Opponents and supporters criticize Richmond mayor for ‘doxxing’ his political adversaries, call Tom Butt’s weekly email newsletter a ‘smear campaign’

Richmond mayor Tom Butt revealed residents' home addresses and alleged rent-control violations in an October newsletter. Now, the ACLU of Northern California is looking into the incident. Cartoon courtesy of Abner Hauge.

Richmond mayor Tom Butt revealed residents' home addresses and alleged rent-control violations in an October newsletter. Now, the ACLU of Northern California is looking into the incident. Cartoon courtesy of Abner Hauge.

Opponents – and even supporters – of Tom Butt say Richmond’s mayor is guilty of what one critic described as a “flagrant abuse of power” and a council member called “highly inappropriate” actions.

Emails between the mayor and residents, obtained by Richmond Confidential, indicate that many in the community were alarmed when the mayor used his regular “e-forum” to doxx political adversaries, sharing their home addresses and accusing them of violating Richmond’s rent control ordinance.

Butt rejects claims that he overstepped his bounds and has steadfastly defended his actions. But the drama could move outside City Hall, as the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California is reportedly looking into the controversy.

It all began earlier this fall, when Richmond Confidential quoted resident Eli Moore in an October 3 article about a new ferry service coming to the city. Butt, a major proponent of the ferry, took issue with Moore’s assessment that, while the ferry will greatly improve access to San Francisco, many residents will not benefit equally from the service.

A day after the story’s publication, in his weekly email dispatch known as the “Tom Butt E-Forum,” the mayor responded to the article by accusing Moore of “embracing the dark side.”

He went on to say that “only Eli Moore and [his employer] the Hass Institute can find a way to make a lemon out of lemonade, finding a way to anticipate Richmond ferry service with pessimism and cynicism.”

Butt sent two additional e-blasts, as well, including one that revealed the location of Moore’s home, complete with an accusation that he and his wife, Claudia Jimenez, were violating Richmond’s rent-control ordinance by renting out their home while traveling abroad.

Specifically, Butt alleged that the couple is illegally renting out their backyard in-law apartment, which the mayor claims has neither been assessed by the city nor permitted for residential use.

The emails even included satellite images of Moore and Jimenez’s home and their address. According to Butt, the couple could face a $1,000 fine or up to six months in jail.

The mayor estimates that his emails reach several thousand people in Richmond.

Now, some residents and officials are asking whether it was ethical — and legal — for the mayor to doxx Moore and Jimenez.

Councilmember Melvin Willis told Richmond Confidential that Butt’s actions were “highly inappropriate” and “an invasion of someone’s privacy.”

He also said that other landlords in Richmond violate the rent control ordinance, but that he had never “seen this kind of investigative work” to seek them out.

“This feels like a personal vendetta,” Willis added.

The councilmember also pointed out that this is not the first time Butt has gone after political opponents. When Richmond Progressive Alliance member Marilyn Langlois ran for city council this year, for instance, the mayor used his e-forum to inform voters that she believes the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Willis called his emails a “smear campaign.”

“It’s like anybody who is an opponent or threat, he goes after them,” he said.

Butt argued that, while Moore and Jimenez may not be elected officials, they should be open to the same kind of scrutiny. “If you’re heavily involved in politics and you’re an author of papers about Richmond at the Haas Institute, if you’re on the steering committee of the RPA, then you’re a public person,” he said. “And the public has a right to know everything about you.”

But Tracy Rosenberg with Oakland Privacy, a nonprofit that works to defend East Bay residents from government surveillance, described Butt’s contact with Moore’s employer as “abuse of his public position and prominence.”

“The idea that there was any sort of retaliation [for Moore’s quotation] from a public official is a violation of the norms of public service,” she said, “and it’s ugly.”

Butt also contacted Moore’s employer, UC Berkeley’s Haas Institute, to complain, according to emails obtained by Richmond Confidential in a public-records act request.

In one email to a constituent, dated October 9, Butt explained that the Haas Institute should “know what a hypocrite Moore is. Perhaps they will reassign him off the Richmond beat.”

Rachelle Galloway-Popotas, a representative of the Haas Institute, said it is not commenting on the issue, and that the Institute is “firmly and deeply supportive of the work that Eli Moore has been involved in here.”

The local ACLU chapter was made aware of the situation in early October, and has requested city records and emails related not only to the mayor’s e-forum, but also any other instances of Butt stepping into rent control disputes.

In a public records request filed October 13, the ACLU stated it was “concerned that Mayor Butt is using his public position to target Mr. Moore and Ms. Jimenez for exercising their constitutional right to free speech.”

