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  Eye on the East Bay: Richmond City Council Members Pull the Race Card
September 22, 2013

Eye on the East Bay: Richmond City Council members pull the race card
Contra Costa Times
Posted:   09/22/2013 12:00:00 AM PDT

RACE CARD IN RICHMOND: Richmond City Council meetings have a well-deserved reputation for trashy antics. Police prowl the chamber, ready to snatch away anyone who goes rogue. The mayor routinely gavels recesses to quell disorder, and two council members refuse to even sit next to each other.
The Sept. 11 meeting, which drew more than 400 residents, was par for the course, lasting until nearly 2 a.m. and featuring a litany of outbursts and non sequiturs. One thing that was different was an ugly racial spat among the four black council members. First, longtime leader Nat Bates lashed out at his rivals, the Richmond Progressive Alliance, for trying to appeal to "his community," then he asserted that Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles is "not African-American" (Beckles was born in Panama).
Later, Councilman Corky Boozé went after Councilman Jael Myrick, telling the younger man that "there is going to come a time when you have to be black." Myrick, visibly agitated, responded: "Don't you dare question me on standing up and being black."
After a recess to cool down, Myrick came back again, questioning Boozé's credentials and implying that he is a tool for white, wealthy interests. "You question my blackness, and Beckles' as well, but when we bring up issues for our communities, all (Boozé and Bates) say is, 'What about the Chamber (of Commerce), what about the Council of Industries' ... you don't want to insult the 'massa.'"
Boozé let out a hearty belly laugh.