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Below the Fold:

When Liberals Take Control of Police

Nat Bates Promotes Drivers License Check Points that Target Latinos

Chevron Pouring Money into Richmond Election

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

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Eduardo Martinez
Gayle McLaughlin
Jovanka Beckles

Newsletter Archives

Fit For Life

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!

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 our Team Richmond Media page for stories about our race from independent news sources.
  • 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.

Beyond Chron on Chevron Smears

Chevron Sounds Alarm Against East Bay “Anarchism”

by Steve Early

One of the great things about living near Chevron’s big East Bay refinery—yes, the one that caught fire and exploded two years ago—is its system of early warnings about new disasters about to befall Richmond.

In our post-Citizens United era, the nation’s second largest oil producer is now free to spend $1.6 million (or more, if necessary) on direct mail and phone alerts, designed to keep 30,000 likely voters fully informed about threats to their city.

During the last week, glossy mailers from a Chevron-funded group called “Moving Forward” have been flowing our way, at the rate of one or two per day—almost seven weeks before Election Day.

And, then, just to make sure that Chevron’s urgent message is getting through, we’ve also been called by pollsters. They claim to be surveying opinion about Richmond politics, but actually just recite the contents of these same Moving Forward mailers over the phone.

My favorite manifestation of this negative campaigning involves a Latino candidate for Richmond City council. His name is Eduardo Martinez and remembering the Eduardo part is important. By some strange coincidence, Moving Forward—the Chevron-backed “Coalition of Labor Unions, Small Businesses, Public Safety and Firefighters Associations”—is backing another Martinez for city council whose first name is Al and who is apparently not a public safety threat.

Continue to the full Beyond Chron article.

From KPFA’s Up Front, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014

Richmond Today and Tomorrow

In this wide-ranging, half-hour discussion (at 33:35 in KPFA's archive), guest-host Marie Choi asks Mike Parker and Andrés Soto about why Mike withdrew from the mayoral race, Chevron's candidates, the role of social movements, the status and future of Chevron's refinery, progressive strategy, our opposition, the main issue in the 2014 race, and beyond.

Marie Choi: As November elections approach, we're turning our attention to Richmond, California, where the Richmond Progressive Alliance is battling oil-giant Chevron for control of the City Council. For many of us outside of Richmond, the RPA has been an example of what's possible when an independent grassroots organization gains council seats and pushes through a progressive agenda. Through a combination of grassroots-mobilization and holding key council positions, the RPA and its allies have won major concessions from Chevron, defended homeowners from bank foreclosures, and changed the city's approach to policing. We're talking this morning with Mike Parker and Andrés Soto, they are members of the Richmond Progressive Alliance, and Mike was until recently a mayoral candidate for Richmond, California.

Continue to the full transcript.

Cops Stop Shooting People, Crime Drops Dramatically

When Liberals Take Control of Police

Exerpt from the East Bay Express, September 10

by Robert Gammon

One police department in the East Bay is proving that the law-and-order crowd has been wrong all these years, and that overwhelming force—especially lethal force—is not only unjustified, but completely unnecessary. Since 2007, the Richmond Police Department, under the command of Chief Chris Magnus, the most progressive police chief in the Bay Area, has not had a single fatal shooting by one of its officers, a fact that was first reported last weekend by the Contra Costa Times.

When Magnus took over the troubled Richmond PD in 2006, he quickly realized that overwhelming force was not the answer. In 2006 and 2007, Richmond cops shot five people, killing one of them. So he instituted numerous reforms, including training officers to defuse tense situations without firing their weapons. Magnus also emphasized the importance of investigating crime, and eschewed so-called hotspot policing, in which a department saturates an area with cops like an occupying force. "We are surgical," he told the CoCo Times earlier this year. "We concentrate on people that need to be focused on."

Magnus also installed a robust community-policing program, deploying officers into neighborhoods to forge relationships with residents. The effort was designed to reverse a longstanding problem in Richmond in which residents distrusted the city's violent police force and refused to cooperate with it. Magnus also reformed the way police respond to political demonstrations, training officers to take a softer, gentler approach.

Continue to the full East Bay Express article.

An Interview with Mayor Gayle

Political Decisions from the Heart

by Robert "Han" Bishop

How did Richmond go from being a Chevron company town to the most progressive city in the San Francisco Bay Area?

Why is it so difficult for politicians to make decisions from the heart, even ones who are well-meaning?

Why is the upcoming election critical in preventing Chevron manipulation of the democratic process, and returning Richmond to the past where Chevron always gets what they want, regardless of public safety concerns and increased environmental pollution?

What does it mean to raise human consciousness as a public official?

These and other important issues are addressed in my (16 min) interview with Gayle McLaughlin, the Mayor of Richmond, California.

