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Alameda County, CA November 4, 2014 Election
Measure U
Emeryville Charter Adoption
City of Emeryville

Charter City Referendum - Majority Approval Required

Pass: 1314 / 57.61% Yes votes ...... 967 / 42.39% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Dec 28 11:38am, 100.00% of Precincts Reporting (5/5)
Information shown below: Arguments | Full Text

To enhance local control over funding essential city services, shall the City of Emeryville Charter be adopted to establish Emeryville as a charter city with the ability to adopt a local real property transfer tax, subject to voter approval? The City Council's powers otherwise remain unchanged and are limited by State general law, and any other powers as a charter city would have to be approved by the voters.

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California Secretary of State's Office

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Arguments For Measure U Arguments Against Measure U
Want more control over our local affairs? We do! Vote Yes on U!

A unanimous City Council, Emeryville residents, activists, and business leaders all request your vote for YES on U to establish the City of Emeryville as a California Charter City.

Some cities in California are organized under State "general laws," while others are governed by a Charter adopted by local voters. Cities organized under general law have less independence, while cities such as Berkeley, Albany, Piedmont, and Alameda with charters adopt their own procedures for local affairs. Give Emeryville more Local Control--Vote Yes on U!

Currently Emeryville operates from a Constitution dependent on State law. As a Charter City, a locally drafted Charter approved by a City's voters becomes its Constitution. Emeryville voters--not Sacramento politicians--better understand the needs of Emeryville. Any changes to our local Emeryville Charter could then only be made by a vote of the Emeryville people--support Yes on U!

Emeryville does not currently have the authority to institute a property transfer tax, so we lose millions of dollars annually. For example, when the Towers in Emeryville sold, our City missed out on collecting more than $2 Million in revenue--money that could have been used for your police, fire and 9-1-1 services; street, park, and open space maintenance; bike and pedestrian safety; and child care, youth and senior programs here in Emeryville--vote Yes on U and V!

Only by becoming a Charter City will the City of Emeryville have the legal authority to collect funds from developers and commercial property owners when they purchase or sell expensive property in our City--Vote Yes on U and V!

Give Emeryville voters more control over our own budget and insulate our City from the whims of Sacramento--vote Yes on U and V!

For factual information, visit

Mayor Jac Asher
Vice Mayor Ruth Atkin
Council Member Kurt Brinkman
Council Member Nora Davis
Council Member Jennifer West

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Vote NO on U! Don't believe the city's argument. It's not about local control, it's about money.

The city wants more of your money, and this is the easiest way to get it. Becoming a Charter City allows them to ask for more money now, but what is next?

This is the beginning of the end of the Emeryville we know and love--becoming a Charter City will expose Emeryville to the endless local ballot measure fights and city bureaucracy that plague our neighboring cities of Oakland, Richmond and Berkeley. These cities regularly have several crazy measures on the ballot each election. For example, a Berkeley initiative put on the ballot by a small group of activists 10 years ago would have outlawed anything but organic coffee. . . . Does that give residents more control over the basic functions of the city? No, it creates a chaos of mismatched laws and policies.

As a General Law city, Emeryville has been successful. Even when the economy tanked, Sacramento raided city funds, and charter cities went bankrupt, we still enjoyed quality services. We are safe, our streets are paved, and we continue to have new growth and development.

Besides, as a small city, residents already have local control! As a General Law city we enjoy local control without the risk of outsiders or crusaders upsetting our way of life or doing business.

Vote NO on U--prevent residents or future councils from making a mess out of our lovely city.

Doug Sager, President‐Elect Oakland Association of Realtors (representing Emeryville, Piedmont, and Oakland)
Barry Kurtzer, Emeryville Realtor and Resident
Gisela (Kris) Owens, former Emeryville Planning Commissioner
Susan L. Chase, Boardmember Pacific Park Plaza Homeowners Association
Mark Zimmerman, Resident

Vote No on U!

Measure U will have unintended consequences and will change life in Emeryville forever. Residents love Emeryville. We know it's a great place to live and for the past several years been a well-run, functioning city--especially compared to neighboring cities. Why change it?

Becoming a charter city opens the door to other changes. Although the city has drafted a charter that only does one thing now, once we become a charter city future councils or any individual resident can propose new amendments to the charter.

For example, a future city council could propose charter amendments to give themselves salary increases or have a strong mayor. A resident could propose excluding certain businesses from locating in Emeryville, or legalizing others.

Possible amendments could change things that residents and businesses value. Changes could remove requirements for competitive bidding, eliminate paying prevailing wage, zoning ordinance alterations not consistent with the general plan, or be bound by the California elections code. This measure allows all of this to happen in the future. We may trust the current council and administration, but what about future elected officials? Can we be sure they won't make some of these changes?

