Jeff Ritterman will complete his term on the Richmond City Council on Tuesday. Here's some background on the 64-year-old retired cardiologist: Ritterman was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1948. At age 6, his family moved to the suburbs on Long Island, where he lived until leaving for college. At the University of Wisconsin, Ritterman majored in biology and began the political activism that would mark his later life. After college, he volunteered for two years teaching runaway and dropout high school students in Madison, Wis. He attended medical school at Temple University in Philadelphia, although he admits that he did
not get into the first school of his choice. "We all face disappointments, but we have to move on," Ritterman said. Ritterman began working at Kaiser Richmond Medical Center in 1980, and retired as chief of cardiology in 2010. Ritterman joined the Richmond Progressive Alliance in 2004. A longtime Oakland resident, Ritterman moved to Richmond about 10 years ago. He currently lives in Point Richmond. In 2008, Ritterman was the top vote-getter in a large field for City Council, despite spending much less than many of his opponents. In early 2011, Ritterman decided he would not run for re-election in 2012. He says his longtime partner, Vivien Feyer, persuaded him to walk away. In early 2012, Ritterman embarked on his exhausting public campaign to tax sugar-sweetened beverages. The campaign drew global media attention but ultimately lost, thanks in part to more than $2 million in spending by the American Beverage Association. Ritterman has been awarded the distinguished Karis "caring physician" award and the Donald P. Fisher award for excellence. The Kaiser Permanente Medical Group recognized him with their prestigious "Everyday Hero" award. Ritterman says he may work to bring new sugar-sweetened beverage measures to 14 cities in the 2014 elections. Ritterman says the campaign could enrich the cities by luring in beverage industry advertising money and raise awareness of the health impacts of sodas and other beverages. Ritterman said he is interested in teaching joint courses at UC Berkeley with his daughter, who is also an educator and public health professional.
Jeff Ritterman, outside the Starbucks in Point Richmond on Dec. 12. Photo by Robert Rogers