January 12, 2011
Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin
begins second term
By Clifford L. Williams
With a lot of exuberance, and emphasizing the goal of “building
a better Richmond together,” Gayle McLaughlin addressed a crowd
of nearly 500 well-wishers last Tuesday night as she began
her second term as mayor.
“I extend my profound gratitude to the people of Richmond
for your support and your votes in 2010,” said McLaughlin.
“You voted in your own interest and because of that, we have
won such great and historic victories this campaign season.
“This was a victory of the people of Richmond who ultimately
won by defeating the politics of greed and fear,” said McLaughlin.
“While corporations and entrenched special interests spent
millions trying to stop our grassroots campaigns, people chose
to vote in their own interest, rejecting tabloid-style smear
“I am truly honored that the people of Richmond have shown
once again that they would rather vote for a candidate based
on the power of her ideas and values as opposed to the power
of big money,” she said.
After the swearing-in ceremony held at the Richmond Memorial
Convention Center, McLaughlin told audience members that said
she plans to spend her first 100 days continuing the ongoing
work of facilitating unity among the many sectors of Richmond’s
richly diverse community.
“I will be recommending that our Economic Development Commission
form a sub-committee to look at job creation, especially for
residents of our most struggling neighborhoods,” she said.
“I am particularly interested in exploring ‘out-of-the-box’
solutions, such as worker-owned cooperatives, which I believe
will be necessary in overcoming the challenges of this difficult
economy. I will be seeking out technical and expert assistance
in moving forward such solutions.”
Highlighting her support of green technology, McLaughlin noted
that she will continue work to expand on the city’s low-carbon
economic base by encouraging more green and high-tech businesses
to relocate and start up in Richmond. She will meet with a
cluster of green businesses that are coming together in an
alliance to bring forward the message that Richmond is a city
that welcomes green businesses.
McLaughlin also pledged to remain focused on creating a safe
Richmond. “This means keeping our eyes on redirecting youth
to healthy activities,” she said. “This means more violence
prevention and intervention.
“I will be meeting with our police chief and with county mental
health representatives to explore new strategies for youth
intervention where youth are offered alternatives to prison
for petty crimes.
“While our crime has continued to decline, with homicides
in particular down 55 percent this year, we still have much
more work to do to bring about peace, health and well-being
in our neighborhoods,” she said.
During the Jan. 18 City Council meeting, the mayor will kick
off the year by celebrating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr. through various events and activities, including the
annual presentation of the MLK Jr. Leadership Awards.
At that same meeting, McLaughlin plans to present a resolution
to the council for the creation of a community advisory committee
to look at matters related to Pt. Molate.
McLaughlin said, “To continue on the path toward a better
Richmond, we need participation from every corner of the city,
from every neighborhood, from every interest, from every viewpoint
on the political spectrum.
“As mayor, my door remains open to any resident, business
or organization that wants to offer insights and ideas about
life in our city. I welcome — and encourage — diverse perspectives,
with only one pre-requisite: that the discourse be respectful.
“I look forward to continuing our work, reaching out to everyone
in Richmond, healing the divides and engaging with everyone
in constructive dialogue as we move forward. What unites us
is so much more powerful than what divides us.”
In her closing remarks, McLaughlin said, “Richmond is part
of a new beginning, a new America, a fair, just and sustainable
America. Many other cities and communities throughout our nation
are also reclaiming democracy with different means and models.
We salute our neighbors in Oakland who found a way to promote
and expand grassroots democracy and elect a great new mayor.
“Let us fully demonstrate that Richmond is a human rights
city; a unified city; a green city; a diverse rainbow city;
a creative city.
“Let us demonstrate that Richmond is a city that values community,
especially our youth, captivating their interest, elevating
their expectations and engaging them in the process of shaping
and steering our destiny. Let us show simply and elegantly
that Richmond is a lighthouse city — pointing the way and shining
the light on a better future for all.”