2010 Election

About RPA | 2010 Richmond City Elections



Election Results: Richmond Moves Forward

Casino rejected decisively.

Gayle re-elected.

Jovanka and Corky elected.

Eduardo very close and his program was widely adopted.

Thank you, everyone who participated in talking to your neighbors, phone-banking, canvassing, leafleting, drawing cartoons, writing, contributing money, putting up signs, entering data, and of course voting. It all added up.  You all made a difference.

We will take a few days to recharge our batteries. In the next few weeks we will be trying to analyze this election and figure out how we should organize to keep Richmond moving forward.  We invite you to send in your ideas and join the effort.


From Eduardo:

November 2 was a wonderful day for the Richmond community! We re-elected our Green mayor, Gayle McLaughlin and elected Jovanka Beckles to the City Council. Along with Corky Booze, Jeff Ritterman, and Tom Butt we have an opportunity to begin the transformation of Richmond into a city that considers first and foremost the welfare of the citizens of Richmond. An important first step will be to reach out to all of Richmond communities and help them come together for the good of all.

Although I didn't win, I am very proud of how well we did with my bid for a city council seat and I want to thank all the people who worked so hard on my campaign and all the citizens who voted for me and my program for the children of Richmond. I was pleased to see, that although I was a new candidate, my ideas resonated enough that other candidates made education a major part of their platforms.

My plan for the near future is to continue to work within the community and with the Mayor and City Council and others who are committed to my program to begin to implement some of the ideas I put forward during the campaign.  I hope to be a catalyst to begin the process of empowering communities to begin to create intergenerational local institutions which will help everyone grow and thrive.

Once again, I am very thankful to all of you who helped me and voted for me.  Together we will create a "Richmond for the Children". 


From Jovanka:

The people of Richmond are the real heroes of  this election.  They were able to see through the fog of millions of  dollars worth of campaign mailings and well financed smear campaigns. In part this was the result of the effort of  all the people of the RPA and others who volunteered so many hours to go door to door, phone, and work the polls on election day.  Thank you.

Congratulations to Corky on his election and Jim Rogers on his re-election.  Thank you to Jeff Ritterman and Tom Butt and Mayor McLaughlin all of whose encouragement and endorsement gave me both strength and insight.

The election results show that there are still deep racial divisions  in Richmond.  While the results show hopeful signs of these divisions breaking down  we have a lot more work to do.  I will work hard for all residents to move  us to "One Richmond" by making sure that the city pays attention to the needs of the African-American and Latino communities  which have been hardest hit by the economic collapse.


From Gayle:

Thanks to the amazing volunteers and campaign efforts of the Richmond Progressive Alliance and other progressive organizations and individuals, we have embarked on a new era for Richmond.  Through their votes, the people of Richmond have shown that the power of big corporations is not unbeatable.  While we witnessed some of the most negative smear tactics ever, we stood strong with dignity and integrity.  

It is because we believe in the people of Richmond and because the people in Richmond believe in themselves, that we have triumphed.  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.  The democratic process in Richmond is alive and well. We, as a community, must now join hands and show our generosity of spirit for one another as we continue to steer our own destiny into a better and better future!


Updated Results

 Updated figures from the County Clerk's office as of 11/15/10


    Percent Votes
NAT BATES   35.33% 7,931
JOHN 'JOHN Z' ZIESENHENNE   22.78% 5,114
GAYLE MCLAUGHLIN   41.67% 9,355
WRITE-IN   0.22% 49

City Council (Vote For 3)

JIM ROGERS   14.34% 8,322
COURTLAND 'CORKY' BOOZE   14.52% 8,426
JOVANKA BECKLES   13.28% 7,707
GARY BELL   7.50% 4,355
MARIA 'MTV' VIRAMONTES   11.28% 6,544
MYRNA LOPEZ   11.86% 6,881
VIRGINIA FINLAY   4.91% 2,851
HARRY SINGH   2.29% 1,331
EDUARDO MARTINEZ   10.70% 6,212
RHONDA F. HARRIS   9.18% 5,329
WRITE-IN   0.12% 71

Measure U: Casino

Yes   41.27% 9,389
No   58.73% 13,360


Make a Difference Today

Today's election is one of those rare times in politics when we really do have a chance to make a difference and shape our future.  We can continue on a path that is remaking Richmond with the simple strategy of empowering Richmond residents.

