SOME INFORMATION BELOW HAS BEEN UPDATED By a 4-3 vote in Executive Session the Richmond City Council voted to terminate the contract with recently hired City Manager Carlos Martinez. Councilmembers Choi and Myrick joined Mayor Butt in voting to retain Martinez with Councilmembers Martinez, Johnson, Bates and Willis voting to terminate. Martinez started his term as the City Manager last October with a five year contract after serving in a similar position at East Palo Alto. Martinez has been struggling to close the $7+ million budget deficit he inherited. Considering that there were scant few programs left to cut, reducing the costs of City personnel was one of the few remaining options. Laying off workers is never a popular thing to do and when word got out that Martinez was planning cuts, the social media sites were burning up with rumors. A large chasm between Martinez and City worker unions has festered with the unions claiming that Martinez has refused to communicate with them and work out details on how to handle the budget crisis. From what was said by multiple speakers at multiple Council meetings, the way that Martinez was interacting with the City workers made it very difficult to maintain harmony and efficiency in the work place. Community Services Director Rochelle Polk was appointed as the Acting City Manager while the Council searches for a more permanent replacement. She has declined this appointment. Mayor Butt has scheduled an Emergency City Council meeting for 10 AM on Saturday July 27. Martinez had a five year contract with Richmond and his termination allows him a severance package with one year’s salary and benefits.
Among the many hats worn by Don Gosney is that of the current Chair of the Citizens' Bond Oversight Committee tasked with looking over the collective shoulders of the WCCUSD School Board and staff to ensure that the $1.8 billion in Bond Funds are spent according to the wishes of the voters and the law. Don has been a part of the Bond Program since 1998 (even before it officially existed) and has served in the CBOC for more than 9 years. In recent years when the WCCUSD has completed a new school a commemorative plaque has been affixed to a wall so people in generations to come might know who was responsible for the fine new facility. Continue reading
Are you looking for new ways you can step up to help our community and state? Have you ever considered applying for an appointment to a State Board or State Commission? Continue reading
While controversy continues about one famous artist’s mural at a San Francisco high school, an East Bay museum is determined to restore another valuable work by the same person. Continue reading
IMAGINE: PROPOSED STATE LAW WOULD ALLOW NONCITIZENS TO SERVE IN ELECTED POSITIONS AT THE PARTY LEVEL
What do you suppose the headlines would look like if Republican legislators proposed a law that would allow Russians to sit at the table at Republican Party committees (all the way up to the State Republican Party Convention)? How about if they proposed that they be allowed to serve as delegates to the convention and serve as elected officials within the party? Continue reading
Most traditional public schools built today are built to last 50 or more years (most charter schools are built to different standards. They’re built as office buildings so if the charter school fails or needs to relocate, the buildings can be repurposed. Traditional public schools must adhere to the Field Act which dictates specific building codes for schools. [Enacted in 1933 after a major southern California earthquake rendered 237 schools unusable.] Many charter schools only have to apply for permits through the local Planning Commission instead of the Division of the State Architect (DSA). Schools built in earlier years were not designed to last as long as schools designed today. Woodrow Wilson Elementary School (formerly located at 629 42nd Street in Richmond) was built in 1953 and, in recent years, was showing its age. If it was a human being, it would be eligible for Medicare. If the parents of the students attending Wilson can be believed, the school absolutely needed to be replaced—NOW! Continue reading
After last week’s graduations at the Richmond Convention Center, concerns were raised about the level of clean up between events—in particular between Friday evening’s Pinole Valley HS graduation and Saturday morning’s El Cerrito HS event. Continue reading