With Bernie National Staff and Richmond City Council Members Beckles and Martinez
Richmond Organizing Rally for Sanders
Fri., 2/12/16, 7- 8:30pm
Grace Lutheran Church, 2369 Barrett Ave, Richmond
From the event announcement:
Join other local volunteers and grassroots organizers as a representative from the national organizing staff, Becky Bond, comes to Richmond for a special organizing event.
We will be joined by special guests and co-sponsors Richmond City Council members Jovanka Beckles and Eduardo Martinez.
We will discuss how we can rapidly grow our movement in the next several months as we enter the primary season. We will also be discussing local volunteer activities to help the early primary states.
This will be a great opportunity to hear what's going on nationally and locally with the campaign, as well as a chance to meet other Bernie supporters from your community.
Thank you for all that you've contributed and all the hard work that you're about to do!
(Note: The RPA hasn't made any endorsements for presidential candidates or other partisan races.)
Report on Police Commission's Jan 21st. Special Meeting
The case for automatic & independent review
Juan Reardon reports that the reforms recommended by the eight current Police Commission members on January 21 are "good first steps," and builds a strong case for the need for an automatic and independent review in any case of a police-involved fatality or severe injury. He argues:
9-15-15 photo by Juan Reardon.
"Fear of reprisals, ignorance of the law and basic rights, immigration status, false promises by the police department or District Attorney, and offers of quick financial settlements that may leave the officer unpunished, are just some of the reasons why family members (if the victim had a family) may not fully pursue the option of a parallel and independent investigation... ."
"By the end of the meeting the eight current commissioners had voted on a few recommendations that are good first steps, including a change in the name to reflect more independence from the Police Department. It recommended the new name of Citizens' Police Review Commission. The Commission also recommended that copies of all complaints filed with the Commission be immediately sent to each commissioner. It also reaffirmed its intention to be the final decision-maker about the merits of each case filed. The commissioners then voted to extend from 45 days to 120 days the period of time in which a complaint can be filed with the Commission. They also voted to recommend that it shall be the commission itself, and not the investigator, who decides if a case has merits for a late filing beyond that established period.
"It is expected that the City Council will accept these proposals, as well as others, to prepare a new ordinance to empower and regulate the commission for the benefit of the residents of Richmond... ."
Read the full article and sharpen your arguments in support of Council action for an independent investigation in the Perez case and automatically thereafter if there is another instance of police-involved death or serious injury.
Will Police Commission Investigate?
Where is Justice in Pedie Perez's Death?
On September 14, 2014 Richard "Pedie" Perez was shot and killed by Officer Wallace Jensen outside Uncle Sam's Liquor Store on Cuttin
Like many police involved shootings across the country, the law enforcement authorities, the District Attorney and the Richmond Police Department, quickly concluded that the officer was not at fault. The DA said there was no criminal act and the Richmond police quickly returned Officer Wallace Jenson to duty. (Jensen has since taken long-term medical leave.)
But something is glaringly wrong here. The bottom line is that a young man, who
was shot three times by a person who was supposed to be acting for all of us in maintaining public safety
- did not have a weapon,
- did not threaten anyone, and
- had committed no criminal act (except perhaps being drunk in public)
Statewide Millie Award goes to Gayle MaLaughlin:
Fighting for Rent Control & Just Cause
Tenants Together Legal Director Leah Simon-Weisberg presents award. Photo: Paul Kilkenny.
On January 23, at UC Berkeley Boalt Hall, Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin received The Millie Award at the 5th Annual Tenants Lawyers Network Conference organized by Tenants Together. Councilmember McLaughlin was recognized for her leadership in the fight to pass the first rent control ordinance in 30 years in the United States.
Millie Atkins-Coley (1952-2014) had a life-long passion for the legal system, serving in various courts, including serving as the highest clerk of the LA Superior Court. The Millie Award is given each year to a person who in his or her professional capacity ensured that tenants have the rights to affordable and safe housing.
The fight for Rent Control and Just Cause is on-going in Richmond and other communities throughout California and the nation. As Stephen T. Harper of Santa Rosa writes, "these policies are a simple step in trying to stabilize rents that have increased roughly 40 percent over the past four years and should be the first part of an overall strategy that seeks to create more affordable housing... and creates a sense of security in our wonderful city residents." He's "a local investment property owner, homeowner and citizen who cares about the diversity and prosperity" of his hometown. He cites a recent independent report, commissioned by the council there, that found "these policies create an efficient and low-cost method to deal with tenant/landlord disputes as well promoting tenant stability that allows for greater civic participation and greater neighborhood investment." Read the full January 24 article in The Press Democrat.
Tues. 2/2, Support item K-1 for stable neighborhoods
Stop selling to Wall St. speculators, Fannie Mae!
Our communities here in Richmond were hard-hit by the housing crash, and we're still working to recover.
I am outraged that federal agencies, designed to help address the housing needs of our country, are selling-off tens of thousands of troubled mortgages to hedge funds and private equity firms.
We are working locally to preserve homeownership and create more affordable housing, and here are these agencies selling our neighborhoods out from under us!
