Saturday, October 25, 2014

Veolia LOVES Chevron in Richmond, CA

Bad press is good press

Chevron gets a lot of bad press every time an election is held in Richmond, CA and this year it made national news.  The talk is always regarding the amount of money the company floods into the campaigns of its “Chevron-friendly” candidates and the PACs it contributes to.  Billboards and mailboxes are inundated with messages supporting “their” candidates as well as negative (messages) about the candidates who are critical of the company.  But everybody already knows this.  It’s not really news.

However, the corporate political player that is so glaringly missing when it comes to talk about money shelled out in Richmond elections is Veolia.

Scratch my back

Veolia is a French multi-billion dollar company with its origin dating back to 1853

Saturday, October 4, 2014

"The Casino Five" Minus Tom Butt Equals "The Casino Four": Tom Butt's Sleight of Hand

2014 mayoral candidate, Councilmember Tom Butt

 As the 2014 Richmond, CA mayoral race starts revving up and political volleys are tossed at candidates from their respective opposition I would like to zoom the lens in on mayoral candidate Richmond Councilmember Tom Butt.

Although he likes to fashion himself as a "straight shooter", Tom Butt's decisions and "the calling out of his opponents and critics" at times make him appear more like "the man behind the curtain" in his own political Oz.

Butt has been on the council since 1995 (?!!!) and over the years

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

TBF - Acronym vs. Initialism

As my friend, John, will be quick to note, "TBF" is not an acronym but an initialism.  However, I’m not writing to describe the difference between the two language forms but rather to define TBF, a term that I somewhat proudly coined.

Coming to the realization that the City of Richmond had absolutely no intention of fixing the neighborhood flooding problem and Bank of America had absolutely no intention of working with us in finding a more equitable agreement to finance a house that was assessed for an unprecedented amount of $4,000 as the result of Richmond’s lack of proper infrastructure, our house was foreclosed upon.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Picking Butt: When Not To Do It

Richmond Councilmember
So, based on the March 2004 letter from Richmond City Engineer, Rich Davidson, the owner of the commercial property at 5221 Central Avenue was responsible for the maintenance and the proper operation of the stormwater system in the neighborhood.  

In August 2004, five months after my visit to Rich Davidson, there still hadn’t been anything done to the drainage ditch. Vegetation over six feet tall prevailed as well as trash and detritus strewn everywhere.  It was at this time that we decided to contact a representative on the city council who could help us expedite action.  Easier said than done.

Bungled Bureaucracy: Act I, Scene I

In March 2004, after experiencing the first winter of flooding and when the water seemed to be “at bay”, so to speak, it was time to try to figure out the cause of the problem or at least find someone who could.  It was time to take a trip to the City of Richmond’s engineering department and visit with Rich Davidson, Richmond City Engineer.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Second Dumbest Guy I Know: Richmond Real Estate

When I describe the ordeal of what occurred after purchasing my first home in Richmond, CA, the first thing that I am asked, “Why wasn’t the flooding disclosed?” or, “Isn’t it against the law not to disclose it?”

Not in an estate sale.  Nothing has to be disclosed about a property that the seller, in this case the executor of the estate, presumably isn’t aware of.  I say “presumably” because it’s difficult for most to believe that the seller, who grew up only a few blocks away and whose father resided in the home since the early sixties, had no knowledge of the flooding.  Regardless, by stating he knew of no defects he and his agent are protected by law.

Scanning Government Documents: Don't Try This At Home!

One thing I’ll give the City of Richmond, they’ve made campaign statements available on its website so they can be viewed online and you don’t have to make a trip to the City Clerk’s Office to see which candidate or councilmember is being influenced by a particular business interest.  The real drag is that many of the statements aren’t necessarily in chronological order.  But it’s an effort.  (You can view a tutorial here)

I’ve been to Richmond’s City Clerk’s office on several occasions and I must say the staff there is very pleasant and helpful.  If there is ever the potential of entering a Bureaucratic Vortex I at least appreciate being greeted in a cordial manner.