Nat Bates, City Council

on January 31, 2018

After serving several terms on city council, Nathaniel Bates, 87, thinks he knows Richmond best.

Bates, a 77-year resident of Richmond, remembers taking the Santa Fe train from Texas to Richmond in 1942 after his mother moved to work at the Kaiser shipyards.

“Richmond is the only home I’ve ever known,” he said.

After a career in the Alameda County criminal justice system as a group counselor and then a probation officer, Bates was first elected to Richmond City Council in 1967.

Bates has a track record of being pro-business. His website lists several Richmond businesses he has helped push for over the years: Hilltop Shopping Center, Pacific East Mall Shopping Center, Magallanes Automotive Repair, Target and more.

When asked what the main issue facing Richmond is, his answer is straightforward: “Money.”

“Our budget is not in shape,” he said. “Our public safety and police department are in desperate need of funding.”

Terry Kwong, the developer who built Pacific East Mall Shopping Center, said Bates has been a good ally in the business community.

“After he left, it seems there’s nowhere to turn,” he said. “The city is very anti-growth.”

Kwong also shared how helpful Bates has been during difficult times. When his shopping center was broken into, he said Bates referred him to a police officer who could investigate the break-in.

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