Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2016  
  < RETURN  
  City Manager's Weekly Report for the Week Ending April 29, 2016
April 29, 2016

Mayor and Members of the City Council:

This is the weekly report for the week ending April 29, 2016.

1. Meeting Notes

The next regular City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 3rd beginning with a Closed Session at 5:00 PM, with the regular agenda commencing at 6:30 PM. The agenda may be found by clicking this link: Richmond City Council Agenda Packet.

2. Weeds!

The return of near normal rainfall this past winter, as well as spring rains, have been welcome after so many years of drought, and have brought a bright green color back to landscaped areas and surrounding hills.  This has, however, also brought weeds in abundance that our maintenance crews have been busy tackling.

A visual survey will quickly indicate that we are behind in our weed abatement efforts this season, but we are working hard to catch up.  Tim Higares, as Director of Infrastructure and Maintenance Operations (see the item [5] below) is making sure that weed abatement work is scheduled appropriately, and estimates that all medians in the City will be trimmed by May 13th, and maintained currently thereafter.  We will also begin some “pilot project” use of organic sprays, with the first test area being the weeds in the paved areas of the Civic Center Plaza.

Please note that, if you see City maintenance crews employing any sprays, these crews are not using glyphosate products, which have been banned for City use by the City Council, but an alternative organic, non-toxic product.  We will also make certain that we advise the public of this fact through proper signage.


Before                                    After

Weed abatement on Carlson Boulevard

3. Mathieu Court Alley Greening Project Ribbon Cutting

Mathieu Court was previously a paved alley that had fallen into a state of great disrepair.  It was a frequent target of illegal dumping and a perpetual eyesore.  It is today a community space with a tree canopy, community gardens, and landscaped informal seating areas.

Today, Friday, April 29th, the City held a ribbon cutting ceremony for this pilot alley greening project on Mathieu Court.  The project replaced this two-way alley with a one-way alley, reducing the amount of paving and incorporating stormwater basins with native and drought-tolerant plants to mimic natural systems that clean and filter stormwater, recharge groundwater, and create habitat for native birds and beneficial insects. This new green alley creates a community space with a tree canopy, community gardens, and landscaped informal seating areas.  Limiting vehicle access will allow for more shared use of the entire space, with opportunities for children to play safely, as well as providing a safe route of travel.  Security cameras have also been installed to further reduce the potential for illegal dumping and provide enhanced community safety.
The City worked with area residents, the Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council, and several non-profits, including Pogo Park, The Trust for Public Land and The Watershed Project, to reclaim this space as a usable neighborhood amenity to promote a healthy community while also deterring illegal dumping that was a chronic problem.
This Project was a collaboration of many City departments including Planning, Engineering and Capital Improvements, Wastewater/Stormwater Division, Veolia, Public Works, Parks and Landscaping Division, Richmond Police Department, and Code Enforcement.

The Project received a $302,818 Urban Greening for Sustainable Communities grant from the Strategic Growth Council, administered by the California Natural Resources Agency and $1,000 from the Rosie the Riveter Trust. The Project was designed by David Gates + Associates with assistance by The Trust for Public Lands, Resource Design Group, and Bellecci and Associates.  The general contractor was Ghilotti Bros., Inc.

Special thanks go to Michael Williams, the City’s manager of this very complicated project, and Lina Velasco, who wrote the excellent grant proposal that secured the funding. 


Today’s ribbon-cutting at Mathieu Court





4. Rchmond Celebrates Cinco de Mayo!

11th Annual Cinco de Mayo Peace & Unity Parade

The 11th Annual Cinco de Mayo Peace & Unity Parade starts at 10:00 AM Saturday, April 30th, beginning on Barrett Avenue and 24th Street in Richmond and ending at St. Paul Church, 1835 Church Lane in San Pablo, followed by a festival with food, games, a raffle, booths and activities.


10th Annual Cinco de Mayo Festival!

The 23rd Street Merchants Association invites you, your family and friends out to enjoy the 10th Annual Cinco De Mayo Festival on Sunday May 1, 2016.  Enjoy a day of food and entertainment, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

5. Reorganization in Maintenance and Engineering Functions

As I previously reported, Chad Smalley, Richmond’s outstanding Capital Improvements Program Manager has left the City organization to pursue other opportunities. This event, along with our ongoing efforts both to reduce costs and to align services so that they achieve the best possible synergy among staff members, has precipitated the following reorganization of management responsibilities in the engineering and public works maintenance functions:

  • Tim Higares, most recently the City’s Code Enforcement Manager, will assume the role as Director of Infrastructure and Maintenance Operations.  In this role, he will have overall management responsibility for code enforcement, abatement services, facilities management, parks and landscaping maintenance, equipment services, and property/asset management.  In addition to his excellent work as the Code Enforcement Manager, Mr. Higares has significant prior public works maintenance experience.

