On Thursday October 1st, 2020, the Fairmede Hilltop Neighborhood Council hosted a live and in person forum for candidates seeking to serve on the Richmond City Council.
In these times of sheltering in place, Zoom meetings have become the norm. But Zoom meetings are fraught with “Can you hear me now?” and “Unmute yourself”. Virtual backgrounds can be abysmal, the sound is never good, for a candidate, appearances can be important.
Following all of the established safety protocols dictated by County health officials, the candidates were given an opportunity to participate in a live-and-in-person forum to showcase their positions on the issues.
The event was sponsored by the Fairmede Hilltop Neighborhood Council and held at the Hilltop Community Church in Richmond, CA.
All of the candidates were invited and all accepted. At the last minute, however, Eleanor Thompson was called to Florida to be with family during an emergency.
Many of the forums were asking questions that seemed to be the same from forum to forum so great effort was made to ask questions uniquely different.
At any forum, one thing viewers need to consider is whether the candidates actually answered the questions. In politics, when you’re asked about one thing and your respond about something else, that’s called ‘pivoting’. There was a fair amount of pivoting at this forum.
Smart politicians try to anticipate every kind of question they might be asked. They then have prepared responses at the ready. The problem with that is the voters don’t know if they’re hearing what the candidate thinks or what the candidate’s handlers and team think.
Watch the video and make your own assessments:
The questions asked were:
Between sales, sewer and property taxes, Richmond has some of the highest taxes in the region.
So why should a business start up or relocate to Richmond?
The redevelopment of the Shops at Hilltop had the potential to bring great revenue into the City, provide hundreds of jobs, become a destination for shoppers inside and out of Richmond and even help with the shortage of housing in Richmond. But that project seems to have dissolved.
Keeping in mind that we have to let the owners develop their own property, how would you help them in their plans so the needs of the community are balanced with the needs of the owners? How would you respond if the owners refused to use local union craftsmen to build their project?
The council has adopted a policy where renters can get a pass on paying rent until the Covid crisis is over.
What do you tell landlords when renters walk away from tens of thousands of dollars of back rent that they have no ability to pay?
Solving the homeless crisis cannot be done at the City Council level. But dealing with the encampments with the trash, garbage, drug and alcohol abuse and theft can be addressed by the Council.
Considering that the City has limited funds, what solution do you see to a problem like this that affects the quality of life for the rest of Richmond’s residents?
Some of the rattiest looking areas in Richmond are actually owned by CalTrans. How would you apply pressure on CalTrans to step up and take action?
A lot of the voters are confused by the new district elections and we hear from a lot of residents concerned that because they’re not voting for anyone from their district this election, that they won’t be represented.
As a candidate running to represent a particular district, how would you balance the needs of your district with the needs of the City as a whole?
Do you believe the City should support development of housing for people in all income ranges or just development of low income and affordable housing?
When we do a Google search for the definition of DEFUND, we see:
“PREVENT FROM CONTINUING TO RECEIVE FUNDS”.
Nonetheless, many speakers tell us that when they say that we need to DEFUND THE POLICE, that’s not what they mean.
So what do YOU mean if you take action to DEFUND THE POLICE? Please share with us what this means to you.
If you think this means to REIMAGINE POLICING, please tell us how you would finance your planned reimagining.