Mayor and City Councilmembers:
This is the weekly report for the week ending February 7th, 2014.
1. Meeting Notes
The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 18th. Enjoy the week off.
2. Richmond Unemployment Rate Continues Downward Movement
The California Employment Development Department (EDD) reports that Richmond’s unemployment rate continues its downward trend. The December 2013 preliminary unemployment rate for Richmond is 10.5%, which is the lowest rate since June 2008. On a somewhat related note, new business license filings in the City of Richmond show a steady increase this fiscal year, with 195 new business licenses issued in the period from July 1st through December 31st. These businesses report a total of 426 jobs.
3. City of Richmond Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Program
The City of Richmond’s Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) is a community based program with the goal of fostering local economic growth through the creation and retention of employment opportunities and complementing community development initiatives. The RLF provides loans for working capital, purchase of machinery and equipment, fixed assets (leasehold improvements or renovation) and, facade improvements to improve the exterior appearance of a building.
Since the Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration Revolving Loan Fund (EDA- RLF) grant was transferred to the City in 1998, 33 loans totaling $1.3 million have been approved to Richmond small business owners who were declined by a financial institution. The loan funds assisted with the creation of 126 new jobs and saved 260 jobs.
At its January meeting, the City of Richmond Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Board approved the following two loans to Richmond small business:
· Lemur International, Inc. (Lemur), a manufacturer of vanilla product lines such as ground vanilla, vanilla powder, vanilla extract, as well as an importer of organic spices from the island of Madagascar for the gourmet food industry. Lemur moved to Richmond from San Francisco in 2010. They have six employees and are looking to expand. The loan will be used to purchase inventory to support the 30% to 40% growth in deliveries to their largest client, Nothing Bundt Cake. Lemur currently sells to all of their 83 stores.
· Absurd Recreation, LLC, dba Crossfit Cypher (Crossfit Cypher), a community based fitness facility focused on improving health and wellness through group fitness classes. Crossfit Cypher started as a home garage gym offering mobile Personal Training in Oakland in 2009. After outgrowing their gym, they moved to Richmond in 2011 where membership and programs continue to increase. The loan will be used for working capital to hire staff, program development and special events marketing. They have three employees and are looking to expand.
Loan amounts for the Revolving Loan Fund range from $5,000 to $100,000. There is a $150.00 up-front application fee and 2% loan origination fee at closing.
For more information contact Janet L. Johnson, Senior Business Assistance Officer, at (510) 307-8131 or email at email@example.com.
4. LEAP GED Achievement Certificate Ceremony
Last Thursday, January 30th, the Literacy for Every Adult Program (LEAP) graduated 37 adults aged 19 to 60, who had successfully completed the G.E.D. exam by the end of 2013. These adult students had overcome many personal and academic obstacles to attend LEAP classes to improve their academic writing, digital literacy and math skills, over a period of four to six months. LEAP graduated an additional 25 students last June of 2013.
Students were celebrated not only by staff but also by their enthusiastic family members from infant children to grandparents. Many people were moved to tears during the ceremony, which included recognition of the challenges that many graduates faced while pursuing their G.E.D: working, raising children, learning English as a second language, disabilities, and other factors that are often a barrier to study. Four LEAP students received college scholarships from the newly created May Family Trust Fund. The fund, established by a LEAP tutor, provides a reimbursement of up to $1,000 for educational needs to each awardee.
LEAP enrolls new students on a monthly basis and also encourages volunteers to contact them at any time. Check out the LEAP website or write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested students and volunteers may also call (510) 307-8084 during weekday office hours from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. A complete set of graduation photos can be found on the LEAP Facebook page.
(Editor’s note: This information was provided to me by Sherry Drobner, who manages the LEAP program. When I received it, I replied to Sherry that LEAP’s work is truly inspirational. The community is truly fortunate to have the outstanding LEAP staff and committed volunteers involved in this effort.)
