide information to the public about ICE’s access to individuals and to receive and consider public comment. By requiring these local agencies to comply with these requirements, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.”

  • Barbara shared that there is a Thursday night demonstration to keep families together at San Pablo at Peet’s Coffee at the Plaza. This demonstration is just this Thursday.
  • City Council member Gabe Quinto mentioned that he supports the demonstration and would attend except that there is conflict with another Thursday meeting.
  • Hari announced his thoughts on climate change. He supports SB 100 and promotes that we become more aggressive on global climate change.
    1. He supports the “60/20/20” solution. He promotes 60% energy efficiency.
    2. He also promotes a massive state program to get ready for each fire season.
  • Michael responds:
    1. Awesome presentation. But the power of the carbon dioxide “C02” is incorrect. “The power of two (2) is not exponential but arithmetic… increase to 400×400”

Presentation 1 of 2

Charter City: Greg Lyman and Paul Fadelli, El Cerrito City Council Members

Forward questions to

  • El Cerrito is presently a “General Law City” but is considering becoming a “Charter City”. Last week the City Council voted to place such an option on the November ballot, so residents will vote in November whether to make such a change.  As a Charter City, El Cerrito would have more options for funding important local services or important capital projects.  Potentially, the biggest impact for El Cerrito would be the ability to implement a Real Property Transfer Tax (RPTT).  An RPTT could generate approximately $2.7 mission annually and would be levied one time whenever a property is sold and changes ownership.  El Cerrito Council members Greg Lyman and Paul Fadelli will discuss the background and impacts of becoming a Charter City.  They will review the ballot language and the ramifications of a yes or no vote.  Both Council members were on the City’s special Charter City Committee.
  • Introduction: Greg Lyman is a Civil Engineer for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the Environmental Civil Engineering department.
  • City council placed measure on November Ballot – Why consider a city charter now?
  • Today’s budget balanced because we have six positions vacant 4 police officers and 2 firemen ($1 million savings in budget)
  • A general law city has authority and can act locally but it follows the state constitution.
  • Charter city has authority to enact laws equal to state within its jurisdiction as long as the laws are consistent with state and federal laws.
  • The Ballot Measure would add a real property transfer tax. Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Richmond have real property transfer tax as charter cities. If enacted, this tax would potentially collect $2.7 million annually in one-time transfers.
    1. The purpose of the charter city amendment is to generate additional city revenue. Funds can go to: Refurbish the El Cerrito Police and Fire Station, Programs for club houses, and Low-income housing
  • Introduction: Paul Fadelli was last elected to the El Cerrito City Council, Paul was also at the BART as a Legislative representative.  He has a degree in Political Science from UC Davis and a Ph.D. in Journalism from UCLA.  Paul was also a Charter City Committee member.
    1. Charter City Committee membership: Two council members, Member of financial board (FAB) chair, Labor representative local 1230,Local realtor (vice chair), Two members of Public (FAB member and former Mayor)
  • Committee selected Chair and Vice Chair, approved minutes and followed Brown Act and
    1. Committee focus: Form of government, Municipal revenue, Prevailing wages, labor relations and elections
  • Committee met on five separate occasions, Meetings were noticed and advertised widely, Public given opportunity to speak during public comment and specific items, Committee reviewed other relevant charts and a full list of powers including financial powers, and Residents of El Cerrito would have the ability to change the Charter in the future should the need or desire arise.
    1. The Charter benefits include: Programs for seniors, Club houses, Funding Officer positions, Disaster emergency reserves, Affordable Housing assistance, and Seismic upgrades
  • A rebate program for Solar panel installation, Water and Energy conservation, and Electric Vehicle (EV) charging can help homeowners offset the cost of the transfer tax
    1. Note that benefits cannot exceed 1/3 value of RPTT
    2. These upgrades must be done within one year
  • Statement of purpose: Establishment of home rule power, Municipal revenue, Prevailing wages, Labor relations, Elections (do not change), Interpretation, severability and protection

