E-Mail Forum
  Butt, Langlois and Martinez for City Council
October 29, 2012

You don’t need a ream of mailers, constant television ads or billboards all over town to figure out who to vote for in the Richmond City Council  race. All you need to know is that a PAC called “Moving Forward” funded 99.999% by Chevron is spending  $1.2 million in Richmond to try and elect three candidates and defeat two others.

If you really think that Chevron is the best source of advice on who can best lead Richmond, you should probably vote for their candidates; Bates, Bell and Roberson. If, on the other hand, you want council members who will treat Chevron in a businesslike manner with the respect it deserves but make the people of Richmond their top priority, you should vote for Langlois and Martinez along with reelecting Tom Butt.

The current City Council majority is a well balanced mix of RPA members (McLaughlin, Ritterman and Beckles) and non members (Butt and Rogers). This majority has provided balanced leadership that has truly resulted in a Richmond renaissance. Consider the following:

  • Crime in Richmond continues to drop precipitously, with homicides on track for a 50% reduction this year. While other cities are laying off cops, Richmond continues to hire.
  • Unemployment continues to drop in Richmond, and job creation is rising. Businesses such as Nutiva, which recently held a job fair to hire 100 workers, are moving to Richmond for its location, labor pool and sustainability initiatives.
  • While our needs continue to exceed our resources, Richmond’s streets are in the best condition they have been in for decades.
  • Parks and street landscaping are in the best shape ever. Parks are being rehabilitated all over town.
  • Richmond was selected from over a dozen competitors as the final location for LNBL’s new second campus.
  • Led by City Manager Bill Lindsay, Richmond has a management team that is the envy of many cities in California.
  • Richmond is becoming a destination city, with out-of-towners often outnumbering locals on the Bay Trail, at Craneway Pavilion events and at Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park.


For more, see Richmond's Progressive Coalition Faces Uphill Battle Against Corporate Spending, October 12, 2012.

The current City Council majority is a known quantity and, despite claims by detractors, has taken care of an amazing amount of critical municipal business even though hampered by recurring interruptions and late night meetings. The current Council minority, Bates and Booze, have largely become “no” votes and naysayers, opposing important legislation like the adoption of the General Plan 2030 and the adoption of an integrated pest management policy for the City of Richmond. They opposed rehabilitation of the Riggers Loft at the Port of Richmond that is currently under construction and providing dozens of construction jobs. Booze even opposed accepting a grant from Richmond Pacific Railroad to extend a quiet zone adjacent to the southside neighborhoods.

Richmond Confidential reports, “Boozé and Bates hope to capitalize on the election not just to keep Bates in his seat but to add to their ranks by electing Bea Roberson, who aligns with Bates and Boozé on several issues,” and Bates and Booze both routinely encourage Mark Wassberg, a candidate best known for disrupting City Council meets with homophobic, anti-hispanic and anti-Semitic outbursts of profanity.

The current City Council majority has adopted a constructive and business-oriented engagement policy with Chevron, authoring a pair of policy resolutions directing City staff to expedite permitting for both the long-pending refinery renewal project and repairs from the August 6, 2012, fire. Staff responded quickly, and as a result there are hundreds of workers already swarming over the damaged crude unit on a 24/7 basis racing to make repairs by the beginning of 2013. This City Council majority is also looking out for the interests of Richmond, having successfully negotiated a $114 million settlement with Chevron over disputed tax issues.

What about the scurrilous claims Chevron is making that that Langlois withheld taxes and is a conspiracy theorist, or that Martinez skipped meetings, missed mortgage payments and advocates anarchy?  These one-sided claims are not what they seem; however, with a campaign budget of $1.2 million, I’m surprised Chevron couldn’t gin up something really damaging. For example, while I don’t share Marilyn’s skepticism about 9-11, we do know that the Vietnam war was escalated by the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution based on a trumped up confrontation with North Vietnam and that the Iraq War was largely based on trumped up claims of WMDs. History has proven that skepticism is healthy in political affairs. Just today, in an interview with Dianne Feinstein, the senator said the decision she most regrets in her entire political career was her vote to go to war in Iraq.

While Langlois and Martinez can’t match Chevron dollar for dollar, they both offer video responses on-line. See below:


I guarantee you that if the same resources were available, even more damaging claims could be made against the Chevron candidates.
In a city that is overwhelmingly Democratic, voters should be aware that Chevron is investing millions to elect Republicans, including Mitt Romney. Chevron Corp. made a $2.5 million contribution on Oct. 7 to the conservative Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC dedicated to electing Republicans to the House and Senate. The super PAC took in $3.1 million through the first part of October, entering the home stretch with $8.7 million in the bank. “Moving Forward,” the same PAC engaged in the Richmond campaign, also gave $100,000 to the Reform California Now Independent Expenditure Committee, which according to a recent article from the Sacramento Bee, supports Republican candidates for the State Senate.
Richmond is on a roll, and we want to continue that progress with a well-balanced city council. This is not the time to replace proven leadership with a team paid for by Chevron.
Vote for Butt, Langlois and Martinez.