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Crowd gathers in Point Richmond for council candidate forum

on September 28, 2012

Richmond’s City Council candidates met for their second night in a row at Thursday evening’s Point Richmond Neighborhood Council’s Candidates Night forum.

Candidate Anthony Lamar Green was the only one not present at the Schooner Building in Point Richmond, which due to its size provided a more intimate setting than Wednesday’s forum at the Richmond Senior Center.

About 60 Richmond residents filled the seats as the candidates began the night with opening statements.

For the rest of the night, questions and comments were dominated by three subject areas: Chevron, Measure N, and Richmond’s youth and seniors.

The first question of the night was posed by the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council and dealt with the relationship between the city and Chevron. Gary Bell responded first, stressing the importance of Chevron to Richmond but also the role of the city in holding Chevron accountable.

“Chevron is a citizen, though they’re corporate, and they have responsibilities,” Bell said. “They should pay taxes and operate in a safe and sound matter. The city should make sure they do that in a preventative way.”

Richmond Progressive Alliance candidate Eduardo Martinez compared the city’s relationship with Chevron to a marriage, saying that when things go bad the relationship must be reevaluated.

“When you have a company that proposes that they care about Richmond, but they have headquarters elsewhere, end the leases of properties that provide income to Richmond and lie to citizens about explosions … then you have problems,” Martinez said. “When a company has to brand every donation they give, then we have a problem.”

Nat Bates supported the city’s relationship with the company, noting the positives it brings to the city during tough times.

“There needs to be neutral respect between the city and Chevron,” he said. He went on to emphasize the city’s need to work with the company to promote job growth and economic development.

Wednesday night the candidates just took an informal vote on Measure N, but Thursday offered more of a platform for discussion.

RPA candidate Marilyn Langlois said that passing the measure should be a priority for moving the health of the city forward and stopping the obesity pandemic. “If it passes, it will be effective,” she said. “Otherwise, why would the soda companies be spending millions of dollars in public relations to have it defeated?”

Both Jael Myrick and Bea Roberson said they were skeptical of the tax, citing the financial strain it would cause for the poor and working class people of the city, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck

“I don’t see a guarantee this this will stop obesity,” Myrick said, “but there is a guarantee that this will raise the cost of groceries.”

Roberson went on to say that the tax could also take away important revenue for the city. “Now when I go to buy a Dr. Pepper in El Cerrito, I’ll also stop and buy my groceries there, too,” she said.

Mark Wassburg agreed, saying that the measure would not stop obesity because of unhealthy food options that would still exist in the city.

All the candidates agreed that the city’s obesity problem needs to be addressed.

Perhaps the most agreed-upon issue of the night was the importance of services for seniors and youths.

Eleanor Thompson said that she was the only one of the candidates who has dedicated her life to helping reduce crime in Richmond and helping the city’s young people get jobs and seek the training they need to do so.

Mike Ali-Kinney had a similar response, touting his work with Stop the Gang Violence Moratorium in the early 1990s.

Tom Butt appealed to attendees’ understanding of the city’s economy as a means to address concerns for the city’s old and young people.

“Programs targeted to young people fight for funds just like programs for paving streets or hiring police,” he said. Therefore, a robust economy is necessary for the city to provide sufficient programs at the level it should for these groups, he said.


  1. Don Gosney on September 28, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Just as with the forum held by the North & East Neighborhood Council the previous evening, I want to thank the Point Richmond people who put this forum on so the public could have a chance to meet the candidates and hear what they have to say. Another fine event.

    Events like these don’t just happen. Someone has to do the work and make them happen. Thank you to those that did the work so the rest of us could enjoy the party.

    Listening to the candidates who have such different ideas on the direction Richmond should be heading–and how we should get there–what concerned me was how ignorant some of the candidates are about the issues. Whether it’s our budget, Chevron, how we interact with our neighboring cities and even whether there’s a correlation between supporting a business and selling out to them, I saw well intentioned people who want to run our city but either don’t want to do their homework before they act or don’t know where to go to become better informed. And in recent years we’ve seen plenty of community activists and leaders–some elected and some just anointed–who refuse to listen to people in the know because they have a different idea of what should be done.

    Whether they get elected or not, all eleven candidates have positions in our community and need to be better informed if they want to “lead” us. I hope they’ll take the time to surround themselves with people they can learn from.

  2. Mr. Virgil Tipps on September 30, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    If people only would have listened to self -roclaimed expert Don Gosney bout the benefits of a casino in Richmond ours would be a great ( ‘gambling your salaries’ town while inhaling Chevron’s toxic airs) city.
    We are better off without some ‘experts’.

    • Don Gosney on October 1, 2012 at 9:39 am

      Well perhaps you’d rather I just crawl in a corner and die rather than express an opinion that differs from yours?

      And where can you recall me ever speaking out in favor of the casino? It never happened. Yes, I supported it because I never saw the Earth ending scenarios that many others saw. What I argued for from Day One was the development of Point Molate–and I still do. I’ve been a ardent supporter of the project as a whole and don’t back down from that. Maybe that’s because I knew the details of the project inside and out–something beyond what most people saw in a campaign mailer. My 17 years of tireless work in developing the Reuse Plan and chairing the Restoration Advisory as we advised the Navy on the environmental clean up of the site actually made me something of an expert on the site.

      What I wrote about here, though, in my comments on THIS ARTICLE, was the ignorance of some of the candidates on some of the issues. For instance, as they proposed to use the road diet and reduce San Pablo Avenue down to one lane in each direction, how do they think this is going to affect El Cerrito and San Pablo who share the same road? What do they think’s going to happen to the cars who routinely jam SPA during the commute hours?

      And how about those candidates who keep trying to get the public to believe that the Chevron Refinery that’s operating today is 110 years old when that’s so wholly inaccurate?

      Or the constant correlation between supporting a business or a cause and their assumption that this is the same as having sold out scruples and shelving integrity.

      And there’s more.

      I’ve attended all three of these candidate forums held this year from start to finish and have replayed my video tapes so I’ve heard what each of the candidates have said. When someone says something that can so easily be debunked (like when Al Gore said he invented the Internet) it doesn’t take an expert to see right through the falsehood.

      Do you know me at all? If not, then why do you feel the need to make a personal attack against me–in print? Does this make you feel superior when you try to personally put someone else down? Is this how you make yourself feel better about yourself? Get to know me and if you still want me to crawl in that corner we can talk about it. Until then, perhaps you might want to discuss the issues and not the bearer of the message.

  3. Mike Ali Raccoon Eyes Kinney on October 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I am so honored by this photo image!!
    Mike Ali Raccoon Eyes Kinney,
    Native Candidate for Richmond City Council 2012

  4. Mike Raccoon Eyes on October 5, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Mike Ali Raccoon Eyes Kinney
    October 5, 2012 at 12:43 pmI am so honored by this photo image!!
    Mike Ali Raccoon Eyes Kinney,
    Native Candidate for Richmond CA.City Council 2012

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