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The Fix Is In - Viramontes Five Sell Richmond Down the River

At shortly after 2:00 AM, the voting block known as the Viramontes Five ramrodded the last of three votes (1) certifying the EIR for the Chevron Energy and Hydrogen Renewal Project, (2) approving the Conditional Use Permit and (3) accepting a “Community Benefit Agreement” characterized as “blood money” by many.


The badly flawed Community Benefit Agreement was crafted in secret behind closed doors by the Viramontes Five and Chevron, seeing the light of day only 31 hours before the vote was taken, and it left millions of dollars on the table that could have addressed serious needs in Richmond. For example, despite pleas by hundreds of Richmond residents, there was no provision in any of the approvals to require Chevron to construct the Bay Trail across I-580 where a bicyclist was killed because he had to use a bicycle route on the freeway to get to Point Molate.


The Conditional Use Permit was stripped of its most important protections against future pollution in Richmond.


For media coverage, see:



The highly controversial vote taken early this morning might well be seen as an explosive opening to the 2008 City Council race. Three of the Viramontes Five, Harpreet Sandhu, John Marquez and Nat Bates, are up for re-election in November. Returning them to a downsized City Council will assure domination by Viramontes for four more years by a majority of that  will only have to be four in the future. Rejecting them and electing leaders responsible to the community could break up this cabal that has served Richmond so poorly of late and enable true democracy and transparent government to re-emerge.


It is 2:30 AM. So I’m going to finish this now. You’ll hear more details later.