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Council Preview (Nov. 17)

on November 17, 2009

Business may be brisk at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, at least compared to the October session that lasted more than seven hours.

The mayor hasn’t scheduled any new ordinances or resolutions, and there are only three items up for discussion on the agenda.

At Richmond Confidential’s launch party last week, council member Jeff Ritterman said the main event of the evening concerns The Plunge swimming pool.

Built in 1926, the city-owned pool is being renovated after suffering extensive damage in the Loma Prieta earthquake. It’s supposed to open early next year, but a rift has developed between historical preservationists and competitive swimmers over a “Movable Bulkhead,” Ritterman said.

The bulkhead would be used to cordon off a 25-yard distance for lap swimmers looking to experience a standard short course. It could also be moved to create a separate deep end for family swimming or pushed to the far end of the pool.  But some opponents argue that the Point Richmond swimming pool should be historically accurate, and the city should forego the bulkhead.

The bulkhead would add an additional $350,000 in cost to the more than $5-million-dollar swimming pool, which is being paid for with both private and public money.

Following the swimming pool item, the council will dive into a discussion about how an ordinance that’s supposed to bring more city contracts to local businesses is panning out.

The ordinance helped local businesses secure 30 percent of the money spent on nine city contracts between January of last year and September. But in four cases, no businesses were able to meet the requirement that 20 percent of the money go to local shops, according to a report by Employment and Training Director Sal Vaca.

The council will also receive a report about the financial status of the $100 million Civic Center restoration.

But if the City Council agrees to settle a long-standing lawsuit over the Point Molate casino during its closed-door session before the public meeting begins, that decision could overshadow everything.

As Richmond Confidential reported on Monday, Citizens for East Shore Parks filed its second of two lawsuits that pertained to environmental concerns in January, but it is now looking to settle.

The suit is one of the few remaining obstacles between the Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians and the casino they plan to build with Berkeley developer Jim Levine.

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Richmond Confidential is an online news service produced by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism for, and about, the people of Richmond, California. Our goal is to produce professional and engaging journalism that is useful for the citizens of the city.

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