Emeryville isn't broken, why fix it? In fact, other surrounding charter cities are broken. Do we want to be like Oakland or Berkeley? They are both charter cities and have a lot of governance problems that Emeryville doesn't have now.

Emeryville has done well through good times and bad as a general law city, there is no need to change that now when the economy is starting to recover and we will continue to experience natural economic growth to support our essential services and the city we love.

Preserve Emeryville the way it is--Vote No on U!

Gisela (Kris) Owens, former Emeryville Planning Commissioner
Susan L. Chase, Boardmember Pacific Park Plaza Homeowners Association
Mark Zimmerman, Resident
Jason Crouch, Vice Chair, Emeryville Chamber of Commerce, Realtor, All East Bay Properties Owner
Barry Kurtzer, Emeryville Realtor and Resident

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Opponents would like to distract you from the issue at hand: Yes on U and V gives us local control and maintains our quality of life. Emeryville voters understand the needs of Emeryville--not Sacramento politicians and out of town special interests claiming to be local people signing ballot arguments against these measures.

FACT: Some California cities are organized under State "general laws," while others are governed by a Charter adopted by local voters. Cities organized under general law have less independence, while cities such as Berkeley, Albany, Piedmont, and Alameda with charters adopt their own procedures for local affairs. Yes on U and V means local control.

FACT: Emeryville does not have the authority to institute a property transfer tax, resulting in millions of dollars lost annually when major commercial properties sell. Yes on U and V means funds that could help maintain police, fire and 9‐1‐1 services; street, park/open space maintenance; bike/pedestrian safety; and child care, youth and senior programs here in Emeryville.

FACT: Opponents are using scare tactics--don't believe them! Any changes to our Emeryville Charter could only be made by YOU and other Emeryville voters. Yes on U means more independence for Emeryville and power for its voters!

Don't be fooled! Out of town interests are fighting this because they don't want to pay their fair share and reduce their multi‐million profits by a tiny percentage.

Maintain our local quality of life in Emeryville by voting Yes on U and V.

Emeryville Mayor Jac Asher
Bob Canter, President/CEO, Emeryville Chamber of Commerce
Bill Reuter, Chair, Emeryville Finance Advisory Committee and 35‐year Watergate resident
Tom Modic, Realtor, 15+‐year Emeryville resident and local taxpayer
Gail Donaldson, current Emeryville Planning Commissioner and 17‐year Emeryville Resident

Full Text of Measure U
City of Emeryville Charter

Article I
Name and Boundaries

100. Name and Boundaries

The municipal corporation now existing and known as the City of Emeryville, hereafter referred to as "the City," shall remain and continue to be a municipal body corporate and politic, as at present, in name, in fact, and in law.

Article II
Powers of City

200. Exercise of Constitutional Power of Taxation

The City of Emeryville adopts this Charter to exercise all constitutional powers conferred on cities under Article XI sections 7 and 5 of the California Constitution solely with respect to the powers over municipal affairs in relation to municipal revenues including taxation and assessment, and a system for the imposition, levy and collection of a tax on the conveyance of real property based on the value of the real property in addition to the amount authorized by California Revenue and Taxation Code section 11911.

201. Subject to General Laws

Except as provided in this Charter with respect to the power of the City over municipal affairs in relation to municipal revenues including taxation and assessment, the powers of the City shall otherwise be constrained by, subject to, and governed by the general laws of the State as now and hereafter existing relating to cities organized under said general laws.

202. Severability

If any provision of this Charter is found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, the remaining provisions of the Charter shall remain in full force and effect.

Article III

300. Rights and Liabilities

The City shall remain vested with and continue to have, hold, and enjoy all property, rights of property, and rights of action of every nature and description now pertaining to this municipality, and is hereby declared to be the successor of same. It shall be subject to all the obligations, contracts, liabilities, debts, and duties that now exist against or with the City.

301. Ordinances, Codes, and Other Regulations

All ordinances, codes, resolutions, regulations, rules, and portions thereof, in force at the time this Charter takes effect, and not in conflict or inconsistent herewith, shall continue in force until repealed, amended, changed, or superseded in the manner provided by this Charter and any other applicable laws.

302. Pending Actions And Proceedings

No action or proceeding, civil or criminal, pending at the time this Charter takes effect, brought by or against the City or any officer, office, or department thereof, shall be affected or abated by the adoption of this Charter, or by anything herein contained.

Article IV
Form of Government

400. Form of Government

The form of government shall be that commonly known as the Council-Manager form of government. The City Council, consisting of five councilmembers elected at large for four year staggered terms, in the manner in effect when this Charter was adopted, shall establish the policy of the City and the City Manager shall carry out that policy.

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