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  Contra Costa Times Endorses McLaughlin for Mayor
October 28, 2010

The Contra Costa Times made a persuasive case for reelecting Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, which is excerpted below. I think the normally conservative paper felt internally conflicted with pangs of regret and reasoned it had to balance that endorsement out with endorsements for the most “business friendly” candidates for City Council backed by millions of dollars from Chevron, Upstream Point Molate and the Chamber of Commerce, picking Viramontes, Lopez and Finlay for their alleged acumen on City finances.
It is ironic that the Contra Costa Times already editorialized against a casino at Point Molate and then urged voters to elect the three candidates most likely to vote for a casino.
NO CONTRA Costa city presents more election issues this year than Richmond.
There's plenty for voters to consider: The city's crime rate. City finances. The Chevron refinery retrofit. The Point Molate monster casino. Attracting business. The court-blocked manufacturer's tax. The rank-and-file police and firefighters' ugly campaign tactics.
There's no candidate with whom we completely agree. But there are four who can help the city continue on what has been a generally positive path that has included a return to financial balance and reduction of the crime rate.
We endorse the re-election of Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and council members Maria Viramontes and Myrna Lopez, and we recommend former Planning Commissioner Virginia Finlay for the remaining available seat on the City Council.
Starting with the mayoral race, we don't always agree with McLaughlin. We sometimes find her more of a bulldog than we would like. But we respect her carefully researched stands.
McLaughlin supports the refinery retrofit if the company levels with residents about its plans and fulfill its legal obligation to provide adequate pollution protections. We have also found the company to be evasive. We understand the oil giant plays hardball politics that require equal resolve from the city. Unfortunately, the other two mayoral candidates, Councilman Nat Bates and former Councilman John Ziesenhenne, remain too eager to side with Chevron without critically evaluating environmental issues.
We agree with McLaughlin that the casino is a bad long-term strategy with serious social implications for the region. Bates and Ziesenhenne are willing to turn Point Molate into a gambling center without consideration for the social cost. Bates is an outspoken proponent, while Ziesenhenne disingenuously tries to hide his opinion from voters. It takes careful questioning to ferret out his position.
We also admire McLaughlin's push to bring more green businesses to the city. They are the companies of the future. At the same time, we feel strongly that the city must be supportive of its current business and industrial base. For that reason, McLaughlin, as the leading public face of the city, must improve her relations with many in the business community. The city and business leaders must find a way to work as a team.
literally sloppier than any others we've seen. It's an arrogant attitude toward campaign laws, conflict of interest and public disclosure that we find repulsive….
…A final word about behavior: The police and firefighters unions should be ashamed of their hit pieces on McLaughlin. While they might have policy differences with her, there is no excuse for their despicable personalizing of their attacks. We're disappointed that public safety workers in Richmond continue to choose union leaders who still cannot conduct themselves in a professional manner.