NBA player Drew Gooden brings school supplies, advice to Richmond kids

Drew Gooden, who grew up in Richmond and went on the basketball stardom at El Cerrito High School, the University of Kansas and the NBA, was back in his hometown on Aug. 16 to give out school supplies and offer advice to children in the summer programs at the Richmond Recreation Complex on Macdonald Avenue.
In the video above, the affable Gooden talks about his career and tells the youngsters about the importance of getting good grades — even for an athlete — and how important it is to save and manage money wisely.
Gooden has established a foundation that has held worked to help kids in Richmond, including toy distributions at Christmas and summer programs this year at five community centers in the city.
The hope is to inspire young people to success and to give back to the community, said Maurice Braxton, who works with the DG Foundation. The foundation teamed with financial firm PWC for this week’s event.
“They need to see somebody who made it from here,” Braxton said. “We’re trying to find every outlet we can.”


Richmond mayor set to march into Wells Fargo HQ

PRESS RELEASE: Mayor of Richmond Travels to Wells Fargo Headquarters,

Calling on Wells CEO to Drop Lawsuit and Accept Richmond’s Offers to Buy Underwater Mortgages

Surrounded by Community Leaders, Small City Mayor Stands Up to Wall Street

San Francisco, CA – On Thursday, August 15th, at 12Noon, the Mayor of Richmond, CA, Gayle McLaughlin will show up at the headquarters of Wells Fargo Bank to call on them to drop their lawsuit and cooperate with the City’s plan to fix troubled mortgages and prevent foreclosures.

On July 31st the City of Richmond announced that they are moving forward with a Local Principal Reduction program that will help homeowners refinance or modify mortgages.  This will be done by purchasing troubled loans from current servicers or trustees, like Wells Fargo, or through the City’s eminent domain authority if the current loan holders won’t cooperate.

On August 7th Wells Fargo and Deutsche Bank named the City of Richmond in a lawsuit filed to attempt to block Local Principal Reduction from moving forward.

What:  Mayor of Richmond and Community Leaders, angry at Wells Fargo’s aggressive actions to prevent a local foreclosure prevention program, show up at the bank headquarters demanding that Wells Fargo back off

Where: 420 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA

When: 12Noon, Thursday, August 15th

Richmond’s Local Principal Reduction plan is designed to preserve wealth in local hands, especially in communities of color and low-income communities which have been decimated by the foreclosure crisis and see no end in sight. Wrongful foreclosures have caused a catastrophic loss of wealth.  Having been targeted by predatory lending, communities of color have been particularly hard-hit, with African Americans losing 53% of their median wealth from 2005 to 2009 and Latinos 66%.  In Richmond, 46% of all residential mortgage holders are still underwater.

Though the City of Richmond is leading the way nationwide on local principal reduction, other California cities like El Monte and La Puente are advancing this as well, as are community/labor coalitions in Newark, New Jersey; Seattle, Washington; and New York City.


Online fundraising for local organizations today


For more information contact:

Jim Becker – Richmond Community Foundation

Office: 510-234-1200 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                            August 13, 2013


Richmond, California…..Today, the Richmond Community Foundation is proud to announce We Give – 2013! – an exciting online giving event that will empower people to come together to raise as much money as possible for nonprofits in Richmond, California and the greater West Contra Costa County region in just 36 hours.


The event begins at www.WeGive2Richmond.org at 6a.m. on Wednesday, September 18th and ends at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 19th.  The Richmond Community Foundation (RCF) is hosting this event as a way to share knowledge about the great work of local nonprofits in the community.  RCF’s goal for the event is to make philanthropy accessible, fun and easy for the entire community. 


“We are launching We Give 2013! to help nonprofits reach new donors and show the donors how important it is to give to local causes,” said Joan Davis, President and CEO of the Richmond Community Foundation.  “Other metropolitan areas that have held similar events have raised $1 million or more in a single day, and we are challenging the people in the Bay Area to show a similar commitment to our local nonprofits.”


WeGive2Richmond.org, which goes live at the beginning of the event, is a powerful online tool designed to encourage charitable giving within Richmond, California, and West Contra Costa County.  The web site provides information about the nonprofits, and provides the transparency donors need to make informed giving decisions.  At the same time, nonprofits featured on the site are able to tell their story – giving anyone in the community a better understanding of the need for their services and their results.


Companies competing for recognition of having the most philanthropic employees include: MCE Clean Energy, Nutiva, PG&E, and Richmond Sanitary.


Facebook:  facebook.com/wegive2013  Twitter:  @richmondcf; #wegive2013


About the Community Foundation: The Richmond Community Foundation connects the generosity of donors with community needs by making grants to local nonprofit organizations that are working to improve the community.  By building the infrastructure and capacity of local nonprofits, RCF continues to enhance our region.  To learn more, please visit RCF online at www.richmondcf.org.


El Cerrito Orchard Supply Hardware store will close


Orchard Supply Hardware sent an email announcement to local customers today announcing that its El Cerrito location will be closing, a casualty of the company’s bankruptcy in June and subsequent sale to home improvement giant Lowe’s.
Lowe’s in June agreed to buy 60 of Orchard’s 91 locations and Orchard said at the time that the remaining locations would likely close. Orchard was founded in the Bay Area and has 20 stores here.
This week’s anncouncement, above, directs customers to the Orchard locations in Berkeley, Pinole and Moraga.
The location of the El Cerrito store on Eastshore Highway is one of the few sites fully in the city that has freeway frontage, but retailers have come and gone over the years, including Pay ‘n’ Pak discount hardware and home goods, and a discount furniture store.
The closure shouldn’t leave shoppers searching for a source of hardware and home improvement supplies. The south end of town has the large Pastime ACE Hardware store and the north end has The Home Depot, located partly in El Cerrito and partly in Richmond.


