The RPA Steering
Just like that, homeless
The RPA did not organize a disruption at the 9/13 City Council
meeting. On Tuesday night, after dozens of public speakers and four
Council members respectfully advocated for a temporary 45-day
moratorium on evictions and rent increases over 3%, which required a
6/7 vote supermajority, the item failed. Nat Bates, Tom Butt and Vinay
Pimple voted no.
And just like that, there were people in the room who were
made homeless. Some audience members, including tenants who
have recently been unjustly evicted, were so frustrated that they
erupted into a spontaneous chorus of "Shame on you!" This chant was
directed at council members who appeared to have not heard nor
responded to the reasoned explanations for enacting a temporary
moratorium until voters can make the decision in November.
The Mayor described this yesterday, in an article, as "a riot." Nat
Bates and Vinay Pimple wrote long articles to explain how they felt
disrespected by those in the room. Instead of defending their
position, instead of defending their choice, these politicians are
projecting a political sideshow to deflect the gravity of what they
had done to our community.
We urge all Richmond residents to watch the full council meeting of
9/13 and judge for themselves who was uncivilized. http://richmond.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=11&clip_id=4057
The council members who voted against it have not and will not want
to talk about the merits of a moratorium specifically. In the Mayor's
comments he tried odd discussion points such as equating the
moratorium with chickens and turkeys. This seriously is not funny nor
illuminating discourse from Mayor Butt. He wants to divert the
conversation as much as possible from this indefensible position.
It was frustrating to hear the lecture by Councilmember Bates that
the people who had come to the Council meeting to plead their case for
temporary action by the Council were wasting the Council's time. It
was clear that the three had made up their minds prior to the meeting
that they would not let anything said at the meeting change their
In the frustration following the vote some individuals made verbal
personal attacks on Councilmembers. We do not support these and we do
not support disrupting the normal process of the Council. But we
understand where the strong feelings are coming from when people are
losing their homes. RPA member and Council member Jovanka Beckles
became understandably angry at the thought of seniors, families and
children not getting the support of their Council members, and has since apologized.
Denying the moratorium not only denied people their homes, they
were denied the right to vote. One tenant discussed in her testimony
how these evictions may function as a form of voter suppression. When
tenants don't get the chance to vote, and instead have to uproot their
lives, the community loses its voice.
This moratorium was not a radical move to make. As Jael Myrick
pointed out, in Alameda and Oakland, the much more conservative City
Councils voted unanimously for an emergency moratorium on evictions
and high rent increases. They understood that it was not fair to the
public to deal with a market panic in the run up to a rent control
vote. A few of our council members are dead set on sabotaging rent
control and blaming anyone else possible for their inaction. Tom Butt
and Nat Bates are both landlords themselves.
We could have stopped the evictions. Whether you agree with rent
control or not doesn't matter, just let people stay long enough to
vote and figure out places to go and vote. The moratorium would have
cost almost nothing and would have hurt no one. A lot of people are
So while tenants take their evictions to the courts, what we have
left is to pass Measure L. If passed, it will go into effect January
1st, 2017. Join us at www.fairandaffordablerichmond.com. Thank you.
The RPA Steering Committee
goes down; Measure L victory critical
Support our neighbors: Give time, ad $$, & be
A party in a garden for Ben & Melvin
Photo: Tarnel Abbott
At the home of Tarnel Abbott: 1411 Mariposa St., Richmond
There will be food, a silent auction, a lovely garden setting,
and a chance to meet neighbors as well as the candidates. Brief
comments by Ben and Melvin will be followed by Q & A-- your
chance to ask those burning questions. If you like what you hear, you
may be inspired to donate money and/or time to their campaigns or to
make a purchase at the silent auction (proceeds to be shared by both
All Team Richmond supporters and friends are cordially
If you can RSVP (email@example.com
(510) 910-4510), that would be helpful.
on Pt. Molate
Community meetings will contribute to vision and
Source: RPA Activist
In a (rare) unanimous vote Tuesday evening, the Richmond City
Council approved Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin's item, calling on
staff to hold 3 public meetings, starting later this fall, designed to
move forward the land use designation process for Pt. Molate. Pt.
Molate Citizen's Advisory Committee, City Planning staff, and key
stakeholders will be involved in planning and presenting at the
meetings, and Berkeley architecture students and their instructor are
also likely to participate. The major focus of the community meetings
will be an interactive discussion session where the public can provide
input on key values and visions for Pt. Molate's rehabilitation and
redevelopment. These will be captured in writing as feedback to
eventually be provided to Planning Commission and later to City
Look for an announcement of the meeting dates and locations in an
answer to residents
Misleading information on Creekview Evctions
Evicted Creekview tenants point out that they have lived there
with major repairs going on for years
(Here is the full reply from Tom Butt copied to residents who have
asked him to support the eviction moratorium.)
