An Op-Ed Piece on a Critical Issue That May Change Richmond Forever.
Because this is a complicated issue, this Op-Ed is broken into multiple chapters.
Chapter 1 was published on Sunday evening and Chapter on Monday morning.
ATTORNEY SCOTT J. RAFFERTY FROM WALNUT CREEK IS THREATENING TO SUE RICHMOND IF THE RICHMOND CITY COUNCIL ON TUESDAY NIGHT DOES NOT AGREE TO AMEND HOW RICHMOND ELECTS MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL. CLAIMING THAT A MINORITY CANNOT GET ELECTED TO THE COUNCIL, HE’S DEMANDING THAT RICHMOND NO LONGER BE ALLOWED TO ELECT COUNCILMEMBERS AT LARGE (SO THEY REPRESENT THE ENTIRE CITY). HE IS DEMANDING THAT RICHMOND BE SEGREGATED INTO DISTRICTS THAT WILL HELP ENSURE THAT MINORITIES CAN GET ELECTED.
What does it say about a person when they pontificate that voters will only vote for people of the same ethnicity as they are?
And what does it say about a person that demands that voting districts be segregated by ethnicity—that is, a White district, a Black District and so on?
In the world we live in today—in Richmond—are we really defined by the color of our skin?
In the most recent election for school board members, Attorney Rafferty tried to make this claim but the election results didn’t validate his claim. Mister Phillips—a PROUD African American ran and was elected to the school board. The problem is that in the entire District, there are only about 12,400 African American voters. But Mister Phillips collected about 28,000 votes to win. How could that be? This suggests that there were close to 14,000 race traitors that voted for someone whose skin color differed from their own! Attorney Rafferty never addressed that issue.
One of the problems with district elections is that too many district elected representatives care only about the people that can vote for them and that may be at the expense of the rest of the city.
Why would the Point Richmond Councilmember even listen to someone living in Carriage Hills if they can’t vote for them?
With a limited amount of street repair funds, what would keep four Councilmembers from colluding to take care of their own districts at the expense of the rest of the city?
Here’s a little test for you: Go to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s web site and try to send her an email. Even though, as the second most powerful elected official in the country, she is representing everyone in the country, successfully reaching out to her may be more difficult than you imagined. With most elected officials above the City Council level, they have no public email address. You can always write a letter but if you want to email them you are required to use their email service on their web site. The problem is that the very first question you’re asked is your zip code. If your zip code is not in that official’s jurisdiction, then you’re shut down and the site won’t let you proceed.
In San Francisco, where Supervisors are elected by district, it’s racially polarized and the Supervisors generally look after their own constituents. In Oakland, where most members of the Council are elected by district, one former Councilmember routinely told people and the media that she ONLY represented Black people living in her district.
Even here in Contra Costa County, why would the Supervisor living out in Discovery Bay care about the issues here in North Richmond, El Sobrante or Kensington nearly 60 miles away? No matter what that Supervisor does, it’s with impunity because we can’t vote for her/him.
One of the arguments used to support district elections is that the cost for running from a much smaller area would be significantly less than running for an At Large seat covering all of Richmond. And this would be correct.
BUT…this also means that special interest groups would be required to spend significantly less to control the Council.
There is speculation that one local grass roots community based group is strongly supporting this measure because it will help them to regain control of the Council (and the City). Whether it’s a large business, labor unions or outside groups, the cost to own the Council would be significantly less than it would be if the candidates ran At Large.
The potential for corruption just went through the roof.
How hard would to be for a special interest group to cultivate a candidate from an underrepresented district where it would be easy to win a victory?
Take a look at many of the larger cities up and down the state that have been forced to use district elections. Now look at their Councils and School Boards to see if they have more minority representation. What you’ll find is that the opposite has taken place. Even Attorney Rafferty subtly hints at this in his lengthy Demand Letter.
But Attorney Rafferty still got his hefty payday when he left town.
The Sacramento City Council elects by districts and has five Whites, three Blacks, one Asian and no Latinos on their Council even though the demographics of the city are that nearly 14% are Latino and nearly 19% are Asian.
The Modesto City Council also elects by district and has five Whites, one Latino and one Indian even though the demographics show that 38% of the residents are Latino, 8% are Asian and 5% are Black.
So why didn’t districting ensure that each minority would be represented by someone of their own ethnicity
DO NOT BE FOOLED. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SOCIAL JUSTICE.
THIS IS ABOUT THE MONEY—A LOT OF IT.
In subsequent chapters on this critical issue, the process, costs and risks will be explained in more detail. You’ll learn about the mandatory public meetings, how the mandatory public meetings are just a subterfuge and the final district lines can be decided by Attorney Rafferty, how 9 year old outdated data MUST be used to determine the ward boundaries, and how the boundary lines are determined.
The next chapter should be available in a couple of hours.
Call or email your Councilmembers and let them know what you think about what Attorney Rafferty is doing to our community.
Tell the Council to stand up to Attorney Rafferty.