    With this consolidation of maintenance functions, Mr. Higares will have opportunities to assign personnel as appropriate during seasonal peaks in maintenance services.  As an example, much of the median weed abatement described in item (2) above was performed by the code enforcement crew, rather than by only a seasonally overburdened parks and landscape crew.
  • Yader Bermudez will assume many of Chad Smalley’s responsibilities as Director of Engineering and Capital Improvements, and will have overall management responsibility for the City’s capital improvement programs.  He will, however, retain responsibilities for managing the overall right-of-way maintenance (street and sidewalk repair, pavement management, signs and lines, street sweeping), including oversight of the City’s in-house paving crew.  He will also have management responsibility for the City’s traffic and general civil engineering functions, and for encroachment permits.

  • Ryan Smith will remain in his role as Wastewater/Stormwater programs manager, including managing the Veolia contract and overseeing the very important capital improvement projects in these areas.
  • Management of Successor Agency projects (from the former Redevelopment Agency) on which Mr. Smalley worked will be transferred to Shasa Curl (economic and community development projects, including ferry service), and to Tim Jones (housing related projects).

The City organization is fortunate to have the management talent of the above-named individuals who are able to alter and expand their scope of responsibilities.  I appreciate their commitment to the Richmond community.

These organizational changes were effective as of Monday, April 18th.

6. Richmond-ECIA Community Grant Program Application – DEADLINE: May 2nd

The Richmond – ECIA Competitive Grant Program is funded through the Chevron Modernization Project Environmental and Community Investment Agreement (ECIA) that was entered into between the City of Richmond and Chevron. Grants ranging from $5,000 to $75,000 will be awarded to Richmond-serving organizations that provide projects or programs focused on the Richmond community, youth, and youth sports. Please note the impending deadline:  Applications are due on Monday, May 2nd at 5:00 PM in the City of Richmond City Manager’s Office (450 Civic Center Plaza, Third Floor).

For general information or grant related documents please visit

7. Grand Re-Opening Richmond Main Street Farmers’ Market

The Richmond Main Street Farmers’ Market returns for another season on Wednesday, May 4th from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM at the Nevin Plaza (Nevin Avenue at 13th Street).  The market features fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies, artisan vendors, baked goods and treats, food booths, and live music.  It also features Market Match for CalFresh recipients: spend up to $10 on your EBT card and get an extra $10 to buy fruits & veggies!

For more information: Visit the Farmers' Market webpage, like our Facebook page, or call (510) 236-4049.

Come Downtown to welcome back the market!

8. RichmondBUILD Receives Grant from the State Employment Training Panel

This past week, RichmondBUILD was notified that it has received a $127,350 grant from the State of California’s Employment Training Panel.  The grant will help to train Richmond residents for jobs and careers in the construction and solar industry and will support establishing the RichmondBUILD Contractors Resource Center.  This recent award is the third grant approved by the Employment Training Panel for RichmondBUILD in the last six years.

Richmond residents interested in the RichmondBUILD training should contact staff at (510) 621-1780 for more information.

9. 2016 Historic Preservation Awards Ceremony

The Richmond Historic Preservation Commission and the National Park Service invite you to attend the Historic Preservation Awards Ceremony honoring this year's award recipients. The awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 5:30 PM in the Richmond City Council Chambers (440 Civic Center Plaza). The ceremony will be followed by a reception at the Richmond Art Center, catered by the Contra Costa College Culinary Department.

The purpose of the 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 Historic Preservation Commission is pleased to announce that this year's Historic Preservation Award recipients are:

  • Rosemary Corbin and Jennie Alexich for Creating the WWII Home Front Quilt Challenge;
  • The East Brother Wickies for Their Stewardship of East Brother Light Station;
  • Ryland Construction for Rehabilitating the Historic Home at 221 East Scenic Avenue;
  • Point Richmond History Association for Promoting the History of Richmond Through Its Museum and Newsletter;
  • The City of Richmond, The Rosie the Riveter Trust, The Richmond Convention & Visitors Bureau, The Spirit of ‘45, and The Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park for Sponsoring the Rosie Rally; and
  • Jan Brown National Park Service Home Front Award, for her Body of Work Over Many Years Supporting the Rosie the Riveter Park.

Feel free to download the Historic Preservation Awards ceremony invitation and help spread the word. Contact Jonathan Malagon, Planner II, at (510) 620-6887 or with any questions.

10. City Manager Chronicles

I have listed below some of the topics for meetings that I attended during the past week in the hope that it provides an idea of the varied issues with which our organization deals routinely.

