Editors Note: Last week, in response to the shooting of five officers in Dallas by a sniper, Menbere Akilu and her staff at Saluté Ristorante organized a surprise lunch for Richmond police officers. The event, designed to show support for the men and women of the department, included a meal of pasta, chicken, fish and dessert at the police station. During the lunch, Richmond Pulse sat down with new Richmond Police Chief Allwyn Brown to discuss how the police department is responding to national tensions and keeping lines of communication open in Richmond, including making the Office of Professional Accountability more accessible to residents.
In 2015, her name suddenly appeared in news articles about the nomination of a new candidate for the Richmond City Council. In the media, Claudia Jimenez, 37, remained undefined, only noted for her organizing work with Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organizations (CCISCO). At minimum, Jimenez, who at the time was not affiliated with the Richmond Progressive Alliance, was described as a “smokescreen” candidate.
Our next election is less than seven months away. But memories of the last city election—one of Richmond’s most expensive—remain fresh in the minds of many voters. For residents of this refinery town whose recollections are fading, we now have a fascinating 90-minute video history of that campaign. Entitled “Nat Bates for Mayor,” it provides a timely reminder of the stakes involved in a local battle against big money in politics that got national attention.