One Pair of Shoes Later, Here's What I've Learned from Voters
When I launched my campaign for Richmond City Council, I was ready to work hard. I didn’t realize I would also have to walk hard. Because I want to hear directly from voters, I’ve personally knocked on the doors of 2,750 homes in our district. That's over 50% of District 4! My goal is to visit every home in our district before Election Day. The experience of walking our city and meeting voters has been amazing—even though I’ve put holes into my favorite pair of shoes.
The main thing I learned from talking to people in our district is that nearly everyone wants better city services. There's room for improvement on everything, from pulling weeds to filling potholes to processing permits at city hall. But real improvement requires immediate investment in the city departments that get the work done.
Real Plans Require Revenue
As a city councilmember, one of my top priorities will be to fill the 130+ city jobs that now stand vacant. We need more workers to repave our streets, tend to our libraries and parks, and help transition people out of homelessness. We certainly need to fully staff our fire department so they can protect the Richmond Hills during fire season. But none of this is a real plan unless you can add a revenue stream—how will we pay for all of it?
I am thankful that Richmond now has additional revenue from Measure U, the business tax approved by 73% of Richmond voters in 2020. Starting this year, big businesses are paying a tiny percentage of their earnings to fund needed services in our city.
The result? Our city now has millions of dollars more a year to support our fire department, trash abatement, road safety measures, and much more. Measure U revenue is the money that will bring our city services up to the level that neighboring cities enjoy.
I believe it’s only fair that corporations contribute towards city services— big businesses need to give to our community as well as profit from it. A key feature of Measure U is that the smallest businesses saw no tax increase at all. In fact, almost 60% of local businesses saw their Richmond taxes decrease under Measure U.
Despite the clearly positive impact of Measure U, I am the only District 4 City Council candidate who promises to uphold it. The Richmond Chamber of Commerce, which counts large corporations like Chevron among its members, is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to elect city council candidates who will put an end to the business tax. My opponent has indicated that she opposes the business tax; if elected, it's safe to assume she would do whatever she can to reverse it. She hasn’t explained how we’ll pay for things like firebreaks, full firefighter staffing, and traffic safety if that city revenue were to disappear. It's easy for a candidate to demand better city services, but without a realistic plan to pay for them, what's the point?
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