Tom Butt
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  Richmond Races -Voting Starts in One Week
October 4, 2022

I will leaving tomorrow to lead a delegation from Richmond to our sister city, Shimada, Japan, to participate in the Shimada Obi Festival, so this will probably be my last political post until the middle of October.

I have already provided my voting recommendations in:

This is an important election that will decide the direction of Richmond over at least the next two years, and possibly more.

This election is an epic struggle between largely mainstream California Democrats, which I am endorsing, and Socialists. All of the City Council and mayoral candidates, as far as I know, are registered Democrats, except Shawn Dunning, who is registered Independent.

The California Democratic Party platform, which is embraced by my endorsed candidates, is arguably the most progressive in America, but it falls far short for the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA), which has moved on to a socialist platform espoused by the East Bay Democratic Socialists of America (EBDSA), which is endorsing Eduardo Martinez and Jamin Purcell, both of whom are proud members of the EBCSA.

Figure 1 - East Bay Democratic Socialists

Eduardo Martinez is a self-proclaimed socialist who believes that all businesses providing essential services should be owned by the government, as in Cuba and North Korea. If he had his way, farms, grocery stores, restaurants, barbers, clothiers, automobile factories and homebuilders would all be run by the government under control of people like him. “Any public good on which people’s lives depend should be publicly owned…” wrote Martinez. “I expect my support will primarily come from left-leaning voters..” (responses to an endorsement questionnaire from the East Bay Democratic Socialists of America).

You don’t want the RPA running businesses, and you don’t want to give the RPA any more power over Richmond, which is, itself, essentially a $200 million business. Fiscal responsibility is essential for a healthy city. Fully half of the RPA city council members have experienced personal bankruptcy. While there is no shame in filing for bankruptcy, it’s probably not the best qualification for public office; you certainly don’t see it listed in their campaign literature.

The RPA is endorsing:

  • Mayor – Eduardo Martinez
  • City Council District 3 – Doria Robinson
  • City Council District 4 – Jamin Purcell

I don’t think they have formally endorsed District 2 candidate Cesar Zepeda yet, but they are clearly supporting him.

The Richmond Progressive Alliance has built a sold socialist base in Richmond that includes 30-40 percent of voters. That base came through in the 2020 election to provide an RPA majority on the City Council.

But residents are showing increasing discontent with the direction the RPA majority is taking Richmond and appear to be ready for a change. According to recent polling, Richmond residents now believe the City is headed in the wrong direction. In a 2019 poll, only 30 percent of residents believed Richmond was on the wrong track. By September of 2022, after the RPA had taken over the City Council, that number had risen dramatically to 50 percent!

Similarly, polls show that in 2019, 24 percent of residents had a somewhat or strongly unfavorable opinion of the RPA, but in 2022, that had grown to 33 percent. A full 36 percent said they had never hear of the RPA!

People are not happy with the RPA priorities of defunding police, perpetuating homeless camps, promoting sideshows and illegal fireworks, stopping effective street sweeping, penalizing businesses, putting the brakes on economic development, and stopping new housing projects, including much needed affordable housing. Richmond residents would rather have a safe community, fewer homeless camps and more housing than a public bank.

By a large margin, recent polls show that public safety is the highest priority of Richmond residents, but the RPA majority has done everything they can to dismantle the successful community policing model that former police Chief Chris Magnus successfully built.

Polices promoted by the RPA have made Richmond less safe, reduced the number of rental housing units available, driven development to a standstill, doubled the number of homeless people camped on streets, under bridges and along creeks and railroad rights-of-way and increased trash and toxic dust on our streets. Instead of finding homes and shelters or the homeless, the RPA City Council has spent millions prolonging encampments.

The RPA wants to spend your taxpayers’ money to fund a public bank run by their Berkeley friends to provide low-interest loans to their other socialist friends. We already have public banks – four of them – in Richmond. They are called credit unions. Credit unions are not-for-profit organizations that exist to serve their members. Like banks, credit unions accept deposits, make loans and provide a wide array of other financial services. But as member-owned and cooperative institutions, credit unions provide a safe place to save and borrow at reasonable rates.

Finally, the RPA-controlled City Council rejected a $45 million sale of the 30 percent of Point Molate zoned and designated in the General Plan for development and instead sold it to the previous casino developer and the Guidiville Tribe for $400.00. The remaining 70 percent of Point Molate, including the entire shoreline, will remain open space, but the future of the other 30 percent is now completely out of City hands.

Supervisor John Gioia used to have a reputation as a collaborator that everyone could work with, but within the last year he has pivoted hard left, embracing the RPA and endorsing all its candidates, including Cesar Zepeda. For years, Gioia has enjoyed support of the construction trades, but that may now be history. A long-time construction trades representative recently wrote to his fellow trades brothers and sisters:

For many years the Building Trades has supported John Gioia.  He shared some of our beliefs and supported some of our causes.

In recent months, though, the New John Gioia has emerged.

John has gone full blown RPA. 

He has endorsed ALL of the RPA candidates for Mayor and City Council [Eduardo Martinez, Jamin Pursell, Doria Robinson and Cesar Zepeda (Cesar is not a card carrying member of the RPA but shares many of their ideals)]; he is a HUGE supporter of the RYSE Center (Rising Youth for Social Equity) [the RYSE Center is a madras for the indoctrination of local youth to become the next generation of RPAers]; stopping all development options at Point Molate and turning the site over to East Bay Regional Parks; promoting many of the projects promoted by the RPA (including defunding the police); and his comments strongly suggest that he supports shutting down the Chevron refinery.

Some of John’s allegiances in the past have been subtle but he’s out of the closet these days about who and what he supports.

There is a lot of speculation that this turn-around is tied to his desire to seek higher office (Congress?).  That is speculation but that’s what’s burning up the social media sites here in Richmond.

I mention this only because the Trades need to be aware that someone we have supported in the past is working against us on so many levels today.

More information is available—all you have to do is call/email me.

The East Bay Democratic Socialists are going all in for their members Eduardo Martinez and Jamin Purcell, invoking Chevron as the poster child for everything bad in Richmond. From the EBDSA website:

Fight Chevron - Elect Socialists in Richmond. We live in the richest country in the history of the world, yet Richmond’s streets are riddled with potholes, unhoused people go hungry on the streets of our cities, and massive corporations profit off of oil, coal, and gas - including Chevron, right here in Richmond. But there’s a different way. We can take on the fossil fuel and real estate companies and the politicians they’ve captured, but only if working-class people lead the way. And Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) is doing just that. They’re running candidates Eduardo Martinez for Mayor and Jamin Pursell for City Council, endorsed by East Bay DSA, to stand up to corporate polluters and fight for working people. Help put Eduardo and Jamin over the finish line - join us.

Mainstream Democrats have a good platform and will pursue popular progressive polices without trying to stop economic development, tax businesses out of Richmond, pursue NIMBYism and turn Richmond into a socialist utopia.