About My Priorities
Homes, Health, Jobs and Justice
- Expand home ownership for all residents, and protect renters
In the last decade thousands of Richmond residents lost their homes to foreclosure. A lot of pain and frustration are behind these losses. Savings destroyed, families uprooted, sadness and separation for many adults and children. Many of the foreclosures are the result of predatory lending practices and the greed of banks and lending institutions.
This is not the Richmond we want. We want a Richmond where the vast majority of residents are owners of their own home. I think that with the right policies in place (Down Payment Assistance, Mortgage Assistance, Foreclosure Intervention and modification ) and with local, statewide, federal support we can help current tenants acquire the home in which they reside. I think that we need to expand further the local resident participation in the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). We need to give local not-for-profit organizations and community organizations, as well as local tenants and residents, priority for the purchase and redevelopment of foreclosed and abandoned homes and residential properties. Let’s keep our good residents in Richmond, let’s help our tenants to become homeowners. We also need to expand Richmond’s affordable housing stock by providing incentives for in-filling housing construction.
As we advance together to revert the disastrous consequences in Richmond of the foreclosure crisis of the last decade, we must defend our good tenants with a new Fair Rent Control and Just Cause Eviction policy. We need the good tenants to continue contributing to our neighborhoods safety and wealth.
Homes for Richmond!
- Promote healthy, sustainable developments and local jobs
I believe that we cannot postpone long-term thinking. Our families and our planet are both in crisis. Our community’s economic model must have sustainability at its core.
I want to promote the establishment of a local economy that provides jobs with living wages, and is economically viable, environmentally sound and socially responsible.
To develop this model we need the participation from all sectors of the community, both to determine community needs and to identify and implement new and appropriate solutions. My experience in community organizing will help in the participation of community members in the process. Community empowerment has been the goal of my work for years.
The people of Richmond know what is needed today and understands what they want to leave behind for the next generations. Richmond cares about today and the future. I want to continue working with organized labor, and the community, to bring to Richmond projects and permanent jobs that promote health and prosperity for local residents while impacting positively our present and future lives.
Healthy, sustainable, local jobs for Richmond!
- Organize a campaign for “A Community Hospital for Richmond” with universal health care coverage
Doctors Medical Hospital closed its doors recently and left thousands of Richmond residents in a very precarious, risky situation for medical care. Residents of other West Contra Costa County areas are also seriously impacted and the residents of Central and East County now find more people competing for services in hospitals of that area. Increased traveling times to emergency rooms are likely to have lost residents lives already.
We need to put together a county-wide coalition for a Community Hospital in Richmond-West County that addresses issues that precipitated DMC closure and creates a plan that generates a permanent funding source to finance the operation of the hospital for the whole county’s benefit, specifically Richmond and West County. I’m willing to work with local authorities and health care workers to create a coalition and a plan to make this a reality.
As we work on this we must insist that health care is a universal human right and all Californians, documented or not, have the right to affordable health care. I have done this in recent years and will continue to do it.
Health for Richmond!
- Promote safety and security in all Richmond neighborhoods
In 2014, at the end of Mayor Gayle McLaughlin tenure as Mayor, Richmond had the lowest homicide rate in more than 30 years. This achievement was the result of a combined and coordinated effort done year after year involving the community and the police department under a chief who promoted community policing. The community promoted programs like Safe Return, Cease Fire, and the Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS) which combined for good results. Our new police chief Allwyn Brown is continuing the community policing approach.
Nevertheless, the almost doubling of homicides in 2015 (n=21), along with a 15 percent increase in violent crime, has left the community seriously concerned.
The basic positive relation between the community and police officers deteriorated with the killing by a RPD officer of unarmed young man Pedie Perez (September 2014), with no consequences for the officer. It also deteriorated when several police officers, including a lieutenant who was the spokesperson for the department and a sergeant who had a direct role with youth activities, were found to have been involved in a sexual ring with a young victim of sexual exploitation (2016).
Many residents, and in particular young men and women, hear and witness these abuses by Richmond Police officers and move back from the basic foundation of the community policing which helped generate higher levels of safety and security.
In order to regain community trust and improve the safety and security of our neighborhoods we must demand higher standards from the Richmond Police Department.
We also need to increase job opportunities with living wages for the young and for people returning from incarceration and seeking second chance. I have supported and promoted helping people formerly incarcerated with opportunities for face-to-face job interviews in which employers can hear directly from applicants.
I also believe in the importance of building up each neighborhood and promoting opportunities for neighbors to meet each other and build relationships and friendships. This is not only for safety and security, it is to also to make our lives as residents richer and more enjoyable.
Safety and Security for Richmond!
- Protect all residents from corporate crimes and abuses
Of all the crimes committed, corporate crimes are the ones with the widest consequences and the crimes that are less likely to be stopped and punished.
We know in Richmond the consequences of corporate crime running rampant in a rigged system. As Senator Elizabeth Warren stated so well: “Giant corporations – and their executives – have decided that following the law is merely optional”. Thousands and thousands of homes, jobs and savings were lost to corporate greed. Thousands get sick every year from toxic pollutants dumped into the air, the ground and the water.
Senator Bernie Sanders has helped us understand better these crimes and abuses. Bernie pointed out that the crooks on Wall Street started the Great Recession and got richer through it. That the casino-type capitalism they promote causes devastating problems for working folks and that Wall Street’s business model is a fraud and leads us to recession and suffering. That their greed is addictive and their sickness hurts the entire country terribly.
We know well in Richmond how mega-rich corporations refuse to pay their fair share of taxes, use predatory lending targeting the poor and vulnerable, use their money to corrupt our democratic process and get from the City what they want, and continue the crimes of inflicting on us pollution, corruption and for foreclosures.
I am with Senator Bernie Sanders to create America that works for all, not handful on top. I will be part of this transformation of our nation.
No corporate crimes in Richmond!
PO Box 1573
Richmond, CA 94802
Melvin Willis embraced and endorsed by Senator
Bernie Sanders (10/15/2016)