Tom Butt
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February 6, 2021

This bit of trivia from Wikipedia may or may not be either useful or accurate, but it is interesting. It is not clear who compiled it, but Wikipedia lists a Rayne Van Dunem from Georgia, Lepricavark, KidAd from Novato, and Narky Blert. When I ran across it, I noted that Thomas Corcoran had been omitted, and I added him.

In 1975, Tom Corcoran, a Chevron accountant, was elected to a two-year term to fill out the remaining term of Nello Bianco, who had been elected to the BART Board. In May of 1977, Corcoran was elected to a 6-year City Council term and was selected to fill the rotating mayor position in 1980. 1980 was the year Richmond transitioned from an annually rotating mayor to an elected mayor with a successful Charter amendment in the November 1980 election. In 1981, Corcoran successfully ran for the new elected mayor position with a four-year term.

In 1985, Corcoran died in office, and Vice-mayor George Livingston filled in until the November 1985 election at which time Livingston squared off in the mayor’s race against LaVonne Niccolls, the last registered Republican to serve on the Richmond City Council. The big issue was the future of Richmond’s waterfront. Earlier in 1985, Livingston and Niccolls had clashed over the encroachment permit needed by Petromark to expand their tank farm into Ferry Point. Niccolls supported the expansion, and Livingston opposed it.

The West Contra Costa Bayshore Council supported Livingston and opposed Niccolls. In an endorsement for Livingston, the West County Times wrote on November 1, 1985:

Realizing that Richmond’s small, deep-water port is losing ground to Southern California shipping powers, Livingston advocates diversification of that area into open space, residential, light industrial, office and recreational uses. “The container area is not being utilized anyway, “he says. “I’d like to see a Jack London Square-type development in that area.”
While Niccholls had said, according to the Times, that if she were elected mayor, it would signal to developers a new direction for the city instead of the old “politics as usual,” The Times concluded that Livingston, however, had walked the talk:

But Livingston’s vote earlier this year against an application by Petromark, an oil company, to expand its oil tank facilities on the waterfront did more to signal to developers his willingness to consider new options for Richmond. It also won him the endorsement of the West Contra Costa Bayshore Council, an organization of upscale homeowners on the waterfront that is helping to change Richmond’s image from strictly blue collar industrial to blue-and-white collar office and industrial.
Livingston went on to win another term and served two full terms until he was defeated by Rosemary Corbin in 1993.

The Richmond City Council in 1980 had nine members, all male and all with business backgrounds. The City’s top management was likewise mostly male.