Much of my time this past week was spent in working on the FY 2016-17 budget and related organizational issues.  Other meetings of note during the past week included:

  • Met with Katrinka Ruk and Bielle Moore of the Council of Industries, along with Kristin Connelly, Executive Director of the Contra Costa Economic Partnership, and Sharon Jenkins, a Boardmember of the Partnership, to discuss economic development activities in Richmond;
  • Attended the outstanding Y-PLAN (Youth – Plan, Learn, Act, Now!) presentations by students at De Anza, Kennedy, and Richmond High Schools;
  • Attended the quarterly eQuip/Richmond Economic Revitalization Initiative Steering Committee meeting;
  • Met with Senior Management Analyst LaShonda White, and staff from various departments, to review the status of NURVE (Nystrom) projects;
  • Attended my regular monthly check-in meeting with West Contra Costa Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Bruce Harter;
  • Attended a meeting of the Richmond Funders Group, which includes representatives of organizations involved in local philanthropy;
  • Attended a meeting of recent Community Progress Leadership Institute attendees, including Tim Higares, Director of Infrastructure and Maintenance Operations (IMO), Alex Knox, of the Mayor’s office, and representatives from Oakland and the State of California Strategic Growth Council, to discuss potential joint follow-up activities arising from the Institute;
  • Met with Tim Higares, IMO Director, and Mayor Butt and staff, to discuss the status of weed abatement in landscaped areas;
  • Attended monthly West County Mayors and Supervisors meeting;
  • Met with CIP/Engineering Director Yader Bermudez and Finance Staff to discuss cost accounting for personnel assigned to capital projects;
  • Attended the meeting of the Berkeley Global Campus (BGC) Community Working Group (CWG), at which CWG members presented to campus leadership their final recommendations regarding BGC community investments;
  • Attended the ribbon cutting for the Mathieu Alley project (see item 3, above).

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 Community Emergency Response Team

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training is a FREE emergency training program that is designed to educate and empower residents about disaster preparedness for response to hazards that might negatively impact their neighborhoods for long periods.  Participants are trained in basic disaster response skills, including team organization for fire safety, light searches and rescues, and disaster medical operations for mass casualties. Richmond residents learn basic skills that can mean the ability to assist others in their neighborhoods following a disaster, when professional firefighters and police officers are not immediately available to help.  CERT participants can be of any age, and the work that they perform can be the difference between being a survivor or casualty during the next extensive emergency. 

A group of CERT participants recently completed a series of eight (8) classes that began in February, and included topics such as Search & Rescue, Fire Suppression, and Disaster Medical Operations.  On Saturday, April 23, 2016, this group completed their final session, bringing all of the skills from the eight (8) classes together into one hands on drill.

To register for upcoming CERT classes please contact Richmond Fire Office of Emergency Services at: (510) 620-6866,

12. Leaders from Northern California to Convene in Richmond to Discuss Challenges and Solutions to Building the Next Generation Workforce

The Richmond Community Foundation is partnering with West Contra Costa Unified School District to present the 7th Annual Northern California Summit on Children and Youth, Building the Next Generation Workforce, on May 17th at the Craneway Pavilion from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM. This year’s event will feature a career fair for students and teachers, an ideal way to incorporate participation from the target population of underserved youth and students of color.

The Summit will ensure that our communities are ready to fill the employment opportunities available in our region in coming years, including health care, information and communication technology, biotech and many other vocations.  In addition to presenting engaging workforce programs that actively train and develop young people for careers, the Summit explores academic, vocational, training, and mentoring programs targeting underserved youth and community college students.

The Summit will include inspiring speakers and presentations from programs throughout the Bay Area, including Marc Philpart from PolicyLink, Sherice Torres from Google, and Joseph Fortuno, a recent graduate of Hercules High School, as well as concurrent sessions and roundtable discussions to tackle challenges and opportunities. 

For more information about the Summit program, or to register, please visit the Summit webpage: Summit 2016.

2016 Summit Flyer-42016

13. Richmond Tool Library Initiative Reaches 50% of Crowdfunding Goal!

The Richmond Tool Library is a free service that will provide community members with building, landscaping, and artistic tools to be self-sufficient, take agency over their neighborhoods, and build a more sustainable Richmond.  This initiative is the brain-child of Kiana Ward and Guadalupe Morales, two of Richmond’s fabulous AmeriCorps participants.

The first phase of the initiative is the launch of the project’s crowdfunding campaign to raise $12,598 by May 12th to purchase the remaining inventory of tools as well as a second tool shed. With insurance and fiscal sponsorship from the local non-profit Urban Tilth, and support from the City’s Recreation Department,local labor unions, hardware stores, and individual sponsors, the crowdfunding campaign aims to get financial support from the community that the program will serve.

