Tawanda Kanhema

Three Richmond teens charged with first-degree murder in Lincoln Plair investigation

Richmond police charged three teenagers on Monday in connection with the March 4 fatal shooting of 20-year-old Lincoln Plair. Plair was killed on the 100 block of 6th Street in Richmond while washing a car. “All three are affiliated with a gang active in North Richmond known as the Swerve Gang,” Detective Stina Johanson said. The shooting took place in a rival neighborhood, though Plair is not believed to have been involved in gang activity. The Contra Costa County district…

Richmond mulls legal action against Chevron Corp. over refinery fire

The Richmond City Council is 30 days from pursuing litigation against Chevron Corporation if negotiations fail to secure compensation for the August 2012 refinery fire. Legislators are seeking money from the oil company for damages and for expenses incurred by the city after the accident. Council voted 5-2 to hire Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, an antitrust, securities fraud and personal injury law firm based in Burlingame, to prepare to litigate if no agreement is reached by June 18. The measure…

A Richmond volunteer works to help Hurricane Sandy victims recover their homes

A middle-aged Laotian-American man walked up to the doorstep of a Russian business in a wealthy suburb in New York’s Rockaway Peninsula a few days after Hurricane Sandy made her catastrophic landfall. He rang the doorbell—one of more than a dozen doorbells he had rung that day—and waited. Widespread blackouts triggered by Sandy had left many homes without heating and lights, and the streets were deserted, sparking a spate of burglaries in some parts of this stretch of Long Island,…

Richmond city council fails to announce Bell vacancy as meeting ends in stalemate

A meeting that began with warm sentiments as the city council praised Salute restaurant owner Menbre Akililu for her Thanksgiving Day meal giveaway for the homeless quickly spiraled into arguing, showmanship and—at the very end—confusion. As the time ticked down for the meeting—which according to city bylaws officially ends at 11 pm, unless a majority of the councilmembers vote to extend the session—Mayor Gayle McLaughlin expressed concern that they might not get to her last agenda item: officially announcing a…

Rift emerges in Richmond as Bell seat falls vacant

An empty chair sat on the dais of Richmond City Hall Tuesday night during the inauguration of re-elected councilmembers Tom Butt and Nat Bates. Outpourings of well wishes for its intended occupant, Gary Bell—who won the November race but is in a medically induced coma following a bacterial sinus infection—dominated public speeches and the hushed conversations in the gallery.

Backed by new law, homeowners in Richmond, Oakland, fight to protect homes from foreclosure

When Oakland resident Debi Mason set out to prevent mortgage associates from the Bank of America from foreclosing on her sister Patricia’s Maxwell Park home in 2007, she had only a few friends, neighbors and advocacy groups to help fend off the foreclosure. But last week, Mason, along with thousands of homeowners in Bay Area cities like Oakland and Richmond that have been profoundly effected by foreclosures and the ensuing blight, welcomed the new Homeowner Bill of Rights, a state…

2012 Year in Review

From Richmond’s triumphant bid to host the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s second campus to worrying phases of gun violence earlier in the year and the historic November election, here are some of the stories that made the headlines on Richmond Confidential this year.

What now, Jeff Ritterman?

A month after the election, the departing Councilmember Jeff Ritterman can see the end of his term on the council, if not an end to the debate about public health.

Richmond-built solar car ’Impulse’ gets ready for Formula Sun Grand Prix

A shiny bean-shaped rolling contraption, barely three feet high, struggled up a steep gradient on a recent Saturday morning as it entered the streets of Richmond from El Cerrito, turning heads and slowing down traffic as two escort cars flashed their blinkers and carefully stewarded it through crowded traffic intersections. ”We are taking a right on San Pablo, Roger, right on San Pablo,” a navigational assistant in the lead car said through the team’s chatty mission control system, giving a…

Election recap: Voters seek familiar faces

When the official returns came in on Wednesday morning, Richmond voters had decided that after the most expensive campaign in city history, what they wanted was familiar faces. Incumbents Nat Bates and Tom Butt were re-elected to the City Council, and Gary Bell, who will return to the dais after an eight-year hiatus, will take the seat vacated by retiring Councilmember Jeff Ritterman. The city’s proposed tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, Measure N, was defeated. Money was a major talking point…

Citizens Outspent: Inside Richmond’s $4m Election Campaign

Take your pick: naïve anarchists, or corporate puppets. This is the face of Richmond’s hotly contested race for three council seats in the November 2012 election, at least going by the massive billboards and glossy mailers that have dominated the campaign season in this city of 100,000 residents. The majority of candidates running for council in Tuesday’s election are qualified and sincere public servants, but, on both sides, campaigns have created a parallel universe of never-ending caricatures, spending nearly $4…

Protests mar Walmart Supercenter’s re-opening in Richmond

As managers at Richmond’s Walmart Supercenter prepared to launch a grand re-opening this morning, a handful of workers who have spent the last four months renovating the store walked out to protest what they said were ongoing cases of mistreatment by management. Shoppers were greeted by placard-wielding protesters, carrying signs reading “Stand Up, Live Better, Stop Retaliation” and “Stop Trying to Silence Us.” The protesters were a combination of Walmart associates and members of the United Food and Commercial Workers…

Richmond’s sugar-sweetened beverage town hall draws tears, personal testimonies

Families from Richmond’s African American community testified Monday night to the fight against the health effects of poor diets at a town hall meeting to discuss the city’s proposed tax on sugar sweetened beverages. The town hall, held in the eastern corner of the Iron Triangle neighborhood at the Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, attracted at least 80 residents and city officials who came to listen to keynote speaker Maya Rockeymoore, a leading public policy scholar based in Washington D.C. Rockeymoore…