25 May Point Molate Land Could Return to Tribe
The Richmond City Council meeting Tuesday covered Point Molate, gun violence and local crime. (Screenshot captured by Julia Métraux / Richmond Pulse)
By Julia Métraux
The failure of a deal for a development project in Point Molate has now opened the doors for the Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians, whose ancestral home is in Richmond, to purchase the land for $400. Developer Upstream and the tribe gave the city of Richmond $400 on Monday before this week’s City Council meeting.
The Richmond City Council voted 5-2 in a resolution Tuesday to say that SunCal’s Winehaven Legacy failed to meet the demands to close the deal for the development in Point Molate. Mayor Tom Butt and council member Nathaniel Bates voted against the resolution.
Interim City Attorney Dave Aleshire said that even though the tribe optioned its right to the land, the city is still working on closing the deal. A date was not given for when the deal should be finalized.
Butt said that the council made it too difficult for SunCal’s Winehaven Legacy to meet the requirements of the deal, which Aleshire disagreed with.
“It was a curable problem,” Aleshire said. “So the question is, why did the developer decide not to cure it?”
Sally Tobin, a member of the Point Molate Alliance and a Richmond resident, thanked members of the council for previously voting to put a resolution on the calendar to close the project development with SunCal.
“If the city had gone along, then SunCal would have been able to avoid financial responsibility, with potentially disastrous effects on the city’s finances,” Tobin said.
Aleshire also clarified that if SunCal’s Winehaven Legacy did meet the requirements for a Point Molate project development deal in the future, it would have to reach a deal with Upstream and the Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians.
Recognizing Tragic Gun Violence
Hours before the Richmond City Council meeting, an 18-year-old killed at least 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Uvalde, like Richmond, has a vibrant Latinx community.
Last week, council member Demnlus Johnson had added a resolution to the consent calendar recognizing the first Friday in June as Gun Violence Awareness Day.
“With the terrible mass shooting today at the Texas elementary school, the Laguna Woods shooting at the church, [and] the Buffalo, New York, shooting at the grocery store, [I] most definitely want to raise as much awareness as possible of these types of situations,” Johnson said.
The resolution passed as part of the consent calendar, as did a resolution reaffirming that the world is experiencing a climate emergency, which was added by Vice Mayor Eduardo Martinez.
“I appreciate the council’s unanimous support on this resolution,” Johnson said.
Crime Report from Acting Police Chief
Acting Richmond Police Chief Louie Tirona gave a report about crime rates in the city.
Vehicle thefts have decreased from April to May, though they remain a concern among Richmond residents.
“The biggest issues that we are identifying that are affecting most of our residents are vehicle theft and other thefts,” Tirona said.
When asked by Bates about what residents can do to protect their vehicles, Tirona emphasized the importance of neighbors looking out for each other.
“Ensuring that you have things such as motion-activated lights,” Tirona said, “and more importantly, neighbors just looking out for one another to make sure that when they see something that is potentially suspicious.”
Overall, Tirona is optimistic about the decrease in thefts.
“Obviously, you never want to take our foot off the gas and ensure that these trends continue on a downward level,” he said.
The next regular City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 7.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said the City Council voted 4-2 on the resolution that said SunCal/Winehaven Legacy failed to meet the conditions of its deal to buy Point Molate. The vote was 5-2.