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Team Richmond Needs You Now
We're getting ready to sprint to the finish line for Team Richmond. Sign up now to make sure we win on Tuesday, November 4th. Can volunteers overcome the influence of big money on city elections? It's up to you. Now more than ever, we need volunteers on the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before the election, and on election day. We especially need volunteers to greet voters on election day. Please visit TeamRichmond.net to let us know when you can help.
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's Election on the Rachel Maddow Show
Chevron Oil Trying to Buy Richmond’s Government
Rachel reports on how Chevron is flooding local elections in Richmond, CA with over $1.3 million to install politicians who are friendlier to the company’s agenda and less resistant to new projects.
Show Your Friends and Neighbors
Team Richmond Videos
What Does Team Richmond Represent?
Eduardo Martinez Sets the Record Straight
Re-Elect Jovanka Beckles, Richmond City Council
Fed Up with Chevron’s Constant Smears?
Get Your Team Richmond Lawn-Sign
Lawn-signs won't stop the onslaught of Chevron hit-piece mailers and door hangers, but they're a cheerful sight, and they let your neighbors and passersby know that you support Team Richmond.
To get your free lawn-sign, email us or leave a message with your phone-number & address at 510-412-2260. Delivery will be arranged. You'll be glad you did!
Can Money Buy Your Vote?
Is Richmond’s Election for Sale?
Chevron is on track to spend between $2 and $3 million trying to gain control of the Richmond City Council on Election Day. The corporation will likely pay out $120 per voter—and that’s just the reported expenditures. The other candidates will be lucky to spend one-tenth as much, combined.
Two million dollars buys a lot of billboards, mailers, door knocking and phone-banking. Plus lots of hit pieces on candidates Chevron doesn’t like. It isn’t fair. But it is legal, so this election will be a real test of the power of money in our democracy.
Why does Chevron want to own the Council?
The number one reason is the City’s lawsuit against Chevron over the August 2012 fire and its prior history of accidents.
Chevron and our next City Council will likely settle the case to avoid a trial. The City has hired the same law firm that won $70 million for the town of San Bruno after the 2010 PG&E pipeline explosion.
If Richmond and its lawyers negotiate well, we could see a settlement of more than $100 million—for the costs of the fire to Richmond and the damage to our reputation and property values over the last 20 years.
But a new, Chevron-friendly City Council could settle cheap—and save the company many times what it’s spending on this election.
Does it have a right?
The second reason Chevron wants to control the council is to preserve its “right” to pollute our air. A progressive City Council could work closely with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. We could make Chevron clean up its act over the next ten years, by truly modernizing the refinery.
But Chevron is determined to prevent that.
Third, Chevron loves its sweet deal for low property taxes and doesn’t want any interference.
Remember, when Chevron wants to start a new project, it has to get city approval. That gives the people of Richmond bargaining power. Chevron wants to own both sides of the bargaining table.
Reprinted from the premiere edition of The Richmond Sun (2.5 MB PDF).
A Letter from Mayor McLaughlin
Richmond is Better Now
In the last eight years that I’ve been privileged to be your mayor, we’ve come a long way from our history of scarcity and despair. Richmond has gained national attention as a community courageous enough to define its own destiny.
- Together we have compelled Chevron to be a more responsible neighbor and pay its fair share. We are making sure the company upgrades its refinery to make it as clean and safe as it can be.
- Homicides are down 66%, to the lowest number in 33 years. Our community policing program is a model for focusing on prevention instead of confrontation.
- We’ve renovated many of our parks. We’ve installed the most solar per person in the Bay Area. Residents say they are more satisfied with city services.
Residents from every corner of the city are saying: Richmond is better now.
If you agree, please join with me, Jovanka Beckles and Eduardo Martinez to:
- Keep fighting all crimes with our community-based policing and prevention programs.
- Make our neighborhoods even more liveable by fixing our streets and helping struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure.
- Open our schools up to the community with mentoring, adult education, parenting classes, and training volunteers to help our kids.
- Reopen Doctors Medical Center as a full-service hospital.
Powerful special interests, like Chevron, may fight us every step of the way, but we stand strong with our community to create prosperity, peace and health for every Richmond resident.