5. Affordable Care Act (ACA) Community Workshop at the Nevin Center
Come and join us on Saturday, February 8th at the Nevin Community Center at 589 Nevin Avenue in Richmond for an Affordable Care Act (ACA) workshop “ObamaCare: What Does the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Mean for You?” starting at 11:00 AM. At the workshop you will learn about how the ACA will be implemented in California, new eligibility to Medi-Cal, and where to apply. For more information visit the City of Richmond Health Initiatives website at www.richmondhealth.org.
6. Get Covered! Enroll in Covered California™ at the Richmond Main Library
On Saturday, February 8, 2013 from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM visit the Richmond Main Library where certified enrollment counselors will talk with you face-to-face to explain your health coverage options through Covered California and help you select the best healthcare plan for your medical needs and budget. You can also find out if you qualify for low-cost or no-cost coverage through Medi-Cal. This is your opportunity to get enrolled, and get covered!
Here is what you will need to bring:
· Current income of all family members on the application
(tax return, W-2, recent pay stubs, etc.)
· Legal resident card or Certificate of Naturalized Citizenship
(if applicable – the numbers on the card are required in the application)
· Copy of U.S. citizenship and residency status
· Copy of Social Security Number and DOB for each family member in the household
Where: Richmond Main Library, 325 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, CA 94804 510-620-2014
You can download the flier at the City of Richmond Health Initiatives website at www.richmondhealth.org
7. Miraflores Sustainable Community Greenbelt Meeting
Richmond’s Housing and Community Development Department and the Park Plaza Neighborhood Council are hosting a community meetingto present the current conceptual design for the Miraflores Sustainable Community Greenbelt. The project includes ‘daylighting’ Baxter Creek, installing a new bike and walking trail, and the design of a community commons area that highlights the rich history of the site. The community is invited to review and provide input regarding the proposed design. Please plan to attend and pass the word to interested community members and partners. The meeting will be held on February 13, 2014 from 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM at the Easter Hill Methodist Church at 3911 Cutting Boulevard in Richmond. Contact Natalia Lawrence at (510)307-8180 for more information.
8. Officer Bradley A. Moody Memorial Underpass Project Update
The Bradley A. Moody Memorial Underpass Project involves the construction of a roadway underpass on Marina Bay Parkway between Meeker Avenue and Regatta Boulevard, and is intended to resolve long-standing access limitations to the Marina Bay area caused by frequent train crossings. In early September 2013, Marina Bay Parkway was closed to traffic. This closure will remain in place for approximately 18 months.
During the week of February 3rd, placement of drilled tie-backs and construction of the pump station discharge structure continued, along with restoration work at the Department of Public Health campus areas disturbed by utility relocation work. All of these activities are expected to continue through the next three to four weeks.
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has notified the City that repair work for lines damaged during drilling operations on January 13th will require an electrical outage scheduled for 12:15 AM to 7:00 AM Friday, February 14th. According to PG&E, the affected customers are approximately 13 commercial accounts in the vicinity of the Harbor Gate shopping center, near the intersection of Meeker and Marina Bay Parkway. PG&E has sent written notices directly to affected customers. The outage is scheduled for nighttime hours to limit impacts on the businesses, and the work is weather dependent. Community members can also expect streetlights and traffic signals in the area to be out of operation during this timeframe.
As noted in last week’s report, the fourth of up to six weekends, 24-hour a day closure windows for installation of waterproofing on the bridge installed in December has been scheduled for a weekend to be determined in February or March, and no night work is planned to take place until then. Additional information will be provided once the precise date for this work is confirmed.
For additional information and to be added to the project update contact list, please see the project website at www.moodyup.com. You can also follow the project on twitter: @moodyunderpass, or contact the project’s public outreach coordinator Jacqueline Majors at (925) 949-6196.
9. Unity in the Community
On Tuesday, February 4th, 40 parents and 32 kids attended the first session of the “Unity in the Community” event held at Cesar Chavez Elementary School. These community outreach sessions at schools are collaboratively coordinated by the Richmond Police Department, Peres and Cesar Chavez Elementary Schools, and Building Blocks for Kids Collaborative. The topics of the sessions include gangs, Police working at schools, and Neighboorhood Crime Watch.
