City Council candidates: Where they stand

on October 30, 2014

With the municipal election happening in less than a week, we’ve reached out to the councilmembers and asked them where they stand on a number of issues. We hope that this survey will go beyond the name in the checkbox and shed some light on each candidate.

Check out our forum on the mayoral candidates

We have divided the answers up by question. The questions a combination of user-submitted queries, current challenges and broader issues at a local and national level. The The candidates unable to complete the survey are: Anthony Creer, Al Martinez, Jim Rogers and Henry Washington. The questions we asked each candidate are below:

What, if any, changes would you support in how city council meetings are run? Please be specific.

To address the budget deficit, what specific cuts and what specific revenue increases would you support. 

What is your financial vision for The DMC for the next 3 years? (75 words)

Do you agree with the Citizens United decision? What is the impact of the ruling on Richmond’s politics? 

What is your number one priority in running for city council/mayor? How would you address that issue if elected? 

Here is a list of the councilmember candidates who responded to our survey:

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 11.09.36 PM

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 6.07.13 PM Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 6.07.23 PM Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 6.07.38 PM Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 6.07.58 PM Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 6.08.20 PM

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 11.47.53 PM

King

 

 

Election Line

The Questions

 Answer order is strictly alphabetical.

What, if any, changes would you support in how city council meetings are run? Please be specific.

Jovanka Beckles: 

The city Council is mandated to follow Rosenburg’s rules of order that are effective when councilmembers comply with them. Right now, we have one or sometimes two councilmembers who do not follow the parliamentary procedures, therefore, we have meetings that tend to be more unprofessional than not. We need councilmembers who comply with the current rules already in place.

Corky Boozé:

Show the public some respect by starting the meeting on time. Don’t allow anyone the right to overtalk speakers and show everyone the respect they are due as human beings. Convince the rest of the Council that their work is a collaborative effort and sometimes compromises have to be made. Council should listen to ALL of the people they swore to represent then the meetings might not be as divisive.

Dameion King:

Without question I believe no one would disagree that for the past eight years our council has been plagued with controversy and unmanageable disruption. I would work toward enforcing existing policies with regard to how meetings are run, and I would support any effort that would compel council members to maintain a high standard of professional integrity, so that as community representatives we would be viewed as a strong, effective leadership.

Jael Myrick:

I was a co-sponsor of both the procedural changes to limit council member statements to five inter at a time, and limit questions five minutes at a time. Ive also supported rules and procedures to limit disruptions in the council meetings. These were changes that were necessary to make, but there’s no change that can solve the problem—individual have to exercise self-restraint and engage in a professional manner. At the end of the day, the only thing that would fix this is having the right people on the council.

Eduardo Martinez:

In the last few years, certain people have abused the privilege of pulling items from the consent calendar. In response the council requires individuals to discuss the item before the meeting with the department that put the item on the agenda.

I would return to allowing items to be pulled without consultation beforehand.  Many times community members become aware of the importance of issues at city council meetings and should be able to address them.

Gayle McLaughlin:

The public at large deserves to feel comfortable in participating in the democratic process. I will respect the chair. I will share my perspective in a concise way to inform the public of my position on any issue, and I will cast my vote in a democratic way.  Our community should not have to tolerate the dysfunction of a few members of the council whose intent has been on disruption rather than addressing the people’s business.  I look forward to a better situation on the council after the election.

Donna Powers:

Return to a time when councilmembers understood the need for civility with respect for all no matter what viewpoint they might take.

Insist that Councilmembers stay off the social media sites while they’re supposed to be conducting the People’s Business.

Show the public some respect by starting the meetings on time.

Charles Ramsey:

I support the civility rules  for city council meetings. While I strongly support people’s first amendment right to speak, a city council meeting is a limited public forum where rules of conduct should be enforced.

Election Line

To address the budget deficit, what specific cuts and what specific revenue increases would you support?

Jovanka Beckles:

I don’t support cutting staff who provide our residents with vital services.  I support Measure U to increase revenue, primarily from shoppers outside of Richmond. I fully expect that the budget crisis will lessen in the next years as the loss of city income related to the Chevron fire and subsequent shutdown will lessen as property taxes rise and the Chevron refinery resumes operating at its capacity.

Corky Boozé:

The Council needs to address this issue with an open mind and be open to any revenue streams that might benefit the public. This means looking at new businesses will actually bring in tax revenue.  Too many of our new businesses are tax exempt so they aren’t a solution to the problem.

