Eye on the East Bay: In search of Richmond's 'south side'
Contra Costa Times
Posted: 02/17/2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Where's the South Side?: Richmond's City Council meetings are a reliable source of unintended hilarity, and the Eye is compelled to share.
The latest spat between the council's grouchiest seniors -- Corky Boozé and Tom Butt -- devolved into mirthful absurdity reminiscent of the classic "Who's on First?" comedy routine made most famous by Abbott and Costello, but the tone takes a sharper edge in Richmond.
Boozé touched off the episode earlier this month by telling police Chief Chris Magnus he was "on notice" and that Boozé wanted to see more resources and services to his people on the "south side" of Richmond.
"I would like to ask the vice mayor (Boozé) where the south side is," Butt said. "I've heard this term used many, many times. I'm not sure where he's speaking of."
Boozé shot back that it was "ridiculous" that Butt needed an explanation after 18 years on the City Council, then entreated Butt to "come out of suburbia" once in a while, a reference to Butt's residence and business in upscale Point Richmond.
Rather than explain the location of the suddenly nebulous "south side," Boozé mentioned a few neighborhoods and motioned to table debate. The motion failed, and Butt continued to press Boozé for a definition, saying he needed to know where the south side was so he could ensure that it gets adequate resources.
Boozé lashed back that Butt was "playing games," then opined that the disrespect exhibited to the south side was "racist" and "downright low."
Minutes after the meeting adjourned, Butt whipped out his smartphone and took to his favorite refuge, his popular e-forum, where he disparaged Boozé in a letter to thousands of subscribers.
"Ultimately, Boozé refused to define the 'Southside,' and I refrained from voting on the item out of concern that I might be depriving the 'Southside' of its just desserts," Butt wrote. "For now, the 'Southside' remains undefined except in Boozé's mind."