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Council of Industries Pimps for Chevron Anti-Measure T Fight
Almost overnight, the anti-Measure T signs sprouted on Richmond street corners like yellow star thistles in spring trying to scare Richmond voters into thinking taxes and rents would be rising.

And when we came home tonight, we found the first anti-Measure T mailers polluting our mailboxes, trying for a twofer, hitting Measure T and Gayle McLaughlin in one fell swoop.

The mailer (see attached file) was paid for by “Coalition to save Jobs, sponsored by the Council of Industries.”

What is the Council of Industries, and where are they? According to their website, the Council of Industries is located at 1306 Canal Boulevard in Richmond. This is also the address of BP West Coast Products. LLC, formerly ARCO. If you want to contact the COI, try (510) 215-9325, FAX (510) 215-9029, Email: coiwccc@sbcglobal.net.

But wait, that mailer has a different address: 150 Post Street, Suite 405, San Francisco. That just happens to be the address for Gabe Camarillo, The Sutton Law Firm, 150 Post Street, Suite 405, San Francisco, CA 94108, Telephone: 415/732-7700, Facsimile: 415/732-7701, Email: gcamarillo@campaignlawyers.com, Website: www.campaignlawyers.com.

According to its website, the legal services offered by the Sutton Law Firm include:

  • Providing legal clearance for campaign contributions from business entities, trade associations and individuals to federal, state and local candidates and committees.
  • Developing internal compliance programs for government affairs departments for business and trade associations.
  • Acting as general counsel to candidate and ballot measure committees, including drafting and analyzing initiative and referenda, lawsuits regarding ballot pamphlet materials and campaign communications, recounts and election contests, etc.
  • Establishing federal and state PACs and "independent expenditure" committees.
  • Advising businesses and nonprofits whether they have to register as "lobbyists" and whether they have to disclose their "lobbying" activities.
  • Representing clients in enforcement proceedings before the Fair Political Practices Commission, Federal Election Commission and local ethics commissions.
  • Advising appointed commissioners and elected officials whether they have a "conflict of interest" with respect to pending votes or other ethics issues.
  • Preparing and filing campaign, lobbying and financial interest disclosure reports, as well as related tax returns using the most sophisticated, internet-based reporting software available.

Back to the Council of Industries, who are these people? Following is a membership list from the COI website. Twenty percent aren’t even located in Richmond. Did you notice that the City of Richmond and Port of Richmond are members of the COI? How about Veolia Water, which manages the City’s wastewater system? Also, the Richmond Chamber of Commerce is a member, and City Manager Bill Lindsay sits on the board of the Chamber. Isn’t this getting a little incestuous? And they are against Measure T? They also support the reelection of Mayor Anderson. What’s going on here? Isn’t that illegal for a City to take sides in a political campaign? Nah, probably not in Richmond. We have traditions to uphold.

Since the City of Richmond and the Port of Richmond, as card-carrying members of the Council of Industries, have apparently joined Chevron in opposing Measure T, I thought it would be only fair to distribute the following response from mayoral candidate Gayle McLaughlin:

Measure T – Good for Richmond Families and Businesses

By Gayle McLaughlin, Richmond City Councilmember

On November 7, Richmond residents will have the opportunitiy to vote for Measure T, the Business License Act, which would generate an estimated $8.5 million each year for much-needed anti-violence activities and city services.  Fair taxation is one of the cornerstones of our great democracy, and Measure T is all about fairness.

Measure T would levy a new tax on manufacturing, increase the business license tax by 10%, and adjust the way landlords are taxed.

Let me be crystal clear:  Of the estimated $8.5 million new additional revenue generated each year by Measure T, $8 million will come from oil refining.  In other words, 94% of Measure T’s revenue will come from Chevron’s pocketbook.  Not from landlords; not from small businesses.  I repeat:  the impact of Measure T on landlords and small businesses will be very, very small.  If a small business currently pays $250 for an annual business license, under Measure T it will pay an additional $25 (10%).  Landlords of residential buildings would pay a fee per unit rather than pay their current flat fee per property.  This fee will decrease based on the number of units.  Small landlords will pay less under Measure T.

I commend my City Council colleagues Maria Viramontes, John Marquez, Nat Bates, Tom Butt, and Tony Thurmond for their work to create this measure and place it on the ballot.  I proudly join neighborhood leaders, public safety officers, local labor unions and responsible business owners in supporting Measure T.  Measure T supporters realize that far from being “anti-business,” the revenues raised will help to create a safer, cleaner, healthier and more livable Richmond.  In short, a “better Richmond.”  And a better Richmond will attract new investments, new customers, new small business ventures, new start-ups, and new employees.  The equation is so clear and strong, it is hard to believe anyone who cares about Richmond would oppose Measure T. 

Sadly, Chevron and the Council of Industries are fighting Measure T tooth and nail.  How unfortunate that they have chosen to smear Measure T by trying to frighten our seniors on fixed incomes with misleading predictions about higher rents. They have even attacked my campaign for mayor because I support Measure T.  I am confident that Richmond voters will disregard the deceitful “hit pieces” in their mailboxes and vote “yes” on Measure T.