Friday, October 12, 2012

Myers vs. Butt: Butt Implies Extortion

Tom Butt
Richmond Councilmember 
In his response to my recent editorial, Tom Butt is implying that I’m trying to extort money from the city’s coffers by making the horrific neighborhood drainage problem known to the public.  

He’s dearly misguided because my sole motivation is purely to shame him and Richmond to action and warn others of the issue.

It’s curious how much attention Tom Butt’s paying to the issue now by taking the time to write in a closed email forum.  Imagine if all of that energy was actually put into getting the problem fixed when it was brought to his attention almost nine years ago. 

See “2004 Letter to Tom Butt Requesting Help”

Rather than taking action and responsibility,
Tom Butt is spending his time singling out one homeowner from the neighborhood, me, who has spent nine years diligently and exhaustively pursuing a solution to the neighborhood problem.

Van Fleet Ave.
Richmond, CA
His “red herring” response reveals his contempt and his refusal to accept that the manner in which a property is acquired has absolutely no bearing on Richmond’s responsibility to fix its taxpayer-funded infrastructure and the obligation to protect its citizens.

Tom Butt’s reaction seems counterintuitive coming from a board member of the Local Government Commission which focuses on “livable communities”   

and someone who subscribes to the “Broken Window Theory”.

Addressing the cheeky Mr. Butt’s reference to me wanting a “second bite of that apple”:

In January 2012, four years after our 2008 settlement that included six plaintiffs,

Bill Lindsay, Richmond City Manager, asked me what an “acceptable resolution” would be for me and my family considering all we had been through in the past nine years and all of the new facts that were uncovered since the 2008 settlement.  

It seemed we finally were being heard.

We asked for two things.

  1. to be paid for moving expenses and the additional items that we lost since the 2008 settlement 
  2. equally as important, we asked for Richmond to officially condemn the property (with no compensation to us) so that no one else would be subjected to what we endured for nine years.  For Richmond to officially condemn it as a “catch basin” for its drainage system as opposed to the unofficial and illegal capacity that the city continues to benefit from. 

Richmond and the council denied both requests. 

For the record, I retracted the request for monetary compensation several weeks ago and notified Bill Lindsay, Tom Butt, and the rest of the council.   I did so after the realization that Richmond and the council had no real intention to find a resolution but to once again ignore the neighborhood problem and try to placate me.

However, the city will have a more difficult time placating the Contra Costa Health department and its mandate for Richmond to fix its infrastructure. 

Tom Butt
Richmond Councilmember
After we disclosed the flooding to the county, which neither the city nor the county had any public record of when we conducted our due diligence, its value was assessed for $4,000.  $2,000 for the house, $2,000 for the land.

The house went on the market for $24,900 yesterday, October 11, 2012:

A  piece of advice for prospective Richmond home buyers: 

Buyer Beware

The way cities are planned and the way they grow affects our health, our safety and our state of mind. Good urban design is not a luxury; it is, like healthcare, something we all deserve and must have.” from Tom Butt’s political platform

Jason Myers
Chair, United Symposium To Investigate Nefarious Claims

P.S. It’s “M-Y-E-R-S”.  If you attempt to “call me out” at least spell my name correctly.  It embarrasses both of us.  Geez.

mal·fea·sance noun \ˌmal-ˈfē-zən(t)s\

: wrongdoing or misconduct especially by a public official
Tom Butt's response to editorial:

From:[] On Behalf Of Butt, Tom
Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2012 5:26 PM
Subject: RE: N & E Yahoo Group Richmond Ignores West Nile Threat

I have asked City staff to provide a history and evaluation of Mr. Myers’ predicament, but meanwhile I can tell you that apparently Mr. Myers was part of a group who previously sued  a nearby property owner for causing the floods that plagued his home, and that the City was brought in on a cross-complaint by the other property owner. I understand that the lawsuit was settled with money paid to Mr. Meyers and that Mr. Meyers now wants a second bite of that apple.

I also understand that Mr. Meyers purchased his home “as is” out of foreclosure without the benefit of normal disclosures that are required for a real property transaction.

I further understand that Mr. Meyers no longer owns the home, it having been foreclosed by a lender.

While I have a lot of sympathy for Mr. Meyers or anyone else whose property is damaged by flooding, I’m not sure that the City of Richmond should act as a guarantor that every piece of property in Richmond is without defects. We have a system that is intended to provide warning to buyers about a large number of existing or potential flaws with real property. A purchaser of property is an “as is” condition also is wise to conduct his own due diligence. Mr. Myers availed himself of neither.

Should the rest of us taxpayers reach into our pockets to make him whole? You tell me.

Tom Butt
Richmond City Councilman

117 Park Place

Richmond, CA  94801

Phone:  510.236.7435
Mobile: 510-220-1577
Fax:  510.232.5325
Tom Butt Political Website:

Board of Directors, Past Chair, Local Government Commission
League of California Cities Environmental Quality Policy Committee
Alternate, Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO)
Alternate, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC)
WCCTAC City of Richmond Representative
Marin Energy Authority Richmond Representative
East Bay Regional Park District Liaison Committee Richmond Representative
City Council Liaison to Design Review Board and Historic Preservation Commission
City Council Ad-hoc Committee for Chevron Energy Renewal Project

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