As the mayor’s race heats up in Richmond, an exciting new candidate has just emerged. Known to his friends and family simply as “Paris,” he is looking forward to going head-to-head with the two candidates who have already announced -- Eduardo Martinez and Shawn Dunning. As befits a celebrity candidate, Paris is uniquely mononymous, a distinction he shares with such illustrious writers, artists, entertainers, musicians and athletes as Erasmus, Cher, Prince, Madonna and Sting.
Figure1 - Eduardo Martinez heads up the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) slate.
Figure2 - Shawn Dunning is a newcomer to Richmond Politics but brings years of experience as a trainer, facilitator, mediator, leadership coach, and public speaker.
Unlike Martinez and Dunning, Paris was, as they say, “born and bred” in Richmond and has spent his entire life here. He comes from a large family with a dozen siblings, most of whom continue to make Richmond their home. Sadly, his father passed away a couple of years ago, but his elderly mother does what she can to keep the family together.
Although Paris lacks the level of formal education of his political adversaries, he has spent years intently watching and studying the good, the bad and the ugly that makes Richmond special. He has seen refinery flaring, high-speed chases, gunfire, fireworks, housefires and wildfires, smoke-filled skies and sideshows, as well as warm summer days, wildflowers, magnificent views of San Francisco Bay and music from Richmond’s numerous venues.
Paris is a particularly attractive candidate to the environmental community and clearly has the most impeccable environmental credentials. As a lifelong vegan, Paris has been totally committed to a plant-based diet his entire life. Furthermore, Paris earned his mononym by his significant association with the United Nations Paris Climate Accords (COP 21). He hopes to receive the coveted Sierra Club endorsement as well as a shared endorsement from the Sunflower Alliance.
Asked by Sierra Club litigant Norman LaForce about his commitment to open space, Paris, after pausing to ruminate on the subject, responded, “Open space is, by far, my highest priority.”
Walking the talk. Unlike his RPA-endorsed opponent, Eduardo Martinez, whose platform includes “a just transition away from fossil fuels,” Paris is not hypocritical about the use of fossil fuels. He does not own and has never even ridden in an automobile. Environmental activist Mayor Gabriel Quinto of El Cerrito explained, “While Martinez is tooling around Richmond in his single occupancy internal combustion, greenhouse gas spewing automobile fueled by Chevron gasoline while at the same time condemning Chevron for refining and selling him that same gasoline, Paris has no such conflict; he simply walks or runs everywhere.”
Paris is also well known for his expertise, experience and contribution to the science of soil enrichment. “Using soil as a carbon sink,” said former RPA and City Council member Jeff Ritterman, “is perhaps the most promising but least utilized strategy for reducing greenhouse gases and mitigating climate change.” Even RPA stalwart Jeff Kilbreth, who points out that he has an MBA from Yale, grudgingly admired Paris, agreeing, “In terms of the environment, he is as progressive as they get.”
Paris has even earned the respect of RPA Point Molate litigant Pam Stello for his opposition to the use of animal fur in clothing. “I personally know Paris to be a lifelong and enthusiastic member of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals),” mused Stello, “and I am sure he would join Robert Cheasty and me in protecting the endangered bald eagles of Point Molate. I am also confident that Paris would be willing to butt heads with the big developers that are trying to ravage Point Molate.”
Paris is particularly well known for his successful efforts to eradicate invasive exotic plants, a problem that plagues much of Richmond with French Broom, Pampas grass, fennel and other scourges that have displaced native species and the fauna that would otherwise thrived there.
Although one candidate, Shawn Dunning, has earned a reputation for “running” throughout Richmond, Paris characterizes Dunning as “comparatively slow and plodding,” claiming he could easily run away from Dunning in a one-on-one footrace. He is still waiting for Dunning to step up for that challenge.
Figure3 - Dunning' routes running through Richmond
Like the RPA candidates, Paris will be taking no corporate contributions. In fact, he will go the RPA one better and take no contributions whatsoever. “Paris stands on his reputation,” said Arto Rinteela, Fairmede-Hilltop Neighborhood Council president, “You shouldn’t have sell yourself to special interests like SEIU Local 1021 and IFTPE Local 21 to get elected in Richmond. Paris understands that.”
Members of the City Council were all atwitter about this new challenger, lighting up the Internet and social media with comments and criticisms.
Suspicious of Paris’ candidacy, Gayle McLaughlin warned,” He seems a lot like Tom Butt, green on the outside but not a bit red on the inside. “For our Marxist transition to succeed, explained McLaughlin, “we need candidates with revolutionary fire in the belly and unrelenting dedication to the cause.”
Melvin Willis mused, “As I go door knockin’ around Richmond, I don’t hear much talk about Paris yet, but people are clearly unhappy with the dysfunctional City Council and may be ready for a change. We have to protect our candidate Eduardo at all costs.”
Demnlus Johnson, III, was reluctant to comment about Paris. “As you know, I’m running for Congress and don’t want to offend my RPA friends. I like Paris, but I don’t think he will be elected mayor this time around. I would, however, consider bringing him on as part of my Congressional staff after I am elected.”
“I have a few questions,” broke in Claudia Jimenez. “How do we know that what Paris supposedly stands for is accurate? If he is so progressive, why isn’t he a member of the RPA? How do we know he’s not just a Trojan horse planted by Big Business or Big Oil? For all we know, he might even be a landlord! He has no email address and no cell phone number that I can find. We have to be careful about potential infiltrators. I’m going to have my husband at the Othering and Belonging Institute run a profile and write up a report on him.”
At the end of the day, however, Paris is no stranger to politics. He comes from an extended family of political activists who have been extraordinarily successful in elected office, including serving as mayors of at least two US cities. Although not from Texas like Eduardo, Paris has a relative, Clay Henry III, who served as mayor of the West Texas border town of Lajitas and another relative named Lincoln who served as mayor of Fair Haven Vermont.
For preview of Paris’ campaign literature, debuting today, April 1, click here.