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Info on Rent Control and Just Cause

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Eduardo Martinez
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Fit For Life
Canvass this weekend: 'Tis a FAR FAR better thing we do...

We want a Fair & Affordable Richmond! 

Think of what Rent Control and Just Cause for Evictions provisions, along with Homeowner Protections, could mean for Richmond*:  Families secure in their homes, knowing the kids can finish the school year and start the next without having to switch schools, the ability to budget with confidence, neighbors --owners and renters alike-- having a chance to develop long-term relationships... .
Photo: Eduardo Martinez.

Almost a month in to the signature-gathering effort to put the Fair and Affordable Richmond (FAR) measure on the November ballot, your help is really needed and will be much-appreciated.  Come to the BBPC, 1021 Macdonald, Saturdays 10-2 and Sundays noon-4, to participate.  Or contact Zak:  By phone at (510) 621-7566 or by email to to make arrangements to canvass during the week.

*Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin recently sent a newsletter with detailed responses to an e-forum mailing by Mayor Butt, in which she clarified elements of the proposed ordinance and corrected misinformation in his mailing. If you have not yet had a chance to read it, use this link.  It can be a useful resource if you find yourself questioning or being questioned about how the law will work. 

And remember: The "Richmond Homeowners & Private Property Rights Act" is a petition being sponsored by the real estate industry and large corporate landlords. Don't sign it!

Ben Choi for Richmond City Council 2016

Photo courtesy of Ben Choi.
Want to help with Ben's campaign?

At the beginning of the week, Ben Choi filed his intention to run for Richmond City Council with the City Clerk. His Campaign Committee is in the early stages of planning his route to victory in November. If you're interested in joining them or want to volunteer in other ways to help, please send an email to  

And Save the Date of May 22 for the first fundraiser. Details to follow. Known now: Meet Ben. Eat barbecue.

Ben has already begun collecting additional high-profile endorsements, including one from former mayor and current City Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin, who stated, "I applaud the RPA membership's endorsement of Ben Choi for Richmond City Council.  Ben's willingness to take no corporate donations and his commitment to social, environmental, and economic justice will enhance the City of Richmond's transformation."
Marcos Bañales, co-coordinator of the RPA, looks forward to working on Ben's campaign, adding, "Ben Choi will bring a new face and fresh ideas to Richmond's electoral scene.  With his dedication to meeting the needs of working families and residents of all backgrounds and walks of life, he will be a welcome addition to the city council."
Ben has served for the past six years on Richmond's Planning Commission, as one of seven volunteer commissioners.  He is currently employed at Marin Clean Energy, a pubic agency to which Richmond belongs, that supplies renewable energy for residents of a large part of the Bay Area. He has pledged not to accept corporate donations for his campaign, and he supports the Fair and Affordable Richmond coalition's proposed ballot measure to bring a just cause for eviction, fair rent, and homeowner protection ordinance to Richmond. 

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For Rent Control, Just Cause, & Homeowner Protections;

It was a great kick-off...

Photos: L-Marcos Banales. 
R-Carole Yu-Johnson.


now, let's maintain the momentum!
Every Sat, 10-2; Every Sun., noon-4, from BBPC

Canvass for a Fair & Affordable Richmond

or contact Zak: 621-7566. Take along your hat, sunscreen, & water bottle. There'll be juice, coffee, & something to nibble at 1021 Macdonald to get you started or to tide you over. Training is available, and you can get a partner there to walk with, too, if you'd like one.

Richmond Revisited

What it takes to beat the elite

"How a bunch of underfinanced Davids in an unprepossessing burg managed to accomplish what all of this year's free-floating radicals would like to do --take the local elites down a peg-- seems a story worth examining more closely," says Kathy Kiely in her April 14th piece for Moyers & company.

It begins: "In a year of politics by extremes - trash-talking candidates, journalism by celebrity- and scandal-mongering, voter anger on the left and right - there are antidotes. One of them is a courtly, retired schoolteacher serving his first term as an elected official in a West Coast city of middling size and less-than middling means.

"Eduardo Martinez, is a member of the city council in Richmond, California, a city that regular visitors to may remember. As Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening activists gather this week in Washington, DC, to demand new restrictions on big political donations and an end to restrictions on ballot access, the story is an apt one.

"On paper, Richmond seems an unlikely showcase for civic empowerment. A town just shy of 109,000 residents, it's only 18 miles north of San Francisco, but economically a world away. In San Francisco, the median household income is $83,000 a year. In Richmond, it's $55,000. Nearly 18 percent of Richmond residents live below the poverty line; half of the population speaks a language other than English at home... " 

Use this link to to read the whole story. There, you can also watch video of Bill Moyers's 2014 interview with then-Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and reporter Harriet Blair Rowan. 

Many of us would, however, debate one point: the article's claim that "Martinez and a slate of allied candidates... won a majority on the City Council... ." 

