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Below the Fold:

Sale of Adams to Charters Stopped

Pt Molate Open Process Passed

Keeping Alta Bates Open

RPA endorses for School Board

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Info on Rent Control and Just Cause

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Fit For Life
Join our local heroes: volunteers who are at the heart of the RPA

There are only two weeks left until the election! As an all-volunteer organization, RPA has never been able to match the deep pockets of Chevron, the California Apartment Association, Big Soda and others. Our power comes from time, energy, commitment and contributions of ordinary folks who have a progressive vision of our city. One of these stalwart volunteers is Michael Beer, a former teacher who has been canvassing on the weekends. Read on, and be inspired:

When did you first start canvassing?

When I was young, I had a summer job selling magazines door to door. I wasn't great at it because I didn't believe in what I was selling.

What is it like canvassing in Richmond?

I like canvassing in Richmond. Almost all the voters are Democrats so already we have a certain level of agreement.  People are pleased you think they are important enough to volunteer your time to talk with them.

Do you feel you've made a difference?

Oh, yes. The most important thing is that people understand that I am volunteer and believe in what I am doing. If people have questions I can't answer I promise to get someone from the campaign to contact them. I know I have gained votes for candidates and measures, and in a small town like Richmond, elections can be won or lost by as little as 300 votes. I make sure they know their polling place and try to impress on them the importance of their going on November 8.

How was it the first time you canvassed?

I still get nervous before I knock on my first door, but after a while, I relax and just enjoy the day. My goal is to finish my walk sheet if possible, so I try to be succinct and confident and  not sound like a robot. Also, canvassing is a great opportunity to see parts of Richmond I don't know, like May Valley or Hilltop.

How do you feel about the RPA's campaign strategy?

Over the years, the Progressive Alliance captains have gotten quite proficient at organizing the materials we use. You get excellent campaign literature.  You get a map and the names and addresses of voters. Often you get notes that are helpful. You don't want to visit an address if they are already supporters. And they only ask for a few hours.

Do you have advice that you could pass along to new canvassers?

When I come to a door, I want to relax the person opening it. I usually wear a shirt or hat covered with campaign buttons and have my clip board and pen prominent. This way I don't look intimidating. I notice if someone's working on the house or if there are shoes on the porch. Because I'm working on my garden, I might ask about the name of a plant in their yard. Because I like children, if there's a child hiding, I might ask what school they attend, or their name. I always let them know that I'm a volunteer.          

Final comments?

I have a special thing I do. I take a wad of Post-Its with me on which I've handwritten, "Sorry I missed you. Your neighbor on S. 58th" or "A volunteer" and sign my first name. If I come back, they will remember me. In the end, I offer them the opportunity to do what I'm doing, to phone bank, or plant a lawn sign. By canvassing door to door, we have been able to create a lot of positive change.  I feel obliged to do what I can to keep Richmond progressive.

Inspired by Michael's true tale of making a difference through canvassing?
We need all hands on deck during the last weekends before the election! Come out to canvass on Saturdays from 10 am – 2 pm and Sundays 12 pm – 4 pm. This Saturday, we will have special guest speaker Councilmember and former Mayor Gayle McLaughlin to cheer us on and send us on our way. Meet at the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center (2540 Macdonald); there will be food, drink, and great people!

Finally, if you can't make weekends, you can help phone bank for Measure L every Monday and Thursday from 6 - 8pm; bring your phone and a tablet or laptop if you have one.

County school board
RPA endorses Pam Mirabella for County School Board

This week the RPA steering committee voted to endorse Pam Mirabella for the Contra Costa County Board of Education. Pam is a long-time county school board member whose two daughters went to Richmond public schools. Like all RPA-endorsed candidates, she has affirmed that she will refuse to accept corporate political contributions.

Political independence is especially important this year as charter school interests are aggressively spending on political elections. A recent East Bay Times article notes that for the WCCUSB race (in which the RPA has endorsed Carlos Taboada, Mister Phillips and Antonio Medrano), "Pro-charter school groups have flooded the West Contra Costa Unified school board race with money, spending roughly $250,000 to help elect two candidates, an astonishing amount for a school board race… Their favored candidates now have nearly 100 times the resources of their opponents."
Team Richmond 2016
Bernie, Gayle and the East Bay Express all agree: Elect Ben and Melvin

This week, the East Bay Express endorsed Ben Choi and Melvin Willis for City Council. The Express joins the likes of Bernie Sanders, former Mayor and current City councilmember Gayle McLaughlin, the SF Bay Guardian and many other progressive organizations in backing these two candidates.

