Last year, Chevron spent $5 million on social programs in Richmond. This year, the company is launching an initiative that will spend $15.5 million over five years on economic development and education in the city. To those sums can be added the $1.2 million the company spent trying to influence city politics during the 2012 election. That’s chump change for one of the world’s most profitable companies and real money for one of the Bay Area’s poorest cities.
Chevron has been spending money in Richmond for decades, but after the refinery fire in August that sent thousand to the hospital, the cash is no guarantee of an easy relationship. The resistance Chevron is facing as it seeks to repair its fire-damaged refinery reflects the strained bond between the oil company and Richmond, according to an article in Thursday’s New York Times.
Still, Chevron’s manager of community engagement told the New York Times that over 50 percent of Richmond residents regard the company favorably. What do you think? Is Chevron’s presence in the area a benefit, a blight, or both?