Tom Butt
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  Who Will Be Richmond's Next City Council Member?
August 15, 2017

Applications to replace Gayle McLaughlin closed today with 13 applicants who will make a pitch at the September 12 City Council meeting. The candidate statements to fill the Council vacancy are on the web at

  • Soheila Bana, engineer with a Ph.D., represents Richmond on the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District.
  • Maija Barretto, health care coach and U.S Army combat veteran.
  • Diego Garcia, Parks and Recreation Commissioner and founder of Richmond SOL Soccer League.
  • Timothy Golden, non-profit leader.
  • Allen Dale Green, Planner and former Richmond Main Street Initiative Board member.
  • David Allen Tucker, former staff member for Congressman George Miller, former Kaiser employee and government relations consultant.
  • Carole Johnson, former member Human Rights and Human Relations Commission, criminal justice advocate, Ceasefire, ACCE, RPA activist.
  • Demnlus Johnson, Economic Development Commission member, WCCSD Richmond High School community worker.
  • Marilyn Langlois, former Human Rights and Human Relations Commission member, current Planning Commission member.
  • Michael W. Malin, owner of Burnt Ramen, blames Tom Butt for making him homeless.
  • Ada Recinos, Member Human Rights and Human Relations Commission, RPA
  • David Schoenthal, former Point Richmond Business Association president, Washington School supporter, Board Member Richmond Chamber of Commerce.
  • Peter A. Thelin, Retired Optician

The applicants are remarkably diverse and all with interesting backgrounds, Several of them have experience on Richmond boards and commissions. Only one, Marilyn Langlois has previously run for Richmond City Council.

I applaud all of them for their motivation and interest in serving on the Richmond City Council.

However, this is essentially a Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) appointment. I’m putting my money on Marilyn Langlois, a former unsuccessful RPA candidate for City Council and the RPA’s first choice in the contest to fill my seat after I was elected mayor in 2014. Vinay Pimple won that seat instead.

But now, unlike 2015, the RPA controls the City Council and the appointment process. Marilyn is an interesting candidate. She is former co-chair of the RPA Steering Committee and remains an RPA Steering Committee member. She is smart and articulate and has been a good planning commissioner, but her world view is definitely on the fringe. Marlyn Langlois believes the World Trade Center twin towers were blown up by the U.S. Government and that unknown forces from outer space are targeting many individuals on earth with mind control waves. Contra Costa Times columnist Tom Barnidge wrote about Langlois’ testimony: “She cited ‘exotic’ weapons that could be scoping out Richmond residents at that very moment — electronic, psychotronic, high-altitude ultra low-frequency weapons; plasma electromagnetic sonic and ultrasonic weapons; lasers; chemtrails,” Barnidge wrote. “She didn’t name a culprit, but obviously it’s the government seeking mind control.”

In a recent poll, 14% of Richmond residents were strongly favorable or somewhat favorable to Langlois. 8% were somewhat unfavorable or strongly unfavorable, 13% had no opinion and 70% never heard of her.

I don’t think Marilyn would put her name out there unless there was an understanding that she would be chosen. If it’s not Marilyn, I would bet on one of the two other RPA affiliated candidates – Carole Johnson or Ada Recinos.

We’ll see what happens. After Trump, I have no trust in conventional wisdom or polls. And look what happened last time as Eduardo Martinez went rogue and successfully nominated Vinay Pimple, the RPA’s worst nightmare