Richmond, California municipal elections, 2006
The Richmond, California 2006 city election decided the mayor, four council members, and one measure submitted to the voters of Richmond, California on November 7, 2007. The election also elected the first Green Party mayor of this city, and made Richmond the largest city in the United States to have a Green mayor. Furthermore, it unseated an incumbent mayor from a major political party by one from a minor third party.
The mayor's race was a three-way contest between incumbent mayor Irma A. Anderson, former council member Gary Bell (both Democrats), and council member Gayle McLaughlin, a Green. In 2004, McLaughlin had become the first member of the Green Party to win a seat on the Richmond city council. This is attributed to her door-to-door campaigning and the fact that ballots for Richmond city offices do not mention political party. McLaughlin won with 37.2 percent of the votes, followed by Anderson with 36.1 and Gary Bell 26.1. becoming the first Green mayor of a major California city (a feat nearly achieved by Matt González in the 2004 San Francisco mayoral election). Those who decided to vote by mail had to pay an additional US$.63 instead of having it mailed for free as is the custom.
McLaughlin was endorsed by councils and local chapters of several labor unions including: the AFSCME, International Union, and SEIU. Organizations such as the Sierra Club, local Green Parties, Richmond Greens, Alameda County Greens, Contra Costa County Greens, and political groups such as the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), the Richmond Progressive Alliance were among McLaughlin's supporters.
Gary Bell, a banker, had been a council member from 2000 to 2005. He said it was important that residents "feel that their opinion or point of view is heard". His campaign slogan was "No more politics".
City council race
2006's election was considered important because it was the last election for a nine-member council. As of the 2007 election, the number of council members decreased to five.
The results for the four-year seats were as follows:
Tony Thurmond was unopposed in running for a short (2-year) term for a vacancy created by a resignation.
There was only one measure on the ballot that year. In the past several elections, the city's voters had been reluctant to pass any measures at the city level.
Measure T was designed to raise funds for city services in Richmond, California. The measure's purpose was to raise $10 million in additional annual revenue for the purpose of hiring fifty additional police officers, expanding community programs and youth crime prevention, and to serve as a general city tax code overhaul. It proposed adding a 1/8% manufacturing tax on raw materials used in manufacturing. More controversially, the taxation of rental units would change from a flat $247 annual fee to a fee of $35–$90 per residential unit and a 3 cents per square foot tax on non-residential units. Measure T would have also increased the business tax by 10% and made small adjustments to other business taxes, such as those for arcade games. It was supported by the Richmond Police Department including Chief Rupf and several neighborhood councils. Chevron, which has a large Chevron Richmond Refinery, opposed the measure. Under the Measure T provisions, Chevron would pay eight of the desired ten million dollars. A few local taxpayer organizations also opposed the measure. It was defeated by a ratio of approximately two to one.
- Official results of the 2006 Municipal Election Held on November 7, 2006, Richmond website, retrieved August 2, 2007
- Green Party likely to win in Richmond mayor's race, San Francisco Chronicle, by Jason B. Johnson, Peter Fimrite, November 9, 2006, retrieved August 2, 2007
- Attention Voters!!, Richmond website, by City Clerk Diane Holmes, August 18, 2006, retrieved August 2, 2007
- Individuals, Gayle McLaughlin official website
- Voter Information Pamphlet, by Clerk of the city of Richmond: Diane Holmes, August 18, 2006