Richmond councilman denounces eminent domain plan, urges special meeting

From Councilman Nat Bates in an email sent to supporters:

April 2, 2013 City Council minutes of action taken.

The matter to approve an Advisory Services Agreement with Mortgage Resolution Partners, LLC to assist the City of Richmond in reducing the impact of the mortgage crisis, by advising on the acquisition of mortgage loans through the use of eminent domain, in order to restructure or refinance the loans and thereby preserving home ownership, restoring homeowner equity and stabilizing the communities’ housing market and economy by allowing many homeowners to remain in their homes was presented by City Manager Bill Lindsay. (At 11:00 p.m. on motion of Councilmember Myrick, seconded by Mayor McLaughlin extended the meeting to finish the current item with Councilmember Butt voting Noe). Councilmember Butt left the meeting at ll:15 p.m. Leland Chan and Melvin Willis gave comments.

A motion was made by Councilmember Beckles, seconded by Councilmember Myrick to approve an Advisory Services Agreement with Mortgage Resolution Partners, LLC. Councilmember Myrick requested a report back from staff regarding loan criteria and specifics. A substitute motion was made by Vice Mayor Booze, seconded by Councilmember Bates to hold the item over for 30 days to gather more information. Following discussion, Councilmember Bates withdrew his second. The original motion to approve an Advisory Services Agreement with Mortgage Resolution Partners, LLC passed by the following vote: Ayes: Councilmembers Bates, Beckles, Myrick, Rogers, Vice Mayor Booze, and Mayor McLaughlin. Noes: None. Abstentions: None. Absent: Councilmember Butt.


As noted above, this action was to approve an Advisory Service Agreement with a follow-up of the criteria and specifics. How the mayor interpreted this as a mandate to go after the lending institutions is beyond me. The mayor has been misrepresenting the city council action by parading around  San Francisco and threatening Wells Fargo without the city council approval. In addition, this council has no idea the capacity of Mortgage Resolutions Partners LLC financial ability to pay damages should the court order such against the city. Also, there has not been any staff report regarding loan criteria and specifics as directed in the motion of April 2, 2013,some 4 months ago which suggest not one councilmember including the mayor understand the criteria and specifics.


In addition, this action has caused serious financial risk to the city, and each and every homeowner or potential home owners who wish to refinance, purchase or sell a home in this city. My recent communication with the Finance Director, Mr. Jim Goins indicate the city was circulating some 30 millions of dollars in revenue bonds. Although the city has a strong A bond rating, not one financial institution was willing to come forward to purchase these bonds because of the Eminent Domain issue and Wall Street’s reaction to the City of Richmond. Kindly take a look at the reactions from several news articles, etc listed below.


While most of us are sympathetic to the many citizen who are undergoing financial risk of losing their homes through the mortgage crisis and etc, as responsible elected officials, we must not comprise the integrity and financial ability of this city to operate efficiently.


It is important this council take leadership and do our job in representing our citizenry. Therefore, I am requesting my council members join me in calling for a special city council meeting within the next seven days to clarify and make the necessary corrections to offset this potential financial liability and embarrassment to this city. Should my fellow colleagues concur, kindly email your support to the city clerk as soon as possible.




Councilmember Nat Bates


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


BAPAC, others call on Richmond council to appoint Kathleen Sullivan

Press release:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:Thursday, January 10, 2013


Coalition Spokesperson: Lloyd G. Madden
Contact: 510-691-8057

—The Community Mobilization Leadership Coalition, a group of Richmond’s most powerful African American organizations, met on Wednesday, January 9, 2013, to endorse a community leader to be appointed to replace Gary Bell, Richmond City Councilmember-elect, who, unfortunately, will not be able to take his City Council seat because of a medical condition.

The group’s endorsement went to Kathleen Sullivan, 57, an African American and longtime resident ofRichmondwho has served this community in a range of capacities for about fifteen years. Her Pastor, Wynford Williams of Richmond’s All Nations Church, speaks proudly of Ms. Sullivan’s commitment to the city and its residents: “She’s faithful to the ministry and very dedicated to helping families, children and adults in need here. She is a real asset toRichmond.

The Coalition made the choice to endorse Ms. Sullivan to serve in Gary Bell’s place because she met its criteria of being closely aligned with Mr. Bell’s fundamental philosophy, “That of unselfish leadership,” explained Lloyd G. Madden, President of the Black American Political Action Committee (BAPAC) ofContraCostaCounty. “Ms. Sullivan also has an exceptional history of community involvement, knowledge of the issues facingRichmond, and great compassion, sensitivity and fairness,” he added.

“I’m proud to have been endorsed by the Black leaders ofRichmondto undertake the challenges that Gary Bell would have conquered,” Ms. Sullivan stated. “Among other things, I hope to have the opportunity to support new businesses coming intoRichmond, including companies that bring green jobs, uniteRichmondacross ethnic lines, and work hard to mediate the misunderstandings that have caused much division in the Richmond City Council,” Ms. Sullivan said. “I commit to the residents ofRichmond, if given the chance to serve, I will do my best to honor Gary Bell and all of the residents of this community.”

About Kathleen Sullivan
Ms. Sullivan worked for the Neighborhood House of North Richmond for eight years providing Senior Case Management services to the most at-risk Black families and mothers with young children inRichmond. She has served as Chair of the City ofRichmond Human Relations and Human Rights Commission until she termed out last year. In addition, Ms. Sullivan was a member of the Board of theBrooksideCommunity Center for the last eight years until it successfully merged with Lifelong Corporation in 2012.

Ms. Sullivan has been a successful consultant to the foster care system inContraCostaCountyand has fostered more than 42 children in her ownRichmondhome as well as provided leadership inWestCountyin the redesign of its foster care system.