Members clapped after reading statement of purpose

  • Ballot measure quote: “To better maintain emergency 911 fire, medical, and response times; city parks, paths, and open space; programs for children; library programs, earthquake and disaster preparedness programs, and reserves, and other measure, shall adopt El Cerrito as a Charter. Enact a Transfer tax of $12 per every $1000 paid by buyers or sellers of property all benefiting El Cerrito.”
  • Transfer tax only applies when property exchanges for greater than $100.
  • The following transfers will not be subject to the transfer tax:
    1. Transfer to trust fund (no, because money is not exchanged)
    2. Transfer from parent to child – bequeathment
  • Seller can get rebates for Seismic upgrades
  • El Cerrito offers water, energy and seismic rebates to homeowners that improve homes.
  • Buyers can place transfer tax payment into loan agreement
  • Hari asks – “Is charter the same as home rule; are the words synonymous?”
    1. Yes, see the Charter City website for more information.
  • 2nd major source of revenue for El Cerrito. Other revenue comes from sales tax, property tax, governmental fees, recreation fees, grants from other entities, and properties seized during police activity.
  • Al asks – “Address current municipal rules and ordinances that will be part of charter. How do current ordinances roll over into Charter?” Answer: In the Charter maintain all current ordinances, so no change in current land use, no change in general plan, no change in tree ordinance, no change in the annual plan.
  • Question on 1.2% transfer tax: Answer: A house that sells for $1million will generate $12,000 in transfer tax if this passes.
  • Have one year to get that permitted work that is eligible for rebate. No discretion over the amount. Transfer tax is 1.5% in Albany, Transfer tax is 0.7% in Richmond. Transfer tax is locked in through Charter in El Cerrito proposal. The tax rate was based on neighbors and did not slow down market, Real estate agents say that it suppresses market, and there is a Prevailing wage argument
  • Question: Does ballot measure require simple majority? Answer: Yes votes must be 50% plus 1 to pass the Charter. Will go into effect probably January 2019. Greg will do research on this question.
  • FAB=Financial Advisory Board

~ End of this Presentation ~

Presentation 2 of 2

Robert Cheasty, Executive Director, Citizens for East Shore Parks

Check out  510-524-5000

Robert Cheasty, Executive Director of Citizens for East Shore Parks (CESP), discussed the impacts of climate change and global warming on our East Shore coastline and parks and what can be done about it.  He is the former President and a founding member of the organization.  CESP focuses on the acquisition and preservation of parkland in the San Francisco Bay Area.  CESP works to protect open space along East Bay Shoreline for natural habitat and recreational purposes through advocacy, education, and outreach.  The mission of CESP is to preserve and enhance the natural resources and recreational and educational opportunities of the east shore of San Francisco Bay, creating a necklace of shoreline parks from the Oakland Estuary to the Carquinez Straight.

  • Introduction of Robert Cheasty: Prior Albany City Council, Past Mayor of Albany, Attorney, Founding director of Citizens for East Shore Parks (CESP), Albany Earthquake Preparedness Committee, Solano Avenue Association
  • Project for Citizens for East Shore Parks (CESP). 25 years to get the East Shore Parks done
  • Sylvia McLaughlin volunteer of Save the Bay. Preserving the bay’s 9 miles
    • Scientists predict 10.5 feet sea level rise by end of century: Loss of Boston Harbor
    • Both Bay Area major Airports will be under water
    • One solution to combat sea level rise is to restore marshes: Build, restore, and support marshes throughout the Bay, Restore Oyster Bay, Move land from one point to next
    • Question: Restore the marshes to lower sea level rise? Answer: Restore oyster bays
    • Are we restoring marshes near Oakland? In addition to the marshes, Oakland Airport does need levees for their own specific needs. But overall, we just functioning marshes and oyster beds in the Bay
  • We Require army corps of engineers to move dirt
    • Question: Sea level rise is ice melting; having hard time understanding how to fight back sea level rise? Answer: Marshes absorb 2-3 feet of water.
    • Without action expect Emeryville housing to be under water. What will happen to Emeryville even if we take care of our area? Answer: pass a Resolution to support El Cerrito rise program
    • Question: Aside from levees do we need retaining walls? Answer: Developing and pumping only does so much.
  • Right now, Miami fish are swimming in streets of Miami. It is cheaper and more effective to restore marshes. “Drain the swamp” is not very healthy for ecology; It is better to say to “Drain the garbage out of the swamp”
  • Pass ordinances preventing from building into the shoreline and build more marshes
  • Point Molate is an amazing resource! Building housing in point Molate not a good idea because you need marshes, instead. Point Molate has an old Wine haven, an Indian burial ground, and there are many historical locations at Point Molate and Richmond. The Point is a regional treasure. There is an untouched watershed in Richmond. Not against developing but Against developing in the shoreline. There is political opposition to marshes due to development pressures
  • Supported lawsuit under Brown Act to prevent Richmond from building Casino. There was a settlement and judgement to agree on development. There were two (2) separate $80 million deals in which Chevron buys land and manages Park.  The Winehaven business district will preserve cottages. It is not true that Robert Cheasty supported a Casino in Richmond.   Richmond City Council, turned down offer because they wanted a Casino.  The Lawsuit stopped it.  Robert Cheasty is willing to protect and preserve habitat over a lawsuit if forces insist on a Casino.   Despite the rejection of Cheasty’ deal, citizens passed a NO Casino measure; and the Casino development proposal was removed.
  • The Sierra club was never in favor of the Casino.

