Traditionally, residents of Richmond, California have had little voice in planning their city; the process being dominated by Chevron, real estate developers, and other corporations. But in the past six years, a community-based coalition—Richmond Equitable Development Initiative (REDI)—working with a constellation of community organizations and regional experts has successfully incorporated a solid set of community priorities into the new General Plan approved by the City Council in April 2012.
In a complex and dynamic world where scientific certainty is hard to come by and new technologies, chemicals and industrial processes are being introduced into the world, Richmond’s City Council decided that it is best to take a cautious approach to making policies and city planning. At least, that’s the aim of a resolution passed at last night’s city council meeting.
The idea behind the resolution is that the city should use the precautionary principle, which holds that if there is a possibility that a policy or plan will have potentially dangerous health or environmental impact—even if there is no scientific consensus—it is better to err on the side of caution. This resolution will put the burden of proof on companies proposing new developments and businesses within city limits to show that there is little chance that a local group will be negatively impacted. Although the resolution is symbolic, it is a statement that the council will consider health impacts for any decisions they make—like new buildings or industrial and manufacturing developments—and will ask the organization proposing a new action to prove that it is unlikely to cause harm.
By Christina Lopez
After a citywide restoration project to revitalize the Nevin Community Center and the surrounding area, the center will celebrate with a much-anticipated grand re-opening celebration this Saturday.
“I think it’s part of the Iron Triangle cleaning itself up,” said nearby resident Richard Boyd, referring to the center’s new look from the inside out. For the last three months, the center’s doors have remained open as over 50 community members volunteered hundreds of hours to wax floors, paint walls, remove graffiti, refurbish classrooms, and collect trash surrounding the center.
“Teams would take shifts to renovate and clean the center. Those working would range from 14 years old to 77 years old and across all racial lines,” Boyd said. A resident of the Iron Triangle, Boyd also works with Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization (CCISCO), an interfaith organization comprised of 25 congregations and youth organizations representing 35,000 families throughout the county. He helped organize city officials’ visits to the park and generate interest from residents outside the Iron Triangle.
In response to a news submission from the Richmond Chamber of Commerce that was posted on this site in February the Mayor of Richmond has contributed the following information for the record. The Mayor reports that she responded to the Chamber with the following email sent 3 days after Mr Connolly's letter.
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The median household income in unincorporated North Richmond is $8,763, less than half the federal poverty level for a family of four. In Richmond proper—itself considered an economically disadvantaged town—it’s a little more than $50,000.
It’s this stark divide that reminds you that however economically bad things are in Richmond, where 17.5 percent of the city’s residents are unemployed, things just to the north are even worse.
Like many African American families, Mary “Peace” Head and her brood migrated to the Bay Area from Louisiana just before WWII in search of work and opportunity.
She would go on to work as a welder in the Richmond shipyards during the war. Head, who is now 83, later became one of the early residents of Parchester Village. She’s been a leader in this small housing development since the 1950s, playing an instrumental role in securing funding for a neighborhood community center and acting as a quasi-guardian to generations of local kids.
She is called “Mary Peace” by neighbors and others throughout the city, a name she earned by flashing her customary “peace sign” with her right index and middle fingers.
In 1950, Parchester Village, named for wealthy developer Fred Parr, opened on land beyond the border of northwest Richmond.
It was billed as a community for “All Americans,” but the idea was ahead of its time.