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:
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.