Butt’s quibbles with Moore and Jimenez date back to 2015, when Moore and the Haas Institute published a study on the effects of gentrification and development in Richmond. Butt said the report discouraged UC Berkeley from pursuing the Global Campus project in Richmond.

The mayor has also had an ongoing disagreement with Jimenez — a member of the RPA steering committee — who he describes as one of the “chief architects” of Richmond’s rent control ordinance. Butt opposes the ordinance and calls its administration “chaotic.”

According to city emails, Butt’s claims about the couple’s rental house stem from an anonymous source, brought to the mayor’s attention by his son Daniel Butt.

Daniel Butt declined to name his source. He did, however, characterize them as a disgruntled neighbor and “former longtime RPA supporter that got turned off by their close mindedness about things.”

The Contra Costa County Assessor says the separate building on Moore’s property has been there since 1947, and was assessed as an in-law unit as recently as 2012, when it last changed hands.

The Richmond community’s response to the feud has been mixed, varying from condemnation of the mayor’s actions to outright support.

In one email obtained by Richmond Confidential, a constituent characterized the attack as a “blatant abuse of power.” It read: “What the heck are you trying to do? Do you believe that using your position and power to single out a family, trolling them at work and online AND in your eform is something we have tasked you to do as mayor?”

In another email, a Marina Bay resident write that the mayor “is a lonely voice [in] a sea of ‘progressives’ that pass idiotic laws. Keep up the good fight!”

Another constituent disagreed, writing that the mayor was “a smart man and capable of being a good civic leader,” but that he should “[p]lease stop acting like a 10 year old.”

The local ACLU chapter did not respond to multiple phone calls and emails to discuss Butt’s email newsletter.

Moore and Jimenez also declined to comment for this article.

In an email from Jimenez to Butt obtained by Richmond Confidential, Jimenez characterized the mayor’s actions as a political attack. “I wonder how many Richmond citizens have been impacted by a mayor who uses his power to attack them just because they have a different opinion,” she wrote on October 6.

Butt has steadfastly stood by his actions, though he does acknowledge that his pursuit of Moore and Jimenez has been dogged, to say the least. “I guess I tend not to leave things lie,” he said.

“I just don’t like to let anyone have the last word.”

65 Comments

  1. Commenter

    What a ridiculous article. The mayor had every right to point out these people’s hypocrisy on rent control. Remember that RPA had no moral issues about it when they targeted Oscar Garcias aunt as a bad landlord and protested in front of her home screaming at and terrifying an elderly woman who had done nothing wrong. On the other hand More himself has basically admitted that they are not in compliance with the city’s rent control ordinance. Since Moore and his wife had much to do with the rent control law to begin with I would like to know why we residents of Richmond should not know about this hypocrisy.
    This is a very one sided poorly written article. I recommend any reader who wants to know the story to read about it on Tom Butts e-mail forum for themselves. The mayor did us all a favor.
    I also suggest Richmond Confidential do an article about the RPA’s Juan Reardon and his recent directive threatening RPA members who do not follow the party line. Few RPA voters understand what they are actually supporting when voting for this disturbing organization.

  2. Commenter

    From Tom Butt e-mail forum:

