Councilmember Jovanka Beckles caught playing Scrabble during crucial budget discussion

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Councilmember Jovanka Beckles photographed playing scrabble during budget discussion

While Richmond City Council was hearing budget presentations dealing with the city’s $11 million deficit on Tuesday, Councilmember Jovanka Beckles was busy playing scrabble on her computer, according to  Mayor Tom Butt.

The mayor released the photo above Wednesday morning in his e-forum newsletter, where he chided three council colleagues who voted against his wishes on Measures N and O, including Beckles.

“Talk about fiddling while Rome burns, below is a photo of Jovanka Beckles playing scrabble during budget presentations,” Butt wrote in his post. “This is the kind of leadership we are getting on the City Council.”

Mayor Butt’s full post from this morning follows:

“Richmond City Council meetings may lack the drama of the past, but there is still plenty to drive a sane person over the edge.

Take the resolution to oppose Measures N and O. For the City Council this should be a no-brainer. Measure N removes the public review process from a bad development proposal and locks the City into a one-sided, self-serving development agreement written by the developer. It is already opposed by TRAC, the Greenbelt Alliance, Senator Loni Hancock, three former and current Richmond mayors, the Richmond Progressive Alliance and many more. Vinay Pimple, Gayle McLaughlin and I voted for it. Bates, Beckles, Myrick and Martinez opposed it or abstained. Myrick said that if the City Council supported it, people would vote against it. Beckles wondered if the City Council had ever taken a position on an initiative before. I thought the City Council was about leadership, not wimpsmanship. Guess not. I don’t know whether Poe got to them, or they are just weenies. Very disappointing.

Measure O would lock the City into a formula for city Manager compensation that is five times the median household income in Richmond. Of 101 cities in the nine-County Bay Area, Richmond has the lowest median family income except for one, San Pablo. This would lock Richmond in to a compensation formula that would render us unable to recruit a future city manager with a competitive salary.  It is ironic that based on the Measure N formula, Richmond would not be able to compensate its city manager as much as San Pablo is paying its city manager right now. Once again, Bates, Beckles, Myrick and Martinez abdicated their responsibility to provide leadership on this issue. Let the people decide, they said.

Even the RPA has come out against Measure N and O ( Media Coverage of Measures N and O, May 2, 2016), but two of the three RPA members on the City Council went another direction.

I hope the people are smarter than most of our City Council when they vote on June 7.

Talk about fiddling while Rome burns, below is a photo of Jovanka Beckles playing scrabble during budget presentations. This is the kind of leadership we are getting on the City Council.”

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