Letter from Katrinka Ruk, Executive Director

Letter from Katrinka Ruk, Executive Director:

2020 proved to be an overall challenging year filled with loss of many of our friends and peers.  Our Office Manager and my good friend Anne Graff passed away in May.  Just before his retirement began, we lost the City of Richmond Port Director, Jim Matzorkis who’s support of our port businesses was great and instrumental in bringing in new port businesses.  Before the year end, we were notified of the loss of PGE Government Relations guru Tom Guarino.  It goes without saying that these individuals’ contributions and friendships will be missed.  May their families find solace in knowing the impact that they had on so many individuals. 

The COVID19 impact goes without saying – we saw the economic impact on our local and regional businesses and with our own organization.  The COI had to cancel all in person meetings including our annual Shoreline and Bay Yacht Tour.  We hope that 2021 we can again look forward to this event.  With the additional PPP loans coming out we hope that this will allow local businesses to remain open.  

This year also brought a change to the City of Richmond’s election process as we moved to district elections, the outcome of which was the election of incumbent councilmember Melvin Willis, former councilmember and Mayor Gayle Mclaughlin and new comer Claudia Jimenez.  We are looking forward to building a relationship with the old and new members of the council.   

A great deal of time last year was focused on bringing city staff and businesses together to discuss a change to the business license tax which moved from one based on number of employees to gross receipts.  The input from the businesses enlightened the council to the financial burden this tax will have on the medium sized businesses already impacted by the COVID19 pandemic.  We will continue to meet with city staff and work on a more equitable tax for the business community which will provide needed funding for city services. More to come on this. 

AB617 Air Monitoring Committee under the auspices of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District completed establishing the air monitoring sites in Richmond and San Pablo.  COI member businesses and community leaders participated on the committee for over one year.  The next step is to establish a committee to focus on air emissions reductions. We will keep you all posted on that.  

Finally, of note was the revamp of the Council of Business and Industries’ website – PLEASE NOTE, OUR WEBSITE HAS CHANGED TO: 

www.councilofindustries.com 

We added a “members information” access where we will be posting information, letters, and updates for your easy access. 

Stay well. Wear your masks.  Follow the protocols. 

How can we make our communities stronger and healthier?

En Español

Envision Contra Costa 2040 is a plan for a safe, healthy, equitable, and sustainable future for all communities in the county. Communities of color, indigenous people, low-income families, and immigrants should not face disproportionate environmental and health impacts. We’ve listened to community members at dozens of meetings to draft policies and actions to drive change.

We want to hear from you!

Please join us for an in-depth conversation about key environmental justice issues in Contra Costa County through a three-part Environmental Justice Community Meeting series in February:

  • Meeting #1: Sustainable Economy, Homes, and Jobs on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, from 6 pm – 8 pm
  • Meeting #2: Community Engagement, Transportation, and Infrastructure on Wednesday, February 10, 2021, from 6 pm – 8 pm
  • Meeting #3: Food, Health Services, Recreation, Air Quality, and Hazardous Materials on Wednesday, February 17, 2021, from 6 pm – 8 pm

These meetings will be interactive and conducted using Zoom, an online video/audio conferencing platform. Meeting participants can join by computer, tablet, or phone. Please click here to register for the events and to receive information about how to join us.

Continue the conversation!

  • We’ve developed a survey about the draft policies and actions. Please share your feedback in this survey.
  • You can also send us a video to share what environmental justice means in your life and in your community. You can choose to talk about the issue generally or highlight specific issues in your area.

For more information and to share your ideas online, visit www.envisioncontracosta2040.org, or
e-mail Will.Nelson@dcd.cccounty.us.
We hope to see you there!

The Envision Contra Costa 2040 Team

Port of Richmond director dies from COVID-19

Port of Richmond director passes away from COVID-19Port of Richmond director passes away from COVID-19

Jim Matzorkis, photo courtesy of his family

By Kathy Chouteau

Port of Richmond Director Jim Matzorkis has passed away from complications due to COVID-19, Mayor Tom Butt announced in his eForum Sunday.

Matzorkis, who was 68, died Dec. 20, 2020, at his home in Oakland. He worked as the Port of Richmond director for 18 years and succumbed to his illness just 11 days before his retirement. Mayor Butt credited Matzorkis with “completing the Honda Port of Entry project that has resulted in over a decade of profitability for the Port.”

According to his obituary, Matzorkis was a native of Chicago who relocated to California as a child and eventually went on to marry his high school sweetheart Beverly Christenson. Upon the death of his father, Gus, Matzorkis assumed the role of family patriarch and served as the epicenter of family gatherings, organizing reunions and maintaining their connections.

During his lifetime, Matzorkis took many trips to his ancestral homeland of Crete, Greece to visit his relatives there. He also enjoyed traveling to Mexico, where he could indulge his zeal for tequila. Early in his career, Matzorkis worked for concert promoter, Bill Graham Productions, where he fed his love of music and began many lifelong friendships.

Matzorkis is survived by Beverly, his wife of 39 years; daughters Melanie and Ileana; sisters JoAnn (Allen) and Stacie (David); brother Nick (Susie); and brother-in-law Bob; in addition to numerous nieces and nephews.

He will be buried in Cleveland, OH near his parents and other relatives. A private graveside service will be held at St. Theodosius Cemetery in Cleveland and a memorial service will be held at a later date. Donations may be sent to the Cretan Club of Cleveland, 3853 W. 168th St., Cleveland, OH 44111 and condolences can be sent to Beverly Christenson at 2085 Drake Dr., Oakland, CA 94611.

This article was originally published in The Richmond Standard on January 4, 2021

Nonprofits encouraged to apply for Chevron ECIA grants

Richmond council set to review hotly contested biz tax proposal tonight

Richmond City Hall (Photo by Mike Kinney)

Nonprofit organizations that provide services focused on supporting the Richmond community, youth and youth sports are encouraged to apply for this Chevron-funded, city-administered grant program.

The 10-year Chevron Modernization Project Environmental and Community Investment Agreement (ECIA) program, which launched in FY 2016-17, provides grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 on an annual basis to nonprofits serving Richmond residents. Last year, Richmond RotaCare Free Clinic, Youth Code Now and the Richmond Museum of History & Culture were among 21 organizations receiving grants, per our earlier report on grant awardees.

The deadline to submit an application for this year’s grant program is Friday, Feb. 5, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. All applications must be submitted online at this city link.

The city has scheduled two virtual ECIA Info Sessions to provide more information on the grant opportunity. The first event takes place Tuesday, Jan. 5, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., while the second will occur Thursday, Jan. 14 from 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

For updates on the program, subscribe to ECIA Competitive Grant E-News Sign-up!

This article was originally published in The Richmond Standard on January 4, 2021