    To most of us, it’s breaking the law. To Richmond Progressive Alliance stalwarts, it’s just “…looking into whether there are some forms we need to file.”
    By all accounts, Eli Moore is a savvy and intellectually sophisticated person. He is a program manager for the Hass Institute, “has written a number of reports and strategy papers on environmental justice, mass incarceration, community economic development and community health issues.” “Eli draws on training and experience with geographic information systems, mixed methods research, conflict mediation and negotiation, and popular education to facilitate participatory processes that allow those most affected by injustice to lead decision making and advance transformative change.” He holds a Bachelor’s degree from University of California at Santa Cruz and dual Masters degrees from Syracuse University.
    Moore was a primary author of several studies about Richmond Belonging and Community Health in Richmondand Anchor Richmondthat served as manifestos on which Rent Control was based and on which the successful challenge that doomed the Global Campus was based.
    Eli’s spouse, Claudia Jimenez serves on the elite Richmond Progressive Alliance Steering Committee, and the notice of intent to circulate the petition for the Rent Control initiative that subsequently passed and is now the law in Richmond was filed by Claudia Jimenez and Gayle McLaughlin. The rent Control ordinance, in which Eli and Claudia presumably had a role in drafting, extensively cites the Haas Institute in the “Findings” (RMC 11.100.020). Jimenez was also the Richmond’s Progressive Alliance’s preferred choice for the City Council seat ultimately awarded to Vinay Pimple.
    It turns out, however, that Moore and Jimenez are much better at drafting laws for other people to obey than conforming to those same laws themselves. Moore and Jimenez own Richmond property at 845 37th Street. It appears that they constructed an illegal in-law unit in their back yard, with Moore converting a backyard shed into a second unit. After a complaint by a neighbor, a City inspector determined it was illegal and unpermitted. Moore proceeded to complete it anyway and to rent it out.
    They pay no property taxes on the illegal unit.
    When Moore and Jimenez decided to spend a year in Columbia, they also rented out the primary residence. Now, they have two residential rentals, making them landlords subject to Richmond’s Rental Inspection Ordinance and Richmond Rent Control and Just Cause Ordinance, which ironically they helped to draft and promote. Both require registration under Richmond law and payment of fees, but Moore and Jimenez failed to do that.
    Here are some of the laws they have broken:
    RMC 11.100.060(l) Financing. (1) Residential Rental Housing Fee. All Landlords shall pay a business license fee if required by Richmond Municipal Code plus a Residential Rental Housing Fee. The City shall charge the Residential Rental Housing Fee at the same time as the business license fee. The amount will be determined by the City Council after a recommendation by the Board is provided to the City Council. The City Council will vote on the recommendation at the next regularly scheduled meeting. The budget shall be funded by the Rental Housing Fee. (2) This fee shall become due within thirty (30) days of inception of new tenancy if no fee was paid the prior year. Ongoing tenancies shall have fees collected at the same time as the City business license each year.
    Business License. RMC 7.04.030 very person engaged in the manufacturing, wholesaling or retailing business or providing any service to the public or engaging in or conducting any other business not elsewhere in this chapter specifically mentioned shall pay annually a license fee of two hundred thirty-four dollars and ten cents ($234.10) plus an additional sum of money equal to forty-six dollars and eighty cents ($46.80) per employee for the first twenty-five employees and forty dollars and ten cents ($40.10) per employee in excess of twenty-five employees.
    Unpermitted dwelling/illegal in-law. Note: the in-law is right on the rear and side property line, and not likely compliant with zoning setbacks.

    Figure 1 – Note illegal second dwelling unit in backyard
    RMC 6.02.50 Permits. Permits Required. Except as specified in subsection (b) of this section, no building, structure or service equipment regulated by this chapter and the technical codes shall be erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted or demolished unless a separate, appropriate permit for each building, structure or service equipment has first been obtained from the Building Official.
    RMC 6.02.240 Certificate of Occupancy. (A) USE and OCCUPANCY: 1. No building or structure shall be used or occupied, and no change in the existing occupancy classification of a building or structure or portion thereof shall be made until the Building Official has issued a Certificate of Occupancy therefor as provided herein. 2. A Certificate of Occupancy shall not be issued until the Building Official has accepted all required inspection certifications.
    RMC 6.40 Residential Rental Dwelling Unit Inspection and Maintenance. RMC 6.40.050: (a) It shall be the responsibility of all owners of residential rental dwelling units within the City to register such dwelling units with the Building Regulations Division and submit the registration/processing fee and the inspection fee. For owners of three (3) or more residential rental dwelling units within the City, who wish to participate in the self-certification program, there is an additional obligation to complete a self-certification application and apply for the self-certification program. The registration/processing fee, inspection fee, and self-certification application shall take place within thirty (30) days of the date on which written notification is mailed to the owner of such residential rental dwelling unit(s) by the Building Regulations Division.
    (b) If the owner of residential rental dwellings fails to register or reregister such units in compliance with this chapter, the Building Official shall register or reregister said units in the name of the owner and set a date and time for initial inspection of said units, and shall send written notification to the owner that the property has been so registered and advising of the date and time set for inspection, accompanied with a bill for the registration/processing fee and the total initial inspection fee for each unit, and include information on the self-certification program.
    RMC 6.40.100. Notice of Violation. (1) Content. Whenever it is determined by the Inspector that a violation of this chapter exists, the inspector shall issue a written notice of violation. The notice shall contain a description of the violation, the specific action required to correct the violation and a demand that the violations be corrected within the specific time period listed in the notice. The notice shall contain the scheduled re-inspection date and time, or in the event the violations are minor as designated on the inspection checklist, the notice shall contain a date by which the owner must provide the inspector with a sworn declaration (attached to a copy of the checklist showing the violations), that each minor item has been repaired as directed.
    Registration with Rent Board and Fee. See Ordinance No. 16-17 N.S. http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/DocumentCenter/View/43841.
    All of the above information I received in the form of complaints from neighbors of Moore and Jimenez. Wanting to verify this, I sent an email to Eli Moore, but he never responded. He did, however email some of his neighbors with the following:
    Hi friends,
    We are in Colombia still and things are going well. But Mayor Butt is coming after us and spreading rumors that we are doing something illegal with our house. He sent the message below to my employer Haas Institute, and has sent it to at least one other person. If he wanted to reach us, he has both my and Claudia’s emails, we’re on his listserv and have emailed him. Instead, he’s spreading rumors, asking people to ‘verify’ them.
    We rent out our house to a beautiful family we are friends with, and another friend. We charge below market rent and are happy to contribute a dignified affordable place to live since it’s so hard to find. We have nothing to hide. We are looking into whether there are some forms we need to file.
    We are emailing you because you are our friends and we want you to know what is happening. Since we don’t know how far he is spreading these rumors, or how far his attacks will go, we wanted to reach out for your support.
    We miss you and hope you are all well. Sorry our message had to be about this ridiculous drama.
    Claudia and Eli
    Instead of acknowledging their status as major scofflaws, they blamed me for “spreading rumors,” and characterized facts as “attacks,” although they did not deny any of the allegations.
    Why is this important? Two RPA members are campaigning for state office, touting the “Richmond miracle” that they want to spread statewide. The so-called “Richmond miracle” has a side they aren’t talking about. It includes ordinances that are so poorly drafted they cannot be interpreted or applied, and it includes leaders of the RPA who hold themselves above the law.
    Just thought you would like to know.