National Luminaries Pitching In
Sanders, Kucinich Rally for East Bay Progressives
by Steve Early
If you’re Gayle McLaughlin, the Green mayor of Richmond, now termed out but running for city council, or Dan Siegel, the radical labor lawyer challenging an incumbent mayor in Oakland, who can rally the troops better than a former mayor who was a pioneering municipal reformer?
Both candidates hope to generate some home-stretch campaign energy, with the help of such invited out-of-town guests, at public forums and related fundraisers in their respective East Bay bailiwicks next week.
On Oct. 16, McLaughlin is hosting Bernie Sanders, former four-term mayor of Burlington, Vermont, at a "Town Meeting" in Richmond, preceded by a reception at her downtown campaign headquarters. Two days later in Oakland, Siegel is bringing in Dennis Kucinich, a one-term mayor of Cleveland, to speak at two similar events, one of which also features Tom Hayden, a leading progressive activist in the 1960s and longtime legislator in Sacramento.
Continue to the full BeyondChron story.
Big Money Influence on Local Politics
Chevron Wants to Buy My Vote
by David Helvarg
If corporations are people then one of them has been stalking me.
When humans think about the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling that corporations are people and money is free speech, and about the impact unlimited campaign spending is having on our democracy, they tend to think too big. The most significant consequences may not be at the national or state level but in cities where elections can determine decisions about property taxes, land-use permits and zoning that have a direct effect on people’s lives and on companies' bottom lines...
Until 2008, when a group of candidates calling themselves the Progressive Alliance won seats, Richmond's City Council was dominated by a refinery-friendly majority known by some as the Chevron Five. Now the oil giant is trying to turn Richmond back into a company town where elected officials don’t force it to pay more property taxes, or demand transparent environmental impact reports or challenge it on pollution and local hiring practices.
Continue to the full LA Times editorial.
City Council Honors 3 Richmond Poets Laureate
"Art Plays a Critical Role in Transforming Our City"
by Gayle McLaughlin
| Lincoln Bergman, Brenda Quintanilla, Gayle McLaughlin, & Donte Clark
At our Sept 23rd City Council meeting, we honored Lincoln Bergman, Brenda Quintanilla, and Donte Clark as the three official Poets Laureate for the City of Richmond for the period of August 2014 through August 2016. Read the proclamation here.
Lincoln Bergman: Lincoln is a Richmond poet who has been writing poetry since childhood, and whose work was first published at the age of 8. Since then he has published several books of poetry, much of which delves into political commentary on the times.
Brenda Quintanilla: Brenda is a 17-year-old Latina from El Salvador. In her poetry she tells the stories of struggle and survival of those who have fled to the United States. A member of RAW Talent (Richmond Artists With Talent), Brenda has shared her poetry at open mics and hopes to motivate other students to tell their stories.
Donte Clark: Donte is a Richmond playwright and poet. His plays include "Po' Boys Kitchen" and "Te's Harmony." Donte is part of a local group called RAW Talent, a poetry workshop that began at Making Waves Education Program in 2007, and which has just merged with RYSE Youth Center.
As I have always said, art plays a critical role in transforming our city. It is the universal way we connect with one another as human beings—heart to heart and soul to soul.
As Audre Lorde says: "Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before."
Thank you Lincoln, Brenda and Donte for giving us your poetry and for helping us build new and authentic human connections in Richmond. We will look forward to hearing your poetry at many events throughout your 2 year period serving as our official Poets Laureate!
The Ribbon’s been Cut & Now It’s Official
Richmond Municipal ID Cards Available
At the reception Tuesday morning, Sept. 30th, Mayor McLaughlin said: "We want to make sure that no resident in our city goes without the banking accounts, the leases, the library cards that make every day possible, simply because they lack identification."
The new ID card program combines valid photo identification with a pre-paid MasterCard ATM debit card option. It is designed to reduce some of the barriers often encountered by homeless residents, immigrants, seniors, youth, and those re-entering the community after being incarcerated, due to their lack of a valid ID or access to banking services.
"The community organized way back in 2008 -- it's been a long time coming and that's why so many of us are so happy it's finally here," said Vice Mayor Jovanka Beckles, who had sponsored the ordinance creating the card program.
