Thursday, December 11, 2014

Serendipitous Encounter

I write this at 4:20 PM.

Earlier today, December 11, 2014, I serendipitously ran into a television reporter from CBS5 while I was looking at the effect of the most recent rain in my former neighborhood.  He was the cameraman during an interview I did back in 2010 and he decided to do an impromptu follow-up interview today.
I'm writing this before the report from today airs anticipating what comments may be made by any representative of the City of Richmond or by any viewer/reader once the report is aired and posted.

There's a good possibility that the reporter will point out that he house was bought in an estate sale with no disclosures required.

This fact has been stated in previous television and newspaper reports as well as neighborhood email forums by Richmond staff and councilmembers to deflect the issue that the neighborhood flooding is due to the tax-payer funded storm drain infrastructure not working.

I could have won the house in a poker game while wearing a clown suit.


How the property was acquired has no bearing on Richmond's obligation to maintain its infrastructure and allow residents their right to "peaceful and quiet enjoyment" of their homes.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Richmond, CA: The Storm Drains are Deja Vu All Over Again

 December 3, 2014, I visited my former neighborhood which I left over two years ago and took the following pictures.

Facing west on Van Fleet Ave., Richmond, CA
Facing 5201 Van Fleet Ave., Richmond, CA
The storm drain infrastructure in the neighborhood consists of six city streets with a minimum of nine houses that are directly effected by the lack of proper drainage.  The water flows from the streets onto homeowners' properties bringing with it oil, trash, sewage from backed-up pipes, and other detritus.

I had no delusions that the scene would be any different.  It's something I witnessed over thirty times in the nine years I lived there and pleaded and fought Richmond to address.

"Richmond, CA and VEOLIA: A Partnership Like a Marriage (Part I)

Marriage, Money, and Malfeasance, oh my!!!

Featuring Nat Bates, Richmond city council member and Tom Butt, Richmond city council member and mayor-elect, and their ties to Veolia Water, the largest water company in the world founded by Napoleon III in 1853.

Richmond privatized its wastewater system to US Filter/Veolia in 2002 and then its stormwater system in 2004.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Veolia LOVES Chevron in Richmond, CA

Bad press is good press

Chevron gets a lot of bad press every time an election is held in Richmond, CA and this year it made national news.  The talk is always regarding the amount of money the company floods into the campaigns of its “Chevron-friendly” candidates and the PACs it contributes to.  Billboards and mailboxes are inundated with messages supporting “their” candidates as well as negative (messages) about the candidates who are critical of the company.  But everybody already knows this.  It’s not really news.

However, the corporate political player that is so glaringly missing when it comes to talk about money shelled out in Richmond elections is Veolia.

Scratch my back

Veolia is a French multi-billion dollar company with its origin dating back to 1853

Saturday, October 4, 2014

"The Casino Five" Minus Tom Butt Equals "The Casino Four": Tom Butt's Sleight of Hand

2014 mayoral candidate, Councilmember Tom Butt

 As the 2014 Richmond, CA mayoral race starts revving up and political volleys are tossed at candidates from their respective opposition I would like to zoom the lens in on mayoral candidate Richmond Councilmember Tom Butt.

Although he likes to fashion himself as a "straight shooter", Tom Butt's decisions and "the calling out of his opponents and critics" at times make him appear more like "the man behind the curtain" in his own political Oz.

Butt has been on the council since 1995 (?!!!) and over the years

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

TBF - Acronym vs. Initialism

As my friend, John, will be quick to note, "TBF" is not an acronym but an initialism.  However, I’m not writing to describe the difference between the two language forms but rather to define TBF, a term that I somewhat proudly coined.

Coming to the realization that the City of Richmond had absolutely no intention of fixing the neighborhood flooding problem and Bank of America had absolutely no intention of working with us in finding a more equitable agreement to finance a house that was assessed for an unprecedented amount of $4,000 as the result of Richmond’s lack of proper infrastructure, our house was foreclosed upon.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Picking Butt: When Not To Do It

Richmond Councilmember
So, based on the March 2004 letter from Richmond City Engineer, Rich Davidson, the owner of the commercial property at 5221 Central Avenue was responsible for the maintenance and the proper operation of the stormwater system in the neighborhood.  

In August 2004, five months after my visit to Rich Davidson, there still hadn’t been anything done to the drainage ditch. Vegetation over six feet tall prevailed as well as trash and detritus strewn everywhere.  It was at this time that we decided to contact a representative on the city council who could help us expedite action.  Easier said than done.