  3. Commenter

    It is interesting to note that rather than holding their fellow party members to the standard of obeying the very laws that they helped pass, and which they tout as one of their finest accomplishments, the RPA to a person is instead working feverishly to deflect the focus of this instead to Mayor Butt for exposing them. This is the exact same thing these so called “progressives” accuse the mainstream political parties of doing. The thing is the RPA works like this – according to their own Juan Reardon- “The RPA is a membership organization. They are either with the RPA or not.” This explains why the memberships loyalties are always to their own, regardless if they are breaking the law or not.

  4. Commenter

    And shame on you Sara Harrison, after writing such a good article on Hilltop, to write such a poorly considered, poorly researched, and very clearly biased piece. You don’t seem to understand that you wrote the very same type of hit piece you accuse the mayor of. This is the very same type of hypocrisy that is alienating so many Richmond residents to the RPA.Very poor journalism. I think that you can do much better than this. Please do.

  5. Michael Fitzgerald

    This article might have some flaws in it, but it leans heavily on arguably reliable sources – including the actions (and published comments) of the Mayor of Richmond himself.

    • Commenter

      And completely ignores that no one has demonstrated that the mayor has said anything that isn’t true, and ignores the fact that Jimenez and Moore have broken the very laws they crammed down others throats. Pretty big flaws in my book.

      • A Reader

        I agree with you 100%. Crooks need to be exposed.
        Maybe the mayor went a little overboard with showing the property. But the addresses of anyone can be found using Google maps.
        I know I’m sick and tired of ppl on high places making rules/laws they expect others to follow. Then turn around and don’t enforce the rules/ law they make.
        If u ask me there’s too much nepotism going on within the City.
        Things get swept under the rug or ppl get selective amnesia.
        It’s all about fattening their own pockets. To Hell with doing what’s right.
        I wish they would stop cutting off the tail of the snake. It only grows back.
        Damn it, cut the head off.
        It’s deeper than here.
        A man accused of murder or shooting someone is hidding out in Nevin Plaza. He is armed with a gun. He pulled the gun on a resident. No matter how much we complain. He’s still hiding on the building.
        Maybe if the mayor new about this he would do something about it. Cuz RPD RHA won’t. Just waiting for someone else to be shot or killed.
        Now I got that off my chest.

  6. John

    I agree that this article is poorly written and rather one-sided. Yes, the mayor has better things to do than to get down in the mud with the RPA. And if he used city resources to mount attacks against political opponents then that should stop and he should be reprimanded for it. However it is not at all clear that that is what happened here. It sounds entirely possible that these events primarily consisted of neighbors of Moore and Jimenez reporting their illegal actions to the city and the relevant city departments taking appropriate action likely independent of the mayor. If that is the case then the mayor is guilty of nothing more than crowing about his opponents’ hypocrisy.

    That hypocrisy seems to be the real story here. A story that this article is strangely silent on. People like Moore and Jimenez, and the RPA in general, seem to be obsessed with imposing their ideological preferences on others through legislation. That in itself would be bad enough but then they can’t even be bothered to follow the very laws that they create. Hypocrisy is absolutely toxic to good government and good social policy. Political affiliation doesn’t matter. People like this on the left and on the right really have no business trying to tell the rest of us how to live.

  7. Commenter

    “In an email from Jimenez to Butt obtained by Richmond Confidential, Jimenez characterized the mayor’s actions as a political attack. “I wonder how many Richmond citizens have been impacted by a mayor who uses his power to attack them just because they have a different opinion,” she wrote on October 6.”

