Topics of Interest – Crime

September 15, 2007

We introduce these topics to residents of Richmond (and beyond) not because we are experts on the subjects, but to stir dialogue. These topics were chosen carefully to represent pressing issues in the city of Richmond. Please feel free to use this space as a forum for respectful and thoughtful debate.

Perhaps the most urgent issue in Richmond, crime—especially violent crime—continues to be a problem this year. While murders are down compared to last year at this time, non-fatal gun shot wounds are just as high, according to the Mayor’s office. Last year, after the murder rate reached a recent high, the community responded with the Tent City Peace Movement. The city also created the Office of Neighborhood Safety to tackle the violence. Yet while the new office received funding from the City Council, its director has not been hired.

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Topics of Interest – Education

September 15, 2007

Two major developments in September will affect the development of the West Contra Costa Unified School District over the next couple of years.

  • The district reached an agreement with the United Teachers of Richmond on a pay-raise of 4 percent, a two-year deal that is retroactive to July 2006. However, the raise was short of the 7.9 percent sought by the union, and does not benefit all teachers equally, according to USD Board Member Audrey Miles.

Topics of Interest – Environment

September 15, 2007

The city of Richmond has a long history of playing host to an array of industrial manufacturing companies, from the Standard Oil Company and Santa Fe Railroad in the 1900s, to the more recent AstraZeneca and Chevron Refinery. The wake of any industrial boom is tainted by environmental controversy, but in Richmond the inequities of environmental burden are especially pronounced due to the geographic segregation of racial groups within the city’s boundaries. According to the 2000 census, north and south Richmond are predominantly black, Point Richmond and the eastern hills are predominantly white, and central Richmond is predominantly Hispanic or Latino.

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Topics of Interest – Economy

September 15, 2007

During the rapid economic growth and associated population boom of World War II, Richmond became an epicenter of economic activity. After the war, federal funding dropped off and demand for jobs from the massively expanded population far exceeded availability. The city had attracted a diverse population of workers during the war, but those workers now faced a host of unemployment and segregation/civil rights issues. Over the years, the city built its economy around various important companies such as Chevron, Kaiser Permenente, and various government services.

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