Richmond City Council (Richmond, California)

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The Richmond City Council is the governing body for the city of Richmond, California.


The council consists of the Mayor of Richmond and six other city council members, one designated Vice Mayor. The council members are all elected from the whole city; no members are elected by district or ward. The council members are elected to four-year terms, as opposed to the previous six-year terms. They are not all elected at once. The council members meet every first and third Tuesday of the month and, if necessary, hold special meetings on the remaining Tuesdays. Presently, there are eight Democrats, one member of the Green Party, and no Republicans.

The city council had met at the Richmond Civic Center at City Hall for decades, but due to seismic instability the council started meeting at an alternative site in the Marina Bay neighborhood. Some of the council favored a permanent move to this site, which is newer and in one of the more affluent neighborhoods. However, the majority of the populace was against this action as it would move City Hall from a central location to a rather isolated one. The city council has now returned to meeting downtown with the reconstruction of the Richmond Civic Center.

In the 2006 city election, Gayle McLaughlin of the Green Party was elected mayor of Richmond after a close race with Democrats Irma Anderson and Gary Bell.

City Councilmembers[1]
1 Gayle McLaughlin, (G) Mayor
2 Jeff Ritterman, (D) Vice Mayor
3 Courtland Boozé, (D) Vice Mayor
4 Nathaniel "Nat" Bates, (D)
5 Tom Butt, (D)
6 Jovanka Beckles, (D)
7 Jim Rogers, (D)

Mayor Gayle McLaughlin[edit]

Vice Mayor Jeff Ritterman[edit]

Jeff Ritterman is chief cardiologist at Kaiser Permanente Richmond Medical Center.[citation needed]

Council members[edit]

Jovanka Beckles[edit]

Nathanial "Nate" Bates[edit]

Tom Butt[edit]

Jim Rogers[edit]

Rights activist; former lawyer

Courtland "Corky" Boozé[edit]

Ran for city council for ten consecutive elections, often coming in second place and finally elected for the first time in 2010.


After Gayle McLaughlin's victory in 2006 the council appointed Harpreet Sandhu who had been the city's Human Relations Director to her vacant city council person seat. The fact that public input was not considered and that the candidates were not revealed to the public outraged many in the community. This led to the passage of an ordinance allowing anyone who can obtain 20 registered voters to sign a petition in their favor to be able to register with the city for a vacant seat. The petition was added to get the vote of council member Nate Bates, who considered passing the law without such a requirement would turn the city council appointments into an American Idol style circus.

Mayor McLaughlin voted against this measure since she thought the city needed to overhaul the process entirely to make it more democratic. Her campaign manager and vocal community activist Juan Reardon called the new ordinance a "travesty."[1]

The council has been noted in the media for frivolous and unproductive bickering, especially between Tom Butt and María Viramontes.[2] The council has been noted for having two distinct and opposing factions consisting of: Viramontes, López, Sandhu and sometimes Bates which conflicts with the remaining fellowship of McGlaughlin, Butt, Ritterman, and sometimes Rogers.[2]

March 1, 2005 council meeting[edit]

The members at the time were:[3]

As part of the "Consent calendar" at the 1 March 2005 meeting, the city council adopted an ordinance, sponsored by Mindell Penn and María Viramontes, to divest city funds from financial institutions linked to slavery.[3]

Richmond was the first city in California to do so, and in the country second behind only Chicago.[4] Mentioning the word "reparations", this story was picked up by the San Francisco Chronicle and carried in papers in Salt Lake City, Utah and Bluffton, South Carolina.[4][5][6]


  1. ^ Council shifts way it fills seats, Contra Costa Times, by Joshua Geluardi, March 11, 2007; retrieved May 25, 2007
  2. ^ a b Strife doesn't throw council off course: Despite setbacks, Richmond's leaders say, city has regained respect and its bond rating, by John Geluardi, Contra Costa Times, posted online August 18, 2007, retrieved August 23, 2007.
  3. ^ a b "CC01MAR2005.pdf" (PDF). City of Richmond. March 1, 2005. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 29, 2012. Retrieved 2011-12-18. Consent calendar...ORDINANCE – regarding the Slavery Era Disclosure Act and disclosure and divestment of investment earnings from City-sponsored Pension Funds or Investment Funds from financial and insurance institutions that benefit from international investment in slavery – Second Reading – Councilmember Penn and Viramontes (620-6513).
  4. ^ a b Jason B. Johnson, Chronicle staff writer (March 12, 2005). "EAST BAY. Firms that profited from slavery reviewed. Richmond, Oakland consider early step to seeking reparations". San Francisco Chronicle. SFGate. Retrieved 2011-12-11. Richmond Councilwoman Maria Viramontes, who proposed the measure along with fellow Councilwoman Mindell Penn, said the city's new law was inspired by the events in Chicago...
  5. ^ Jason B. Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle (March 21, 2005). "2 California cities look at profits from slavery. Movement may lead to restitution payments". Salt Lake City: Deseret News. Retrieved 2011-12-18. Richmond Councilwoman Maria Viramontes, who proposed the measure along with fellow Councilwoman Mindell Penn, said the city's new law was inspired by the events in Chicago...
  6. ^ San Francisco Chronicle (March 21, 2005). "Firms that profited from slavery reviewed". South Carolina: Beaufort Gazette. Retrieved 2011-12-18.

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