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Richmond: Parks group seeks protection for Field Station shoreline

Richmond’s City Council agenda on Tuesday includes discussion of the electronic billboard at Pacific East Mall next to Interstate 80, which could provide interesting discussion over its legality, which has been questioned by Councilman Tom Butt.
The group Citizens for East Shore Parks, meanwhile, is more interested in the item after the billboard, which is titled “Resolution to Protect the Coastal Prairie at the Richmond Field Station,” submitted by Vice Mayor Jovanka Beckles.
CESP issued the following email call to it members:

Please come to the City Council and support a resolution directing staff to remove any consideration in the South Richmond Plan for vehicle traffic through the coastal prairie at the Richmond Field Station- and to prepare alternatives for the Plan that only show vehicle being routed around the coastal prairie.

Why is it important to protect the coastal prairie?
Today, less than one percent of California’s original native grassland ecosystems remain intact! The Richmond Field Station is recognized by the California Native Plant Society for priority protection because it contains the last undisturbed native coastal prairie grassland adjacent to the San Francisco Bay Shoreline. This native grassland is an intact remnant stand that functions as a reference assemblage – invaluable for the study of how this threatened ecosystem functions and as an example of its community type for restoration ecologists. A great goal for the scientists at UC Berkeley.

Click here to view the resolution.

The City of Richmond will post the Council agenda online. Check the website here: http://ci.richmond.ca.us/index.aspx?nid=151.

It is item # I-2– which won’t be until 7:15 pm or later. But, you must sign in to speak prior to the item being called.

Posted on Tuesday, April 15th, 2014
Under: business, community, development, environment, government, Politics, Richmond | No Comments »

Mayor McLaughlin to hold annual memorial for Richmond homicide victims

RICHMOND MAYOR TO HONOR THE MEMORY OF 2013 HOMICIDE VICTIMS

PRESS RELEASE: Mayor Gayle McLaughlin invites everyone to share this Friday in a moment of reflection to honor the memory of those whose lives were lost to homicide in Richmond in 2013.

To date there have been 16 homicides in Richmond this year, and the Mayor grieves the untimely loss of each of these lives. Last year, there were 18 homicides. The year before, there were 26 homicides and the year before that over twice as many homicides.

The Mayor is grateful for the increasingly downward trend, which she attributes to the collaborative work of the City with numerous community organizations and neighborhood groups, along with a growing number of positive activities and opportunities for our residents.

She also applauds the collaborations underway to provide comprehensive reentry programs for formerly incarcerated individuals as a way to further address the roots of the violence.

Police Chief Magnus has noted additional factors affecting this downward trend of violent crime in Richmond such as:  More effective crime reduction strategies, including focusing on hotspots and well as key individuals involved in criminal activity;  Community and neighborhood-based policing. We have more active neighborhood and community groups than ever before, all who work closely with the PD;  Data-driven policing, including our COMPSTAT program, that involves the ongoing analysis of crime data and crime trends.

This program also involves assuring this information is shared by the cops working in the neighborhoods and commercial areas of the City.  Increased focus on gun crimes, including more prosecution of gun crimes of any type and severity—as a way of getting guns and gun criminals off the streets.

What: Meet-with-the-Mayor session to honor the memory of 2013 homicide victims When: Friday, December 20, 2013, 5:30 – 6:30 pm Where: Whittlesey Room, Richmond Public Library, 325 Civic Center Plaza ###

Posted on Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
Under: Cities, Crime, History, Politics, Richmond | No Comments »

5-year anniversary celebration for RYSE Youth Center

 

PRESS RELEASE:

RYSE YOUTH CENTER CELEBRATES FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY & Hosts 2nd Annual Winter Wonderland Community Event

What: RYSE Center 2nd Annual Winter Wonderland and FiveYear Anniversary Community Event

Where: RYSE CENTER, 205 41st  Street (at Macdonald Avenue), Richmond, CA

When: Saturday, December 14, 2013, 12 noon – 4 p.m.

RICHMOND, Calif… The RYSE Youth Center will be celebrating five years of youth empowerment and community service by hosting its 2nd Annual Winter Wonderland Community Event.

RYSE’s Winter Wonderland, a free community event, will include a toy giveaway for newborns and kids up to 12 years old, music, arts and crafts activities, tree decorating and more! The purpose of this event is to bring communities together, support youth and their families in celebrating the holiday season, and honor RYSE’s fiveyear anniversary and commitment to serving young people in the community.

The Center opened its doors to the community on October 18, 2008 after a string of youthrelated homicides near Richmond High School in 2000 mobilized students to take action to address the violence and lack of safety at school and in the community. Students organized vigils and community forums with more than 1,500 youth and community members, and met and worked with local officials and stakeholders on a comprehensive assessment of youthidentified priorities and solutions.

