Will Eduardo Martinez be Richmond’s next mayor? – Richmond confidential | Team Cansler

Richmond Confidential asked mayoral candidates Nathaniel Bates, Shawn Dunning, Eduardo Martinez and Mark Wassberg the same questions. Your replies are presented verbatim in the order in which they were received, with slight revisions where appropriate for the sake of brevity.

Today’s Q&A is with Edward Martinez.

Where are you from and how many years have you lived in Richmond?

I’m a second generation Mexican born in Dumas, Texas. I moved to the Bay Area in the 70’s and then to Richmond in 1993 with my wife Liz.

Why are you running for mayor in no more than 200 words?

Before becoming a City Council member, I was an elementary school teacher in Richmond for almost two decades. During this time, I noticed that many of my students were unable to attend physical education classes. Because my students grew up in Chevron’s shadow, they had asthma and other respiratory problems at a much higher rate than students in other districts. As a teacher, I tackled this problem by creating a special physical education class for students with breathing difficulties – we called ourselves The Asthma Club. When that didn’t feel enough, I addressed this issue by running for public office.

I am proud to have served on the Richmond City Council since 2014. As an elected official, I have advocated for policies that support working families, such as in violence prevention and making Richmond a safe haven city.

My main reason for running for mayor remains the same as it was then: to help build a city that will take care of our children and meet their basic needs of clean air, stable housing, access to food and safe neighborhoods .

What qualifies you for this job?

I have lived in Richmond since 1993 and have cultivated deep ties to the community through my career as a public school teacher and many years of work with several community organizations. As a general member of Richmond City Council and now its vice mayor, I have always felt it my duty to serve and represent the entire city. This basic obligation applies even more clearly to the seat of the mayor.

As a two-year Council Member, I have a long track record in public service – and that track record is a clear statement of my values. I am a pro-worker candidate who prioritizes communities of color, environmental protection, sustainable economic development, and economic justice.

I am proud to be recognized as the first recipient of the 2021 Sierra Club Community Defender Award, which recognizes “outstanding work in environmental justice for its defense of Richmond communities and the environment from corporate polluters, including the coal and oil industries.” .”

Finally, I am proud of my work history as a manual worker. Before becoming a public school teacher, I was employed as a farm hand, carpenter, USPS supervisor, and orderly nurse. In addition to teaching, these experiences have shaped my understanding of the needs of working families.

What are your top three priorities if you become mayor, and what would you do to achieve them?

1. True community security. crime and violence prevention is key, which means offering services that are additive to the police and address the root causes of crime and other dangers. These services include road safety measures, fire safety efforts and the establishment of a community-based mental health crisis response program. And true community safety includes things we don’t typically associate with public safety, like clean air our children can breathe and safe sidewalks that our seniors and disabled residents can navigate comfortably.

2. Improved city services. At the moment we have many vacancies in the city staff, so the workers who take care of our city are overworked. There aren’t enough people to do the work we need. I will work to improve the quality of life in Richmond by investing in crime prevention programs, but also by investing in our parks, libraries and senior centers. I want to raise the maintenance of our roads, sidewalks and sewers to the level that neighboring cities enjoy. The only way to address this is to increase sales by:

  • Full implementation of Measure U, which will bring millions of dollars to our city each year by taxing Richmond’s largest corporations. And I’m the only mayoral candidate who fully supports this popular corporate tax.
  • Save money by avoiding terrible deals with developers and big banks. I’m proud to say that I’m the only mayoral candidate who’s looked at Point Molate and said, no, I don’t support a development deal that’s going to put $255 million in our city’s luxury housing hole.
  • And for the past few weeks, the progressive City Council majority has been investigating Richmond’s credit swaps and finding that we’ve been screwed by the banks. We progressives have worked hard to fix this arrangement. As a result, we saved the city $84 million over the next 12 years. Saving our city funds in this way requires two things: experience managing our city and a bold vision that goes beyond cutting back on services. I’m the only candidate for mayor who can give you both.

3. Quality affordable housing. People become homeless because they cannot afford housing. And the latest data shows that no one working full-time minimum wage can afford a one-bedroom apartment somewhere in the United States. The rents are too high. Our children can hardly imagine owning a simple home to start a family.

My approach is development without displacement. Young people should be able to afford to stay in the city where they grew up and young families should be able to secure stable housing.

Under my mayorship, housing projects in Richmond will:

  • Being centrally located, with reasonable access to public transport, shops and services.
  • Meet stringent affordability criteria, increasing housing stock for a broader group of Richmond residents.
  • Add key components for community benefits and PLAs.
  • Not to cause significant disturbance to the environment or Richmond’s biodiversity.
  • Not to be built on or near a former toxic waste site without full remediation.
  • No conversion of significant parts of public green space into private property.

By providing affordable housing and protecting tenants, we can ensure stability for our communities and prevent displacement and homelessness.

What is the first big problem you would tackle?

I intend to focus on fully staffing the city to ensure city services to residents. Many of our city’s issues related to residents’ quality of life, public safety, employee retention and cost recovery could be addressed with protracted efforts to fully staff our departments. These efforts would also help boost our local economies and support small businesses that are currently reporting impossibly long and confusing permitting processes. While not a particularly glamorous platform board, I believe this is a key issue currently impeding good governance in Richmond.

What do you want people to know about you and your campaign?

If my campaign is successful, I would be Richmond’s first elected Latino mayor.

I have received support from a variety of organizations and elected officials including the California Democratic Party, the Democratic Party of Contra Costa County, the Sierra Club, several unions representing our city workers (Richmond Firefighters Local 188, SEIU Local 1021, IFPTE Local 21), Democratic Socialists of America, the Working Families Party, and such officials as County Supervisor John Gioia, AC Transit Director Jovanka Beckles, and Richmond City Councilmember Claudia Jiménez.

I’m the only candidate for mayor who doesn’t accept corporate donations or donations from developers, lobbyists, or professional organizations. When my campaign receives donations, it’s from workers who feel I represent them, not from a billion-dollar corporation. And the rejection of corporate contributions communicates a clear value: corporate funds have no place to make decisions for people. It’s about loyalty to the people who work, live and play in our city, not to for-profit corporations.

I’m the only mayoral candidate to support the full implementation of Measure U, a tax measure passed in 2020. This measure, backed by 73% of Richmond voters, cuts taxes on small businesses and increases taxes on mega-corporations (e.g. Sims Metal, which makes $

6 billion in revenue per year, previously only paying ~$2,000 in local taxes). This move will continue to impact Chevron for years to come. Measure U provides our frontline community with vital revenue for city services and public safety, but big companies don’t want to pay for it. This is an important context for our race as it has influenced a lot of dark money spending in the election so far.

This is the last of the four mayor profiles. Follow the links in the first paragraph to read the others.

People of Richmond: What would you do if you were the mayor?

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