Please join us at future sessions. All sessions are scheduled from 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM.
· Cesar Chavez Elementary (960 17th Street): February 4, 2014
· Peres Elementary (719 5th Street): February 25, 2014 & March 4, 2014
To see media coverage of the first session by Univision visit the following link.
10. City Manager Chronicles
I have listed below some of the topics for meetings that I have recently attended in the hope that it provides an idea of the varied issues with which our organization deals routinely.
Activities and meeting topics during the past week have included:
· Met with staff members to review the status of the EIR for the Chevron modernization project;
· Met with City staff, and staff from UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, to review the status and discuss the activities and schedule for completing the EIR for the Richmond Bay Campus project;
· Participated in a conference call, together with City staff and the City’s legislative advocates from Holland & Knight, to discuss activities and opportunities associated with federal advanced manufacturing programs;
· Met with staff from the Richmond Housing Authority and the City’s Finance Department to discuss ways to enhance financial systems and controls.
During the latter part of the week, I attended the League of California Cities City Managers Department meeting in Long Beach. At the request of the League Department and the Institute for Local Government, I made a presentation at the Conference on the topic of using sustainable development practices as an economic development strategy, highlighting Richmond’s activities in this area.
These meetings were in addition to attending the regular management staff meeting, agenda planning, reviewing staff reports to the City Council, doing department head “check-ins,” having discussions on various personnel matters, and having short discussions with staff, community members, members of the press, etc.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the substance of these or any other topics.
11. Richmond Art Center Winter Exhibitions
Three new exhibitions currently at the Richmond Art Center feature the work of a diverse group of emerging and established Bay Area artists.
· The Language of Realism features the work of four West Coast realist painters -- Michael Beck, Christine Hanlon, Anthony Holdsworth and John Rampley and is curated by Richmond artist John Wehrle (through February 28th).
· "Unlock the Talk: The American Teenager Project in Richmond" features 100 black and white photographs and in-depth audio interviews of Richmond youth taken by 20 teen photojournalists (through March 7th).
· The 18th Annual "The Art of Living Black" is the only non-juried exhibition in the Bay Area to feature 50 regional artists of African descent (through February 28th).
Visit the Richmond Art Center at 2540 Barrett Avenue, 510-620-6772. More information can be found at: http://www.therac.org.
12. Black History Teen Program
The Teen Services Division of the Richmond Public Library presents the Black History Month documentary premiere of, “What Mama Didn’t Say: A Dialogue About African American Sexuality.” With a primary focus on the issue of teen pregnancy, the documentary examines the disproportionate number of African American teens having children and raising families out-of-wedlock. The film highlights Richmond and Bay Area natives that were teen parents chronicling their lives, and interpersonal experiences involving sexuality. Other cast members include psychologists, public health professionals, pastors, and youth advocates, including the Executive Producer Dr. Betty Burrus Wright. After the screening, there will be a question and answer discussion of the topics discussed by the cast and the film’s Producer/Director Doug Harris. Teen Librarian Angela Cox indicates that although the focus of the documentary outlines teen sexuality in the African American community, many of the elements and issues cross all cultures.
The free event will be held in the Richmond City Council Chambers at 440 Civic Center Plaza on Thursday, February 13th. There will be a reception at 6:00 PM, followed by the screening at 7:00 PM, and the question and answer discussion at 8:00 PM.
The program is sponsored by the Friends of the Richmond Public Library. For additional information, visit the Library’s website: www.richmondlibrary.org, contact Angela Cox at (510) 620-5516, or visit: www.Facebook.com/RichmondPublicLibraryTeens.
13. City of Richmond Partnership Program
During the past year, City staff has been working to expand the recreation program opportunities available to the Richmond community by actively seeking out and formalizing partnerships with non-profit service providers. This project has been led by Alicia Nightengale, Project Manager in the City Manager’s office, and has involved developing and standardizing contract arrangements that can be offered to prospective organizational partners. Through this program, recognized partners can provide quality, expert recreational or service opportunities to residents, and the City’s recreation programs will continue to grow in participation and variety.
