Life long resident of the Bay Area residing in RIchmond. Proactively active in local issues (as opposed to just sitting around and bitching behind the…
Thanks for this informative article.
Is it accurate to write that the City is losing the tax revenue on these zombie homes? Since the tax follows the home, isn’t the tax simply deferred until the home is sold? As we all know there’s no way to avoid someone paying the property taxes.
And while we’re on the tax bill, here in Richmond, what percentage of the tax bill goes to the City (as opposed to the County and the huge bill to the school district for their bond program)? With the figures you cite, is this just the City’s percentage or the whole tax bill? Without knowing this it would be very easy to misunderstand the magnitude of the problem.
Just curious, too, how much the City pays for these zombie homes. You quoted the nationals average but I’m sure that varies greatly from community to community. It would be helpful to know what the figure is here in Richmond.
In response to Ms Koortz’s response to my earlier comments:
**According to City resources, there were in the neighborhood of 2,000 businesses that left Richmond since the Mayor became Mayor. These same sources tell us that in the neighborhood of a thousand businesses started in Richmond but these had significantly fewer employees.
**Empty promises? How were they empty? Weren’t there signed contracts that would have guaranteed that 40% of the 6800 permanent jobs would go to Richmond residents--even the ones who couldn’t speak English or prove their legal right to work in the US? You may believe that a casino was the wrong choice for the development of Point Molate but this was the direction Upstream was given by the City Council when they were awarded the Exclusive Right to Negotiate for the development of Point Molate. And the Council didn’t seem to have a problem accepting the tens of millions of dollars from Upstream while Upstream worked on the details. [Of course, now the City is fighting an $800 million lawsuit because of their failure to bargain on good faith.]
**Although she never took money from the card clubs, she also did nothing to stop them from campaigning--and spending gazillions of dollars--on her behalf.
**This article is about no one but Gayle Mclaughlin so comparing her to anyone else is not really relevant, is it?
**I know something about worker owned businesses since I’ve owned my own business since 1976.
**Please don’t suppose to suggest who and what I support. You’ve never made any effort to get to know me or to discuss who or what I support. Speaking from ignorance is never a good idea. If you think you’ve ever heard me speak in favor of Chevron--the company--then you weren’t listening. I speak on issues and I cite facts and, instead of speaking from ignorance, I speak from decades of experience in that business.
**Granted, I only came to Richmond in 1954 so I can’t speak about it before then but I can remember a GREAT many years where Richmond was a better place. Why is it that the FBI had us as the #11 and then the #9 most violent cities in the US (we dropped off their top 25 about 7 months ago) but we’re still ranked the #1 in car thefts in the country? Why is our official unemployment rate nearing 20%? [The unofficial rate--because people have been unemployed so long they’re no longer counted--is closer to 30%.] Why are there so many home foreclosures in Richmond? Why are we so ethnically separated? Why do our city streets resemble something out of rural Afghanistan? This is not the Richmond I grew up in so why suggest that it’s never been better?
**And having worked with so many business leaders who have taken their businesses elsewhere, few of them cite their proximity to Chevron as the reason but they do speak frequently about the anti-business attitude coming from many vocal neighborhoods and from City Hall (at the direction of the Council).
**Having been a leader in so many different fields I have experience in knowing how to lead diverse groups of people so at the very least we’re able to conduct the affairs before us. I’ve yet to see that leadership in our current Mayor. What I see is someone who doesn’t know how to lead--only to command. It’s not the same.
Broad support? She only garnered the support of about 1/3 of those people who voted.
Smear campaigns? Is it a smear to tell the people what she herself filed in state documents about her mental issues that prevented her from holding a job; about her Chief of Staff who--with her signatures attached--embezzled in the neighborhood of $100,000 from the City of Richmond; that she wanted to control the City’s finances even though she couldn’t handle her own personal finances ($126,000 remaining in her bankruptcy)?
Refused to accept corporate campaign dollars? Did she say anything at all when the card clubs spent gazillions of dollars in independent expenditures to get her elected?
Not one to seek publicity? You have to be kidding. We’re talking about the same person aren’t we? I’m talking about the one that shows up uninvited at events and insists on a seat on the podium and insists on microphone time. I’m talking about the one who shows up for an Occupy walk from Richmond to Oakland and then gets back in her car after the TV cameras leave.
Advocates for new jobs? How many businesses have left Richmond since she and her people took control of Richmond? Nearly 2,000? And the jobs she’s brought in--how many of them have been small workers cooperatives with only a couple of employees?
