Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2015  
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  A Week of Being Mayor
July 28, 2015

The Charter of the City of Richmond is remarkably vague about the mayor’s job description:

  • Political Position - chief elected officer and ceremonial head of the City..”
  • “…responsible for providing civic leadership and taking issues to the people, and marshalling public interest and support for municipal activity”
  • “Concerned with the general development of the community and the general level of City services and activity programs and may develop and inform City residents of policies and programs which he or she believes are necessary for the welfare of the City.”

    The mayor has only two powers different from other City Council members:

  • Presiding over City Council meetings.
  • Appointing members of boards and commissions (subject to approval of the City Council)

  • The mayor’s salary is classified as “low income” by HUD in Contra Costa County, leading to a presumption that the position is not intended to be a full time job.

    So what does a mayor do? What do I do?

    I am the sixth elected mayor of the City of Richmond and the first not to be fully retired from my previous job or profession. I have cut back my work as an architect, but I am still fully engaged. This past week, I worked on half a dozen projects for the State of California Department of General services, BART and the Healdsburg Unified School District.

    Above, Monday, July 20, 2015 – 11:00 pm to Tuesday, July 21, 2015, 3:00 AM: Meet at Powell Street BART Station to inspect waterproofing and concrete spall repair (inspection had to be done when trains are not running)

    Thursday, July 22, 2015: 11:30 AM – 4:30 PM: Travel to Healdsburg to inspect ongoing repairs to Fitch Mountain School.

    Meanwhile, assisted by probably the best mayoral staff anywhere (Terrance Cheung, David Gray and Alex Knox), I engaged in a full load of civic endeavors intended to lift Richmond up and move the City forward. My past week is summarized below:

  • Monday, July 20, 2015 – 12:00 Noon – 1:00 PM: mayor’s staff meeting
  • Monday, July 20, 2015 – 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM: Met with City Staff to review potential litigation
  • Monday, July 20, 2015 – 7:00PM – 9:00 PM: Board meeting of East Brother Light Station, Inc.
  • Tuesday, July 21, 2015 – 11:30 AM: Interview with KQED about Rent Control
  • Tuesday, July 21, 2015 – 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Lunch with Bobby Winston, publisher of Bay Crossings; James Edison, the financial consultant to the City of Alameda for review of the Alameda Naval Air Station (Alameda Point), Richard Mitchell and Bill Lindsay, to discuss Point Molate
  • Tuesday, July 21, 2015 – 3:00 PM: Meet with Robert Gregory of Foss Maritime to discuss move of the Red Oak Victory
  • Tuesday, July 21, 2015 – 4:00 PM: Meet with Maze and Associates to discuss the City’s audit
  • Tuesday, July 21, 2015 – 5:30 PM – 11:30 PM: City Council meeting

  • Wednesday, July 22, 2015: 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM: Meet at Contra Costa Association of REALTORS® Broker Town Hall at Richmond office to answer questions about Rent Control
  • Wednesday, July 22, 2015: 2:30 PM: Interview with KGO Radio about Rent Control
  • Thursday, July 22, 2015: 9:00 – 10:30: Meet with representatives National Resource Network as a part of their two-day visit to Richmond to consider providing technical assistance related to affordable housing
  • Friday, July 23, 2015: 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM: West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee (WCCTAC) meeting
  • Friday, July 23, 2015: 10:00 AM – 12:00 noon: Meet with representative of Trust for Public Land to discuss Richmond joining Climate Smart Cities.
  • Friday, July 23, 2015: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Final debriefing with representatives National Resource Network as a part of their two-day visit to Richmond to consider providing technical assistance related to affordable housing
  • Sent two letters to Harriet Tregoning, Principle Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Kennedy Park Design Community Charrette

    Saturday, July 24, 2015: Visited the design charrette at Kennedy Park and spoke at the Rosie’s Girls Rosie's Girls closing ceremony. Each summer, Rosie the Riveter Trust sponsors a summer camp for middle school girls. Rosie's Girls is a national program designed to build self-esteem, leadership and physical confidence through an exploration of the trades and non-traditional activities. Shown here are special chairs each girl designed and built. Some include welded metal armrests. Among the favorite activities the girls recited were the camping trip to Yosemite, carpentry, welding, chair making and just hanging out with the other girls. Other program sponsors include the National Park Service, the YMCA, and many businesses

    I had numerous conversations with newspaper and radio reporters, including:

  • Dan Borenstein, Contra Costa Times
  • Karina Ioffee, Contra Costa Times
  • Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle
  • Stephanie Martin, KQED
  • Kristin Haynes, KGO

    I also had a conversation with Senator Loni Hancock about the West County Detention Facility.

    The mayor’s staff engaged in the following:

  • Preparation or Affordable Housing Study Session at July 28, City Council meeting
  • Preparation for Mayor’s Business Roundtable for July 30.
  • Reviewed possible venues for Contra Costa Mayor’s Conference in November.
  • Reviewed staff feedback on Economic Development Resource Guide
  • Uploaded agenda items to SIRE
  • Met with RMSI and Urban Tilth to discuss Food Day activities during Richmond main Street Farmers Market
  • Joined conference call to discuss Meeting of the Minds downtown Richmond tour.
  • Preparation for NorthStar visit next week for Branding and Marketing market research visit
  • Joined steering committee conference call for Reentry Success Center
  • Attended July 20 Economic Development Commission meeting
  • Attended July 20 Richmond Main Street meeting
  • Coordination for National Night Out
  • Met with Supervisor John Gioia to discuss CPR training in schools
  • Attended Community Advisory Council meeting for Family Justice Center on July 20
  • Coordinate Chevron check presentation for Promise Program on July 29
  • Preparation and coordination for National Resource Network two-day visit
  • Update mayor’s web site
  • Attend Climate Action Plan workshop
  • Attend July 20, 2015 PMCAC Meeting
  • Update draft of Economic Development Resource Guide
  • Continue monitoring and evaluation of West County Detention Center expansion proposal
  • Schedule meeting for What Works Cities
  • Attend Community Advisory Council meeting for Family Justice Center
  • Review potential changes for Industrial Safety Ordinance
  • Coordinate process for considering North Richmond annexation
  • Coordination for Red Oak Victory move
  • Coordinate process for Chevron check presentation for Richmond Promise

    On Sunday, I headed to the Russian River to swim, eat and do some wine tasting.

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