Currently, Ms. Sullivan is the President of the Richmond/Contra Costa Chapter of Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA), which has supported local elected officials and initiatives, as well as launched “Building Bridges Between the Black and Brown Community”—an effort to unite the residents ofRichmond.

She also recently cofounded the ByExampleNation Project, a group of mostly Richmond women formed to support its members in learning how to make healthy choices about eating, drinking and exercising.

Ms. Sullivan obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree from New College San Francisco in Human Relations and was a Master’s candidate in Community Economic Development at the National Economic Development andLawCenter.

Ms. Sullivan has adopted two girls while raising two sons with her husband of 13 years, who himself was born and raised inRichmondand comes from one of the African American pioneer families of this community.

About the Community Mobilization Leadership Coalition
This coalition includes, but is not limited to, Black American Political Action Committee (BAPAC) of Contra Costa County, Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)-Richmond Branch, 1 Richmond, Men and Women of Purpose, One Accord Project, Men and Women of Valor, Guardians of Justice, National Brotherhood Alliance NBA) and Black Men and Women (BMW).



Richmond pays $43,000 bill to law firm that defended campaign law aimed at soda tax

The city council agreed 4-2 to pay the law firm Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai LLP $43,000 for its work defending the city’s campaign finance law, which was ruled unconstitutional in federal court.

The legal challenge came from the American Beverage Association-funded Community Coalition Against Beverage Taxes, which sued the city over its campaign disclosure laws requiring large, front page disclosures on all campaign mailers.

City Attorney Bruce Goodmiller said: “During the August recess the city was sued by the CCBT in federal court. We had a week to respond to a highly specialized, cutting edge first amendment campaign election issue. We had an opponent who sued us with a bevy of high-priced Washington DC attorneys to sue the city.”

Goodmiller added, “The firm defended us at a deeply discounted rate.”

Bates called the defense, and Measure N, the penny per ounce tax on sugar sweetened beverages that was defeated by 67 percent of voters on Nov. 6, a “big waste of time and money … totally ridiculous.”

Councilman Corky Booze was more colorful: “I don’t call 43,000 a minimal amount of money. They got beat. They got beat. (CCBT’s lawyers) came in and stomped your face in the ground.”

Councilman Jim Rogers, who wrote the defeated campaign disclosure law, defended the process and the efforts.

“That’s the risk that you take. I will continue to do whatever I can to limit the influence of big money outside interests in Richmond politics.”


Richmond races down to wire

Who will win Richmond’s three council seats? I don’t really know, but a lot of people think it comes down to six people: Incumbents and Tom Butt, Nat Bates, along with RPA-backed Eduardo Martinez and Marilyn Langlois and Chevron-backed Gary Bell and Bea Roberson.
Who are the favorites within those six? Tough to say, although Butt and Bates have both been consistent re-election winners for a long time, so that may imply some edge.
Andres Soto, a longtime local leader and founding member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance, posted this on Facebook today. As you can read below, he says that it’s really a battle between four at this point, Butt, Langlois, Bates and Martinez.
What do you think?
Dear Friends:

Regardless of the national election as they say, “All politics are local”. We need you now. This election in Richmond is being watched nationally because of Measure N and we have a chance to put a stake in the heart of Chevron and its efforts to dominate and corrupt the Richmond City Council.

This Saturday is the last day for door to door canvassing – great way to meet neighbors and feel the pulse of the election.

The recents hit pieces against Eduardo Martinez and on behalf of Gary Bell tells us Eduardo is battling Bell for the third slot and that Tom Butt and Marilyn Langlois are on top – Nat Bates is almost gone forever – but we must keep up the fight until 8:00 p.m. on election night. Then we party!!!!

We also need you to take next Tuesday off from work and join us all day as we persuade voters in Richmond to stand up to Chevron and to support our children’s health.


Richmond council hopefuls debate at Hotel Mac

nat bates, tom butt

Candidates square off at the Hotel Mac. (photo by Robert Rogers)

RICHMOND — Five candidates for City Council squared off in their upteenth debate Wednesday in an upstairs room of the historic Hotel Mac.

The lunch hour debate featured incumbents Nat Bates and Tom Butt, along with challengers Eduardo Martinez, Bea Roberson and Marilyn Langlois.
The debate was sponsored by the Council of Industries and drew about 20 local business leaders.
Economic development took center stage in all the candidates’ remarks.
Martinez, Langlois and Butt, backed by the progressive coalition that has lead Richmond in recent years, touted the city’s successes and said Richmond was on the right track.
“We’re moving in the right direction,” Martinez said, joining his allies in praising the city’s General Plan, which stresses pedestrian friendly streets, green development and open space preservation.
Langlois said passing Measure N, a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, was part of Richmond’s progress as a leader in healthy development.
  1. Read an online debate on Measure N here
Bates and Roberson said they were the “business friendly” candidates and vowed to open the city up to more development.
“We have enough parks in this city,” Bates said. “We need more economic development.”
Bates, 81, and Butt, 68, sparred with their usual volleys of barbed banter.
Bates said Butt and his Richmond Progressive Alliance allies were to the Council of Industries what Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is to the NAACP.
Butt said Bates “probably just forgot” that Butt has been a leader on economic development issues for years.
Other candidates for city council, including Gary Bell, Eleanor Thompson and Jael Myrick participated in another debate at the Hotel Mac on Oct. 17.
Three slots are up for grabs this year. Butt and Bates are longtime incumbents seeking re-election, while Councilman Jeff Ritterman has opted not to seek a second term.
In recent years, Richmond has enjoyed a sharp drop in crime, improving employment and new development starts, most notably the announcement earlier this year that the city would be the site of a massive new Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, slated to open in 2016 or 2017.