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A first look at the November City Council candidates

on September 5, 2012

Eleven people successfully filed and qualified to be on the Nov. 6 ballot for the City Council.

Nine out of the eleven candidates also submitted statements of qualifications by the Aug. 15 deadline.

These statements are limited to 200 words, and they are an opportunity for candidates to provide personal information and also write why they are qualified for the specific position. The submitted statements are available to view online and deputy City Clerk Ursula Deloa said in an email, that they would also be printed and distributed.

The candidates paid $1,206.60 to file as a councilmember and submit a statement of qualifications, said Deloa.

The balance of power on the Council could change considerably this election. The terms for current Councilmembers Nat Bates, Tom Butt and Jeff Ritterman will expire in January 2013. Bates and Butt decided to run for re-election but Ritterman announced in April that he will retire.

Richmond Progressive Alliance members Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles hold their positions until January 2015 and there are two RPA-endorsed candidates on this year’s ballot.

Here is the list of candidates who will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot:

    Mark Wassberg
    Wassberg filed and qualified to be a candidate on the Nov. 6 ballot, but he did not submit the optional statement of qualifications to the city.
    Mike Ali-Kinney
    Community Advocate
    Mike “Raccoon Eyes” Kinney, 59, is a registered Democrat. According to Kinney, he is one of ten Native people running as a Native candidate in a local, city, county and federal election in the United States –he was born in Richmond to a Cherokee father. Kinney has volunteered and worked in the Richmond community for the past 35 years.  This is his first time running for office.
    Eleanor Thompson
    Community Advocate
    Thompson, a registered Democrat, is a youth advocate who has worked in the city since 1991. She is the CEO of Social Progress Inc., a nonprofit group that seeks to address the issues of crime and homicide rates for youth in Richmond. This is the first time that Thompson will run for a City Council position. She declined to provide her age.
    Anthony Lamar Green
    Security Personnel
    Green filed and qualified to be a candidate on the Nov. 6 ballot, but he did not submit the optional statement of qualifications to the city.
    Eduardo Martinez
    Retired Teacher
    Martinez, 63, is a registered Democrat and a member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance. He began a career in teaching in 1989, and worked in the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) from 1993 until 2010, when he retired. In 2010, he ran unsuccessfully for a Richmond City Council position, in his first attempt at public office. He is one of two RPA-supported candidates on the ballot.
    Jael P. Myrick
    Community Field Representative
    Myrick, 27, is a registered Democrat. He currently works for Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner as a senior field representative. Myrick founded the organization Standing to Represent our Next Generation, which focuses on encouraging political participation and engagement from people under the age of 30, when he was 21 years old. Myrick also worked with the League of Conservation Voters for four years.
    Bea Roberson
    Retired Construction Accountant
    Roberson officially announced her campaign in July after she was encouraged to run by current Councilmembers Corky Booze and Nat Bates. Roberson retired in 2010, after working as an accountant, and she now volunteers for many different organizations in the Richmond community. According to her campaign website, she is the current president of the Richmond Neighborhood Coordinating Council, and a chairperson on the Police Commission.
    Marilyn Langlois
    Community Advocate
    Langlois, 62, is registered with the Green Party. Langlois was a founding member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance, in 2003, and she also served as a Community Advocate for Mayor Gayle McLaughlin from January 2008 to April 2012. According to her campaign website, Langlois worked as a community mediator and conflict resolution trainer in the past. She also was a former president of the League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley she will be running for the public office for the first time.
    Nat Bates
    Bates was first elected to the Richmond City Council in 1967 and served until 1983. He then took a break from the Council until he returned in 1995. Bates has held a position as a councilmember since and will look to be elected for his eighth term of office this fall. He has unsuccessfully run for mayor four times, most recently in 2010. According to his biography on the city’s website, Bates has the distinction of being the longest serving councilmember in Richmond’s history.
    Tom Butt
    Butt, 68, a registered Democrat, has been serving on the City Council for 17 years. In 2001, he ran for mayor, but finished behind Irma Anderson. An architect, Butt is the president of Interactive Resources, an engineering and architecture consulting firm based in Richmond. Butt was one of the original founders of the company in 1973. His campaign website says that Butt is the “only member of the Richmond City Council who owns and runs a business with employees.”
    Gary Bell
    Credit Union Manager
    Bell, 53, is a registered Democrat. He is the president and CEO of Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union in Berkeley. According to his campaign website, he was elected to the City Council in Wichita, Kansas at the age of 25 and he was a part of the National League of Cities Human Development Policy Steering Committee. He also served a term in the Richmond City Council from 1999-2004, and he ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2006.

The information on the candidates is based on conversations, details from their individual campaign websites or Facebook pages, and statement of qualification documents with the city.

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