by Richmond City Councilmember Jovanka Beckles
I strongly oppose Measure N, the ballot measure that proposes to bypass city planning procedures to build “The Richmond Riviera,” a few luxury Richmond waterfront homes. We cannot let developers who can afford signature campaigns and fancy mailers determine how we want to move forward in our city, since they are many other realtor companies that offer good properties or commercial property for sale austin tx or other cities.
I also strongly oppose Measure O, a ballot measure that would set the salary of a city employee. The City Council needs to have the authority to be able to hire the best candidate for the job and to determine the salary based on a fair and competitive process.
Unfortunately, some of the reporting about the May 3 meeting makes it look like the Council was divided or even supported Measure N. This is completely untrue.
Six of the seven Council members (Councilmember Bates was not entirely clear) strongly opposed Measure N. The major difference of opinion the Council had was about how to best fight it, and whether a Council resolution would help or hurt in educating voters about what was at stake.
We cannot let developers who can afford signature campaigns and fancy mailers determine how we want to move forward in our city.
A majority of the Council disagreed with Mayor Butt’s strategy about how to oppose Measure N. Unfortunately, in his frustration with the Council decision, the Mayor’s report to the community was misleading and his anger seemed to be directed against me personally and in particular.
Mayor Butt published a picture of me appearing to not be paying attention during the budget debate. Appearances can be deceiving. I regularly go through the packets and background materials carefully, and I sometimes review them with others. I actually paid close attention to the debate.
Typically, during the six or seven straight hours of meetings on Tuesdays, there is a lot of repetition of what is in the packets. I show up to Council meetings prepared to work throughout the evening without breaks, after having worked a full day serving the community and working with clients at a local mental health clinic.
Occasionally I, like every other member of the Council, multi-task when I have a moment. In fact as stated by another councilmember, all of us take breaks to stay focused and alert. All of us have different ways in which we do that. All of those ways involve the Internet. All of those ways involve de-stressing methods.
A local professional who is in management responded to the photo by the mayor by saying: “I once got angry at one of my staff who was always on his phone. I pulled him aside and after a long conversation it turned out that he could tell me what the presentation was about better than the people who looked like they were paying attention. I’ve come to respect people’s way of staying focused, so I don’t mind him or other staff being on their phones.” This manager understands that it is doing the job well that is ultimately most important.
That said, I genuinely apologize if any of my actions allow people to think that I do not take these issues very seriously. On the contrary, I am dedicated to my work on behalf of the people of this city and I believe that my integrity, my record and my actions reflect this.
It is doing the job well that is ultimately most important.
I have been consistent in my advocacy for improving the lives of Richmond residents, especially the disenfranchised. Bernie Sanders’ growing popularity shows us that the people want candidates with integrity.
I have been consistent in my advocacy for improving the lives of Richmond residents, especially the disenfranchised.
When Sen. Sanders visited Richmond, he did so because he knew that Team Richmond – Gayle McLaughlin, Eduardo Martinez and Jovanka Beckles – were candidates who were and will continue to be of the people, for the people and by the people.
That’s what really matters.
Richmond City Council member Jovanka Beckles works as a mental health specialist for Contra Costa County and serves on the Richmond Progressive Alliance steering committee. She was born in Panama City, where she grew up in a bilingual, multicultural household. Her family moved to the United States in1972, and she has lived in Richmond for nearly two decades. She can be reached at Jovankabeckles@gmail.com.