May 1, 2014
Richmond councilman says mayor and a fellow councilmember need to brush up on the First Amendment.

Councilman Nat Bates

by Councilman Nat Bates,

Richmond Mayor Gayle Mclaughlin and her Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) call themselves Team Richmond. But a good teammate doesn’t take all the credit when his or her team wins – particularly in cases when that teammate doesn’t deserve much credit to begin with.

RPA members recently launched an elections website where it claims responsibility for local successes – some of which haven’t even yet come to fruition and might never.

The mayor just loves the national attention and the national media and she’s been putting on a pre-elections show – not for the benefit of local residents but in order to boost her national profile. But does she really deserve it? Let’s discuss some of the mayor’s claims.

“We are safer”

I give about as much credit to the mayor for crime reductions as I do to the entire City Council, which may be about 10 to 15 percent. Our contribution to the reduction in crime is supporting our police department and its various community engagement programs through our budget. The police chief, management staff  and officers are the ones doing the work. They’re the ones deserving the credit, not the politicians. And crime has been dropping in communities around the Bay Area and nation mostly as the result of the modernization of police resources and tactics, such as the strengthening of community engagement. The mayor reminds me of an assistant coach of a winning Super Bowl team taking all the credit for the championship even though he didn’t catch one ball, make one tackle or throw one pass.

“Richmond pays a higher minimum wage”

The RPA jumped the gun when stating that it is responsible for passing the highest minimum wage in the nation, but still it has neglected to edit the error. Their false victory announcement came the night after City Council voted to further study how businesses would be affected by a minimum wage increase. The mayor entirely bypassed local businesses and councilmembers to rush the minimum wage before the elections.  She is now receiving national praise for doing something that everyone on council supports. The difference between her and myself is that even though I support a higher wage I think it’s important to consider the conerns of Richmond residents and businesses, not my national profile.

‘The University of California chose Richmond over twenty other cities…”

This claim is ridiculous. The key reason UC chose Richmond is because they own the land and would have had to purchase land if it wanted to build elsewhere. It was cheaper to do it in Richmond, and the site is ideal because it is close to BART and close to UC itself. The mayor failed to credit the various groups who petitioned and lobbied the UC Board of Regents to build at the Richmond site. Congressman George Miller’s office was asked to call UC regents to encourage their decision to locate in Richmond. Management from Chevron, who the mayor doesn’t want to give any kind of credit, also called to encourage the decision. None of us on council or the mayor was at the bargaining table. To be honest, the city galvanized citizen outreach during a meeting at the Richmond auditorium where many spoke in support of the location to the city. However, few councilmembers knew members of the Board of Regents who eventually made the decision.

“We defeated Casino Point Molate”

Also bogus. The people who were most instrumental in defeating the casino were competing casinos and card clubs in the region and in Reno and Las Vegas. They outspent the pro-casino groups. Their money defeated the casino.

“We are confronting blight and neighborhood destabilization with the CARES program “

They haven’t refinanced or acquired a single foreclosure because they don’t have the power to do it, or the support. They don’t have the money, either, or the super majority on council.

“We balanced our budgets without layoffs”

We have a $7 million deficit. Before that, we had a $4 million deficit. And come July 1, we are expected to have a $10 million deficit. Meanwhile the mayor has been strong-arming the council into shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars toward programs that we cannot afford. Again, all of this in order to boost her national profile as a progressive leader. To balance the budget for 2014-2015, layoffs will occur unless the city hit the mega million or power ball lottery.

Ironically, one of the programs involves spending city money to have youths participate in the budgetary process. While it might be a good program, I’m not convinced we should be spending money to teach our youths how to balance a budget when we cannot seem to do this ourselves. Seems like they’d be better off learning from a city that has been able to balance its budget.

Nearly all of “Team Richmond’s” claims are self-serving and factually false. While the national media is buying into it, I hope that Richmond residents can read between the lines and see the truth.


  1. Did Bates really just forget to mention that he is a candidate for mayor and his biggest backer is chevron? Really? So what that makes this community views piece a free political hit piece against the people he is running against? What a dirt bag. This Darryl Issa want a be needs to be put out to pasture so the city can get on with its business, creating green jobs, promoting educational opportunities and supporting the cities efforts to reduce crime. Bates has always been the guy to attack the people working hard to make things better but I can’t ever remember him having a solution that made anything better unless of course your one of his rich neighbors living up in the million dollar Seacliff on clave. If even a street light goes out, good old Nat will be on the phone to the city manager and the city will out there today. What a guy. Problems with public housing? Sorry, wrong neighborhood.

    Just saying.

    Rich Leevey | May 27th, 2014
  2. Mr. Leevey,
    “…unless of course your one of his [Bates] rich neighbors living up in the million dollar Seacliff on clave. If even a street light goes out, good old Nat will be on the phone to the city manager and the city will out there today.”

    While you’re at it you might want to add Tom Butt, Jeff Ritterman, Mike Parker, Jim Rogers, former Council member Donna Powers ,she may not be living there now and former Mayor,Rosemary Corbin, to your list of rich neighbors.

    Charles Smith | Jul 5th, 2014
  3. Talk about self-serving! Mr. Bates puts down his City Council opponents, but has NO solutions of his own. And “national profile?” What does Mr. Bates think Ms. Mclaughlin is going to do with her “national profile?” Run for president? Give us a break!

    Kit Eakle | Aug 11th, 2014
  4. Speaking of lights. I was robbed at gunpoint right infront of my house as I entered my gate. It was late I will say about 12 am. There are lights here and I live across the street from a store. But the only 2 power poles directly across the street from my house have no lights. They came around the corner while I opened my gate I live in a corner house I did not see them . They were teens with an AK47. Just asked me give me what u got they were 2 and my friend was getting out the car he was the one who drove one guy without a gun went and asked him give me what u got he did not have a gun in the meantime I handed the kid my wallet as he had the AK pointed at me like 3 feet away he was smart for that , given the chance I would have made a move if he was closer. My friend started to beat up the other kid as he reached around his back like he had a gun but he didn’t. He screamed to the guy who had the AK pointed toward me to shoot my friend. He yelled shoot him shoot him , so my friend released him from his grasp and they left running together. I live very close to the Richmond Bart and it is very unsafe. Now that it gets dark early and rough times and dark streets there will continue to be robberies and homicides , plus we are in the holiday season. They are out for robberies right now. I still have my police report. I work as an electrician I own home I just wanna sell it now. I work out of the union ibew. I have 2 daughters. It sucks but I’m thinking of selling by May. Just wanna get past this winter and see my options. Pittsburg is not the best place or antioch but I have seen some new family homes in the hills of Pittsburgh so that can be an option. No stores nearby and I have family there.very residential. Well hope richmond police can figure this out. Richmond is the 8th highest murder and crime rate in the nation with 200,000 residents or below. I been doing research. Fremont has a low crime rate that’s another option for me. Well I hope everyone is safe. Kids are safe.

    henry | Nov 13th, 2014