It must have struck a nerve because it took the RPA Spin Machine only 4 hours to respond to my E-FORUM “Where is Claudia?” In her response, Suzanne Williams, RPA Facebook editor, explained that Claudia was “staying at the home of friends in Point Richmond” while her home was undergoing a “large scale construction project.” According to the City’s permit tracking database, the “large scale construction project” is all of 310 square feet, less than the size of two parking stalls, and includes a “garage” conversion.”
Furthermore, it appears that Claudia moved to Point Richmond in May, although her building permit was not issued until July 14, 2022. Either she was under construction illegally, which is apparently the case, or she was simply relieving the unbearable stress of contemplating a massive 310 square foot remodel while indulging in the lifestyle afforded by her friend, Jeff Kilbreth’s $1.5 million Bay view home view for a while.
The illegal rental unit in Jimenez’ back yard has never had a building permit or been inspected and approved by the City. The City’s property database continues to list her property as a “single family home.” Indications are that the City’s permitting and enforcement staff have afforded Jimenez multiple dispensations not available to the general public.
The Contra Costa County Assessor’s Office records continue to show her property as a “single family” home, “1 residence on 1 site.”
On the RPA Facebook page, Williams goes on to defend RPA’s fund raising strategy by writing, “RPA does not take corporate money. The Preston-Werner Foundation is not a corporation, nor does it serve corporate interests. None of the Preston-Werner Foundation donation has been used for political purposes, nor will it be.”
The fact is that the source of the Preston-Werner Foundation’s money was, in fact, multiple corporations whose stock was held by Tom Werner. Although not technically illegal, this is simply money laundering, taking money from one source and disguising it as originating from a different source.
Incidentally, Williams apparently concedes that the RPA accepted the grant from the Preston-Werner Foundation (“None of the Preston-Werner Foundation donation has been used for political purposes, nor will it be”). Williams did not offer what the grant was, in fact, used for.
El Cerrito resident Yari Greaney, Program Manager, Local Politics & Environmental Justice for Preston-Werner Ventures, who offered the grant is described by the RPA as a “socialist.” It appears that local socialists typically live well, as Ms Greaney, like Jeff Kilbreth, lives in a $1.5 million home.
Figure 1 – Yari GreanT
In other RPA news, RPA co-founder Andres Soto felt compelled to use the most recent Reimagining Public Safety Community Task Force meeting to denigrate Police Chief Bisa French after she returned from a gut-wrenching personal experience:
Yeah. So this is really addressed, not to Chief French, but, really, raising questions about her return.
I only know what I’ve seen in the media, and, certainly, I sympathize as a parent, or as a grandparent, with her family’s experience, but I also understand how the police and the District Attorneys and the courts all work together.
One of the reasons for this committee, in the first place, is the historic lack of accountability for police misbehavior.
I don’t know anything other than what I know in the media, but I have more questions than I have had answers, and I am not really comfortable with Chief French returning to her position, given, at least, what publicly has been released about the alleged behavior of her and her husband. I think that if it was any one of us, who was in that position, we are told, “Don’t take the law to your own hands” and to call the police and to have them do the legal intervention, if one believes a criminal behavior is going on.
So it, at least, is perceived as a double standard and so I’m not sure that this is actually the forum for that discussion, but I want to go on the record saying that.
And I will say that it is not the forum for this discussion, so thank you for your comment, though.
Mayor Butt Misses the Point, Again
We know there will be retribution when we push back on corporate money in Richmond politics.
When RPA published our findings that the supposed grassroots group Richmond Represented was actually corporations meddling in city elections, we knew someone would come after us – the Richmond Progressive Alliance and the people who volunteer here.
The first wave of that attack is from Mayor Tom Butt.
In “Where is Claudia?,” Mayor Butt emails out what he thinks is a bombshell—that RPA leader and City Council Jimenez member has been staying at the home of friends in Point Richmond. What Mayor Butt didn’t tell you is that Claudia’s own house, in D6 where she’s always lived, is having construction done. Like most people in that situation, she and her family needed a place to stay until work finishes.
In “Careless Internal Memo Leak Explodes RPA Hypocritical No Corporate Donations Claim,” Mayor Butt drops another supposed bombshell: that in advance of making a decision about whether to accept a large donation, RPA members scrutinized the source of the money to make sure it is consistent with our no-corporate values.
- -It is normal for people to stay outside their home during a large-scale construction project. The city clerk and city attorney confirmed that Claudia’s temporary relocation did not violate any laws or rules.
- -It is appropriate for any organization to have internal discussions to make decisions about money—how to raise it and how to spend it.
- -RPA does not take corporate money. The Preston-Werner Foundation is not a corporation, nor does it serve corporate interests. None of the Preston-Werner Foundation donation has been used for political purposes, nor will it be.
When presented with clear evidence that there are problems with the current election, Mayor Butt’s response was to attack the organization that was bringing these problems to light. As mayor, he should be investigating possibly illegal campaign contributions and abuse of our Neighborhood Council system. His misguided obsession with the RPA continues to interfere with his ability to effectively lead our city.