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Readers Respond to City Council Sellout

The following responses were received today regarding the action of the City Council last night:


         Go after Bates, Marquez & Sandhu this year, and emasculate Viramontes, so to speak. Then go after her, whatever she runs for, next. They'll have Chevron money backing them, obviously, but the people, united, will never be defeated, and this might be what finally unites us (at least pro tem). For the first time in my life I'm actually thinking of getting physically involved in an election - I want to crush them like the Gail did to Irma, in spite of Chevron's big money. I'd love for real Richmonders to throw these scoundrels out on their ears, and if ever there was a chance to do it, this is it. Count me in.

         Last night the majority of the City Council caved in and approved the Chevron project. Per Tom Butt, the majority "Viramontes 5" made a back room deal (community benefit agreement) just hours before the meeting took place, the Bay Trail extension is either in jeopardy or gone, the "proprietary" details of the project were never disclosed, and there appear to be no guarantees that Chevron won't refine heavy crude in the future. Is anyone else pissed off about this?  Has anyone else had enough of our council not standing up for the best interests of Richmond residents? I'm as sick and tired of the Chevron project, and local politics, as anyone else but I feel like a line has been crossed.  If someone were to start a "Recall Viramontes" campaign you can bet I'll help collect signatures.

         Thank you for trying to prevent the Chevron expansion. There are rampant rumors that Chevron bought off some city council members (oddly some of those who voted for the expansion) and I know you had a daunting opponent in that very powerful company. You must be exhausted, angry and frustrated but please know that I think you're trying to do what's right for the people of Richmond and for that I applaud you. I saw you at the first meeting ask some solid, tough questions and I read you walked out on the community "benefits" agreement vote. You're all right in my book. Keep up the good work.

         Estimados CompaŮeros: Just like in LuŪs Valdez's skit 'Los Vendidos' there are Hispanics who will sell out Raza for a pat on the head and some chump change. Below is an account of what happens in a Third World corporatocracy, a.k.a. Richmond, California. The petty puppets dance to tune of the corporations that put them in office in the first place. Please do not support with endorsements or money, any of the five who voted for this disastrous project -  MarŪa Theresa Viramontes, John Marquez, Nat Bates, Ludmyrna Lopez and Harpreet Sandhu. Please urge Tony Thurmond to run for Council and not the WCCUSD School Board. Support Jovanka Beckles as a progressive newcomer and return Tom Butt as an independent progressive who stands up to the corporatocracy.

         Thatís terrible.  I will be interested to know who you recommend for city council  (in addition to yourself).  I hope my meager $200 helps your campaign.

         I think we can all vote accordingly.  I'm personally unimpressed with Sandhu because when I was an election Inspector at Carriage Hills, and he was on the ballot, he personally brought people in to vote and helped them vote, claiming that they needed help with English.  He refused to sign the register as Assisting a Voter and we didn't even know that he was a candidate until late in the day when he brought his kid along and he bragged that his dad was on the ballot.  I called the Roving Inspector from Martinez but he said that all we could do that late in the day was keep track of whether he got elected in that race and then contest the race.

         Who is running besides you and the dread 3? Any recommendations?

         Is this basically a done deal?   Are there any other options? I've been quiet...now I want to scream...  maybe too late....  but my feelings don't change easily.

         Some of you might not get Tom Butt's newsletter, so I'm forwarding this to everyone in AV whose email address I have.  If you've already seen it, forgive the redundancy. In addition to their vote guaranteeing that our air and water will be fouled by Chevron's current expansion, the council also voted in favor of the so-called Community Benefit Agreement that reads like a blackmail letter, and ensures that Chevron will be able to do whatever it wants in the future without even going through the review process! It's a heartbreaker after all our hard work. And it's a definite wake up call to begin actively supporting city council candidates who'll vote for real health and well being or Richmond instead of caving in to corporate pressures.

