Robert Richter

Robert Richter says his engineering background would help improve city decision-making.

February 11, 2011|By Joe Piasecki,

Don’t accuse Robert Richter of failing to speak his mind.

A retired scientist and engineer who developed advanced technology for JPL, Xerox and General Electric, Richter emerged as perhaps the council’s harshest critic in the run-up to Flintridge area votes about sewer installation and assessments.

Then and now, Richter maintains that city officials have knowingly misled and deliberately lied about the need for sewers — especially to residents below Foothill Boulevard, where assessments failed due to hefty price tags.

“What I learned about the city when I got involved in sewers was the starting point, not the ending point,” said Richter, 80, who came to the U.S. from Germany in 1952 and served with the Army Dental Corps during the Korean War.

What’s come since the sewers question is a council candidacy — his second in two years — marked by aggressive criticism of council incumbents and equally forceful means of making a point, at times publicly declaring past city actions and discussion of certain issues as “absurd” or “a waste of time.”


Running a strictly grassroots campaign, Richter said he has not sought supporter contributions and, as of press time, does not appear to have filed any campaign finance disclosures.

“There is no one on the City Council with an engineering background” with which to evaluate technical contracts and decisions, he said. “I’m simply offering my services.”

Valley Sun: Briefly explain why you want to be on the council and your top priority if elected.

Robert Richter: The City Council, as I experienced, is not honest with homeowners. They lied to us when they tried to force sewers upon us, and that is why I felt something had to be done and it was my duty to do it. If I’m elected I will very thoroughly look at all the programs and contracts by the City Council, whether they are realistic, whether they are cost effective, whether they are scientifically and engineering appropriate.

What would you describe as the city’s most important accomplishment over the past several years?

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