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If you lived and paid attention to local and county politics you would quickly realize that West Contra Costa County is one of the most corrupt counties in the state.
If it were not for the press Ms. Abuslin might be in a shallow grave right now. Her cover has been the press. If the press drops out bad things could happen. I agree she must get back home. Her life is in danger every day she is in Florida. Get her back and find out who or what organization paid for the trip. As they say, follow the money.
No question, what happened to the folks at the bulb should be memorialized. Shame on the perpetrators who attacked the homeless for committing the crime of living on a dump.
"He's very neutral," said Bates when nominating Pimple last week. "He's a very intelligent young man and when you consider what he had to overcome being blind, going to school and getting a law degree, well I can't help but admire a young man of that nature." Nat Bates speaking in support of Mr. Pimple being selected for the Richmond City Council vacant seat. West County Times 2/25/2015
Yes, it is true that Mr. Vinay Pimple has overcome many challenges in his life but that does not change the fact that he has no right to the vacancy. The voters did not vote for him. The voters voted for Jim Rogers and if Rogers, as the highest vote getter, was not acceptable there should be another election. Once again, the Council itself selected the most important seat on the Council, the position that will often be the swing vote.
This is the third time in eight years that this has happened and every time Richmond voters have voiced their disapproval. Unfortunately, there will be no voter blowback because Richmond is shackled to the system of at large elections which teach our politicians that there is no accountability. Whatever crimes and misdemeanors they may have committed during their term in office will be forgotten and/or covered up at election time with expensive, colorful mailers financed by their rich and powerful friends.
Richmond is a company town; it is run by powerful, connected rich people and corporations. Even the RPA is made up of residents living west of I-580 and other affluent areas of Richmond. It is for that reason we will never see district election coming from our elected officials. According to Tom Butt we don’t need district elections. Butt is telling the truth he and his constituents don’t need district election but the rest of us sure do.
Ever wonder why Chevron hasn't put out hit piece mailers on Tom Butt?
Knee jerk white liberals can't see the obvious, Chevron candidate for Richmond Mayor Nat Bates and Richmond candidate for Mayor Tom Butt are two sides of the same coin. Butt and Bates have played good cop, bad cop for Chevron for years to the detriment of Richmond residents. Unfortunately, the East Bay Express prints political propaganda pieces rather than informed commentaries which ultimately end up harming Richmond's working class community.
Although Butt may be the unofficial mayor of Point Richmond, he is not ranked all that highly with the rest of Richmond residents. It appears that white liberals hold Butt in high esteem but they apparently are not paying attention to Butt’s role in Richmond history.
Butt plays the bad cop with Chevron while Bates plays the good cop but between them Richmond has remained a company town since it incorporated in 1905.
In 2010 Butt negotiated a closed door agreement between the City and Chevron to receive $114 million dollars on a graduated schedule from Chevron for 15 years; however, the tradeoff was that Chevron would not have any new taxes levied on them for the same period. Currently, Richmond is in serious financial trouble and we are only 4 years into the agreement with payments getting smaller every year.
In the last 30 days Butt negotiated a deal with Chevron for his pet project, a solar farm for Marin Clean Energy, a company on which he happens to sit on the Board. The tradeoff was that no funds were allotted for the failing Doctors Medical Center resulting in the community’s loss of a critical medical emergency facility, an especially critical resource for our uninsured and indigent residents.
Butt brought Chevron candidate Charles Ramsey into the Richmond mayoral race to split the Black vote and allow then candidate Mike Parker, another Point Richmond resident, to win. When Ramsey switched to the Council race, Butt pushed neophyte Parker out of the mayoral race and decided to personally take on Bates.
Butt refused to fire the City Manager Bill Lindsay when he rejected calls to fire the Manager of Employee Relations, Leslie Knight who was caught misappropriating city funds for her own enrichment. Lindsay allowed Knight to retire with full benefits and a glowing letter of recognition and wouldn’t have pushed her out at all if it had not been for the press coverage, repeated demonstrations and public outrage.
Butt supported the Director of Public Housing, Tim Jones, when it was revealed that public housing residents are living under disgraceful conditions, insulting the tenants by suggesting that the problems were their fault. A month ago the investigative reporter who originally broke the story revealed additionally that the money allocated for housing maintenance was being misappropriated by those in charge of maintenance. Currently the matter is under investigation by the Richmond Police Department while Tim Jones remains on the payroll.
In 2004 the City announced it was $35 million in debt. Fire stations were closed; library hours were cut back and over 200 City workers were laid off. Butt’s explanation of this financial disaster was that it was an accounting glitch. When he ran for reelection in 2004 the West County Times ran an editorial under the headline “Throw the bums out!”
When a mega-casino was proposed for Point Molate Butt was initially an avid supporter. It wasn’t until the last months before the Richmond voters voted against it that he changed his mind after the developer couldn’t come up with the money he had promised.
Butt was instrumental in bringing in Chevron candidate Charles Ramsey to run for mayor against Nat Bates. This was no small task since Ramsey had to move to Richmond to be eligible to run. Say what you will about Bates but Ramsey’s track record as the President of the West County School District and prostitute chaser makes Bates look like Mother Theresa. Butt has contributed $67,750 West County School District tax measures while his firm has received more than $9 million in work from the school district. Butt and Ramsey are very good friends.
Butt is not the good old boy he pretends to be nor is he a "progressive." Don’t be fooled, Tom Butt is as close to Chevron as Bates and Ramsey.
Richmond Police Chief Magnus has been an excellent administrator. The police force has changed radically since his arrival but it has not been an easy adjustment. He was accused of racism by top ranking officers two years after he arrived. When the charges were vetted in front of a jury they were dismissed and the accusing officers had to pay for their attorneys. Most of the accusers retired. As a gay man he has been present during Council meetings when some residents have expressed their homophobic beliefs. Chief Magnus knows the community well and realizes these views are not shared to any degree by the community he serves and appears to take these opinions in stride.
In my opinion, the key to his success is community policing, a concept that was being advocated by residents long before the Chief or the mayor arrived in Richmond. Two resident activists, the recently deceased Peter Cleveland and his wife Sara, were lobbying Chief Magnus’ predecessor, failed Police Chief Samuels, to institute community policing to no avail, but they never gave up the fight. Today, we have a safer community thanks to Chief Magnus, community policing, a more responsive police force and code enforcement. This is not about liberals or conservatives. It’s about a community working together.
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