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Black Lives Matter

Team Richmond Prevails in Richmond City Council Election

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Building Bridges Between Black and Brown

Fred Jackson

Challenging Chevron's Tax Theft

North Shore Development

Finish for Pt. Molate Casino

2013 State of City

New Approach to Homelessness

Article by Jeff Ritterman in American Journal of Medicine

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Eduardo Martinez
Gayle McLaughlin
Jovanka Beckles

Newsletter Archives

Fit For Life

Poll of Richmond Voters Shows Strong Support for RPA

RPA Favored for City Council Vacancy

Eduardo Martinez just received the results of a poll conducted soon after the November election, designed to be representative of Richmond's voters. It was done by Voter Technology for the Richmond Small Business Association.

When asked whom they favored to fill the council seat that will become vacant when Tom Butt becomes mayor, Richmond voters supported another RPA member over "someone more moderate" (in the poll's loaded phrasing) by 62% to 38%.

This confirms that the Team Richmond sweep was not only a rejection of Chevron's candidates and negative campaigning, but also a genuine victory for the values and positions of the Richmond Progressive Alliance.

There are other interesting questions in the full poll results, ranging from shoreline development to medical marijuana manufacturing, with a breakdown of findings by geographical zones as well as composite data.

Pre- & Post-Ferguson

Real Police Reform Takes Root in Richmond

by Steve Early

In the wake of a Missouri grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown on August 9, it can be difficult to imagine a city in the United States where a police department and a largely black and Latino population work together productively.

But it's happening in Richmond, California, a gritty town in the San Francisco Bay Area best known for its massive Chevron refinery and, in past years, for its high crime rate.

Thanks to a decade-long experiment with “community policing,” violent crime in Richmond is down. Last year, this city of 100,000 had only 16 killings—the lowest number in 33 years—and far fewer unsolved homicide cases.

Gun use by the Richmond Police Department (RPD) itself is also way down. Despite making thousands of arrests and confiscating one gun or more every day in the city, the RPD has averaged less than one officer-involved shooting per year since 2008. On September 6, The Contra Costa Times ran a story, citing these and other statistics. It was headlined: "Use of Deadly Force by Police Disappears on Richmond Streets."

Continue to the full CounterPunch story.

Think Globally, Buy Locally

The Made-in-Richmond Foodie Gift Box

If your looking for a gift from Richmond, the promo materials say "The City of Richmond and the Richmond Economic Development Commission worked together to develop a gift box with a range of gourmet options made right here in Richmond from our growing Foodie cluster, including: Lemur International, Inc., Nutiva, Zoe's Cookies, Cassandra's Dream Cakes, Catahoula Coffee Company, Oren's Kitchen, Lotus Foods, and Vassell Foods." They are marketed by a local company, California Delicious.

Opposition to Kinder Morgan’s Permit

School Board Wary of Crude-by-Rail

Wednesday evening, 12/3, the WCCUSD Board unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) to reconsider its permit to Kinder Morgan for crude-by-rail shipments coming into Richmond. Andrés Soto of Communities for a Better Environment brought the resolution to the Board. The Richmond City Council passed a similar measure in October, and as a result, City Manager Bill Lindsay sent a letter to BAAQMD making a case for reconsideration, review, and revocation of the permit.

This recent incident may have helped persuade the Trustees: On Friday, a rail car derailed off BNSF tracks near the Richmond Parkway, where Pennsylvania Avenue ends near Peres Elementary School. A reader submitted the photo above to the Richmond Standard (Chevron's PR organ), which ran a story on Wednesday. Other media coverage was woefully scant.

Important Step Forward in Saving Doctors Hospital

County Supervisors Forgive $9M Debt

by Mike Parker

The Board of Supervisors made a step toward saving Doctors Hospital on Tuesday, December 2. It passed a resolution waiving $9 million debt repayment. Eduardo Martinez, Melvin Willis, representing ACCE, and Mike Parker, representing the RPA, spoke at the Board along with several nurses and representatives of the CNA in support of this step.

Credit was given to the Richmond Council for providing leadership and for breaking the impass with its designation of $15 million in Community Benefits Agreement funds if others contribute. Supervisor John Gioia was one who responded. Now others are coming to the table to maintain a full service hospital in West County.

This does not mean Doctors is saved yet. There is still a lot of work to do. This issue has to come before the other cities in the County—El Cerrito, Pinole, Hercules, San Pablo—to contribute a share. We need to look for ways that the major corporations in the County, especially the ones that handle hazardous materials, also are required to contribute. Ultimately the County Board of Supervisors itself is responsible for finding the ways to keep Doctors open on a sustainable basis--not just make a contribution to it.

