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We're From JP Morgan Chase and We're Here to Help You
We were not surprised when JP Morgan Chase concluded, without even the benefit of the feasibility study they sought to partner with Richmond on, that the prospect of a container port in Wildcat Marsh was not worth pursuing.

This begs the question of why didn’t JP Morgan Chase do a little homework on this before tying up City staff time, City Council time, and the time of a multitude of environmentalists and pragmatists who went into crisis mode before rolling this harebrained scheme out to a (gullible) City Council and a (credulous) City staff?

The fact that they threw out the bait at all doesn’t speak well for their economic prowess, at least insofar as Richmond is concerned. Now, with their port-related analytical reputation firmly established, JP Morgan Chase remains compelled to help Richmond find a way to make some money out of the port business. Quoting from today’s West County Times, “JP Morgan is still interested in a possible expansion of Richmond's existing port at Point Potrero Marine Terminal. City staff is preparing an investment opportunity report for the council, Lindsay said.”

I’m not sure where they are going to expand Point Potrero. The property is currently fully utilized by Auto Warehousing Company for imported cars. Its closest neighbor is the Toll Brothers Seacliff Estates property. Maybe they are going to buy up all those million dollar homes and level them for port expansion?

There are some ways that JP Morgan Chase may be able to help Richmond. Some believe that we have a violence and homicide problem. We also have the second worst streets in the known world. According to its website, “In 2006, JPMorgan Chase will give more than $100 million through grants and sponsorships to thousands of not-for-profit organizations around the world. The firm also supports the individual interests of its global employee population through the Matching Gift program and offers opportunities to give back to the communities we serve through a range of volunteerism activities initiated by colleagues supporting our local, regional or national markets across the world.”

Some of the grant opportunities available from JP Morgan Chase include (click on hyperlinks for more information):

  • Community asset development - encourage, sustain and develop economic self-reliance
  • Youth education - help young people succeed in life and in work
  • Community life - enrich communities with sponsorships and events focused on arts and culture
  • You can also access Grant guidelines: How to apply and Grant contacts. Don’t tell them I sent you if you want to succeed.

    I recommend that Richmond’s myriad non-profits contact JP Morgan Chase about potential grants that can address the many challenges Richmond faces rather than continuing spending public funds chasing the rainbow at the end of the Port of Richmond.

    Posted on Fri, Oct. 27, 2006
    Investors back out of new port plan
    RICHMOND: JP Morgan says container shipping center impractical because of dredging, cleanup costs
    By John Geluardi

    The proposal to build a container ship port on Richmond's north shore marshlands has run aground on the rocky shoals of impracticality.

    Investment company JP Morgan Chase decided not to fund a $400,000 port feasibility study of the 500-acre Wildcat Marsh area, City Manager Bill Lindsay said this week.

    JP Morgan approached the city with the idea in July.

    "The most recent update from JP Morgan is that, for various reasons, investment groups are no longer interested in pursuing the new north shore port concept," Lindsay said. "I think what they're finding is potential investors are viewing the risk factors as greater than the potential rewards."

    JP Morgan is still interested in a possible expansion of Richmond's existing port at Point Potrero Marine Terminal. City staff is preparing an investment opportunity report for the council, Lindsay said.

    The Wildcat Marsh site, which is adjacent to the Chevron refinery, seemed an unlikely location for a deep-water container port largely because the offshore depth of San Pablo Bay is knee deep. A port would have required dredging a 60-foot-deep, mile-long channel to a shipping lane in the middle of the Bay as well as a massive basin for ships to maneuver close to shore.

    The estimated $5 billion dredging operation would have been further complicated by the likely presence of contamination in bottom silt from 100 years of refinery activity.

    JP Morgan Chase was interested in exploring the Wildcat Marsh area for a port because of increasing trade with the Pacific Rim. Exports to the United States are expected to triple by 2010, according to a study prepared by the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. West Coast ports currently do not have the capacity to accommodate the growth, according to the study.

    City staff and a majority of the City Council entertained the port idea because the potential for creating jobs and revenue was substantial, and rejecting it out of hand would have been irresponsible, Lindsay said.

    But Councilman Tom Butt vigorously opposed the feasibility study. On two occasions, he stormed out of council meetings while the issue was being discussed.

    "I guess the thing I would like to say is, 'I told you so,'" Butt said Thursday. "It's hard to believe that such a lot of hoopla was raised over nothing."

    Reach John Geluardi at jgeluardi@cctimes.com or 510-262-2787.