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A. Emeryville best known to most people in the Bay Area is the little industrial town the big mudflaps. Wedged between Oakland and Berkeley at the eastern foot of the Bay Bridge. It is within minutes commuting to San Francisco. And now from behind this loci facade. The biggest building boom in the Bay Area as a rock. When you're talking a development program that the lowest figure is a half a billion on the highest figure is a billion dollars. It's a lot of money to change hands and that's exactly where the problem is the little town of Emeryville is growing up as it becomes a utopia for developed. But for some this building boom means trouble. I was threatened the other day that my place would burn up. If. If I didn't get smart. Yet for others the mud is turning into
millions. Emeryville has always had a sinister reputation. In 1896 it incorporated in order to operate the shell mounds racetrack during prohibition it was known for its speakeasies dog racing gambling houses and bordellos. It was in one thousand twenty eight that Earl Warren then district attorney of Alameda County called it the rottenest city on the Pacific coast. In the early days it was a town of stockyards and slaughter houses trains travelling north and south would roll through Emeryville as the bay came right up to the tracks. And those days people spent their weekends watching the oaks baseball team where they took the ferry boat to San Francisco. Strong leaders kept a firm hand on this wild west town which boasted no churches no cemeteries no movie houses.
Family names like Emery dawdle and look cos were and still are familiar to just about everyone in town. Some things changed with time. Some things have changed very little. High Rollers still gamble thousands in the card clubs that flourish along send Pavlovna in. That was one of the players today are as colorful as the old timers. Police Chief John le cost is a controversial figure according to many people he runs this little town of fewer than 4000 people a staunch Democrat.
Lacoste is a leading fundraiser for the Democratic Party in California and chairman of its northern California Finance Committee. Steve Shaddix a former undercover agent and now a businessman in Emeryville. He was a close friend of low cost and is president of the EIA the Emeryville Industries Association EIA is now battling against developers and police chief Lacoste Leo Messi is a small businessman. He has lived and worked in Emeryville for over 15 years. Now he is in trouble. Tom we know as the flamboyant former president of Lathrop construction company is a close friend of Chief low cost weakness and Lathrop were pioneers in developing Emeryville. He is now accused of embezzling three point five million dollars from life he has lost money status and property among his properties. Was the townhouse a popular country western bar which was also known as City Hall because the police chief used to conduct much of his business from here.
Chief John Acosta's lived in Emeryville all of his life. Although he is often accused of controlling city politics he can win hands that is everything he does is for the good of Emeryville. On the day we went to visit chief cost he took us for a tour of his city is where we used to have the vast majority of problems. All through several here and there. 36 straight. One of the major prostitution places like all through here and narcotics and so forth. And this is this entire area is the original old section of the I mean. That is a Southern triangle that were coming up to it I left. Which used to be almost exclusively. French Italian. Families through the head of Shell development and. As you're probably aware shell is now down in Texas and.
Early on over the building where this corporation a genetic engineering for a course in genetic engineering I'd love to clone some more Democrats. Across the tracks or hotels condominiums in offices and reveals development started out on this peninsula. Area which is completely. Landfill. Tom wieners was a pioneer in bringing development to Emery. Laser construction company came to Emeryville over 15 years ago and started with a small office building in a Denny's restaurant. A. Couple sites like that. They turned out rather successfully. So we felt hey this is a good base of operations for the company from Denny's in a small office complex. We Nissen lay threw up went on to develop and build Watergate this huge luxurious condominium complex was originally built as apartments when it was converted
to condominiums it became the largest condominium conversion in the state. It went through the approval process in record time thanks to a sympathetic city council and a huge lobbying effort in Sacramento. Here the affluent in the trendy lived a good life surrounded by a yacht harbor restaurants and their very own shopping center. Across I-80 in the railroad tracks these old Emeryville a strange blend of housing and industry. It is in this area that the old timers live and it has long been the home of several large industries. PG&E Del Monte canneries and several large trucking companies. I have lived in East Emeryville for most of their lives. There are a few of the people that have water but barrack over
here I must say I have to like to the post office are driving on through but. They have a fare. For the hair. Of the dog looks a crime and such as that. I don't have any stores where they have a shopping center we have to drive a distance r take a bus or a cab and under a bus a glass for shopping on the side are on whilst I'm wrong other then couple and it makes it all right for them. The people of East Emeryville are for the most part low income families minority seniors many of them on fixed incomes. We're leery of newcomers and change. We stick together. Dadi Hinds who's active in her community she regularly volunteers at the senior citizen center for their weekly back.
