Business

Striking Richmond Chevron steelworkers replaced, as negotiations stall

Steelworkers at Chevron’s Richmond refinery are on the third day of a strike reportedly over wages and hours. About 500 workers represented by United Steelworkers Local 5 went on strike Monday. A day before the strike, the company replaced those employees with non-union members. “The transition was handled with professionalism and respect on all sides, in response to the union’s plan to begin the strike at midnight,” Chevron spokesperson Tyler Kruzich said in an email. In a news release posted…

Herring fishers sue Chevron for answers about spill in San Francisco Bay

Amid the hum of the Bay Area’s cities, it is easy to forget that to live here is to live alongside a vast ecosystem. The biggest and most vital is the Pacific Ocean. And once a year, the ocean reveals its abundance to herring fishers.  “‘The water will be white, that’s when you know,” said Keith Nguyen, a kayak fisher from San Jose. Nguyen is describing the herring spawn, an annual event from November to February, when adult herring migrate…

Richmond earning reputation for grillz as new dental jewelry shop adds options

Bolo Quesada was 13 when his older brothers inspired him to get his first pair of gold grillz. “It used to be a specific type of person that had grillz,” Quesada, who is now in his early 30s, says. “It went from the dope boys to now the average kid getting them.” Grillz, the dental jewelry typically made of gold and encrusted with diamonds or other gems, has exploded in popularity. And grillz shops have popped up across the country,…

Chevron refinery flaring events raise air pollution concerns

Twice this week, on Sunday and Wednesday, flaring events spewed smoke, fire and gases into the air around the Chevron Richmond refinery, concerning residents and closing three schools on Monday.  Late in the week, the events were still under investigation by state, county and local agencies, and Chevron had not addressed the situation on its website. At 8:25 a.m. Sunday, according to a report filed with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, there was a problem at Chevron that created…

Richmond could become next California city to ban gas appliances

Gas stoves and fireplaces may be a thing of the past in Richmond under a proposed ordinance that would shut natural gas out of new buildings. Richmond City Council could vote next month on the  proposed ordinance by Councilmember Eduardo Martinez that closes a loophole in the city’s natural gas ban, which applies to new structures and major renovations. Gas-powered appliances and fireplaces are now exempt from the ban but would not be under Martinez’s proposal, which would leave electricity…

Big jury award could open door to another cannabis dispensary in Richmond

A court case last month possibly set the stage for a new cannabis dispensary in Richmond, the resurrection of an old fight to keep it out — or both.  Two Richmond dispensary owners were ordered to pay $5 million in damages for conspiring against a rival owner. On Sept. 23, a Contra Costa County jury found that William Koziol and Darrin Parle, who operate the Green Remedy Collective, had prevented a prospective dispensary, Richmond Compassionate Care Collective, from establishing a…

Richmond’s HelloFresh workers get community, city council support in union effort

Down the stark road along Factory Street stands the 100,000-square-foot HelloFresh distribution center, where big rigs come in and out.  More than 900 people work there, most of them on assembly lines, preparing and packing the food kits that will later be loaded onto rigs and arrive at the dinner tables of millions of HelloFresh subscribers. Last year, the largest single COVID-19 outbreak in Contra Costa County occurred at the plant, with 171 cases recorded and one death, according to…

UPDATE: PG&E picking up pace of pole washing to address power outage problem

PG&E told Richmond City Council Tuesday that dirty insulators on poles have triggered the frequent power outages residents are experiencing and that the company will wash poles “on a more regular basis.” PG&E is washing 100 to 160 poles a day in Richmond and other parts of Contra Costa County and plans to increase that to 1,000 poles per week. With about 6,000 poles to address, PG&E expects to finish the work by Nov. 15, PG&E’s Darin Cline said.  Over…

VIDEO: At Richmond glassblowing studio, art is a Slow Burn

Bryan Goldenberg has been a glassblower for 27 years. He holds weekly classes for students of all experience levels in his new studio, Slow Burn Glass, in Richmond. In August, Richmond Confidential filmed one of Goldenberg’s classes and chatted with students. Some were inspired to take the class after watching the Netflix series “Blown Away,” which is about glass-blowing. Others said they were looking for a communal activity after a year of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. For all, the…