Councilmembers want to know extent to which Donald Trump could ‘punish’ city

Richmond commission condemns Trump’s use of force statements

With Richmond’s leadership determined to back policies that may conflict with President-elect Donald Trump’s vision for the nation, some councilmembers want to know exactly how much of the city’s federal funding is at risk under his presidency.

On the agenda for Tuesday’s City Council meeting is a request of city staff to “explore the ways in which the Trump Administration may seek to punish cities like ours by withholding federal program funds or federal grants.”

The staff is also asked to look into how the city can shield itself from such actions while “maintaining our values.”

Councilmembers Vinay Pimple and Vice Mayor Eduardo Martinez jointly endorsed the call for more concrete information on the matter.

As stated in city documents, the councilmembers want to know exactly what the city stands to lose if Trump and a Republican-led Congress threaten to strip federal funding from sanctuary cities. Richmond is one of a number of sanctuary cities that have adopted policies protecting undocumented immigrants from being reported to federal authorities. In his e-forum newsletter last month, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt became one of a number of local leaders pledging to protect the city’s sanctuary status. Pimple and Martinez are among them, but want the consequences to be clear.

“[The Trump administration’s] punishment may take the form of withdrawing housing related funding, or other federal grants, for example,” their proposal states.

Staff is also asked to see if any other of Richmond’s policy decisions might affect the city’s bottom-line after Trump takes office.

“The Trump administration will have majority support in both houses of Congress,” the city documents state. “As a result, it may be able to get its policies into law swiftly, and without careful [vetting.] Therefore, it is important that we prepare ourselves beforehand for any adverse actions that the Trump administration may take.”

The City Council meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at 440 Civic Center Plaza.