Mayor and Councilmembers:
This is the weekly report for the week ending April 5th, 2013.
The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 16th. Enjoy the off-week.
- Public Meeting Concerning Richmond Bay Campus Long Range Development Plan Postponed
You may have received an earlier notice that UC Berkeley, together with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, had scheduled an April 10th public meeting here in Richmond regarding its Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) for the Richmond Bay Campus.
We have been advised that this meeting has been postponed to allow staff of these two agencies more time for internal review of their plan. The public meeting regarding the LRDP will be rescheduled for a date in the near future. They offered their apologies for any inconvenience in the scheduling.
- Senators Hancock and DeSaulnier and Assembly Member Skinner Host Meeting Regarding Chevron Fire: Findings and Discoveries
Today, Friday April 5th, State Senator Lonnie Hancock, Assembly Member Nancy Skinner, and State Senator Mark DeSaulnier hosted an informational meeting in the Richmond City Council Chambers concerning the August 6th Chevron Richmond Fire. The meeting topic was “Findings and Discoveries,” and was intended to review the various conclusions to date by the investigative and regulatory agencies that were involved in the post-fire investigation. Individuals and agencies making presentations included”
- Ellen Widess: Chief, Division of Occupational Safety and Health, Department of Industrial Relations;
- Donald S. Holmstrom: Director, Western Regional Office, and Dan Tolema, US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board;
- Jack P. Broadbent: Chief Executive Officer/Air Pollution Control Officer, Bay Area Air Quality Management District;
- Bill Lindsay: City Manager, City of Richmond;
- Randy Sawyer: Chief Environmental Health and HazMat Officer, Contra Costa County;
- Supervisor John Gioia: Contra Costa County District I and Chair of the Stationary Source Committee of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
Also making a presentation was Mike Wilson, PhD, MPH, concerning the report (attached), Refinery Safety in California: Labor, Community and Fire Agency Views, prepared for the Governor’s Interagency Task Force on Refinery Safety. Dr. Wilson is with the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Occupational and Environmental Health.
The legislators were interested in hearing from each agency their perspective on ways in which state laws or services could be changed to both prevent future fires and harmful air emissions at chemical processing facilities, as well as to better monitor and respond to such incidents.
The three and one-half hour meeting was streamed to video by the ever-present KCRT staff. If you stream the meeting, I would very much recommend listening to the presentations at the beginning of the meeting by the three investigative agencies, Cal-OSHA, Chemical Safety Board, and BAAQMD.
Please note that representatives from the Chemical Safety Board will be making a full presentation regarding their findings at a meeting on Friday evening, April 19th, in the Richmond Auditorium. More details regarding this meeting will be included in a future Weekly Report.
- Chevron Refinery Fenceline Air Quality Monitoring System Launches
As a first step in providing the community with real-time air quality data related to the Chevron Refinery, the initial phase of the Richmond Community Air Monitoring Program has launched. This “pilot phase” includes three monitoring stations along the refinery’s fence line, and availability of the public website featuring real-time data. The readings are fed by air monitors that sample the air using testing methods similar to those used by the EPA and other government agencies that measure air quality. The second phase, which includes the three community monitoring locations, is currently being finalized and will launch in the coming months.
This air quality monitoring system is related to Chevron’s agreement with the City to implement an advanced community air monitoring program at locations along the refinery’s fence line, and at the three residential neighborhoods of North Richmond, Atchison Village, and Point Richmond. The neighborhood sites were selected following a process that involved input from the City of Richmond and neighborhood councils.
The raw data from the air monitors are collected in real-time and published on a website, www.fenceline.org/richmond, and in quarterly reports that will be made available to the public on the website. The website, which is now live, lists the chemicals being monitored by the systems and answers basic questions about the recorded readings. The site also identifies resources and a community hotline for the public to contact with questions or concerns about the data listed on the site. Although this website is now live, with data being supplied from the refinery fence-line monitors, Chevron will continue to work with the City on the installation of the community-based equipment. Chevron anticipates these monitors to be fully installed and providing data to the community in coming months.
