Come with me to the City of Richmond in Northern California. It’s a city that sits 16 miles northeast of San Francisco, directly across San Francisco Bay.
It’s about a 30-minute drive from Richmond to San Francisco; Oakland is only about 20 minutes away. And you can get to marvelous Marin County in just 15 minutes, driving across the truly magnificent Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, from which you’ll see, off to the left, the infamous San Quentin State Prison, once home to such notable murderers as Sirhan Sirhan, Charles Manson, and “The Nightstalker,” Richard Ramirez. San Quentin is, for men, California’s Death Row.
Within a 30-mile radius of Richmond can be found over 3.7 million people, but in the City of Richmond alone, the population is just over 100,000. The city’s largest employers include Chevron, who has a major oil refinery in Richmond, Zeneca, a chemical company, Kaiser Permanente and the Social Security Administration… but Richmond also boasts growing high- and biotech sectors.
Richmond is also a city with 32 miles of coastline, along which can be found large public parks with breathtaking views of San Francisco Bay, city skylines, and even Mount Tamalpais. There are bicycle paths where you can ride, walk or run right along the water. In Richmond Marina, it’s not unusual to see otters and Harbor Seals sunning themselves on the rocks.
It’s not the sort of place you’d expect to find being referred to as the #3 Most Dangerous City in America, in terms of both auto theft and murder, but that was it’s ranking as of March 2010. It’s the second California city to rank in the top ten most dangerous U.S. cities; Oakland’s been at home on that list for a while.
And the City of Stockton, perhaps the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis in California, which filed bankruptcy last year and has since cut something like 40 percent of its police force, is coming up fast at around #16.
Like most of California, Richmond got absolutely clobbered by the mortgage meltdown and subsequent collapse of the housing market… the median sale price of a single-family residence fell from roughly $450,000 in January 2006… to $220,000 today. The Castillo Family, who were interviewed by The New York Times, explained that they paid $420,000, and today their home …read more