Join our local heroes: volunteers who are at the heart of the
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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 independence is especially
important this year as charter school interests are aggressively
spending on political elections. A recent East
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
Bernie, Gayle and the East Bay Express all agree: Elect Ben
This week, the East Bay
endorsed Ben Choi and Melvin Willis for City Council. The
joins the likes of Bernie Sanders, former Mayor and
current City councilmember Gayle McLaughlin, the SF
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
"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.
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
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.
entire City Council voted to put Measure M on the ballot, and we urge
voters to support it. --Marilyn Langlois, RPA
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
- increasing community confidence in the police department
copy of the Richmond Sun
can be found on the RPA website.
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
For a more realistic view on how RPA-backed council members
(Team Richmond) tend to vote along shared values, see this vote chart
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
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
RPA Recommendations on State and Local Ballot
The Richmond Progressive Alliance recommends voting in favor
of the following
- Proposition 51, California Public School Facility Bonds
- 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
- Proposition 59, Overturn of Citizens United Act Advisory
- 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:
Richmond City Council
- Proposition 52, Voter Approval to Divert Hospital Fee Revenue
Dedicated to Medi-Cal
- Proposition 53, Voter Approval Requirement for Revenue Bonds above
- Proposition 54, Public Display of Legislative Bills Prior to
- Proposition 65, Dedication of Revenue from Disposable Bag Sales to
Wildlife Conservation Fund
- Proposition 66: Death Penalty Procedures
The RPA is endorses and
is enthusiastically campaigning for two City Council candidates in
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
, "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
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
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
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
Special Day of Action: Canvass for Ben, Melvin and Measure
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
The RPA Steering
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. 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
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!
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
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).
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
(Cartoon courtesy of David Moore)
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)