Richmond City Council Highlights — April 20, 2021


APRIL 20, 2021

Open Forum/ before Closed Session

Board President Aaron Winer read COI letter regarding the City’s obligation under the Pt. Molate Development Agreement.


  1. Roll Call – All present
  2. Conflict of Interest – None
  3. Agenda Review:
  • K-7 Pt. Molate lawsuits; McLaughlin asked to table and put in closed session. Vote: McLaughlin motion/Martinez second -Passes with Bates, Johnson and Butt voting no.
  • H-17 Consent Calendar; Design Review Board appointment; Martinez pulled; Butt removed from agenda
  • H-20 Consent Calendar; Boards, Commissions, Committee Handbook; Martinez pulled to be reviewed at end of meeting.
  • K-9 Sea Level Rise presentation by Dr. Kristina Hill, UCB – Martinez asked to place after Consent Calendar. Butt stated that not most important item on agenda.  Vote: Martinez motion/ McLaughlin second – Passes with Bates and Johnson abstaining, Butt no.
  1. City Attorney Report – Council voted to defend both lawsuits related to Pt. Molate. Vote 6-1 (Martinez voting against).  First was SPRAWDEF vs Richmond, second North Coast Rivers Alliance vs. Richmond & Wine Haven. (NCR included Andres Soto as signatory).

F  City Manager Report – new Public Works Director Joe Leach.

  1. Consent Calendar – Vote: Johnson motion/ Willis second; Passes unanimously
  • City Manager requested to move K3 presentation on Police Strategies contract to consent calendar to save time. Martinez raised that not originally part of Consent Calendar. Martinez motion/ McLaughlin second to keep on agenda as is; vote Passes with Butt voting no.  Butt moved item to after K-9

K.-9 Sea Level Rise Presentation (Martinez, McLaughlin)

  • Butt: council meetings running long and looking for ways to shorten meetings and complete city business; there is no provision regarding council invitation for speakers; Mayor can limit speakers, limiting speaker to 3 mins presentation; if want more time make a motion.
  • Martinez motion/ McLaughlin second to extend to 10 mins; vote: passes with Butt voting no. / fyi, her presentation went beyond 10 mins. In fact with discussion, this item approached one hour/
  • Presentation – expect 3-10’ sea level rise by 2100; ½’-2’ by 2040, 1’-3’ by 2050. BCDC map shows flooding in W. Richmond with inflow on contaminated sites. Issues with toxic soil pollution, liquefaction, vapors from sanitary pipes. Levies and sea walls will not prevent.
  • Mayor Butt asked questions about the speaker’s knowledge of sanitary piping and safety measures/back flow to control and prevent vapor releases.
  • Bates pointed out that her focus was on the Zeneca site when other areas such as Marina Shores are on formerly remediated sites, “if 10’ waves occur, all of Richmond South will be affected.”
  • Martinez to invite back for full presentation; Climate Action Plan needs to be updated to include this, not following precautionary principle
  • Vote: Martinez motion/ McLaughlin second to accept resolution “in support of addressing the potential impacts to Richmond from impending sea level rise.”
  • Butt raised questions about presentation, noted that he was on BCDC which reviews this.
  • Jimenez stated that the Mayor was “in climate denial”
  • Butt- Climate Action Plan needs update but don’t have money or staff to do it.
  • Motion- Passes unanimously, language to be added to Climate Action Plan: “all scientific information to be included.”

K-3 Police Strategies consultant mad e presentation for a new system to collect and understand police use of force incident analysis, risk management took which will allow department to update policies and examine accountability. Will include dashboard for public access. Used by San Jose, Daly City, Vallejo, Antioch to implement.  Current State system only covers about 1% of incidents, this will review all uses of force.  Chief French stated that currently, every report filed is checked against officer video for accuracy.  Will include 3 years past incidents. Cost $40,000. Funding in budget under professional services.

  • Martinez – good investment
  • Jimenez – compare with resident reports for accuracy
  • Chief – review body cam footage w/ reports for accuracy
  • Vote: Jimenez motion/ McLaughlin second; Passes unanimously
  1. Ordinance

J-1 Tiny Homes- to be placed behind residential homes. Ordinance sunset. Homes built by UCBerkeley students.

