|Bicycle Race Wins
Support From Richmond Council
April 16, 1998
WEST COUNTY TIMES
* CITY OFFICIALS VOTE 5-4 TO BACK TOUR DU POINT OVER OBJECTIONS FROM POINT RICHMOND RESIDENTS
Thursday, April 16, 1998
RICHMOND The Tour du Point bicycle race will go on with the city's support, despite the objections of some Point Richmond residents.
The City Council on Tuesday agreed to sponsor the race, putting an end to the council debate over whether the city should remain involved in the race now that the Richmond firefighters union is running it. The vote was 5-4.
"There is a great deal of cooperation and planning that has gone into this," said Councilman Nat Bates, who recommended supporting the race. "We do think that this race will be a great success."
Complaints from Point Richmond about the inconvenience of the race and concerns about the union's involvement prompted questions about city funding.
Councilwoman Donna Powers, a Point Richmond resident, chastised council members Tuesday for supporting the race over the objections of the community.
"You don't care, you really don't care what the Point wants. Shame on you," said Powers, who left the meeting after the vote.
Councilman Tom Butt reiterated his accusation that some council members are supporting the race because their campaigns were heavily funded by the firefighters union and its political consultant, Darrell Reese.
That accusation was vehemently denied by Councilwoman Lesa McIntosh, one of the five who voted for the race. "As to council members supporting Darrell Reese that's a load of crap," McIntosh said.
Bob Peckham, owner of the Santa Fe Market and president of the Point Richmond Business Association, which opposed the race, said the community isn't happy with the council's decision.
"We presented our case, and the council had the audacity to approve it anyway," Peckham said Wednesday. "It's over with What's going to happen is what's going to happen. We have no choice but to embrace the race."
Richmond firefighter Andre Mogannam, the race promoter, said most of the community's concerns have been addressed.
The race course has been altered, some streets that would have been closed will stay open, and the firefighters have offered to shuttle people to churches and to deliver groceries to residents, he said.
"We feel that there's plenty of access," Mogannam told the council.
He said at least 70 firefighters from Richmond and the West County Fire Protection District have volunteered as course marshals. The course will be set up by a racing organization hired by the firefighters, Mogannam said.
The specific cost to the city wasn't known Tuesday, but Bates said it should be far less than the $11,000 estimated by the city staff.