Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2020  
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  Recommendations for Local Offices and Ballot Measures
October 11, 2020

Following are my recommendations for the 2020 ballot:

United States Representative             Mark DeSaulnier
State Senator                                      Nancy Skinner
State Assembly                                   Buffy Wicks
Contra Costa Board of Education      Fatima Alleyne
East Bay Regional Park District         Elizabeth Echols
AC Transit Board, Ward 1                  Joe Wallace
AC Transit Board, At Large                Chris Peeples
BART Board                                        Lateefah Simon

  • District 1 – Jamela Folds
  • District 2 – Guadalupe Enllana
  • District 3 – (No challenger to Mister Phillips)
  • District 4 – Demetrio Gonzales
  • District 5 – Leslie Reckler

Richmond City Council

  • District 1 – Eleanor Thompson
  • District 5 – Ahmad Anderson
  • District 6 – Vinay Pimple

Richmond Measure U                         No

Measure U was a tough one for me. I actually started the process of moving towards business license tax reform in Richmond over two years ago. We desperately need additional revenue. In December 2019, I brought an item to the City Council, approved unanimously, that authorized staff to work on evaluating and bringing more than one revenue measure, including business tax reform, to the ballot in 2020. Disappointingly, staff abrogated their responsibility and turned over the entire process to a coalition of labor and nonprofits called “Lift UP Richmond,” Members include:

  • SEIU Local 1021
  • RPOA
  • Fire Fighters Local 188
  • IFPTE Local 21
  • RYSE Center Richmond
  • Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE)
  • Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
  • Contra Costa Central Labor Council

What was missing was any representation of the business community, who would be actually paying the tax -- raising the taxes of some business by several hundred percent. Because Measure T of 2008, placed on the ballot by the Richmond Progressive Alliance, was found unconstitutional as it pertained to Chevron, the City was stuck with the only legal part of it, an unusually low business tax for all businesses other than Chevron. In the drafting of the current Measure U, the business community was seen as a juicy target, not a partner. The ballot measure was brought to the City Council only a week before the deadline for placing it on the ballot without any outreach to the business community. Even then, it was increased dramatically at the final vote by the City Council.

The members of this coalition have become a powerful “shadow government” in Richmond with an anti-business, anti-landlord, anti-development and often NIMBY agenda.

Maybe in two years, we can take another pass at this after involving the entire community on crafting a measure that is fair to all and actually lifts up all of Richmond instead of tearing down one segment for the benefit of another.