What I Believe:
two important dimensions to municipal government.
is about nuts and bolts – providing the essential facilities
and services that enable the city to function efficiently
and effectively. These include such things as public safety
(police and fire), building permits and inspections, code
enforcement, sewage collection and treatment, parks and
recreation, streets and trails and public buildings. Making
things work, on time and on budget is an important objective
of mine. As an architect, contractor, planner, developer,
business owner and real estate economist, I bring a lot of
education, experience and skills to bear on shaping public
policy that makes things work, and I will, to the best of my
ability, insure that the people of Richmond get the best
possible return for their investment in City government and
that every neighborhood is treated equally in the provision
of programs and services.
dimension is what I call quality of life issues.
way cities are planned and the way they grow affects our
health, our safety and our state of mind. Good urban design
is not a luxury; it is, like healthcare, something we all
deserve and must have.
As an architect, I know that the
built environment profoundly affects people. For example,
school children learn better in classrooms with natural
light than they do in classrooms with artificial light. The
design of cities for car dependence is a significant cause
of the upward spiraling obesity and diabetes trend,
especially in children. Access to fresh, outside air in
buildings makes people healthier and reduces absenteeism at
work and at school.
I chair a
statewide organization of local elected officials, the
Local Government Commission, that is dedicated to
building livable communities.
you get to work, to school, to recreation and to shopping
determines how much you spend on transportation, how much
time you spend getting there and whether or not your journey
is one that contributes to your health and that of your
children. A successful and healthy City must provide a
diversity of jobs, housing and economic opportunities for
its residents. See
http://www.policylink.org/default.html. All of these
also determine the carbon footprint of a city and whether we
are part of the problem of climate change or part of the
solution. As Richmond grows, it deserves nothing short of
the best. I not only understand what constitutes quality
development; I am committed to see that we get it.
most bitter and emotional battles in Richmond are fought
over land use. The City Council approves the General Plan
and Zoning Ordinance and is the last stop for development
projects that are appealed. Recent examples include
Point Richmond Shores, the
Kozy Kove and
The Chevron Energy and Hydrogen Renewal Project. In the
General Plan Update, the most contentious battle lines are
drawn at the
North Richmond Shoreline. Will we conserve our precious
shoreline for future generations, or will we squander it up
for cheap housing and industrial development?
For the 13
years I have served on the City Council, my detractors – the
Chamber of Commerce, industry and developers – have
characterized me as anti-business and anti-growth. They have
done this because I will not allow sub-standard and poorly
designed development in our city, and I know the difference
between good and bad. For a person disparaged as
anti-growth, it is ironic that I make my living based on
growth – if there is nothing built, I am out of a job. I am
also the only business person on the Richmond City Council;
I have to make a payroll for 30 persons every two weeks. Why
would I be anti-business?
Equity means that no one who
is willing to join in the effort is left out or left behind
as Richmond moves forward.
It means that the flatlands
get the same level of services as the hills and that all
citizens have access to government, not just those with
money and power.
It means that housing opportunities are available for every
income level, that all residents can find decent jobs
without spending significant portions of their lives
commuting, and that, if they choose to commute, they have
choices other than the automobile.
It means that industrial
pollution is no more acceptable in poor neighborhoods than
in wealthy ones, and that those neighborhoods where
pollution has been concentrated deserve our help to continue
making the air cleaner, prevent future industrial accidents,
and assist those whose health and economic prospects have
suffered by their previous exposure.
Finally, equity is also about
responsibility and accountability; we all have an obligation
to participate in public life in some way to ratify our
citizenship, even if it only means getting out to vote once
As a City Council member, I
will measure every municipal service and initiative by its
equity, and I will work to ensure that our city government
hears and responds to the concerns and needs of all Richmond
beginning of 2008, I expressed hope that the following would
occur and committed to work to see that they did. Some have
been successful and are so noted.
Others are still
- I hope
to see a dramatic reduction in homicides.
hope to see Planning and Building Regulations fully
implement the recommendations of the
Zucker Systems Report, do plan checks in two weeks,
provide a usable set of Design Review Guidelines,
actually do code enforcement and hire an architect to
staff Design Review applications. I hope that Maria
Viramontes’ war on Design Review will find a workable
to see code enforcement become fully effective
throughout the City and at least remove the
broken window syndrome as a contributing cause of
crime in Richmond.
hope that the City of Richmond prevails in the struggle
with Chevron for dollars with an outcome that includes a
failure of Chevron’s property tax appeal, an audit that
finds Chevron underpaid its utility user tax for the
last two years, a provision for Chevron to build the Bay
Trail across I-580 as part of the long wharf lease and a
set of conditional use permit conditions for the Energy
and Hydrogen Renewal project that includes $300 million
for environmental justice mitigations.
hope to see construction start on rehabilitation of
The Plunge, the Maritime Center and the historic
at Shipyard 3.
to see the
Richmond Greenway completed.
- I hope
to see a progressive and community oriented City Council
majority come out of the 2008 elections.
- I hope
the petition drive for the manufacturing tax, “A
Fair Share for Richmond,” is successful and that it
in the 2008 election.
- I hope
Home Front Festival is bigger and better than the
successful 2007 event.
- I hope
that a way is found to keep the
North Richmond Shoreline as open space.
the City can develop the capability to follow prevailing
means and standards for evaluating the condition of its
infrastructure, designing rehabilitation and maintenance
projects, conducting public bids and providing
appropriate management, oversight and inspection.
hope the City can adopt a plan to improve the condition
of its streets over the next ten years to a minimum PCI
things I believe in:
Open and transparent
Good communication with
residents (Hence the E-FORUM).
Honesty and Accuracy.
Our City – Our Choice – Our Future
Together we can make it happen.