John Márquez

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John Márquez
Occupation Politician
Known for City councilman, City of Richmond, California

John E. Márquez is an American Democratic politician and activist who has held various positions in Richmond, California city government over a span twenty-three years in addition to further years of service before and after in the West County Area.[1] This includes eighteen years[2] as a city councilman and a stint as vice mayor. He was the first Latino to serve on the Richmond City Council. Originally he was an appointee to the council in 1985 and won an election to that seat in 1987,[1] he subsequently lost his second bid in 1991.[3] However he was elected again in 1993 and twice more in 1997 and 2004.[3] In 1990 and 1998 he also served as vice mayor.[3] Márquez was defeated for re-election in 2008, and also lost a mayoral bid in 2001 to Green Gayle McLaughlin. In addition to his elected offices in the city of Richmond, he has held various other positions in Contra Costa County, California on various commissions including college trustee.

Formative years and education[edit]

He was born in Taos, New Mexico and later attended Bishop Union High School when his family moved to Bishop, California. He has served in the United States Army as an MP and was sent to Lebanon during the conflict there, and was awarded the American Expeditionary Service Medal. He retired as a labor standards investigator.[4]

While a student at Contra Costa College in 1969 he founded the Latino Club and the "La Raza Studies department" in 1970.[1][2] He later became an adjunct professor at the college.[2] Later he transferred to San Francisco State University from where he received his associates and bachelor's degrees.[1] After that he attended Hastings College of Law. Finally he completed further graduate studies at CSU Hayward and San Jose State University in order to obtain teaching credentials.[1] He was certified to instruct in Spanish, Psychology, and Ethnic Studies.[1]

After this he began work for the city of Richmond as a human relations department.[1] This was in addition to work for the office of the California State Labor Commissioner of the California Department of Industrial Relations.[1] He was employed as a deputy labor commissioner for that agency.[1] Márquez is also a professional English - Spanish interpreter and owns a business Márquez and Associates.[1] During his career he has been a member of the county Democratic Central Committee in addition to being a delegate to the station committee.[1] He has a wife named Marie with whom he has five children and twelve grandchildren.[1]

Political career[edit]

1985 to 2004[edit]

He was originally appointed to the City Council to fill a vacancy in 1985.[2] He was the first Latino on the council[2][5] and remained the only one for fourteen years.

In 1999 he expressed relief that the city settled out of court with former recreation director and financial mismanagement whistleblower Brad Baxter.[6] In 2005 he supported efforts to mitigate the spike in crime in Richmond[7] stating, "Our purpose is to take pro-active steps by implementing a firearm violence prevention action plan through a collaborative effort with the Richmond Police Department, the faith community, the state and federal law enforcement agencies and the citizens of the city..."[8]

In 2001 there was a controversy between him and councilman Nat Bates over who received more time at the microphone at the city's Cinco de Mayo event.[9] Bates claimed that the event should have been called "Marquez de Mayo" and wanted more time to address the crowd himself.[9] City manager Tony Thurmond when questioned stated "he did not want to touch" the matter and later Bates requested a report by the parks department, and made a complaint to mayor Rosemary Corbin.[9] He lost his seat in 2001 during a run for mayor, but was re-elected in 2004 with support from the unions representing Richmond police officers and firefighters.[4] He was also supported in 2004 by the Keep Richmond Safe Committee that was accused of "mudslinging" and whose campaign was developed by a former city fire captain that underwent house arrest and FBI investigations for vote buying[10]

2006 to present[edit]

He was re-elected in 2006 and was chosen vice mayor by his colleagues. In 2007 he expressed support for the city's undocumented illegal residents saying the city had a responsibility to investigate the raids by immigration enforcement.[11] He also sponsored legislation the expand the University of California Berkeley facilities at the Richmond Field Station along with Nat Bates and Maria Viramontes.[12]

