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Media Coverage
Chevron A Top Foe Of Measure H
February 6, 1998



Friday, February 6, 1998
Section: news
Page: A04
Scott Andrews

RICHMOND Chevron Corp. trailed only the Richmond firefighters union in spending to defeat city tax Measure H in the November election, according to just-filed campaign finance statements.

Chevron, whose Richmond refinery is the largest in Northern California, donated $5,000 to the Black Men and Women Against Measure H political action committee two days after the measure lost by a 2-to-1 margin. Anti-Measure H campaigner George Livingston said the money was used to pay bills accrued during the campaign.

The contribution made Chevron the biggest spender among the group of eight mostly industrial companies that joined the International Association of Firefighters Local 188 to bankroll opposition to the tax.

Measure H would have levied $3.4 million annually in property tax. Industrial property owners would have paid 40 percent of the tax. Chevron owns 2,900 acres here, making it the largest industrial landowner in Richmond.

The city would have used the tax revenue to rebuild and renovate fire stations, seismically strengthen City Hall and the police station, buy fire and police department equipment, build a new communications center and buy a new radio system.

Opponents of Measure H, who argued that the measure would have given the city too much leeway in how to spend the money, spent $29,908.53. But they also used pages in brochures concentrating on other campaign issues to blast the tax proposal. They did not account for the value of those anti-Measure H messages in the latest report.

Industrial companies here contributed $15,100 to the anti-tax effort. Firefighters contributed $14,100, including $1,700 in unpaid loans from union president Henry Hornsby.

The city government anticipates a $3.1 million deficit in its largest operating fund next year. That gap would have narrowed by $500,000 if Measure H had passed, city Finance Director Marla Taylor said. Without the tax, the city has given up trying to renovate or replace fire stations.

Proponents of the tax, led by Mayor Rosemary Corbin and City Council members Alex Evans and Tom Butt, spent 66 percent more than their opponents.

Tax advocates took in $49,711.73, mostly from labor groups, politicians and corporations. The biggest contributor was Dial Communications of Camarillo, an affiliate of a company vying to build the radio system. Dial gave $25,000.

Other major contributors included Evans, Butt, Corbin, Marina Bay developer Penterra Corp., Point Richmond Tech Center I and II developer Wareham Property Group Inc., the Peace Officers Research Association of California and the Richmond Police Officers Association.

In the four-way race for three at-large City Council seats, incumbent Richard Griffin spent $32,295, more than any other candidate. He finished third.

Incumbent Irma Anderson, who finished first, spent $29,372.16. John Marquez, who took second place, spent $24,358.03. The loser, challenger Gary Bell, spent $18,294.19.

Mayor Rosemary Corbin, who ran unopposed, spent $17,503.

The firefighters union's general political action committee, which supported school board and City Council candidates while opposing Measure H, spent $33,505 through Oct. 30. It did not file reports for the final two months of the year, a crucial period because it includes the final days before the election.

The Black Men and Women political action committee, a pro-business group of current and former black City Council members, spent $4,409.24.