But things are changing in Emeryville and the pace has begun to pick up in the last few years. And what. Little women who believe in you. Can legally meet with. Me. This location is a prime area for developers hoping to build high rise offices apartments and condos. But some of the residents have serious questions about the way redevelopment is being done. The effects it is having. On that. Laura Davenport is a resident of Watergate and a city council member of. The redevelopment area and Emery Vale is almost well it's probably about 75 percent of the city. The only thing that's not included is the peninsula only and only part of the peninsula. I've never quite understood why the
east end of the peninsula which has all these nice high rise office towers behind us is included in the redevelopment area because a redevelopment area supposed to be a blighted area. Lee almost owns a vending machine distributorship As founder of the Emeryville neighborhood Improvement Association. He was instrumental in forming the redevelopment agency at that time. The proposed purpose was to have the Redevelopment Agency. Loan some money to the residence for low interest loans to improve the homes in Emeryville. Now what you have is of course you have all this high rise development going around here and redevelopment agency is sort of drifted from its original intention to help the residents to helping big business now. As redevelopment has taken off so have property values heavy industries such as trucking and steel are being squeezed out and new high tech industries are
moving in. Leo Messi is worried his lease will expire next year and he is having trouble finding a warehouse. I want to warehouse I want to buy a place here in Emeryville. I get real estate brokers real estate agents from all over coming to me showing me places in Hayward in Oakland in Richmond and why I ask them why I said Don't they have any place here in Emeryville that I can buy. This is no live. I was told that you're supposed to be out of Emeryville. Just why is Leo Missy has been pressured to leave Emeryville. He contends that because he has openly complained Redevelopment Agency no longer sees him as an ally. But Emeryville has a long history of battles and controversy related to development. When Watergate was converted to condominiums by Lathrop a battle between the residents and the developers followed two city council members were recalled a 93 million dollar lawsuit was filed against Lay throw. In the suit. Residents claimed a faulty construction. Water leaks in their
apartments. And that their garages are sinking. The suit is still pending while President of Lathrop winos went on to develop and construct other projects including cutter tower and the Komatsu building which are on the peninsula right next to Watergate. And he got into politics in the 1080 city council election. We miss his wife lay through construction and their attorney John Carney Otto contributed over twenty six thousand dollars toward the election of council members Jim golden and Wiley Fox businessman Steve Shaddix also contributed to the campaign. Well a book of the last campaign and there were many contributors including myself but the bulk of the last campaign was done by Tom witness who gave about $25000 to the campaign. At the fox Golden Campaign. Now that's a lot of money in a town the size. That's the money that was accounted for. Then you've got to go into the money that perhaps wasn't accounted for but
slips through the cracks as it were. The amount of money spent to elect council members boxen golden came to nearly 40 dollars per vote. The most spent per capita on any election in the state. I did contribute I'd say by standards a considerable amount of money. I don't see anything wrong with it I like the people that I was contributing to. I like their philosophy. I like their feelings about Emeryville as a whole although police chief low cost does not contribute to city council campaigns. He actively supports the candidates he believes in. Well I think it's important for every citizen to exercise their constitutional rights I think because I'm a police chief or a policeman that I do not have the right to voice an opinion on the political realities of my community. I have never campaigned as police chief. I so totally committed to this community and therefore pay attention to the facts and the
issues. And so fortunately I'm able to have the year some of the council members and they believe in my ability or trust my overall outlook toward the city. But controversy has followed both look cost and weakness. Until this year they were business partners in Hub enterprises. A small company started up to help minority owned businesses get started. Now both a cost and weakness are under federal grand jury investigation for false arrest and conspiracy. But as controversy surrounds the police chief in one of its major developers it also surrounds the city itself and several of its council members in order to improve the appearance of East Emeryville the city established a paint program whereby qualified residents would be able to have their homes painted free of charge. The Heinz's tried to get their house painted if a lot of the houses on this side.