The Richmond City Council unanimously passed a resolution early last year, expressing our support for an effort to get troubled mortgages into the hands of mission-driven non-profits, as opposed to having them sold to Wall Street speculators. On September 30, 2015 I was with other elected officials and community leaders in DC, meeting with federal housing agencies, as well as with Senator Elizabeth Warren, who strongly supports our efforts. Some change is occurring, but more needs to happen.
Fannie Mae has just announced they're about to make their biggest sale of troubled mortgages yet, worth a total of $1.6 billion in unpaid principal balance. We need these mortgages sold to non-profits who help our struggling homeowners.
On Thursday, February 4th, cities across the country will be calling on Fannie Mae to do better. There will be a Bay Area-wide press conference in San Francisco at the home of a family facing foreclosure at the hands of Fannie Mae. It will take place on Thursday at 11am at the home of Juana and Jesse Tello, 1778 Newcomb Ave. (S.F.). Supporters are welcomed.
We need our federal housing agencies to work with us before selling off one more troubled mortgage to a speculator. I have an item on the Council agenda this Tuesday (Item K-1) directing our staff to write to our federal agencies requesting their lists of troubled mortgages in Richmond and in the state of California. I encourage residents to come and speak on the item.
Th., 2/4: Get with the plan & jump on the van to go to SLO
& Mon., 2/8: Benicia Council to vote on Valero project
Upcoming Hearings on Crude by Rail Projects
#1: San Luis Obisbo County Planning Department staff voted last Monday to recommend denial of proposed permits for Phillips 66 to deliver by oil train and to refine tar sands oil.* As noted in an East Bay Express article:
"The general consensus among the comments received is that project benefits do not outweigh the potential hazards it will bring to the public," the report continued. "These hazards mainly stem from rail accidents, oil spills, health hazards, and explosions/fires within communities along rail lines as a result of an increase of crude transport via rail." These risks would affect communities all along the rail lines, from the Bay Area south to Los Angeles.
Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) Richmond is organizing a vanpool to go to the SLO Planning Commission hearing on the issue on Thursday, February 4: Meeting at Richmond BART Station at 4:00am, leaving Richmond at 4:30am, and returning the same day, leaving SLO at 5:30 p.m.
#2: The Benicia city staff recommended approval of the Valero project (see this story: http://www.sunflower-alliance.org/valero_cbr_public_hearing_20160208
), so it's extremely important that people attend the Benecia City Council meeting on Monday 2/8.; the hearing starts 6:30pm at 250 East L St, Benicia.
A final vote is expected that night. Andres Soto of CBE writes: "The good news in Benicia is that the Final EIR has identified the 'No Project Alternative' as the 'Environmentally Superior Alternative.' People from all over the Bay Area need to converge on Benicia and let them know Crude By Rail is
NOT acceptable anywhere!" RSVP here. More information is available here:http://safebenicia.org. There's a Safe Benicia petition to stop the oil trains that you can sign at http://bit.ly/StopValeroOilTrains. Late breaking info: Benicia City Council is imposing severe barriers to speaking at the hearing. One local activist reports that in order to speak there on the 8th, people have to sign up in person that day starting at 8:30am! They're trying to keep people from out of town from speaking and let the oil industry pack the room. And it's going to be a long hearing. Not for the faint of heart!
CBE's plans for carpools: Meet up at 4pm at the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center at 1021 Macdonald Ave. Richmond. Depart from Richmond at 4:30pm. Individual cars will return independently.
Sat. 2/13, 2pm, Soujourer Truth Presbyterian Church*
First Richmond Screening of Against Hate
documents the journey of Richmond Council member Jovanka Beckles, who battles Chevron, a multi-billion dollar oil company, in an election laced with dirty oil, dirty politics, and dirty money. The film explores the lack of inclusion of members of our society by the law, by religion, and by corporations."
The moderators for the discussion to follow the screening:
Rev. Kamal Hassan, Sojourner Truth Sr. Pastor, Host
Rev. Donna Allen, New Revelation Sr. Pastor, Co-host
Jovanka Beckles, Richmond CA Council member
Sponsors: Steve Early, Suzanne Gordon, Courtney Cummings and Native American Health Center, Ben-David Barr and Rainbow Center, Richmond Rainbow Pride, and RYSE.
*Sojourner Truth Presbyterian Church
2621 Shane Dr., Richmond CA 84806
Sat. 2/20, 9:30am-2pm, UUCB, 1 Lawson Rd., Kensington
Racial Justice Coalition Summit on CCC Priorities
Save these March dates now
Find more information in the next Activist
3/5/15: 9th Annual Sisters in Solidarity Celebration on Saturday from 10am to 2pm at the Richmond Auditorium.
3/11/15: Has U.S. policy towards Cuba really changed? Join a discussion and hear from Miguel Fraga,
First Secretary of the Cuban Embassy in Washington DC. 7-9pm, 325 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, CA 94804.
A Social Policy Case Study and Follow-up
Two Years Later: Richmond Progressive Alliance: Defeating Big Money in Politics