I recognize that many mayors have very crowded and busy schedules that they must try their best to keep, to further the interests of their respective cities.
The current mayor of Richmond, however, seems to pack hers full with visits to foreign countries and has now added meetings with foreign activists to her list of reasons why she is too busy to stick around at important local meetings.
On Tuesday, the mayor was given special dispensation from the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors to speak ahead of dozens of citizens about the closing of Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo so that she could make it to a meeting that she scheduled with a South African environmental activist.
Not only did Mayor McLaughlin cut in front of all the other speakers from the public – people who are still reeling from the notion that one of the major health care facilities serving the community will soon be shut down – but she was also given priority over the Board members. And how did she thank the Board and the public for their graciousness? She left the meeting immediately after her own remarks so that she could meet with someone who has absolutely nothing to do with Richmond’s two major crisis’s (Doctors Medical Center closure and the city’s current deficit. Her idea is to gallivant around town chatting up an international activist who has no connection to Richmond beyond the mayor and her CBE cohorts, who are also NOT Richmond residents.
The mayor of Richmond should care about what happens in her community and pay attention to the needs and wants of the citizens whom she is supposed to represent.
Doctors Medical Center is closing. That means drastically reduced access to medical services and emergency care for all members of our community – yes, ALL – because when Doctors closes, no matter what insurance you have or don’t have, you will have to be transported to a hospital that is accredited to handle heart attacks and strokes (Kaiser is not accredited for that) such as Alta Bates. So heaven help you if it is rush hour – just tell the ambulance to go to Wilson & Kratzer and save some time. It is essential that our elected representatives spend their time dealing with the inevitable fallout from this problem rather than bolstering their public profile in the international activism arena.
Not only does the mayor’s agenda betray that her priority is her image rather than the well-being and health of the people of Richmond, it betrays a great deal of disrespect for the Contra Costa supervisory board and the dozens of citizens whose views she chose not to bother to stick around and listen to. She was given priority as a speaker and then promptly left the supervisors and citizens to deal with the issue on their own.
The mayor’s behavior is unapologetically uncouth and uncaring. I am shocked that she would leave such an important meeting for such an irrelevant engagement. Well, no, I am not shocked, because her behavior at the city council meetings is worse than that.