With nearly 80% of the City’s expenditures going towards wages and fringes, we can’t really cut expenses without looking at the reduction in our labor costs.  NO ONE wants to lay anyone off.  At the end of the day, we have to remember that we were elected to address the people’s business and this means we can’t run the City with a budget deficit.  If we don’t have the money to pay for our employees then we cannot afford to keep them on the job.  If we don’t have the money then we shouldn’t be spending it.

Dameion King:

I oppose any cuts to essential community services, such as fire dept., police, city staff and public libraries; however, I also believe it’s important to take a pragmatic approach that would compel us as a council to explore all options with regard to cuts and creative ways to generate more revenue for the city. This could possibly be achieved through a citywide audit. I also would support Measure U if it included a six year sunset clause that would allow us to revisit and make necessary adjustments.

Jael Myrick:

I support Measure U and its necessary for our streets. We’d have to deal with the long-term deficit as well if we allow our streets to get worse its a cost we will have to pay as for other revenues, we would want to bring new businesses to Downtown richmond, all over richmond would be important as well. I follow the city council recommendations. If we have to make cuts I’m one who is prepared to do that. The only thing that I believe is off limits is employment and training, that’s the only thing I wasn’t willing to cut. The city manager’s decisions are the only one’s I would support.

Eduardo Martinez:

In the last round of negotiations, SEIU1021 is the only union that took voluntary cuts in order to prevent cuts in services to the community.  I would urge the other unions to follow their example.  I would also encourage the adoption of a graduated pay ratio in which the cuts increase with the amount of pay.  Of course this requires the good will of the employees just as the possible sales tax will require the good will and trust of the community.

Gayle McLaughlin:

The city has a 5.9 million structural imbalance this year.  But we are financially solvent. We had some one-time revenue increases this past year, from sales of city property, that went into our reserves such that we had significantly more money in our reserves than past years (18 million total).  So, 5.9  million of the surplus went to plug the imbalance. That still leaves 12 million in our reserves (still more than past years).

Donna Powers:

One of the main jobs of a Councilmember is to practice fiscal responsibility.  With the limited resources provided, the Council needs to maintain the City’s infrastructure and continue City services such as fire and police, road repairs, libraries, community centers and senior centers. Key to this is ensuring that they only spend the money that they have.  Floating bonds and raising taxes is not the solution. Bringing in new businesses and jobs is the silver bullet that can help the City stay within their budget.

A key part of this is to lobby the County Assessor to revalue the homes in Richmond so their valuation more closely resembles the pre-Chevron fire valuation.  This could bring many millions back into the City coffers.  This would have the added benefit of helping homeowners with underwater mortgages and eliminate the need for the City to continue with their plan to eminent domain these underwater mortgages.

Charles Ramsey:

I support Measure U in Richmond this fall, which is a half cent sales tax that will maintain and enhance city services.  Generally, I also support certain parcel taxes and bonds as ways to enhance revenues.

Election Line

What is your financial vision for The DMC for the next 3 years? 

Jovanka Beckles:

DMC must remain a full service hospital. We need the same level of mobilization to get the county to take its responsibility as we needed to get the city council to come together and make serious proposals. In addition to the County the state, the hospitals that are bearing the brunt of the DMC ER closure, and the businesses known to contribute to health disparities should be called on to keep DMC open.

Corky Boozé:

We NEED DMC but we also have to look at whether their business model is sustainable. They should get the federal and state governments to pay full value for the services they render.   Their elected governing board should find a way to provide the services this community needs and be self-sufficient.  Asking surrounding cities to take money away from City services to keep their doors open is an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars.

Dameion King:

I strongly support keeping Doctor’s Medical open. However I’m also realistic about the challenges we face in doing so. I would support a collaboration between the City of Richmond, the City of San Pablo and other surrounding cities whose residents would benefit from the continued operation of a fully functional medical center.

Jael Myrick:

Well I think the city manager put together that we voted on Oct 22, its a honest one, its a clear one, There is no silver bullet–a lot of moving parts have to come together to make this work. What the city manager put together is the beginning of that. The county has a role of the play. The city has a role to play, Chevron has a role to play. Kaiser and other hospitals have role to play. That’s really important. the investment we’re willing to make is in a full service hospital.

Eduardo Martinez:

DMC must become part of the county hospital system and develop relationships with local universities to provide training. We must also change the compensation formula. The county and cities that benefit from DMC as a full service hospital should fund it until a viable funding solution can be found.  I propose a utility tax levied on the refineries in the county to provide that necessary funding as well as the rest county hospital system.

