Richmond: Chevron is Losing

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The Chevron Five's days appear to be numbered. Three of the five Richmond City Council members who consistently vote with the giant oil company, were up for reelection, but only one appears to be headed for a win. As of this morning, incumbent Nat Bates, one of so-called Chevron Five, was running second (15.5%) behind challenger Jeff Ritterman (16.2%), chief of cardiology at Kaiser Richmond. The most consistent vote against Chevron, incumbent Tom Butt, was running third with 15.3% of the vote. The top three vote getters win the election.

In fourth place was activist Jovanka Beckles with 14.6%. Both Ritterman and Beckles decided to run this year because of The Chevron Five's controversial decision this summer to approve the oil company's massive expansion plans. Chevron Five members John Marquez and Harpreet Sandhu were running fifth and seventh, respectively, with 12.9% and 7.6%. If the balloting holds up, then the Chevron Five majority on the now seven-member council will shrink to a Chevron Three minority.

Also, Measure T, a manufaturing tax that would raise up to $26 million a year, including up to $16 million from Chevron, was winning 51.3% to 48.4%. The vote counting is not complete, however, because it's a safe bet that the Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters still has thousands of absentee and provisional ballots to tabulate.

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