The Express writes:

Choi and Willis are both running campaigns on the pledge of taking no corporate contributions. That might seem gimmicky, but in Richmond corporate giants like Chevron, the California Apartment Association, and Coke have literally spent millions to defeat progressive candidates and measures. So we're endorsing Choi and Willis because they'll be independent, indeed critical of these powerful outside interest groups. Plus they're both pro-rent control and both want to find a way to keep a hospital open in West County, two crucial measures to keep Richmond affordable and healthy.

"A fair, equitable and virtually painless" way to raise revenue
Vote Yes on Measure M

The Richmond Progressive Alliance urges a YES vote on Measure M, which would be a fair, equitable and virtually painless way to raise over $5 million in much needed additional annual revenue for the City of Richmond.

Currently, whenever a house or other piece of property is sold, the City levies a one-time transfer tax of 0.7% of the sale price. Measure M would raise that rate in two tiers, such that this one-time transfer tax on properties sold for less than $400,000 would be 1% of the sale price, and on properties sold for more than $400,000 it would be 1.5% of the sale price. This would bring Richmond's real estate transfer tax closer in line to that of other cities in the Bay Area and make it more progressive.

In the City's budget discussions last spring, it was clear that property tax revenues are still lagging from the effects of the recent recession, yet costs are rising and the need for services to residents are great. In order to adopt a balanced budget, some painful cuts had to be made in important areas including library, recreation, public safety, and public works.

The entire City Council voted to put Measure M on the ballot, and we urge voters to support it.

--Marilyn Langlois, RPA co-coordinator
Another Re-buttal
Setting the record straight

You have probably noticed that Mayor Tom Butt really has it out for the RPA -- from painting the organization as irresponsible ideologues to blaming it for the demise of the Berkeley Global Campus. Just when you thought it could not go any further, in a recent e-forum, he reacted to a Facebook graphic by calling the RPA "the new Chevron." (NB: if the RPA had as much money as a $193 billion oil major, we would not have to pack out our own garbage after holding a meeting at the office!) At issue was the voting record of Jim Rogers, who is running for City Council again this year. For those of you who are interested in the he-said/he-said, check out Mike Parker's personal response to Butt:

So now Tom Butt rises to defend Jim Rogers  record with misstatements. Tom seems to think his main job as Mayor is trashing the RPA.  Here are the facts  along with Tom's blog. Judge for yourself.

Minimum Wage
. Jim Rogers, along with Tom Butt, opposed the proposed minimum wage ordinance in 2014.  Rogers initially supported it, but when pressured by business interests he worked to weaken it significantly, proposing a number of amendments that essentially gutted it, The amendments  included excluding young people, tipped workers, and several Richmond companies (see council minutes of May 6, 2014).   Only when proponents began to act to put minimum wage on the ballot did he agree to a compromise to remove some of the gutting amendments. Tom opposed it outright.

Doctors Hospital
. Jim, like all Council members, did vote for a resolution that expressed the desire to keep Doctors Medical Center.  But where it counted,  Rogers who was on the self-appointed rump committee that negotiated the  Community Benefits Agreement  with Chevron, did not make it a priority issue and instead fought for funding for his pet project, Easy Go.

Rent Control.
In 2014  Vice-Mayor Beckles and  Mayor McLaughlin put forward a resolution to direct staff to prepare a study session  "on prospective policies to assist with maintaining affordable rental housing… including: forms of rent control, relocation assistance,  requirements for affordable housing as parts of projects….,"  Rogers, Butt and Bates made it clear that they would not approve this direction to staff if rent control was even among the possible policies to review (see video of  June 3, 2014 Council Meeting). 

Now, at the point that everybody concedes that rent control is likely to pass, Rogers puts his finger to the wind, announces his support at the same time he announces he will work to gut it of the most critical provisions.

Rogers represents the old politics of Richmond, rolling over for Chevron.

Our revolution continues
Bernie backs Ben and Melvin!

Check out these great pics of Ben Choi and Melvin Willis with Bernie Sanders in San Francisco on October 15th. Bernie was in town to drum up support for Proposition 61, which would set a state cap on prescription drug costs.

He took some time out from his busy schedule to offer words of encouragement to Ben and Melvin, who were among the first candidates to earn Senator Sanders' endorsement for local office.

Come canvass on the weekend!
Show your support for Ben Choi and Melvin Willis

Ben Choi and Melvin Willis have been tirelessly hitting the campaign trail: meeting voters at candidate nights, mingling with them at community events and going door to door. On October 16, they showed up at a North and East houseparty where they were warmly welcomed by a crowd of current Richmond voters, and sent off by a posse of future ones.


