Nov 19, 2014

A statement from Chevron Richmond:

For more than 112 years, the Richmond Refinery has been proud to serve as a vital part of Richmond –creating jobs for residents, supporting small businesses that drive the local economy, paying taxes that fund essential public services and supporting programs that train workers and prepare students for the future.

The policies enacted at the local level help determine how businesses, big and small, can be successful. The question for Richmond is: Will local leaders recognize that business is integral to the city’s success? Or, will city leaders continue to oppose efforts to create growth, preferring instead to watch the business climate – and the prosperity that business helps generate – decline.

Our position is that the city needs the former. We are willing to invest in the future of the city with our $1 billion modernization project, which would create a newer, safer, cleaner refinery that is better for Richmond and its citizens. The Richmond Refinery already provides jobs for 2,200 people and supports scores of local suppliers who depend on our business and modernization will create more opportunities.

Chevron has been fully transparent regarding our participation in this election. We provided funding through Moving Forward, an independent expenditure campaign committee that includes local labor unions, businesses and public safety organizations. This money was used to fund direct communication with voters so they could make informed decisions about which candidates are best able to lead Richmond.

The amount of money we spent to inform voters must be viewed in the context of the more than $500 million in local taxes, social investment and spending on local vendors from Chevron over the past five years, and our $90 million social and environmental commitment to the city that will follow once our $1 billion refinery modernization is allowed to proceed.

As the city’s largest employer and with such a large investment in this city, Chevron chose to participate in the election to make sure its voice was heard, and to provide the resources to help inform voters.

Chevron respects and acknowledges the outcome of the election. Going forward, our intention is to work with the new City Council to find common ground and to continue advocating for sound policies that allow Richmond to grow and thrive.

This city, which we have proudly called home for so long, has far more opportunities than challenges. We hope the council will focus on realizing those opportunities. Chevron will continue to partner with those in the city who want to turn those opportunities into reality and thereby improve the lives of all residents of Richmond.


  1. Chevron has a right to a seat at the table. Chevron is a stakeholder as are the unions, Chamber of Commerce, etc. However, Chevron’s election campaign disrespected the most important stakeholders, the Richmond residents. Even supporters of Chevron were at a loss for words to justify the tsunami of negative, immature and insulting campaign mailers, billboards and internet ads shoved down our throats for months. Even the candidates Chevron chose to support expressed disrespect and mean-spirited attitudes. Al Martinez is a bully who doesn’t have a clue about Richmond and stated that his running was what God wanted him to do. Months before the election Charles Ramsey was exposed as being a corrupt administrator who didn’t live in Richmond until he had to establish residency to run for office. Finally, Donna Powers left Richmond years ago and has had little or no connection with Richmond since. She too had to move back in order to run. Ms. Powers’ contribution to the campaign was to express anger at how the members of the Council did not wear the proper attire for their position as Council members. Chevron has demonstrated its total disregard for our community and in doing so it made itself the laughing stock of the nation. Chevron placed Richmond voters in an untenable position of either not voting at all or voting for candidates who placed themselves in opposition to Chevron, whether or not we liked those opposition candidates. Under the recent Supreme Court ruling Chevron broke no rules in spending a fortune to support their handpicked candidates. What they did do was break, again, the social contract with the community.

    Charles T. Smith | Nov 19th, 2014
  2. I personally founded it offensive that both Donna Powers and Charles Ramsey had relatively recently resided in Richmond. Many of us have lived here for YEARS. How committed to the community could Donna Powers be since she upped and moved away?
    The hate mail we received and the nasty degrading television commercials are not what we want to here. If the three candidates backed by Chevron were so great, they should have spent their efforts telling us how great they were and NOT telling us how terrible the others were. It is so immature, destructive, and hateful.

    Sandra Davenport | Nov 19th, 2014
  3. Charles has the right to express his opinion and I’ll always respect that but in this case he seems to be putting his opinion out as if it were fact and none of us has the right to do that. I need to address a few of those issues to bring clarity to the matter. They have to do with Donna Powers and Charles Ramsey. I know both of them and know something of what I speak here.