Gayle McLaughlin:

Doctors Medical Center can be saved as a full-service hospital. If it closes, it will happen as a result of a combined failure of poor community leadership, corporate irresponsibility, and a faulty medical system. We also cannot accept a substitute stand-alone or satellite emergency hospital—the program that is being pushed by many forces, including the Contra Costa Times.

Having a real hospital in our community is not a utopian fantasy. On the contrary, every community needs a hospital, just as it needs parks, libraries, fire and police forces, and roads. An effective emergency room needs an operating room, intensive care units, and heart and stroke care. Non-emergency hospital care in the community is also required. A part of good patient care is frequent visits by family and friends.  This becomes out of reach especially for low income families when the trip to the hospital is 30 miles or more without decent public transportation.

Most urban communities do have hospitals within reasonable reach. DMC has been written off as financially unsustainable simply because it serves a community with a large low-income or indigent population.

It will take many elements working together to save DMC as a full-service hospital.  These elements include putting DMC under County Administration (which would provide administrative savings) and getting financial support from area corporations, hospitals, cities, county, and additional state “bridge” money.   The City Council has directed staff to come back with a plan on Oc. 21 to address reallocating money from the Chevron benefits agreements to DMC and to work with other entities to bring in additional funding.

I also think it’s imperative that the city work with California Nurses Association in this effort.  They have indeed been leading the charge on this fight and we owe them a debt of gratitude.

Donna Powers:

DMC is in serious trouble and needs help from a lot of sources.  Although they have their own governing body, they need the help of city councils, the Board of Supervisors and even state legislators to find solutions to keep DMC as a full service hospital. The people of West County deserve no less.

Until DMC can find a way, though, to be properly reimbursed for the services they provide, their business model will continue to hemorrhage money.  Sacrifices will have to be made all around West County but no one can say with any certainty right now whether people will be willing to make those sacrifices.

Charles Ramsey:

Richmond needs a full-service hospital to care for our community. On the City Council, I will work with the Healthcare District, the County, community leaders, organizations, and businesses to try to close their on-going operating deficit and ensure their doors stay open.

Check out Gabriel Sanchez’s coverage of the Doctors Medical Center

Election Line

Do you agree with the Citizens United decision? What is the impact of the ruling on Richmond’s politics? 

Jovanka Beckles:

I disagree with Citizens United. It threatens our democracy. In Richmond Chevron is spending over $3 million to elect their candidates. This tilts the process in their favor making it difficult for independent candidates to have an equal voice in elections. I do not take corporate money and stand for our residents.

Corky Boozé:

No! This was a flawed decision by a biased court.  Their interpretation of the 14th Amendment defies comprehension. This ruling enables Chevron to become a wedge dividing the people of Richmond. Whether a person supports Chevron or wants them destroyed is the litmus test that keeps us from moving forward.

Dameion King:

As a business person I’m not opposed to rulings that benefit business; however, the effect of business spending in Richmond’s politics will be determined by the integrity of elected officials. I advocate for social enterprise. As a councilmember I would negotiate with local industry to make significant unrestricted social investments in our community.

Jael Myrick:

I think the citizens united court decisions is one of the worst decisions in the history of the supreme court. it was politically motivated by a right wing conservative court to give away the country to corporate interest its impact has been what its designed to be—to influence the impact of those in power. I think its obvious how it has influenced Richmond. Millions of dollars are being spent where and in the council race where we gotta struggle to raise tens of thousands and one corporation is able to dominate the mail, TV. That’s the impact of CU on the local level. Its obvious, negative, and a bad thing for society. Nobody should have that level of influence on an election. The voters should get more of a fair view of what they want.

Eduardo Martinez:

Citizens United undermines the democratic process by allowing corporations to drown out the voice of the individual.   Chevron is ubiquitous in the media, on billboards, in our mailboxes, on the phone, on the internet and TV in its attempt to buy our city council.  November 4 will reveal the impact.

Gayle McLaughlin:

Citizen’s United decision is an affront to democracy everywhere.   Chevron has already allocated 3 million (likely will spend 4 million before the election ends) to defeat good progressive candidates and to support Chevron-friendly candidates.  They want a city council that will allow them to keep polluting our community and that will not require them to pay their fair share of taxes.  But our community stands tall and will not be turned back!

Donna Powers:

When the ultra conservative Roberts Court interpreted the 14th Amendment to mean that ‘persons’ and corporations are the same thing it was a pox on America that took us one giant leap backwards to a time when Big business ran our government. 

We’re seeing this here in Richmond when moneyed interests try to use their wealth to influence the Council and School Board races.

