Chevron's part of Richmond in that it's the city's largest employer. Richmond needs Chevron to provide not just jobs but help for the many non-profit community service programs that Chevron's in position to help with. Chevron lost a court battle regarding its environmental impact report. What Chevron must do and reportedly will do is comply with the courts request to the letter.
Chevron should also stop making noises that it will leave Richmond in the city's time of need.
What certain Richmond elected officials and so-called activists need to do is stop with the emotional saber-rattling that reads like a Fox News Cable program but from the left, and start with smart deal-making that gets to a win-win for both the City of Richmond and Chevron.
That has not happened under the current political leadership in Richmond. Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, while being a very nice person, is more of an activist than a deal-maker. The good Mayor does not seem interested in "getting to yes" with Richmond business.
While that's the case, Chevron has not worked to win the hearts and minds of the people Richmond at a time when such can be done. Doing so requires that Chevron continue to get personally involved in Richmond, but going a step further and working to prevent black-on-black crime, and providing business leadership for Richmond's youth.
Where Chevron does do this, it explains it on its website, but given Richmond's enormous problems, Chevron needs to talk as if it's the real Mayor of Richmond. Chevron needs to fill Richmond's leadership void and not wait to be called on. Chevron, in effect, needs to pound its giant fist and say "Enough! We're going to make this city better, and this is what we're going to do," then present and enact a business plan for Richmond.
That's what businesses do when they're sick and tired of a lack of civic direction. That's what Chicago's business leaders did in the 70s with the Chicago 21 Plan. They created the downtown Chicago of today. I know because as a small boy I wanted to be part of it. Chicago 21 was one reason why I became interested in City Planning.
Richmond activists needs to stop playing emotional games. You can't on the one hand want to support an increase in or maintenance of high utility tax rates proposed by Chevron, but then want to oppose an increase in charges for the sewer rates. It looks like emotionalism. Charge Chevron and other businesses, well, because they're business, but don't charge if it's not an obvious Chevron issue.
What good does that do?
Chevron and Richmond need to kiss, make-up, and think. Then Chevron need to take charge in Richmond.
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