Gioia's motion passed 3-2. (Gioia, Glover, and Mitchoff voted yes; Anderson and Piepho voted no.) There was general recognition that Doctors was in financial difficulty due to low reimbursement rates while having to serve a low wage and indigent population. Nonetheless, Piepho, who shed tears in an earlier discussion about the County's program providing shelter and treatment of pets, suggested that the County giving money for the hospital was an illegitimate "gift."

On the Decision in Ferguson

Black Lives Matter

by Nicole Valentino

The grand jury verdict is still fresh, and we are still processing our emotional reactions to it. Immediately, although we are not surprised, we are outraged by the decision of the grand jury in failing to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the Michael Brown killing in Ferguson, Missouri.

We are outraged that Prosecutor Robert McCullough could still bring a case against Darren Wilson, but he has said that he would not. We are outraged that while the protesters and sympathizers are being asked publicly to be peaceful, to remain calm, and to practice restraint and tolerance, there was no such restraint and good judgment on the part of Darren Wilson when Michael Brown attempted to surrender and was killed, allegedly in cold blood.

US Attorney General Eric Holder is quoted as saying "It does not honor his memory to engage in violence or looting." We say, it does not honor the memory of Michael Brown to let his killer go free without any serious repercussions or legal consequences. What happened in Ferguson tonight is a travesty of justice to say the least.

Black lives matter. Black lives matter in Ferguson, Missouri. Black lives matter in Richmond, California. Black lives matter everywhere.

The Campaign Coordinator’s Perspective

Why Did Progressives Win Richmond?

by Mike Parker

What made us able to turn around the hit pieces and the essential ingredient in our victory is that we have been organizing and building for 10 years, and we have built roots through everyday community activity. We have built alliances with unions and other organizations with whom we share basic values. The Bobby Bowens Progressive Center, located in the Iron Triangle and staffed entirely by volunteers, has become a community center, regularly used by all kinds of local groups. We have trained leaders and supported leaders developing through other organizations. It was organization that enabled us to put together all the individual factors above.

Our basic values have been simple: a progressive movement in Richmond prioritizes improving the health and quality of life of working people and those disadvantaged in the society. It is independent of corporate money, and it supports diversity in our city while unifying on those issues that improve the city as a whole. Our power comes from empowering still more people.

Continue to the full article.

City Council Urges BAAQMD to Stop Crude-by-Rail

Richmond’s 107,000 are in Danger

At its last meeting before the election, October 28th, Richmond City Council unanimously* passed a resolution calling on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) to "review" and "if feasible, revoke" the permit given to Kinder Morgan to bring in crude oil by rail through Richmond. The resolution also instructs the City Attorney to research and report back on options for restricting the use of tanker trucks carrying Bakken crude oil through city streets. A sobering Richmond Confidential report by Phil James notes "If you go to the website and zoom in on Richmond, what you'll find is disconcerting. According to the 1-3 mile buffer zone on the map, the entire city and its 107,000 residents are in danger if trains carrying crude oil explode."

* Councilmembers Bates and Boozé were absent for the vote although present for the meeting, having left the chamber.

See Nick Despota's article on the Sunflower Alliance website for more information.

Gayle McLaughlin

“Our Democracy Cannot be Bought”

Gayle Thanks You!

Dear friends:

What a great victory for the people of Richmond on Tuesday!

See the election results here.

Team Richmond (me, Jovanka Beckles and Eduardo Martinez) won the 4-year City Council seats.

In addition, Tom Butt won the Mayor's seat and Jael Myrick won the 2-year City Council seat.

A profound thank you to the hundreds of Team Richmond volunteers for your hard work and dedication. Together we overcame 3 million dollars plus of corporate money!

My heartfelt appreciation to the Richmond voters who made it clear that our democracy cannot be bought!

This historic election marks the culmination of a decade of hard work by so many in our grassroots movement. At a time when our nation's democracy is in peril due to the outsized influence of corporate money, grassroots democracy has prevailed in Richmond. What an awesome accomplishment we have achieved together!

So proud and honored to be part of our ongoing transformation...

With respect and appreciation,
Gayle McLaughlin

P.S. Check out the Bill Moyers Show where I had the opportunity, along with Richmond Confidential reporter Harriet Blair Rowan, to discuss Richmond and the election. See the show online here: Facing Down Corporate Greed.

Contact Information
phone: (510) 237-1456

Jovanka Beckles

“Truth and Integrity Prevailed”

Jovanka Thanks You!

Greetings good people,

As I've been saying for a long time: there is so much good going on in Richmond! Tuesday's election victory is yet another good thing to add to Richmond's pride and purpose.

Tuesday's victory is a victory for the people of Richmond in a big way.  Truth and integrity prevailed. Team Richmond (Gayle McLaughlin, Eduardo Martinez and I) won the 4-year City Council seats. Tom Butt won the seat for Mayor and Jael Myrick won the 2-year City Council seat.

