Richmond’s Nat Bates responds to Mayor’s State of City
By Robert Rogers
Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 at 2:13 pm in Cities, Contra Costa County, Politics, Richmond.
A statement released Wednesday:
Those of you who viewed the council meeting last night or read the West County Times news article, hopefully witnessed the start of a mutual respect by the council and a stronger independent and impartial leadership role by the mayor. Below are a few of my comments I wish to share with several of my friends and contacts.
I thought the mayor did a good job in presenting the state of the city message last night. Her decision to include photos was a great idea as we know a picture is worth a thousand words. On a personal note, although we do not share the same political philosophy, I have always liked the mayor and have found her unlike some of her radical RPA friends, to be friendly, warm, and compassionate. A good example was during last night’s council meeting where there was a choice for vice mayor between council members Corky Booze and Jovanka Beckles. Our policy has always been to appoint the council member with respect to their tenure on the council and their recent place of finish during their election. Therefore, Councilman Booze who finished as the top vote getter in 2010 and Beckles who finished third was entitled to be selected.
The mayor could have simply sat back and allowed the council to fight it out between Booze and Beckles. Given some of the recent comments regarding Booze’s being awarded the NAACP Martin Luther King award, this could have been ugly, nasty, divisive and negativity in our city. Yet, the mayor set the tone of the debate while assuming the leadership by immediately making the motion to appoint Booze and briefly explaining why. Her quick actions prevented the opportunity for discord. With votes in support of Councilman Booze, four yes (McLaughlin, Rogers, Bates and Booze) vote no (Butt) and vote abstain (Beckles), the mayor’s strong leadership is to be commended. It is my hope she will continue to exercise this kind of independent leadership as we work collectively in moving Richmond forward.
The only criticism I have toward the mayor’s speech is her continued negative fixation toward Chevron. I assume this is her efforts to please RPA radicals but she needs to become an independent leader on this issue. While she blamed Chevron for the fire and their involvement in the political election process, she failed to mention the many contributions Chevron provide to the city and community at large. Millions of dollars by Chevron go to the city, county, a number of 501© nonprofit organizations and thousands of dollars go to our school systems both WCCUSD and Contra Costa College. The fire was an accident that occurred and we need to move past that point and make sure the plant is reconstructed with the best technology and safety features possible to prevent it from ever happening again. But to continue month after month dwelling upon an unfortunate situation becomes at some point counterproductive. As far as Chevron’s involvement into the election process, past or future, that is their constitutional right and until the laws are changed, we have to respect our constitution. Richmond voters are smart and intelligent and will vote their choices regardless of what they receive in the mail or how much money is spent on candidates. Money do not buy elections and those who think so, try asking Mitt Romney, Meg Whitman and a host of other unsuccessful rich candidates.
I trust and think the mayor is sincere in her speech as she indicated a willingness to move forward for the betterment of this city. That is precisely why voters elected all of us and I am prepared to work with the mayor and do whatever I can to achieve these goals.