Mayor Hopeful Ziesenhenne Focuses on Jobs and Economic Growth

By Tasion Kwamilele

John Ziesenhenne

John Ziesenhenne a former City Council Member who served the city for 12 years, says that success starts with instilling hope in the lives of the residents so that they and officials can work together to make Richmond a “City of Pride and Purpose.”
“We need a mayor who will work with all parties and factions to bring together the best ideas for a respected Richmond,” he said. “City government must become accountable ”
A lifelong resident of Richmond, Ziesenhenne attended Harry Ells High School and Contra Costa College before graduating from UC Berkeley in 1980.
He believes that Richmond does not at present have the necessary leadership and that the current mayor does not understand the finances of the city.  
“If you have gone or viewed a City Council meeting on TV, you do not see effort being made to protect the citizens of Richmond,” he said.  “There is no economic development plan for the city of Richmond, and Mayor McLaughlin continuously votes against job development in Richmond.”
While he supports the development of green jobs, he knows that green jobs only make up 1 percent of the economy and is not the only answer for Richmond residents. “Green” living is very expensive, especially in  times when people struggle to pay their normal PG&E bill, he said.
He plans to from an economic task force made up of finance and redevelopment personal as well a few city council officials. The task force would solely work on contacting business to find out their needs and encourage them stay or expand within the city.
It is these kinds of steps that show business what Richmond has to offer and provides Richmond residents with the jobs to reduce the 19 percent unemployment rate, he said.
“We have to go out to the business people to let them know that Richmond is willing to work with them,” said Ziesenhenne. “We have to let them know how great it is to come into Richmond. We have to jump start the economy in Richmond.”
“I will work hard as mayor of Richmond,” he said. “I am proud to say it is my hometown, and we have to work as a team to build the city back. We have to rebuild it from within. Bringing a practical business approach to the city council meetings and running Richmond like a business is what we need to do.”
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