~ End of this Presentation ~

Meeting Adjourned 9pm.

Several exhibits and flyers were distributed in at the meeting

Recap of Members Meeting – May 22, 2018


  • 6:00    Doors open-pizza available for $5 per person
  • 6:30    ECDC Announcements
  • 6:35    Business Meeting
    • Approval of Minutes of April 2018 Meeting
    • Treasurer’s Report
    • Ratification of President Janet Abelson’s Appointment of Hari Lamba as VP of Publications
  • 6:45    Aissia Ashoori, Affordable Housing Analyst, City of El Cerrito
  • 7:15    Janet Cox, Board Member of Fossil Free California


6:45 started taking minutes

  • There is no conflict with too many EC Council board members because only Janet and Paul are present. Greg is absent at this meeting.


Abelson motion to continue Climate Change discussion after election year

  • Motion unanimously passed

Vice President of Publications

The club confirmed Hari Lamba as Vice President of Publications.

Club discussion on Climate Change

Club members had discussion on climate change.  Member statements are as follows:

  • “Institute for food and nutrition is a broader issue.” – Betty
  • “Support partnering with other organizations. Understand that this is hard to do with political organizations, because there is not too much interest in partnering political organizations.” – Al
  • “Sierra involved in education in energy and ecological issues. How about we partner with the Sierra club.” – Hari
  • “Invite Sierra Club to speak at our club. This is a good thing to know”
  • “We need a club volunteer to take this topic on.”- Paul

Club Announcements

  • Next meeting is June 26th at 6:30 pm
    • Kim Alexander is with the California Voter Foundation and will report on new voting issues and legislation.
    • One agenda topic is “How to present results of the primary”.
  • Proposition 13 reform measure moved from 2018 to 2020. It currently has 585 thousand of the 630 thousand signatures needed to be placed on the ballot.  With two months left to go it has collected $2.5 million of the $3.6 million needed to go forward.
  • Support El Cerrito’s Green Teams and the Rotary Club. Attend the Saturday, May 26, 2018 clean up.  Meet at the city’s northern gateways at the Knott Avenue Parking Lot east of San Pablo Avenue.  Time is from 10 am to 12:30 pm.  Contact or 510-215-4350 or
    • Join El Cerrito’s Green Teams and the Rotary Club for a cleanup of the city’s northern entryways from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Help keep trash from polluting our creeks and the bay, and present visitors with a positive first impression of our city. Wear a hat and bring water. All ages welcome (under 18 with guardian). Meet on Knott Avenue at the Parking Lot East of San Pablo Avenue.
  • BBQ July 1st at 3223 Carlson Blvd from 2-4 pm.
  • “Backpack full of Cash” movie at the San Pablo Community Center, Saturday May 26, 2018 starting at 6 pm. It is a movie about Charter Schools.
  • Club member is sharing newsletters from single payer health care articles written by doctors for doctors. See flyer about Physicians for National Health Program (PNHP).
  • El Cerrito’s first free Treasure Hunt occurs Saturday, June 9th from 2 pm to 4 pm at the Community Center. Prizes awarded to best costume, team, or most correct answers.  See for more information.
  • Volunteer for Diana Becton’s phone bank at Hilary’s house from 2:30 pm to 8 pm. The phone is conveniently scheduled on Hilary’s birthday of June 1st.   Happy future Birthday Hilary.
  • Volunteer for the 4th of July Independence Day city festival. Help the club recruit members or help people register to vote.  See Champagne Brown for a time slot and more information.

