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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 ###

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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.

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Richmond’s Nat Bates responds to Mayor’s State of City

A statement released Wednesday:

Those of you who viewed the council meeting last night or read the West County Times news article, hopefully witnessed the start of a mutual respect by the council and a stronger independent and  impartial leadership role by the mayor. Below are a few of my comments I wish to share with several of my friends and contacts.

 

 

I thought the mayor did a good job in presenting the state of the city message last night. Her decision to include photos was a great idea as we know a picture is worth a thousand words. On a personal note, although we do not share the same political philosophy, I have always liked the mayor and have found her unlike some of her radical RPA friends, to be friendly, warm, and compassionate. A good example was during last night’s council meeting where there was a choice for vice mayor between council members Corky Booze and Jovanka Beckles. Our policy has always been to appoint the council member with respect to their tenure on the council and their recent place of finish during their election. Therefore, Councilman Booze who finished as the top vote getter in 2010 and Beckles who finished third was entitled to be selected.

 

The mayor could have simply sat back and allowed the council to fight it out between Booze and Beckles. Given some of the recent comments regarding Booze’s being awarded the NAACP Martin Luther King award, this could have been ugly, nasty, divisive and negativity in our city.  Yet, the mayor set the tone of the debate while assuming the leadership by immediately making the motion to appoint Booze and briefly explaining why. Her quick actions prevented the opportunity for discord. With votes in support of Councilman Booze, four yes (McLaughlin, Rogers, Bates and Booze) vote no (Butt) and vote abstain (Beckles), the mayor’s strong leadership is to be commended. It is my hope she will continue to exercise this kind of independent leadership as we work collectively in moving Richmond forward.

 

The only criticism I have toward the mayor’s speech is her continued negative fixation toward Chevron. I assume this is her efforts to please RPA radicals but she needs to become an independent leader on this issue. While she blamed Chevron for the fire and their involvement in the political election process, she failed to mention the many contributions Chevron provide to the city and community at large. Millions of dollars by Chevron go to the city, county, a number of 501© nonprofit organizations and thousands of dollars go to our school systems both WCCUSD and Contra Costa College.  The fire was an accident that occurred and we need to move past that point and make sure the plant is reconstructed with the best technology and safety features possible to prevent it from ever happening again. But to continue month after month dwelling upon an unfortunate situation becomes at some point counterproductive.  As far as Chevron’s involvement into the election process, past or future, that is their constitutional right and until the laws are changed, we have to respect our constitution.  Richmond voters are smart and intelligent and will vote their choices regardless of what they receive in the mail or how much money is spent on candidates.  Money do not buy elections and those who think so, try asking Mitt Romney, Meg Whitman and a host of other unsuccessful rich candidates.

 

I trust and think the mayor is sincere in her speech as she indicated a willingness to move forward for the betterment of this city. That is precisely why voters elected all of us and I am prepared to work with the mayor and do whatever I can to achieve these goals.

 

 

Nat Bates

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Richmond Human Rights declaration celebration

Open letter from commissioner Vivien Fyer
 
Flyer is here: 12Dec10HumanRights
 
Subject: Invitation to participate in Monday’s Human Rights Day Celebration
 
Dear Mayor McLaughlin and Richmond City Council Members -As you know, the City of Richmond adopted a resolution in November of 2009 declaring Richmond to be a Human Rights City, and adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as guiding principles.

This Monday, December 10th, we will be celebrating International Human Rights Day in City Council Chambers.

As part of the program, volunteers will be reading each of the thirty Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – in English, and in a variety of other languages as well.

The list of volunteers is almost complete, but I wanted to extend a special invitation to each of you if you would like to read an Article – in English and/or any other language.

It’s an exciting opportunity to communicate to the community that our elected representatives are serious about making Human Rights a top priority in their decision making.

Please let me know if you are interested, and I will forward your contact information, and your request for any particular Article(s), to Dr. Rita Maran of the United Nations Association, who is organizing the presentation.

May you have a wonderful Human Rights Day!!

