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On Sept. 13, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt and Councilmembers Nat Bates and Vinay Pimplé blocked a proposed 45-day “urgency” moratorium on rent increases and no-cause evictions. Before Mayor Tom Butt voted “no” to block the moratorium, he failed to disclose to the residents at the Sept. 13 City Council meeting that he has been accepting political contributions from the California Apartment Association, an organization representing the interests of landlords, not tenants.
The Richmond Progressive Alliance, commonly known as the RPA, is backing Planning Commissioner Marilyn Langlois for the vacant seat on the Richmond City Council. The RPA made national and international headlines last November, when each of their three City Council candidates won their seats even though Chevron Corp, spent $1 million each to defeat them. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Richmond City Councilor Eduardo Martinez.
In August 2012, a rusted pipe inside a massive Chevron refinery in Richmond, California, caused an explosion and fire that spewed toxic chemicals into the air, sending 15,000 people to the hospital for treatment. A year after the fire, the city filed a lawsuit against the company, citing its record of safety violations and disregard for public welfare going back to 1989. Chevron’s response? As Rachel Maddow reported, they’re trying to buy the city government of Richmond.
There’s a good old-fashioned muckraker’s war going on in Richmond, Calif., and Chevron’s “community-driven” news site Richmond Standard is the latest fighter to step into the ring. This sprawling city east of San Francisco is home to Chevron’s oil refinery, which has made it a battleground between the company’s business interests and environmental activists who are calling for checks on air quality and safety.