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Tom Butt's Legislative and Policy Record

Although most agenda items are written and prepared by staff, City Council members may also write and introduce ordinances and resolutions. Among all council members, Tom Butt holds the record for the number of resolutions and ordinances he personally authored (as opposed to staff preparing or initiating them) as well as the number of those initiatives that both passed and failed. Butt has the experience, initiative and ability to personally research and prepare resolutions and ordinances when he believes that staff lacks the interest, motivation or knowledge to do so, and he has introduced dozens.

Some have failed, including measures to study renaming the City “Richmond by the Bay,” resolutions to allow the public to vote on removing the utility User Tax cap that benefits only Chevron, a study to reorganize the fire department, a directive to clean up Red Rock Marina, measures to block non-historic alterations to City Hall, and directives for combating celebratory random gunfire.

Many others, however, have carried, and most with unanimous votes. These include the Lobbyist Ordinance, the amendment to the weed Abatement Ordinance banning invasive exotic plants, amendments to the Affirmative Action Ordinance strengthening the definition of “Richmond” firms, ordinance amendments establishing a procedure for allowing barbed wire, an ordinance amendment modifying the way the City inspects construction at Chevron, a resolution directing closure of the firing range near the Richmond Annex, amendments to the parking ordinance prohibiting parking of disconnected semi-trailers, the Historic Preservation Ordinance and all the resolutions necessary to implement historic preservation policy consistent with the establishment of the Rosie the Riveter WW II Home Front National Historic Park, the resolution to petition the PUC for a change in railroad crossing blockage times, establishment of the Ahwahnee Principals and design guidelines for the DRB to use for infill housing.

Perhaps most controversial were the resolutions resulting in the termination of Floyd Johnson as city manager. On March 30, 1999, Butt wrote and placed on the agenda a resolution intended to initiate steps to result in the adoption of an Industrial Safety Ordinance. It passed unanimously, and the draft ordinance is now under consideration by the City Council.

Butt has been an aggressive advocate on a wide range of issues and has often seized the initiative to get action items in front of the City Council with minimum loss of time.

Butt wrote and sponsored an ordinance amendment banning parking of unattached semi-truck trailers on city streets.

Butt wrote the resolution that resulted in closure of the Union Pacific firing range.