Barnidge: Dysfunction still alive in Richmond, even without Corky Booze
By Tom Barnidge Contra Costa Times Columnist
Posted: 08/05/2015 11:42:17 AM PDT0 Comments | Updated: about 6 hours ago
The animus and dysfunction that so often have characterized Richmond City Council meetings were supposed to dissipate when Corky Boozé was denied re-election in November. Tom Butt predicted as much during his successful mayoral campaign, noting Boozé's singular flare for flamboyance and disruption.
Apparently, dysfunctionectomies are not quite that simple.
In the first seven months of Butt's administration, which have seen tempers flare, council members have:
Outgoing Councilmember Corky Booze speaks during a swearing-in ceremony for new Mayor Tom Butt at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium and Convention Center in Richmond, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015. (JANE TYSKA/Staff file photo)
1) Bowed their backs for three weeks arguing over a replacement to fill the seat Butt vacated when elected mayor before compromising on Vinay Pimplé; 2) Swapped social media daggers over the disputed relocation site of SS Red Oak Victory ship at Rosie the Riveter National Park; 3) Exchanged barbs over the curious endorsement of the Space Preservation Treaty in symbolic opposition to chemtrails and particle beams overhead; 4) Staked out intractable positions on opposite sides of a rent control ordinance before the measure passed in a bitterly divided 4-3 vote.
The warring factions are predictably separated by ideology -- Richmond Progressive Alliance members Gayle McLaughlin, Jovanka Beckles and Eduardo Martinez on one side; Butt, Pimplé and Nat Bates on the other -- with Jael Myrick awkwardly straddling the swing vote.
A case in point: Myrick was against rent control before he was for it, earning a "flip-flopper" label from the mayor.
The tension recently reached new levels when Butt lobbed a political hand grenade in an email blast: "The RPA3 plus Myrick have continued to violate the Brown Act, communicating with each other in private to arrange and schedule a pair of special City Council meetings for a first and second reading of the rent control and just cause ordinance." That charge is sure to bring return fire.
Corky Boozé must be having a good chuckle.