I tried to get my way and I couldn't think of a discreet way since city council. At the same token Esther's prigs is on the city council and her mother at 3 of her house is paid in plus one hundred eighty thousand dollars cash and 3 percent interest plus another three seven thousand six and three quarter percent interest. Yeah that's not a conflict of interest mother daughter. Yet to the man and wife it's. That is something I'll never understand. I just don't understand it. Doug Hines is openly critical of the Redevelopment Agency and of council member Esther Springs Pearlie Esther's mother received over $200000 in public low interest loans to rehab for homes which she and her daughter co-owned. Because of possible violation of state laws governing conflict of interest. Briggs transferred her interest in the homes just prior to the approval of the loans. These properties did need rehabilitating after this this particular property was terrible. Even the neighbors were complaining and therefore they stayed in a lot of court to be rehabilitated. I
would have to quit claim and have no interest in the property. And that's what I did. A few blocks away is one of em reveals newest housing projects completed in one thousand eighty. Emery Bay Village is a 112 unit condominium complex. The project was designed to provide housing for low and moderate income residents of East Emeryville. 30 year mortgage loans carried an eight and three quarter percent annual interest rate. Several points below market rate at the time of sale. The redevelopment agency entered into an agreement with the developer community development associates to allow people who lived or worked in the city to purchase the condominiums at less than the market price. The condominiums were quickly sold. One of the buyers was Stuart Flashman. When he bought his condominium he was required to sign an agreement which stated that the condominium he purchased would have to be owner occupied. But soon after things changed.
I bought in in November at least I signed the agreement to buy in the MBR and by the time I moved in in January they had apparently changed things and that agreement was no longer required. I later asked someone about it from the Redevelopment Agency and they said was it was that they had trouble selling off the units. We asked Director of Development Mark Buell if the units were difficult to sell. Not at all. They were sold out by the time the project was finished. One person who bought two condo units was was on the cost who was the police chief in Emeryville. And other people who bought them were people who were involved with the developers are people who were involved with the real estate company that sold the units and who were the wives of city council members. But you know it's here because of state law council members were ineligible for the loan program although Mayor Fox did not buy a condominium in Emery Bay Village in 1979 he did vote to approve the loan program from which his wife and several of her relatives received one hundred sixty five thousand dollars used to
purchase two condominiums and the wife and brother of Councilman Jim golden received an eighty five thousand dollar low interest loan. In order to qualify Golden gave up his interest in the property and he now states that his wife makes all of the payments on the property with her own money. Well what happened then this is again where you run into this very sticky question. You have members of the council had their relatives buy instead of them. What do you do the merest name isn't there. Jim Goldens name isn't there on the ownership papers because their wives and relatives bought it. But that does raise the question and that's a problem we have is our public officials always get involved in some of the benefits. Part of our democratic system and I really feel is most sincerely from elected to public office you keep your hand out of the public cookie jar. In this city. You generally find two hands dipped in right to the hilt. But what has happened that has turned Steve Shaddix and a large segment of the community into an
anti-development coalition. This towering building Pacific Park Plaza has become the focal point in a war between industry and development. As has the city council which serves as the board of the redevelopment agency. The city council has the power to approve or deny all proposals made by the Redevelopment Agency in nearly every issue involving development. The council has split three to two council members Fox sprigs and golden have voted pro-development council members Davenport and Heintz have voted against most development measures. I would like to make this very clear I'm not against development but we have to do it in a rational logical way and we have to solve the problems that are going to be created by that development before it's developed in question is the relationship of Pacific Union and the Redevelopment Agency. In a highly unusual arrangement. The Emeryville Development Company Ltd. was given the authority to write the master plan for development of the entire bay front area.
