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Residents: Chevron needs to compensate Richmond

on July 3, 2013

A small group of residents interrupted a Richmond City Council meeting Tuesday demanding that

Chevron compensate the city and its residents for damage caused by the August 2012 refinery fire. The group also announced two events that will be held next month to commemorate the anniversary of the fire.

Six refinery employees sustained minor injuries in the fire at Richmond’s Chevron refinery, and 15,000 Richmond residents sought medical treatment after breathing polluted air.

The reputation of the City of Richmond has suffered because of Chevron, the protesters said holding signs that read, “Stop Chevron It Kills Us,” and “Chevron Fire Reduces Property Values, Make Chevron Pay.”

Richmond resident Juan Reardon told Richmond Confidential that while property values everywhere are going up, prices in Richmond have declined because of the fire. “Chevron should compensate the city and its residents for the losses,” he said.

Reardon said that Chevron should make sure that such accidents do not happen again. “They have to fix the place,” he said.

Later, addressing lawmakers, he said, “The city council should stand up for the City of Richmond against the greed of Chevron, which cares only about its profit.” The blaze polluted the air and caused damage to the health of kids and families, he added.

Mike Parker, a Richmond resident, told the council that property values plunged by 14 percent since the fire. “It hurts everybody,” he said. “City loses income and property owners suffer. [Richmond] should sue Chevron to compensate for the losses.”

The public council meeting followed a closed session with legal counsel regarding the Chevron issue. Details about what was discussed were not available.

In a statement released Wednesday, a Chevron spokesperson said, “Chevron U.S.A. Inc. is committed to continuing its ongoing discussions with the City of Richmond regarding how Chevron U.S.A. and the city can be effective community partners now and in the future.”

Two events are planned to mark the anniversary of the fire. The first will be a march in Richmond on Aug. 3. It will start at 10 a.m. at Richmond BART station and proceed down McDonald Avenue, to the

Richmond Parkway, Garrard Boulevard, and end at the Chevron gates at Point Richmond, where a rally will be held.

The second event, a memorial at the Richmond Civic Center Plaza, will be held on Aug. 6 at 6 p.m. A bell will toll 15 times to commemorate the fire.


  1. Richard Sugerman on July 4, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    If Chevron is going to continually poison the air, then let us know with their siren telling us to shelter in place, perhaps they could pay for new windows in our homes–many of our homes have old, leaky windows making it silly to shelter in place; we may as well have a picnic in our front yards.

    It’s the least they could do.

  2. Tony Suggs on July 7, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    I don’t know where the one protester got his home value figures from but they don’t agree with those on

    A simple search of Zillow in the 94801 zip code, the area closest to the refinery shows that home values have actually gone up, not down as stated in the article.

    People, don’t rely on any ones postings or comments. Do your own research it is simple enough to do and doesn’t take much time at all.

    Finally, how many of those 15,000 people were actually injured by the smoke? I had people come in my office days and weeks later stating that they were going to file a claim against Chevron.

    They admitted that they weren’t near the refinery but were going to get some” money” anyway.

    • Don Gosney on July 10, 2013 at 10:06 am

      The lawsuit game is one of Richmond’s dirty little secrets.

      There were a lot of people who were legitimately affected by this fire and their stories are being lumped in with the thousands upon thousands of stories from people who play this dirty little game.

      Every time we have a catastrophe–whether it be the Safeway fire, the General Chemical oleum leak or any number of fires and releases from the Chevron refinery–the shysters stand out on the street corners handing out their business cards and people line up for the easy money. With some of our neighbors it’s a time honored family tradition.

      They know that in the long run, the chances are good that the companies responsible for the incident will most likely settle for pennies on the dollar rather than pay attorneys’ fees and litigate.

      It’s well known, though, that unless you go to the doctor and document that you had a medical problem, you can’t even file your claim.

      Why do you suppose it was that there were fewer than a thousand people who went to the doctor in the 24 hours after the August 6th fire but within the week the number had escalated to the 15,000? Could it be that the shysters were advising their “clients” to document their ailments by going to the doctor? It begs the question that if these people were retching on the ground struggling to breath, wouldn’t they want immediate medical attention? Why wait 3-10 days before seeking medical assistance?

      And let’s not forget that this fire–and the legitimate injuries to some of the people of this community–was immediately turned into political fodder by an amalgamation of community groups hell bent on shutting down the Chevron refinery. Was it any wonder that these groups were hosting tutorials on how to file a claim?

      We even had a City Council candidate that stood in line for several hours to file his claim and publicly spoke of his frustration once he learned that he had to have seen a doctor prior to filing the claim. He admitted to the reporter that he was just there for some of that easy money.

