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Chuck Richardson

Headshot of candidate

Name: Chuck Richardson

Bio: Chuck Richardson was a member of the historic first majority black Richmond City Council in 1977. He represented the 5th District for 19 years.

What do you see as the biggest issue facing residents of the 5th District and how do you plan to address it, if elected?

The biggest issue facing the 5th District is getting day-to-day service problems solved. Getting potholes filled, having trees trimmed, sidewalks repaired, street lights replaced. Getting regular problems that constituents face on a daily basis responded to and fixed in a prompt manner. I have found this is what matters most to voters.

Where do you stand on the public financing of a new downtown arena/coliseum and related developments?

I am not in favor of what they are presenting. It is very vague. It has not been presented in an accurate or transparent fashion. There is too much undisclosed information, too much secrecy. It is a suspect project and I am not inclined to give it my support at this time. There are too many outside factors involved and it's not being handled, in my opinion,  with the kind of disclosure that it should be. I am inclined to urge the administration to either abandon it or handle it with much more information being disclosed to the public than so far has been.

In 2017, the City of Richmond published its Vision Zero Action Plan with the goal of eliminating all traffic fatalities. Despite those efforts, there’s been more than 100 crashes involving pedestrians in the first seven months of 2019. That resulted in three fatalities and 113 injuries. What will you do, if anything, to work toward the goals of Vision Zero and create safe streets for pedestrians?

I support the Vision Zero Action Plan. I will listen to the community and implement policy that reflects their needs in regards to traffic problems and pedestrian safety.

Property values in the 5th District are increasing rapidly: recent assessments showed a 25% year-over-year increase in Swansboro and about a 10% increase in Randolph. Rents in Richmond have also increased by about 25% since 2012, according to the RTD. How do you plan to address the need for affordable housing, both for moderate and low-income residents?

We have to make sure that the private sector does not overlap into the public sector policies where we have nothing but an increase in these rental or purchasing fees that exclude low income people from even participating in the market. We have too many people who have the ability to purchase properties, to increase the rents, and through gentrification moderate to low income people are excluded from the home purchase or rental process. We need some subsidies or something because we are going to have a city that only high income people can afford and we will create further impaction of lower income neighborhoods.

Where do you stand on efforts to remove or relocate Confederate monuments in Richmond?

I don't think confederate monuments have any place out in public in Richmond. I think all monuments dedicated to the inglorious cause of slavery, oppression, and racism should be placed in a museum somewhere outside of the perimeters of the public domain. These relics are things that ought to be considered within the context of their historical value. I don't suggest that we forget about history I don't suggest that we eliminate them from the knowledge of our young. We need them to be reminded of our past so we don't repeat our mistakes, but they should not be placed on avenues of glory where they are praised. They should be taken down from those places, placed on museums or somewhere outside of public places where you have no choice but to see them. It is inappropriate to have these monuments in places of glory or given the opportunity to be idolized. You do not idolize the sale of human flesh, the working of human beings treated as chattel.

The 5th District encompasses much of Richmond’s green space including Maymont and Byrd Parks, as well as parts of the James River Park System. What will you do to ensure future access and protection of Richmond’s natural resources?

We already have a strong commitment to our park areas. We need to add to them, continue to expand our park spaces. We are perfectly placed in Virginia for tourism and the James River is the heart of our city. It behooves us to care for it. We need to implement the James River Park System Master Plan.

A common complaint among Richmond residents is the perceived inefficiency of city services. How will you hold the city administration accountable to getting the basics right (i.e. filling potholes, promptly responding to service requests, permitting, etc.)?

We've got no accountability at all with the departments and bureaus in city hall. There's no accountability for where all of these increased fees and meals taxes and cigarette taxes are actually going. I would restructure the way the departments account for how those dollars are spent. And increase in services should be shown in the increase in taxes and fees. We also need better training for employees on more up-to-date accounting systems and other technological advancements and efficiencies that we are behind on.

Richmond Public Schools has hundreds of millions of dollars in deferred maintenance and construction needs. Would you support raising taxes to fund facilities? If so, which taxes? If not, how would you address those needs?

We don't need to increase taxes. Taxes are already at a higher level than citizens can afford. There are a number of places we can cut and the City Council had not investigated those areas where there could be a surplus. We have these extravagant projects and proposals and unnecessary expenditures that we need to unearth. We need to use that money to finance schools.

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