"He supported Measure N – the 'soda tax'”
I strongly supported Measure N, the sugary drink
tax. I believe it was about fighting for the health of our community.
Does anybody really believe that the Soda companies poured millions
into the Richmond elections, spreading fear and lies, out of concern
for our health?
I understand that many people were concerned
about the regressive sales tax or the fact that the money would
go through the general fund. I wish there could have been another
way to raise money for athletic fields and child nutrition programs,
but corporate interests have passed laws in this state which limit
city options for raising money for programs.
The voters spoke,
but the problem hasn’t gone away. Obesity and diabetes are dooming
our children to sickness and poverty. If Measure N was not the
right solution, then we need to work on some other way.
"He is inexperienced"
First of all, my background and training let me quickly understand technical, financial, and legal issues. But improving a city is not a one-person show. It requires teamwork at all levels and people with different skills and expertise. Because of my work in so many movements and organizations, I am experienced at running meetings and organizing and working with different people. I am good at encouraging participation and organizing volunteers. A lot of what we want to do can only be accomplished by People Power. Citizen participation is both a democratic ideal and a great opportunity for Richmond.
Second, the best experience is probably watching someone in action. I’ve had the privilege of watching Mayor McLaughlin lead Richmond and working closely with her on the most important issues of the last seven years. I’ve attended most City Council meetings during this time and have watched the rest—as painful as it sometimes has been. I’ve seen her learning curve and how much she’s gotten done. I also know how things sometimes go badly at Council meetings - when bad manners on the Council or in the audience have wasted time and created unnecessary disunity. I am skilled at parliamentary procedure, I know what I’m getting into, and I’ll always be able to take advantage of Gayle’s wisdom and experience.
"He is a socialist"
Socialism is a way of saying that people - not
profits - should determine the basic decisions that affect us.
In other words it means extend democratic principles to the major
decisions in the economy.
As a system, capitalism no longer works very well. While it may still provide a few incentives for innovation, the 1% are increasing inequality and poverty world-wide, and the system is operating without sufficient regard to the damage it does to the environment, our food supply, and our quality of life.
In 2010 the Supreme Court ruled that corporations can make unlimited political contributions, so they have even more power. The system is broken. What kind of system produces a company like Chevron that will cut so many corners on preventive maintenance and be so unconcerned about its toxic emissions—and then treat that behavior as normal?
Many of the changes we need would have to be decided at the state or national level. The city of Richmond cannot change Prop 13 or the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. We have to work with corporations while we try to mitigate the negative impact of their drive for profits. In working with them we have to put residents’ needs first. We have to stand up to Chevron’s profit- maximizing priorities and insist that they spend what needs to be spent on safety, maintenance, and emissions reduction. Because I have worked for over 30 years in industry, I understand the legitimate needs of industrial operations.
"He lives in Point Richmond"
Point Richmond is beautiful. I feel very fortunate that my wife’s parents left us the family home. One of the other candidates for Mayor, Nat Bates, also lives in Point Richmond.
Point Richmond is part of the wonderful, complex fabric that is Richmond. Other threads in this fabric are Rosie the Riveter National Park, Atchison Village, Parchester Village, the Southside, Hilltop, North and East, the neighborhood councils, Urban Tilth, a lively bicycle culture, the Richmond Southeast Shoreline Community Advisory Group (CAG), the shoreline, the city hall complex with the Arts Center, our police department and Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS), Ceasefire, the Center for Performing Arts, the PAL program, to name a few.
Where candidates live is much less important than their values, proposals and skills. I believe that all elected officials must operate from the position that for Richmond to flourish, each thread in the city must be strong.