Richmond will be rebuilt by actions like neighbors getting together to create and build the Solano Playlot, the neighborhood watches that are making the city safer,  the  community turnout to Juneteenth and Cinco de Mayo, the Urban Tilth gardens, or the Solar Richmond job trainings.  City government can help by attracting and promoting the 21st century economy to Richmond at the same time that it respects its history and guards its natural beauty. We can turn our schools into places of superior education and community centers. City officials can help by being models for what we want our kids to be and do.

We can make a difference by electing Gayle, Jovanka, and Eduardo.  Even when we're outspent 100 to 1, even when the opposition relies on the politics of fear and smear  -- we can still elect candidates dedicated to building on the strengths and resources of Richmond.  This requires all of us.  In this last week of the campaign, we need more people sharing truth and optimism with our neighbors via phone banks, distributing literature, and talking.  Be part of the change.  Make a difference.


Opposition to the Casino and Establishment Candidates in Richmond's Religous Community

See the letter by Pastor Ulis G Redic, Pastor Mt. Zion Baptist Church, published in the October 27 Richmond Globe

See the commentary by Rev. Alvin C. Bernstine "The politics of dis-ease; A pastoral comment on Richmond's mayoral campaign" published in the October 27 Richmond Globe


Opposition to the Casino in Environmental Community

See the letter to the City Council from the Native Plant Society.


The Attack on Gayle
and Gayle's Response

See RPA Newsletter #34
See RPA Newsletter #35
See RPA Newsletter #36
See RPA Newsletter #37

Election Cartoons

Click here to view cartoons.


RPA recommendations on the Ballot Measures

"No Position" reflects either that there are strong differences within the steering committee, or the feeling that the ballot measure does not properly address the real problem. 

19 (Legalization of Marijuana)   No Position
20  (Redistricting)     No Position
21  (Vehicle tax surcharge to support parks)   YES
22  (Prohibits State from taking funds dedicated to roads, transportation, and local government)  No Position
23 (Kills AB 32 clean air)     NO
24 (Repeals certain business tax breaks and loopholes)  YES 
25 (Majority Vote on Budget)   YES
26 (2/3 vote for local fees)     NO
27 (Redistricting)   No  Position
Measure M  (Parcel tax for schools)  YES
Measure  U   (Casino at Pt. Molate)  NO
Measure V   (Tax on marijuana sales)  YES


Real Leadership or WHICH WAY?

In every candidate appearance John Ziesenhenne asks for votes claiming he is a "leader." Is he? What is a leader?

In this issue we explore this question. We ask our candidates their views on leadership. We look at what kind of leadership Nat Bates and John Ziesenhenne provide. We look at the progress Richmond has made under the leadership of Mayor Gayle Mclaughln and compare this to other Bay Area cities.

Gayle, Jovanka, Eduardo understand that leaders must be visionaries, they must think into the future while solving the problems of the present. In contrast to the other candidates they do not think of leadership as connecting to the people in power. Rather they understand the strength and value of building movements, of empowering ordinary people, to stand up for what the city needs.

An example--While every politician now tries to take credit for the additional $114 Million that Chevron will pay the city, these significant funds are the result of a movement that was built in Richmond to demand that Chevron pay its fair share. It was a movement of the people that got Measure T on the ballot and passed. It was a movement that started the campaign for Utility Tax fairness and against Chevron's phony tax reform proposition earlier this year. As a result of these actions, Chevron knew that the only way it could make the problem go away was to come to the table.

It is true that the whole city council voted for the utility reform measure (and that unity was important for victory). But the campaign was organized and led by the progressive movement in Richmond--not by the incumbents who think that leadership is taking credit for what others have done.


What is Leadership?

We asked our candidates for their thoughts on leadership.

Gayle:  A leader is one who seeks to understand complicated and difficult situations and develops a vision and direction to cope with them.  A leader looks for new alternatives and new paths.  A leader seeks to encourage others to become leaders and tries to promote the best in everybody.

