community

‘To a lot of us, Mayor Butt represents politics as usual’: Richmond reacts to Butt’s decision to leave public life

There was a time when most Richmond voters would have been disappointed by Mayor Tom Butt’s decision to make this term his last in public office. That was before they elected a slate of progressives whose majority on the City Council drowns out many of Butt’s opinions and initiatives.  “To a lot of us, Mayor Butt represents politics as usual: Connected to the big businesses, protecting big developers, and against progressive taxation and social policy,” said resident  Benjamin Mertz. “Richmond…

Richmond needs your help in drawing up new city council district lines

Richmond will be using the recently released 2020 U.S. census data to redraw the city’s political boundaries and is inviting residents to help.  Three public workshops already have been held online and two more are scheduled in January and February. But anyone who wants to participate can submit maps and suggestions by email.  The census triggers a redrawing of political boundaries across the country every 10 years. In Richmond, City Council representation likely will be reconfigured as a result. The…

Contra Costa among first to resentence people under law addressing harsh prison terms.

Some incarcerated people with lengthy prison sentences may see a reduction in their time now that Contra Costa County is among the first in the nation to launch a resentencing pilot program, which it did this month.  For decades, California’s “tough on crime” stance sent swaths of individuals into state prisons with lengthy sentences. While the state’s political leaders and the judicial system have made moves in recent years to reduce prison populations, the legacy of mass incarceration has left…

Why is Richmond plagued by power outages — 269 in a month?

Madalyn Law knows how to keep the food in the refrigerator from going bad when the power goes out. She learned the hard way.  Living in Richmond’s Park Plaza neighborhood, Law has experienced four power outages over the past four weeks. To keep her food from spoiling, she “did it old school” by not opening the refrigerator door too often. “I have never experienced outages like this, and I’ve been here for 42 years,” Law said. “The scary part is,…

West Contra Costa beaches benefit from Coastal Cleanup Day efforts

On Contra Costa County beaches and up and down the California coast on Saturday, volunteers armed with trash bags and garden gloves picked up cups, bottles, paper and all sorts of debris discarded on beaches. At Bayfront Park in Pinole, 14-year-old Josiah Ireton joined other Boy Scouts from Pinole and Hercules, laboriously hauling tires and filling bags with litter. “We found a lot of plastic straws, discarded food containers … and we found a lot of glass, especially on the…

Q&A: new West Contra Costa schools superintendent discusses bias in teaching, returning to class, other topics

Kenneth “Chris” Hurst Sr. is the new leader of the West Contra Costa Unified School District, replacing Matthew Duffy, who led WCCUSD for five years. Before taking the job in May, Hurst was superintendent of the Othello School District in Othello, Washington, for five years, where he is credited with increasing graduation rates and decreasing overall student absences. Prior to his long career in education, he served 12 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. Following that, he received his doctorate in…

Richmond expands job opportunities year-round for city youth

Cinthia Hernandez was on the verge of dropping out of high school when she joined Richmond’s YouthWORKS in 2008. She credits the job program with much of her later success — an internship with the California Attorney General’s Office, a bachelor’s degree in social welfare from UC Berkeley, and her current position of program assistant for the project that helped shape her.  “The summer youth employment program was able to open so many doors for me,” Hernandez said.  Over the…

Body believed to be missing Richmond teen: ‘We continue to mourn and celebrate Antoine’s life.’

In a Facebook message posted Saturday, two days after a body believed to be that of missing Richmond teen Antoine Whittley was found in San Pablo Bay, those who rallied to find him thanked the community for its support and condolences. “We continue to mourn and celebrate Antoine’s life,” read the post on the “Find Antoine Whittley” Facebook page, which was created after the 17-year-old Kennedy High School student went missing in February. On Thursday, police announced a body was…

Biden gives shout out to Richmond crime prevention program, citing it as model

When President Joe Biden introduced his crime-prevention strategy to reporters in late June, he highlighted the community intervention efforts that DeVone Boggan launched in Richmond in 2010 and encouraged other cities to invest in such programs. Boggan, former director of Richmond’s Neighborhood Safety Office, started the Advance Peace nonprofit five years ago to introduce his Peacemaker Fellowship program to other cities. The program is similar to Ceasefire and Cure Violence in that it addresses the root causes of gun violence….