Haven't had a chance to talk one-on-one with Melvin and Ben yet? Tune into El Show de Andres Soto on 94.1 kpfa on October 20 from 3:30 – 4pm, when both Ben and Melvin will be on air.  Feel free to call in with your questions: 510-848-4425


Haven't had a chance to canvass for them yet? If, not you still have a chance to make a real difference this election! The RPA is an all-volunteer organization which gets its political muscle from grassroots organizing and the contributions of everyday people who pitch in what time and resources they can. Your support and engagement is critical!


Street teams meet at the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center (2540 Macdonald) at 10am every Saturday and noon every Sunday to canvass for Ben, Melvin and Measure L.  

Coming to a mailbox near you
Richmond Sun: Election edition

We hope everyone has had a chance to pour over the new Richmond Sun, which hit mailboxes last week. It was chock-full of articles, including information on Measure L (rent control and just cause for eviction), news on the proposal to close Alta Bates hospital, interviews with Ben Choi and Melvin Willis, and how City offices like Community Services are coping with budget cuts.

It also includes an editorial highlighting key policy issues for the next political term, including:

  • getting faster at building affordable rental housing
  • developing the South Shore, Downtown and the Hilltop Mall site while resolving the goals and bidding process for Point Molate
  • increasing County funding of social services — from adult mental health to children's services
  • pressing for a hospital in West County
  • improving our City's fiscal and operational management, including increasing our reserves, paving our streets and paying only for retirement benefits we can afford — while restoring normal community services
  • increasing community confidence in the police department

An online copy of the Richmond Sun can be found on the RPA website.
Offering a re-Buttal
Deconstructing some myths about the RPA

Mayor Tom Butt, in his October 13 statement announcing his endorsement of Jim Rogers and Jael Myrick for City Council, spent relatively little time speaking about the merits of Rogers and Myrick. Instead, much of his statement was spent railing against the RPA. He argued that if Choi or Willis are elected, "the City will be run, not from City Hall by the City Council, but by a group of RPA insiders from their new headquarters conveniently located across the street from the Richmond Civic Center." (Cue ominous movie music here.)

City Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin addressed this concern eloquently in a guest commentary in the September Richmond Sun:

Some say that having "too many " progressives on the council would not be good, claiming that progressives will act as a voting bloc, conspiring in advance on how to vote. On the contrary, councilmembers are prohibited by law (Brown Act) from discussing council items with any three other councilmembers. The progressives on the council have always respected this law, and will continue to do so.

Progressives do not share a single mindset for casting votes. The 2015 vote on who should fill a vacant council seat is just one example. Progressives share common values, but my progressive colleagues on the council can and do disagree on issues, and our political process is stronger for it.

For a more realistic view on how RPA-backed council members (Team Richmond) tend to vote along shared values, see this vote chart below:

For those of you interested in a no-nonsense takedown of Butt's statement attacking the RPA, see Mike Parker's personal rebuttal.  It sets the record straight on the many falsehoods perpetrated in Butt's statement, including some particularly egregious accusations about how the RPA is fiscally irresponsible and "continues to be obsessed with ideology… and never compromises or negotiates with parties they don't agree with." As Parker neatly sums up: "According to Tom, when the RPA agrees with him, that's great. But anything we disagree with him on is proof that we are ideologues unwilling to listen to (his) reason."

The RPA Steering Committee's statement: 
Why Richmond Needs a Corporate-Free Majority on the City Council

Across the political spectrum, voters are concerned about the damage that corporate moneyis causing in our democracy, and they want leaders who will fight for them by reducing special interest money in our elections. Here in Richmond, we see the continued power of Chevron and developers, who try to buy elections directly, then influence elected officials with lobbying and promises of support.

"Income and wealth inequality have reached obscene levels…and the billionaire class is now allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money to buy the candidate they want. And it is up to us to stand up and fight back. If we stand together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish." --Senator Bernie Sanders

In 2014 Richmond voters fought back against corporate domination and elected three progressive city council members who are truly independent from the .01% billionaire class, rejecting all corporate money for their campaigns.

We deserve to feel confident that our council members put our people’s needs first. We need to know they aren’t keeping an ear or a hand out for donations from Chevron, lobbyists, developers, and the big apartment owners. 