Jovanka:  Leadership is taking a stand for what you believe is right even though you may be criticized or attacked. In a democracy leadership is putting yourself and your ideas forward where people can judge for themselves and make informed decisions.  Leaders don't follow trends, they create new ones.

Eduardo:  Leadership is the ability to inspire others to push forward a vision of a better future.  A good leader listens to others and identifies the roots of the problems, and the potential in possible solutions. A good leader is a model for others to follow.

"Wrong Way" Bates

Nat Bates makes much of what he will do with his supposed connections in Washington. The question is: Besides what they have done for him personally, what have his connections brought Richmond?

We expect our leaders to be models.  What kind of model is Nat Bates for ourselves and our children?  Here is a person who is so arrogant about his inside connections that he demonstrates for a New York Times reporter that he is above the law, can go the wrong way down a one way street, and park at a fire hydrant without fear because he has "friends". Here is how the Times reporter tells it:

Mr. Bates, a former high school football star who looks younger than his 78 years, said he believed he often clashed with Ms. McLaughlin and other female officials because "a lot of them have never been participants in athletic programs."

He represents, perhaps, a throwback-style of politics that was on display during a recent drive through downtown to distribute campaign materials.

"The police are friendly with me. Who are they going to ticket?" Mr. Bates said as he drove briefly down the wrong direction of a one-way street. He parked his white pickup truck in front of a fire hydrant as he walked inside C.J.'s Barbeque & Fish shop to put up a campaign poster. (New York Times 9/10/10)


"No Way" Ziesenhenne

And then there is John Ziesenhenne who keeps repeating  "I am a leader."

The casino is one of the big issues facing Richmond.

It is one thing for a candidate to say that he will respect the will of  the majority in a democracy.  But it is quite another for a candidate to refuse to tell voters where he stands when running for an office which will have to implement the specifics of any general policy adopted.  Refusal to state is not leadership--it is crude political calculation.

He is like this on most issues. There are no specifics about anything. At candidate nights,  Ziesenhenne fudges every answer. Asked about gay marriage at the RYSYE Center, he would only say that he supported civil unions.

Chevron is supporting Ziesenhenne.  Perhaps that is why his "leadership" does not include challenging Chevron's lobbying the State Legislature for an exemption to the requirement that it get an approved Environmental Impact Report.

Ziesenhenne is the candidate of the Chamber of Commerce.  Nationally the Chamber has opposed every program of the Obama administration, including  minimum wage, financial reform, climate change legislation etc, etc.  The State Chamber has endorsed Meg Whitman for Governor.

The Local Chamber took Chevron's position opposing Measure T which increased fees for  Chevron while providing relief for small businesses and new businesses directly and indirectly by getting Chevron to pay its fair share.

Ziesenhenne is not responsible for every position of the  Chamber.  But you would think a leader would go on record opposing some of  these positions of the chamber and offering alternative positions.  But either he supports the Chamber on every issue or he is silent.  No leadership there, no matter how many times he repeats "I am a leader, I am a leader".


"Both Ways" Viramontes

Leadership is what you do, not just what you say.  Maria Viramontes insists that she is against the Casino, although she carefully avoids suggesting a  NO vote on Measure U.

But in practice she was the leader of the Casino 4  which extended the  Land Disposition Agreement with the Casino developer for  11 months (well past the election).

She could have killed the Casino right there  by refusing to extend the LDA which was not legally required. She could have been for extending the LDA on condition that Upstream agree to the city hearing  full alternate proposals without the Casino. Instead she created a sham procedure which required all alternates to be presented to the Casino developer.

She could have extended the LDA for just another two months. At a previous council meeting City Manager Lindsay said the short extensions gave the city a lever to press the developer in the negotiations. But after public discussion was closed, Viramontes made a new motion to extend the LDA 11 months, thus weakening the city's negotiating position. (See May 18th city council meeting at end of long discussion of K1.)

So which way is she actually leading? 


Jovanka Beckles for City Council

We will only move forward as One Richmond.

My priorities include: empowering the community to combat crime and violence by reducing poverty, creating healthy, living-wage, job opportunities, providing support for small businesses, and building unity across cultures, ages, and neighborhoods.