RYSE Youth Center

Grounded in social justice, RYSE builds youth power for young people ages 1321 living in Richmond and West Contra Costa County to love, learn, educate, heal and transform lives and communities.

Since 2008, more than 3,000 young people have participated in programs and activities. For more information go to www.rysecenter.org.

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Posted on Thursday, December 12th, 2013
Under: Art and entertainment, Cities, community, Contra Costa County, Crime, development, History, Politics, Richmond, Schools | No Comments »

Oakland Tribune coverage of the repeal of prohibition 80 years ago today

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The Oakland Tribune covers the repeal of prohibition on Dec. 5, 1933, enacted after an anxious nation waited to see if Utah would ratify the amendment. Not shown is the portion of the story assuring readers that local breweries are in operation on a 24-hour schedule to meet the expected demand. The federal government also prepared to release its supplies of “medicinal liquor.”

repeal1933a

repeal1933b

Posted on Thursday, December 5th, 2013
Under: History, Politics | No Comments »

Arbor Day tree planting event open to all set for Sunday in Richmond

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Arbor Day, October 19, 2013: Greening Our Community

 

Richmond, CA (October, 2013) Something exciting is happening in Richmond. The citizens are coming together to enrich the urban forest and make the city a better place.

 

Tree-planting at an Arbor Day event is an annual occurrence in Richmond, a “Tree City.” The City of Richmond has been renovating Lucas Park, and this year’s Arbor Day tree-planting will occur there. Groundwork Richmond and the Watershed Project are providing the trees and workers to get them in the ground. Richmond Rotary is sponsoring the event. Richmond Trees is supporting the effort and there will also be volunteers from the Explorers and Pogo Park.

 

Arbor Day at Lucas Park

10th St and Lucas Ave

Richmond, CA

 

8:00 am Check-in/Registration & Breakfast

8:30 am Tree planting workshop with ISA-certified Arborist, Molly Batchelder

9:00 am Tree Planting begins

12:00 pm Lunch (for volunteers) & Speakers

All morning family activities

 

Volunteers will arrive for registration and breakfast from 8:00 to 8:30 am. At 8:30 there will be an orientation and demonstration of how to plant the trees. Then the groups will disperse and plant 35 trees (Redwoods, Cork Oaks, Liquidambars and Crape Myrtles) inside the park. Bay Area Rescue Mission is providing lunch for the volunteers.

 

The event is open to the community. There will be a bouncer, music, refreshments and activities for children. At around 12:00, Chris Chamberlain, City of Richmond’s Parks and Landscape Superintendent, will speak to the volunteers and guests.

 

As evident by the collaboration required to create this event, several groups are interested in planting trees in Richmond, and the reasons are clear. The benefits of a thriving urban canopy include:

  • Removing carbon dioxide from the air and replacing it with oxygen, slowing global warming
  • Reducing air pollution by absorbing harmful chemicals
  • Replenishing our groundwater supply by reducing storm-water runoff and allowing water to soak into the surrounding soil
  • Providing an urban habitat for wildlife
  • Softening neighborhood noise
  • Reducing speeding traffic
  • Improving public safety
  • Increasing property values by 15% or more

 

More trees are sorely needed in Richmond, a city with plenty of challenges. However, these events are about much more than just planting trees. They are about building community as people come together to do something positive for the city.

For more information about Arbor Day or planting trees in your own Richmond neighborhood, contact Chris Chamberlain, City of Richmond’s Parks & Landscape Superintendent at 510-231-3004 or visit  http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/

Posted on Friday, October 18th, 2013
Under: Cities, Contra Costa County, History, Politics, Richmond | No Comments »

Leaders intervene to save North Richmond senior center

N E W S  RELEASE from office of John Gioia:

Contra Costa County
JOHN GIOIA (joy-a)
District One
Board of Supervisors

For more information contact:
Luz Gomez – Deputy Chief of Staff
Office 510-231-8689
Cell 925-785-2439

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 17, 2013

North Richmond Senior Center Saved from Closure

North Richmond, Calif.,
North Richmond seniors can now breathe a sigh of relief.  For months, residents in this tight-knit community feared that a pending foreclosure would shut-down their beloved senior center. Now, thanks to efforts by Contra Costa Supervisor John Gioia and key community leaders, the North Richmond Multicultural and Family Center (aka the Senior Center) will remain open after a last-minute short-sale averted foreclosure.

