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Richmond Studies Whether Three On Council May Have A Conflict
May 25, 1996


Saturday, May 25, 1996
Section: news
Page: A11

RICHMOND -- The Richmond City Attorney's Office is investigating whether several members of the City Council have a conflict of interest on a proposed hazardous materials ordinance.

Those who have a conflict would not be allowed to vote on the matter.

The ordinance would require refineries and other firms that handle hazardous materials to get city permits when they do major maintenance.

It would also require the companies to hire for high-temperature jobs only those welders who have passed a stringent skills test, something opponents say is tantamount to restricting the work to union members. The council is scheduled to discuss the proposed ordinance at its meeting Tuesday.

Three of the original four council members who came up with the ordinance Donna Powers, Alex Evans and Tom Butt could have conflicts. Nat Bates was the other sponsor.

Powers said she has hired her own lawyer to look into the matter. Her husband, former county Supervisor Tom Powers, has worked for the Steamfitters Union Local 342, which is promoting the ordinance. Powers said her husband does not currently work for the union.

But Greg Feere, business representative for the Contra Costa Trades Council a union group that is also promoting the ordinance said Powers is working either for Local 342 or the regional Pipe Trades Association.

Asked whether he was currently working for Local 342 or its association, Tom Powers said: "We've given information to the city attorney. That's all I'm going to say."

A Pipe Trades Association official said Powers is not working for his group. A representative for Local 342 was not available for comment.

Evans, a political pollster, also has done work for Local 342 and could thus have a conflict, one of his staff members said. Butt confirmed he owns stock in Chevron