With many thanks,
Viv

http://www.unausa.org/calendar/event/the-universal-declaration-of-human-rights-comes-to-richmond

http://www.pointrichmond.com/2012/12Dec10HumanRights%20.pdf

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ACCE press releases accuse Richmond officials of delaying housing plan

Here are the press releases issued by ACCE, with dates:

HEADLINE: Richmond City Manager Moves Adoption of Housing Element to January 15th for Political Reasons, Community Groups Advocate for Rent Stabilization, Affordable Housing and Blight Mitigation

Sent: Mon 12/3/2012 11:56 AM

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release

Contact: David Sharples (415) 377-9037

Richmond City Manager Moves Adoption of Housing Element to January 15th for Political Reasons, Community Groups Advocate for Rent Stabilization, Affordable Housing and Blight Mitigation

RICHMOND, CA – The Richmond City Manager and Planning Staff has decided to not bring the Housing Element to the City Council for adoption on Dec. 4th as originally planned but will rather wait until Jan. 15th. This is because the city manager want the new Richmond city council, which will be more conservative and less amenable to REDI’s progressive Housing policy recommendations, to adopt the Housing element without including REDI’s recommendations. Despite the City Manager’s political maneuvers community groups will still turn out to the December 4th City Council hearing to advocate in support of much needed housing reforms. The Housing Element is a critically important state-mandated document to assess a city’s housing needs, production and site availability. As part of advancing its equitable development platform, the REDI (Richmond Equitable Development Initiative) coalition, a coalition of Richmond community based organizations, has been involved in education and engaging residents to provide policy recommendations that help Richmond’s historically under-served populations and neighborhoods. REDI’s policy priorities have since been approved and recommended for adoption by the Richmond Planning Commission on November 1st.

REDI’s policy priorities include:

Stronger renter protections via Just Cause and Rent Stabilization

More affordable housing production via amending the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance

Foreclosure and blight mitigation via adoption of a Vacant Property Registration Ordinance

As REDI and ACCE leader Melvin Willis said “It is crucial that the Richmond City Council adopt the Housing Element with REDI’s recommendations. We need more affordable housing, protections for tenants and to strengthen Richmond’s blight program. 50% of Richmond residents are tenants. We need to protect them from unfair evictions. Its also crucial that we adopt the Vacant Property Registration Ordinance so that the city can track who owns these vacant, foreclosed, blighted properties that are destabilizing our neighborhoods.”

 

When: 5:30 pm Tuesday December 4th Press Conference followed by 6:30 pm City Council Meeting

 

Where: Richmond City Hall, City Council Chambers, 440 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, CA

 

What: A press conference followed by a City Council Hearing. Dozens of community leaders will turnout to testify in support of adoption of the Housing Element ________________________________________

 

From: David Sharples

 

Sent: Friday, November 30, 2012 1:49 AM

 

To: David Sharples

 

Subject: Media Advisory: Richmond City Council to Adopt Housing Element, Community Groups Advocate for Rent Stabilization, Affordable Housing and Blight Mitigation

 

Media Advisory

 

For Immediate Release

 

Contact: David Sharples (415) 377-9037

 

Richmond City Council to Adopt Housing Element, Community Groups Advocate for Rent Stabilization, Affordable Housing and Blight Mitigation

 

RICHMOND, CA – The Richmond City Council will vote to adopt the 2007-2014 Housing Element on December 4th. The Housing Element is a critically important state-mandated document to assess a city’s housing needs, production and site availability. As part of advancing its equitable development platform, the REDI (Richmond Equitable Development Initiative) coalition, a coalition of Richmond community based organizations, has been involved in education and engaging residents to provide policy recommendations that help Richmond’s historically under-served populations and neighborhoods. REDI’s policy priorities have since been approved and recommended for adoption by the Richmond Planning Commission on November 1st.

 

REDI’s policy priorities include:

 

Stronger renter protections via Just Cause and Rent Stabilization

More affordable housing production via amending the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance

Foreclosure and blight mitigation via adoption of a Vacant Property Registration Ordinance

As REDI and ACCE leader Melvin Willis said “It is crucial that the Richmond City Council adopt the Housing Element with REDI’s recommendations. We need more affordable housing, protections for tenants and to strengthen Richmond’s blight program. 50% of Richmond residents are tenants. We need to protect them from unfair evictions. Its also crucial that we adopt the Vacant Property Registration Ordinance so that the city can track who owns these vacant, foreclosed, blighted properties that are destabilizing our neighborhoods.”

