Update from Richmond, CA: Green mayor helps uphold ban on chain restaurants, encourages constitutional amendment, and more

Richmond, CA is the largest city in the United States with a Green mayor.  Her name is Gayle McLaughlin, she was reelected recently, and Richmond Confidential has an update on a few recent votes that she was involved in (read the full story here):

After voting last month to approve a moratorium on chain restaurants in Point Richmond, city council members voted 5-0 last night to deny a permit to open a Subway restaurant in Point Richmond, saying that it was not compatible with the quaint and historic nature of the neighborhood, which is protected in the city’s General Plan…

Later in the evening, the council turned its focus from the issues facing one neighborhood to the national stage, and adopted a resolution “to free democracy from corporate control.”

Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, who proposed the resolution, said the bill called for state and federal constitutional amendments to reject corporate personhood—that is,  the idea that corporations deserve the same rights and protections afforded individuals in the constitution—and corporations’ ability to spend freely in elections.  McLaughlin said that the resolution opposes the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Committee, which removed corporate campaign spending limits on independent political broadcasts and shielded contributors to those committees from public record.

The resolution is symbolic, and has no legal weight, but calls for letters to be sent urging state and federal representatives to propose legislation to change the Constitution to limit corporate rights [Green Party 2004 presidential candidate is a leader in the “Move to Amend” movement, along with many other Greens, such as Ben Manski of Wisconsin]…

In a strange juxtaposition, council members followed the vote to limit corporate rights with a unanimous vote to encourage Chevron to submit a new application for the Richmond Renewal Project, which the previous City Council rejected last year. The Renewal Project, which aimed to modernize the refinery, was rejected by the previous City Council last year amid concerns about air quality, and was finally halted by a court case brought by private citizens concerned about the project’s environmental impact…

Mayor McLaughlin, who voted against the application last year, said that the improvement project would improve public health and create jobs in Richmond, but that it needed to have clear air and water quality protections.

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