"No one is being evicted from Creekview. They were all on month to
month rentals at far below market rates because the owners knew they
would eventually have to vacate the buildings for major repairs.
Creekview informed them that their rental agreements would not be
renewed. This may sound like splitting hairs, but it's an important
technical point. If a building has to be repaired, the tenants, in
this case, are severely inconvenienced. I'm not sure what the
alternative is. The moratorium, by the way, would not prohibit
vacating a building for repairs.
While the moratorium does not solve everything it
- Put a stop to the mass evictions
- Give renters much more than 60 (or, for some, 30) days to find a
new place to live.
- Require the landlord to offer the place back to the tenant after
the repairs under most circumstances.
- Require the landlord to offer any vacant places he/she has for the
- Prevent the landlord from making an exorbitant rent increase.
BTW according to tenants, the landlord is housing construction
workers in some of the "vacated" apartments so they can be habitable
during repairs. The generous landlords "knew" the repairs had to be
made but could only give a 60 day notice? Click here for more on the Beverly Hills
I think the tenants all over Richmond would really appreciate these
protections. I hope you will vote for the moratorium.
Saturday and Sunday
We love Richmond, so let's get outside
Let's knock on some doors. Every Saturday (10–2)
and Sunday (noon–4), meet up at 2540 Macdonald Ave., across from the
library. The office will be staffed noon–8 on weekdays, too. We'll
provide instructions and answer your questions. We're finding people
home in the early evening and especially Sunday afternoon.
We've got cool new canvassing tools, so bring your
smartphone if you've got one. If not, no worries, we've got you
Get out and meet your neighbors all around
Find out their concerns.
• Talk about Measure L, rent
control and just cause for eviction.
• Talk about our health and environmental justice:
refinery pollution, asthma, and the lack of votes on the 2014 City
Council to save our only public hospital.
• Talk about public schools, and how our
candidates are pledged to support neighborhood schools and stop the
spread of corporate charters in Richmond. Talk public
safety. Talk budget priorities: our
kids, our support services.
• And talk about the progress we've made and can continue
making if we elect Ben Choi and Melvin Willis to the City
The next three weeks are
Canvassing is our best tactic.
Personal conversations often determine how voters make up
their minds. We want to reach likely voters before they start
voting by mail—mail ballots will go out in early October.
To help our volunteers prepare walk sheets and materials, we ask
you to please RSVP here,
or phone us at 510-412-2260.
We know you're busy...
But at the end of
the day, we're all in this together. We're at an historic crossroads,
and we have a clear choice: Do we want a city government that will
work to make Richmond a more vibrant, livable city, or do we want to
be controlled by big developers, organized landlords, and Chevron?
Thank you for all your support!
organizing wins victory
School Board Stops Adams Sale to Charter
RPA: "No, billionaire bullies, you can't have Adams!"
RPA joined a coalition of parents, teachers, and
neighbor's of East Richmond Heights in opposing the Adams Middle
School sale to Caliber (a charter management organization).
proposed sale for $60,000 would transferred valuable public land to a
shell corporation, controlled by failed hedge fund managers and
Richmond Vice-Mayor spoke on the coalition's
behalf last Wednesday, Sept. 7. He noted, "The sale of Adams affect
Richmond residents and students forever." With such overwhelming
grass-roots opposition, the Board announced the close of negotiations
In short, we stopped the privatization of public
land. Thanks for your efforts, energy, and enthusiasm!
Measure T and school board candidates who
Strengthen our neighborhood schools
I have been a teacher, UTR Executive
Board member and school counselor 21 years in West Contra Costa
Unified School District. I will work toward a stronger relationship
between the district and the communities it serves. Public education
is an investment and a commitment to our children, our communities and
-Comprehensive Academic Reform: "Let Teachers Teach"
Community Engagement: "Strengthen Neighborhood Schools"
the West Contra Costa Adult School Program
-Stop Encroachment from
the Charter School Industry
The Richmond Progressive Alliance has endorsed Measure T, the
extension of the parcel tax, that funds important educational programs
and school libraries.
The RPA has endorsed three candidates for school board who are
committed to rebuilding neighborhood schools and have pledged not to
take contributions from corporations and charter school PACS. They
Taboada and Phillips have
the endorsement of the United Teachers of Richmond (UTR). You can
vote for no more than two candidates.
This election will be
hotly contested with the Charter Schools providing huge funds for
their candidates. See PublicCore.net
Victory for Richmond Walmart Workers
NLRB rules that discipline for strike was unfair
Walmart Labor Practices. Vigil in Warren Michigan
Workers at the Richmond Walmart had been disciplined
for a brief protest strike in an action that was widely supported by
the Richmond progressive community during the Thanksgiving period in
2012. On September 1 of this year, the NLRB ruled that the discipline
was unfair. Reported in Daily Labor Report
New Issue of Richmond Sun
It went out to voting households in Richmond.