    Funny she should say that. The pro RPA “RealRich” site regularly kicks off and bans anyone who has a different opinion than the RPA. This is what led to the creation of the “Everybody’s Richmond” facebook site, which allows everyone’s opinions.

  8. Commenter

    “In a public records request filed October 13, the ACLU stated it was “concerned that Mayor Butt is using his public position to target Mr. Moore and Ms. Jimenez for exercising their constitutional right to free speech.”

    It seems that the opposite of this is the real truth. Jimenez and Moore are targeting Mayor Butt by using their public positions to cover up their failure to abide by the laws that they expect everyone else to follow.

  9. sandra yolles

    Can you all see how ugly and depressing these attacks and counter attacks are?

  10. sandra yolles

    Can you all see how ugly and depressing these attacks and counter attacks are? The tone comes from the top and everone jumps in and attacks each other.
    It is the opposite of the community building we all need.

    • Commenter

      Yes, but the RPA itself is the group that started this, it is their modus operandi in fact. Read Juan Reardon recent directive to its members and Andres Soto on video explaining how to drive a wedge into communities in order to achieve the groups goals.

  11. Sandra Davenport

    Richmond Confidential! I guess you’re in my junk-read file dont-read-again. What an incredibly biased article. Did the RPA pay you to write this? So let’s get this straight: Mr. Moore is part of the RPA coalition that put through one of the most restrictive landlord laws in the state. OK. The city finds out that Mr. Moore didn’t register HIS property with the Rent Control Board and pay the fees and taxes accordingly! Gee. I’m glad the mayor and the city discovered this great hypocrisy and breaking of the law. Sara Harrison what were you thinking?

    • Nancy Beth Combs

      Sandra,

      Mr. Moore is in good company. Only 33% of landlords had complied with the requirement to register with the Rent Board by mid-October when notices by mail went out It’s a new law. Let’s give landlords a break.

      Nancy Combs, Member, Richmond Rent Board

      • Sandra Davenport

        Nancy, you have my total agreement. However, Mr. Moore was one of the authors of the bill, correct? See this article from the Sf Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Richmond-council-to-vote-on-contentious-6408716.php
        Eli Moore had his personal name and home address all over this law! He’s not just a landlord, he’s the author of the bill! Like he “forgot” to register????

        • Eli Hudson

          I just got my initial notice to register about 2 weeks ago. The mailers hadn’t even been delivered before the mayor whote his email blast.

          • Commenter

            Yes but you miss the whole and important point that they had illegally converted a shed which doesn’t comply to zoning clearances to a living space without the proper permits. Then they rented it out without the business licence, rental inspection and fire inspection.Why should we assume they would register with the rent board when they willfully didn’t comply with any of the other regulations? Denial much?

      • Commenter

        Nancy,
        Let us be clear that Moore and Jimenez violated many laws that have been on the books for decades. One cannot simply convert a shed into a living space on a whim. It involves acquiring a building permit which in their case would also involve notices sent out to their neighbors and a public hearing, none of which apparently happened.
        Let us suppose they had met all the legal requirements of the conversion, then they would have been required to obtain a business licence and then a rental unit inspection as well as a fire department inspection, all of which have been required for years and which Moore and Jimenez are well aware, they willfully chose not to do them.
        I do agree with your request to give landlords a break and wish that the RPA felt the same way. It will be interesting to see whether or not not Moore and Jimenez receive deferential treatment in this case, something that the vast majority of those who have done the same have not received.

        • Commenter

          Correction: I meant “preferential treatment” in the above comment.

          • Sandra Davenport

            Thank you Commenter for clearing this up. They broke multiple laws, all of which we have evidence that they were aware of. Intent was clear here.

  12. Commenter

    The RPA doesn’t like being treated the same way they treat others. Says a lot about their cult like organization.

  13. Jeffrey Wright

    A couple of novel thoughts. Real estate ownership records are in the public domain. They are a PUBLIC RECORD. Also, google maps etc., is in the public domain and can ‘zero right in’ with a photograph of most structures including the subject property. To infer that someone’s privacy has been treaded upon via nefarious means is ridiculous. It’s not like a private investigator was dispatched to determine the property location and a rocket was specifically launched into space to release a satellite to obtain reconnaissance photos of the house.

    • Commenter

      ” It’s not like a private investigator was dispatched to determine the property location and a rocket was specifically launched into space to release a satellite to obtain reconnaissance photos of the house.”

