May Minutes






7PM: Welcome and Beat 7 Updates

7:15PM Putting in and caring in your water-conserving, habitat-supporting landscape: Jim Hanson, Landscape Architect; Mae Clark of Plenty Productive Landscapes, a Richmond landscape design and construction company; and Liz Bittner, Richmond Trees and native plant specialist.

8PM Public Comment & Community Announcements

8:15PM Meet and Greet with Richmond City Councilmember: Johnson III


Order of agenda rearranged for Demnlus Johnson to go first.


Executive Committee Members Present

Seren Pendleton-Knoll, President

Jim Hanson, Vice-President

Nina Smith, secretary

Rock Brown, Treasurer


  1. Police Sergeant Miles Bailey (510-620-6836),, filling in for our beat officer. He’s usually assigned to Beat 9. Beat 7 April stats: 5 auto burglaries, 1 in 5700 block Sierra, residential burglaries, several in this area, commercial burglaries, license plate thefts, several in our area, 2 package thefts, stolen vehicles, homicide 900 block of Nielsen, armed robbery Roosevelt, strong arm robbery on San Pablo at gas station. If you find a dump of stolen packages, call and report to the police. 2 officers assigned to Beat 7 but they may be covering vacancies so not always actually on duty in Beat 7. The majority of this year they have had 2 officers.
  2. Demnlus Johnson, first term City Council Member (510-620-6568, cell: 510-375-1942, City Council Office, 440 Civic Center Plaza P.O. Box 4046, Richmond CA 94804-1630, 4th generation Richmond resident, raised in the Iron Triangle, Howard University, school community outreach worker in the Richmond Schools, doing a Masters program at Berkeley, works in the schools. Working on preventing displacement of long-term Richmond residents. Making sure that affordable housing is included in projects. Opportunity zones from the Trump tax plan – low income areas given special tax breaks to attract investment. Interested in economic opportunities but wants to avoid displacement of current residents. He explained that the “game” re these opportunity zones is starting but the rules aren’t finished. He voted against the proposed North Richmond annexation because the community was opposed. He is committed to communication with the neighborhood councils so that he can represent what the people want. The issue of Point Molate development brought up: the Council is concerned re making sure that the City doesn’t get hit with financial responsibility for infrastructure and services. Question asked what happens to bond liability if the developer goes bankrupt. Demnlus said he would bring it up and asked that the issue be emailed to him. Issue of development of San Pablo Avenue brought up: aesthetics, transportation.   He’s working with other the other cities, talking this week about a new tax to bring more money for the San Pablo Avenue project: West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Meeting, 10890 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito, 8 – 10 am, Friday, 5/10. Concerns about poor funding of Parks Department raised. Cannabis industry interested in Richmond because no city limit on growing. A State law was passed recently passed allowing delivery of marijuana across city lines and taking away the City’s power to stop it which has a negative impact on Richmond’s tax revenues: “A local jurisdiction shall not prevent delivery of cannabis or cannabis products on public roads by a licensee acting in compliance with this division and local law as adopted under Section 26200.” Here is a link to that article: There is also a bill pending in the legislature, AB 1356, which would require cities to allow one marijuana dispensary for every four liquor stores:
  3. Garden Landscaping: Presenters: (1) Jim Hanson (2) Mae Clark, landscape contractors, Grow Plenty Garden Design, Construction & Care,, 510-685-1170; (3) Liz Bittner,; Regional Parks Botanic Garden in Tilden Park which has a collection of California native plants. She also volunteers in Richmond with Richmond Trees, which works on the health of trees on Richmond’s streets.
    1. Resources available to the community:
      1. Native Here Nursery, Tuesdays 12 – 3 pm, Fridays 9 – 12 noon, Saturdays 10 am – 2 pm, 101 Golf Course Drive, Berkeley, CA 94708, across from Tilden Park Golf Course, nursery which grows locally native plants from Alameda and Contra Costa Counties suited to Bay Area landscapes and gardens;
      2. Calscape, a resource for native plant:;
    2. Tips from people in the business, working residential and public works types projects:
      1. Jim has been working on his yard for 5 years which started out being levels of rock over plastic. Recommends starting with circulation patterns and take it in stages. These hillsides were long-lived bunch grasses and wild flowers originally. Volunteers can protect the natural wildflowers and grasses that are still in our parks, such as Mira Vista field. Richmond Trees is a volunteer group caring for some of the street trees. At the Richmond Greenway there are a lot of volunteer opportunities. Wildfire situation here: embers that fly start a huge number of fires in a high wind. Question: how do you armor a house? Have a 5 food clear zone around the house. Don’t make your house a catcher’s mitt for embers – vents, cracks, horizontal areas on a fence, for example.
      2. Mae: There are lots of volunteer groups: it’s all about sharing information. Some of the problems to try to avoid when choosing plants from a nursery: plants grown in a nursery are grown from a cutting put into a tiny cell called a liner. Often the plants are left in the container too long and the roots start circling around the trunk of the stem (“circling roots”) which strangles the plant with time – in a few years it will stop growing or die. What you have to look for is a root which grew around the base of the tree or a tree placed in too much dirt to stabilize it which ends up rotting out the base. When buying a plant look around the base and jiggle it to make sure it has good solid anchorage. How much water? Plant water needs are a function of the time of year. As the sun gets higher the plants need more water but in the earlier spring and fall, even in hot weather the plants don’t need as much water. Deep infrequent water in spring, increase frequency in the summer and decrease again in the fall. In our area of low rainfall soil holds a lot of water. And there are deep reservoirs of water further down. You want to encourage the plants to seek out the water that is already there under the soil. Light superficial watering will favor the existing trees in competition with the new plants. Plants like to dry out in between watering. Where stem goes into the grown – keep that area dry. It is possible to mulch too much. Not so thick that you interfere with the oxygen exchange. Discourages the use of bark mulches – they come from industrial logging so they’re not environmentally sound and they have compounds in them that repel water so they require a lot of rain to get the water to penetrate. Use bark mulches if you don’t want things to grow. In a garden, use a mulch of wood chips with weeds. She recommends a product called Urban Mulch.
        1. Improving the soil: soilweb – on line. In this area the soil is clay alluvial soil – want to work on improving the soil. You develop it over time. Adding good mulches, weeding carefully. Look up website for resources:
        2. Avoid using a leaf blower – they destroy the soil crust which is where the oxygen exchange is happening.
        3. Compost adds nutrients and silt to the soil: good for vegetables, roses. Compost should smell good.
        4. The European annual grasses were introduced to California for grazing by cattle. So a weed wacker doesn’t work. Make sure the annual weeds don’t go to seed. Pull them out completely. Perennial weeds are pernicious – can’t be pulled out effectively.
  • Liz: how to attract wildlife to your garden, especially bees, butterflies and bees: plant sources of pollen. Sunflowers and buckwheat are a high value flower for pollinators. Leave some bare soil for native bees to nest in the ground. Larval food Plants: each butterfly larvae has specific food. California native milkweed. Birds need insects, berry-producing shrubs. Bird feeders need to be cleaned to prevent the spread of disease among bird species. Leave some leaf litter to build healthy soil, don’t dead head everything, let some seeds fall to feed the birds, creates nesting material. Pruning: have a well-defined reason for doing the pruning. On shrubs, coppice, ie., cut it down to the base, to rejuvenates the shrub – works for some California shrubs adapted to fire habitat. Structural pruning for health and longevity to avoid breakage or failure of branches, preventing large cuts. Prune where narrow angle, co-dominant. See video: Training Young Trees on YouTube.


