Meeting Minutes, December 1, 2014

December Meeting Minutes

Richmond Heights Neighborhood Council
December 1, 2014

Officers Present:
President: Owen Martin
Vice-President: Rock Brown
Secretary: Nina Smith

Bakken Crude transport letter issue: Nina read out loud the letter that the Richmond Neighborhood Coordinating Council sent to the Air District supporting the City Council’s request that the previous permit issued to Kinder Morgan to offload Bakken Crude Oil in Richmond be rescinded and a full CEQA review be undertaken. The Coordinating Council is asking the individual neighborhood Councils to send additional letters in support as well. Nick Despota explained the background: Bakken Crude is extremely explosive and has been transported on a rail network not designed to handle the current volume. A lot of people died in Canada when a Bakken Crude trail derailed in a small town. There have been other derailments in the US. The Richmond City Council voted unanimously (except for two members who walked out, Corky Booze and Nat Bates) to request that the Air Quality Board rescind the existing permit and subject the issue to a CEQA review. Nick characterized this as a life and death issue. He described this oil as more like jet fuel than gasoline. Owen also mentioned that no one has the equipment to put out the fires if these trains were to catch fire or explode. The tracks are close to Kaiser hospital. Nick explained the procedural issues. This permit was grandfathered in under the assumption that the material is similar to ethanol when in fact it is much more explosive. There was no input on the previous process nor public notice. Motion by Ann to rework the Coordinating Council’s letter to come from us. Jennifer seconded. For: 13; Against: 2; Abstain: 0; Passes. Nina will write the letter following the wording of the Coordinating Council’s letter and send it out and send a copy to Daniel to put on the website.

Neighbor, John Wehrle, 775 Lassen Street requests a letter of support for his plans for an extension on the studio that he built in the back of his house in 1991. He needs to repair it and it seemed like it would be a good opportunity to do a remodel that will enclose the patio area to add an addition to the studio. It has to go to the design review board because it is 2 stories and that it why he is coming here for our approval. John did the mural on San Pablo Avenue under the freeway. He contacted his immediate neighbors and hasn’t heard any objections. As long as there are no complaints from the neighbors, we have no objection. Nina to write a letter and email it to him. Rock made a motion that we write a letter of support. Seconded. In favor: 14; 0 Opposed.

Officer Chris Llamas # 1364, Richmond Police Department. 7 ½ years in Richmond PD. Will be part of a Bravo Unit, community policing. Main concerns: prostitution on 23rd, residential and auto burglaries. Contact information: voicemail: 510-621-1212, ext. 1842. Contact him with any concerns or problems. Give as much detail as possible: descriptions, license plates, etc. Chris reviewed the crime statistics for this area. Decrease in burglaries, vehicle thefts since last year. Number of homicides and shootings have decreased since 2009 when major changes were made in the Department. Strong arm robberies are a problem. People looking at their phones, not paying attention are usually those victimized. The police are getting more aggressive with code enforcement and public housing; specific units are focusing on gangs, drugs and community policing. (Officer Sousa is still on this beat but he is ill today.) Call in suspicious activity to the police.

Sergeant Henderson, BART Police, 510-464-6599, ext. 51008 voice mail, . Previously with Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office. Recently hired by BART. Crime on BART also down from last year. Bike thefts recently increased. Even strong cable locks can be cut within seconds. The U Locks are better but can still be defeated. Best to put them in two places. His area is from Berkeley to Richmond. Each officer is responsible for two stations. BART’s jurisdiction lies within the property borders of BART, including parking lot, real estate. They also have jurisdiction over trails that pass through the BART area. Concern was expressed about the Ohlone Greenway, especially in response to two recent assaults in the area around Key Blvd, Ohlone Greenway and Conlon. Neighbors report that there are three lights out in that one little area. BART Police are very aware that predators use the BART system to get around. They have a lot of warrant arrests on the BART system. Purse, phone snatches usually take place on the platform where the victim is not paying attention. Nina read portions of a letter received from El Cerrito Police. Richmond Police Sergeant, Ruth DuCharme reminded us about the availability of CEPTD reports by the police which residents can request to review their property for environmental changes to reduce crime. Sgt Ruth DuCharme, (510-620-6836) also offered to advocate for us with the El Cerrito Police Department on getting the lighting issue addressed. Nel wants a response from the El Cerrito and Richmond City Manager. Nel will go to the El Cerrito City Council meeting and express concerns on this issue. Nel also suggests opening a ticket on the El Cerrito City website.