The transaction, which closed on October 15, ensures the continuation of services and transfers ownership of the building to the non-profit Community Housing Development Corporation (CHDC). Earlier this month, Supervisor Gioia obtained approval by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors to use $156,830 in Park Dedication funds to enable CHDC to purchase the building and save the senior center.  Lloyd Madden, Neighborhood House President and CEO, negotiated the short sale price on behalf of their new Board of Directors.

Neighborhood House of North Richmond (“Neighborhood House”) has operated the senior center for nearly 30 years providing residents a safe place to gather for social, recreational, family, and civic events. The center is the hub and heart of the community.

In recent years, Neighborhood House experienced a severe financial crisis leading the building’s mortgage holder to begin foreclosure proceedings due to missed payments. “We came together and brought resources to the table to keep this important community center open” Supervisor Gioia said.

The Park Dedication funds can be used to meet local park and recreation needs, including senior and community centers. According to the County Assessor’s records, the current assessed value of the property is in excess of $325,000.

Through the efforts of Supervisor John Gioia’s Office, Congressman George Miller’s Office, Community Housing Development Corporation, and Neighborhood House of North Richmond, the current mortgage holder agreed to the short sale enabling the transaction. A plan is in place for continued services to seniors and other residents of North Richmond.

“Losing the senior center would have been like losing a beloved family member,” said Corrine Sain, the Center’s Director for the past 29 years. “The entire community depends on us to be here to serve them. I thank Supervisor Gioia, the County, and everyone who helped us to stay open.”

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Posted on Friday, October 18th, 2013
Under: Cities, Contra Costa County, History, Politics, Richmond | No Comments »

Chevron launches major new round of Fuel Your School funding

PRESS RELEASE:

Chevron’s Fuel Your School Program Launch in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties

In-person classroom delivery to kick off $1 million local public school funding

With intense budget cuts and an ever-growing list of needed supplies for teachers, Chevron has created an innovative approach to help local public classrooms through its Fuel Your Schoolprogram. Chevron is collaborating with DonorsChoose.org, an online organization that organizes funding for schools across the country, to supply Alameda and Contra Costa counties with materials – ranging from pencils to live spiders – to help make activities come alive for students this year.

 

On Wednesday, Chevron and DonorsChoose.org teams will deliver puzzles, counting trays, shopping simulation supplies and various math and science manipulatives to kindergarten students at Ford Elementary School in Richmond. 

       What: Classroom delivery of needed materials funded through Fuel Your School

·         When: Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 9:15 a.m.

·         Where: Ford Elementary School [2711 Maricopa Ave., Richmond, CA 94804]

   How Fuel Your School Works: Beginning in September, teachers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties submitted projects/materials that need funding at DonorsChoose.org. In the month of October 2013, Chevron will donate $1, up to $1 million, when consumers purchase eight or more gallons of fuel at participating local Chevron and Texaco stations in Alameda and Contra Costa counties to help fund the eligible classroom projects. You can even track the progress of funded projects in participating counties at www.fuelyourschool.com

 

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Posted on Tuesday, October 8th, 2013
Under: Cities, Contra Costa County, Politics, Richmond, Schools | No Comments »

Federal shutdown hits Rosie the Riveter visitors center in Richmond

The following announcement was made Tuesday by the Rosie the Riveter Trust:

Dear Trust and Park supporters,

Due to the government shut down this morning, we must announce that the Rosie the Riveter/WWII National Historical Park Visitor Education Center is closed until further notice.

The park offices are also closed. A limited number of sites, such as the Rosie Memorial, located in a city park, are still accessible. Since park staff have all been put on furlough, programs scheduled for this period will be cancelled as will tours of the Maritime Childcare Center and other sites throughout the city. Our gift store is also closed.

We will alert you to changes as they happen. Please check our website at www.rosietheriveter.org for updates.

As you may know, shutdowns impact our revenue from the gift store and other sources. We thank you for your generosity this year and we are hopeful that public programs will continue soon. We appreciate your support.

Marsha Mather-Thrift
Executive Director

Posted on Tuesday, October 1st, 2013
Under: Politics, Richmond | No Comments »

Men and Women of Purpose hold open house to raise AB109 re-entry funds

The Men and Women of Purpose, headed by Antwon Cloird and dedicated to providing mental health, job training, substance abuse and other services to parolees in Richmond, are holding a star-studded open house event on Oct. 2.

MWP is a key player in the city dealing with previously incarcerated residents coming home thanks to AB109 prison reduction policies.