Applications will be accepted starting October 15th at an office in Grace Lutheran Church, 2369 Barrett Ave., Richmond CA. Interested residents can get more information or schedule an appointment here. Walk-ins are also welcomed.
Fri. 10/31, 6pm, Berkeley City Club Hotel, 2315 Durant Ave.
A Special Production of The Iron Heel
The Iron Heel Theatre Collective presents The Iron Heel, based on the Jack London novel, first published in 1908. This dramatic Readers Theater production features mask/puppetry performance, giant hand-painted cantastoria illustrations of the story, and live music.
Jack London's The Iron Heel is a dystopian science fiction novel that predicted the First World War, the rise of fascism, authoritarianism, and its brutal suppression of movements for change. The message is a timely warning in this era of corporate domination of the political process.
The production will be in the ballroom of the Berkeley City Club Hotel at 2315 Durant Ave., between Shattuck and Telegraph Avenues, at 6:00pm. Parking is difficult, but it is a short walk from the Downtown Berkeley BART station.
Requested donation: $10-20. No one turned away for lack of funds.
Net proceeds will go to the Richmond Progressive Alliance and the Sunflower Alliance.
SB 883 signed by Gov. Brown on September 27
$3M Lifeline for DMC Keeps It Open for Now
This one-time funding will buy a bit more time for Doctors Medical Center and give the district the opportunity to put together a package to keep it open. If you took action to urge Brown to sign SB 883, thank you. All three Team Richmond candidates are committed to doing all they can on Richmond City Council to save the hospital as a full-time, full service facility. That's why they have been endorsed by DMC's greatest champion, the California Nurses Association.
On Chevron’s Explosion of Political Spending
Chevron’s Moving Forward Spreads Big Money across Political Campaign Committees
by Harriet Rowan
Chevron Richmond poured at least $1.26 million into the Richmond mayoral and city council races between Aug. 14 and Sept. 29, funneling the money through three campaign committees, all with iterations of the name "Moving Forward."
According to documents filed with the Richmond City Clerk, Moving Forward’s campaign committee, created in 2012, transferred at least $1.9 million as of Sept. 17 to two newly-created committees. The amount transferred exceeds the $1.7 million cash on hand figure that was widely reported after the last filing deadline on June 30. Moving Forward has likely received additional money from Chevron or other sources. The next campaign filing deadline is Oct. 6.
The two new committees have spent a combined total of at least $1,268,688.17 so far, with over a month remaining before the Nov. 4 election.
Continue to the full Richmond Confidential story.
See Richmond Confidential's follow-up story:
$3 Million in Chevron's Moving Forward War Chest
Also see Michael Hiltzik's story in the LA Times:
How Chevron Swamps a Small City with Campaign Money and Bogus News
East Bay Express on the Mayoral Race
The Battle for Richmond’s Soul
by John Geluardi
Richmond voters have three mayoral candidates to choose from this November, but the race is really between Tom Butt and Nat Bates, two men who have a combined 54 years of service on the city council — and polar-opposite visions for the city's future. Bates is considered the most conservative member of the council and is a strong backer of Chevron and its massive oil refinery, while Butt has a long history of promoting good government policies and challenging Chevron's sphere of influence in the city. Butt is not as liberal as the council's progressive faction, although he frequently votes with it...
Whether it's Bates or Butt, Richmond's next mayor could face a serious budget shortfall, along with rising pension costs. The new mayor also will have to deal with a city council that has developed a reputation for petty bickering and unruliness. Furthermore, the coming election will determine if Chevron will regain control of the city's political structure. The multinational oil giant is spending at least $1.6 million to elect Bates and three council candidates.
Continue to the full East Bay Express article.
Richmond Rising III, Pitching In for Team Richmond
Forty Canvassers Went Out on Saturday, Sept. 20
Here's the crowd of volunteers who spent their Saturday morning canvassing for Team Richmond. They partnered up and went to neighborhoods that hadn't yet seen a lot of walkin', knockin' 'n' talkin' for Eduardo, Jovanka, and Gayle.
Many returned for a lunch together at 1pm, highlighted by a talk from Richmond author and activist David Helvarg, who said he'll "believe that corporations are people when Texas puts one on death row."
