As Mayor of Richmond, Gayle has led the City in a progressive direction that has kept City workers in jobs and City services in place, even in these hard economic times.
Mayor McLaughlin’s focus on environmental justice has led the city to move forward as a leader on many environmental initiatives. Her focus on a healthy environment has moved the city forward greatly with community gardens, bike paths, bay trail construction, and park renovations in neighborhoods throughout the city.
Thanks to her efforts advancing solar installation, Richmond was noted as leading the Bay Area for solar installed per capita in 2010. Richmond has also been given countless awards for its model green job training program that has graduated hundreds of Richmond residents who are now working in the green economy.
In 2007, Mayor McLaughlin joined other East Bay mayors and leaders in a widely heralded partnership for an East Bay Green Corridor for research and jobs for the new Green economy, and earlier this year, Lawrence Berkley National Lab agreed to build its 2nd campus in Richmond. Mayor McLaughlin has also worked with the community and City staff to make sure the City’s recently approved General Plan truly reflects the city’s new healthy, sustainable and equitable direction for its residents.
Gayle has advocated fair taxation from large corporations, including calling on Chevron (the largest corporation in the city) to fully pay its fair share. The City of Richmond is currently suing Chevron for damages from the massive 2012 fire at its Richmond refinery, and Mayor McLaughlin has called on Chevron to create a new corporate culture by putting the health and safety needs of Richmond residents before its profits.
As Mayor of Richmond, she has prioritized the interests of Richmond residents and families, advocating for residents evicted by bank speculators and approving policies to hold banks accountable. Currently, Mayor McLaughlin is proud to be leading Richmond in standing up to Wall Street and for her community with the Richmond CARES (Community Action to Restore Equity and Stability) program. This is a foreclosure prevention program that is seeking to acquire severely underwater mortgages in Richmond from the banks (either through voluntarily sales or through eminent domain) so the City can refinance the loans for the homeowners with reduced principals in line with current home values. Fixing the foreclosure crisis and restoring home equity will help the entire city of Richmond and the region by protecting the local economy, neighborhoods and home values.
Gayle also voted to assist Kennedy High School and other Richmond schools with $3 million, and she has been in the forefront of defending the civil rights of Richmond’s immigrant population. Her support for immigrant rights included a recently approved municipal ID for all Richmond residents, so everyone, including immigrant residents, can access services such as bank accounts.
Violent crime and property crimes have shown significant declining trends (homicides have decreased 66 percent from 47 in 2007 to 16 in 2013 – the lowest total in 33 years) during her tenure because of efforts in the City that Mayor McLaughlin has helped advance that have offered opportunities for returning parolees and intervention with at-risk youth.
Richmond is on the rise. Mayor McLaughlin’s focus on working side by side with a community that has suffered decades of injustices is helping to showcase how an urban community is transforming itself in the 21st Century.