E-Mail Forum
  Debunking Chamber of Commerce Propaganda
October 28, 2010

As the most vocal shill of unpopular and self-serving Richmond causes, the Richmond Chamber of Commerce today published a plea for passage of Measure U. As usual, the Chamber’s missive was replete with false statements and misrepresentations. I have annotated the copy below (in red) with the facts as a public service.

Measure U could open the door to long-term economic recovery.
A Message to the Richmond Chamber Membership
and the Richmond Community.

10/20/2010 Richmond Point Molate Press ConferenceOctober 20, 2010 press conference for the Richmond Point Molate Destination Resort project's shoreline protection agreement with the Bay Area environmental community. Click here>

Video Produced by Doug Harris

For those of us in the Richmond business community, support for
Measure U and the Point Molate Destination Resort is a no-brainer.

Business retention and attraction in Richmond have been anemic for years. Currently there are no major prospective employers seeking to plant roots in our community. (During the last four years of Mayor McLaughlin’s term, 700 businesses with 1,000 jobs have come to Richmond) The Point Molate Destination Resort, however, could be the stimulus Richmond needs to fundamentally transform its economic future.

Our city struggles with 18% unemployment; compounding the problem are a mayor and certain City Council members seemingly dedicated to chasing business out of town and exacerbating local unemployment. (There is no evidence that ant City Council member is “chasing business out of town) Their opposition to the Point Molate project is well documented, and it is deeply discouraging.

Conversely, Contra Costa County's 11.3% unemployment rate reflects more than 59,000 jobless residents. The Board of Supervisors, however, is actually business savvy and unanimously supports the Point Molate project. (Only after they were bought off with a promise of $12 million once it opens).
At the request of the city (Actually, at the request of Nat Bates), The Guidiville Tribe and Upstream-Point Molate assembled the $1 billion Point Molate Destination Resort project, consistent with the economic development goals of the Dellums legislation that conveyed the land to the city. The project included a concrete plan to put thousands back to work and lead the local economy recovery all at no cost to taxpayers.  We enthusiastically embraced the project.

The Tribe's and Upstream's commitment includes a binding and enforceable legal agreement with the city that includes 40% first-source and Living Wage hiring provisions for Richmond residents, meaning Richmond residents will be given preference for the thousands of jobs this project will create directly. (On August 30, 2010, Superior Court Judge Barry Baskin upheld a ballot argument that the jobs and economic promised by Upstream are false).

Even more, the preferred hire rate climbs to 70% for Contra Costa County residents, many from West County.  This scale and level of local hiring is unprecedented and there are realistic plans to accomplish this goal. Project proponents also are working with local non-profits to offer job and pre-apprentice training for prospective employees, skills that will better prepare the workforce as the larger economy recovers. (On August 30, 2010, Superior Court Judge Barry Baskin upheld a ballot argument that the jobs and economic promised by Upstream are false).

These jobs are real; many are the kinds of jobs high school graduates can attain. On August 30, 2010, Superior Court Judge Barry Baskin upheld a ballot argument that the jobs and economic promised by Upstream are false). There are nearly 60,000 Californians working for California Tribal governments today. Since 1988, California tribes have contributed hundreds of millions to our state economy, local charities, local police and fire, and city and county coffers.

The opportunities this project presents to local businesses are many and they reach far beyond Point Molate's borders. (Yes, all the way to Yolo County, where most of the money will go).

By injecting the local economy with a $1 billion private investment, thousands more jobs will be created indirectly by dozens of local businesses contracted by the resort's hotel/spa, shopping and dining establishments to provide tens of millions of dollars in goods and services annually. (Upstream has stated they have no intention of spending $1 billion or constructing shopping establishments in Phase 1, and there is no commitment beyond that)

And beyond those, thousands more "induced" jobs will be created by project and vendor employees patronizing local Richmond and West County businesses. 

The Point Molate Destination Resort makes perfect business sense; by taking just a few moments to learn more about this project, it becomes readily apparent that this development alone could start an economic ripple felt by hundreds if not thousands of local businesses. (Upstream has stated they have no intention of constructing a destination resort in Phase 1, only a casino, a 4000-space parking structure and a modest hotel, and there is no commitment beyond that)

And why not support the project? Card clubs and no-growth advocates cite potential project-related crime and gambling, even though the Richmond Police Officers Association and Contra Costa County Sheriff both concluded the project's local hiring, dollars for law enforcement, and remote location will all work to reduce crime. And problem gambling? With San Pablo Casino, free casino buses throughout the region, and the state lottery on every corner, this project would not make problem gambling any worse. (San Pablo’s jobless rate exceeds even Richmond, and they already have a casino)

The difference is the Point Molate Resort would bring thousands of tourists and millions of dollars to our city to support jobs, parks and the Bay Trail, law enforcement, schools, county hospitals, and other important services and programs we need. (It would also result in a permanent traffic jam at the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, destruction of the Winehaven Historic District and devastating impacts on the families of compulsive gamblers – Source: Environmental Impact Report).

Let's face reality: Aside from the Point Molate resort project, we aren't seeing a stampede of major investors banging at Richmond's door ready to create a sustainable local economic engine. If other investors show interest, there are literally hundreds of acres of underutilized local properties we can steer them to.

On behalf of the Board of Directors (Notice they did not show a vote of the board, which includes people like WCCUSD Superintendent Bruce Harter) and the more 700 member businesses represented by the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, we whole-heartedly endorse Measure U. (There is no evidence that the 700 members (if there really are that many) support the casino. I am one of those members, and I certainly don’t support it)

There simply is no other project of this scope that offers anywhere near this scale of sustainable economic benefits throughout our city.

Judith Morgan
President and CEO