Letters for the Week of June 1 

Readers sound off on Richmond, the Rapture, and our theater review.


"The Man Behind Richmond's Renaissance," Feature, 5/18

We Haven't Left

Thanks for such a great article.

There are a number of us who grew up in the Richmond area and refused to leave a city with such potential and good people working for the common good. It hasn't been easy but there's a sense of accomplishment.

I would have liked to see the West County Times make mention of your article since there are a number of old-timers who don't have computer access or aren't aware of the East Bay Express.

Margaret Baker, Richmond

Refreshing Look

I wanted to offer a brief note of praise for John Geluardi's excellent exploration of Richmond, its transition, and its future.

As Mr. Geluardi notes near the article's conclusion, media coverage of Richmond at times continues to feature the old clichés that were built over recent decades. This article was refreshingly forward-looking, and was well-served by noting the sometimes unfairly negative light in which Richmond is often cast.

Here at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, we run RichmondConfidential.org, a grant-funded local news site that attempts to cover Richmond in a more in-depth and nuanced way, focusing particularly on news about the city's successes. Along with partners like RichmondPulse.org, which is a New American Media site that focuses on local youth as journalists and storytellers in their own community, we think that Richmond's reputation is improving in proportion to the real improvements on the ground.

Robert Rogers, Berkeley

Accelerating Changes

I want to thank you for such a positive and uplifting article on Richmond and the people who are effectively making changes for the better in Richmond. The article made my day after so much negative press! I have lived in Richmond for more than fifteen years and have seen the changes and can tell you the changes are accelerating and have been ever since Bill Lindsay, Jim Goins, and Chris Magnus joined us.

Cynthia E. Haden, Richmond

Other Credits

As a Richmond resident who volunteers to uplift our community, I thank John Geluardi for his article on what the headline writer optimistically called the "Richmond Renaissance." His article accurately chronicles Richmond's new positive direction, and, at the same time, will help boost that trajectory. We are cleaning the grime off our motto: City of Pride and Purpose.

City Manager Bill Lindsay has earned the compliments, but since we're handing out credit, I think it fair to mention the Richmond Progressive Alliance. Over the last ten years, these community activists have diligently advanced a number of crucial issues like passing Measure T and challenging Chevron's utility users tax perk. 

It was the mayor and city council candidates that the RPA ran and endorsed — candidates who opposed the inappropriate "destination casino" project, and who were then supported by hundreds of ordinary citizens like myself going house to house — that overcame the unprecedented $1 million Chevron lavished on their three "Chevron-friendly" candidates. 

If they, the old power brokers of the derrière-guard, had won instead, Geluardi's article would have had a distinct funereal tone. 

Yes, Richmond is coming out of its long thrall and joining the East Bay, but we still live with those who would be our masters. 

We still have the Chevron Corporation, which is is suing for a $60 million refund on its property taxes that will savage county and city public services even though its profits, each year topping the last, surely have increased its property's value. 

We still have the Chamber of Commerce and the Council of Industries, who like their national counterparts, clamor, pressure, and contribute so that the profits of big business always take precedence over the needs of us ordinary people.     

Thanks for the article and thanks for the Richmond Progressive Alliance.

Michael Beer, Richmond

He Did Some Good Things

I must take issue with the characterization of Isiah Tuner as a "mediocre director of Employment and Training." I served as chair of the Private Industry Council while Isiah was director of Employment and Training in the city, and I can attest that his political connections at the state and federal levels generated lots of extra money for the city, and his political skills locally created Richmond WORKS and caused many employers to sign contracts promising to give Richmond WORKS first opportunity to place new employees. He also created the mayor's Summer Youth Employment Program. I don't know whether he was a good administrator of the Employment and Training Program, and the negative characterizations of him in the article as city manager are fair, but give him some credit for the good things he did.

Joshua G. Genser, Richmond

High Hopes

The article states that we are financially stable compared with where we used to be, but that we are facing a $5 million deficit next year, and that the sales tax increase is "vital to the city's continued financial health."But however we feel about the tax increase (I don't necessarily support it — I'm just pointing out why our city manager says we need it), in the 27 years I've lived in Richmond, I've seen a lot of changes. The past six years, in my opinion, is the longest period of positive change I've seen. I have high hopes for the continuing increase in our quality of life, and we didn't have to sell out to anyone to get it.

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