The program is being managed by an independent contractor, Argos Scientific, Inc., which has experience monitoring air quality and runs similar programs at two other Bay Area refineries. Denny Larson, Executive Director of the Global Community Monitor, has been serving as the City’s expert consultant on this project.
The “pilot phase” will last for approximately the first 30 days of the system operation, and will provide opportunities to test how the system is being used and to make adjustments on how data are presented. During this period, we encourage you to visit www.fenceline.org/richmond and provide your comments.
- Code Enforcement Update 1: Vacant Property Demolition
The Police Department Code Enforcement Unit recently demolished a long standing eyesore for the residents of the Iron Triangle. For a few years, the vacant property located at 127 Chanslor Avenue had been an ongoing problem for both the local residents and Police Department staff. Many issues were related to illegal dumping, criminal activities, and the illegal occupancy that eventually resulted in several fires that rendered the structure uninhabitable. Code Enforcement, in coordination with the City Prosecutor, finally removed the eyesore. This is the first of many severely dilapidated structures that we hope to demolish from areas throughout the City within the coming year.
- Code Enforcement Update 2: Graffiti Removal
Code Enforcement has a full time graffiti removal program to idenitify areas of concern or to respond to complaints led by the omnipresent, and former Employee of the Year. Ed Paasch. Listed below are photos of a recent proactive response to remove graffiti from the 23rd Avenue walkway and underpass. To report graffiti call the Graffiti Hotline at (510) 965-4905.
- 48th Annual West Contra Costa Unified School District Student Art Show
The Annual West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) Student Art Show, now in its 48th year, is a collaborative effort among WCCUSD administrators, art teachers and students, and the Richmond Art Center (RAC).
The Richmond Art Center is hosting the WCCUSD Reception on Friday, April 19th from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM. This exhibition is an annual event that celebrates the outstanding work of young artists, for whom the RAC reserves gallery space each year for art display. There are artworks by more than 200 middle and high school students filling the walls with their diverse visions and individual creative voices. These works are not only a testament to the creative talent of each student, but serves as a showcase of the artistic and educational excellence that the WCCUSD art teachers continue to promote.
Community members, organizations, and art guilds all donate money for awards for the students. It is interesting to note that, in its earlier days, this show was so big that it filled the entire Art Center. As the event approaches its 50th anniversary in 2015, the RAC looks forward to hosting a larger, more extensive exhibition to celebrate arts education. The RAC and WCCUSD share an ongoing vision that art education is a crucial component in creating a thriving society.
Sponsors for this exhibition are: WCCUSD, Richmond Chamber of Commerce, and an anonymous donor. Past donors have included: North & East Neighborhood Council, the Genser – Maack Family, El Sobrante Art Guild, Kiwanis Club of Richmond, the Pinole Artisans Foundation, and the Richmond Arts & Culture Commission.
- Become A Writing Coach and Help Richmond High Students Succeed!
WriterCoach Connection brings teams of trained community volunteers into English classes to provide one-on-one help to students on their writing assignments. Coaches inspire and encourage students to develop self-confidence and writing proficiency, strengthen their comprehension, and build creative and critical thinking capabilities - essential skills for school, college, and career success. Every student in a participating class has a writing coach.
Seventy-five volunteer coaches are now serving one hundred and fifty students at Richmond High and more are needed for expansion in the fall. The coaching commitment is 2 hours, 2-3 times per month during class-time, to enjoy the satisfaction of helping students succeed.
You don’t have to be a writer or teacher to volunteer. In-depth trainings provide strategies for working effectively with students.
The WriterCoach Connection program warmly welcomes parents, grandparents, college students, working and retired people, and community members of all cultures and backgrounds. Please register today to become a coach and attend an upcoming training. Each training is two three-hour sessions.