I have worked in Richmond for 13 years as a Children’s Mental Health provider, coordinating multi-disciplinary teams of teachers, probation officers and social workers to improve the lives of children and families. I am a small business owner, a Planning Commissioner, and a former Economic Development Commissioner. I am an African-American Latina, born in Panama, and came to the US when I was nine.

Richmond is hurting from powerful global economic changes and the failure to properly address these internationally and nationally. Courageous leaders with integrity can tackle our chronic problems of poverty, violence and despair. Employing a holistic approach, we can become the beloved community of Dr. King’s dream.

We need leaders who share our aspirations and understand our needs. We need leaders who listen and respond. With your vote, I can be one of those leaders. Because I take no corporate money for my campaign, I am accountable only to the people of Richmond.

Join me in building the prosperous, safe, and healthy city that we deserve.

Key Issues

One Richmond :Building unity from our diversity, Bringing our communities together to solve our common problems

A team approach to dealing with the problems at the root of youth violence.

Rebuilding our commercial corridors, instead of encouraging shoreline commercial development.

Developing and diversifying our economy with new green technologies and more support for small business. Helping small businesses get through red-tape.

No Urban casinos. Make our open shoreline a Bay Area Destination

Promoting community savings and home ownership.

Supporting local cooperatives, land trusts, public transportation, alternative energy sources, community utilities, and urban farming.

Community Involvement

Youth and Family Mental Health Specialist coordinating multi-disciplinary team of teachers, probation officers, social services to help troubled youth

Planning Commissioner, City of Richmond

Economic Development Commissioner, City of Richmond (2007-2009)

General Plan Development Advisor, City of Richmond (2007-2008)

Active member of my labor union

President of the Richmond Heights Neighborhood Council (2009)

Member, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Member, BMOER Blacks Mobilizing Organizing, Educating Richmond, NAACP

2nd Vice-President of Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA)

Board Member, Citizens For East Shore Parks

Member Concilio Latino and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)

Small Business Owner, Merchants Association Initiator

Masters in Business Administration degree



Eduardo Martinez for City Council

The Richmond Progressive Alliance is proud to announce its endorsement of Eduardo Martinez for the Richmond City Council in November Election. With the re-election of Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and the election of Eduardo and Jovanka Beckles, Richmond has the opportunity to elect a city council which stands for the residents and is independent of the corporations and developers who have so much power in this city. All three candidates pledge not to take any corporate or developer funds.

Eduardo is a long-time Richmond teacher, recently retired so he can serve the community in other ways. He brings to the campaign his expertise on education and ideas about how the city can help in breaking the gridlock which is destroying our public school system and threatening the future of our kids.

He is a firm believer that schools are a major part of the reputation and attraction of a city. “As a Richmond City Council member I see myself leading efforts, policies, and mobilizations that respond to Richmond’s many educational needs that are not satisfied by the School Board." The theme of his campaign will be to a make Richmond a city for children.

Some ideas on education Eduardo puts forward:

Mobilizing the community to support parents and teachers to improve neighborhood schools.

Establishing Yearly Popular Education Conventions so students, parents and teachers can be involved in setting priorities.

Promoting a “Richmond Tutors” program, recruiting tutors, and connecting them to students.

Supporting Adult Education and especially English as a Second Language Programs to assist immigrant families.

Organizing “Richmond Learns from Richmond” Sharing the stories of our people.

Bringing “El Sistema” the now world famous music program developed in Venezuela to Richmond.

Mobilizing and working in statewide coalitions to demand that the State of California provide real aid to public education instead of dismantling and privatizing it.

Providing expanded learning opportunities to prepare Richmond’s children for the new jobs and new economy.

Working to bring good healthy jobs to Richmond so our children will see the possibilities of a healthy productive future.

Demanding that industry meets guidelines that protect the air we and our children breathe.

Finding resources for more, safer, parks and recreational programs for our children.

About Eduardo

Eduardo taught in the public school system for 18 years. (Downer Elementary and Sheldon Elementary) and has been a Richmond resident for16 years.

He was the co-organizer of Richmond Area March for Education (from Richmond to Sacramento) 2004.

He serves on the West Contra Costa County Unified School District Community Budget Advisory Committee, and on the Steering Committee of the East Bay Sanctuary Committee.