         I thought I was being representedÖ Who do you people work for?   Can I stop paying taxes?     Thatís what youíre saying to me. I grew up here, this is MY town.  You represent ME.

         I canít believe what I am hearing I am Paralyzed after bicycling on a trail around Chevronís property.   PLEASE tell me Chevron is making a difference in my life today. Also my friend died after bicycling around Chevronís propertyÖ.I will help were ever I canÖ Donít be fooled by money! 

         A friend told me that you've already sent out an email about last night's farce.  Since I live by myself, I could use some commiseration fare.  What say the new motto could be: Richmond - City of Cringing and Fawning?  I noticed you talking to Tony Thurmond.  Did he say why he voted for accepting the fatally flawed EIR?  Grrr. You were completely correct about Viramontes being the only one who know what was going to happen.  Two things stand out.  The first, Viramontes raising the amount of SDA yearly average barrels but needing to check with Chevron and Teri what's her face not even having to get a whispered permission from her boss to say yes.  This was all worked out before time.  What a delight to witness your diatribe.  Your shaping of your anger and frustration into a cohesive, articulate and withering blast against the incompetance surrounding the Renewal project.  The other memory was you standing up and waving your arms in the air for the people to come down and rout these rascals from their perches and then stalking out with fifteen pounds of waste paper under your arm. I think Viramontes needs to understand that when she makes a mockery of democracy with back rooms deals, she's got to expect that the community that she pretends to represent might just get a bit raucous. 'm new to this process. Has it been like this forever?  And if Tony won't run and/or won't show backbone, should I sink into depression about our common future? Please send along your email and let me add it to the stew of our betrayal.

         I want to thank you for standing firmly on principle last night (this morning!) in voting against moving the Chevron project forward as it was presented. Despite this defeat, I think this vote may very well change the makeup of the Richmond City Council in November.

         I will do everything I can to insure that Sandhu, Marquez and Bates are finished as Councilmembers.

         ahhh, so the CBA was bad...and now we have open warfare on the City Council...go for it !!!

         So, it would appear that the big question in the coming election is, "Can we break the hold of the Viramontes Five?"

         Thank you Tom Butt for writing this after the stressful and exhausting City Council Meeting. All I can say is that I appreciate the way you voted, and hopefully the Viramontes 5 will get their just desserts. In the meantime, the City of Richmond suffers under the weight of this corporate giant because five people didn't have the chutzpah to stand up to them. There is talk of litigations. I'm not sure if anything can be done now, but in the future, I do hope some new city council members will not let Chevron rule Richmond. As it stands now, we are sadly a "company town".

         Brown Act anyone ?This is horrific.

         Thank you Councilman Butt... At least we have you!!!

         I cannot thank you enough for your dedicated service.  We are honored to have a man of your merit in our community.

         I think you did a great job this evening and Iím proud of the way you handled yourself. You started out the meeting pointing out the many holes in Chevronís proposal and showing it to be little more than spilled ink on a sheet of paper.  Iíve always liked Dean OíHair and had a lot of respect for him but this evening he lowered himself in my eyes.  Personally, I think he would have been better off faking a heart attack to allow himself to be hauled away so he wouldnít be associated with what Chevron was trying to pull off. I was especially disappointed with Maria - especially there near the end.  It was as though she thought that she had been elected Mayor (or God).  Not only was she trying to run the show, she acted exactly the same way Irma used to and the way that Gayle has been acting as far as showing a complete disregard and lack of respect for the rest of the Council and for any speaker she may disagree with.  I donít agree with Greg Karras much any more but she treated him abysmally. I used to think I was pretty bright, Tom, but I canít figure out why you Council members keep offering up ďfriendlyĒ amendments when thereís nothing friendly about them.  And has Parliamentary Procedures gone completely down the drain? At least now we have the whole Chevron mess behind us and we can start tearing Richmond apart over Point Molate. Again, Tom, congratulations on a job well done.  Thank you.