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