Kathy Condron from Fix our Ferals made a report. They’ve fixed 4,000 feral cats.   Open Tuesdays through Saturday, 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. They fix pet cats as well as ferals: $70 female; $50 male for pet cats. 12226 San Pablo Avenue, Richmond. For spay-neuter appointments, free trapping workshops, 510-215-9300. General information: FOF Hotline: 510-433-9446. Their motto is: “Fix every cat you feed.” They always need towels and newspapers. People can borrow their traps for a fully refundable deposit.  The House Rabbit Society can be contacted for neutering rabbits. Their international headquarters is at 148 Broadway in Richmond. Their number is 510-970-7575. Both organizations need volunteers and donations.

James Anthony, lawyer in private practice. Was an Oakland City Attorney, code enforcement prosecutor. He represents a licensed medical marijuana dispensary, the Richmond Compassionate Care Collective. Currently there are four marijuana dispensaries permitted in Richmond but only three are operating. His client is the fourth which is not in operation because they do not have a location.    His client is considering several possible locations in our neighborhood which are zoned C-2 location. To open their dispensary in that location would require additional approval from the City Council so he is involving the Neighborhood Council in the process from this early stage. The two locations he is currently looking at are 12380 San Pablo Avenue (700 Auto is there now Mr. Anthony says the building is up for sale.) The marijuana dispensary previously approved at Bissell near San Pablo hasn’t yet relocated from their current Hilltop location and hasn’t decided yet whether they will relocate. The second location his client is considering is at 3919 MacDonald (39th and MacDonald – in the same business as the Chamber of Commerce). He will email a short video about the kind of operation they are running. James Anthony’s contact information: 510-207-6243, In response to questions from the audience Mr. Anthony explained that under Richmond’s ordinance there can be up to three marijuana dispensaries in a square mile. Dispensaries to be located in a C-3 zone only requires the approval of the Police Chief but a C-2 location needs full City Council approval. These permits do not go through the Planning Department. There is only one other marijuana dispensary in all of Contra Costa County (in unincorporated El Sobrante). Marin has no marijuana dispensary at all now.

Copy of the RHNC letter sent to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District

December 4, 2014

Honorable Nate Miley

Chair, Board of Directors

Bay Area Air Quality Management District

930 Ellis Street

San Francisco, CA 94109

Dear Chair Miley,

At its meeting of December 1, 2014, the Richmond Heights Neighborhood Council (RHNC) voted (13 in favor; 2 opposed) to support the Richmond Neighborhood Coordinating Council and the Richmond City Council’s request that the Bay Area Air Quality Management Board (BAAQMD) revoke the permit granted to Kinder Morgan to offload Bakken crude oil in Richmond and require a complete CEQA process. That process must be transparent to the public

To the best of our knowledge, Kinder Morgan was granted this permit without public hearings. In fact, citizens in Richmond heard about this permit only via local media. The transportation of Bakken crude is, as clearly stated in the letter sent to you by Richmond’s City Manager, more hazardous than transportation of other crude oils. Residents in Richmond’s neighborhoods are already environmentally challenged and those challenges are heightened by surface transport and transfer of Bakken crude.

To reiterate: The Richmond Heights Neighborhood Council strongly urges the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to revoke the permit issued to Kinder Morgan and to undertake a full CEQA review of the proposed project. It is important that the review be as transparent as possible.


Yours truly,

Nina Smith

Richmond Heights Neighborhood Council, Correspondence Secretary

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