      It’s bad enough that we have so many opportunists here in Richmond that see nothing wrong with being a part of this scam, but we have elected officials that not only condone their actions but encourage them, too. They’ve even deluded themselves that they need the money more than the shareholders of the company and this justifies their illegal and immoral actions.

      I’ve always believed that when someone does something wrong they need to suffer the consequences but too many of our neighbors try to take advantage of the misfortune of others to line their own pockets. And no one wants to call them on their misdeeds.

      • Joshana Marvels on July 20, 2013 at 8:21 am

        Don Gosney “loves the smell of Chevron in the morning” and he loves being in bed with the polluters. The real opportunists in Richmond are people like Gosney who ignore the facts (Chevron’s willful neglect, the 2000+ unrepaired areas) and attempts to distract from the hurting caused by Chevron. Go and get your check from Chevron, Gosney. Richmond eyes are open.

        • Don Gosney on August 1, 2013 at 3:34 am

          Rather than addressing the issues, this person chooses to attack the author.

          You know nothing about me yet you write as if you do. Ignorance never looks good so why do you wear it as a badge of honor?

          I tried to check to see how long you’ve been a part of this community but I can find no record of a Joshana Marvels being registered to vote in West County. It makes me wonder if this is a real name or whether the author is hiding behind a pseudonym. Or perhaps they’re not registered to vote (my data source). Or maybe they’re brand new to the area and think they know everything already. I can’t speak to any of that because there’s nothing to go on here.

          I don’t even know if this person is a male or female so please forgive me for simply referring to this person by their first name.

          What I wrote about had nothing to do with Chevron’s fire–an incident with which Chevron took full responsibility immediately.

          What I wrote about was the long history of so many of our neighbors who use the slightest incident to line their own pockets. They know that there’s money to be made by filing a claim because most of the alleged injuries cannot be proven or disproved and it may be in Chevron’s best interest to simply pay the people off rather than fight claims in court.

          Forgive me if I’m telling on our neighbors by telling the world that far fewer than the 15,000 who went to the hospitals were actually injured. While these same people might brag to their neighbors about how they got some of that Chevron money, when the TV cameras come around they going to be speaking all teary eyed about how they were retching on the ground and thought they were going to die.

          Why do so many of the Chevron bashers want to ignore the issues and focus on the people speaking about the issues?

          It’s like at the last Council meeting of the summer when four speakers spoke about the explosion at the refinery when there is no evidence that there has been an explosion at the Chevron refinery in decades. There was a fire on August 6th of last year but there was never an explosion. So why use that word to describe it? Maybe because “explosion” sounds so much more excitable and damaging than “fire” sounds?

          If anyone can claim that they’ve heard me defending Chevron, they ought to bring it forth. When they do, though, they had better be able to cite their sources. They had better be able to provide a video clip of me defending Chevron or be prepared to defend themselves before a jury.

          What I’ve done is defend a process where when someone does something wrong they need to suffer the consequences but if they’ve done nothing wrong, then they deserve the same protections that you and I do.

          When Chevron screws up and a fire ensues like it did last summer–Chevron needs to be held accountable.

          When lightning strikes the refinery and starts a fire–how can Chevron be held accountable?

          Last summer we saw Urban Tilth wheeling in carts full of vegetables they claim that Chevron killed less than 24 hours earlier. I said even then that we needed to wait until we had the facts before we sent people to jail. Not even Round-Up kills plants that quickly but Urban Tilth could claim without a doubt that these healthy looking plants were killed because of some unknown substance that was in the air after the fire?

          Should we assume, Joshana, that we should resort back to vigilante justice instead of trying to find out exactly what happened before we get out our tar and feathers?

          If you ever want to discuss the facts or the issues before you paint me with the vileness of your libelous and slanderous accusations, I’m in the book and am easy to reach. You might notice that I don’t hide behind fake names and I even post a real photo of what I look like.

          I’m amused when you accuse me of taking money from Chevron when they’ve never paid me a dime and have even worked against me on several occasions.

          I’m amused when you write that I’m in bed with the polluters when the California League of Conservation Voters have praised me for my generous donations over the past 30+ years to preserving the environment. About how I worked for so many years hand in hand with the Communities for a Better Environment and even helped channel major funding into their operation. About how many years I was a proud member of the Sierra Club. Like I wrote earlier–you know NOTHING about me so until you actually know anything, perhaps you would be better served by putting down your pen or perhaps writing about something that you have some actual knowledge about.

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