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CORRECTION - Greening (or Groaning) of Richmond?

As many of you have very helpfully pointed out, I cannot actually predict the future. I have corrected the typos made b y the E-FORUM staff, and the dates should read as shown below:

On September 18, 2007, the City Council indicated a clear interest in joining the fight to end global warming. See excerpt from Minutes below:

September 18, 2007



The purpose of the study session was as follows:

Discussed and directed staff to develop comprehensive city policy to creatively and aggressively lead by example in the fight to end global warming. A motion was made by Councilmember Rogers, seconded by Councilmember Thurmond to direct staff to develop comprehensive a comprehensive city policy. Mayor McLaughlin recommended adding direction to staff to draft a policy to adopt AB32’s benchmarks as city-wide goals, ratifying what has been adopted on a State level. Benchmarks to 2000 levels by 2050 would bring the City to 80 percent below 1990 levels. Councilmember Rogers also recommended staff come back to the Finance Committee with updates. All amendments to the motion were accepted and the motion passed by the unanimous vote of the Council.

Discussed and directed staff to work with the Goldman School of Public Policy (Goldman School) to conduct a study to review existing ordinances and policies that are designed to reduce the city's impact on the environment and provide recommendations for making the city's operations more sustainable. The study will also include education and outreach recommendations encouraging Richmond residents and businesses to adopt sustainable practices. Mayor McLaughlin stated the two goals for this study are: (1) protect quality of air, water, and land that are essential to building healthy communities and (2) increase investment in Richmond communities, expand economic opportunity, improve social infrastructure, and protect natural resources. She suggested adding “and human health” to the second goal. Mayor McLaughlin also suggested adding “improving environmental health and justice conditions in Richmond” under objectives. Dorine Marino, UC Berkeley, stated that the Goldman School of Public Policy would be a great entity to be involved in this study because of its resources and expertise. Following discussion, on motion of Councilmember Lopez, seconded by Councilmember Sandhu, approved the study as stated in the agenda report with the inclusion of the amendments suggested by Mayor McLaughlin, by the unanimous vote of the Council.

The Study Session adjourned at 6:50 p.m.

Listening carefully, City staff went out looking for some new cars. On March 18, 2008, the City Council was presented with a proposal to buy ten Ford Fusion Sedans and two Ford Expedition XLT SSVs.

Questioned about maybe purchasing something a little greener, like maybe some Priuses, staff stated that such vehicles weren’t available, and if they were, they would cost more.

 I did a little research and found that the Ford Fusion Sedan has a City Fuel Economy 20 mpg., and the 5-year operating cost is $31,851. Conversely, the Toyota Prius has a City Fuel Economy of 48 mpg. and a 5-year cost of ownership of $23,028.

The Ford Expedition XLT 4X2 has a City Fuel Economy of 12 mpg. And a 5-year operating cost of $48,659. As an alternate the Toyota Highlander Hybrid (which I have) has a City Fuel Economy of 27 mpg. And a 5-year operating cost of $40,659. I’m not sure why the City needs a heavy duty car like the Expedition, anyway. They could even get a Ford Escape Hybrid with a City Fuel Economy of 29 mpg. And a 5-year operating cost of $37,132.

The City Council was also skeptical, and in its wisdom, sent staff back to reconsider.


There is a clear disconnect between the expectations of Richmond residents and policy directions the City Council is setting and the way staff is carrying (or not carrying) them out, and it’s getting worse. This is just one example of many.