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Richmond's Inspiration A Bridge Apart
November 13, 1998


Friday, November 13, 1998
Section: News
Page: A03
Joe Garofoli

Your responses were brilliant to Richmond Councilman Tom Butt's plan to improve that city's image by changing its name to something "evocative." Butt's brainstorm, you recall, was Richmond-by-the-Bay.

Good taste prevents repeating several ideas, most of which included the councilman's surname. The winning name is familiar, yet wistfully fresh. It is geographically accurate and hints at the city's promise. If you're going to scrap a perfectly fine moniker, tell Caltrans to change the road signs to Almost Marin, Calif.

Almost Marin. It evokes the cachet of a Marin address, without having to deal with high property taxes or crystal-gripping yuppies. "Almost" foreshadows a brighter future, shortens the emotional distance of the Almost Marin-San Rafael Bridge and "evokes" the coastal image that Butt craves.

OK, that's not exactly how Paulette Kenyon of Pleasanton an outsider! described it in her entry. "Most of us who go through this city of railroad tracks and industrial plants are on our way somewhere else."

There were others. Pat Van Dell-Stratton of Concord suggested Mon Riche City "classy, upscale, while maintaining vestiges of the original name." Jeff Beeman of El Sobrante wants Amoebaville, reflecting how "Richmond sprawls in odd directions all over the map." Plus, the new city song could rip off "Margaritaville" with a chorus of, "Wasting away again in Amoebaville."

Steve Kirby in Hercules honors the city's ethnic quilt with DiverCity. Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer recalls California's Spanish heritage with El Richmond. A bitter El Sobrante resident, tired of watching Richmond annex his town, suggests El Sobrante. "The people of El Sobrante would not give up control of their unincorporated area, just the name." Bay Area DJ Lisa Carr, a Richmond celebrity, suggests the antidote to Almost Marin: Not Oakland.