Ranks of Chevron suits swells

Spoke with Mr. Schulz, 66, of Richmond today, a Vietnam veteran.

He was diagnosed with emphysema days after the Chevron fire on Aug. 6, 2012.

“I smelled something burning while I was laying in bed,” on day of fire he said.

“My breathing went downhill in a hurry.”

Schulz said he is joining John L. Burris’ mass tort suit against Chevron, which already has more than 10,000 clients.

Half block west of San Pablo Ave., near southern border of the city.

“I felt as though the smoke was traveling directly overhead.”

“I’m really short-winded these days.”



When El Cerrito watched the final run of the Santa Fe Railroad through town in 1979

morning local

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Traffic is heavy weekdays on Marin Avenue from the Berkeley hills through Albany.
But imagine if you had to wait behind the crossing signal while a freight train passed.
Motorists had to do just that until May 1979, when the Santa Fe Railroad abandoned its inland right-of-way from Oakland to Richmond. Locally, it follows the route the BART tracks follow now through Albany and El Cerrito.
Trains had been hauling on the route since the original tracks were laid in the late 19th century by the California and Nevada Railroad.
In fact, the Santa Fe continued to run for several years after the Richmond line of the BART system opened. That’s right, folks living right next to the Richmond BART line heard the noise of the new trains overhead and also the passing of two ground level diesel-powered trains each day.
But by the 1970s, it was no longer practical for Santa Fe to maintain the line. Trains came through only twice a day, by then, a far cry from the years when the tracks were busy with trains full of passengers and freight. In El Cerrito alone, trains would stop at the TEPCO factory and the city’s many lumberyards. The volume during World War II, when tons of supplies were headed to Richmond and military personnel filled passenger trains, would have been staggering.
The Santa Fe line crossed 87 intersections between Oakland and Richmond, bringing the flow of cars to a halt as it went and meeting with numerous accidents at intersections.
Cities welcomed the railroad’s decision to abandon the line, first requested in 1976 and run its trains on the Southern Pacific tracks along the waterfront, where there were far fewer traffic conflicts — and liabilities from entanglements with motorists — along the way.
Not everyone was pleased, though.
During the line’s final years folks along the line had gotten to know engineer Art Pipes (pictured at the top on the final run of the Santa Fe through El Cerrito. Pipes was a 42-year Santa Fe veteran who had made many friends on the line who would wave as the train passed and was known as a gift-giving Santa Claus to some households in Richmond. You can read about him in the 1979 Richmond Independent article below.
On the day of the final run the train made a special stop in El Cerrito, where a fond farewell was held (see below).
El Cerrito resident and businessman John Stashik, who was there for the final run of Pipes and the Santa Fe was generous enough to share the clippings and photos here.

ATSF Santa Claus retires
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Message from CH
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art and crew_caption
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The lumberyards and other businesses such as the TEPCO porcelain factory were served by the Santa Fe rail line that ran on the route now used by BART. This view is looking where the Del Norte station is today.


Richmond: WWII classic “The Story of G.I. Joe” showing Thursday on the SS Red Oak Victory

The next classic war-era film showing on the SS Red Oak Victory gets down and dirty with the dogfaces, grunts and G.I Joes, as the called them. “The Story of G.I. Joe,” also known as “Ernie Pyle’s The Story of G.I. Joe,” screens at 7 p.m. Aug. 8 on the historic ship at 1337 Canal Blvd. in the Port of Richmond.
The 1945 film is based on the experiences of Pyle, the best-known war correspondent of World War II, who brought across the human side of the regular guys facing combat in the U.S. Army, personalizing the stories of the grunts doing their duty in a global conflict far from home.
Pyle, who lived the experiences the soldiers did and died in combat in the Pacific in 1945, was honored with the Pulitzer Prize.
The film, featuring Burgess Meredith as Pyle and Robert Mitchum as Lt. Walker , came out two months after his death.
According to IMDB, “The extras in the film were real American GIs, in the process of being transferred from the war in Europe to the Pacific. Many of them were killed in the fighting on Okinawa – the same battle in which Ernie Pyle was killed by a Japanese machine gunner — never having seen the movie in which they appeared.”
Boarding on the Red Oak starts at 6:30 p.m. The screening is free after a $5 donation to board the ship and of course there will be popcorn and refreshments on sale.


El Cerrito opposition forming to AT&T antenna proposal

Flier posted last weekend by El Cerrito High School.

Unhappiness with proposed AT&T cell towers is now spilling over from Kensington to El Cerrito.
Fliers about antenna installations that would block views and would be primarily to serve Kensington residents were placed on utility poles over the weekend, including the one above in front of El Cerrito High School.
Opponents of the proposal plan to attend the Design Review Board meeting at 7:30pm Aug. 7 in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Ave. to make their feelings known and also plan an even bigger turnout when it comes before the City Council on Aug. 20.