A gray-haired Latino man in sunglasses and suit and tie standing at a lectern between the U.S. and California flags

Richmond Mayor Delivers State of the City Address

A gray-haired Latino man in sunglasses and suit and tie standing at a lectern between the U.S. and California flags

“You’ve heard the adage, ‘If you continue doing things the same way, you’re going to get the same results,’ ” Richmond Mayor Eduardo Martinez said in his State of the City video, shown Tuesday at the City Council meeting. “We’re not doing that this year.” (Screenshot captured by Samantha Kennedy / The CC Pulse)

By Samantha Kennedy

In his 2023 State of the City address, Mayor Eduardo Martinez acknowledged Richmond’s problems, celebrated its accomplishments, and promised to do things differently.

In a video shown at the Dec. 19 Richmond City Council meeting, Martinez highlighted accomplishments and raised awareness of problems in the city during his first year as mayor. Under his administration and with the help of his colleagues, he says the council can “reimagine Richmond.”

“You’ve heard the adage, ‘If you continue doing things the same way, you’re going to get the same results,’ ” Martinez said in his State of the City video. “We’re not doing that this year.”

Martinez’s State of the City addressed economic development, affordable housing, and improving quality of life and public safety, among other things.

The State of the City usually takes place at the beginning of the year and is done using a slideshow, but Martinez said the accomplishments shared act as a “holiday gift to the residents of Richmond” and make it more suitable for presentation in December. The video presentation, which also includes a blooper reel, makes the information more accessible, and he hopes it will reach more residents in that format.

Economically, he said the city has seen difficulties — such as a loss of jobs due to the closures of Nutiva and Sangamo Therapeutics — but pointed to several efforts that look to improve the economy. Two companies, Moxion Power and Chefs Warehouse, are expected to create around 1,000 total jobs in the city. But Martinez believes the city should focus not just on the number of jobs but the quality, saying that jobs that offer worker protections like union jobs are important to the community.

Programs like RichmondWORKS, Richmond YouthWORKS and RichmondBUILD give residents the opportunity to develop the skills and training necessary for the workforce. An additional allocation of $1.2 million to YouthWORKS, he said, would help small businesses with staffing and payroll and placing 400 youth in work programs.

Much of the mayor’s report focused on public safety, which showed improvements and persistent problems the city faces. Martinez highlighted a decrease in homicides, which marked the lowest rate in two years, and larcenies, but vehicle theft and robbery remain challenging. Some steps have been taken within the past year or are planned for the near future to try to improve public safety, such as the $1.2 million allocation of funding for traffic calming and the expected launch of the Community Crisis Response Program in August 2024.

>>>Read: Richmond Takes Steps to Curb Traffic Collisions

In his first year, Richmond also increased affordable housing units. The rehabilitation of Nystrom Village and Nevin Plaza will provide over 150 units of affordable housing to residents in vulnerable populations like seniors. The Hacienda Heights, a public senior housing community, reopened at the beginning of 2023 with 150 affordable units. More funding has been allocated toward Nystrom Village which will provide more housing.

>>>Read: Renovated Hacienda Will Provide Affordable Housing for Seniors

But Martinez still has more plans for the city.

Under his “wishlist” for the future, he wants to encourage voter engagement, hold gross polluters accountable, establish a centralized grant department, revitalize the Port of Richmond and increase fire prevention. Some of these plans would fulfill other goals the city has. Holding polluters accountable, for example, would improve the quality of life by having them pay fines that would go toward addressing community health.


The presentation covers many accomplishments, areas of improvement and programs within the city, though still not everything Richmond has to offer. Other programs Martinez brought attention to at the meeting included Richmond Promise, a college success initiative, and LEAP, a literacy program through the Richmond Public Library that also offers GED preparation.

“Being the mayor is very different from being a council member,” Martinez said at the meeting. “There are so many more responsibilities, so many more things to consider.”

The next Richmond City Council meeting is Jan. 16, 2024.

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