When Eleanor Loynd heard about the BAPAC (Black American Political Action Committee) petition to support the City of Richmond’s Resolution 52-11 and the Alternate Plan by Tri-Cities that unites Contra Costa in one district, she didn’t take long to decide what to do.
She immediately took some of the petition letters to the Richmond Coordinating Council to get some signatures. As President of the May Valley Neighborhood Council she realizes that her neighborhood organization and the other neighborhoods stand to benefit more if the city remains together, intact, as they State Citizens Redistricting Commission (CRC)draws new maps and boundaries.
”I support the BAPAC petition and I took some to the residents to let them know that we want a united city,” she said. I am an enthusiastic supporter because if we in Richmond are split in half and are joined with Oakland, which is represented by Barbara Lee, Richmond may not get the special attention we need.”
Loynd pointed to the example of the current bidding proposals to land the prestigious Lawrence Livermore laboratory research facilities in Oakland versus Richmond. She said the possible competitive disadvantages that could occur “if Richmond is split in half.” When it comes to jobs and economic development needs, she said the “majority of Richmond residents are in support of keeping our city together.” Richmond held a town hall meeting Thursday to convince the Lawrence Lab to locate in Richmond. Oakland also is making a similar appeal. “Which city do you think will get the support of Congresswoman Barbara Lee” asks, Loynd.
The CRC has delayed its release of the promised new maps. The delay has caused many to wonder whether Richmond will remain whole.
Lloyd Madden, president of BAPAC, said,”We need to convince the Commission that Richmond should remain in the Contra Costa County district.” He said he was working with President Loynd and the neighborhood councils to gather signatures from individuals that support keeping Richmond whole.
“In the past many of our city’s leaders and groups have lined up differently on various issues and candidates. But, when it comes to Richmond’s future, all of us from the Mayor to our community and faith-based leaders stand together for Richmond.”
In a letter addressed to the CRC, BAPAC’s Madden said “redrawn boundaries should not negatively impact the distribution of federal resources to Richmond.”
He also reminded the CRC that “minorities must have an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice.”
The CRC’s actions and maps could not only determine whether congresspersons George Miller or Barbara Lee will represent Richmond. It could also impact the State Senate seat now held by Loni Hancock because if her district is determined to be numbered either odd or even. The supervisorial districts will also be impacted by the boundary lines.
“A lot is at stake. Our city’s future is in the hands of the CRC. That’s why we must stay vigilant to make sure we stay together,” says Madden.