Government

Will Shawn Dunning be Richmond’s next mayor?

Richmond Confidential posed the same questions to mayoral candidates Nathaniel Bates, Shawn Dunning, Eduardo Martinez and Mark Wassberg. Their answers are being presented verbatim, in the order they were received, with light editing, where necessary, for brevity. Today’s Q&A is with Shawn Dunning. Where are you from, and how many years have you lived in Richmond? A: I was born in San Francisco, and I grew up outside the small town of Colfax, in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Since going…

City council candidates weigh in on how to help Richmond’s unhoused community

Kevin Canamore wants answers. He wants his community to get the services it was promised. But more than anything, he just wants to live in a real house. Canamore was living on Rydin Road, one of the largest homeless encampments in Richmond until it was cleared last weekend. According to Contra Costa County’s Homeless Point-In-Time Count for 2022, Richmond is home to 632 unsheltered people. That number is 90% higher than the 2019 figure. While the city is in the…

Martha’s Vineyard meets Richmond: Mayor suggests Rydin RV dwellers park at council members’ homes

In a move reminiscent of the recent migrant stunt pulled by Republican Govs. Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt listed the home addresses of his opponents on the City Council as “RV-friendly parking spots” in an email to advocates for the unhoused community.   On Sept. 19, Darcy Crosman, a member of the Alliance for Action on Homelessness and Fire Safety, emailed Butt and other council members for alternative locations that residents who wanted to live in their…

Richmond Council pushes back Rydin camp closure, as some residents have nowhere to go

Rydin Road residents have been given a reprieve.  The Richmond City Council approved a contract amendment at its Tuesday meeting that will extend the sunset date for some Rydin Road residents. The extension allows the RV encampment to keep providing shelter for residents who need more time to transition. The council voted 5-2 to push back the closing date from Sept. 30 to Oct. 21 for those with special circumstances and to allow $50,000 to be equally distributed among residents…

People of Richmond: What would you do if you were mayor?

“People of Richmond” is a regular series in which reporters pose a question to people in the community. Answers are presented verbatim, though sometimes edited for brevity. Q: If you were mayor of Richmond, what would your top priority be? “I would put more cameras around the BART station and more school signs with crosswalks. There is a lot of students walking after school. I have seen that many cars don’t even care, they don’t even want to stop, especially…

Police chief returns to work after 9 months on leave

Richmond Police Chief Bisa French returned to work on Monday, nine months after being put on administrative leave because of an assault accusation, Assistant Chief Louie Tirona confirmed Wednesday.  French rose through the ranks to become the city’s first female police chief in July 2020. Last October, then-City Manager Laura Snideman put her on paid leave after an 18-year-old  family member requested restraining orders against French and her husband, Lee French, an Oakland police sergeant who was put on leave…

‘I feel like the city is on a good trajectory’: Richmond’s new city manager

Four months after firing its city manager, Richmond City Council on Tuesday hired Shasa Curl, who has held various jobs at City Hall,  to fill the position. Curl’s base salary is $295,000,  $40,000 higher than what Laura Snideman was earning when the council fired her in December, two years into her three-year contract, according to the employment agreement.  Curl has served as the interim city manager since Nov. 23. Since 2011, she has held various other roles in the city…

Police chief remains on leave, but for how long?

Richmond Police Chief Bisa French and her husband, Oakland police Sgt. Lee French, remain on administrative leave from their jobs a month after the Contra Costa County district attorney declined to file charges against them.  The couple was accused in October of assaulting a family member and threatening that person’s boyfriend, in a case that was being investigated in Contra Costa and Solano counties. The San Jose Mercury News reported that the Solano County district attorney also will not file…

Richmond city manager gets big payout to move on, agreement shows

Less than two years after being named Richmond city manager, Laura Snideman will leave the position with more than $300,000 in severance and other payments, according to a separation agreement that Mayor Tom Butt shared publicly on Tuesday night.  The City Council approved Snideman’s termination during a closed session earlier this month. Snideman’s last day as city manager is Dec. 1. A caveat of the agreement is that she has seven days from the time it was signed to withdraw…