Page One: Richmond and Chevron
From the Richmond Progressive Association, via Councilmember
Tom Butt (Partisan Position)
Negotiators for the city of Richmond and Chevron have reached
an unprecedented agreement that settles several major tax issues.
Chevron has agreed to pay millions of additional dollars to
the city if the city will drop its appeal of Measure T and
proposed changes in the Utility Users Tax. (See below for details.).The
settlement goes to the city council next Tuesday where the
Richmond Progressive Alliance expects and supports its adoption.
As in all settlement agreements, the city did not win everything
it rightfully deserves. But we did win a substantial increase
in financial support for the city from Chevron and we can move
onto other issues that we need to deal with like crime, jobs,
education, public health and the environment.
No one fought for this victory like the RPA. No one put the
pressure on Chevron for fair taxation like we did. We receive
this victory reaffirming our commitment to fairness, justice
for all Richmond residents and we expect our City to put a
significant part of the income from this victory into programs
our citizens need, determined by democratic process. Those
were the goals of our succesful Measure T and of the End Chevron's
As Mayor Gayle McLaughlin says. "This agreement shows that
the Richmond community can be successful in gaining more fairness
when we stand strong and together. The people of Richmond organized
and mobilized to pressure Chevron to do better. Chevron realized
it could not defeat the people of Richmond. It gave in to many
of our demands. Not everything we wanted, but this partial
victory marks the beginning of a new phase in our ongoing struggle
for a better, more just, and healthier Richmond."
This agreement does not resolve all issues with Chevron. Chevron
has still not agreed to come to the table to resolve environmental
protections on its expansion project and get workers back on
the job on those projects.
We expect that the fifth-largest multi-national company whose
bottom line is profits will be at odds with communities that
its refining facilities dominate. Chevron is still attempting
to get reductions in its county property tax. Chevron benefits
from Proposition 13 loopholes for all corporations, and the
failure of California to have an oil severance tax like other
oil producing states.
Some of the lessons of recent events are:
It is possible to stand up against the power of a multi-national
company. The additional money for vital city services comes
in part from voters challenging Chevron's money, power,and
public relations by passing measure T in 2008;
from the City Council's placing the End Chevron's Perk measure
on the ballot for this fall; and from the community mobilization
against Chevron's cynical plan to try to strangle the city
with its own ballot measure to slash city income. It helped
that the entire City Council on May 4th (Nat Bates was absent)
strongly denounced Chevron's actions. Standing up and organizing
makes the difference. It levels the playing field and makes
possible settlements and outcomes that promote the community's
Councilman Jeff Ritterman: "This is a real advance for the
City of Richmond. In the current economic downturn we have
wonsignificant new financial support for the city, which will
prevent layoffs of city workers. Itwill enable us to work harder
on the many other problems that face us."
Jovanka Beckles, RPA endorsed candidate for City Council: "There
is no power like the People's power! It does not quit. I'm
proud of this step forward that we have achieved and even when
I know that the road ahead is long today I am hopeful and joyful.
How do we get justice for the Richmond residents? How do we
change our City into paradise? One struggle, one victory at
the time. I'm happy today with this progress"
The city had a negotiating team consisting of City Manager.
Bill Lindsey; City Attorney, Randy Riddle; Finance Director,
James Goins; and three council members Jeff Ritterman, Jim
Rogers, and Tom Butt. They met with Chevron using professional
mediation over a period of months.The agreement calls for Chevron
to pay the city $114 million in revenue over the next 15 years
on a "front-loaded" schedule. Chevron will guarantee its
level of utility tax payments for the next 5 years. Chevron
affirms certain CBA obligations like support for the Bay Trail
and ground level air quality monitoring.Chevron agrees to drop
its campaign for cutting the utility tax. The agreement calls
for the city to drop its appeal of the Measure T decision,
and withdraw the proposed End Chevron's Perks measure.
of the unofficial agreement can be found here.