From: Jess Kray
Sent: Saturday, August 20, 2005 1:09 PM

This is a response to the August 2005 Richmond Chamber of Commerce Chamber Newsletter article by Judy Morgan.

The article can be found at:

As a Chamber member and Richmond resident I share Judy's desire to improve our city. However, her suggestion that we "pass an ordinance to outlaw negative remarks about Richmond" leaves me nearly speechless. In addition to being unconstitutional, such an ordinance would be counter productive in the extreme. Richmond has problems. Hiding or ignoring the problems does nothing to fix them. In particular, ignoring the environmental problems attendant to developing brownfields is the surest way to create even more problems. Our friends in San Jose ignored the environmental issues when they paved over a land fill to make a city park. The park is now closed because of lead, DDT and other contaminants, and the City of San Jose is spending $800,000.00 just to study the problem. After the study, they will have to spend more money to fix the problem, or permanently close the park. In addition, there will certainly be personal and community costs associated with health problems caused by the contamination. Most of these health problems will be with children and the causes will not be traced to the contaminated park for many years, if ever. Is this what we want to do in Richmond? I am, of course, referring to the proposed brownfield development by Simeon-Cherokee. We should not be confused about Simeon-Cherokee's goals in Richmond. They are developers, not our friends. They will develop the property as inexpensively as possible and move on. If they could develop the property with no remediation of the toxics, they probably would. Only community action and "negative remarks" will cause them to do the kind of remediation which will create an environment where you and I would like to live and raise our children.

Regarding Chevron: At what cost and for what reason do we want to give Chevron any special tax breaks? Are we afraid that they will lose money or move their refinery if they are not given tax breaks? I think not. All businesses should pay their fair share of taxes -- especially a business which has such a large impact on our environment and our health.

Sincerely yours,

Jess Kray, Richmond CA