Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2020  
  < RETURN  
  "They're baaaaack!"
August 23, 2020

This year, we are transitioning to district elections, and the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) has carefully positioned their candidates (“Team Richmond” below) to win all three districts that are up for grabs, with the objective of reestablishing an RPA City Council majority. I don’t have to tell you that the Richmond Progressive Alliance candidates are anti-business, anti-growth, anti-development, anti-housing, and anti-police. They favor raising taxes and are against economic development in Richmond. They do not want Richmond to grow and flourish. Instead, they want to make Richmond a national laboratory for unproven radical social policies at the expense of Richmond taxpayers.

Figure 1 - The Richmond Progressive Alliance Team Richmond

Fortunately, we have highly qualified candidates in each of the three districts who can successfully challenge the RPA candidates and move Richmond forward. Ballots will be available, and voting will start only 42 days from now!

Here are the three candidates who deserve your support and your vote. With COVID-19, traditional walking and knocking is not going to happen. Campaign rallies, house parties and public forums (except virtual) are not going to happen. Candidates need funds for mailers and media advertising. Please donate to their campaigns so they can get the word out.

District 5 – Cortez/Stege, Eastshore, Laurel Park, Marina Bay, Panhandle Annex, Parkview, and Richmond Annex.

Ahmad Anderson is a Richmond native and a Cal graduate where he played defensive back on the football team. He previously served on the boards of the Contra Costa County Childcare Council, Youth Service Bureau and as vice-president of the NAACP. He is a resident of Richmond’s Laurel Park neighborhood, not far from Booker T. Anderson Community Center, named after his father. He is the proud father of five: military veteran and educator Brooks Fletcher; Dr. Brandon Anderson a Surgeon and Stanford University graduate; Breeyan Cornelius, AC Transit driver; Brandon Von Der Werth, business executive; and Cameron Morrow, who just graduated from High School this year.

Figure 1 - Tom Butt and Ahmad Anderson

He has extensive experience as a private sector CEO, nonprofit Vice President or Board member for organizations such as Goodwill Industries and KPFA Radio, and as a regional workforce director and manager of complex projects and large budgets.

Ahmad supports the things Richmond voters care about most. He supports reform and reimagination of law enforcement practices with a renewed focus on mental health, job training and youth prevention services. He also knows that we must focus on responsible, neighborhood-based safety that reduces gang violence, and property crimes while improving 911 response times for any family needing help.

He will work to reduce homelessness, increase job training and address the blight of illegal dumping. “I will, promised Ahmad, “fight for our District’s fair share of money to address dumping, remove graffiti, and repair potholes and streets. Every resident deserves to live in a safe, healthy, and clean neighborhood.

District 1 – Iron Triangle and Belding Woods

Eleanor Thompson has lived in Richmond 54 years. Unlike her opponent, who moved to District 1 recently solely for the reason to qualify as a candidate, Eleanor has a long history of serving residents of the Iron Triangle. She is the founder and executive director of Social Progress, Inc., a nonprofit organization where youth of the Iron Triangle neighborhood gather after school for tutoring and mentoring.

Figure 2 - Eleanor Thompson

Thompson began her career as a substitute teacher with the Contra Costa Unified School District. She also served on the Community Police Review Commission, as a member of the Anti-Drug Task Force, and as president of the Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council.

Thompson thinks these experiences give her a unique perspective and she can be the voice of the people. She feels strongly about the problems of crime, homelessness and lack of access to healthcare.

Public safety is a priority for Thompson, who believes in fully staffed police and fire department. Having lived in Richmond for over five decades, Thompson has witnessed drive-by-shootings and killings of African Americans. In order to stop these crimes, Thompson wants to create jobs for youth. “Keeping the youth busy is good for the local economy,” she said.

In a future Richmond, Thompson hopes to see the crime rate drop, more housing built, the eradication of homelessness and a cleaner environment.

To donate to Eleanor Thompson, mail a check to “Eleanor For Richmond City Council 2020,” 1327 Dunn Ave,  Richmond California 94801, FPPC #1427326.

District 6 – North and East

Vinay Pimplé is an extraordinary individual, who despite total blindness, graduated with a law degree from Cal, becoming an attorney. He is also a skilled software engineer. Vinay was appointed to the City Council in 2015 to fill my position that was vacated when I was elected mayor. He fell only nine votes short of being elected for a full term in 2018.

Figure 3 - Vinay Pimple

When he served on the City Council from 2015 to 2017, Pimplé became known for his analytical skills, particularly his keen understanding of City budgets and fiscal matters. But he also brought an insight into the struggles of many residents who face challenges based on immigration status or ethnicity, “On the City Council, I found that so many of our laws were written by privileged outsiders from Berkeley and San Francisco, who simply had no idea about how discrimination works or how people deal with hardships. As a blind person of color and an immigrant, I have firsthand experience of the various ways in which our communities face discrimination and other challenges.”

Pimplé understands the connection between economic development and a fiscally healthy city. “The other major challenge we have is to improve city services. We need to raise revenue by building housing and attracting businesses, and by careful personnel management. I have experience of doing just this. During my two years on council, I approved 450-plus affordable homes, and 300-plus market-rate homes. I took the lead in convincing police officers, fire fighters and managers to take big cuts in take home pay so that we could balance the budget without cutting services.”

Pimplé is a prolific volunteer in the schools and an education booster. “The most important issue is to increase opportunities for our youth. I want to improve education and job training and reduce crime. Education is the key. I will make sure that we make a full shift to a college-going culture because only about 30 percent of our eligible students currently use the Richmond Promise college scholarship. I will continue my work of expanding training for careers in the building trades. I will make a big push for volunteer mentors. Mentors can be game-changers when we focus on high-risk children aged 12 to 17. Mentors can build a bond with high-risk children and navigate them towards all these opportunities that will help our children realize their full potential.”

To donate to Vinay’s campaign, send a check to “Vinay Pimplé for Richmond City Council 2020,” PO Box 5237, Richmond, CA 94805, FPPC #1427387

The following candidates will be on the ballot, and the ones shown in red are the ones I am supporting:

District 1 (Iron Triangle and Belding Woods)

  • Eleanor Thompson – CEO/Business Owner

  • Melvin Lee Willis, Jr. – Incumbent

District 5 – Marina Bay, Richmond Annex and Laurel Park

  • Ahmad Anderson – Small Business Owner

  • Najari Smith – Business Owner
  • Gayle McLaughlin – Community Organizer, Educator
  • Mike Vasilas – Small Business Owner

District 6 – North and East

  • Vinay Pimple – Educator/Government Analyst

  • LaTanya Dandie “Ms Dandie” – Mental Health Worker
  • Claudia Jimenez – Community Organizer

This election will determine Richmond’s priorities for the next four years. Please help keep the Richmond Progressive Alliance from taking over Richmond.