RCH7 Thursdays 5/30 & 6/6 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM
RCH8 Wednesdays 6/19 & 6/26 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM
RCH9 TBD Late August/early September (dates to be announced
For more information and to register: www.writercoachconnection.org or Shelli Fried at 510-530-7600 email@example.com
- Call for Nominations – Richmond’s Distinguished Volunteers
Richmond ESC – Excellence Serving our Community, and the offices of Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and City Manager Bill Lindsay, in partnership with the Richmond Community Foundation, invite you to celebrate Richmond volunteers during the annual city-wide Volunteer Recognition and Awards Ceremony on Thursday, April 25th from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM, at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium lobby.
You are invited to nominate your volunteer(s) for a Richmond ESC – Excellence Serving our Community Distinguished Volunteer Service Award that will recognize outstanding service in our community in the following areas of:
- Public Safety
- Health and Wellness
- Youth Service
- Excellence in Community Service
For further information, please contact Richmond ESC at (510) 237-SERV (7378) or (510) 620-6511.
- Richmond ESC & Global Youth Service Day
Richmond ESC – Excellence Serving our Community – is a designated lead agency for Global Youth Service Day (GYSD). GYSD, an initiative by Youth Service America, is the largest service event in the world, and the only one that celebrates the amazing work young people do to improve communities. The purpose is to involve youth in service for the month of April, with an emphasis on volunteering during the weekend of April 26th – 28th.
Do you know someone who wants to change the world? Whether you’re concerned with education, hunger and homelessness, childhood obesity, or the environment, Global Youth Service Day provides you with the opportunity to get together with your friends to make a difference through volunteering. For more information, please call (510)237-SERV or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Get involved and make an impact today!
- MCE Clean Energy Program Update
MCE Town Hall Meeting – Monday, April 22nd
MCE and the City of Richmond are hosting two town hall meetings to inform electric customers of their new electricity options. The first town hall meeting has been scheduled for Earth Day, Monday, April 22nd. The meeting will take place at 6:30 PM at LaVonya De Jean Middle School. MCE is now distributing meeting materials, community announcements and flyers to publicize the town hall meeting.
MCE Program Enrollment and Opt Out Notices
MCE sends five notices as part of its effort to help electric customers make an informed decision. The notices will inform customers of the electricity service choices they have with instructions on how to opt out or how to obtain more information about the program.
MCE began mailing the first opt out notice to electricity customers the week of April 1st. Electric customers will continue to receive the first opt out notice through the week of April 8th.
A second and third notice will be mailed in the latter part of April and in May. Richmond electric customers will be enrolled with MCE service in July 2013 on their regularly scheduled meter read date unless they choose to opt out. Starting in July, all electric customers in Richmond will have 3 electricity options:
- MCE ‘Light Green’ 50% renewable energy (automatic enrollment and
competitive rates with PG&E)
2) MCE ‘Deep Green’ 100% renewable energy (a penny more per kilowatt hour)
3) PG&E electric supply that is 20% renewable energy
After the July enrollment, a fourth and fifth notice will be mailed to remind customers of their account enrollment with MCE. For no charge, Richmond customers will have the option to opt out of the program beginning in April. Customers who choose to opt out after 60 days of service with MCE will be charged a one-time $5 (residential) or $25 (commercial) administrative fee.
A rate comparison calculator is available on the MCE website - www.mceCleanEnergy.com. Based on current rates for PG&E as well as MCE proposed rates (scheduled to become effective in April 2013), MCE will cost Richmond residential customers about $0.59 more per month on average, and commercial customers will see an overall cost savings. This rate comparison reflects proposed rates of April 1st and is a “snap shot in time” comparison. It is important to note that these rates are likely to change as PG&E typically changes rates three times per year. MCE changes their rates once per year in April and the proposed changes are reflected in the rate comparison.
Electric customers who 1) choose to opt out, 2) opt up to ‘Deep Green’ 100% renewable energy, or 3) would like more information, should call 1 (888) 632-3674 or visit www.mceCleanEnergy.com. The opt out instructions, phone number and additional information are also included in the opt out notice customers will receive in the mail.
