January 29, 2013
In my book, family and the holidays trump politics. It is for that reason that I have refrained from speaking out in public about the falsehoods spoken about me.
My work in this community means a lot to me and now that the dust has settled I must speak out.
At the October 30, 2012 Council meeting Jeff Rubin and Mary McMain, speaking for the Concerned Citizens of Pinole, and citing the minutes of November 6, 13, and 27, 2007 made false, and defamatory statements about me.
Those statements were mentioned in Tom Lochner’s column dated November 2, 2012.
“At Tuesday’s meeting, Ricco touted her leadership skills, and about a half dozen supporters wearing Ivette Ricco t-shirts praised her personality and savvy. But Jeff Rubin of Concerned Citizens of Pinole, which endorses Murray and Swearingen, portrayed Ricco as someone more adept at driving away business, citing her and the chamber’s opposition to a plan for a commercial-retail building in 2007 and 2008 at what is now the Community Corner, and to several planned restaurants at Tennent and San Pablo avenues, including Tina’s Place, which ended up opening anyway”.
The following statements are absolutely false.
* That in my ten years as the Pinole Chamber of Commerce Executive Director or President I opposed virtually every new business that wanted to locate in Pinole.
* That I and several of my board members helped kill the retail office complex that was supposed to be on the corner of Tennent and San Pablo Avenue where the Community Corner is.
* That I am partially responsible for the ugly green fence being there in the first place.
* That I and others from the Chamber board stood at the council podium and spoke against the retail office complex that would have been on that corner and helped kill it.
The truth is:
I have never opposed any new business in Pinole either as the Executive Director or as the President of the Chamber.
I have never spoken against the Hirahara Project.
No one representing the Chamber of Commerce Board has ever spoken against the Hirahara project.
* That I and several of my board members have opposed every restaurant that wanted to open in the space where Tina’s Restaurant is. The First St. Café, an Indian restaurant, an Italian restaurant and that we opposed Tina’s Place.
The real truth is:
I have never spoken against any of these restaurants. No one representing the Chamber of Commerce Board has ever spoken against any of these restaurants. The July 2010 minutes where Tina’s was discussed are here.
* That I have spoken against a business that wanted to lease space at Pinole Shores Business Park.
The truth is that the Bay Cities Mechanical transaction in question was brought to the Chamber policy committee by Roy Swearingen who questioned the deal points and asked the Pinole Chamber of Commerce Policy Committee to consider opposing the deal terms. After meeting to discuss the Bay Cities Mechanical deal the Chamber, in a letter dated March 2010 expressed concern regarding the deal terms.
It reads in part “based on the information available to us, we feel that the benefits to the City of the proposed $430,000 BRIP loan and the $50,000 New Business Development Assistance Grant are not sufficient to justify the expenditures, in this case. The deal does not provide the City of Pinole, its citizens nor the business community with benefits commensurate with the City’s investment of $480,000.”
Council members Swearingen and Long voted against the deal which passed 3-2. A week later Bay Cities pulled out of the deal.
Chamber letter here
* That I oppose a lease with a husband and wife team that wants to open a coffee shop and jazz club in the bank building.
There are two situations you should be aware of.
1. I met with the couple interested in opening a coffee shop at the Pinole Bank Building in March at the request of staff. I told the couple that I believe in a free market economy and would welcome new business in Old Town. I advised them to meet with the owners of the Bear Claw to mitigate any possible business issues’ pointing out that the community was in the process of “making over” the Bear Claw Bakery. I have never voiced opposition to them or any new business.
Update – March 2013 – The couple interested in leasing the Pinole Bank Building has pulled out of this deal with the city. They will open their business on San Pablo Avenue several blocks away from the Pinole Bank Building.
2. In September I was contacted by a resident who could not understand why his inquiry to the broker of the Pinole Bank building had been rebuffed in July, without explanation. He told the broker that he was interested in opening an Italian restaurant at that location. The broker said that the city didn’t want another restaurant, that they wanted a coffee shop. Email communications between me and the city ask why the resident’s idea was rebuffed when this piece of public property still displayed a For Lease sign.
Emails regarding the rejection of the resident’s inquiry here.
The truth is that I was the Executive Director of the Pinole Chamber of Commerce from 2002 until September 2007; prior to the period of time referenced in these statements (November-December 2007). As the Executive Director, I made no policy decisions on behalf of the Chamber. Neither I nor any member of the Chamber Board speaking on behalf of the Chamber ever spoke against the Hirahara project or the restaurants mentioned. I stepped down in September 2007 and declared my council candidacy in August 2007.
In September 2008 I was elected as the President of the Pinole Chamber of Commerce.
During the period in November 2007 referred to, the Chamber President and Board members were:
Monica Shaw, President – Vickie Resso, Carol White, Michelle Blackwell, Deanna Million (Executive Director) Nancy Miller, Judy O’Bannon, Scott Carter, and Crag Parker.
I stepped down in September 2007 as the Executive Director.
Please note that those who are mentioned in the minutes spoke as private citizens and business owners, not, as representative of the Pinole Chamber of Commerce.
Complete copies of the Minutes of November 6, 13, 20 and 27, 2007 are below.|
I have copies of the all the relevant minutes in 2007 as well as the July 2010 minutes regarding Tina’s as well as the Chamber’s March 2010 letter regarding Bay City Mechanical. I also have the relevant emails between the city and me regarding the Pinole Bank Building and the July 2010 minutes which reference Tina’s.
I am happy to provide you a copy of these documents.
Some of them can be seen here.
Please contact me at 510-758-0613 (home) or by email at email@example.com