      You’ve got something there. Perhaps RPA should contact NASA and check to see if any recent satellite launches are violating Richmonds Space and Mind Control Weapons Ban. That could also help to explain another mysterious conspiracy in this thread- the strange silence whenever Daniel Butt inquires if that is a space weapon in the articles illustration…….

  14. Daniel Butt

    It is shameful the ACLU has allowed itself to be manipulated as an RPA tool to quell free speech and shut down criticism of the governing party in Richmond. It is sad that Richmond Confidential has eschewed principles of free speech and press to become complicit.

    I passed on the information about Claudia and Eli, passed to me by more than one private citizen with firsthand knowledge of the hypocrisy. I corroborated the source with public county and city records (available free online) and confirmed they were renting an illegal unit and had failed to register it with the rent board. Not one second or penny of city time or resources was used or leveraged. I spoke to Ms. Harrison and was completely open about this.

    This was private citizens complaining about hypocrisy by the primary proponents of RPA’s flagship legislation. You know: democracy, first amendment.

    The E-forum is a political, opinion-driven forum – something real journalists used to do when journalism was a real profession. It is a true shame that both the ACLU and RC have been coopted to be mouthpieces of the RPA with the goal of shutting down political criticism and protecting hypocrisy from revelation.

  15. Luci Riley

    So glad to see the backlash coming out against Butt! This is just the beginning of what is coming at him in 2018!

    • Commenter

      Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. There are an increasing number of those who formerly supported the RPA who are waking up to just what kind of disturbing organization they actually are. This incident is an excellent example, where the RPA has chosen to ignore law breaking and hypocrisy of their own members over integrity and the rule of law.

      • Commenter

        Also recall that Moore and Jimenez to begin with were exposed by former RPA supporting neighbors. Those who take the trouble to look a little more carefully at this organization tend to be repelled by the close mindedness and extremist ideology. Look at how they treated Jeff Ritterman for example. That is a good example of the RPA’s cult like behaviour.

  16. Daniel Butt

    Only the RPA could turn their own hypocrisy – while dominating Richmond politics – into victimhood.

    It is truly Trumpian.

    • Commenter

      It is very interesting to observe from a psychological point of view, how the RPA membership continues to remain in denial of the law breaking and hypocrisy of Moore and Jimenez actions, and instead continue to focus on Mayor Butt for exposing them. How do they reconcile this in their minds with the supposed integrity of their organization? Zak Wear will look at you with a straight face and insist that ‘we find our candidates who do not accept corporate money behave very differently’. Really now! Is this an example of that Mr Wear? Because it seems to me and many others with eyes to see that you are all in mass denial and are engaging in a group cover up. Shameful.

  17. Commenter

    Recently we have all witnessed the irony of someone who portrays a fictional president being held accountable to a higher standard than our actual sitting president.
    Sadly we now witness the RPA holding others accountable to a higher standard than their own members and political candidates. This in spite of their own selling point of being able to conform to a higher standard of integrity because they accept no corporate donations.
    There are those today calling upon members of the Republican Party to to rise above partisanship and act in the best interests of the nation.
    Today I call upon any in the increasingly dysfunctional RPA with eyes that see and ears that hear to rise above your own shameful partisanship to get your house in order and start holding your membership to the same standard of professional behavior you are asking of others.
    Until this happens your claim of operating to a higher degree of integrity and standards is yet another hypocritical feather in your cap.

  18. Commenter

    Time for RPA members to start asking these questions.
    From the Cult Education Institute website.

    Ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader.

    Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.
    No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.
    No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.
    Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.
    There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.
    Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.
    There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.
    Followers feel they can never be “good enough”.
    The group/leader is always right.
    The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing “truth” or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.

    How many of these describe the RPA?

  19. Sandra Davenport

    Richmond Confidential: Why don’t you spend as much energy investigating the RPA as you do Chevron? Don’t you know that the RPA is the new Chevron? They’re doing the same exact thing as Chevron did – maybe even worse.

  20. Eli Hudson

    Daniel Butt,

    Thank you for commenting on this article. I have one update and one question for you.

    Update: Moore and Jimenez have done their due diligence and as of now they have paid the fire inspector’s fee, have a business license, registered with the rent control office, and with the rental inspection program, and have paid those fees as well.

    Question: Will we be seeing an email blast from your dad focusing on your giant marijuana grow house on Hensley? (I’ll withhold the exact address since it’s a giant building with a lot of very valuable product.) It’s been red-tagged for some time now, yet it is still in operation everyday. For someone who enjoys shining light on hypocrisy, both of you must understand why people in Richmond would want to know if this building and its operations are and have been operating in a lawful way.

    • Daniel Butt

      Eli Hudson,

      I am a real estate and land use attorney, and run a small business in Richmond. I have no marijuana grow operations in Richmond nor anywhere else, nor do I have any investment in any – though I am fully supportive of their legalization.

