Is it Chevron?
By Sue Wilson
If you live in Richmond, you’ve probably seen something from “Richmond Represented.” They are slick social media ads on your Facebook or Instagram. They consist of glossy eight-page flyers.
You may have seen some of them this past March and April, imploring you to fight for this map and oppose that map during the city's arcane redistricting process.
Now there are more ads and more shiny mailers blaming the Richmond Progressive Alliance for everything from homelessness to bad driving in Richmond. The recent batch seem intent on lowering the election chances of the two candidates endorsed by the RPA — Eduardo Martinez for Mayor and Jamin Pursell for City Council in District 4.
These ads and mailers are suspicious because they have no FPPC number, which means that whoever is sending them isn't following California's campaign finance laws. They often list the Coronado Neighborhood Council as the sender. What Richmond neighborhood council has enough money to enter this political fray? Aren't neighborhood councils supposed to stay out of city elections? Who is behind all this?
We've done some digging, and we're fairly confident that Chevron is behind this mudslinging.
We believe that Chevron, working through their public relations firm BMWL and Partners, under the “Richmond Represented” banner, and drawing in Richmond’s neighborhood councils, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to try to gerrymander Richmond city council districts in early 2022.
Now the backers of “Richmond Represented” are spending even more to defeat progressive city council candidates.
Why is this happening now? We think one motivation might be Measure U.
Measure U is a new business tax increase, passed by 73% of Richmond voters in 2020 and supported by all RPA-endorsed city council members and candidates. The new tax is scheduled to go into effect for the Chevron Corporation starting in 2024. So, unless “someone” finds a way to elect a new city council that will undercut implementation of Measure U, Chevron will have to start paying additional taxes to the city.
And to do that, they are following a vicious game plan, which BMWL and Partners developed back in 2012 during the fight over the Richmond soda tax. They are deliberately fostering racial division in Richmond as one way of achieving their aims.