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Ludmyrna Lopez goes door to door.

Lopez’s well-funded re-election bid focused on jobs, education

on October 26, 2010

Ludmyrna “Myrna” Lopez sat at Catahoula Café in San Pablo, holding her six-month-old baby, Fidel. She bounced him in her arms as he fussed about and tossed his hat to the ground.

Heading into Richmond Annex to stump for votes, Lopez plots her course.

A first-term City Councilwoman and mother of two, Lopez said concern for her children’s future is part of what drives her public service.

“I remember the streets being safer,” she said, “where you could leave your kids to play outside ‘til it was dark, the parks are maintained, and a vibrant downtown.”

Raised by immigrant parents from Guanajuato, Mexico, Lopez is proud to have grown up in Richmond. Her father worked a union job, the type of job she says she wants to bring to Richmond. She advocates using the port to bring in cars from auto companies in addition to Honda.

Lopez also cites her effort on behalf of education. For example the YouthWORKS summer employment program expanded to year-round, providing jobs plus mentoring, tutoring and training for at-risk youth.

“For me,” she said, “education was key in terms of seeing the world and having more economic opportunities open up.”

Lopez wears a cowboy hat because it reminds her of her late father. "He was with me all along during my 2006 election," she says, "I feel that I carry my father with me when I wear it."

Andres Soto, a member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance, said every candidate running for office is claiming to be a job creator. He characterized Lopez’s role on city council and the planning commission before that as a rubberstamp for business and developers, specifically Chevron and the casino at Point Molate.

Lopez views her relationship with business differently.

“My background is in public policy and I’ve been trained in looking at costs and benefits to every policy, to come to solutions when there’s disaccord,” she said, “That’s the way that I do business and that’s the way that I will continue to do business.”

Lopez did support Chevron’s bid to expand its refining capabilities in 2008, but said that rather than rubberstamping, she fought for tougher air quality and emissions regulations than required by the state at that time. The expansion has since been struck down in court.

On Point Molate, Lopez has supported the casino development, but said she would take into account the results of Measure U.  She said she would only vote for a casino if it comes with a guarantee of jobs for Richmond residents.  She also said she wants the developers to pay for a hospitality management program at Contra Costa Community College, to train people for hotel positions.

Lopez runs her campaign out of an office on San Pablo and Barret.

Chevron has funded an independent expenditure committee, called Jobs Now, to support a handful of candidates, and has spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars on Lopez alone.

Major donations have also come from building trades unions, heavy industry, developers, and police and firefighters unions.  So far, Lopez has raised over $57,000 in her bid for a second term, more than any other City Council candidate.

County Supervisor John Gioia said it’s her experience that won his endorsement.

“Myrna brings a really thoughtful, rational style to governing,” he said, “She listens well, she always wants to hear all the facts before making a decision. For me, that’s an important quality.”


  1. Andres Soto on October 26, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    For the record I am not the President of the the RPA. We do not have a President or other titles. I am one of the co-founders.

    Gioia is part of the total West County cabal (Miller, Gioia, Viramontes, Bates, Chevron, Lopez, Rogers, RCOC, COI, RPOA, RFA) that is seeking to push back against the progress we as Progressives have made in cleaning up Richmond and changing the back room politics all of these slimy characters engage in. Look at the dirty deal he did on the County’s flip flop on the Pt. Molate casino. Shameless – Sin Vergüensas!

    • Christopher Connelly on October 26, 2010 at 3:40 pm

      Sorry mixing up your title, Mr. Soto. We’ve corrected it. Thanks for pointing it out.

  2. Juan Reardon on October 26, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Myrna Lopez “trained in looking at costs and benefits to every policy”?!

    I wonder what costs-and-benefits analysis method did Myrna Lopez use in July 2006 when she proposed allowing a mercury emitting crematorium to open shop in the center of residential Richmond(1151 Hensley St.),a few blocks away from a child development center licensed for 60 infants, toddlers and preschoolers? (Crematorium Eyes Richmond CCT Sat July 1st, 2006). Perhaps it was the same method of analysis Lopez used to give Chevron a yes vote on a refinery expansion found by the courts to be inadequate and illegal! Ah…it must have been the same cost benefit analysis that prompted Lopez to be a strong crime and misery generating Mega-Casino Molate supporter:

    The Myrna Lopez method of analysis goes something like this: My friends (Chevron, Casinos, polluters,campaign funders..) get the benefits and Richmond residents get the costs!

    Lamentable. Correctable.

  3. survive on October 26, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    It’s true that Richmond seems run by a political machine that turns hostile when it’s questioned.

  4. Cathie on October 26, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    One more week to go (whew!)….good luck to Myrna….she has my vote!

    • overhere on October 27, 2010 at 7:18 am

      Not mine. Out with the stale and stubborn; in with fresh ideas for a different future, less handcuffed to Big Business and Big Political Machines.

  5. […] the ousting of pro-business councilmembers Maria Viramontes and Myrna Lopez, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin now has a firm grip on the city council for the first time. She can expect […]

  6. mfraser on November 4, 2010 at 4:54 am

    Ms Lopez, Viramontes and Bates have implicitly used their race for years to finagle support from communities that have trusted and needed them, then have turned around and Clarence Thomas’ed them over and over again.

    I’m so proud and impressed that the Richmond voters finally saw this sham they have perpetrated on Richmond for what it is, and have tossed them out. Next there must be a way to get Bates out, the worst of the bunch for my money.

    Thanks to Tom Butt and the other good governance folks for staying the course to help Richmond make long term progress for everyone!

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