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Reader Response Mixed on Emulating Richmond
February 21, 2006

received some interesting comments from the E-FORUM: IS RICHMOND WORTH EMULATING? The first one copied below came from our community and economic development (CED) director, Steve Duran. Steve and I agree on about 90%, but I enjoy sparring with him on those issues we donít agree on. I just canít give up on that last 10%.

 

I do want to thank Steve and others in the CED Group for his vision and leadership on the many good projects in Richmond, such as the BART Transit Village (MetroWalk), Hope VI (Easter Hill), the North Richmond Initiative and the Ford Assembly Building. 

 

Steve Duran:

Four blocks from where Walnut Creek has their very nice "downtown" they have a
single story "big-box" Target Store... right across the street from the Walnut
Creek BART station and adjacent to their auto-row.

In Richmond, from 27th Street to 8th street, walking distance from our
BART/AmTrak station is where we are focused on high-density,
pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented  development.  Our Target store will be
where it belongs, around 40th street, not walking distance from BART, but next
to a major freeway exit and the intersection of two very busy streets -
Macdonald Avenue and San Pablo Avenue.  Now, that's smart growth.

We are also trying to intensify uses on the south shoreline:  to bring Ferry
Service, to support planned Marina Bay retail and restaurants, and to increase
tax revenues to the City and the Redevelopment Agency in order to improve the
level of City Services and give the Agency funding for inner-City
revitalization.

If we accomplish these goals (and they are connected), planners will come to
Richmond to study our Downtown turn-around, revitalized inner-city
neighborhoods, and our wonderful shoreline neighborhoods with more Bay access
than any other city.

 

Responses for E-FORUM Readers to ďIS RICHMOND WORTH EMULATING?Ē

 

  • I couldn't agree with you more! It was very revealing a few weeks ago when the Chamber of Commerce was "caught" having a celebratory dinner in.....Emeryville!  Why do you think that happened......because there are hardly any "destination" restaurants in Richmond. And try to get a decent cup of coffee or go out to breakfast on Macdonald Ave. Except for Pt. Richmond, we have to leave town to do that.....and we do.

 

  • :::applause:::

 

  • Richmond is an example of how extreme incompetence cost the taxpayers millions of dollars, only exceeded by how the WCCUSD is operated.

 

  • I am strongly committed to supporting and crave an attractive, pedestrian friendly urban center. What can I do to let the city know this? Is it too late? Thank you for your informative emails.

 

  • Again, Councilmember Butt, you've hit the nail on the head!  I live near the existing Target store in El Cerrito (which I understand will close when the Target at the old Monkey Ward site opens).  I will not be one of its customers (don't currently purchase much at the existing store).  This stems from several reasons:  1. I'm pro-union, which Target is actively against; 2.  The salaries are below the mean, and many of the staff must work a second job; 3.  The benefits are pitiful; and 4. Many of the jobs offered are part-time - to get around the necessity of offering benefits.  (A city council majority which supports this cut-throat attitude from big Box companies - in a city that is desperately in need of attracting businesses that are supportive to their workers  - I find offensive!).  Walmart and Target are a part of the dumbing down of America.  The majority of Richmond's Council members are unfortunately myopic. It is, however, one of the reasons why a number of neighborhoods - like Parchester, the Richmond Annex and Pt. Richmond - are so very active.   Sometimes, however, I just want to scream!

 

  • Itís probably a security issue. Richmond has so many lowlifes that they frighten away more upscale customers and upscale small business. Security is easier at a larger, high volume/low prices big box store, which is also more the type of store the low-lifes can afford.

 

  • I've been singing the praises of the WC planners for a couple of years, but nobody in Richmond pays any attention. I love what they've done with WC and shop there whenever I can. Don't hold your breath waiting for Richmond to emulate them. We don't look at the overall picture here.

 

  • I agree with your implication that Richmond's Redevelopment is out of touch with reality.

  

  • I think Richmond is AFRAID of upper end development, like Walnut Creek's, be it cutesy-chic or not, because of so called 'economic displacement'. They're afraid that institutionalized poverty will be displaced in Richmond. Hence, whether intentional or not, the City set its' sights low by playing to the lowest common denominator to keep squalor in place for all those 'poor people'. WE wouldn't want to REALLY fix up Richmond because people with more money might suddenly find it attractive and displace the people that run this town into the ground.

 

  • Also a recent article in the Times says that Richmond is 'turning around'. I'm afraid they didn't ask its citizens. Take the Carlson project for example. The roadway is a shamble that was supposed to have been completed last year. Now it seems the project has vanished, money and all. There's an increase in home and car burglaries but I never see a patrol car on my street. All I see is my taxes going up with nothing improving. The sewage even still flows into the bay when it rains thanks to a shady contract awarded to a certain city persons wife, wasn't it? The whole Pt Molate thing is odious of back room deal making and back slapping. The ONLY improvement is that after your intervention with Mr. Kennedy my street FINALLY gets swept, at least in parts where the cars are moved, unless it's a holiday or it rains and then it's 2 months between sweeps, but that's waaaaay better than the 18 months it took to get them here. ( thank you Tom Butt!). Are you going to run for mayor???? If not, can we get Jerry Brown?

 

  • Walnut Creek had a VISION -- a clear vision of what they wanted to create, determining very specific goals for its growth. They are a fantastic example of a planned city.  Walnut Creek is a city with self esteem! Richmond has no vision. Richmond has no self esteem. Richmond is grasping rather than reaching because the mind set is "what can we get right now." No delayed gratification, no long term goals, no planning for the long haul.  Home prices have gone up a lot in five years. --- young people and families are moving in -- the town clearly has more revenue -- but still Richmond behaves like a pauper. I've witnessed good money being thrown after bad (the streets and city's quick yearly fixes that fail within months, for one example).  Do you think this deeply held mindset is even possible to change? I see no evidence of it.  I've lived in Richmond for going on 5 years, and I must say I am extremely disappointed.

 

  • so true, thank you

 

  • Has anyone thanked you lately for all that you do?  Richmond is so lucky to have you! Thanks!!!!!!!!! ....a million!

 

  • By the way, Marina Bay Neighborhood Council has a new website...marinabaycouncil.org............what's different is the "org" part - and a new look!  Check it out. 

 

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