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Globe Newspaper

The Globe
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 campaigns.

“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.”

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