If you did
not get yours you can see it on-line
Team Richmond 2016:
Our Revolution, Right here!
Revolution, the grassroots-driven political organization
established by Bernie Sanders, kicked off on August 24 with a series
of local meetings across the country, including several in and around
Richmond. According to RPA members who hosted or attended local Our
Revolution kick-off events, many Bernie supporters are eager to
connect with the RPA. There is even interest in creating a similar
organization in El Cerrito!
One of Our Revolution's key activities is to "empower the next
generation of progressive leaders by inspiring and recruiting
progressive candidates to run for offices across the entire spectrum
of government." Team Richmond's own Ben Choi and Melvin Willis, who
have pledged to not take a penny in corporate contributions, were one
of the first political candidates endorsed by Our
Of course, not taking corporate money means that RPA candidates win
through grassroots power, not through big political spending and a
barrage of mailers and ads (...although have you checked
out the Richmond Sun? Looks great!) Ben and Melvin's
campaigns are continuing full steam ahead; they are engaging seriously
with voters from many different areas of our city through candidate
nights, meet and greet events, town hall meetings, and of course by
going door to door. Don't miss your opportunity to support them and to
help secure a progressive majority on the Richmond City Council!
Meet at the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center (2540 Macdonald
Ave.) at 10am every Saturday and noon every Sunday to canvass for Ben,
Melvin and Measure L (rent control and just cause evictions).
City Council meeting, 9/13 at 6:30pm
RPA Stands up for tenants being evicted
On September 1, the RPA, along with
renters and other organizations, stood shoulder to shoulder with over
100 Richmond residents from the Creek View Condominiums who are facing
eviction. (See a CBS
news video of the rally). The owner, PMI, has ordered residents
out of their homes to do repair work, and has given renters a deadline
of October 15. Although repairs are needed, the timing seems all too
exquisite for rent control advocates, who point out that tenants will
be forced out just before Richmond voters have a chance to decide on
If passed, Measure L (rent control and just cause
for evictions) would ensure that renters who are evicted for repairs
have the right to move back home at the same base rent after repairs
are finished. PMI denies its timing has anything to do with the vote,
but as Zak Wear points out, PMI's
own website provides some insight into the company's strategy:
"Currently, PMI is purchasing single family homes, duplexes, triplexes
and small apartment buildings in Los Angeles and the Bay Area.
Targeting gentrifying urban areas, PMI is renovating obsolete
properties into hip, 'creative multifamily' apartments that appeal to
Gen Y, knowledge workers, the creative class, and urbanites."
In addition, tenants in other
areas of Richmond have also gotten notices. Councilmember
McLaughlin will be placing an urgency ordinance on the September 13th
City Council agenda that, if approved, will impose a temporary
moratorium on certain residential evictions and rent increases. The
public is invited to come speak on the item (6:30 pm at City Hall);
look for a Key List notice for more information.
Also, if you or a renter you know is in trouble, Tenants Together
has reminded us that their Hotline (888-495-8020) can
serve as a resource in the period before rent control (hopefully!)
gets passed. Renters can call the line to get information about how
the new law would affect them, to strategize if they have received
60-day notices, and ask any other tenants' rights questions they may
have. It typically takes 1-3 business days for calls to be returned.
Tenants Together requests that callers become members if they want
hotline support ($25-50), but no one is turned away for lack of
Finally, please consider joining the effort to make Richmond fair
and affordable for renters. We have upcoming phone banks on Monday 9/4 from 6pm-8pm and Thursday 9/8 6pm-8pm at the Bobby Bowens
Progressive Center (2540 Macdonald Ave.). Bring your phone and
laptop/tablet if you have one. If you cannot make one of those times,
call (510) 621-7566 to get involved.
Rent Control is not a subsidy!
Last weekend the
anti-rent control forces did a very expensive phone survey testing out
their messages. To defeat rent control they will try to argue that it
will force landlords to "SUBSIDIZE" renters including some who are
better off. (Please note the Apartment Association concern about
benefits for the rich)
It is not really a subsidy. Good landlords are not affected. Rent
control simply stops greedy landlords from taking advantage of people
to make "windfall profits" That is an economics term which says that
some profits are not really earned by work and investment but by
charging more because of a problem in the market place. In this case
the problem is that housing is desperately needed but it is short
supply. Limiting those kind of profits is not a subsidy--it is
stopping a rip-off.
