Richmond City Council ~ Al Green in His Own Words

Don Gosney

On Tuesday September 12th the Richmond City Council will host a meeting where the 13 applicants for the vacated Council seat (created when Councilmember McLaughlin resigned to seek the Lt. Governor's seat).  Each applicant will be allowed 8 minutes to address the Council and the public to explain why they would be the best choice to fill the vacancy.

Radio Free Richmond has invited each of the applicants to pen about 500 words and provide a headshot photo.


Blogfoto-Al.jpgTo say I am a futurist is perhaps the most apt title at this stage of my life. As an NGO Director doing urban greening in Oakland, I enjoyed working with local and national non-profits plus public agencies and grassroots activists in a national campaign to enrich urban life. Before directing an NGO, I was a regional Park Planner for five years, where I organized exponential growth in public participation, from planning through planting. Before that, I was an independent artisan, remodeling local businesses using recycled materials sculpted into uniquely personalized settings. Every one of my projects got done on time, on budget, with artistic integrity – because I said they would.

My track record of taking complex projects from concept to completion developed more deeply by teaching landscape architecture, green city planning, community collaboration, advanced communication, and more. At U.C. Davis, Cal Poly, San Jose State and other leading schools, I connected class work with community service to enrich education and improve environments.  I’ve been honored professionally for innovative outreach using multi-media methods, and my grad students have also earned honors for extraordinary civic service, using modern media to quicken ingenious interaction.

We developed a wealth of ways to involve folks of all ages in sustained campaigns that grew social vision. Working with permaculture experts, native healers, engineers, ethnobotanists, grassroots leaders, youth groups, local elders, and all types of advocates, we found many ways to engage expansively. When people see how their interests fit within a larger vision of cooperation, futile battles cease as fruitful actions proceed more freely. Synergy starts to spiral with increasing inclusion, like a social dynamo. The key is to turn down argumentation and turn up visualization – seeing the big picture together. Here’s what I mean by forming a BIG PICTURE to unite diverse leaders.


What if we chose to become the West Coast New Orleans, with fresh brewed health drinks instead of dizzy booze? What if lots of folks saw Richmond as the place for staying up late by being JUICED on healthy food and drink, humming with JAZZ CLUBS, plus BLUES and every ETHNIC ROOTS MUSIC imaginable – making Main Street more fun than Austin. 

Our version would have a more diverse mix. With East Bay Center for Performing Arts as the growing ground for local talent, a JAZZY CITY is the logical next step for putting artists to work, making good money by making life more wonderful for all. Research proves that ART vitalizes economies of cities, as well as the souls of citizens.

The whole point of urban life is to enjoy a “multiplicity of choices” as Jane Jacobs said. We’ve got a BUNDLE OF WONDERFUL here, now…we just need to turn ZOMBIE REAL ESTATE into a JAZZY CITY. It may not be easy, but THST opportunity exists NO where else. The prolonged state of dormancy is exactly what GIVES Richmond the rare opportunity to become a unique urban context. Ready anybody?

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