For full information about the event click here: MWP Electronic Invitation (1)

Posted on Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
Under: Cities, Contra Costa County, Crime, Politics, Richmond | No Comments »

San Francisco supervisor proposes support for Richmond eminent domain plan

PRESS RELEASE:

Media Alert:  EVENT Monday, September 9, 2013

For More Information: 

John Eller, ACCE   415-725-9869(cell) jeller@calorganize.org

Hillary Ronen Legislative Aide to Supervisor David Campos   415-425-9785 Hillary.ronen@sfgov.org

Nick Sifuentes, 310-866-1692nick@berlinrosen.com

San Francisco Supervisor Campos Announces Support for Program to Buy Mortgages, Fix Underwater Crisis
Will introduce resolution supporting Richmond’s Local Principal Reduction plan and have San Francisco investigate use of eminent domain to save underwater borrowers

 

San Francisco:  On Monday, September 9, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. (Pacific) San Francisco Supervisor David Campos will announce his intention to introduce a resolution before the County Board of Supervisors expressing support for the City of Richmond’s innovative effort to save hundreds of underwater borrowers (Richmond CARES), and instructing staff to explore opportunities in San Francisco to adopt a similar program.

 

“For the last few years, we have seen Wall Street Banks challenge every effort to rebuild our hardest hit communities from the foreclosure and economic crisis,” stated Supervisor Campos “today we need to show solidarity with bold leaders of Richmond in their effort to break the status quo as defined by Wall Street and rebuild their communities.”

 

WHAT:                        Press Conference to announce a City Resolution that would:

1.     Have San Francisco stand with the Mayor and City Councilmembers of Richmond to use similar lawful methods at their disposal as they work to save homes and save neighborhoods; 

2.     Calls on Wells Fargo – whose home is in San Francisco, SIFMA, and FHFA to stop threatening communities with reprisals and litigation and instead work with them to negotiate principal reduction for underwater mortgages as a way to strengthen local economies and help keep families in their homes; and

3.     Explore how a Local Principal Reduction program similar to the one being implemented by the City of Richmond could work here in San Francisco.

 

WHERE:            East Steps of San Francisco City Hall (Polk Street)

 

WHEN:                        Monday, September 9, 2013 10:00 a.m.

 

WHO:                         City supervisors and leaders from labor, faith, and community; underwater San

Francisco borrowers that received principle reduction and San Francisco borrowers who want the same opportunity.

 

On July 30, 2013, the City of Richmond became the first municipality in the nation to step boldly in where the federal government and the banks have failed, offering to purchase more than  600 city mortgages from major Wall Street banks and other servicers to achieve local principle reduction for distressed homeowners. Richmond has been hard-hit by the ongoing foreclosure crisis; as of 2013, 46% of all residential mortgage holders in the city are still underwater.

 

Wrongful foreclosures have caused a catastrophic loss of wealth.  Often 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%. 

 

The Richmond program is an innovative program that enables cities 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.

 

After an unprecedented push by local residents in Richmond to find ways to help struggling homeowners, the Richmond City Council approved the plan in April and sent letters to the banks in late July to offer to purchase underwater mortgages and, if needed, use the city’s eminent domain authority if necessary help struggling homeowners restructure their loans to be in line with the current value of their homes.  The City of Richmond  is working in partnership with Mortgage Resolution Partners, an advisory firm that has lined up the funding and technical support needed to carry out this program.

 

“Residents here in Richmond have been suffering for years thanks to the housing crisis Wall Street created and which Wall Street refuses to fix,” said Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin. “We’ve seen too many houses go dark, too many lawns dry up and die, too many families left with nothing after years of hard work. When my constituents started showing up, calling on us to help them save our homes, I knew that this was the right thing for the Mayor and City Council to do.”

 

Though the City of Richmond is leading the way nationwide on local principle reduction, other California cities such as El Monte and La Puente are advancing this as well. 

 

Supervisor Campos is District 9 Supervisor for the Mission and Bernal Heights Neighborhoods of San Francisco, two neighborhoods impacted by the Foreclosure Crisis.  Occupy Bernal was formed last year and has already saved dozens of homeowners from foreclosure through principal reduction by banks and servicers.  Occupy Bernal has proven that servicers and borrowers can work together to achieve what Richmond is proposing and Banks like Wells Fargo is opposing.

 

The Home Defenders League is a national organization fighting against foreclosures, and for a just resolution to the mortgage crisis including the mass principal reduction for underwater homeowners. The League includes 26 community-based affiliates such as the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), national organizing networks the Alliance for a Just Society and Right to the City Alliance, Occupy Homes groups, and thousands of member families across the country. In a few short months, a coalition of more than 50 groups, including some of the nation’s largest labor unions and leading fair housing groups, issued an open letter asking members of Congress to rebuff repeated efforts to unfairly bar local municipalities that enact local principle reduction from receiving federally backed home mortgage loans. For more information, please visit:  www.saverichmondhomes.org

Posted on Friday, September 6th, 2013
Under: business, Cities, Contra Costa County, Politics, Richmond | 2 Comments »