Re-elect Mayor Gayle McLaughlin Re-elect Mayor Gayle McLaughlin
GAYLE MCLAUGHLIN
FOR MAYOR 2010

PO Box 5284,
Richmond, CA 94805
(510) 237-1456
Gayle@MayorGayle.net
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CC Times

Published on October 28, 2010

West County Times editorial: We recommend Gayle McLaughlin, Maria Viramontes, Myrna Lopez and Virginia Finlay for Richmond mayor and City Council

NO CONTRA Costa city presents more election issues this year than Richmond.

There's plenty for voters to consider: The city's crime rate. City finances. The Chevron refinery retrofit. The Point Molate monster casino. Attracting business. The court-blocked manufacturer's tax. The rank-and-file police and firefighters' ugly campaign tactics.

There's no candidate with whom we completely agree. But there are four who can help the city continue on what has been a generally positive path that has included a return to financial balance and reduction of the crime rate.

We endorse the re-election of Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and council members Maria Viramontes and Myrna Lopez, and we recommend former Planning Commissioner Virginia Finlay for the remaining available seat on the City Council.

Starting with the mayoral race, we don't always agree with McLaughlin. We sometimes find her more of a bulldog than we would like. But we respect her carefully researched stands.

McLaughlin supports the refinery retrofit if the company levels with residents about its plans and fulfill its legal obligation to provide adequate pollution protections. We have also found the company to be evasive. We understand the oil giant plays hardball politics that require equal resolve from the city. Unfortunately, the other two mayoral candidates, Councilman Nat Bates and former Councilman John Ziesenhenne, remain too eager to side with Chevron without critically evaluating environmental issues.

We agree with McLaughlin that the casino is a bad long-term strategy with serious social implications for the region. Bates and Ziesenhenne are willing to turn Point Molate into a gambling center without consideration for the social cost. Bates is an outspoken proponent, while Ziesenhenne disingenuously tries to hide his opinion from voters. It takes careful questioning to ferret out his position.

We also admire McLaughlin's push to bring more green businesses to the city. They are the companies of the future. At the same time, we feel strongly that the city must be supportive of its current business and industrial base. For that reason, McLaughlin, as the leading public face of the city, must improve her relations with many in the business community. The city and business leaders must find a way to work as a team.

The mayoral race will determine one of the four City Council seats on the ballot. For the other three, we were heavily influenced by the city's improvements over the past few years and consequently leaned toward the incumbents.

Finlay and incumbents Viramontes and Lopez understand the city's finances, the need to work with the business community and the need to protect the environment. While we disagree with Lopez and Finlay on plans for a casino, we sense they are candidates willing to consider the voters' wishes expressed in advisory Measure U on Tuesday's ballot.

We are particularly impressed by Viramontes, who carefully analyzes city finances and details of sensitive negotiations on disputes with Chevron and on the proposed casino. She is a very hardworking member of the council who deserves strong support for another term.

We picked the three candidates from a strong field of 10. In making our selection, we passed over three -- Jovanka Beckles, Corky Booze and incumbent Jim Rogers -- whom we have endorsed in the past. We have no problem with Beckles or Booze. We just don't think they are the strongest candidates this time around.

As for Rogers, we are troubled that he continues to maintain a maze of campaign accounts that allow him to exceed campaign contribution limits others respect, and enable him to funnel money directly into his and his mother's pockets as loan repayments. Moreover, his reports are literally sloppier than any others we've seen. It's an arrogant attitude toward campaign laws, conflict of interest and public disclosure that we find repulsive.

A final word about behavior: The police and firefighters unions should be ashamed of their hit pieces on McLaughlin. While they might have policy differences with her, there is no excuse for their despicable personalizing of their attacks. We're disappointed that public safety workers in Richmond continue to choose union leaders who still cannot conduct themselves in a professional manner.

GAYLE MCLAUGHLIN FOR MAYOR 2010
PO Box 5284,  Richmond, CA 94805
(510) 237-1456   •  Gayle@MayorGayle.net
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