Tom Butt
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  A Year in the Life After Politics - Part 1
January 10, 2024

It was exactly one year ago today that I termed out as mayor of Richmond. My last City Council meeting was January 10, 2023, which was called solely to certify the 2022 election. I did not attend the swearing-in ceremony in the evening of the 10th. I have neither attended nor watched a City Council, meeting since. For 28 years, I did the best I could, and we accomplished a lot, but now Richmond is in the hands of others with a different agenda. Although I will always be grateful to those who supported me over those 28 years, and I will never forget the colleagues, both in and out of Richmond, that I have worked with on plans, projects, programs and policies, moving on was the easiest thing I’ve ever done.

This is a summary of how Shirley and I spent 2023.

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New Year’s day 2024 opened with a big snow at the Old Schoolhouse in Sierra City
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My Mayor's staff threw a big going away party for me at the Riggers Loft on January 6.
Here I am with my grandsons Ryland and Harlan.

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Going away party January 6, 2023

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Nice Congressional record entry by Congressman DeSaulnier
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We continue volunteer ("Wickie") days the second Saturday of every month at East Brother Island. January was clear and warm.
Let me know if you would like to participate.
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Back to the Old Schoolhouse in Sierra City in February

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The snow-covered Wild Plum Road in Sierra City

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 In February, we attended the CivicWell Policymakers‘ Conference at Asilomar in Monterey.  My one remaining governmental affiliation is with CivicWell (formerly Local Government Commission) a statewide organization of local elected officials. I served as a board member for years, and the bylaws allow one former board member and chair to serve on an emeritus status for a year. This is my year. For over 30 years, we had a winter meeting at Yosemite, called the Ahwahnee Conference. This year, Yosemite was not available, so we are at Asilomar, a stroke of luck because Yosemite is closed by snow.  This morning we are starting out with a discussion on “Effectively Influencing State Climate Policy from a Local Level,” featuring State Senator Catherine Blakespear, Santa Barbara County Supervisor Das Williams and CivicWell Policy Director Roger Dickinson.

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Sunset on Monterey Bay

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March 23, 2023 - my 79th birthday at the Baltic Kiss

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In April 2023, the Winehaven Trust, a 501(c)3 nonprofit I founded filed suit against the City of Richmond to force the City to honor its obligations to maintain the property to avoid “demolition by neglect.”

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In April, Shirley and I went to Denver for the spring meeting of ASTM Committee E6, Performance of Buildings, where I chair two task groups in charge of multiple standards. One is Weather Resistive Barriers, which deals with standards on building paper and house wraps. The other is Water Vapor Retarders Under Concrete Slabs on Grade. These ASTM meetings give me a chance to sit in on multiple sessions with topics that interest me. For example, I attended task group meetings on Window Installation and Tiny Houses. I haven’t been to Denver for several years. The downtown looks clean and had a lot of new urbanist characteristics, and a huge collection of historic buildings. But it is also suffering from widespread vacancies of retail spaces- whole blocks along the 16th Street Mall with vacant buildings.

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 In May, I sued the City of Richmond and Gayle McLaughlin to prevent her acting as mayor, a Charter violation

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May also brought a trip to Fayetteville for a week  

 Deepwood is our family place in Fayetteville, a National Register property.

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We visited the world class art museum, Crystal Bridges, financed by the Walton Family, in Bentonvillle.

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On the Kessler Mountain trail at Deepwood

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 May volunteer (“Wickie”) day at East Brother

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Afet a three-year hiatus, we resumed the Refinery Town Bluegrass and Barbecue on Memorial Day weekend.

Refinery Town Bluegrass and Barbecue

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Refinery Town Bluegrass and Barbecue

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June 2023 and back to the Old Schoolhouse  

The snow melted at lower elevations in the Lakes Basin

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Wildflowers are blooming
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 Celebrating Andrew’s birthday in June. Cecilia and friends

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 S’mores for the after party

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June Wickie Day at East Brother

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June -- Relaxing in front of the Old Schoolhouse  

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 Cecilia and friends at San Pond, Lakes Basin

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Sketch of the Old Schoolhouse

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Another day in the Lost Sierra

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Packer Lake 

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July – Tamarack Lakes
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July – Abandoned school in the ghost town of Forest

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Dodging 4th of July Traffic in Sierra City