McLaughlin Takes Office Tuesday

By Richard Brenneman
Friday January 05, 2007

Richmond Mayor-elect Gayle McLaughlin, the upset winner in a three-way race, becomes the nation’s first Green Party mayor in a city with a population greater than 100,000 in ceremonies Tuesday night. 

Presiding over the event, which includes the swearing in of four city councilmembers, will be the incumbent McLaughlin defeated, Irma Anderson. 

The inaugural begins at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers in temporary city hall quarters at 1401 Marina Way South. 

McLaughlin won the office Nov. 7 with 7,343 votes, narrowly topping Anderson’s 7,101. A third contestant, Gary Bell, trailed Anderson by more than 2,082 votes. 

Taking oaths for the four council seats are incumbents Jim Rogers and Maria T. Viramontes and newcomer Ludmyrna Lopez, the top three candidates in a field of six running for four-year terms. 

Incumbent Richard Griffin finished in last place. 

Also taking the oath will be Tony K. Thurmond, appointed to the council in July 2005 after the resignation of Mindell Penn. Thurmond ran unopposed for a seat that will be eliminated in two years when the council is reduced from nine members to seven. 

Lopez, a political newcomer, won with the support of RichPAC, the chamber of commerce political action committee and a strong opponent of many of McLaughlin’s ideas. 

The Berkeley-born son of immigrants, Lopez is assistant administrative chief of finance and operations for San Francisco’s Department of Child Support Services. 

Before moving back West she had worked in the federal Environmental Protection Agency programs for cleaning up and developing contaminated property—issues of deep concern in Richmond, and to McLaughlin, who has actively worked for stricter oversight of contaminated shoreline development sites at Campus Bay and UC Berkeley’s Richmond Field Station. 

McLaughlin invited two speakers to the ceremony, Green Party activist and former San Francisco County Board of Supervisors member Matt Gonzalez and Van Jones, executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in San Francisco.