The crowdfunding campaign for the Richmond Tool Library has reached over 50% of its goal!  But we still need your help.  We have 13 days left before the campaign closes.  Help us reach our goal and provide Richmond residents with greater access to tools!

You can donate to the campaign here:

Check out our Facebook for updates and more!

If you would like to donate tools, please contact Guadalupe Morales at 510-620-6553 or email                                    

Tool-gether, we can build a better Richmond.

Richmond Tool Library LogoIoby 50


14. Information Technology


Top 10 Webpage views for the week ending 04/29/2016


City of Richmond Website and Mobile APP UPDATE

An upgraded version of the City of Richmond’s mobile phone app is now available on the Apple App store and Google Play store. 

The City of Richmond mobile app provides Richmond’s community members with one-stop access to City services and information.  You may watch the informational video  for an overview of the app available for free at Apple App Store for IOS devices and at Google Play for Android phones. 

The City of Richmond is looking forward to feedback from the community on this upgraded Mobile App. We welcome your comments at

15. Recreation Highlights

Parchester Community Center staff and volunteers helped with the Love Your Block cleanup at Parchester Village on Saturday, April 23rd from 8:00 AM to noon.  Twelve volunteers participated in cleaning the entrance area along the wall on Griffin and Giant Roads. Light refreshments and snack were served for all the volunteers.

Shields-Reid Achieve Afterschool Program youth ventured to Belding Garcia Park last week.  They participated in a brief park clean up before enjoying the sand box and play structure.  Each week, the children visit a local city or regional park to learn about ways to keep parks clean and how trash can affect the environment.

16. Infrastructure and Maintenance Operations

Facilities Maintenance
Carpenters installed a new work station in the Corporation Yard and installed weather head flashing for the shot spotter location on a facility roof.

Painters have been completing touch up and repair painting at various locations throughout the City.

Stationary Engineers repaired a leaking dehumidifier at the Richmond Swim Center, replaced evaporator coil at the Corporation Yard, installed new belts and greased fittings on the fans at the Senior Center, cleared sewer line at the Youth Build facility, re-keyed doors and cabinets at Fires Station #64 and re-keyed doors at the Auditorium in the basement.

Utility workers attended a training session on recycling, cleaned the carpet in the City Manager’s Conference room, set up the Auditorium and Council Chambers for various events and maintained 29 facilities.

Carpet Cleaning in the City Manager’s Conference Room

Parks and Landscaping Division:  
General maintenance crews weeded and trimmed the medians along San Pablo Avenue, weeded and trimmed at Kern Park, performed irrigation repair at the Civic Center, San Pablo Medians and Nicholl Park, performed maintenance on the Key Boulevard median, supported the Earth Day festivities on the Greenway, cleaned weeds from the bus stop on Amend Road and cleaned along the soundwall on Nunn Avenue.

Median on San Pablo Ave
Median Maintenance on San Pablo Avenue

The tree crew cut or trimmed trees on South 15th Street, South 16th Street, Kern Avenue, South 55th Street, Marina Way South and Carlson Boulevard and Potrero Avenue medians.

Tree trimming at 744 Kern
Tree Trimming on Kern Avenue

Hilltop Districtcrews continuing general maintenance of the Hilltop area, continued weed abatement of right-a-ways in various areas, began weed abatement on Research and Lakeside Drives and completed weed abatement along Richmond Parkway.

General Maintenance on Richmond Parkway
Maintenance on Richmond Parkway

Marina District crews continue to perform weed throughout the area, mulching of planted areas of the trail, mowing and edged turf and checked irrigation systems.

17. Engineering/CIP Departments

Capital Improvement Projects:
There is ongoing construction at the Civic Auditorium, upgrading the facility to more effectively meet American with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. The men and women’s restrooms on the second floor are currently being upgraded. All fixtures were removed and the plumbing was replaced.

Men’s Restroom
Women’s Restroom

Streets Division
Paving crews are preparing for the Cinco de Mayo celebration and worked from the outstanding pothole list.

Street sweeping performed commercial and residential sweeping services for the fourth Monday through Thursday and the fifth Friday in the Santa Fe, Point Richmond, Marina Bay, Coronado, Metro Richmore Village, Pullman, Cortez/Stege, Park Plaza, Laurel Park, City Center, Richmond Annex, Parkview, Panhandle Annex and Eastshore neighborhood council areas.

Signs and Lines staff installed six new poles and signs, painted 44 feet of curbs, repaired 11 signs and poles and installed one pavement message and delineations including stop messages.

New Sign Installation


Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about these or any other items of interest to you.

Bill Lindsay
City Manager
City of Richmond
450 Civic Center Plaza
Richmond, California 94804
(510) 620-6512

You can sign up to receive the City Manager’s weekly report and other information from the City of Richmond by visiting: