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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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Eduardo Martinez
Eduardo Martinez
Eduardo Martinez
Gayle McLaughlin
Jovanka Beckles

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

Council

The RPA did not organize a disruption at the 9/13 City Council meeting.  On Tuesday night, after dozens of public speakers and four Council members respectfully advocated for a temporary 45-day moratorium on evictions and rent increases over 3%, which required a 6/7 vote supermajority, the item failed. Nat Bates, Tom Butt and Vinay Pimple voted no. 

And just like that, there were people in the room who were made homeless. Some audience members, including tenants who have recently been unjustly evicted, were so frustrated that they erupted into a spontaneous chorus of "Shame on you!" This chant was directed at council members who appeared to have not heard nor responded to the reasoned explanations for enacting a temporary moratorium until voters can make the decision in November.

The Mayor described this yesterday, in an article, as "a riot." Nat Bates and Vinay Pimple wrote long articles to explain how they felt disrespected by those in the room. Instead of defending their position, instead of defending their choice, these politicians are projecting a political sideshow to deflect the gravity of what they had done to our community.

We urge all Richmond residents to watch the full council meeting of 9/13 and judge for themselves who was uncivilized. http://richmond.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=11&clip_id=4057  (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 www.fairandaffordablerichmond.com. Thank you.

The RPA Steering Committee
RichmondProgressiveAlliance.net

Moratorium goes down; Measure L victory critical
Support our neighbors: Give time, ad $$, & be informed. 

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Above, the rally outside Council chambers, before the Evictions Moratorium measure was defeated by Mayor Tom Butt and Councilmembers Nat Bates and Vinay Pimple on Tues. Sept. 13. [Photo: Juan Reardon.]

The RPA Steering Committee has issued a statement in response to the failure of Richmond City Council to approve a 45-day moratorium on evictions and unreasonable rent hikes. It is available at http://RichmondProgressiveAlliance.net/docs/RPASC-Statement-after-Evictions-Moratorium-failed.pdf

The statement concludes: "… [W]hat we have left is to pass Measure L. If passed it will go into effect January 1st, 2017. Join us at www.fairandaffordablerichmond.com."

To help support Measure L's passage in November, the Fair and Affordable Richmond campaign is asking for donations to air a tv ad. It is designed to help counter the expensive media campaign being mounted by the California Apartment Association. Watch it here:  https://www.facebook.com/fairandaffordablerichmond/ . They say it costs about $25 for each showing on cable tv.  Can you contribute enough to run the ad once or twice?  Please, give what you can here: https://far-teamrichmond.nationbuilder.com/donate?utm_campaign=far9_15a&utm_medium=email&utm_source=teamrichmond.

To offer immediate support for renters in Richmond and to provide more information for voters, the RPA is sponsoring:  
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Melvin Willis made this video in response to the Council's failure to protect Richmond's renters: 



Sun. 9/25, 4-7pm 
A party in a garden for Ben & Melvin
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0925TAgarden.jpg 
         Photo: Tarnel Abbott     

At the home of Tarnel Abbott: 1411 Mariposa St., Richmond 94804. 

There will be food, a silent auction, a lovely garden setting, and a chance to meet neighbors as well as the candidates.  Brief comments by Ben and Melvin will be followed by  Q & A-- your chance to ask those burning questions. If you like what you hear, you may be inspired to donate money and/or time to their campaigns or to make a purchase at the silent auction (proceeds to be shared by both campaigns).

All Team Richmond supporters and friends are cordially invited!

If you can RSVP (tarnelabbott@comcast.net  (510) 910-4510), that would be helpful. 

Progress on Pt. Molate
Community meetings will contribute to vision and action

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     Source: RPA Activist 

In a (rare) unanimous vote Tuesday evening, the Richmond City Council approved Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin's item, calling on staff to hold 3 public meetings, starting later this fall, designed to move forward the land use designation process for Pt. Molate. Pt. Molate Citizen's Advisory Committee, City Planning staff, and key stakeholders will be involved in planning and presenting at the meetings, and Berkeley architecture students and their instructor are also likely to participate. The major focus of the community meetings will be an interactive discussion session where the public can provide input on key values and visions for Pt. Molate's rehabilitation and redevelopment. These will be captured in writing as feedback to eventually be provided to Planning Commission and later to City Council.

Look for an announcement of the meeting dates and locations in an upcoming issue.

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.

Tom,
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!

Community organizing wins victory
School Board Stops Adams Sale to Charter

Eduardo Martinez

Melvin Willis photos: Juan Reardon

RPA: "No, billionaire bullies, you can't have Adams!"
RPA joined a coalition of parents, teachers, and neighbor's of East  Richmond Heights in opposing the Adams Middle School sale to Caliber (a charter management organization).
The proposed sale for $60,000 would transferred valuable public land to a shell corporation, controlled by failed hedge fund managers and bankers. 
Richmond Vice-Mayor spoke on the coalition's behalf last Wednesday, Sept. 7. He noted, "The sale of Adams affect Richmond residents and students forever." With such overwhelming grass-roots opposition, the Board announced the close of negotiations on Adams. 
In short, we stopped the privatization of public land. Thanks for your efforts, energy, and enthusiasm! 
--RPA Education Committee

Bullying Cartoon
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
website

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 PublicCore.net

Legal Victory for Richmond Walmart Workers
NLRB rules that discipline for strike was unfair

Walmart Vigil
Protest Against Walmart Labor Practices. Vigil in Warren Michigan
photo: Jim West
 




Workers at the Richmond Walmart had been disciplined for a brief protest strike in an action that was widely supported by the Richmond  progressive community during the Thanksgiving period in 2012. On September 1 of this year, the NLRB ruled that the discipline was unfair.  Reported in Daily Labor Report
New Issue of Richmond Sun Mailed

Spanish Section SUN September 2016
 

Front Page Sun September 2016

It went out to voting households in Richmond.

If you did not get yours  you can see it on-line

here
Team Richmond 2016:
Our Revolution, Right here!

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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).

City Council meeting, 9/13 at 6:30pm
RPA Stands up for tenants being evicted

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On September 1, the RPA, along with renters and other organizations, stood shoulder to shoulder with over 100 Richmond residents from the Creek View Condominiums who are facing eviction. (See a CBS news video of the rally). The owner, PMI, has ordered residents out of their homes to do repair work, and has given renters a deadline of October 15. Although repairs are needed, the timing seems all too exquisite for rent control advocates, who point out that tenants will be forced out just before Richmond voters have a chance to decide on Measure L.

If passed, Measure L (rent control and just cause for evictions) would ensure that renters who are evicted for repairs have the right to move back home at the same base rent after repairs are finished. PMI denies its timing has anything to do with the vote, but as Zak Wear points out, PMI's own website provides some insight into the company's strategy: "Currently, PMI is purchasing single family homes, duplexes, triplexes and small apartment buildings in Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Targeting gentrifying urban areas, PMI is renovating obsolete properties into hip, 'creative multifamily' apartments that appeal to Gen Y, knowledge workers, the creative class, and urbanites."

In addition, tenants in other areas of Richmond have also gotten notices. Councilmember McLaughlin will be placing an urgency ordinance on the September 13th City Council agenda that, if approved, will impose a temporary moratorium on certain residential evictions and rent increases. The public is invited to come speak on the item (6:30 pm at City Hall); look for a Key List notice for more information.

Also, if you or a renter you know is in trouble, Tenants Together has reminded us that their Hotline (888-495-8020) can serve as a resource in the period before rent control (hopefully!) gets passed. Renters can call the line to get information about how the new law would affect them, to strategize if they have received 60-day notices, and ask any other tenants' rights questions they may have. It typically takes 1-3 business days for calls to be returned. Tenants Together requests that callers become members if they want hotline support ($25-50), but no one is turned away for lack of funds.

Finally, please consider joining the effort to make Richmond fair and affordable for renters. We have upcoming phone banks on Monday 9/4 from 6pm-8pm and Thursday 9/8 6pm-8pm at the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center (2540 Macdonald Ave.). Bring your phone and laptop/tablet if you have one. If you cannot make one of those times, call (510) 621-7566 to get involved.

Opinion:
Rent Control is not a subsidy!

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Last weekend the anti-rent control forces did a very expensive phone survey testing out their messages. To defeat rent control they will try to argue that it will force landlords to "SUBSIDIZE" renters including some who are better off. (Please note the Apartment Association concern about benefits for the rich)

It is not really a subsidy. Good landlords are not affected. Rent control simply stops greedy landlords from taking advantage of people to make "windfall profits" That is an economics term which says that some profits are not really earned by work and investment but by charging more because of a problem in the market place. In this case the problem is that housing is desperately needed but it is short supply. Limiting those kind of profits is not a subsidy--it is stopping a rip-off.

It is not a "subsidy' to limit the interest rate that can be charged for credit cards, bank fees, and "Pay-Day" loans. And it is not a subsidy to regulate the pharmaceutical industry to prevent atrocities like the current case where the Manufactures of EPI Pens can get away with charging $500 for a life-saving pen that contains 60 cents worth of medicine.

And outlawing "price gouging" or raising prices after a hurricane or earthquake is not a "subsidy." It is fairness and common sense.

Again, fair landlords barely will be affected. They can set rents on vacant apartments and the rents can go up with inflation. It is only the greedy landlords that will be stopped from ripping off their tenants.


--Mike Parker
(Cartoon courtesy of David Moore)

City Council meeting, 9/20 at 6:30pm
RPA and Nurses urge Alta Bates to stay open

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The California Nurses Association, National Nurses United, the RPA and others are urging Sutter Health to reconsider its plans to shutter Berkeley's Alta Bates Hospital, which could begin closing as early as 2018. Since its merger with Summit in 2000, Alta Bates has had over 1.3 million days of patients and delivered over 110,000 babies.

The closure could have significant impacts on Richmond. At an August 31 event on the state of health care in Richmond and West Contra Costa, which focused on the 2015 closure of Doctors Hospital, one participant called West County "health care desert." And with the shuttering of Alta Bates, access to health care could get more precarious. "We have already seen an increase in patients since the closure of Doctor's San Pablo," said Alta Bates ER RN Bipin Walia. "If patients have to travel further to Oakland, 6, 8, and 10-hour waits will be the norm." Sutter states that seismic safety requirements are prompting it to close Alta Bates and consolidate inpatient and emergency services at Summit in Oakland. Summit hospital is three miles away but can take an additional 24 minutes to reach, according to Berkeley fire officials.

The City of Berkeley has passed a resolution opposing the closure of Alta Bates, and Richmond City Council is scheduled to take one up on September 20. RPA members are encouraged to come down to City Hall at 6:30pm and speak in support of the resolution.

(Photo: National Nurses United)

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

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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

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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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