      But that’s only if facts matter.

    • Commenter

      Due diligence? Really now! Had they done their due diligence they would not be in this mess to begin with. And that is your question? I’ll tell you what my questions are, and they are far more relevant than your own. Will Moore and Jimenez be treated the same way as others who have done the same? Will they have to open the walls up to inspect the electrical lines and plumbing that were installed without permits and therefore were never inspected? Will they be required to send notices to the neighborhood and have a public hearing like everyone else has to do? Will they just be allowed to have a unit right there on the property line without a variance? Will Richmond Confidential to that article? Those are my questions I’d like to see answered.

      • Eli Hudson

        Actually, they haven’t been treated as others who have done the same. They were the topic of an email blast by the mayor. Others get letters from the city reminding them that their fees are overdue so that they can pay. I am a landlord in Richmond. When I was late on my business license payment I was sent a nice letter and I complied. Pretty simple, and that’s how the process works. In fact, mailers telling people to register for the Rent program JUST went out, after the mayor’s email blast. But they were subject to attention from the mayor himself, and that’s what the article above is about.

        Anyway they are now in compliance.

        • Commenter

          Many people who build illegal units ave been required to remove them. Sometimes they looked to keep them but walls must be opened to inspect wiring, plumbing, framing, and such to confirm that they have been installed to code requirements. In every case stiff penalties are assessed. Is that what Moore and Jimenez are facing or will they be getting off easier than anyone else would as indicated by your earlier statement? You are in big time denial about the hypocrisy going on here.

          • Commenter

            Also Eli, how could Moore and Jimenez get a reminder to pay their fees when THEY WILLFULLY WERE NOT IN THE SYSTEM TO BEGIN WITH. You cannot get an inspection or pay your fees when you are purposely hiding your rental unit. Wake up.

  21. Commenter

    What is the purpose of the E-forum? To keep Richmond residents up to date on Richmond events and news or is it a forum to promote political propaganda? If it is the latter, then are tax dollars being used? If so, should tax dollars be spent to do that?

    This is not the first time I’ve seen political propaganda from the e-forum e.g. the November election.

  22. Daniel Butt

    The E-forum is a private, investigative and informational opinion-based public interest blog the Mayor has authored since the 1990s. RPA used to be a big fan of it and often cited it when it was not them being criticized.

    It is was what journalism used to be back in the day. Before journalism school was a conduit to PR or advertising gigs.

    Ironically, a story of hypocrisy by the those in power used to the kind of thing journalists investigated – now they investigate the investigation and cover the cover-up.

  23. Don Gosney

    I like Abner but I worry about his eyesight if he thinks our mayor has that much hair. Maybe 30 years ago but certainly not today.

  24. Commenter

    Sort of ironic Richmond Confidential waited to Veterans Day to drop a hit piece against the exercise of free political speech by a Vietnam Vet.

  25. Commenter

    I can’t get over these people who don’t seem to be able to grasp the magnitude of the hypocrisy here and keep making excuses for Moore and Jimenez or keep drifting off topic.Here and on the “Everybody’s Richmond ” facebook site.
    Let’s apply the RPA supporters logic to a hypothetical example. We all know Trumps position on illegal immigration. Let’s say someone then discovered he was knowingly employing illegal immigrants in his residence and wrote a piece about it in a news letter exposing the hypocrisy. How would all you apologists react to that? You are all just as big of hypocrites as Moore and Jimenez! I’m beggining to think a predisposition to hypocrisy, cult like behaviour and petulance is a prerequisite for RPA membership.

  26. Lisa Hire

    Your coverage of the RPA makes me wonder if they are paying you. Current and just departed RPA council members are hypocritical and arrogant opportunists who have used the residents of Richmond to create “progressive” resumes for themselves. They have manipulated the political system in Richmond to win power, but they are not supported by many, if not most, in the community.

  27. Lisa Hire

    This is the text of an email I sent to your editor a few months ago asking that your reporters cover the effect of RPA win over Chervon.

    Your previous work on Richmond elections focused attention on Chervon’s contributions. Now I ask that you cover the contributions that the Richmond Progressive Alliance candidates have been receiving from outside of Richmond and California. Two RPA council members are running for state office, and I and many of my neighbors feel that these candidates have used their time in Richmond to serve their personal career ambitions instead of dealing with the actual needs of the community. During their tenure on city council, they have behaved with disrespect towards anyone who dares disagree with them. One candidate Jovanka Beckles refuses to meet with residents and blocks residents on social media, in direct violation of the first amendment.