Eduardo is President of the Richmond Chapter of the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), a member of the NAACP, and a former Steering Committee member of the Parent Leadership Action Team (PLAN).


Beginning the Campaign with Direct Contact

More than 50 supporters of Gayle and Jovanka gathered at the RPA office on Saturday morning June 12 to begin the hard job of insuring victory in November. Many others, who could not make that time have volunteered to help in the campaign.

We expect Chevron and developers to put big money into trying to defeat Gayle in her bid for re-election as Mayor and Jovanka's candidacy for City Council. We all know that every issue from getting good jobs, fair taxation, getting clean air, and stopping projects like the Point Molate Casino, to getting bike paths depends on having a Council that stands up for residents rather than groveling for corporations.

Our strategy is to start early, and work hard to talk to Richmond Residents face to face.Some canvassers are taking areas in their neighborhood. We are providing packets with campaign literature, "walk sheets" based on the official registration lists and other materials. Our aim is not just to drop off literature but to have good discussions and find others willing to help in this important city campaign.

Remember--there is a direct connection between the issues we care about and who gets elected. A pro-Chevron city council could approve just about any revised EIR Chevron submit, shove a casino down our throats, and return us to the days of corrupt Richmond politics

Join Us:  Talking to your neighbors is the key to making Richmond a better place.

You can pickup materials at the office, open most afternoons and Saturdays 9-2. Or email us and we will get you the materials and walk sheets.

Kick-off to Re-elect Mayor Gayle McLaughlin

About 200 people, from all parts of Richmond attended a meeting where Gayle McLaughlin announced that she was seeking a second term as Mayor. The meeting featured nationally known leaders of change, Van Jones, former green jobs advisor to President Obama, Nativo Lopez-Vigil. National President of the Mexican-American Political Association and Dr. Jeff Ritterman, vice-mayor of the Richmond. Music and poetry were provided by Richmond's Shiloh singers.

See article in Richmond Confidential

Gayle McLaughlin:

"We are building a better Richmond together and in many ways. We are promoting economic development and jobs. We are fostering community peace and prevention of crime. We are building a community with social and economic justice. We are building a cleaner, greener, healthier community. And we are creating a more democratic, participatory, transparent city."

Excerpt from Gayle's speech on Youtube

Jeff Ritterman:

"We have the people who want to work and know how to do the work. We have to restructure economic life, political life, and social life in America and that is the pathway our Mayor, Gayle McLaughlin has taken us on.

We need to change the hearts of ourselves and everyone else to build a trusting, caring, self-reliant community. And Gayle McLaughlin is the one who will lead us in that direction."

Van Jones

Van Jones:

"Sometimes obvious things are not said and when we have world class leadership like we have in this city doing visionary things, doing creative things that meet the moment, we don’t even recognize it.

Richmond is not the only city struggling economically. Richmond is one of the few cities that is meeting the challenge both in the short run and the long run.

Change is hard. It goes up and down. It goes backward and forward. You have good days and bad days. The only way that you will fail to get to the change and fall all the way back to despair is if you let go of your hope.

You have a hopeful leader, you have a hopeful grassroots project, you have hope in Richmond. Keep the hope alive and keep leading us into the new economy."

Van's speech on Youtube:    Part 1     Part2

Nativo Lopez-Vigil:

"There can not be immigration reform until we have Marshall Plan for working people , for African Americans, for Latinos throughout our country to make sure that everyone who wants one can have a job—a good job—and a home … not in danger of being taken by the banksters."

Nativo's speech on Youtube:  Part1  Part2  Interview

Gayle McLaughlin's 2006 election as Mayor of Richmond marked an important change in Richmond politics. It is time again to give her our support and vote.Her combination of leadership, dedication, hard work, incorruptibility, and commitment to principles have made all Richmond citizens stand taller.Gayle insists that city government should serve to unify its citizens and advance their interests over those of multi-national corporations and developers. Her hard work and attention to detail has meant Richmond has made strides in protecting our air, water, property values, and most importantly, our kids while attracting new green jobs to the city.The politics of real change that Gayle represents has drawn wide attention. Nationally known leaders are speaking at her rally. They know that what is happening in Richmond is leading the way for what must happen in the rest of the country.