Local Government

Fair Chance and Housing First Policies

On April 19, 2022, Mayor Tom Butt agendized City Council item W3, which sought to amend Richmond’s Fair Chance Housing Ordinance. While the mayor has been a vocal opponent of most tenant protections, this item reflects an interest in improving housing access. 

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Jamin Pursell Announces Candidacy for City Council

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My name is Jamin Pursell, and I am running for Richmond City Council in District 4. I believe that healthy communities thrive when a city provides abundant services and resident protections. Richmond must continue building on its progressive leadership, and District 4 is home to a new generation of families who deserve focused representation.

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This Women’s History Month, Try a Little Respect

By Floy Andrews

Margaret Hamilton as the Witch in the 1939 film version, threatening Dorothy (Judy Garland), 1939.

When the former Richmond City Attorney departed during the tumultuous conclusion to 2021, the mayor referred to her as the “wicked witch” and quoted lyrics from the Wizard of Oz song, “Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead.” The mayor said equally disparaging things about our city manager as she, too, left office earlier last year. On top of that, Mayor Butt suggested that the entire city council had a “drama queen” reputation. I was offended, though not particularly surprised, to read those lines in Mayor Butt’s December e-forums. Such anti-woman attitudes permeate a culture that furthers the white male power structure.

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Mayor Butt Hit With Restraining Order

A Contra Costa County Superior Court judge has issued a temporary restraining order against Mayor Tom Butt. The order was granted on December 7th, after the court reviewed a petition filed by the City of Richmond. The petition alleged that Mayor Butt “has willfully and flagrantly violated the City’s privilege,” and that his multiple disclosures on his E-forum constitute a violation of both attorney-client privilege and his duties as enshrined in Charter of the City of Richmond.

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The Brown Act: Back to Basics for the Butts

City Hall

Photo Credit: Tony Tamayo

Daniel Butt has turned truth upside down by posting that the RPA is responsible for the firing of Laura Snideman as City Manager and costing the city $300,000. He and his followers have repeated this misinformation on Facebook. 

The reality is that it was Tom Butt and Nat Bates who initiated and drove the firing of the City Manager. RPA Council members were split on the issue: some RPA council members thought that Snideman was doing a reasonable job given the circumstances.  Some thought she was doing a poor job. RPA members were also divided about what to do about the situation.

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2021 City of Richmond Transgender Day of Remembrance

The City of Richmond honored the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Thursday, November 18, with a flag-raising ceremony in front of City Hall. The commemorative event was hosted by Cesar Zepeda of Richmond Rainbow Pride, and guest speakers included Carolyn Wysinger and Suzanne Ford of San Francisco Pride and Richmond City Councilmembers Eduardo Martinez and Claudia Jimenez.

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Where Is Everybody? Don't Ask The Mayor

On September 23, Councilmember Claudia Jiménez asked City Staff to provide her, along with the rest of Council and Mayor Tom Butt, a full list of vacant positions in Richmond’s city government. The vacancies chart returned to Councilwoman Jiménez confirms what Richmond residents already knew: our city is inexcusably understaffed.

Vacancies are both fulltime and part-time positions that have already been budgeted for in this fiscal year. The money has already been set aside for these future employees. When the positions remain unfilled by the City Manager, the cash budgeted for these positions stays tied up; it cannot be moved elsewhere without formal budget amendments or until the next year’s fiscal budget is approved. 

Richmond currently has 123 vacant full-time employee (FTE) positions and six vacant part-time positions. This means that roughly one-sixth of our city government functions have been deemed inessential by city management.

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Thoughts on Voting Rights in Richmond

Growing up, my head was constantly filled with fantasies about freedom, choices, riches, and justice. I was raised to believe that a country founded by immigrants and for immigrants was rooted in justice, liberty, and freedom for all. I was raised to believe that I could become whomever I wanted if I just worked hard enough. I was raised to believe that everyone mattered, was protected by the law, and was cared for by society.

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Richmond FY 2021-22 Budget

The 2021/22 General Fund Budget passed on June 29, 2021. It is balanced, with revenues totaling $188.5 million, expenditures totaling $187.85 million, and includes funds for reimagining public safety, adding to the  “reserves“, increased staff compensation (Cost of Living Adjustments), facility improvements and subsidy to the housing authority.

 

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The Mayor and Corruption Charges

Last week, we learned from the email newsletter of Mayor Tom Butt that he has been under investigation for corruption. Local media has picked up the story as well. City Manager Laura Snideman and City Attorney Teresa Stricker were concerned enough about accusations a city employee made against him that they hired an outside attorney and private investigator to examine some of his business dealings. 

Details about the accusation or what was learned in the investigation had not yet been released by a reliable source -- initially only Mayor Butt was talking. 

Butt claims the accusation against him was baseless and that he did nothing wrong. Time will tell if that is true, but his response to being investigated is inappropriate and offensive.

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