In its initial stages, during 2013, the City of Richmond’s Partnership Program welcomed five outstanding organizations as partners. Those organizations include:
· Heritage Riders Horsemen’s Association (HRHA), where youth are taught character education through horseback riding;
· LIFT-Levantate, which was initially founded to address health and wellness issues confronting families in lower socioeconomic communities. The partnership in Richmond offers an innovative farmers market style food distribution program;
· PricehousewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), where youth are taught financial literacy;
· Athletic Mentors Youth Program (AMYP), offering youth mentorship through sports; and
· Girls Incorporated, where girls are taught character education through hands-on learning.
To learn more about each recognized partner’s organization, click on the link http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/index.aspx?nid=2584.
As part of its partnership arrangements, the City provides support in the form of safety training, health and wellness training, program promotion using the City’s various media, and use of City facilities to conduct programs and services.
The City of Richmond continues to welcome new organizations to apply to become a recognized partner. If you know of a great program or organization that could expand its services to the community through this program, please let them know about it. To learn more about the application process, click on the link http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/index.aspx?NID=2697, or contact Alicia Nightengale in the City Manager’s office at (510) 620-5460.
14. New Library Services: Discover & Go
The Richmond Public Library has launched a great new service called Discover & Go. Using their Richmond Public Library cards, patrons may print out free or discounted passes to local museums and other cultural institutions. This program was developed by the Contra Costa County Library System.
To access the service, patrons may go directly to www.DiscoverAndGo.org or click on a link from www.RichmondLibrary.org. We encourage you to check out a cool new place for yourself, and to spread the word on this adventurous new program and the participating organizations.
For more information please call the Richmond Public Library Main Branch Reference Desk at (510) 620-6561.
15. 2014 Historic Preservation Awards
The City of Richmond and the Richmond Historic Preservation Commission invites nominations for the 2014 Richmond Historic Preservation Awards. The purpose of the Historic Preservation Awards program is to increase public awareness of Richmond’s heritage by recognizing individuals, organizations, businesses, and agencies whose contributions demonstrate outstanding commitment to excellence in historic preservation, local history or promotion of the heritage of the City.
The Awards will be presented in May, National Preservation Month. In addition to public and private buildings and structures, historic preservation projects may include media, publications, presentations and exhibits, parks, burial grounds, public art, oral history, theater productions, events and video presentations.
Below is a list of last year's award winners:
· Orton Development, Inc. & Marcy Wong, Architect for Rehabilitating the Oil House for the Rosie the Riveter Visitor Center
· The National Park Service & Signature Communications for the film "Home Front Heroes"
· Susan Imboden & the East Bay Regional Park District for the Alvarado Park Oral History Project
· Donna Powers for Establishing the Rosie the Riveter Memorial
· Andre Thierry for Preserving Creole Traditions and Music in Richmond
· Lois Boyle for Years of Service Preserving Richmond's History
· Nancy Strauch & Bruce Burbaker for Restoring Access to Boat Ramp Street
Eligibility: Any individual, group, organization or agency involved in historic preservation or promoting Richmond’s heritage is eligible to receive a Richmond Historic Preservation Award. The preservation project or activity (or a substantial portion of a large-scale multiple activity project) must have been completed no later than December 31, 2013.
Nomination Form: You may nominate an eligible preservation project or activity by submitting a completed 2014 Historic Preservation Awards Nomination Form to the Richmond Planning and Building Services Department. Additional details about eligibility, evaluation criteria used, and submittal requirements are found in the nomination form which can be downloaded at www.ci.richmond.ca.us/preservationaward.
Nominations are due by 5:00 PM on March 28, 2014. Feel free to call Hector Rojas, Senior Planner, at (510) 620-6662 with any questions you may have.
16. Recreation Highlights
The Richmond Senior Center welcomes AARP tax help on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Call (510) 307-8087 to make an appointment.
Commission on Aging Newsletter
Check out the Commission on Aging’s quarterly newsletter, “Movers and Shakers.” A new issue is coming soon. Call (510) 307-8086 to be added to the mailing list.
