Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2014  
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  Measure U for Your Streets
November 1, 2014

I get more complaints and inquiries about street conditions than any other subject. Here is a typical email (names have been changed to protect privacy);

Dear Mr. Butt.

I hope you are well.  My neighbor speaks highly of your leadership abilities and I plan on voting on Nov. 4th.

I'm writing to request your assistance in our neighborhood.  We live in the East Richmond Heights area.  It's growing positively and becoming more vibrant year by year.  We live on Zara Ave, between Humboldt St and Amador St.  The pavement and sidewalk are really in disrepair.  There are so many potholes (patched and unpatched), that people buzz down the road zigging and zagging to avoid them and just barely missing the cars parked on the side.  Even more importantly, young kids live on this street and if they accidentally darted into the road there would be no time or space for cars to avoid them.

Can you PLEASE help us get Zara Ave repaved and the sidewalks improved? Many of the other streets have been paved in this area, so I don't know why Zara wasn't addressed then, probably just an oversight.

I would appreciate your assistance in addressing this matter.  Also, if you can provide other names to assist me in this endeavor I would appreciate that as well.

Many thanks.

John Smith
5000 Zara Ave.
Richmond, CA  94805

The fact is that Richmond does not have sufficient revenue to keep all streets maintained in good condition, so we use a sort of scientific triage system to get the most bang from our insufficient bucks. That leaves a lot of people dissatisfied and creates continuous animosity as people wonder why other streets are being repaired while theirs is getting worse.

In the last few years, we have made significant progress on our overall street condition, mostly by using funds from redevelopment and ARRA, both of which are no longer available.

I have been writing about this for years (see Richmond Streets - Bad and Getting Worse, December 4, 2004). But, beginning last year, we decided to do something about. We are truly at a watershed moment; we can upgrade our streets significantly and keep them that way, or we can lose all the progress that has been made.


The City Council, by unanimous vote, decided to place a ½ cent sales tax on the ballot (Measure U) to provide significant revenue for the City’s top priorities, beginning with streets.

Registered Richmond voters will be asked to consider how to vote on Measure U, a one-half cent sales tax proposal that appears on the upcoming November 4th ballot.  If approved, the additional revenue generated by Measure U will maintain and enhance essential city services, such as public safety, public health and wellness programs, city youth programs, and street paving.  Information about Measure U can be found on the City’s website at:

Several informational meetings have been completed for both the public and community organizations, where City staff presented information and answered questions regarding Measure U.  A video of the City Manager’s presentation is also aired several times a day on KCRT.

All households in Richmond have received two (2) informational mailers – one provided information about the sales tax in general and the other provided information about the proposed street paving component.