Gayle McLaughlin – the mayor of Richmond, California, which is, at over 100,000 people, the largest city in the nation with a Green mayor – sent the following email to supporters of her successful bid for re-election:
Let me begin by saying it is because of your decency, your dignity, and your determination that we have so very much to celebrate this week! Thanks to your support and the work of hundreds of volunteers, we have prevailed. I am honored and humbled to continue to serve for the next 4 years as Mayor to the wonderful community of Richmond. Thank you for giving me this honor and this privilege. I will continue to work hard with you, for you, and in your interest only.
I extend my congratulations to City Council winners: Jovanka Beckles, Corky Booze, and Jim Rogers. I am very much looking forward to working with newly-elected City Councilmembers – Councilmember-elect Beckles and Councilmember-elect Booze – and continuing to work with re-elected Councilmember Rogers.
I thank the voters for their advisory vote on Pt. Molate. Measure U failed with Richmond voters soundly rejecting a casino for Pt. Molate.
As many others have noted, the election of November 2010 saw unprecedented spending and mud-slinging. Most notably, Chevron and casino forces spent millions to sway voters, and the Richmond Police Officers Association (RPOA) and Richmond Firefighters Association (RFA) conducted an unrelenting smear campaign against me and Jovanka Beckles. Beyond the outcomes of individual races, the people of Richmond ultimately won by defeating the politics of greed and fear. By rejecting the undue influence that big corporations and other entrenched special interests exert over our electoral process, we witnessed the resilience once again of true democratic values.
Voters want — and deserve — healthy debate about the issues facing our city. There are many arguments to be made on all sides of most controversial subjects — even divisive questions like the future of Pt. Molate. However, personal attacks distract us from the crucial discussions that need to take place during an election season. Make no mistake: elected officials should be held accountable for their performance and their record in office; unsparing criticism about a candidate’s policies and platform is fair and appropriate. However, Richmond voters clearly demonstrated that they have little appetite for tabloid-style smear campaigns. I hope that future candidates and their strategists remember this important truth.
To continue on the path toward a Better Richmond, we need participation from every corner of the City, from every neighborhood, from every interest, from every viewpoint on the political spectrum. As Mayor, my door remains open to any resident, business, or organization that wants to offer insights and ideas about life in our City. I welcome — and encourage — diverse perspectives, with only one pre-requisite — that the discourse be respectful.
Once again, thank you to all who have supported me in so many ways throughout this campaign season. It was a hard-won battle that speaks volumes about the integrity of our collective efforts.
Elections are won and lost, but let us never lose sight of the larger picture: Real victory in Richmond will be achieved when good-paying, healthy jobs are available to anyone who seeks one; when our neighborhoods are free from violent crime; when all our children have access to the quality education that they deserve; and when each of us has a sense of positive connection to one another, as we steer our own destiny toward a sustainable and healthy Richmond for all. Let us join hands in working together toward that ultimate victory.
Mayor Gayle McLaughlin