Affordable Housing in El Cerrito, Aissia Ashoori, Analyst

  • She reviewed the 2017 Affordable Housing Strategy. She referenced the New York Times article that there are 80 people bidding per unit. The first step is to educate others on public housing. Affordable means that housing is kept to one third of household income (this includes all housing costs). Today some people pay 50% of their income on housing. In El Cerrito, everyone gets the same access to the schools. The Inclusionary Ordinance encourages private funding to build in El Cerrito. Builders either pay a fee or allocate units for affordable rents. The state density bonus allows developers to go bigger or higher to allow for more density.
  • There are no community block grants available to El Cerrito. There is no public housing in El Cerrito. The first-time buyer program is funded as part of County of Contra Costa. Check out for more city plan specifically the El Cerrito San Pablo Avenue Specific Plan.
  • Aissia shared maps of El Cerrito development projects. This map is available at the website.  The current list of projects shows that 1,075 market rate units have been approved, and 214 affordable units have been approved.

Key Notes on slide presentation

  • Affordable Housing definition: housing costs are 30% or less of household income (rents/mortgage).
  • How do we provide affordable housing for households that cannot afford market rate housing?
    • Subsidized affordable housing receives funding from federal      and state funding sources to cover the gap.
      • Many subsidies are only available for certain income categories.
    • Private sector contributes (inclusionary zoning, density bonuses, etc.)
  • Local governments can provide funding or create requirements for private sector to contribute towards affordable housing.
  • Affordable housing toolbox. Affordable Housing Programs:
    • 100% affordable housing – Available in El Cerrito.
    • Inclusionary housing – Available in El Cerrito.
    • State density bonus – Available in El Cerrito.
    • Housing authority – not much available in El Cerrito.
    • First Time Homebuyer Programs – not much available in El Cerrito (But can go through County).
    • Community Land Trust Co-op Housing – not available in El Cerrito.
  • El Cerrito Housing Policies
    • 2014 San Pablo Avenue Specific Plan
      • Form based code for infrastructure improvements for cars, and pedestrians. Keep in mind that El Cerrito is “transit rich”.
    • 2015-2022 Housing Element
    • 2017 Affordable Housing strategy
      • El Cerrito got grant for hiring and developing strategic economics – see website for document.
    • Affordable Housing Goals
      • Goal 1: Conserve and improve El Cerrito’s existing housing
      • Goal 2: Facilitate and encourage the development of new housing
      • Goal 3: Expand housing opportunities for the elderly, the disabled, households with very low to moderate income, and for persons with special housing needs.
  • Definition of AMI categories
    • AMI = Area Median Income
    • 2018 income limits
Household Size Very Low Income (up to 50% AMI) Low Income (up to 80% AMI) Median Income (100% AMI) Moderate Income (up to 120% AMI)
1 person $40,700 $62,750 $73,100 $87,700
4 persons $58,100 $89,600 $104,400 $125,300
  • Around 1,700 people applied for the low and moderate-income family Creekside units (128 market rate, 19 affordable).
  • Four Policy Pillars
    • A: Leverage Private Development to Contribute towards affordable housing needs.
      • The Inclusionary zoning ordinance just passed the council.
      • There are more applications for development coming to El Cerrito.
    • B: Explore and Implement Policy options to reduce risk displacement
      • Tenant protection policies such as just cause eviction.
      • See study session coming this summer.
    • C: Encourage development of “missing middle” housing Types
      • Eliminating parking requirements for additions.
      • Co-housing/co-living arrangements like “Home Match”.
      • Home match pairs up people that benefit each other for living arrangements.
      • Janet recommends Home Match services.
    • D: Increase Local Funding to continue support for low income and special needs housing development
      • Outreach to homeless.
      • Increase low income match money in housing trust fund
      • County wide ballot measure.
      • Local revenue sources to fund affordable housing. See NPH.
      • BART transit-oriented development like McArthur…
    • Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance effective 6/14/18.
    • Tenant Protection Policies study summer 2018.
    • Develop Residential Demolition Ordinance.
    • Proceed with Other High Priority, Short Term & Ongoing tasks.
    • You can subscribe to Community Development E-News!