    For all their slogans, the RPA’s antics have hurt business development in Richmond and driven the city’s bond rating to near junk status. These facts mean that the city has fewer resources for helping the vulnerable people of Richmond whom these candidates claim to be representing.

    Your reporting of Chevron’s efforts to sway city politics won praise. Please continue this tradition by telling the story of what has occurred since the RPA beat Chervon.

    • John

      Their abhorrent treatment of Vinay Pimple, one of the most community-minded city council members to have ever served Richmond, was the moment they lost my support.

      Bullies and narcissists. And now we can add hypocrites to that list.

  28. George Galvis

    It is pretty obvious that the “Commentator” that has consumed the majority of the thread of responses to this article is the Mayor. Smdh What a clown! You clearly have too much free time on your hands. I hope Richmond elects a Mayor who is focused on governing in the near future. Your infantile internet trolling is reflective of Trump! Richmond deserves better. In the words of your role model, “Sad”.

    • George Galvis

      Correction “Commenter”… anybody who has to post anonymously is suspect.

      • Teresa

        Or just trying not to incur the irrational wrath and abuse of RPAers. (Seems like there are at least several different voices posting anonymously – but none of them sound like Tom. He has no problem posting under his name, should he have something more to add to the discussion.)

        • Commenter

          Teresa is correct. Most of the “Commenter” comments I have posted, but not all of them.And yes, I am not the mayor or anyone related to him. I’ve never even met the man. I notice that nearly everyone who has a problem with an anonymous comment never has anything intelligent to add to the conversation and/or is simply frustrated because they have no rebuttal to what I have said so they wish to attack me instead. George here is an excellent example of this.

          • George Galvis

            Lol says the Mayor who’s hiding behind the curtain. I read that Trump used to behave similarly pretending to be someone that doesn’t exist and give flattering reviews of himself. What an idiot you both are! You really have to go!

        • George Galvis

          Seems to me like the wrath that folks are concerned about is the Mayor who abuses his office to go after political opponents.

          • Teresa

            Are you a Richmond voter, Mr. Galvis?

          • Commenter

            Now if an intelligent person had mistaken my posts for ones written by the mayor I would be proud and take it as a compliment. You see that is because Mayor Butt is an educated and accomplished person who has done quite a lot for Richmond for decades now, much of which people like George here are oblivious too.
            But the truth is that I am neither an educated or particularly accomplished person. And I would think that would be quite obvious to anyone educated and reasonably intelligent as we see by Teresa here, who also could see the difference from different anonymous posters. This is why I can easily conclude that George here is also neither an educated or particularly intelligent person, and why also I cannot accept his comments as a compliment but rather just as I noted earlier, what someone says when they have nothing to add to the matter, and no rebuttal to the comments I have made.

  29. RichmondSon

    What’s “highly inappropriate” is Moore and Jimenez having an illegal apartment, especially given their positions in our community. Thank-you Mayor Butt for putting a spotlight on this and keep up the great work!

  30. Commenter

    “A Tale of Two Moores”
    The Period

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolish hypocrisy…

    The Male

    Anti-LGBTQ lawmaker Wesley Goodman, a Republican Ohio state representative serving his first term, resigned earlier this week after after being caught having sex with another man. Apparently not in blinding denial of the hypocrisy involved, he acknowledged and confirmed the allegations rather than blaming those who exposed him. In a statement Goodman said: “We all bring our own struggles and our own trials into public life. “That has been true for me, and I sincerely regret that my actions and choices have kept me from serving my constituents and our state in a way that reflects the best ideals of public service. For those whom I have let down, I’m sorry.”

    The Jokemaker

    Al Franken after an initial inadequate response to talk show host Leeann Tweedens accusations of improper groping while on a USO tour in 2006 before Franken was a Senator, finally openly apologized to Tweeden and supported an ethics investigation into his own behavior. Although at no point did the Senator attempt to blame Tweeden for exposing him or rally his supporters to try to discredit her in order to help cover up his own actions.

    The Predator

    Roy Moore, a former chief justice of the Alabama state Supreme Court faces multiple allegations of sexual assault by then underage girls. Rather than admitting his law breaking and apologizing for his inappropriate behavior Roy Moore has chosen to deny the accusations against him and enlist the help of his supporters in an attempt to discredit the women who have exposed him.

    The Whine-makers

    Eli Moore and his wife Claudia Jimenez have been caught violating the very same laws they helped impose upon others, even though they take no money from corporations and thus are supposed to be above such behavior. Rather than owning up to their actions and apologizing they too have chosen the path of blaming those who exposed them, and shamelessly using their naive supporters in a selfish attempt to shift blame away from themselves and onto the mayor instead.

    A Disappointment

    Anyone here with two good ears had better listen!

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