A new ballot measure, which salvages the least
controversial component of Measure T of 2007, is currently the subject
of a low profile but apparently fruitful petition drive by volunteers.
Measure T of 2007, which would have amended Richmonds
Business License Ordinance, was defeated 58% no to 42% yes in November
2008. Measure T proposed three changes to Richmonds Business License
Ordinance: 1) a tax on throughput of industrial raw material, 2) a more
rational way of taxing landlords of rental housing, and 3) a minor
increase in the tax on typical businesses. Chevron was successful, for
example, in convincing renters that Measure T would increase their
An expensive campaign against Measure T waged primarily
with money from Chevron and fronted by the Chamber of Commerce and
Council of Industries played on voters confusion about the details of
the three-part measure and general suspicion of taxes. For some history,
City Council Cuts Ties With Chamber of Commerce and Council of
November 15, 2006.
The Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) (www.RichmondProgressiveAlliance.net)
has launched a grassroots citizens' ballot initiative for the November
2008 ballot that has dropped the potentially controversial portions of
Measure T and retained the least controversial and most important part.
The following is from a press release by the RPA:
This initiative will partially modify Richmondıs Business License
process and require large manufacturers (such as Chevron) to pay more
for their licenses to operate in the City of Richmond.
If the initiative is passed by voters next year, large manufacturers
(such as Chevron) will be required to pay the equivalent of one-fourth
of one percent (0.25%) of the value of the materials used in
manufacturing during the previous year to get a business license.
³We all know that large companies like Chevron have made record
profits in recent years. Much of Chevronıs profit is from the Richmond
refinery. We think that some of that money should come back to Richmond
to help solve the many problems we face,² said Jeff Ritterman, M.D.,
a Richmond resident and leading member of the Richmond Progressive
Which businesses will NOT be affected by the initiative? The initiative
will not change the way, nor the amount, that non-manufacturing
businesses, retail stores, and small businesses pay for their business
licenses. The fees for operating these types of businesses will remain
at their current levels. No changes are proposed for landlords. In
addition, and to encourage new businesses to come to Richmond, there
will be no fees charged for the business license during the first year
If passed by the voters, the initiative will generate over $16 million
in new funds each year for services like street repairs, crime and
violence prevention, youth employment and training, libraries, parks and
recreation, and public safety.
³It is about time and it is more than fair that large manufacturers
like Chevron contribute more to the city in which it operates so
profitably. It is also important that the residents of Richmond define
the terms and conditions for large manufacturers to operate in our city.
It is our city, our community. We should receive less pollution and more
financial support from such large manufacturers,² said Marilyn
Langlois, of the RPA .
³As a small business owner and an Economic Development Commissioner,
I am glad to see this measure move forward. It will not burden small
businesses and it will help the City to improve infrastructure, prevent
crime and promote a better reputation for Richmond,² said Jovanka
Beckles, a volunteer who is gathering signatures for the initiative.
The full text of the initiative, the letter of intent to circulate a
petition, and the Richmond City Attorneyıs summary of main points and
title are available at
Volunteers are needed to circulate petitions.
Contact information 510-595-4661 email@example.com