Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2022  
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  The Real Richmond
August 27, 2022

For inexplicable reasons, the San Francisco Chronicle chose to publish a gratuitous  “photo essay” putting Richmond in the worst possible light, using distorted telephoto images to make Richmond look like a polluted and unhealthy city. See

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This is the same image that the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) likes to promote as a poster child to bolster their credentials and fund raising activities. The “photo essay” seems to beg the question, why isn’t anyone doing anything about this?

Well, the RPA, through its City Council members, McLaughlin, Jimenez, Martinez and Willis, has been in full charge of the City of Richmond for the last two years, and they have done nothing related to Chevron other than demonstrate and bloviate. Ask them to explain that.

And their best friend, Supervisor John Gioia, represents Contra Costs County (including Richmond) on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board. Ask him why the status quo continues unabated.

Despite lots of talk about Chevron, the RPA actually has higher priorities that they have acted on. They defunded the police, making Richmond less safe. They shut down effective street sweeping, eliminating the primary source of particulates that can actually negatively affect people’s health, not to mention polluting the Bay. They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars unsuccessfully suing me because they didn’t like what I was saying.

And they just secured a $36 million appropriation in the State budget to try and buy back Point Molate, which the City originally bought for $1.00. Then the RPA City Council sold it for $400.00. Tell me how that will reduce Chevron emissions and make Richmond healthier?

Why did the Chronicle decide to pick on Richmond? We are in a county that has several refineries, and despite that, Richmond is rated the greenest and most sustainable city in Contra Costa County.

Figure 4 - Contra Costa Climate Leaders rates Richmond N. 1 out of 19 cities in Contra Costa County (

We don’t need this kind of negative publicity that the San Francisco Chronicle is spreading. We in Richmond re trying to attract investment, jobs and tourism, and his doesn’t help.

Finally, the photojournalists the Chronicle sent out to do this hatchet job clearly came with a mission and a bias. Yes, Richmond has a refinery, but it has a lot more. Take a look at the following images that the Chronicle missed, which represent what most people with their eyes open see in Richmond.

Figure 5 - Richmond has thousands of acres of shoreline parks. This is the Miller-Knox Regional Shoreline.

Figure 6 - Point Pinole Regional Shoreline
Main Street News | Richmond Main Street
Figure 7 - Music festival on Mcdonald Avenue, Richmond's historic Main Street

Figure 8 - Marina Bay neighborhood

Figure 9 - Richmond ferry pulling in to the pier at the Craneway

Figure 10 - Point Richmond with Chevron in the background

Figure 11 - East Richmond from Wildcat Canyon Regional Park

Figure 12 - Richmond residential areas in El Sobrante

Figure 13 - Richmond actually has clean air most of the time.