|Why I am running for mayor|
has made remarkable progress in the past 10 years. Richmond
has come from a city known for its murder rate, toxic dumps, polluted
air, and corrupt city government to a city with a solid and improving
government, a lot of promise and a can-do attitude. Violent crime has
been significantly reduced. We are increasingly known for our shoreline
parks and great views of the bay and as a city willing to stand up to
protect and improve the health, safety and opportunities of its residents. All of this progress took place because we broke the system of
politics-as-usual where Big Money called the shots.
Everybody is upset by corporate domination of our politics. Across the nation corporations and rich individuals have never exercised more control of our government than they do now. In Richmond we have fought the power of Big Money. We have shown that you can win elections without taking money from corporations. The people can win. But it’s hard work. It requires a large number of people debating the issues and talking to their neighbors. It requires raising hundreds of small contributions.
It also requires independent people willing to run for office. Why is this hard? Because if you don’t make a deal with Big Money, they will spend five times your entire campaign budget on smear campaigns telling everyone what an awful person you are. This reality discouraged a lot of good people who would have made fine candidates for mayor. I know – I encouraged a number to run.
This election is too important to concede to Big Money. The progress we’ve made is too valuable to surrender. And we must continue to fight for our health and safety. We need a Mayor and a City Council that will be reasonable but firm about ensuring that Chevron’s Richmond Refinery is the safest and cleanest in the world.
Every candidate declares that their priorities are jobs, health, safety, and education. But what polices get these? In the real world, candidates whose campaigns are financed by Big Money use these terms as an excuse for giving corporations what they want. Look at who worked to bring Richmond Bay Campus (LBNL) to Richmond; forced Chevron to pay increased taxes, forced Chevron to clean up its flaring, made city government more responsive, supported community efforts for bike trails and shoreline. And who opposed these or dragged their feet.
Although I have never held an elected position in city government, I have long studied how it works. And I have worked closely with Mayor McLaughlin on a number of important issues over the last 7 years, so I have a good understanding of Richmond’s history, organizations, and current initiatives. I also bring with me a lot of experience in training people for skilled jobs in the trades. I know what is required to get these jobs and how the schools and society have left so many people unprepared for these jobs. This is one of the key challenges we face. How do we get Richmond residents trained to apply successfully for the good jobs that will be available locally? My expertise and interest in these issues is one more thing that sets me apart from the other candidates.
Finally, one skill I would bring to the job of Mayor is that I know how to attract and organize volunteers. City government does not have the money or the power to do everything that needs to be done. And it probably never should. So much must be accomplished by individual volunteers working together on social services and on issue campaigns. The City can support these organizations and initiatives. We all know that Mayor McLaughlin’s energy and commitment to creating a culture of volunteerism and community activity has been part of her legacy. It would be an honor to have the chance to build on her work.
Like Mayor McLaughlin, I commit to representing you.
Continuing a Decade of Progress
We’ve made a lot of progress over the last ten years but there is still much to be done. Our values of equality, democracy, respect, and integrity will lead the way. Together we can have a city where:
|MikeParkerforRichmond@gmail.com · (510) 842-5207|