- West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) Town Hall Meetings to Discuss School District Action Plan
WCCUSD will be holding a series of community meetings to gather information for a new strategic plan for the district. The meeting schedule is as follows:
10:00 AM April 13th, Ford Elementary School multipurpose room, 2711 Maricopa
6:30 PM April 17th, Crespi Middle School library, 1121 Allview Ave., El Sobrante
6:30 PM April 18th, Hercules Library, 109 Civic Drive
10:00 AM April 27th, El Cerrito High School multipurpose room, 540 Ashbury Ave.
6:30 PM May 9th, Pinole Middle School multipurpose room, 1575 Mann Drive
10:00 AM May 11th, Kennedy High School library, 4300 Cutting Blvd., Richmond
- City Website Funfacts: Top 10 Sites Last Week
The 180 Degrees program at Bay Area Rescue Mission created and donated approximately 30 Easter baskets to the seniors at the Richmond Senior Center that included a fleece blanket and travel pillow. It was a nice surprise for the seniors who will enjoy it during the chilly spring evenings! Thank you to the 180 Degree Program Participants!
This past Saturday, March 30th, the Parchester Community Center held its 1st annual Easter Egg hunt. Approximately 100 people from the Parchester community participated throughout the day. Activities included two hunts, decorating of Easter bags, table games, and food for everyone. It was a wonderful turnout and the community was very pleased.
The Booker T. Anderson Center and the Eastshore Neighborhood Council also held their annual Easter Egg hunt on Saturday, March 30th from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM. There were 100 Easter baskets given away and candy bags to all children. Food, drinks, music, fun and games were enjoyed by all!
The Recreation Department held its annual Spring Egg Hunt/Recreation Information Day on Saturday, March 23rd from 9:00 AM to noon in the Civic Center Plaza. Apart from the Recreation Department, non-profit organizations were also present to distribute their program information. Over 350 people of all ages participated and learned about upcoming programs, activities, trips, special events, summer camp, etc. The adults had fun getting fit in the free outdoor Zumba class, while the children enjoyed egg hunting.
Facilities Maintenance: Carpenters installed new picnic tables on the patio of the Children’s Library and replaced the broken windows at the transit center.
Painters completed painting the apparatus room doors at Fire Stations #67 and #68, garage doors at the Corporation Yard, and the Friends section of the Main Library.
Stationary Engineers repaired the hose in the apparatus room of Fire Station #64, repaired a leak at Fire Station #63, and repaired the heating ventilation and air conditioning system at the May Valley Police Substation.
Utility Workers cleaned the carpets at the Westside Library and auto scrubbed at Civic Center Plaza.
Auto Scrubbing of Civic Center Plaza
Electricians removed a rotted streetlight pole on Gomer Drive, repaired damaged wire on Collette Drive, repaired the Sheldon and Holly Path lights, and repaired lighting issues at Fire Station #61.
Holly Path Lighting Repair
Sheldon Path Lighting Repair
Parks and Landscaping Division: This week crews mowed the Greenway, performed general maintenance on Ann and Elaine Pathways and turf maintenance at the Main Library, maintained the medians along San Pablo Avenue, Nunn Soundwall, Carlson Boulevard, Valley View and May Road, performed irrigation repairs at Civic Center Plaza, Lamoine Park and San Pablo Avenue median, cleaned-up Country Club Vista, Bay Vista and Parchester Parks, and completed the Nevin Park irrigation improvements.
Tree crews trimmed or removed trees along Cutting Boulevard, Morningside Drive, and Raincloud Park.
Tree Trimming along Cutting Boulevard
Streets Division: This week crews have been paving Cutting Boulevard from South 41st Street to South 45th Street.
Paving on Cutting Boulevard
The street sweepers performed street sweeping services for the first Monday through Friday in Parchester Village, Hilltop Bayview, Hilltop Green, Fairmede/Hilltop, Carriage Hills N. Side, El Sobrante Hills, Greenbriar, Hansford Heights, Via Verda, San Pablo Dam Road, Bristole Cone, May Valley, Vista View, and Clinton Hill I neighborhood council areas.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about these or any other items of interest to you.
Have a great week!
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