    I attended almost all of the forums and heard both Donna and Charles speak on a wide number of issues—many of which had nothing to do with the attire of the Council.

    [By the way, we’ve heard numerous people suggest that members of an elected body should dress in a professional manner. Many bodies even have dress codes for their members. Coming in wearing tank tops, jeans and open shirts is appropriate for some events but the assertion is that if the members of the Council dressed more professionally then maybe they could command the kind of respect expected of such an august body.]

    First, Donna Powers lived in Richmond for 31 years before she and her husband relocated to Martinez. She was a respected person in this community and owned multiple businesses. Donna returned to her home after she and her husband split up. She did not return home at Chevron’s request and she did not return home specifically to run for the Council. We all might remember that she served on the Council for 8 years before she relocated.

    As for Charles, I read just about all of the newspapers—both online and print versions. I watch a lot of TV and I’ve yet to see where any of these did an article on Charles being a “corrupt administrator”. He, like several other employees of the School District, have received subpoenas from the Securities Exchange Commission for copies of documents while they follow up on an investigation of the District’s Bond Program. He, as the others, has not been charged with anything nor has there been any suggestion by the officials that anything has been done incorrectly. It’s unfair to tar Charles with this accusation when there is absolutely nothing to suggest there’s any truth to it.

    Nearly two years before the election Charles moved back to Richmond after he and his wife divorced. Once again, Chevron did not ask him to move to Richmond nor did they ask him to run for office. As too many formerly married people know, when a divorce happens, either the husband or the wife frequently has to move out of their home. Where would Charles Smith suggest that Charles Ramsey should have moved if not back to Richmond where he previously lived and owned a business? Is there some reason why he should choose ANY other place but Richmond to live?

    As someone who worked closely in this campaign (as I have for most of the past 40 years), I know that Chevron did not ask any of these candidates if it was okay for them to support them. As a matter of fact, election laws require that there be no correspondence between the candidates and those using Independent Expenditures in support of a candidate.

    I do know, though, that Charles and Donna expressed numerous times at the forums that they did not request Chevron’s assistance and would rather that they back off. Since there was never a specific person at Chevron that any candidate could turn to so this support would stop, what were the candidates supposed to do?

    Any of us can express our displeasure with the way a candidate or their supporters handle their campaigns. If we’re going to tar a candidate, though, shouldn’t we use facts to tar them with and not opinions?

    Don Gosney | Nov 19th, 2014
  4. Below is an example of how close the city came to working together , it’s never to late to begin again.

