find us on facebook

Below the Fold:

Mayor Gayle Speaks Out on Democracy Now and Moyers & Company

Senator Bernie Sanders Rallies Richmond’s Progressives

Team Richmond Videos

Don't Miss:

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

Get the
RPA Activist Info
email newsletter.


Eduardo Martinez
Gayle McLaughlin
Jovanka Beckles

Newsletter Archives

Fit For Life

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.

Richmond in the National Media Spotlight

Mayor Gayle Speaks Out on Democracy Now and Moyers & Company

See Gayle's interview on Democracy Now.

See Gayle's interview on Moyers & Company.

From Gayle's comments to Juan González and Amy Goodman:

Yes, what's happening in Richmond now is that we have made remarkable—a remarkable transformation over the past 10 years since I've been in office, with other progressive electives and a progressive community. Previous to that, over the past hundred years, we were known as a company town, with Chevron having control of the City Council, having the City Council bought out, in their pockets. We had among the highest rates in the nation of violence. We were known for widespread corruption. You know, Richmond had the refinery, with a situation of allowing it to continue to pollute, without the refinery paying its fair share of taxes, without hiring locally, without upgrading the refinery in a responsible way in terms of having safety for our residents. In fact, they have thousands of clamps holding corroded pipes together. And that’s what led to the fire of 2012.

The East Bay Express Endorses Team Richmond

Vote McLaughlin, Beckles, Myrick, and Eduardo Martinez for Richmond City Council

As we noted in our story last week about this year's Richmond City Council campaign, Chevron is spending millions of dollars in an effort to retake control of city government. And so we strongly urge Richmond voters to reject this power grab, and to elect councilmembers who will stand up to the oil giant and work to protect our environment. We also think that since Chevron lost control over the council several years ago, the city's progressive leadership has been instrumental in turning city government around: Richmond is no longer beset by public corruption, crime is down substantially, and the city's once-troubled police department is now a national model of reform.

As a result, for the three four-year council seats in this year's election, we wholeheartedly endorse the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) slate of candidates: Gayle McLaughlin, who is being termed out of the mayor's office this year and is seeking a spot on the council; Councilmember Jovanka Beckles, who is running for another four-year term; and Eduardo Martinez, a longtime educator who barely missed out on winning a council seat two years ago. We think McLaughlin, Beckles, and Eduardo Martinez will help Richmond continue its renaissance and will support Police Chief Chris Magnus' reform efforts.

Continue to the full East Bay Express editorial.

"Shining a Light on Richmond’s News"

Online ad for The Richmond Sun
graphic: Daniel Goodwin   photo: Fletcher Oakes

Election Edition of
The Richmond Sun

Like its predecessor, this one is crammed with a lively mix of articles, cartoons, Voice of the Voter features, and informative graphics. It's most fun to read full-sized, but if you live outside of Richmond, don't have a voter in your house, threw it away by accident with all that junk mail from Moving Forward, or just can't wait for your home delivery, here's a link that's good for sharing, too.

Read what Jim Rogers' election could cost Richmond, and other arguments against all of Chevron's candidates.

More hard copies are available at 1021 Macdonald, with the office open 9-6 most days for this week before Election Day.

She Works Hard for Richmond

Report: Mayor Gayle Flies Less Frequently than
Chevron’s Candidate

Mayor Gayle McLaughlin pitches in to help rebuild the Parchester Playlot   photo: Melvin Willis

Contrary to all the Chevron-funded billboards, mailers, door hangers, and TV commercials, Gayle McLaughlin has worked long and hard for Richmond, in Richmond. According to a recent Richmond Confidential article, "an analysis of city documents, invoices, travel receipts and bank statements dating to 2010 shows that McLaughlin has traveled less, missed fewer meetings, and spent less money on the trips than City Councilman Nat Bates, a longtime supporter of the oil giant's mammoth refinery here and the Chevron-backed committee's favored candidate for mayor."

Bates outspent our mayor about 3:1 on travel, in terms of both time and money. Apparently his own position on frequent and international trips differs from the stance in his patron's ads; he is quoted in the article: "You can't accomplish things staying at home, and not engaging with global community." All this has led Tom Butt, who is running against Bates for mayor, to conclude that "the Chevron-funded campaign to paint McLaughlin as a frequent traveler who has eschewed her responsibilities is hypocritical."

Andrew Young in Richmond

Prophet of Urban Renewal or Big Oil’s Reverend for Rent?

by Steve Early

In his remarkable six decade career in public life, 82-year old Andy Young has been many things to many people: civil rights movement minister and courageous ally of Dr. Martin Luther King, Democratic Congressman from Georgia, U.S. emissary to the United Nations under President Jimmy Carter, two-term mayor of Atlanta in the 1980s, and then leader of the National Council of Churches.

On Monday night, he appeared before a largely African-American crowd at a "community dinner" in Richmond. It was sponsored by a 501 (c) (4) organization known as For Richmond, which dispenses grants to local non-profits like the YMCA. Young’s appearance showcased his most recent incarnation as a skilled, if not uncontroversial, friend of private enterprise, including some of the biggest firms in the world. The timing of his visit was not unrelated to Richmond’s upcoming municipal elections.

Continue to the full Beyond Chron story.

Town Meeting for Economic Justice

Senator Bernie Sanders Rallies Richmond’s Progressives

photo: Patsy Byers

by Harriet Rowan

Senator Bernie Sanders (VT-I), a potential 2016 presidential candidate, delivered a rousing speech to an overflowing audience in Richmond on Thursday. His speech focused on the growing economic inequality in the United States and argued for the importance of electing candidates who will implement progressive policies in the face of the growing influence of big money in politics.

"At this profound moment in American history, where the billionaire class wants to get it all... we have got to fight back tooth and nail," Sanders said, drawing boisterous applause from a crowd of about 500. "We cannot allow them to take over Richmond... we cannot allow them to take over America."

Sanders was invited to Richmond by Mayor Gayle McLaughlin to help rally her progressive base in the face of $3 million in spending by Chevron Corp. to oppose McLaughlin and her allies in the Nov. 4 election.

Continue to the full Richmond Confidential story.

Also see Richmond Confidential's multimedia report on the Bernie Sanders Town Meeting:
The Best of Bernie Sanders in Richmond.

Richmond in the National Media Spotlight

Chevron Trying to Buy Richmond’s Government

Rachel Maddow Video

Since Rachel Maddow decried Chevron's interference in Richmond politics, numerous national media voices have featured Chevron vs. Richmond as an example of corporate cash dominating American elections:

Show Your Friends and Neighbors

Team Richmond Videos

What Does Team Richmond Represent?

Team Richmond Values

Eduardo Martinez Sets the Record Straight

Eduardo Martinez

Re-Elect Jovanka Beckles, Richmond City Council

Jovanka Beckles