Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2022  
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  Richmond City Council Candidate Endorsements
September 28, 2022

After a majority of Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) members were elected to the City Council in November of 2020 and took office in January of 2021, 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, that number had risen dramatically to 50 percent! People are not happy with the RPA priorities of defunding police, perpetuating homeless camps, penalizing businesses 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 that former police Chief Chris Magnus successfully built.

Fortunately, there is an opportunity in November to elect a City Council that is more in tune with the priorities of the majority of Richmond residents.

Election day is November 8, and ballots will be mailed no later than October 10, which is only about two weeks from now.

Following are my recommendations for City Council. These highly qualified candidates all are long-time Richmond residents who have a history of serving their community in multiple ways. They are all professionals who have been successful in their own careers, have served the community as volunteers for years and have the experience and qualifications needed to set policy direction for a full-service city with a budget in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

I have included hyperlinks to the website of each so you can get more detailed information.

District 2

Andrew Butt has lived in Richmond most of his life and attended local public schools. Even as a high school student, he was involved in projects to make a better Richmond. As an Eagle Scout, he directed a project that created an urban oak tree forest at the May Valley Community Center. He is an architect and the managing principal of a local architecture-engineering firm that designed many local projects such as the award-winning Nystrom School historic rehabilitation. He served on both the El Cerrito and Richmond Planning Commissions and the Richmond Design Review Board. He was a founding member of Point Richmond Music, a nonprofit that sponsors free summer concerts and provides funding for music programs in the local schools. Andrew has served or been in an advisory role on nearly every significant non-profit board in Richmond, including Richmond Main Street, Solar Richmond, the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Pogo Park, The Richmond History Museum, The Richmond Art Center, Point Richmond Gateway Foundation, and Early Childhood Mental Health Project, where he has been a board member for over 8 years and has served as board president for the past 2 years. Andrew’s wife, Kim, is also an architect and has served on the Historic Preservation Commission and Design Review Board.

Andrew’s priorities include safety and blight, fiscal responsibility, responsible development, the environment, recreation, mental health, homelessness, government transparency and education.

Andrew is endorsed by three of four living Richmond mayors – Rosemary Corbin, Irma Anderson and Tom Butt. Other elected and former elected Richmond City Council members include California State Superintendent of Public Education Tony Thurmond, John Ziesenhenne and Jeff Ritterman. Labor endorsements include the Contra Costa Building & Construction Trades Council, UA Local 342 Plumbers, Steamfitters, Refrigeration & Pipeline Union, Iron Workers Local 378 and Richmond Firefighters IAFF Local 188. Community activists include Garry Hurlbut, President, Richmond Tennis Association, Menbe Alkilu, Founder of Menbe’s Way, and former restaurateur and small business owner, Bruce Beyeart, TRAC Chair, Layla Dima, President Washington School PTA. Former Planning Director Richard Mitchell and former City Manager Bill Lindsay also endorse Andrew as does Kieron Slaughter, former Richmond Senior Planner and Chief Strategist, Economic Innovation for the City of Berkeley.

District 3

Oscar Garcia is a home-grown success story. He was born and grew up in Richmond, attended public schools where he was president of the Kennedy High School student body, and he still lives in the Iron Triangle where he serves as president of the Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council. He is an environmental engineer with a degree in Chemical Engineering from UC Berkeley. Oscar is an environmentalist, employed by a company, Neste, the world’s leading producer of sustainable fuels. He is a long-time member of the Richmond Community Police Review Commission and, as a community activist, has worked on issues including business/economic opportunities, public safety, addressing homelessness, COVID-19 pandemic support and educational partnerships to provide future workplace opportunities.

Oscars’ priorities include revitalizing Richmond’s central and southside neighborhoods, public safety, addressing homelessness and investing in our youth. Oscar has volunteered on many Richmond community programs and events including the Cinco de Mayo Parade and Festival, Juneteenth, NAACP, Familias Unidas, National Night Out, Concilio Latino, The Latina Center, New Life Movement, John F Kennedy High School Career Day, Richmond Rotary and Census 2020.

Oscar Is endorsed by Diana Becton - Contra Costa County District Attorney, Contra Costa Building & Construction Trades Council, Sheet Metal Workers' Local 104, West County Democratic Club, John Marquez - Contra Costa Community College Board Member, District 1  Consuelo Lara - Contra Costa Board of Education, Area 1, Tom Butt - Mayor Of Richmond, Gabe Quinto - Mayor of El Cerrito, Rita Xavier - Mayor of San Pablo, Alex Walker-Griffin - Vice Mayor of Hercules, Genoveva Calloway - Former Mayor of San Pablo, Ludmyrna Lopez - Former Richmond Councilmember, Doris Mason - Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council, Linda Whitmore - Santa Fe Neighborhood Council, Marena Brown - Shields Reid Neighborhood Council, Eleanor Thompson - Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council, Kate Sibley - Richmore Neighborhood Council, Jan Mignone - Community Leader, Gonzalo Ochoa - 23rd Street Merchants Association and Rigo Mendoza - 23rd Street Merchants Association

District 4

Soheila Bana is a retired electrical engineer with a Ph.D from UC Berkley who has lived in Richmond for a quarter century. She served on the Recreation and Parks Commission and has focused on issues of particular importance to District 4 residents, such as wildfire prevention and preparedness. If a wildfire erupts in Richmond, it will be in the El Sobrante valley. She founded the 94803 Emergency Preparedness Alliance and is president of the newly established West Contra Costa Fire Safe Council that collaborates with fire department and public agencies serving her district. Other volunteer activities include representing Richmond on the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District Board, the Contra Costa County Fire Prevention District Advisory Fire Commission, Citizens for a Greener Communities, the Action Group on Homelessness and Fire Safety and Keep El Sobrante Clean and Beautiful. She has also been active as an advocate in women’s issues, including Co-Researcher & Co-Presenter for “Promoting Practices for Recruiting and Retaining Graduate Women in Computer Science and Engineering,” Co-Founder and Co-President of “Support, Treatment, Awareness and Research (STAR) for Breast Cancer,” President of Women in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, and Co-sponsor of the Student Parent Policy to allow child bearing leave with insurance benefits for graduate student parents, initially approved at UC Berkeley College of Engineering and currently in effect at the UC university system.

Soheila’s priorities include public safety, economic development, fiscal responsibility, improving City services, and the environment.

Soheila is endorsed by Diana Becton, District Attorney of Contra Costa County, Tom Butt, Mayor of Richmond, Vincent Salimi, Mayor of Pinole, Thomas Lang, Chair of El Sobrante Municipal Advisory Committee, Harpreet Sing Sandhu, President of Gurdwara Sahib Sikh Center of San Francisco Bay Area, Contra Costa Building and Construction Trades Council, John Marques, Governing Board Member of Contra Costa Community College District, Dr. John Anderson, Chair, WCCUSD Citizens Bond Oversight Committee, Maria Martinez-Rubin, City Councilmember, Pinole, Nick Kosla, City Councilmember of Orinda, Rosemary Corbin, Former Mayor of Richmond and Uche Uwahemu: Vice chair, Richmond Workforce Development Board.