Had you awarded her with something having to do with her being a mayor, that would be one thing but you’re praising her for being the consummate politician--not much of an honor these days where being labeled a politician is not much better than being labeled a one percenter.
Even as Mayor, she leaves so much to be desired. In five years as Mayor she still hasn’t learned how to run an efficient meeting. Meetings routinely run over leaving a third of the agenda held over to future meetings yet she spends an inordinate amount of time in ‘Presentations' awarding someone for the strangest of things. [We had a special presentation praising people for drinking water.]
My goodness! To assert that it was big business that turned this issue into a racial one e is something one sided and not exactly accurate.
I recall when the issue was being discussed by the City Council to decide whether it was to be put on the ballot when, after a representative of the bottlers had finished speaking and had left the room, one female member of the Council rebutted him and asserted that if you did not support their measure then you were guilty of wanting to kill little black and brown babies. And the Express thinks that it was the bottlers that were playing the race card?
This article also skews the idea of where the tax was to go. The ballot measure never directed where the money was to go and I think you all know this. There was an advisory vote but there was nothing that directed where the money was to go. And this was one of the arguments that sank the measure by a vote of more than two to one.
This article comes across almost as if it were written right out of the RPA offices. And since the RPA is pushing so hard right now to reclaim it’s dominance over the Council with the appointment of one of their key people--Eduardo Martinez--this is that wedge issue they talk about all of the time that can split the people. [The soda tax and Chevron--a pair of litmus tests where your views will decide whether you should be allowed to continue to live in Richmond or whether you should be subjugated by those running the City.] This time they want to split the white progressives living in the border parts of Richmond from those living in the heart of Richmond who amy not appreciate what the RPA has done for/to them recently.
If you look back at the fight for and against Measure N, few people argued about the science. What they argued about was who this tax would apply to (certainly not most of the people living in the Annex, the Marina, the Point, Carriage Hills and North Richmond who most likely do their grocery shopping outside of the soda tax zone) and who elected these people to come into our homes to tell us what we will be allowed to eat and drink.
If you want to write about racism in Richmond, there’s plenty to write about but this was a poor excuse of an article that really just glossed over the issues of substance. It has that same “fair and balanced” feel to it that we see from Fox News except this seems to be coming from the other side of the spectrum.
Just curious, was their any investigating done on this article or was it printed as prepared by the Gang of Three (Jungherr, Cowens and Lozito)? How many misstatements and errors can one article have?
When Ms. Cushing spoke to Mr. Freeman about the "special interest" money Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Kronenberg received as campaign contributions, did he mention that he also asked for the support of many of those very same special interests in his failed bid to unseat the two in question?
And she ask who paid for all of the campaigns to pass those bonds and parcel taxes (those that won and those that lost)? It was those same special interest groups. Yes, they were hoping that if the bonds were passed that they might get some of the contracts but it was the people of this community that gets all of the new schools. NONE of these binds would have been possible without these special interests paying the freight for the campaigns. Where was the Gang of Three with their checkbooks--oh, that's right, their support only went so far.
With the thinking of some of these naysayers, they'd let the buildings fall down around the heads of our children and then blame someone else for not stepping forward.
Did Ms. Cushing ask any of these Gang of Three about their credentials that qualifies them as experts? Did any of them mention that while serving on the Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC)one of them dummied up some letterhead and wrote a letter on behalf of the CBOC to the County Superintendent of Schools--without ever mentioning it to the other members of the CBOC? Did any of them mention how they were a part of the efforts to split the District so their community would be a part of some other District? Did they mention that two of the three had tried to join the School Board but that the community rejected them?
We don't live in one of those Utopian communities where you can run for office without campaigning (which costs money in a District with 104,000+ registered voters). We don't live in a District where everyone chips in to help all of the candidates. There are special interests all around us and they routinely contribute to candidates who think like them. I know that when I write checks to a candidate I'm hoping that she'll continue to think like me but not for a second am I so misguided to think that once the check is accepted that I own that candidate. It just doesn't work that way.
And for the commenter who is against scholarship programs for deserving youth, please understand that The Ivy League Connection is a privately financed scholarship program run in conjunction and partnership with the District. It's open to all eligible sophomore and junior students in our District at absolutely no cost to them And the author is mistaken about the number of students that we're paying for (I'm one of the three administrators of the ILC). The count is 35 this year and not the 12 mentioned by the author.
The ILC is an internationally recognized scholarship program and last year won a national award recognizing this District for their forward thinking and efforts.
If the author is concerned about the number of students that The ILC helps, perhaps he/she would like to step forward and help finance a couple of more students. It's only costing us about $9,000 per student right now so we'd love to have more funds from the private sector.
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