  • Vote: Willis motion/ McLaughlin second; Passes unanimously
  1. Council as a Whole

K-2 Finance, Economic Development and Admin Services Standing Committee, and, Public Services/Safety Committee

  • Bates wants to re-instate committees to streamline issues brought to Council
  • McLaughlin – City Manager doesn’t have staff to assist; maybe a quarterly meeting
  • City Manager – don’t have capacity and will slow down city council meetings, duplicate process
  • Vote: Bates motion to reinstate/Martinez second; Fails with Jimenez, McLaughlin and Butt voting no, Johnson and Willis abstain, Bates and Martinez vote yes. Willis suggested bringing back after budget sessions over.

K-4 Richmond Peoples Strike (945pm)

  • Jimenez- community governess; hold government accountable
  • Willis -last year city of Vallejo organized around homelessness, COVID under this. Not establishing a committee. Just to support the peoplese strike assembly.
  • Butt- ?what does this mean? “upend Biden Campaign”?
  • Jimenez- be vigilant, foreign policies effect people
  • Butt – you didn’t answer my question
  • Martinez – issue is imposing austerity on world
  • McLaughlin – protects first amendment rights; holds elected officials and Biden accountable.
  • Bates concerned with “potshots” against presidency as city depends heavily on government for funds; impolite
  • McLaughlin – friendly amendment to change North Bay to East Bay; change Biden campaign to Biden administration. – accepted by maker of motion
  • Willis motion/ McLauglin second
  • Butt – dumbest thing ever seen; incomprehensible; typos, errors, don’t reflect well on council
  • Jimenez – you (Mayor) use your time to attack us; you took it off consent calendar; engages community on political issues w/ city; committed to support groups committed to this.
  • Vote: Passes with Bates and Butt voting no.
  • Johnson- unprofessional for chairman to use such language
  • Butt – sometimes you need to tell the truth

K-5 Options to take action on City Council Items (City Manager) 10:10pm

  • City Manager asked for Council members to pause on putting items on agenda until budget done
  • Bates- if urgent issues and can’t delay need to put on agenda
  • Willis – ok with prioritizing budget session, cannot support blocking items from agenda; a lot of time spent on arguing and calling people out especially if something shady said as seen on previous item.
  • McLaughlin – don’t support hold on putting on agenda items; prioritize budget items, time items, no additional Monday or Tuesday meetings.
  • Jimenez – separate meeting to review stimulus money
  • Martinez – won’t give up ability to add item; take too much time because of personality issues; stop attacks; continue as are with mindfulness as guidance
  • City Manager – looking for consensus (on extra meetings)
  • Butt – don’t like any ideas; partly staff partly council problem. Reports can be done in writing, don’t need presentations. Council needs to do less micromanaging. Frivolous items on agenda- last item doesn’t impact anyone in Richmond. More items on consent calendar. The Mayor and City Manager are supposed to meet to review agenda and thi you have never invited me to participate. Less talk in council, don’t need long comment onhow you vote. No Monday meetings.
  • City Manager – need to schedule a retreat, labor meetings, litigation, required bond meeting – how to schedule?
  • Martinez – need facilitator, you belittled community; you pulled item from consent (Peoples Strike), you are doing what you say is a problem.
  • Willis – Mayor you are guilty of many things you mentioned. I’m ok with Mondays.
  • McLaughlin – don’t need three separate 3 hour meetings for workshops
  • Johnson – we all made a commitment
  • Discussion followed by councilmembers to add extra meetings – Mondays and/or Saturdays, different times. McLaughlin said no to Mondays and Tuesdays.
  • City Manager stated 2 extra meetings no sufficient time. Will put an agenda item on next week.
  • Willis recommend Sat 05/01 1pm and 2nd Tuesday for budget meetings.
  • Vote: Willis motion/Johnson second; Passes with Bates, Jimenez and Butt voting no.

K-6 Dept of Children and Youth Grant

  • Butt – Measure K; shouldn’t be on agenda; staff screwed up, misunderstood process
  • Willis – frustrated for confusion on this too
  • Jimenez – thank you for this, misinformation (was given)
  • Vote: Willis motion/ Jimenez second – Passes with Bates absent, rest ayes.

K-8 Financial polices (Jimenez)

  • Jimenez presented financial policies for administration of budget; she started to make changes to the language
  • Butt – confused, bring back next week with your changes.
  • City Manager – have practical concerns; implementation concerns
  • Vote: Martinez motion/Jimenez second – Passes with Bates absent, rest aye.

H-20 Boards, Commissions, Committee handbook – Martinez hold over because not enough time to discuss.

11:30pm meeting adjourned.