Government

Council votes on Zeneca site clean-up and development

Electrician and two-time cancer survivor Sherry Padgett could throw a baseball from her 49th Street cabling business and hit what Richmond residents call “the Zeneca site:” an eighty-seven-acre property that contains more than a century’s inheritance of hazardous waste from manufacturers including the now-defunct herbicide maker Stauffer Chemical and the European pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca. Padgett calls the chemicals on the site a “witch’s brew.” Around 10 p.m. Tuesday, the City Council voted 5-2 to reverse its support for a cleanup…

Richmond police present council with update after report found leadership problems

The report last year by MBD Innovations, a public safety consulting group, identified six key issues within the department: a lack of a compelling vision; a disconnect between management and staff; poor morale; poor handling of high-profile disciplinary cases; a lacking relationship between the city manager and the police chief; and an unnecessarily acrimonious relationship between the Richmond Police Officers Association and the Richmond Police Department (RPD) administration.

City council votes to not annex North Richmond

On Tuesday, the Richmond City Council voted to not proceed with annexing the unincorporated area of North Richmond, with only Mayor Tom Butt voting in favor. Additionally, Butt removed three proposed appointments to the Citizens Police Review Commission from the agenda—one of them highly controversial. Until the appointments are finalized, it leaves the commission to operate with only five out of nine members. City attorney Bruce Goodmiller also announced that the city is beginning negotiations with developer SunCal to build…

Developers present plans for Point Molate to Richmond City Council

Orton Development, Samuelson Schafer, SunCal, and Point Molate Partners each presented plans, in 20-minute chunks, to both the council and a chamber filled with protesting members of the public. The crowd, many a part of the Point Molate Alliance— a coalition of residents which that seeks to halt development on the site—carried signs, pictures, paintings and an illustrated cloth banner that said “Save Pt. Molate.” Over 30 people spoke during the public comment period to criticize and oppose the proposed plans.

Council hears presentation on School Resource Officers and wastewater

On Tuesday, the Richmond City Council heard presentations on wastewater infrastructure and School Resource Officers—or SROs—among other items. SROs, who are full-time police officers stationed at schools, have come under criticism recently in the West Contra Costa Unified School District due to budget constraints and because parents, teachers and other community members have raised questions about their effect on school climate. Several members of the Richmond Police Department—Chief Allwyn Brown, Sergeant Lynette Parker and Officer Joseph England—explained the role of…

Unanswered questions about elderly woman’s death at homeless shelter show why people are choosing tents over beds

Vivan Nishi was best known for her daily bike rides across Richmond, where she made frequent stops to visit with her son and friends. Then suddenly one day in September, the 73-year-old died of a heart attack in Brookside Homeless Shelter. Because her face bore a shallow cut from her cheek to her mouth and bruising around both eyes, Nishi’s son and daughter wanted to know more about what happened before she died. Her children paid for a private autopsy…