The nasty battle over Measure T in Richmond erupted this morning into counter-charges of forgery and humorlessness.
The offending document showed up online via Richmond Councilman Tom Butt’s vast email notice network that just about everybody in town seems to get.
The letter appears to be an electronic “Photoshopped” revision of an original “Vote No on Measure T” letter from Richmond Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Judy Morgan.
The forger kept the chamber’s letterhead and Morgan’s signature but rewrote the content to reflect a positive spin on Measure T.
Click here to download the Chamber of Commerce’s version of the letter.
Click here to download the forged version of the letter.
Butt, an ardent Measure T supporter, denied that he had anything to do with forging the letter.
He says he received it from an individual he declined to name and had no reason to believe it was inaccurate. So, he sent it out to his email subscribers in what’s affectionately referred to as the Butt Blast.
“I was overjoyed when I thought the chamber had changed its mind,” Butt said. “But if it was in error, I’ll track down the truth. Meanwhile, a little excitement never hurt anyone.”
Butt is renowned for his annual April Fool’s Day jokes on the town and the media.
But Morgan is not laughing. She says she learned about the letter when Measure T supporters began calling to congratulate her for finally seeing the light.
“This is the worst thing that Tom Butt has ever done,” Morgan said. “I don’t even know where to begin to repair the damage to my reputation and that of the chamber … I think he should think about resigning his position.”
Measure T would establish a fee on businesses of one fourth of one percent of the value of the raw materials used in the manufacturing process.
Critics, such as the chamber, say the burden will fall unfairly on Chevron and hurt other local businesses. Proponents argue that it will force local businesses to pay their fair share of impacts on the community.
Click here to read the text and arguments for and against Measure T at the League of Women Voters’ online Smart Voter page.