Mark Buehrle director of the redevelopment agency ECL as it is for practical purposes Pacific Union and they have acquired. 70 percent of the developable sites in an area and they came to us for a permit to build a high rise commercial development on a piece of property. These people have entered into an agreement with the redevelopment agency to do the redevelopment Pennell plan for the bay front. This leaves the business community out in left field because we have no input. Industrys greatest fear is that with this new plan they will be driven out of the bay front area completely. And property owners in Section 5 are concerned too. Since they were not consulted as the plan was being developed. They fear that their property may not receive the same consideration as that owned by Pacific Union. Redevelopment plan submitted by ECL was approved on August 2nd 1983 on the boards are plans for two 24 storey
towers adjacent to Pacific Park Plaza shopping and commercial area and several other high rises. This will create over 3 million square feet of new office space. Double the amount of daytime traffic and more than double the population of Emeryville. Which is now thirty four hundred. Shaddix in the EIA. Blame the city for being too soft on the developers. A developer build Tunney partner and project manager of Pacific Park Plaza is pleased with the treatment his project has received. The development process in Emeryville is one that their courage is development. High contrast to many other cities have processes that discourage development. And perhaps every bill will get to be that way someday. But at this point in time it's a perfect marriage between a city that wants to develop. And a developer that wants to give it to be here. No question about it we're working hand in glove and it's my job to bring business to Emeryville
it's my job to get things developed in accordance with the policies the city council has and any developer that's been here will tell you they work very closely in close cooperation with us and we're proud of it. Just how closely the redevelopment agency works with developers was brought to question by council member Davenport the attorney that represented the developer Pacific Union Company was also the attorney for the redevelopment agency. It was cold farm in Owens and Tom Owens was their attorney. Nobody let us know that nobody knew that. The only reason we found out was because I was elected and going through. The check register which the counselor was get I saw this name being paid for the read of the bill paid out the city funds redevelopment director Mark Buell denies any wrongdoing by the city or by Tom Owens also a partner in Pacific Park Plaza. But the redevelopment agency soon changed attorneys. When you're talking a development program that the lowest figure is a half a billion on the
highest figures a billion dollars it's a lot of money to change hands and that's exactly where the problem is. Whatever the outcome the ECL clan and Pacific Park Plaza will continue to fuel the development controversy. In recent weeks. Political activity has accelerated drastically all over Emery bill. On November 8th the city will be voting on the fate of the three council seats now occupied by members Davenport Heinsohn sprigs. Two newspapers have recently appeared the Guardian and the eagle each backing issues and candidates which they favor. The Guardian favors the Emeryville Industries Association position while the eagle seems to favor the philosophy and views of police Chief Lacoste and the developers. In our first interview with Leo Messi as he alleged that he had been approached by the publisher of the eagle to take out an ad in the paper it was suggested that if he did not take out an ad he would have to pull his
vending machines out of the silks a nightclub owned by Chuck Ramos publisher of The Eagle. A few days later we received a call from Leona C.S. asking for a second interview. He had again been approached about taking out an ad so our producer interviewed him once again. Who was the person that told you that you should advertise in the go places. Well the owner separate Most came in and and solicit me yeah asked me to put an ad in the paper and I told him I didn't know enough about the paper at that time to make a rational decision. Did anyone else approach you in this matter. Jim golden asked me to consider just mailing consider placing an ad in that paper. And I told him I just didn't think we were going to get the kind of exposure the kind of coverage that arc that was going to be conducive for us to bring in more business. So what happened after that. Well after that. Maybe a couple days later. I get a telephone call on the phone
and it was to the effect that to get smartly I'll put an ad in the paper. Russia might come to work one day and find it all burned up. I've been here for seven years and that's never happened to me and I've been in other businesses for 9 10 years. But certainly that's never happened to me and never been threatened in that manner before. Are you convinced that this threat was linked somehow to your wanting to take out an ad or not wanting to take out a New Orleans certainly implied I mean to get smart Leo and take out an ad. I mean certainly that's an implication that I should take out an ad in the paper up paper anyway. And I think because we were talking about the eagle that perhaps maybe that was the paper that they were referring to. We tried to reach Chuck Ramos for a comment on the allegations made by Leo Messi is as of the day we edited this piece. Ramos had not yet returned one of our phone calls but we were able to get an interview with council member golden.