Black History Celebration
The Recreation Department, in collaboration with the Commission on Aging, is hosting its annual citywide Black History Celebration on Saturday, February 8th from 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium. The event consists of a sit down dinner, poetry, dancing, singing and music. In addition, there will be a fashion show with clothing from the closets of our own participants and from Arts Africains in Emeryville (available for purchase). We will also have vendors selling African American wares such as clothing, jewelry, bags and much more!
Tickets are available for $15 per person at the Richmond Senior Center, 2525 Macdonald Avenue. Five dollar ($5) tickets will be sold at the door only and once dinner is completed after 7:00 PM. Contact the Senior Center at 510-307-8087 for event and ticket information.
Nevin Center Fitness
The Nevin Center fitness room is now open Monday through Friday, from 9:00 AM to 1:30 PM. State of the art fitness machines will help you reach all your fitness goals. Use of the equipment is free and on a “first come, first serve” basis.
17. Public Works Updates
Facilities Maintenance: Carpenters installed a new sink counter at the Disabled Peoples Recreation Center (DPRC), repaired the exterior door of the Shields Reid Community Center, re-installed bollards, mounted new cord reels, as well as repaired the apparatus room door at Fire Station #68.
Painters completed the main gallery of the Richmond Museum and the fitness center at Fire Station #67.
Painting of the Museum
Stationary Engineers serviced and repaired the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning unit in the Police Activities League Building, completed annual maintenance on furnaces in the same building, replaced the fan belts in the fan room of the Auditorium, and repaired the furnace at the YouthWorks Building.
Insulation of Auditorium Boiler
Utility workers auto scrubbed 450 Civic Center Plaza, scrubbed floors at the Police Station and Shields Reid Community Center, and serviced 29 city-owned facilities.
Auto-scrub of Civic Center Plaza
Electricians repaired wire theft on Macdonald Avenue, fixed two street light poles on 23rd Street and Lincoln Avenue, repaired theft and damage on Pennsylvania Avenue, provided electrical support for Elm Play Lot renovations, and repaired overhead traffic light outage on 23rd Street and Bissell Avenue.
Overhead Traffic Light Repair
Parks and Landscaping: Crews completed general maintenance on Nicholl Park baseball fields in preparation for the upcoming season, performed vegetation clean-up and mulch installation at Booker T. Anderson Community Center, installed footing for the skate plaza fixtures at Belding Garcia Park, continued with renovations of Elm Play Lot, repaired and painted railings at May Valley Community Center, finished final preparations for the Booker T. Anderson restroom and irrigation system audit along Richmond Parkway continues.
Mulch Installation at Booker T. Anderson Community Center
Tree Crews trimmed, cut or ground trees on or around Hellings Avenue, Burbeck Avenue, Ohio Avenue, Hilltop Drive, and the Booker T. Anderson Community Center parking lot.
Root Pruning for Sidewalk Repair
Streets Division: Crews grinded and paved a portion of Solano Avenue, conducted storm patrol, and worked from the outstanding pothole and sidewalk list.
Grinding of Solano Avenue
Street sweeping performed commercial and residential sweeping services for the first Monday and Tuesday as well as the second Wednesday through Friday in the Parchester Village, Hilltop Bayview, Hilltop Green, Fairmede/Hilltop, Clinton Hill II – IV and East Richmond neighborhood council areas.
Signs and Lines crews attended forklift training, restriped the Police Activities League parking lot, repaired 7 signs/poles, fabricated one new sign, replaced or installed 146 delineations/messages, and replaced over 1,167 feet of painted curbs along Carlson Boulevard.
New Buttons on 44th Street
Equipment Services Division: Staff repaired 19 Police vehicles, 16 Public Works vehicles, and five Fire Department vehicles for a total of 40 vehicles.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about these or any other items of interest to you.
City of Richmond
450 Civic Center Plaza
Richmond, California 94804
You can sign up to receive the City Manager’s weekly report and other information from the City of Richmond by visiting: www.ci.richmond.ca.us/list.aspx