  • Join Richmond Trees as a volunteer: 3rd Saturday of the month 9-12. Meet at Burg Park in NE Richmond.
  • Community Point Molate Forum: Sunday 5/19, 11- 3:30, East Bay Center for the Performing Arts on MacDonald.
  • Urban Tilth: goal is to build community gardens, Adams Fresh Farm,



  • Our neighbor, Jon Sargent, left a flyer about the Wildcat Canyon Urban Interface Wildfire Response Team. They have regular meetings and are looking for residents to get involved and help grow this important community group. Jon can be contacted at 510-233-6481.
  • Cordell invited us to the Council of Industries monthly luncheon, Hotel Mac, speakers from EBMUD, May 15, RSVP to
  • 5/22 Crime prevention is having a block captain training, 7 – 8:30 pm. Refreshments. Location to be determined. Contact Michelle Milam at Police Department.
  • 5/18: Economic Development Commission “Taste of Richmond” all welcome: 2-6 Riggers Loft
  • 5/24, 8 am – 10:30 am, Santa Fe Neighborhood Council Pancake breakfast fundraiser: St. Luke’s Missionary Baptist Church, 7th Street, $6 dine-in; $8 to go.
  • 5/9 Tom Butt 6:30-7:30 can meet the mayor.


Cordell Suggestions for October Agenda:

Presentation re Ashby village for seniors;

Cesar Zepeda re Contra Costa College Foundation