What is your connection to the Eagle. The newspaper I have no connection to it. You have none whatsoever none whatsoever do you. I mean no you're not and you're not an advisor of any sort no. OK I'm wondering we recently talked to a person that you know a guy named I know. Yes he's he's a businessman here in town. OK and Leo advised us that you were in his office. And that you. Actually told him and pressure don't know. I'm sorry that's that's just not true. Leon I have known each other for a long time and we were kidding around. That's all we were doing. There was absolutely no pressure. Well you indicated that he was going to stay neutral in the upcoming election. And I told him I was just flying with me. And if he intimated anything else that's just not true. You didn't in any way pressure him. No. OK it's maybe you could answer this as anybody else in involving you go to your knowledge pressure to deal with. I don't think so can we stop for a minute.
It's a very ugly thing that's going on here and it's very hard because one average person a businessman or citizen opens their mouth. They're dealing with an establishment and an organization who immediately goes after them. And it's very hard to deal with when you get into this position. On September 6th we attended a city council meeting. At that meeting Stewart Flashman and a group of citizens presented to the council petitions calling for a referendum on the redevelopment plan. The council met on this issue behind closed doors. The referendum is now on the ballot for a special election to be held December 27. At this same meeting another group of citizens submitted a petition calling for the recall of council members Fox and golden. Just what the future of high rise development in Emeryville will be is anybody's guess. But one thing is certain. Up until September Tom weakness although pleading poverty still held a considerable financial interest in the Pacific Park
Plaza. As the November 8th council election nears the factions have split Heintz and Davenport are on different tickets and John Acosta is busy campaigning for Esther sprigs. The outcome of the city election the recall and the referendum will have some impact. But it seems that the freewheeling wild west nature of Emeryville will change very little. Thing in.
Wednesday Report; Million Dollar Mudflats
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KQED-TV (Television station : San Francisco, Calif.)
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KQED (San Francisco, California)
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Emeryville Development, Master The history and development of Emeryville. Includes historic photos of Emeryville.
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"""'Million Dollar Mud Flats' takes a hard look at Emeryville, a small town nestled between Oakland, Berkeley and the San Francisco bay. Once the home of the bay area's stock yards, steel mills, and gambling, it is now the focus of a bitter high rise development dispute. The Emeryville city council approved a master plan which called for the redevelopment of 75% of the city. Residents were outraged when they found out that the city council had also contracted with Pacific Union, owner and developer of 70% of the largest section of property to write the master plan for that section. ""'Million Dollar Mud Flats' exposes the relationship between the redevelopment agency, developers and the city council and reveals the effects of the conflicts on individuals and the community. ""The documentary aired three weeks before the city council election. As a result of the election the composition of the council shifted from a 3 to 2 pro-development to a 3 to 2 anti-development majority. The new council immediately dismissed Police Chief John Lacoste who is alleged to have controlled the city and the council with his political machine. Lacoste is now being investigated by the FBI. In the last few weeks Pacific Union has approached the city council to renegotiate their development plans as a result of a citizens' victory on a December high rise referendum.""--1983 Peabody Awards entry form."
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Producer: Ray TellesJudi Townsend
Producing Organization: KQED-TV (Television station : San Francisco, Calif.)
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
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Chicago: “Wednesday Report; Million Dollar Mudflats,” 1983-00-00, KQED, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 28, 2022,
MLA: “Wednesday Report; Million Dollar Mudflats.” 1983-00-00. KQED, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 28, 2022. <>.
APA: Wednesday Report; Million Dollar Mudflats. Boston, MA: KQED, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from