He was defeated for re-election in 2008.[13] Also in 2008 he was part of the "Chevron 5" along with councilmembers Maria Viramontes, Harpreet Sandhu, Ludmyrna Lopez, and Nat Bates supporting massive expansion of the Chevron Richmond Refinery.[14] He also opposed measure T, a voter initiative passed by the people of Richmond that taxed the company 16,000,000 dollars annually in order to pay for city services.[14] Also at this time Chevron Corporation gave BAPAC $1,500 that was used in his campaign.[14]

In 2009 he continued to support the Guideville Band of Pomo Indians plan to build a Las Vegas style casino on the former Point Molate Fuel Depot and Winehaven National Historic District, citing the jobs potential.[15] In 2012 he was supportive of memorializing the Marina Bay Parkway underpass for fallen Richmond Police Department officer Bradley Moody of which is said was "gentle" and "always smiling".[16]

In April 2012 he was appointed to represent the Contra Costa Community College District on the as-yet-unnamed successor organization to the Pinole Redevelopment Agency.[17] He is an elected board member for the college district with a term that will expire in 2014.[1]


He was the 2006 Contra Costa County Hispanic of the Year.[18] For his years of distinguished service he was honored by a California assembly resolution for outstanding community service by state assemblyman Robert Campbell of California's 11th district.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Contra Costa Community College District, Home, John E. Márquez - Secretary, 2012, access date 27-04-2012
  2. ^ a b c d e Francisco Rendon (October 29, 2008). "John Márquez". Accent Advocate. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved 2012-04-29. Originally appointed in 1985, he was the first Latino to serve on the Richmond City Council... Still an adjunct professor at CCC...
  3. ^ a b c John E. Márquez, City of Richmond website (c/o wayback machine), 03-09-2007, access date 27-04-2012
  4. ^ a b Cecilia M. Vega, Chronicle staff writer (October 21, 2004). "Campaign 2004 -- Richmond. Voters have chance to set new course. 5 of 9 council seats open -- city mired in financial problems". San Francisco Chronicle. SFGate. Retrieved 2011-12-10. John Marquez, a retired labor standards investigator and 14-year councilman who lost his seat in 2001 during an unsuccessful run for mayor...
  5. ^ Prop 209 could hit hard in Richmond, Contra Costa Times, October 31, 1996
  6. ^ City Official Forced to Quit Settles With Richmond, Benjamin Pimentel, San Francisco Chronicle, 13-03-1999, access date 16-04-2012
  7. ^ "Emotions boil in Richmond", Oakland Tribune, 22-06-2005, access date 25-04-2012
  8. ^ Richmond to declare state of emergency to curb spate of violence, Chuck Squatriglia, San Francisco Chronicle, 16-06-2005, access date 16-04-2012
  9. ^ a b c Flag Waving in Berkeley; Lawsuit on Public School Conditions in Oakland Goes Forward, East Bay Express, 18-05-2001, access date 21-04-2012
  10. ^ Richmond Candidate Cries Foul Over 'Hit Pieces', J Douglas Allen-Taylor, The Berkeley Daily Planet, 29-10-2012, access date 21-04-2012
  11. ^ Officials meet with public over immigration raids, Delfin Vigil, San Francisco Chronicle, 29-01-2007, access date 17-04-2012
  12. ^ Berkeley, Richmond Council Target Lab Projects, Richard Brenneman, Berkeley Daily Planet, 15-05-2008, access date 21-04-2012
  13. ^ Ex-Richmond official files FPPC complaint, Contra Costa Times, February 4, 2009
  14. ^ a b c A Friend of Chevron Gives It a Costly Gift, Robert Gammon, East Bay Express, 21-10-2009, access date 21-04-2012
  15. ^ Yeas Outnumber Nays at Point Molate Casino Hearing, Richard Brenneman, Berkeley Daily Planet, 20-08-2009, access date 21-04-2009
  16. ^ Council approves naming street project after fallen officer, Robert Rogers, Richmond Confidential, 17-02-2012, access date 25-04-2012
  17. ^ "Pinole redevelopment successor agency to hold first meeting", San Jose Mercury News, April 2, 2012
  18. ^ "City of Richmond website – John Márquez profile". Archived from the original on March 10, 2007. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
  19. ^ Voter Information Pamphlet, City of Richmond, 2006

External links[edit]