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

New information on OSHA Covid-19 Prevention Standards, Workers Comp, and Employee Leave

WEDS 12/16 12 TO1:30PM — New information on OSHA Covid-19 Prevention Standards, Workers Comp, and Employee Leave
Date: Wednesday 12/16
Time: 12-1:30pm
Meeting ID: 847 0488 7087
Passcode: 411136
New regulations are coming out in regards to OSHA COVID-19 prevention standards (SB1383), workers compensation regulations (SB1159) and employee leave. Nicole Rice, Senior Policy Director, Government Relations for the California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA) will be providing us with an update. Ms. Rice is a twenty-year veteran in public policy development and developed this expertise by representing small businesses, utility companies, educational organizations and local government bodies on a wide range of matters while crafting and driving legislation. She has been on staff with CMTA since 2012. The Council of Business & Industries works closely with CMTA a statewide, non-profit association that works to improve and enhance a strong business climate for California’s over 30,000 manufacturing, processing and technology based companies.
Please rsvp and join in on the meeting. Have your questions ready for a Q&A after the presentation – or, feel free to email your questions so that we can forward to Ms. Rice.

Continue reading

July 28, 2020 Staff Business Meeting

10:03:37 From Katrinka Ruk : people are having problems getting in call
10:10:47 From Larry Ficken : Larry Ficken with AAK 1145 Harbour Way South
10:11:13 From Sandra Escalante : Sandra Escalante with Laner Electric Supply
10:11:21 From Stacy Engel-Boyum : Stacy Engel-Boyum with North Richmond Properties Inc.
10:11:49 From Jill Rodby : Jill Rodby
10:12:34 From Joshua Genser : Why were no business groups invited to participate? They, after all, would pay the proposed tax.
10:13:17 From Joshua Genser : You could have invited the business groups in April.
10:13:59 From Jill Rodby : I agree with Josh. Why did the City not poll the businesses? It may be the nail in coffin for many of them!
10:14:11 From Katrinka Ruk : good morning – Katrinka Ruk, Richmond resident, Ex Dir Council of Business & Industries – thank you to City Staff for conducting this meeting this morning.
10:15:55 From Sean Hallinan : why were we not polled? that is not honoring and respecting the business community since this is the first we heard of this ordinance! Sunshine Commercial Construction.
Continue reading

Calculate Your Business Tax Today

Attention local business owners — there are some major changes to your tax rates this year.

To find out how much you will be paying, download this calculator.

All you have to do is enter your business classification and gross receipts.

Download My Tax Calculator Form

Compare your current tax rate with the proposed tax rates using the document below. Please note that Class G also includes warehouses.

Download PDF Here
*Open this link in a new tab to download

Richmond voters should end labor unions’ grip on the city

Reject Measure U. Elect council candidates for change: Eleanor Thompson, Ahmad Anderson, and Vinay Pimplé

If there was any doubt that municipal employee labor unions are running Richmond, consider the business tax measure the City Council placed on the Nov. 3 ballot.

In December 2019, the council directed city staff to examine possible “revenue enhancement” measures. But instead of doing the work themselves, the staff effectively outsourced the job to a coalition led by labor unions.

Businesses that would be paying the tax learned the details in a video briefing by city staff only eight days before the council voted to put Measure U on the ballot. When asked during that briefing how rates in the ordinance were established, LaShonda White, acting deputy city manager, had to defer to a union representative to explain.

Measure U is a significant tax increase for many businesses. How many is unclear. That’s because there was no analysis of the effect of the measure on companies, the potential loss of jobs when they leave the city or the effect on rents when landlords pass on the costs to tenants.

It’s a shameful abdication of professional responsibility by city staff — enabled by a City Council majority that’s more concerned with revenues for municipal government employees than the greater good of the city.

Voters should reject Measure U. And they should elect council members who care more about preserving Richmond businesses that are struggling and the jobs they provide residents than placating labor union supporters.

Continue reading

New Police Chief

Bisa French named Chief of Police

Bisa French is no longer Richmond’s interim police chief. Now, she’s simply police chief. On Thursday afternoon, the city announced French’s appointment. She is the first woman with African American and Latina heritage to serve as police chief. Chief French has spent her entire law enforcement career with RPD. She was a single mother when she started out as a police officer in 1998. She rose up the ranks including detective, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, and assistant chief.

Richmond City Council Highlights


June 30, 2020

7:15pm meeting started

A.    Roll Call: All present

B.    Conflict of Interest: None

C.   Agenda review: Vice Mayor removed for discussion consent Item#F13 professional service contracts

D.   City Attorney Report: None

E.   City Manager Report:

·         No date to reopen offices

·         City received $1.3M from CARES

F.    City Council Consent Calendar: Johnson motion/Willis second – passes with #F13 removed for discussion; Bates absent from vote.

Continue reading


Richmond City Council: June 30, 2020.

Make sure to tune-in to tonight’s city council meeting at 6:30 pm where they will review and accept final budget projections for the Fiscal Year 2020-21 Annual Operating Budget and consider an item by Council Members Jael Myrick and Demnlus Johnson III to direct staff to prepare a plan to transition from Richmond’s current “community policing” model to a plan conducive to the reduced police force. Online: http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/3178/KCRT-Live TV: KCRT (Comcast Channel 28 or AT&T Uverse Channel 99) Agenda/Submit Public Comment: SIRE Public Access

AGENDA REVIEW / DISCUSSION: The City of Richmond continues to face a long-term structural deficit. While we’ve found ways to close the $29.9 million budget gap for the coming fiscal year, we know that more substantial decisions will need to be made to bring our budget into structural balance. In addition, a recent movement of people nationally and residents locally are calling on municipalities to reevaluate how we prioritize funding for public safety. This movement correctly asks municipalities like Richmond to consider how large police budgets take resources away from more preventative programs and how some percentage of the services police provide can be provided more efficiently and compassionately through community based programs.

Continue reading