More Video Showing How Wrong Bates is for Richmond

Nat Bates Promotes Drivers License Check Points that Target Latinos

Richmond used to be noted for its murder. Now it is noted for how it has reduced violence. Mayoral candidate Nat Bates's main program for safety is to return the city to the policies that build distrust between the largest ethnic group in the city (40% Latino) and the police. Bates is the Chevron candidate for Mayor, who has enabled hate-speech at Council meetings.

"That Wily Corporation"

What Could Chevron be Up To?

by Patsy Byers

The SF Weekly recently published a profile of one of the chief "spin doctors" for Chevron, Sam Singer, which gives insights into his methods of damage-control and opinion-shaping. With the August 6, 2012 explosion and fire at the Chevron Richmond refinery, he was probably busy before the first patient had been seen at Doctors Medical Center.

In contrast to Singer, Albany resident John Irminger displayed this understanding of Chevron's operations, published as a letter to the editor on Wednesday in the El Cerrito Journal (emphasis added):

"In addition to financing the campaigns of local politicians, Chevron does million-dollar sweet things all over the East Bay. So people love Chevron.

"But, that wily corporation then finagles hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and property devaluations that primarily affect the ability of local governments to fulfill the needs of their constituents.

"Chevron's strategy ensures it always has some friendly politicians, and that prominent and influential people, especially in charities and education, are dependent on Chevron for their programs. Thus, they (understandably) sing the praises of their benefactor.

Continue to the full article.

Sept. 4 Action at Kinder Morgan Rail Yards

Protesting Crude-by-Rail in Richmond

According to Andrés Soto: On Thursday Sept. 4, the leased Kinder Morgan rail yards in Richmond were the site of a lock-down action, designed to stop the movement of explosive Bakken crude from unsafe DOT 111 rail cars to waiting tanker trucks and then out onto Richmond streets. The Kinder Morgan facility is right across the street from two elementary schools, residences, and businesses in the Iron Triangle and Pt. Richmond.

This action was also designed to highlight the issues involved in the upcoming hearing for the lawsuit against Kinder Morgan and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) filed by Earthjustice on behalf of Communities for a Better Environment, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club. The suit argued that BAAQMD had issued the permit for crude without any notice to the public or environmental, safety and health review, in violation of CEQA (the California Environmental Quality Act).

Continue to full article.

For more information on how to get involved, call Andrés Soto, 510-237-6866, or email andres@cbecal.org.

Richmond On Pace For Another Year Of Record Low Crime Rates

Operation Ceasefire

In case you missed it, here's a 2 1/2 minute KPIX report on the success of Richmond's innovative (& controversial) community policing program.

Celebrating the Richmond Greenway

United for Unity Park

Here's a video that celebrates the work and achievements of the Signers of Friends of the Richmond Greenway, including the RPA, in the creation of Unity Park.

Please Write to Governor Brown

Another DMC Letter needed NOW

by Mike Parker

The AB 39 bill that would have reclassified Doctors Medical Center to provide for greater recovery of costs and a $3 million bridging appropriation was blocked in the Senate by the Hospital Association and some counties.

The $3 million, however, was included in SB 883 which is headed to the Governor's office. Please write Governor Brown, explaining why the hospital is so important to this community and asking him to sign this legislation.

Address letters to:
Governor Edmund Brown
State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

Send copies of the letter by email to Nancy Skinner's office: Frances.Fortini@asm.ca.gov

Video: Team Richmond Stands Up for Doctors Hospital

Nurses and the Community Want Doctors Medical Center San Pablo Open!

Several hundred nurses, patients (many in wheelchairs), religious and community leaders, and elected officials marched yesterday [August 5] from Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo to West Contra Costa Health Clinic, where an energetic rally followed.

An array of speakers, from Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin to Pastor Donnell Jones, community organizer from New Direction Ministries in Richmond, spoke passionately about the critical need for keeping DMC and its emergency department open as a full-service, acute-care facility.

The California Nurses Association has endorsed Team Richmond candidates.

SF Chronicle on "the Chevron Candidates"

Chevron Pouring Money into Richmond Election

by Chip Johnson

Chevron, the city's main employer and taxpayer, is also the biggest spender on political campaigns - it set aside $1.6 million in a political action committee called Moving Forward that supports the oil giant's favorite City Council and mayoral candidates.

Let me repeat: $1.6 million. For local elections in a city of a little over 106,000 residents...

Despite all the money thrown around by this corporate giant, it's clear not all of Richmond's residents are so easily swayed by swag. But that's not stopping Chevron from trying to influence the outcome of a city election.

Change is coming to Richmond, slow but steady. Crime is way down, development is on the way up, and the city needs to shed its historical reputation as a "company" town.

Continue to the full SF Chronicle article.