 

When: 5:30 pm Tuesday December 4th Press Conference followed by 6:30 pm City Council Meeting

 

Where: Richmond City Hall, City Council Chambers, 440 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, CA

 

What: A press conference followed by a City Council Hearing. Dozens of community leaders will turnout to testify in support of adoption of the Housing Element

 

 

 

Policy Detail

 

KEEP HOMES AFFORDABLE AND SAFE

 

H-1 3.2 Amend Inclusionary Housing Ordinance Strengthen inclusionary housing provisions to limit circumstances under which developers can pay in-lieu fees instead of building affordable housing, and we support increasing the amount of in-lieu fees to fully cover the cost of constructing new units.

 

H-1 3.4 Community Land Trust

 

Expedite the development of a community land trust to stabilize neighborhoods and increase the supply of affordable housing.

 

 

 

KEEP NEIGHBORHOODS CLEAN AND SAFE

 

H-2 5.3 Vacant Foreclosed Residential Property Ordinance Adopt an ordinance that would require the registration of vacant foreclosed properties, which would collect fees and track maintenance and bank ownership in conjunction with code enforcement.

 

H-2 5.4 Code Enforcement for Residential Neighborhoods Use code enforcement to rehabilitate substandard rental housing without displacing existing residents or raising their rents. Reduce foreclosure blight by aggressively enforcing SB 1137 to make banks maintain foreclosed properties or pay the $1000 per day fine. The fines collected should be allocated toward foreclosure prevention or foreclosure buy-back efforts. The City should collect data on a bank-by-bank basis regarding foreclosures, loan modifications, substandard housing conditions and blight so that the City can track whether or not banks are in compliance with the State of California’s Homeowner Bill of Rights.

 

 

 

KEEP FAMILIES IN THEIR HOMES

 

H-4 2.2 Just Cause for Eviction

 

Establish rent control measures that include Just Cause and Fair Rent ordinances for all tenants, which protects against unjust or arbitrary evictions by defining fair reasons for evictions. Rent Control should also stabilize and regulate rents.

 

H-4 2.3 Rent Stabilization Ordinance

 

Adopt an ordinance to establish rent stabilization policies and a rent board that will register landlords and hear and resolve landlord-tenant disputes.

 

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WriterCoach program debuts at Richmond High School

writercoach connection richmond high

Ceremony announcing WriterCoach Connection at Richmond High School on Wednesday.

RICHMOND — WriterCoach Connection has been destined for Richmond, and now it’s here.

The program began in Berkeley in 2001, then expanded to Oakland and Albany. El Cerrito High was the first school in West Contra Costa to adopt it, in 2010, after parents began lobbying for the program there.

Now, it’s in Richmond.

More than 25 people, including WriterCoach Connection leaders and volunteers, school district officials and Richmond elected leaders were on hand at noon Wednesday to celebrate the official beginning of the program at Richmond High School.

The program makes its Richmond debut with about 150 students involved.

WriterCoach Connection leaders Shelli Fried and Robert Menzimer said the volunteers represent a cross-section of Richmond parents and adults concerned about education, as well as some coaches from nearby cities. The program is a nonprofit which relies on volunteers, grants and school district funding.

Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and Councilmembers Jovanka Beckles and Tom Butt were among those on hand. West Contra Costa Unified School District Superintendent Bruce Harter also attended, as did Richmond High’s principal.

The new coaches attend two training sessions, three hours each. The training provides strategies and practice to work effectively with students at all levels of achievement and all stages of the writing process, according to Menzimer.

The city made news in recent years by taking the unusual step of using general fund moneys to subsidize schools, especially Kennedy High School, which was on the verge of closing because of budget cuts in 2010.

Menzimer said he is hopeful that after his program makes an impact at Richmond High, he’ll be able to establish it at Kennedy as well.