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Media Coverage
Richmond Drops Idea To Annex El Sobrante
February 19, 1997


Wednesday, February 19, 1997
Section: News
Page: A03

RICHMOND To the delight of many El Sobrante residents, the City Council voted Tuesday to discontinue a study on the possible annexation of unincorporated El Sobrante. 

The part of the study that was to focus on North Richmond will continue. 

Residents of El Sobrante had made it clear to the council what they thought about the city taking any steps to bring them into its boundaries. 

Their message: Don't you dare. 

"I'm against it," said Tony Grabar, a 20-year resident of El Sobrante. "I'm happy I don't want to pay any more taxes than I'm paying now." 

Others said they wanted to preserve the more rural character of their area something that city rules might preclude. 

A standing-room-only crowd of about 75 people squeezed into the council chamber in City Hall on Tuesday and cheered when the council voted to put a stop to the study. 

In December, council members voted to direct city staff to examine the impact of annexation on residents of both North Richmond and El Sobrante and estimate how much revenue would be generated for the city. 

Councilman Tom Butt had suggested that the city get the facts on the matter since the annexation question comes up every few years. 

Then the phones started ringing. 

Councilman Richard Griffin said he received 171 phone calls protesting annexation. 

Butt opened discussion on the issue Tuesday by suggesting that the study be stopped, since the council no longer had the will to continue it. The council voted almost immediately, pre-empting what would have been a long list of speakers. 

The council voted 8-0 to discontinue the study. Councilman Alex Evans abstained. 

Before the meeting, Butt characterized the El Sobrante lobbying effort as "intimidation." 

"When you get 40 phone calls saying, Don't even think of it, we hate Richmond,' you just want to get out of it," Butt said, describing what he expected would be his colleagues' reaction.