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Larry Zhou

Mayor highlights business, environment and council meeting improvements in his first 100 days

On April 23, new Richmond Mayor Tom Butt concluded his first 100 days in office. Butt, a longtime councilmember and Point Richmond architect, won the November election to replace termed-out former mayor Gayle McLaughlin, and took office in January. In politics, the first 100 days is considered an important period in which a new legislator shows their priorities and begins to make good on campaign promises. It’s also a time for voters and colleagues to evaluate the elected official’s performance….

Ten Hacienda households file tort claims against Richmond

The members of 10 households living in Richmond’s infamous Hacienda public housing complex are claiming the city should pay them damages because the city failed to maintain the housing complex and caused them physical injury, property damage and emotional distress. The Hacienda apartments caught media attention when the Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit investigative news organization based in Berkeley, California, broke a series of stories last year about the disturbing living conditions there, which include infestations of bugs, mice…

Crime rises in first quarter of 2015; police force vacancies a challenge

Earlier this month, Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus alerted the community of a 9 to 10 percent increase in both violent and property crimes in Richmond in the first quarter of 2015, compared to the same period from 2014. According to crime statistics released by the Richmond Police Department (RPD), there were 1,087 property crimes in the first quarter of 2015, and 981 in the same period last year. Property crimes include arson, auto burglary, residential burglary and vehicle theft. There…

At Hacienda, some tenants are having trouble searching for a new home

So far, around 20 families who live at the Hacienda public housing complex have received Section 8 vouchers intended to help them relocate while the building undergoes renovations. They have 60 days to find a new home. But some of them say they have received little search or transportation assistance and are worried they will not be able to find a new home before time runs out. The Hacienda apartments caught media attention when the Center for Investigative Reporting, a…

Tenants engage in partial rent strike at two Richmond apartment buildings

On Wednesday evening, a group of tenants at two apartment buildings in Richmond participated in a partial rent strike over rent increases. After working with organizers from the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), the tenants decided to only pay their landlords the value of their rent before the increases, handing over checks for the old amounts to the buildings’ on-site manager. The apartment buildings are located on 1200 and 1300 Bissell Avenue. Each building has 20 units. The…

Richmond Wholesale and Marina Bay residents meet to solve smoke and noise issues

When homeowners first moved to the Marina Bay area, they say, it was a country-like neighborhood. Birds nested on the trees in the gated community. Nights were dark and tranquil. But, they say, everything changed last December when the neighboring business Richmond Wholesale — “one of the largest West Coast distributors of frozen, chilled, and dry food products,” according to its website — closed its Factory Street facility in North Richmond and made the Regatta Boulevard facility its main one….

City council rejects zoning revisions for a digital sign in Hilltop

A divided Richmond City Council has rejected a zoning amendment that would allow a digital advertising billboard on the I-80 corridor for the troubled Hilltop business district. Leaders in the Hilltop district have urged the city to allow a digital billboard to promote the businesses there since 2007, but the city’s sign ordinance currently doesn’t allow such signs. Last March, the city council directed staff from the Planning & Building Services Department to create a zoning amendment that would permit…

Backers of a flyer campaign and ballot initiative proposal criticize city manager’s salary

Two weeks ago, Richmond residents discovered in their mailboxes large flyers titled “Call the Mayor.” The mailers accused City Manager Bill Lindsay, who has served in that position since 2005, of receiving a salary higher than California Governor Jerry Brown and of mismanaging the city. A few days later, a ballot initiative that called for amending the municipal code to regulate Lindsay’s salary was also submitted to the City Clerk’s office. The flyers put Lindsay’s photo right next to Brown’s….

First measles case of 2015 confirmed in Contra Costa County

The first measles case in the recent national outbreak was confirmed in Contra Costa County today. According to county officials, the person with measles travelled by BART between the Lafayette and Montgomery stations between the dates of February 4 and 6 during commute time. “It’s low risk if people have been vaccinated to get measles from this exposure,” said Contra Costa Public Health Communicable Disease Program Chief Erika Jenssen, speaking at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. But for “people who…

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