Thursday, July 10, 2014

Richmond City Elections

"Eviction attorney Charles Ramsey abandons mayoral campaign to run for City Council"
2014-07-08 by Lynda Carson [tenantsrule@)] []:
(Photo showing Charles Ramsey)

(Photo by Alexander Ritchie showing Berkeley public housing residents protested for years but were finally evicted or threatened with eviction by Charles Ramsey until they left “voluntarily.”)

Richmond -- In a desperate move to stay in power, eviction attorney Charles Ramsey abandoned his campaign to run for Mayor of Richmond, and decided to run for City Council instead.
After 21 years with the West Contra Costa Costa Unified School District (currently president), Ramsey's term in office expires latter this year, and it appears that he may be confused about what office to run for next.
This leaves the door wide open for the favored progressive candidate Mike Parker to run for mayor of Richmond, including Chevron/corporate sponsored Councilman Nat Bates, and local businessman Uche Uwahemu.
According to a July 8, Contra Costa Times article it reports that Ramsey sent an email to his supporters on Monday July 7, announcing his decision to withdraw from the race to run for mayor of Richmond, so that he may run for City Council instead.
"After careful thought and consideration, I believe I can be more effective and get more things done as a council member rather than as Mayor," Ramsey wrote, according to the Times article.
The voters will decide in November during the next general election who will be the mayor of Richmond, and will also vote to fill four open City Council seats during that same period.
Members of the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) including Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, Vice Mayor Jovanka Beckles, and Eduardo Martinez are also running for City Council.
In the "people vs. corporate interests" battle over control of the City of Richmond, the progressives are up against Chevron and big business interests that are trying to take control of the mayor's office, and the City Council.
Additionally, the progressives are up against eviction attorney Charles Ramsey who is supported by his eviction legal services law firm, construction contractors, big business, labor unions, architectural firms and other companies that have made out like a bunch of fat rats from the alleged cronyism happening in the passage of more than $1 billion in school construction bonds, that Ramsey helped pass in Contra Costa County during the past ten years.

Contra Costa County Voters Convinced of Pay-To-Play Bond Scheme -
Many disenchanted voters became convinced that there is a pay-to-play bond scheme occurring in Contra Costa County during recent years, and the voters shot down the latest $270 million school construction bond measure on June 3, that was promoted for by Charles Ramsey and his cronies in the construction industry.
Through the years Ramsey's political campaigns are being financed by some of the same interests in the construction industry that have benefited from the $1.44 billion in school construction bonds that have been passed during the past ten years in Contra Costa County.
As recent as the filing date of May 28, 2014, Ramsey received $6,594 in campaign contributions from the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (Northern California Chapter), in addition to other campaign contributions from other supporters giving him $95,934, during his campaign to run for mayor of Richmond. A total of over $100,000 in campaign contributions presently.
Money is pouring into Ramsey's campaign to run for mayor in Richmond from DLM Arhcitects in San Francisco, Hibser Yamauchi Architects in Oakland, Baker Vilar Architects in Berkeley, Quattrocchi Kwok Architects in Santa Rosa, Northern California Chapter of NECA, Western States Council of Sheet Workers, Santa Clara and San Benito Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, and many other unions, and corporations.
In a July 30, 2013, letter from Charles Ramsey to Mike Geller of the National Electrical Contractors Association, Contra Costa Chapter, Ramsey requests an official endorsement and financial support for his mayoral race. He writes: “A contribution will make a tremendous difference when I am in the Mayor’s office fighting for apprenticeships and PLAs for construction. I am seeking a $2,500 contribution for the race. I can tell you that I will never forget the generosity if you can meet that goal.”
As recent as 5/24/2014, the Contra Costa Times reported that around $2.8 million has poured into campaigns since 2002 to pass school district bond measures in the county, with the bulk of the campaign funds coming from groups that benefited from the huge taxpayer funded construction projects.
According to reports, the Seville Group Inc., a construction management firm that has overseen the bond funded school construction projects in Contra Costa County, have given $250,000 to a committee connected to the passage of school bonds in Contra Costa County, and has contributed money to Ramsey's political campaign to run for mayor of Richmond.
Additional reports in San Diego on April 26, 2012, reveal that Rene Flores, president of the Seville Group Inc., pleaded no contest in a corruption probe that involved contracts awarded under voter-approved bond programs in Southern California at Sweetwater schools, and the Southwestern College.