It is not a "subsidy' to limit the interest rate that can be
charged for credit cards, bank fees, and "Pay-Day" loans. And it is
not a subsidy to regulate the pharmaceutical industry to prevent
atrocities like the current case where the Manufactures of EPI Pens
can get away with charging $500 for a life-saving pen that contains 60
cents worth of medicine.
And outlawing "price gouging" or raising prices after a hurricane
or earthquake is not a "subsidy." It is fairness and common sense.
Again, fair landlords barely will be affected. They can set rents on
vacant apartments and the rents can go up with inflation. It is only
the greedy landlords that will be stopped from ripping off their
(Cartoon courtesy of David Moore)
City Council meeting, 9/20 at 6:30pm
RPA and Nurses urge Alta Bates to stay open
California Nurses Association, National Nurses United, the RPA and
others are urging Sutter Health to reconsider its plans to shutter
Berkeley's Alta Bates Hospital, which could begin closing as early as
2018. Since its merger with Summit in 2000, Alta Bates has had over
1.3 million days of patients and delivered over 110,000 babies.
The closure could have significant impacts on Richmond. At an August
31 event on the state of health care in Richmond and West Contra
Costa, which focused on the 2015 closure of Doctors Hospital, one
participant called West County "health care desert." And with the
shuttering of Alta Bates, access to health care could get more
precarious. "We have already seen an increase in patients since the
closure of Doctor's San Pablo," said
Alta Bates ER RN Bipin Walia. "If patients have to travel further
to Oakland, 6, 8, and 10-hour waits will be the norm." Sutter states
that seismic safety requirements are prompting it to close Alta Bates
and consolidate inpatient and emergency services at Summit in Oakland.
Summit hospital is three miles away but can take an additional 24
minutes to reach, according
to Berkeley fire officials.
The City of Berkeley has passed a resolution opposing the closure
of Alta Bates, and Richmond City Council is scheduled to take one up
on September 20. RPA members are encouraged to come down to City Hall
at 6:30pm and speak in support of the resolution.
National Nurses United)
Hold Zeneca to a higher standard
RPA, Team Richmond call for full cleanup of toxic Zeneca
August 24, RPA members as well as Team Richmond City Council
candidates Ben Choi and Melvin Willis offered testimony at a
California State Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) hearing
on the clean up of the toxic Zeneca site. Located on the Richmond
shoreline, the site was formerly a chemical factory which was first
owned by Stauffer Chemical and later by Zeneca Inc. Over its 100 years
of operation, the plant produced toxic byproducts, including benzene,
arsenic and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Remediation efforts have
been going on for years, but DTSC is poised to allow Astrazeneca to do
only a partial cleanup. Activists called on the agency to hold the
company to a higher standard.
In a written submission, Ben Choi and Melvin Willis stated,
"Thousands of South Richmond residents live near the area where
arsenic and pesticides were dumped by Stauffer Chemical & Zeneca
Inc. and they continue to leach into the groundwater and the Bay,
where rising sea levels make the potential damage even worst…DTSC, as
the regulatory agency working to protect Richmond residents must not
do an incomplete job that leaves us at risk. Stauffer Chemical and
AstraZeneca and other parties saved hundreds of millions of dollars by
illegally and immorally dumping toxic waste in Richmond and it is time
for you DTSC to do your job and demand that they clean the place up
completely to protect our health."
RPA calls for Community Working Group to reconvene
Forge new chapter for Richmond Field Station
On August 26, UC Berkeley Chancellor
Nicholas Dirks announced that "due to the continued need to
address significant budgetary challenges confronting the University,
UC Berkeley is indefinitely suspending plans to build the Berkeley
Global Campus at Richmond Bay." The university is facing a budget
deficit of almost $150 million.
The Richmond Progressive Alliance is dismayed at the news, but is
encouraged that City Manager Bill Lindsay is confident that this
suspension is by no means a death sentence for the project. In his
to the City Council, Lindsay maintained, "UC Berkeley is still
indicating that it will 'continue to explore options for the site.'
Because of that statement, I believe that Richmond should view this
'suspension' as a new
chapter [emphasis his] for ultimate development of this
underutilized site that is the Richmond Field Station—not the end of
an aspiration to see development of the Richmond Field Station as the
In his statement, Chancellor Dirks specifically noted that "the
work of the Community Working Group has provided an invaluable
foundation for all future projects on the Richmond Bay Campus when we
are able to launch them." The CWG was created as a result of pressure
brought by ACCE, CCISCO, and other organizations. Over 18 months, the CWG (which included representatives
from government, non-profit, business and philanthropy sectors)
negotiated a community benefits agreement, covering issues like
affordable housing, and training for local workers to get jobs at the
campus. The RPA calls on the Working Group to reconvene to determine
next steps and possible alternatives for the site.
Cantor, Richmond Confidential)