Beware Petition for Charter Amendment: 

"Richmond Homeowners & Private Property Rights Act"
Don't Sign the Landlords' Attempt to Make Rent Control Illegal!
The residents of Richmond have experienced some of the most deceptive political practices in California. Now the Real Estate Industry and large corporate landlords are circulating a petition that will make it illegal to implement rent control and eviction protections in Richmond forever.
  • This is a cynical and dishonest attempt to deceive Richmond voters and tie the hands of residents and the city council for generations.
  • This sweeping proposal would prevent putting in place even interim or temporary controls in an emergency, like a natural disaster, creating the potential for price gouging.
  • If passed, even tenants who pay their rent and follow the rules can be evicted at anytime. Without any reason.
  • Other communities that have put in place a permanent ban on rent control have seen rents rise dramatically. With no controls, landlords will charge as much as they can and local government can do nothing.
  • The Real Estate Industry has already shown its willingness to bend the truth, and it is clear that they will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, only to mislead voters.
In 2015, after the City Council passed Rent Control legislation, the California Apartment Association funded a signature petition drive to repeal the newly enacted legislation. The California Apartment Association's signature gatherers were found to have misrepresented the issue of the petition, telling residents they were signing in support of rent control instead of the truth that is was a repeal.
Now we are faced not only with a campaign to put a Rent Control Ordinance on the ballot and pass it, but we must also defeat this deceptive attempt to block any regulation of rental property in Richmond, forever.
Don't believe the lies. Don't sign the landlords' petition. 

                                                          --The Fair & Affordable Richmond Coaliton. 
Valley View Votes!

Action demanded from WCCUSD Board

A coalition of more than 75 parents, concerned citizens, and Richmond residents rallied at the March 16 school board meeting. Their universal demand: that the West Contra Costa Unified School District move forward with the Valley View Elementary School rebuild project.  

Currently, Valley View students are in temporary portables ("interim campus") with no end in sight. There is no timeline to demolish the old, asbestos-filled facility. Despite "shovel ready" plans, the Board of Education has left Valley View behind in purgatory. Simultaneously, the Board has unanimously voted to advance the $175 million+ Pinole Valley High School rebuild project. 

Stay tuned for a future school board vote. Together, we can stand up for our neighborhood schools! 

                                                                                                      --Peter N. Chau

Th. 4/21, 6-8:30pm, Grace Lutheran, 24th & Barrett

Spare Our Air! Community Forum

Photo: Shutterstock

The Bay Area - Gas Station for the Pacific? 

The five Bay Area refineries are planning to start importing large amounts of oil from the Canadian tar sands -- greatly increasing their production of both greenhouse gases and the toxic emissions that poison refinery neighborhoods. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), charged with controlling air pollution, seems poised to give these plans a green light.

Please come to this important community forum on April 21. Participants will learn about the fight to control refinery emissions and start planning to build a strong movement to protect our vulnerable communities, our environment, and our global future.

Plan now for Sat., 4/23, 10-2, BBPC

FREE Citizenship Workshop

Please share this news with neighbors & friends who may qualify.

Make a big bowl of popcorn

"A Last Hurrah in Richmond?"

Steve Early has a piece this week in Beyond Chron that focuses on a newly-released video documentary (available online for free viewing). Nat Bates for Mayor is the work of  film-makers Eric Weiss and Bradley Berman, who taped here during the 2014 campaigns. Steve's article begins: 

The city of Richmond's next municipal voting is less than eight months away.  But memories of our last election-one of the most expensive in local history- remain fresh in the minds of many participants. For Refinery Town residents whose recollections are fading, we now have a fascinating 90-minute video history of that campaign. Entitled Nate Bates for Mayor, it provides a timely reminder of the stakes involved in a key local battle against big money in politics that resonated nationally.

To watch the trailer or the whole film, go to:
RPA Photo

One thing is certain. Without campaign finance reform of the sort advocated by Bernie Sanders (or the Green Party's Jill Stein) in their current presidential campaigns, there'll be no last hurrah for big money in politics, in Richmond or anywhere else, anytime soon.

Fri. 4/22, 6-8pm, 240 Golden Gate Ave, SF

Rally with

The list of Northern California unions that have endorsed Bernie Sanders keeps on growing! 

Labor for Bernie is focusing on getting activists to take "I support Bernie Sanders" pledge cards into the workplace for on-the-job canvassing to help build lists of pro-Sanders voters for upcoming primary GOTV. You can request cards for your union from 

Submit Workshop Proposals before 6/3

2nd Richmond Soil Not Oil Conference

This international environmental conference, "Agro-Ecological Practices to Mitigate Climate Change and Restore Ecosystems," will be held August 5-6 at the  Richmond Memorial Auditorium in the Civic Center.  What can you expect?
Presentations by grassroots organizers, farmers and renowned scientists.  There will be plenaries and workshops during the two day conference as well as a gala and a multicultural celebration. Get the facts and the tools to restore our ecosystems. This year organizers are partnering with national and international organizations, and they anticipate a large gathering. 

If you are interested in presenting a workshop the deadline to submit proposals is Friday June 3rd (it may close earlier depending of the volume of proposals). A sample presentation from last year's conference can be seen here.

Early bird registration is open. For volunteering opportunities before or during the conference, check here.

Just PublishedSocial Policy Wnter 15

A Social Policy Case Study and Follow-up 

Two Years Later: Richmond Progressive Alliance: Defeating Big Money in Politics 
by Mike Parker                  on RPA Web site 
Want to learn more about the RPA?