|For Richmond City Council|
|Building a City for our Children – My Recent Work|
In the November 2010 election, 6,564 Richmond voters gave their vote to my candidacy for City Council. My platform focused on "Building a City for our Children." This was my first electoral race for the City Council, and I was honored by so much support.
I realized then that my efforts to build the city our children need and deserve must be ongoing, regardless of local election cycles. Waiting is not an option for Richmond’s children and their families. Encouraged by the support I received in the election, I redoubled my commitment to ensure that the needs of Richmond children are core considerations in every decision made by the City or involving the City.
Here are some of the issues and activities I pursued in 2011 to continue creating a City for Our Children. Some describe finished achievements; others involve continuing challenges. As you read this list, please consider: If an issue calls out to you or touches your heart, join us and get involved. We need your ideas, your creativity, and your energy to build a City for Our Children.
Creating Safe and Healthy Recreational Activities for our Children
Richmond Safe Athletic Fields for Education (SAFE) Coalition: I co-founded this coalition of sports clubs, leagues, and teams to advocate for more support from the City of Richmond and the WCCUSD to access the existing sport fields and to find ways to secure sufficient, appropriate, and safe fields for all sports for Richmond children. More support for access to the fields was successfully negotiated with the City and WCCUSD. The SAFE coalition is now supporting a 2012 soda ballot measures to create a stream of funds to create and maintain the needed sports fields in Richmond.
Richmond Recreation and Parks Commission: I was appointed as a Commissioner and collaborated with my fellow commission members in re-evaluating and improving the status of our parks and recreation programs.
Strengthening Education in Richmond
Debt relief for WCCUSD: I mobilized the community to encourage the WCCUSD to cancel the district’s debt with the State of California and to finally close the tragic period of the district history. I urge Richmond residents to pressure the State Superintendent of Education to accept the cancellation of the debt. (RCC 9/13/2011)
Music education for Richmond schoolchildren: I successfully advocated that at least one Richmond school, Grant Elementary, be considered to join "El Sistema USA," a support and advocacy network for people and organizations inspired by Venezuela’s world-renowned music education program. Grant Elementary School’s inclusion in the program is very promising, and we continue to bring this to fruition.
Saving adult education programs: I opposed Assembly Bill 18, legislation that would have seriously hurt, if not eliminated, local adult education programs. (RCC 7/5/2011)
School renovations: I supported the Nystrom United Re-Vitalization Effort (NURVE) (RCC 2/1/2011) and the joint Richmond-WCCUSD project to renovate the Kennedy High Swim Center.
Bringing Healthy Jobs and Sustainable Development to Richmond
Cybertran: I supported the efforts by Councilmember Dr. Jeff Ritterman and others to bring Cybertran to Richmond, a new enterprise that would bring many jobs to Richmond and could revolutionize local transportation in a sustainable way. (RCC 9/20/2011)
U.C. Lab: I added my support to the thousands of Richmonders who encouraged the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to bring to Richmond its #2 Campus. It will add to Richmond's prestige and recognition, bring many construction jobs and have a significant positive spill over effect on the local economy.
Stopping the mega-casino at Point Molate: I helped to mobilize the community against the proposed mega-casino (4/5/2011). I was also appointed to the newly-formed Point Molate Community Advisory Committee (RCC 5/3/2011) to explore smart growth and development options for Point Molate.
Protecting Public Safety
Police in the Southside: I supported the concept of more law enforcement presence in the southside of Richmond and a police substation for the area. (RCC 4/19/2011)
Richmond Municipal ID Card program: Thousands of Richmond families have members who lack official identification; as such, they are reluctant to report crimes or assist the police as witnesses. I supported the successful creation of a program that will give any Richmond child or adult who wants it an official City of Richmond ID card. Our Police Chief supports the program because it will break down barriers between the police and reluctant witnesses and victims of crime. The program is expected to start in the Spring of 2012. (RCC 6/7/2011 and RCC 7/5/ 2011)
Promoting Corporate Responsibility and Accountability
Chevron Corporation: I spoke in favor of Chevron re-applying to the City to proceed with its Refinery Renewal Project, with full and honest disclosure (RCC 3/1/2011). I also joined the community-wide demand that Chevron drop its property tax appeal that could drastically hurt the City and its services. (RCC 10/4/2011) and (RCC 11/15/2011)
Fair taxation: I supported a policy prohibiting the City of Richmond from investing in corporations that have paid no income tax and requiring the City to divest any City funds invested in those corporations (RCC 11/15/2011)
Getting full value for the fees we pay: I added my voice to the demand that the City of Richmond seriously evaluate Veolia Water as the underperforming contract operator of the City of Richmond Municipal Sewer District. (RCC 3/15/2011) and (RCC 9/13/2011)
Protecting Community Health
Radiation from cell phone towers: I supported the City’s request that Congress expands cities’ ability to regulate the placement of wireless communications facilities to protect the health and wellbeing of the community. (RCC 3/15/2011)
Health care for all: I spoke in support of California Senate Bill 810 – California Universal Health Care Act 2011, and encouraged the Richmond City Council to pass a resolution of support (RCC 4/12/2011)
Building a More Beautiful City
Cleaning up graffiti: I supported our City’s demands that Union Pacific clean up graffiti on the east-side of I-580. (RCC 3/1/2011)
Supporting student art: I stood with Richmond students and teachers and the ACLU in demanding protection of art mural creation and for developing policies that support freedom of speech and creative expression among our students. (RCC 3/22/2011), (RCC 4/19/2011) and (RCC 10/18/2011)
Beautifying Richmond with trees: I spoke on the occasion of Richmond’s Fourth Arbor Day (10/22/2011) (RCC 10/18/2011), and was selected to be a board member of the Self-Sustaining Communities, a charity organization dedicated to planting fruit trees and creating a systemic change which meets environmental, social, and sustainability needs by addressing those areas on which survival is dependent.
RCC= Richmond City Council meeting