Save Pt Molate

On July 7th, in Closed Session our City Manager, Laura Snideman, and City Council negotiated with SunCal “the price and terms of payment for Pt Molate,” 413 acres of public land.

The City could sell Point Molate to the Southern CA Read Estate Developer, SunCal, by the end of September if we don’t stop them.  

See below City Council actions taken on July 7th in Closed Session and on the two agenda items, G-2 and G-3.

Point Molate Council Agenda Items

Actions Taken

Council Agenda

Closed Session
City Attorney Report from Closed Session: No Action Taken
“Under negotiations: price and terms of payment for Pt Molate”
The sale of Pt Molate for construction of an exclusive housing enclave is driven by an illegal settlement deal voted on behind closed doors.  The City was legally required to vote in public because housing was included in the settlement.  The closed-door vote was “backdoor” zoning.

Talking Points
1.  Suspend negotiations until the legal suit against the City for their Brown Act violation for voting behind closed doors is heard and judged in Federal Court.  If the City loses in court, the time and money spent now may be wasted.  
2. Suspend negotiations until the City has consulted with the Ohlone on the protections needed for the Ohlone sacred Shellmounds at Pt Molate.
2.  Please suspend negotiations on the sale of Pt Molate until the public and Hatch can review and respond the SunCal financial report to ensure the City can protect the General Fund against the projected $3-5 million dollar General Fund yearly cost for required city services for the SunCal project and other financial risks to the city,
4. Suspend negotiations until the public can participate in the review and decision making process for Pt Molate.  COVID-19 has severely limited public participation in City meetings, and the City’s online system is not accessible to all.  Even those who can logon have difficulty hearing the meetings, calling-in, and having their comments read.
Consent Calendar Item, G-2
Council members Choi, Johnson, Myrick, Bates, Butt approved G-2. G-2 authorizes an additional $300,000, up to $900,000 retainer, for Downey Brand, LLC,  to defend the Environmental Impact Report.  Downey Brand, LLC, prides itself on finding ways around and successfully fighting environmental and other state and federal regulations.
Please thank Council member Martinez for voting against G-2.  
Council member WillIs, who also consistently supports the public interest, was absent. 
AGENDA ITEM: “The third amendment to the legal services agreement with Downey Brand, LLC to represent the City as California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) counsel for the Point Molate project, to increase the payment limit by $300,000 with a total payment limit of $900,000 to be paid with funds deposited by the master developer.”
The $300,000 will be deducted from the sale price of Point Molate.  
Talking Points
Downey Brand, LLC is one of the top law firms in the state that specializes in fighting environmental and other state and federal regulations
One of City’s stated reasons for the $300,000 increase is the number of public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report.
1.  Should the City invest in a top law firm to fight environmental, traffic and safety expert testimony about the negative impacts of SunCal’s plan?  Tell the Council to vote against the contract.
2.  Wouldn’t our money be better spent on scientists and engineers working to help the City/SunCal design a plan for Pt. Molate that protects its rare habitats and addresses the traffic and safety issues in SunCal’s plan?
3.  The City should first publish the in-depth expert accounts of the environmental, traffic and safety dangers of SunCal’s plan before the City Council votes on an additional $300,000, up to $900,000, for Downey Brand, LLC to try to find ways around and fight state and federal reguations.  Here are just a few expert comments.
Consent Calendar Item, G-3

Council members Choi, Johnson, Myrick, Bates, Butt approved G-3 to sole-source, with no competitive bidding process, Nematode, LLC, proprietor, Bobby Winston, as the de facto property manager for Terminal, 4 for five years.  Bobby Winston is a friend and past fundraiser for our Mayor and is not a professional property manager.

Mayor Butt did not recuse himself from voting on this agenda item. 

Please thank Council member Martinez for voting against G-3 and speaking in defense of putting Richmond government jobs out to bid and government transparency.  

Council member Willis was absent.

AGENDA ITEM: “A five year Lease Agreement with Nematode Holdings, LLC [Bobby Winston] and the Port of Richmond forTerminal 4 [public land north of Pt. Molate at tip of the headland], subleasing for general equipment storage and other waterfront uses and caretaker services.”

Talking Points

1Where are the bidding documents?  Was there a request for qualifications, specifications, and a public bidding process to select the best possible vendors, i.e. qualifications, experience, cost to the City, potential revenue generating for the City?  

Jim Matzorkis, Executive Director of the Richmond Port, confirmed yesterday that there was no bidding process.  Why?  He said Bobby Winston, proprietor of Nematode Holdings, submitted a “very lucrative proposal.”  How does the City know Bobby Winston’s is the most “lucrative” proposal without a competitive bidding process?  “Lucrative“ for whom?

2.  What are Bobby Winston’s qualifications for managing this property and leasing operation?  He is not a licensed property manager. Why is he even being considered?

Bobby Winston, a friend and past fund-raiser for the Mayor as well as proprietor of Nematode Holdings, LLC, was sole-sourced as the leasing and de factor property manager for Pt. Molate several years ago.

Our Mission

We are an alliance of Richmond residents, Ohlone and American Indian organizations, non-profits, small business owners, scientists and other experts working to stop the Richmond City Council from voting to sell Pt Molate, 413 acres of public land, without public or Ohlone consent, to SunCal, a large southern California real estate developer.  

The deal driving the sale is an illegal backroom settlement between the City and the proposed Pt Molate casino developer to build an exclusive residential community that could cost the City $3 - $5 million a year and will destroy rare native habitat and sacred Ohlone Shellmounds.  Here are more reasons to oppose SunCal’s plan.

We support the Community Plan

Develop the Winehaven Historic District to provide needed employment and wealth building opportunities for Richmond residents and surround it with a world-class regional park that protects rare native habitat and Ohlone sacred sites, provides needed sports fields and outdoor recreation for Richmond families and the region, and revenue for Richmond’s General Fund. 

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Logo Credit: Regina Gilligan   Photo Credit: Jack Scheinman