As indicted earlier, I will not be attending the January 24, 2013 special city council meeting. Therefore, please read my comments into the record as to my non appearance and thoughts regarding the replacement appointment for councilmember elect Gary Bell.

Thank you.



On January 16, 2013, in response to a request for a special meeting of the council by the mayor and city manager, I responded by email that I would not be available for the January 24th meeting. I indicated I was a guest of the BAPAC reception where they were recognizing newly as well as re-elected officials from 5:30PM to 7:30PM. I further indicated I had a speaking engagement with Hilltop Neighborhood Council at 7:30PM. This information and email can be verified by city manager Bill Lindsay and council liaison Trina Jackson.

This communication seems to have fallen on deaf ears and apparently ignored by the mayor who continue to insist on the meeting for the 24th. First and far most, any discussion of such an important city matter should require the attendance of all members of the council, not just a few. I would like to remind this council and mayor, that as an elected official , I not only represent members of the African American community but a large portion of the community at large and to silence their voices through denying my participation is disrespectful and I consider it a personal insult. I guarantee if certain other members of this council were unavailable, this meeting would have been rescheduled to accommodate their attendance. Where is the so called transparency RPA advocates or does it only apply when it suit their situation?

With respect to Councilmember elect Gary Bell replacement, I do not see the urgency at this time. During my career, I have been involved in four appointments and selecting replacements is really not complicated as evidenced by the appointments of Alex Evans for Lesa McIntosh, Reverend Charles Belcher for Alex Evans, Tony Thurmond for Mindell Penn and Harpreet Sandhu for Gayle McLaughlin. According to legal staff and their interpretation of the city charter, we have until March 8, 2013 to make a decision regarding an appointment or calling for an election. A one day evening meeting in early March could easily be devoted to voting for potential candidates up or down and should no one receive the necessary four votes, the matter goes to the electorate.

Therefore, I suggest we provide Gary more time to recuperate and set a date early in March before making this decision. Gary’s situation could have happened to any one of us and I am ashamed and disappointed to be sitting with some council members who seem to only see their own personal gains and political influence being enhanced. Finally, where is the compassion for a medically disable human being? God is still a miracle worker and who is to say Gary will not recover in a few more weeks and be able to assume his position on the council where the community voted him to sit.

All of us need to do better by respecting Gary, Shelley, his family and the 11,474 voters who voted for him.

Nat Bates
Richmond City Councilman


West County Times
Richmond City Council to meet, set path for filling vacant seat
By Robert Rogers
Contra Costa Times

RICHMOND -- The City Council will hold a special meeting Thursday night to set a Jan. 31 deadline for candidates to declare interest in the council seat vacated by Councilman-elect Gary Bell's health troubles.
The 7:30 p.m. meeting will be an opportunity for the council to establish the deadline and set a Feb. 4 special meeting to attempt to appoint a replacement for Bell, who remains hospitalized after falling into a coma following his Nov. 6 election with what his family has said is a severe sinus infection.
According to the city charter, the council has 60 days from the vacancy date to appoint a replacement by a majority vote. If no replacement can get four of the six council votes, a special election must be held June 4. City Clerk Diane Holmes has said an election may cost as much as $200,000.
According to state law, a special election must be called at least 114 days before voters go to the polls. A staff report said that gives the city until Feb. 10 to appoint a replacement for Bell or call for a special election.
"If the public meeting (to hear from candidates interested in the appointment) occurs on Feb. 4 and we appoint someone, we're done," the staff report read. "If not, then the Council will be able to approve a resolution calling for a June 4 special election the next day at our Feb. 5 meeting."
Three of the six council members have said they support progressive candidate Eduardo Martinez, who finished just behind Bell, as the replacement. But other council members have said Martinez is unacceptable because he is far different politically from Bell, who ran as a moderate and was heavily backed by Chevron Corp.
Kathleen Sullivan, Don Gosney, Mike Ali-Kinney and Jael Myrick have announced their candidacies as well.
Contact Robert Rogers at 510-262-2726 or rrogers@bayareanewsgroup.com and follow Twitter.com/roberthrogers