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Poison Pill in Chevron Agreement Panics City Council

When a self-selected majority of the Richmond City Council secretly negotiated and adopted the Community Benefits Agreement with Chevron in conjunction with the Chevron Energy and Hydrogen Renewal Project approved in 2008, these amateur experts overlooked a poison pill in paragraph k, which would effectively kill the golden goose if there was a successful legal challenge.


This was probably overlooked at the time due to the pandering and incompetent advice of attorney Ellen Garber of Shute Mihaly & Weinberger, who assured the City that it stood on solid legal ground in adopting a defective EIR and approving flawed permit conditions.


That City Council majority was so proud of the millions of dollars their efforts had brought into the City, but when a judge threw out the EIR, it opened up the possibility that the bribe paid by Chevron for its approval would also evaporate. In fact, if the project is stopped by the litigation, some $5 million in revenue already adopted into the City’s General Fund budget will also go away, probably resulting in employee layoffs and reductions in services.


The minority on the City Council had advocated that any money resulting from a community benefits agreement be paid in a lump sum, up front, on approval, but their appeal was rejected.


It is thought that the impact of the litigation will be known in the next month or so, and in the worst case, the City Council will have to revise the budget downward and prepare for layoffs.