If you're willing and able to take on an area in your neighborhood to canvass regularly, that's ideal. If you're willing to give an hour or two once or twice, that would also help. Either way, please get in touch: email us or sign up online. If you want a partner, there are seasoned canvassers to meet and walk with you, available most days from 4-6, and on weekends. There's a briefing every Saturday at 9 at BBPC, 1021 Macdonald, near Richmond BART. No wheels are necessary.
Join the Team!
Activist Resources for the November Election
Know Your Candidates
|Truth in advertising?
There are two poles of power in this country: corporations and people.*
Here are some resources to counter the intense offense mounted by Moving Forward ("Major Funding by Chevron"):
- The Team Richmond website has a Hit-Piece Response button at the top, for what Jovanka, Gayle, and Eduardo have to say to counter the distorted and nasty attacks.
- Also see the Team Richmond Media page for stories about our race from independent news sources, and the Team Richmond Video page for our side of the story.
- Accentuate the positive: There are working papers on education, jobs & businesses, and Doctors Medical Center under Priorities on the Team Richmond website. Understand the Team's positions on these issues, and the progress we've already accomplished.
- Take a look at the RPA facebook page—a source of quick commentary, community perspective, and often a welcome chuckle or shot of solidarity.
- Make your own signs. Take a selfie or a group photo with them. Design a t-shirt, or show what you'd put up "if you had a billboard." Send the image as a jpeg attachment via email to RPAActivist@gmail.com. Some will be featured in issues of the RPA Activist (credited unless you request otherwise).
- Remember that "you protect that which you love."* As the Team Richmond window signs proclaim: We Love Richmond.
* Both quotes are from David Helvarg, Sept. 20, speaking at Richmond Rising III.
Bakken Crude with One-Man Crews
Working on the Railroad
Retired Union Pacific conductor Brian Lewis,
interviewed by Steve Early (excerpt)
Fortunately, the federal government stepped in and put the brakes on the trend toward using remote control locomotives operating out of sight. But we still went from crews of four to three, then three to two, and now one-man crews in some places. In that runaway oil-train derailment and disaster in Lac-Megantic last year, we saw how well that works. That engineer could not do a proper securement of the train alone. You need an engineer and a second person, a qualified conductor, to get out and set the brakes before testing whether the train moves.
Bakken crude oil is pretty damn volatile. But, with a lot more of it to transport in the last year or so, the oil industry just dictated to the railroads: 'Find us some more cars!' So the railroads went out and grabbed any kind of tank cars they could find, including older equipment not designed to load and carry volatile materials... Some oil train cars today are not even up to standard in terms of their wheels, brakes, and springs. It's scary—you need to have the right equipment and more trains, not giant trains a mile and a half long. And they certainly shouldn't be allowed to operate, now or in the future, with one-man crews.
Continue to the full In These Times story.
Public Speaks Out in Support of Jovanka Beckles
City Council Tackles Disruptions
Some of them drove up in their truck, a great rolling billboard. Scores of supporters of Vice Mayor Jovanka Beckles gathered outside in the Plaza beforehand, then filled the council chambers to capacity. More than fifty people signed up to speak during public forum. The overwhelming majority used their minutes to make it clear that they wanted an end to the misogynistic, homophobic, and personal attacks that Jovanka has endured. The many eloquent and passionate speakers included a handful of religious leaders.
"I realize that disruption and hate speech aren't easily handled by the law," Jovanka said. "I encourage the community to hold councilmembers accountable for setting a respectful tone and making it very clear to their supporters that hateful behavior and hateful remarks will not be tolerated."
Later Tuesday evening (9/16) the council voted 6-1 (with a dissent from Corky Boozé) to direct staff to draft several new rules intended to better control disruptions; they will probably be read for the first time next month.
Forum speakers also included a group from the Richmond-Regla Cuba Sister City Committee, who used a creative tag-team approach to read their statement clarifying the struggles of the Cuban 5, in response to inaccuracies in a recently mailed "hit piece" against Gayle McLaughlin.
Reducing Greenhouse Gases Not Profitable Enough
Chevron Divests from Renewables
Although "Chevron executives frequently touted the division's clean-energy work in speeches and in testimony before Congress," it seems the profits of Chevron Energy Solutions were not high enough for the fossil fuels fossil.
See the story in Bloomberg Businessweek.