Charles Ramsey:

I disagree with the Citizens United decision, and think that its impacts are everywhere in politics.  The problem is that if a candidate wants to compete, it creates a race for dollars and Citizens United took the restraints off of the system.

Check out Harriet Rowan’s coverage of campaign financing in Richmond

Election Line

What is your number one priority in running for city council/mayor? How would you address that issue if elected? 

Jovanka Beckles:

My priority in running for City Council, is to increase the quality of life for Richmond all residents especially those disenfranchised and suffering from injustices that create financial hardships, physical illnesses, inequality of opportunity. I will make the community the center of my work. I will listen to the community and work in the community to alleviate inequality.  I will be a voice for the community on the council. I support focusing on lifestyle issues—parks, clean air, walkable communities, access to healthy foods both for the good of our residents and to attract businesses and employment opportunities to Richmond.

Corky Boozé:

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!  When people are able to work and provide for their families it solves so many of our problems:

  • Tax revenue we need to provide City services
  • People can live in decent homes
  • The schools become better funded
  • Crime becomes less prevalent

Of even greater importance, it elevates the feeling of self worth for the people of Richmond.  When they have a job they feel better about themselves because they know they’re providing for their families.  Having a job can be the silver bullet that stops our problems dead in their tracks.

Dameion King:

To ensure that the city of Richmond has accurate representation of its populace; representation that leads toward each resident, who makes a decision to call Richmond home, seeing themselves as stakeholders, residents who are civically engaged, equipped and empowered to assist and partake in our prosperity. When I’m elected, I will labor to promote tolerance, social entrepreneurship and innovative business development that will encourage profits and hard skills development for workers in the immediate community. I will work toward enriched dialogue between community and law enforcement in addition to advocating for service enriched housing models for our low income and senior residents.

Jael Myrick:

My #1 priority is creating a voice and providing a voice for young people. Richmond Promise is a $35 million for the people of Richmond – its a real opportunity to continue their election. It gives them opportunity to do what they want we need to implement that correctly to make sure every kid involved in it does so successfully.

Eduardo Martinez:

By making Richmond a more attractive and healthier place to live and work, and by continuing to reduce crime with community policing and other prevention programs, I believe we will also make Richmond better able to attract new jobs and businesses.  I will push for urban infill development with interrelated benefits: local retail or commercial centers foster community, reduce the need for trips by car, can support relatively small and local businesses (a key to job generation), and protect undeveloped lands in outlying zones, which can then be used for urban farming, green belts, and recreation.

Gayle McLaughlin:

Richmond is better now. Over the past decade that I’ve been on the Council (8 years as mayor), working with all segments of the community, we have reversed our downward spiral and are rising from a history of scarcity and despair.  Homicides are the lowest in 33 years; parks have been renovated; more solar has been installed per person in the bay area;  and residents are more satisfied with city services.  We’ve become a national leader with bold and innovative solutions to chronic problems.

My key priority is to keep Richmond’s transformation going – making our neighborhoods more livable and healthy.  To make that happen we must continue to reduce all crime with our community policing and prevention programs; we need to continue to hold Chevron accountable; we need community schools to help mentor our youth, make available parenting classes, and train school volunteers; we need to market Richmond as the great place it is and bring in more diverse businesses providing good jobs; and we need to keep our local hospital open to sustain a healthy community.  To do all this, we must keep defining our own destiny and not let the oil giant in our city take over our democracy.

Donna Powers:

A return to civility and professionalism.  This means a City Council where the Peoples’ Representatives treat each other and the public with the respect that we are all entitled to.

How do we do this?

  • For a start, replace Rosenberg’s Rules with the more traditional Roberts Rules of Order.
  • Elect a Mayor that can run a Council meeting without having to call multiple recesses.
  • Have Councilmembers refrain from using social media as a tool to sling mud at people they disagree with.
  • Insist that members of the Council actually listen to and represent ALL of the people they were elected to represent.

Charles Ramsey:

I want to balance the budget and invest in this city’s crumbling infrastructure. During my time on the West Contra Costa Unified School District Board, I helped balance 10 straight budgets and helped create community support for parcel taxes and school bonds that helped us invest in improving the infrastructure of our schools. I want to apply that kind of experience to helping to rebuild Richmond to bring in investment and create opportunities for our citizens.

1 Comment

  1. […] For more on the 2014 election, check out our forum with the mayoral candidates, and our forum with the city council candidates. […]



Card image cap
logo
Richmond Confidential

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.

Please send news tips to richconstaff@gmail.com.

Latest Posts