Tom Butt
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  Lies and Hypocrisy by the Point Molate Alliance
August 30, 2020

The Point Molate Alliance is apparently in a contest with Trump to see which can tell more lies or engage in more hypocrisy. The slick publication, “Richmond Community News,” masquerading as a newspaper, features articles written by or about the following NIMBY stalwarts:

  • David Halvarg
  • Carol Teltchick
  • Charles Smith
  • Robert Cheasty
  • Jim Hanson
  • Sally Tobin
  • Michael Gliksohn
  • Jeff Kilbreth
  • Norman LaForce
  • Robert Cheasty
  • Pam Stello

All are white, in their 60s or 70s and relatively wealthy, not exactly a cross section of Richmond residents.

One article authored by Jim Hanson, “Richmond Mayor Pushes High Priced Housing Enclave for Point Molate -- Critics Object The Enclave Will Be a Financial Disaster, Forcing Richmond Residents to Subsidize Housing for the Rich,” is a great study in hypocrisy. Regarding high priced housing, at least these Alliance people know their subject.

According to Redfin, the value of some of their homes is quite pricey compared to most in Richmond.:

David Helvarg             $736,101
Sally Tobin                  $1,371,944
Jeff Kilbreth                 $1,297,884
Norman LaForce         $1,271,162

Their rewriting of history is also creative. In an unattributed article, the Point Molate Alliance wrote, “Richmond Mayor Tom Butt made a secret deal with the Casino Developers over the future of Point Molate.”

Here is how they tell it:

Renowned environmental lawyer Norman La Force has taken on the Mayor in court to stop what some community activists describe as the theft of public lands at Point Molate. In 2010 Richmond had turned down the proposed casino development and the casino developer sued the City in response. In 2018 Mayor Butt pushed through a settlement of that lawsuit in secret. The settlement provided, basically, the City would guarantee approval of a large development at Point Molate, and then the City would sell off the public lands at Point Molate once these development rights were approved. The casino developers and the City would split the profit. The secret deal caused an uproar. When members of the public found out about the mayor’s secret deal they turned out in force at the City Council. Some members of the public accused the City of backroom deals, shady negotiations, corruption as usual, and mayoral self-dealing.

The fact is that the initial settlement agreement was tentatively approved by me and two members of the Richmond Progressive Alliance, Ben Choi and Ada Recinos in a federal court mandated settlement conference where the judge ordered participants to maintain confidentiality. It was later ratified by the full City Council on a 5-2 vote.

For defying the RPA politburo, Choi was excommunicated from the RPA. Recinos was barely allowed to stay, but her unsuccessful run for election to a full term received minimal support from the RPA. Richmond Confidential wrote, “The fact that two candidates backed by the progressive alliance voted to develop the shoreline prompted outrage from some members.”