Charles Ramsey's Family Political Connections -
Ramsey is politically connected including to his father Henry Ramsey Jr., who passed away recently and was a federal judge. His mother Eleanor Mason Ramsey is president of Mason Tillman Associates, a government consultancy firm, and his brother Ismail Ramsey was a former deputy U.S. attorney.
Additionally, during 2002/2003 Charles Ramsey's brother Githaiga Ramsey worked for then-district attorney Terrence Hallinan in San Francisco as a deputy district attorney but, ran into some legal problems when he was accused in federal court of stealing more than $2 million from former NBA player Jason Caffey, who played for the Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks, and Golden State Warriors.
Githaiga Ramsey is not eligible to practice law anymore, and resigned from his practice of law on 8/14/2005 with charges pending at that time. Records also reveal that his status as an attorney was suspended for failing to pay his Bar membership fees. Additional records reveal that Githaiga Ramsey was charged with stealing $2,275,000 from Jason Caffey.
According to the State Bar of California, Githaiga Ramsey faced 22 charges of misconduct, including eight counts of moral turpitude as a result of the two separate cases filed against him. One case for allegedly ripping off $2,275,000 from Jason Caffey through his companies GDR Sports and Entertainment Management, and another case brought against him for improperly transferring a piece of property in the East Bay.
Despite the fact that the State Bar of California sought the disbarment of Githaiga Ramsey if they could prove that the charges against Ramsey were true, it appears that as a result of Ramsey's high powered family political connections that he was never prosecuted. The case was settled confidentially, and no criminal offenses were filed against Ramsey by the the D.A., U.S. Attorney's Office, the FBI or any other government agency.

Arrest of Charles Ramsey -
A Contra Costa Times article dated July 9, 2013, reports: “First elected to the school board in 1993, Ramsey was re-elected in 1997 despite pleading no contest to a 1995 charge that he solicited an undercover officer posing as a prostitute in Oakland. The incident was expunged from his record in 2001. He unsuccessfully sought a state Assembly seat in 2002.”

Charles Ramsey the Eviction Attorney -
In addition to his activities with the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) for the past 21 years, Ramsey has his own law firm located in Oakland at 3640 Grand Ave., where he makes a living by providing eviction legal services to a number of local housing authorities and numerous so-called nonprofit housing developers.
For many years Ramsey has made a very comfortable living by threatening low-income tenants with eviction or sanctions. Evicting the poor, elderly and disabled from their housing has become a way of life for Ramsey. According to Tia Ingram, executive director of the Berkeley Housing Authority, Ramsey takes a very hands on approach to his job when it comes time to evicting the poor from their housing.
According to public records with the Berkeley Housing Authority (BHA), in recent years Ramsey has provided eviction legal services for the BHA and has evicted a number of Berkeley’s low-income public housing residents as a result. His contract with the BHA began during March of 2009 and costs averaged $2,400 per month for the first two years of the contract.
Records reveal that his contract with the BHA has been amended at least two times since March 2009, extending the term through June 30, 2012, for a total not to exceed $113,000. Additionally, a July 12, 2012, status report from the BHA reveals that Ramsey was awarded another contract for eviction legal services at the BHA.
The BHA has recently privatized and sold its 75 public housing townhomes to out-of-state billionaires Jorge M. Perez and Stephen M. Ross of the Related Companies, and Ramsey’s eviction legal services may currently no longer be needed by the BHA. Transfer of ownership of Berkeley’s public housing units to billionaires Perez and Ross occurred as recently as Feb. 14, 2014.
Additional public records reveal that from June 2002 to July 2005, the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA) paid $506,664 to the Law Office of Charles Ramsey for eviction legal services, and during this same period the OHA was paying Ramsey $200 per hour. As a result of an audit by a regional inspector general, and HUD's expressed concerns that Ramsey was charging more than he was worth, the OHA decided to use a competitive procurement process for the eviction legal services it sought, which led to Ramsey’s hourly rate being lowered to $175 per hour when a new contract took effect in August of 2005.
Public records with the Berkeley Housing Authority also reveal that Ramsey has served as an eviction attorney for the housing authorities in Marin County, San Francisco and Richmond.
Additionally, Ramsey has provided eviction legal services to so-called nonprofit housing developers that include the John Stewart Co., Affordable Housing Associates, East Bay Asian Local Development Corp., Bethel AME and numerous other so-called nonprofit housing developers in the Bay Area.

July 7 email of Charles Ramsey switching to Richmond city council race -
Below is a copy of the email sent out on July 7, 2014 by Charles Ramsey in which he announces his decision to abandon his campaign to run for Mayor of Richmond, to run for city council instead.
Dear Friends and Supporters,
As you know, I grew up in the City of Richmond. Richmond is where my parents taught me that community service and helping others was an essential part of life, and that a good education was the great equalizer. 
Those lessons motivated me to serve more than twenty years on the West Contra Costa School Board working to make a difference. 
It is that same desire to serve that prompted me to declare my candidacy for Mayor of Richmond as our city faces huge challenges.
After careful thought and consideration, I believe I can be more effective and get more things done as a Councilmember rather than as Mayor.
On the City Council I will focus on bringing new jobs and investments into our city, increasing the safety of our neighborhoods, and creating new opportunities for our residents and businesses to thrive. 
Your trust and support has been humbling.  I hope you’ll continue to support my City Council campaign so that together we can work to put Richmond back on the right track. 

 [signed] Charles Ramsey

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