City council action halts positive progress


By Mark Wassberg, Staff Writer

Big money in politics — right or wrong? Did Chevron really try to buy the 2014 election in Richmond?

Chevron was a few days away from modernizing its Richmond Refinery in 2008, to make it safe for the community and the environment in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards.

The environmentalist liberal majority on the Richmond City Council claimed that Chevron was violating environmental laws and was unsafe for the surrounding community. Lawsuits began flying through the courts, stopping the project and losing Richmond 1,000 of good paying jobs, as well as losing the city’s economy millions of dollars.

In desperation Chevron spent $3 million to endorse its preferred candidates for City Council, in order to stop the gridlock on the council and allow for the upgrade of the refinery.

The Richmond City Council is known for its Jerry Springer-like quality during council meetings. Mayor Gayle McLaughlin had to police escort public speakers from the chambers, thus violating their constitutional rights to free speech.

She called a recess to stop a meeting and said, “I have the right to run this council my way.” Audience members booed and even Councilman Tom Butt was outraged enough to point his finger in the mayor’s face and yell at her about her inability to run a meeting.

McLaughlin, Vice Mayor Jovanka Beckles and Councilman-elect Eduardo Martinez, all part of the liberal majority on the council, are backed by the anarchist organization the Richmond Progressive Alliance.

The RPA is responsible for trying to implement unconstitutional policies in Richmond that would never hold up on a federal level — the soda tax, the use of eminent domain to protest fair market values on homes, the issuing of municipal I.D. cards without background checks to those entering the country illegally and banning the box on job applications, thus jeopardizing public safety in the workplace.

In 2007 a crime wave hit Richmond and the Richmond Police Department conducted checkpoints to arrest parole violators. It just so happened that persons who immigrated to the country illegally were stopped at the checkpoints and had their vehicles towed away for driving without license and insurance.

After the Latino community complained, McLaughlin and former council member John Marquez stopped the checkpoints. Richmond had 47 homicides that year.

Richmond’s population is more than 100,000. Only 20,000 residents voted in the recent election — the lowest turnout ever. Most of the votes went to the RPA-backed candidates and put them back in office.

The RPA in government will implement its own laws, not the constitutional laws of the United States.

Mark Wassberg is a staff writer for The Advocate. Contact him at [email protected].