We were faced with more than a $3 million dollar war chest that Chevron had at its disposal and utilized to defeat the people of Richmond, but it did not succeed in buying our election and our government.  The people of Richmond mobilized and united to defeat a giant of a corporation, sending a loud message that our government is not for sale!

I send you my sincere appreciation and deep gratitude for all the ways so many of you showed up and dedicated time energy and resources to help bring about this victory. Thank you for your donations. Thank you for volunteering by walking precincts, phone banking and reaching out through social media. Thank you for organizing precincts, using your artistic talents to fix vandalized signs, helping to create mailers and billboards and greeting voters at the poll. Thank you for all that I am aware that you did as well as that of which I am unaware. There was simply so much happening by so many of you so much of the time! It was our united effort that helped defeat $3 million dollars of false ads and propaganda. Together, as with our efforts during WWII, we did it!

I am incredibly proud and honored to be part of our ongoing transformation in Richmond. I am so proud of Richmond!

Jovanka Beckles

“We See the Fruits of Grassroots Action”

Eduardo Thanks You!

At the beginning I was overwhelmed by the massive onslaught of misinformation that Chevron money bought. Not only was my mailbox crammed with glossy flyers, but my phone rang with push-pull surveys, my internet was peppered with ads, our city was covered with billboards and bus stop signs, all designed to promote the Chevron candidates and to make Team Richmond look like cartoon villains. Moving Forward with their multi-million budget had a voice louder and more invasive than any individual could ever muster, but the people of Richmond refused to be shouted out.

When Bernie Sanders came to Richmond, he wanted to see grassroots action at work. He said, "The real challenge for progressives in the coming days, months, and years is to build a powerful grassroots movement that is able to break the stranglehold that big money and corporate interests have placed on the nation's democratic insitutions." Today in Richmond we see the fruits of the grassroots action that Bernie was looking for, thanks to all of you who are part of Team Richmond.

I consider each and every one of you who participated in this process of democracy that led to our resounding win as a fellow teammate, and I thank you for joining us in this historic victory. Without your help Citizens United would have triumphed over the will of the people. Instead, the canvassing, phone banking, fundraising, organizing and all the other aspects of running a campaign beat the multi-million dollar blitz launched by Chevron via Moving Forward and their many re-creations of various PACs. We have shown the world that grassroots organizing can trump the power of money. Now we must prove to the world that this movement is sustainable, that we can and will continue to move our city in a direction that reflects our shared commitment to economic, environmental, and social justice.

Since the election, I have had the honor to celebrate the official opening of Harbor-8 Park and to participate in the "Magnifying Richmond's Voice, Where Do We Go From Here?" workshop. As your future council member, I will continue to serve as the involved community member I have always been. I hope to continue to show my appreciation through my service during my term on the Richmond City Council. Thanks to all of you again and again!

Voters Tell Chevron “No Sale!”

Team Richmond Prevails in Richmond City Council Election

Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and Planning Commissioner Eduardo Martinez win Council seats.

Vice-Mayor Jovanka Beckles re-elected to Council.

In Mayor’s race, Councilmember Tom Butt defeats Chevron-backed Councilmember Nat Bates.

Richmond Rising

In a “David vs. Goliath” race that garnered national media attention, 3 of 3 Team Richmond progressive candidates were elected to the Richmond City Council. 5 of 5 candidates promoted by Chevron were defeated. Contra Costa County election results (as of 5pm Friday, November 7) indicated that Mayor Gayle McLaughlin (limited by the City Charter to two consecutive terms as Mayor) has won a City Council seat, along with Planning Commissioner Eduardo Martinez. Vice Mayor Jovanka Beckles was re-elected to the Council.

In the race for Mayor, Councilman Tom Butt (endorsed by Team Richmond) defeated his Chevron-backed opponent Councilman Nat Bates.

In the race for the 2-year Council seat, Councilperson Jael Myrick (endorsed by Team Richmond) defeated Councilperson Corky Boozé.

Three other council candidates, all heavily promoted by Chevron’s political action committee, Moving Forward—Donna Powers, Al Martinez, and Charles Ramsey—were soundly rejected by voters.

The results are a stunning defeat to the Chevron Corporation. According to campaign finance reports, Chevron’s Moving Forward committee spent $72 per registered voter (over $3 million in total) to promote its hand-picked Chevron-friendly candidates, and to defeat 3 Team Richmond candidates and Tom Butt (whose campaigns spent less than $1 per registered voter). Chevron’s outsized spending and attempt to purchase a pro-Chevron city council drew outrage from commentators and public figures across the nation, including U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Los Angeles Times columnists David Horsey and Michael Hiltzik, and PBS host Bill Moyers.

Continue to the full announcement.