August is here and we're well into the summer of 2009.
I must share with you some of the recent and highly
acclaimed successes that the City of Richmond has experienced,
even as we work hard to face our ongoing challenges.
Richmond is a SOLAR CHAMPION - solarizing rooftops with
First, I want to announce that the
City of Richmond received two Solar Awards in the month
of July for being among the top cities in the State for
number of rooftops with solar panels as well as having
among the highest wattage per capita of solar installed.
One award came from the NorCal Solar Energy Association
and the other came from Environment California. We have
more than 144 solar roofs totaling 5,076 kilowatts of
solar power capacity, according to Environment California's
These solar awards are so exciting because it shows
how, with hard work and dedication, we can truly make
a difference. Solar Richmond, a non-profit contractor
with the City, truly deserves great credit for how far
we have come as a City, both in promoting solar as an
essential source of renewable energy, but also as a source
of green jobs for our residents. It is truly phenomenal
that Richmond is turning into a Solar City in the region!
The 9th cohort of the City's RichmondBUILD program (which
includes 5 weeks of Solar Richmond's award-winning solar
installation training program) just graduated last week.
We continue to train and place Richmond residents in
the field of solar and other green jobs. Thanks Solar
Richmond and all the partners who are training and networking
our residents into healthy, green jobs in Richmond.
MODEL Wireless Communication Facilities Ordinance Passed
by City Council!
I am also proud to announce that,
with the support of a great community effort, we have
passed a model Wireless Communications Facilities Ordinance
that rigorously addresses the placement and regulation
of wireless facilities throughout Richmond. This ordinance
should also serve as an example for other cities in need
of similar legislation. This success is thanks to an
ad hoc committee that met for nearly two years coming
up with an ordinance that addresses the needs of the
community while still allowing the wireless corporations
to do business here on our terms. In addition to my staff
and myself, this committee consisted of Councilmember
Tom Butt, community representatives of the Richmond Responsible
Antenna Placement committee (RRAP), and City planning
and legal staff . Thank you to all involved in making
this happen, especially to the community!
I would also like to share with you some of the ways
you can help us address ongoing controversies that threaten
our healthy and positive direction for our community.
Public Comment on Pt. Molate Casino Proposal - Tomorrow,
Aug. 12 at 6 pm - Richmond Auditorium
One of the controversies
we continue to face is a proposed casino for Richmond
at Pt. Molate. Tomorrow (Wednesday, August 12) at 6 pm
at the Richmond Auditorium, 403 Civic Center Plaza, there
is an opportunity to share your views on the environmental
impact of this casino proposal. As many of you already
know, I have been opposed to this project since it was
initially proposed in 2004 (before I was even on the
City Council). There are much better development ideas
to consider for this site including recreation, sports,
and light industry.
Festival Rally and March on Chevron - Saturday, Aug.
15 at 11:30 a.m. - Richmond BART
Another ongoing controversy, of
course, is the Chevron Expansion Project, which has been
ruled as having a flawed Environmental Impact Report
by a Superior Court Judge in Contra Costa County. Many
of us continue to say to Chevron that they need to provide
a healthy project, one that will not further degrade
our air quality and our public health. Chevron has tried
to pit workers against environmentalists, but we continue
to say to the oil giant: we want jobs AND clean air.
There is an important festival rally and march to the
Chevron refinery on Aug. 15. It starts at 11:30 at the
Richmond Bart Station (16th and Macdonald Ave.). Please
come join this event to lend your support for environmental
justice, climate justice, and economic justice. We need
clean air, jobs and a healthy planet to sustain ourselves
and generations to come!
Let's continue to make a difference in Richmond. Good
things are happening, but many more good things must
happen. We must build a better city together.
Sincerely, Mayor McLaughlin
United We Demand, Divided We Beg -- Construction
worker commenting on Chevron Debate at Richmond City