In the old days, it was not uncommon for professional events to be on the fix by participants and promoters. People would pay good money but unaware the decision was prearranged as to who would be the winner.

Recently the International Soccer League, made headlines when a host of individuals were arrested for fixing soccer game. What we witness Monday night during the Richmond City Council meeting was an embarrassment to the democratic process. The public and several candidates were exposed to an exercise of futility for five and a half hours only ending up as being nothing but a charade.

Twelve candidates did an excellent job of presenting their credentials as to why they should be selected. However, most of their presentation fell on deaf ears because the RPA (Gayle McLaughlin, Jovanka Beckles and Tom Butt) along with Jim Rogers had made a prior deal long before the interviews took place. I received a call early in the afternoon that the fix was in whereas the mayor was first to nominate RPA's top choice in Martinez and should he not receive the votes which he did not (McLaughlin, Butt & Beckles, yes, Bates & Booze. no and Rogers, abstain) she was to immediately call upon Councilman Butt for the second motion. This was done despite the fact Vice Mayor Corky Booze had requested permission to make a motion before Butt. It was obvious the fix was in and if you viewed the televised portion of the meeting, you would have heard and observed I spoke to that point loudly prior to the vote.

During the interviews, several individuals spoke in support of Kathleen Sullivan, Eduardo Martinez, Jael Myrick, and Eleanor Thompson. Jim Russey, representing Richmond public safety of police and fire, labor unions and the business community presented some 7,630 signatures requesting an election by the voters. Yet, at 11:03 PM, Rogers who had brokered the deal with Butt, McLaughlin and Beckles set into motion to appoint Jael Myrick. The final vote include their four votes of yes and Booze voting no and I voting to abstain. Thus, a new council member was selected. Myrick could very well have received my vote and perhaps Booze's vote as well had the majority of the council afforded us the same opportunity as was given RPA in putting forth their favorite candidate in Martinez. With the mayor and her dictatorial high handed style, none of my or Booze favorite candidates were given an opportunity to be voted upon. Disrespect of this type caused me to abstain.

Why was Jael Myrick the chosen one???

From my analysis, RPA did not want an election under any circumstances. They had experienced how expensive and unsuccessful the 2012 campaign had been and simply were not prepared nor capable of raising the necessary funds to compete with so many groups fed up with their rhetoric and anti-business policies of the council majority. Ready to oppose and challenge any RPA candidate in an election were several Black community organizations that included BMW, BAPAC, BWOPA, NBA, Guardian of Justice, Men & Woman of Valor, Men & Women of Purpose, One Richmond Unity, as well as Richmond Police & Fire public safety unions, Council of Richmond Industries, Chamber of Commerce, Rich Pac and a host of Contra Costa labor unions and small and big businesses including Chevron. Their only solution was to try and get Martinez appointed and failure to do so, settle on one of the remaining eleven candidates they thought they would have the best working relationship with. Myrick as an employee of the environmental State Assembly, Nancy Skinner seems a safer bet more than any of the remaining candidates. Rogers being the swing vote was aware appointing Martinez that RPA would no longer require his vote for anything because they would have four solid votes in McLaughlin, Butt, Beckles and Martinez. Rogers has always been close to Butt and not as close to neither McLaughlin nor Beckles, despite the fact he supported her candidacy in 2010 when the two of them ran for the council. During the 2012 election, Rogers acknowledged his support for Butt, Myrick and Bell.

From my perspective, Rogers has placed himself as the major player on the council, more so than the mayor. Without his support neither Vice Mayor Booze and I nor the three RPA factions can move any item or project forward.

With respect to what kind of councilman Myrick will be, only time will tell. As we go forward, I think he should be judged on his ability to be independent and the quality of his votes in making the city of Richmond a better place to live, work and play.

To Myrick's credit, last night's council meeting witnesses him stepping up against the mayor and supporting the city approving a contract with Auto Warehousing who will offer a 5 year contract to Toyota at $42,000 per year or $210,000 over the contract period. The money is not as important as the relationship we hope to establish with Toyota which we hope will be a prelude to bringing the auto giant to the Richmond Port with all of their Northern California distribution operation. Should we make this happen, what a gigantic plum this will be financially and job wise to the city? The vote was yes, Bates, Booze, Rogers, Myrick and Beckles. Voting no was McLaughlin. . Butt had to recuse himself because he received a $1,000.00 contribution from Auto Warehousing during the past election. This is the same ordinance Butt, Rogers and the RPA fought so hard to pass. It has now come back to bite them.

In conclusion, we could have done much worst with Martinez and I say let's give the young man, Myrick an opportunity to learn and grow into the position. He appears intelligent and my unsolicited advice to him would be, “surround yourself with quality people you trust who will give him good advice, become independent and take advantage of the city manager and his staff “ and he should do just fine.

Nat Bates