    A Day of Innovation Oct 6 , 2011
    Clean Tech Open
    Innovating Energy
    Sponsor by Chevron USA , location Ford Building. Crane way
    Testimonial by Richard R Poe
    Going into the Clean Tech Open, I thought I understood for early this year what Richmond had to offer to green tech. Our first Richmond green Tech meeting was in Marina Bay at 1450 Marina way south . As your keenly aware for the first time a small group of Green tech companies and other associated companies came together in a meeting held By Chevron, Virtual Development corporation , and the city of Richmond. Under the leadership of Jeff Riterman, a new day in Richmond was born. The second meeting was much larger, and was in the crane way .
    1) What I learned from our local two green tech meetings and carried forward to the Clean tech open of Oct 6, 2011 was the following.
    What Richmond has to offer: LBNL being located on the field station, is the fact the Lab can combine a unique array of synergistic disciplines in the Marina Bay area. The scientific synergism includes the Department of Health Services laboratories located on I-580 in Marina Bay Parkway, EPA methods lab , Kaiser Micro Fab. Facility, Bio-oils , paradigms’, three solar companies . Marina Bay does have some of the existing LBNL laboratories located on the UC field station. A growing number of growing green tech companies in Richmond are already spin-offs from UC and LBNL.
    The Day at the clean tech open of Oct 6th , was like going from the bush leagues to watching the San Francisco Giants win the world series. The energy in the room of those competing was unbelievable. The ability for our local Chevron corporation to reach out to foster and nourish , our Green tech companies to change the world is a attribute to their foresight. I for one was humbled by the experience .
    Please note how the tri-valley city of San Ramon , Pleasanton, Danville and Livermore market their area. “ here are amazing things happening in our valley. New initiatives from the labs promise to generate technology advancements and business opportunities on an unprecedented scale. More and more small companies with big ideas and big companies that lead their industry are finding home here. And our quality of life continues to improve.
    What can happen if we put forth a concentrated effort to make these amazing things work together? That is the question behind Innovation Tri-valley. (note that should also be the question Richmond asks)
    Innovation Tri- valley Sponsors , Sybase , Adept , Livermore Chamber of Commerce, Chevron, Sandia National Laboratories, Las Positas Collage and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
    What is striking to me, is what we learned even before the Clean Tech open, that Richmond is a huge draw for Green Tech, and spins off from UC and LBNL .
    The question I have even before we know about the final location of the second campus of LBNL, is how can we, as the playing field is today, begin the synergism with LBNL and UC. Can we be like the tri valley ? Can Richmond put behind the old fights, and begin anew to try and build jobs, green tech, fuel cell companies expand existing businesses ?
    I’m hopeful those that were unable to attend this event, will be able to view the video. These are the times we will look back and say , were we stood on healing old wounds , and rebuilding Richmond . We should be ahead of tri valley and part of the solution to bring jobs to our city. Being part of the solution is what I saw over the last year as the city came together trying to win the LBNL second campus. We also have a game changer here , as was witnessed in the Clean tech open , even if LBNL ends up in Emeryville, we should not lose site of what we have in our own back yard, and try to build our city together.
    Thank you for your time,
    Richard Poe

    richard poe | Nov 20th, 2014
  5. This Chevron Speaks post begs the question: Does Chevron listen? We all know the election mattered. But what did it say? It says that Richmond residents, despite an overwhelming tide of spending, do not believe Chevron’s message of goodwill and concern for the City. In fact, the election demonstrated (again) Chevron’s arrogance, disrespect, and a desire to control City affairs for only their own benefit. That said, I recognize the company’s economic role in the city, so I am not one of those in favor of running them out of town. But Chevron needs to be a much better neighbor by a) investing to mitigate the environmental damage they do, b) by investing in refinery safety, c) by paying its fair share of taxes, and d) by being more respectful of the democratic process in Richmond. (Good luck with this! )The Chevron Speaks statement is troubling because, even given a public rebuke with nationwide coverage, Chevron’s show no sign that they miscalculated the residents feelings towards the company. As someone who lives just a few hundred feet from the Refinery fence and has watched these issues closely, I question whether Kory Judd is the person to help come together with City leaders and residents to forge a more cooperative vision of working together. But if I am wrong, Mr Judd, let’s meet. I’d be glad to explain to you how, by beginning to do the right things, you can gain the respect that $3 million can’t buy!

    Bruce Kaplan | Nov 20th, 2014
  6. Positively Nixonian, and not at all addressing what Chevron did here. We KNOW you wanted to be at both ends of the table when it was negotiation time–we learned this from a mammoth add campaign too crude to be refined even by your mighty machinery. If this is your idea of a corporate apology, it is absolutely laughable.

    Richard Busack | Nov 20th, 2014
  7. Where I believe Chevron miscalculated in this campaign is not trusting the public to make the right decision on their own. Their over the top campaign served to galvanize the supporters of the anti-Chevron candidates and the introduction of Powers and Ramsey divided the rest of the electorate and doomed the likes of Jim Rogers, a voice of reason much needed on the Council. Hope that the City and Chevron get their act(s) together and work cooperatively for the greater public good.

    john lisenko | Nov 20th, 2014
  8. It would have been helpful to know why Chevron thought the candidates it attacked would not make the best decisions for Chevron and the City of Richmond. Instead we got nothing but mailers that would be laughed out of a high school election. It was insulting.

    Mike Carnall | Nov 20th, 2014

About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.