Which city council candidates have not refused to accept corporate money for their campaigns?
Bates, Boozé, Rogers, Myrick, Pimplé, Uwahemu, Zepeda

Who are the only candidates who reject all corporate money?
Ben Choi and Melvin Willis

The need to get money out of politics may be the one thing Americans agree on. Nearly everyone opposes “Citizens United,” the Supreme Court ruling that allowed corporations to spend unlimited (and unreported) amounts of money to influence the outcome of elections.

But in Richmond, we’ve learned how to do something about it. We’ve fought corporate control of our politics through grassroots organizing and principled council members. Two years ago Chevron poured millions into the city council election, yet its candidates were defeated by the power of organized, fed-up citizens who helped elect three Richmond Progressive Alliance members. Since then these corporate-free progressives have worked hard to get the city to deal with the problems its residents face.
What would a corporate-free council majority mean for Richmond?

Concern: They would vote as a bloc and control the council.
Fact:  All elected officials must abide by the Brown Act, which prohibits a majority of council members from communicating about agenda items outside the council meeting. This law assures that all points of view are heard in an open process.

Fact:  RPA endorsed council members don’t agree on every single issue, but Richmond residents are guaranteed that each decision they make as independent thinkers is free from corporate influence. 
A corporate-free council majority would share progressive values. What does this mean? It means they will respond to Richmond residents’ concerns, not those of outside corporate interests. They will apply progressive solutions to Richmond’s problems.

Corporate-free progressives on the council have supported these issues:

  • Addressing the budget crisis by temporarily reducing salaries of top administrators so city services are maintained
  • Increased civilian oversight of the police to improve community policing
  • Passed rent control and just cause for eviction, and when the apartment owners succeeded in overturning the ordinance, supported putting it on this November’s ballot
  • Introduced and implemented a higher minimum wage and “Ban the Box” legislation to end employment discrimination against formerly incarcerated residents
  • Promoted development while insisting that it benefit Richmond residents with an enforceable Community Benefits Agreement
  • Insisted on an open community process to determine the development of Pt. Molate
  • Insisting that Chevron contribute funds to keep Doctors Hospital open
  • Pressed Chevron to reduce pollution and danger to the community

A corporate-free majority on the city council could also:  

  • Expand job training programs
  • Repair our infrastructure
  • Press the county, state, and universities for a new hospital in West County
  • Improve and strengthen our neighborhood public schools

Can Richmond move forward with progressive solutions, or will it be blocked by corporate influence? Will our city council have the strength to stand up to the enormous economic and social power of developers and corporations?

Richmond won national acclaim in 2014 when we defeated Chevron’s control over our politics. We have shown that there are progressive, compassionate alternatives to the politics of hate. The two corporate-free, principled city council candidates, Ben Choi and Melvin Willis, are young, prepared, and experienced. They will work hard to create the better Richmond we all deserve.

This November, let’s elect a city council that represents all Richmond communities, a council that reflects the diversity of our city. Let’s have each council member bring his or her own best and independent thinking to city government, with one characteristic in common: let’s have none of them be influenced by corporate money.

---Richmond Progressive Alliance Steering Committee

RPA Voting Guide 2016
RPA Recommendations on State and Local Ballot Measures

The Richmond Progressive Alliance recommends voting in favor of the following ballot measures:

YES on ...
  • Proposition 51, California Public School Facility Bonds Initiative
  • Proposition 55, California Extension of the Proposition 30 Income Tax Increase Initiative
  • Proposition 56, Tobacco Tax Increase
  • Proposition 57, California Parole for Non-Violent Criminals and Juvenile Court Trial Requirements Initiative
  • Proposition 58, Non-English Languages Allowed in Public Education
  • Proposition 59, Overturn of Citizens United Act Advisory Question
  • Proposition 61, Drug Price Standards
  • Proposition 62, Repeal of the Death Penalty
  • Proposition 63, Background Checks for Ammunition Purchases and Large-Capacity Ammunition Magazine Ban
  • Proposition 64, Marijuana Legalization
  • Proposition 67, Plastic Bag Ban Veto Referendum
  • Measure T, West Contra Costa Unified School District
  • Measure X, Contra Costa Transportation Authority District
  • Measure L, Richmond Fair Rent, Just Cause for Eviction and Homeowner Protection Ordinance
  • Measure M, Richmond Real Estate Documentary Transfer Tax
  • Measure C1, AC Transit
  • Measure RR, BART Safety, Reliability and Traffic Relief
The Richmond Progressive Alliance urges voting against the following ballot measures:

NO on ...
  • Proposition 52, Voter Approval to Divert Hospital Fee Revenue Dedicated to Medi-Cal
  • Proposition 53, Voter Approval Requirement for Revenue Bonds above $2 Billion
  • Proposition 54, Public Display of Legislative Bills Prior to Vote
  • Proposition 65, Dedication of Revenue from Disposable Bag Sales to Wildlife Conservation Fund
  • Proposition 66: Death Penalty Procedures
Richmond City Council

The RPA is endorses and is enthusiastically campaigning for two City Council candidates in 2016:
  • Ben Choi
  • Melvin Willis

Ben and Melvin are the only two City Council candidates who have pledged to not take corporate money. As the RPA asserted in its September 30 statement on a Corporate-Free City Council, "We deserve to feel confident that our council members put our people's needs first. We need to know they aren't keeping an ear or a hand out for donations from Chevron, lobbyists, developers, and the big apartment owners."

West Contra Costa Unified School District and County School Board

The RPA endorses the following candidates for WCCUSD Board:
  • Carlos Taboada
  • Mister Phillips
  • Antonio Medrano

The RPA endorses the following candidate for Contra Costa County School Board

  • Pam Mirabella
Each of these candidates have affirmed that they will refuse to accept corporate and charter PAC contributions and will move away from the charter school agenda.

Important dates

Finally, please keep in mind that:
  • The last day to register to vote (or re-register if you have moved) is October 24. You can register online.
  • The last day to request a vote by mail ballot is November 1. Email the county to change your status to vote-by-mail.
  • Regional early voting dates are October 31 – November 5. You can vote in person at Bay Hills Community Church at 4100 Klose Way (11am – 7pm, except November 5, when early voting hours are 8am – 5pm).
  • Election Day is Tuesday November 8
Monday, 10/10 11am
Special Day of Action:  Canvass for Ben, Melvin and Measure L!

Next Monday, October 10th is just about one month before Election Day (it is also Indigenous People's Day, a.k.a. Columbus Day). Let's drum up our courage, our energy, our determination, our conviction, our support and our friends and family and hit the streets and the phones for Ben, Melvin and Measure L! Some of you who work outside your homes and for other employers will be on holiday. Those who work for themselves (or their children) might be able to take a couple of hours. Whatever your capacity, if you have not yet done anything for our campaign, this is the time to do it! If you have done a lot or some for our campaign our candidates and their committees are so grateful to you and we are asking you to do just a little bit more.

Please come out to canvass or phone bank on Monday, October 10, 2016 at 11:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m. There will be orientation for those who need it and refreshments for all! Meet at the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center (2540 Macdonald).

Also, for those of you living in the North and East (as well as points beyond), please consider coming out to a houseparty on Sunday, October 16 at 2pm (845 37th St) to introduce your neighbors and follow Richmond voters to Ben and Melvin. Contact Claudia for more information.

The RPA Steering Committee's statement: 
Just like that, homeless


The RPA did not organize a disruption at the 9/13 City Council meeting.  On that 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.  (at 2:42:40).

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 minds.

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 needlessly suffering.

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 Thank you.

The RPA Steering Committee

Mayor's answer to residents
Misleading information on Creekview Evctions

Creekview Tenants

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 would:

  1. Put a stop to the mass evictions
  2. Give renters much more than 60 (or, for some, 30) days to find a new place to live.
  3. Require the landlord to offer the place back to the tenant after the repairs under most circumstances.
  4. Require the landlord to offer any vacant places he/she has for the interim period.
  5. 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 landlord.

I think the tenants all over Richmond would really appreciate these protections. I hope you will vote for the moratorium.

--Mike Parker    
Every 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 covered

Get out and meet your neighbors all around Richmond!

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 Council.

The next three weeks are super-critical! 

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!

Support Measure T and school board candidates who will...
Strengthen our neighborhood schools

Carlos TaboadaCarlos Taboada

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 our future.

-Comprehensive Academic Reform: "Let Teachers Teach"
-Active Community Engagement: "Strengthen Neighborhood Schools"
-Support 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 are
Carlos Taboada

Mister Phillips

Antonio Medrano

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

Team Richmond 2016:
Our Revolution, Right here!

Our 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 Revolution.

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).

Rent Control is not a subsidy!

Last month 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 tenants.

--Mike Parker
(Cartoon courtesy of David Moore)

Hold Zeneca to a higher standard
RPA, Team Richmond call for full cleanup of toxic Zeneca site

On 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 recent report 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 Global Campus."

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.

(Photo: Alice Cantor, Richmond Confidential)

Important Rent Control /Just Cause Documents

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