If you are elected, what measures will you take to reduce violent crime in Richmond?
Reducing crime takes the coordinated effort of every part of a community: citizens, city, county, state and federal authorities.
As a member of the Public Safety Committee, I want to reduce crime by increasing the number of police on the street. I will continue the work I’ve done so far by funding 22 extra police officers and I will work toward a goal of 2 officers per 100,000 residents from the current rate of 1.7 officers. That’s why I am supported by the Richmond Police Officers Association and Contra Costa County Sheriff Warren Rupf.
I will propose strategies for crime intervention such as stricter handgun laws in the city.
Aside from crime, the most common concerns among Richmond residents include streets in need of repair, park upkeep, dim or dark streetlights, illegal dumping, abandoned homes, etc. What would you do to reduce blight and improve the quality of life in neighborhoods?
Again, there needs to be a concerted effort by citizens, the Mayor, city council, business, and industry to make this a priority.
As a council member I have voted for a budget of $7 million dollars to improve the streets. This increases the budget from $0 during the budget crisis of 2004. This year I have the privilege to vote for a budget of 12 million dollars to help improve our streets.
I also voted last year for the reconstruction of streets, specifically the McDonald corridor which is taking place right now.
I participated in the block by block clean up of the Iron Triangle. I will continue the city’s initiative of one block at time, in which the city staff, volunteers and home owners clean up and take back their streets. We will work to board up abandoned and foreclosed homes. If the city looks better, if the schools improve and if roads are good it will help to attract more green and other small businesses.
How can the city generate more revenue to ensure long-term funding for public services?
This is always a hard issue for local government because a great deal of funding is controlled by what happens in Sacramento or Washington DC. Ever since Prop 13 in 1978, cities and other local government entities have passed more local taxes, increased fees, but that isn’t enough.
Richmond’s key task is to recruit more business and light green industry to the city. Richmond must improve the port so it will attract the new generation super cargo ships whose size is too great to go under the Bay bridge to Oakland. In short, the city will need businesses that produce more municipal revenue.
If elected, what would you do to increase the number of jobs available to local residents?
First, I believe that is important for Richmond to have a diverse economy.
Second, I will work to balance the use of our ports and other zoned areas such as tourism, retail and clean green industry which will employ additional residents.
Third, I will increase the Local Employment Ordinance (LEO) requirements from the current rate of 20% and also mandate that sub-contractors comply with LEO.
Fourth, we need to expand our public-private partnership for job training. We should make better use of Contra Costa College in our own backyard where people can take skill courses, in addition to general education. The trades unions have taken a active part in sponsoring more apprenticeship programs for the people of Richmond. If we could tie what is already happening with private sector involvement through supportive funding and contracted programs , we could place a great number of those graduating from high school into the jobs of tomorrow.
What is your vision for Point Molate? Should development plans include a casino?
I believe in quality development which is sensitive to the environment, whether or not that development plan includes a casino.
What is your position on the Honda Port of Entry proposal? What, if any, modifications would you make to the project?
I support creating jobs and income through increasing business opportunities and an active port. I voted for the authorization of the Environmental Impact Review. Once I have reviewed the EIR and listened to public comments, I will have a better idea of the modifications needed for this project.
What is your position on the city’s approval of the Chevron Energy and Hydrogen Renewal Project, the environmental impact report and the community benefits agreement?
We achieved a substantial agreement between Chevron and the City of Richmond.
- We brought 1,200 jobs to the city.
- The community benefits agreement component of the permit will bring $61.6 million to the city.
- The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), the regional regulatory body for air emissions, testified at city hearings that the Chevron project improves air quality because air pollutants and particulate matter are reduced.
- We set 10 conditions in the permit that are more stringent than current California state regulatory law. For example, two conditions regulate environmental performance of equipment and will reduce nitrogen oxides by -104.8 tons per year
I know there have been a lot of questions raised by the Chevron Project. I would like, therefore, to clear up some of this confusion.
First, you need to know that Chevron was seeking a permit from the City of Richmond to upgrade a single unit within the refinery. That is all that was before the City Council. The law states that the city must approve a project if it meets all of the requirements, regional, state and federal.
Second, who has what authority to regulate Chevron’s activities? Because of what Chevron does as a refinery, and because of it’s history of being domiciled in West Contra Costa County since the early 1900’s, Chevron is regulated by many agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency, the Regional and State Water Resources Control Board, Bay Area Air Quality Management Quality District, Bay Area Conservation Development Control District , the County & State Health Services agencies, plus several other agencies.
The Council, with advice from the City Manager, City Attorneys and special consultants, voted to approve the permit and the Community Benefit package. Did we get enough from Chevron? All I know is that I can’t think of any other city around us that received anywhere near the amount of $61 million that goes to benefit the citizens of Richmond.
What is your position on Measure T and why?
I supported the last tax measure, but do not support Measure T for three reasons. This tax measure hits small and new green businesses too hard and at the wrong time. Richmond is just recovering from one of its worst fiscal crises in history and we are attempting to coax new businesses to come to Richmond. Measure T doesn’t help that effort. But I will respect the decision made by the voters on November 4.
What is your position on municipal identification cards for Richmond residents, regardless of their immigration status?
Because this issue is larger than just a city issue and because it can’t be dealt with piecemeal, I believe we need to wait and see what the State of California and the federal government do.
I am aware that the Government of Mexico issues an ID card , the Metricula Consular, which allows individuals to open bank accounts, access limited public services, and work with authorities to resolved crimes and other social ills. They are also used as proof of residency for parents of individuals born in this county when applying for a passport from the US Department Of State. This program is a help to many people.