Questions and Comments: Aissia Ashoori, City of El Cerrito,  Affordable Housing Analyst

Questions on Affordable Housing

  • How are people selected for the few affordable units?
    • Housing Authority has criteria with preference for the disabled, blind, or residents of the area. In addition, each unit or project has its own criteria.
    • There is no specific preference specified by the city of El Cerrito. The criteria also depend on financing. For example, Ohlone Gardens units set aside units for mental health.
  • Did Hana have a lottery?
    • Yes, there is no first come, first served system. There is a cutoff deadline, then selection based on lottery, and those selected are vetted.  Then a wait list is established.
  • Is selection matched against demographics of existing El Cerrito?
    • Randomness in fair housing is based on federal requirements.

Fossil Free California, Janet Cox, Board Member

Janet Cox spoke about SB 964, authored by Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) which is a groundbreaking bill that would define “climate-related financial risk” in law and require CalPERS and CalSTRS to take that risk into account when evaluating investment decisions.  The bill would require a report to the public and the legislature on climate risk and progress toward the goals of the Paris climate accords. Fossil Free California, along with Environment California, are asking supporters to sign a petition that will be used to demonstrate support to legislators.  SB 964 has been endorsed by the California Teachers’ Association, SEIU California, and the Sierra Club, among others.  Fossil Free California is an all-volunteer, statewide group that works to address climate change by reducing the financial support and social legitimacy of the fossil fuel industry. It is the only group focusing on fossil fuel divestment by CalPERS and CalSTRS, the two largest public pension funds in the nation. Projects include Move Your Money, Individual Divestment, and support for lawsuits being brought against oil companies.

  • The goal is to move CalPERS and CalSTRS money out of fossil companies.
  • San Francisco and Oakland have a lawsuit against fossil companies for damages of climate change and for the companies failing to disclose those damages.

Questions on Fossil Free California

  • What is fiduciary duty to investors?
    • Climate risk. Data shows that fossil fuel have asset risk, regulation risk and that fiduciary should consider working towards a living future.
  • Just oil companies? Any other?
    • Divestments movement is based on California Senate Bill 350 as bill aims to divest for companies based on carbon reserves. Senate Bill 350 sets goal for moving towards renewable energy.  Currently holding ground to keep environment below two degrees in temperature rise.  Goal is to just focus on carbon control.
  • What about 100% renewable energy?
    • Senate Bill 100 supports 100% renewable clean energy for California. Fossil free movement tries to tie to finance to business, like no coal in Oakland.
  • Question on Carbon Tax, is there a tax on products based on the BTU?
    • BTU (British Thermal Unit). The Cap and Trade program has oil severance tax. It is hard to have a global carbon tax because there is no global fair playing field. See Citizen’s Climate Lobby who have taken this on. Janet cannot see a carbon tax in California. The Oil Severance tax is a tax on oil that is drilled in the ground. (side note: California is the second largest oil producer in the nation).
    • Nancy Skinner is known as the “Climate Bulldog”. Follow her for more information on this topic.
    • Welcome to join group that will lobby California to pass Senate Bill 100 on June 13th on pushing California to go 100% renewable energy. See Clean Energy for California.

For more information see the website:

Meeting adjourned around 9 pm.