RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #127December 13, 2013
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IN THIS ISSUE
The Inspiration of Mandela
Critical Housing Vote at Council Tuesday
Saturday Art Party for Tuesday Rally
Repeating a Big Lie
Get Questions on Mortgage Program Answered
Chevron Praise Distorts Reality
It's About Elections
Pope Francis
Ohio City Elects Labor Independents
RPA Membership Drive
Some History of RPA
 To have an item listed send it to
 info@RichmondProgressiveAlliance.net

Progressive Office
1021 Macdonald, 510-412-2260

PASS IT ON!!  

Since we don't take corporate money,  our success depends on our ability to use "people power" to promote activities and programs in Richmond. The RPA Activist is one tool we use to put out our ideas. One simple thing that YOU can do is to forward the RPA Activist to friends and acquaintances. Thanks.

 

Remembering Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
His actions taught us that the fight for freedom and justice is international;

that those who tell us we cannot win against a powerful oppressor serve that oppressor. 

Richmond residents ares proud of our actions to oppose apartheid.
Tuesday, December 17, 5 PM
Critical Vote on Anti-Blight/Save Our Communities


Come to 12/17 Council
There will be national media coverage.  We must show that the Council has overwhelming  support in the city. Please come  for the rally at 5pm in front of the City Council and plan on staying until 8 pm.  Refreshments and signs will be provided. Sign up to speak.
Saturday, December 14, 2-6pm 
ART VS WALL ST BANK FORECLOSURES

Help paint and make art and visuals for the December 17  mobilization to Stop Wall St Foreclosure in Richmond
SAT DEC. 14, NEW TIME: 2-6pm

Bobby Bowens Progressive Center
1021 Macdonald Ave
 
 
More info: dsolnit@yahoo.com 
 

Nat Bates, Realtors Association
Repeating a Big Lie

realtors
Realtor's Association mailing.  They are giving good realtors a bad name

If you take a look at the most recent realtors' mailing attacking the CARES program you will see that it contains only one "fact" which is highlighted in yellow.  This "fact" is the basis of their whole scare campaign. But, since the realtors know it is actually untrue, they are quoting it from Nat Bates.

  Why would Bates spread a lie? Either he is so anxious to bring the CARES program down that he spreads anything damaging without regards to its truth. Or perhaps he just doesn't know better. 

Let's look at the facts:

  1. Bates claims that Richmond has already lost $2.7 million. The actual "loss" is about $1 million over 15 years in today's dollars.(See Bill Lindsay cited on this in an excellent article in the SF Chronicle.)

  2. In addition to the outright lie about alleged losses, Bates conveniently forgets to compare the real costs to the savings that are realized when foreclosures are stopped and people stay in their homes. The amount lost on these bonds is miniscule compared to the savings to the city and its residents that would be realized by the CARES program.  A study in Chicago found that the direct cost of a foreclosure to the city government could be more than $34,000/house  The indirect costs of the foreclosure to nearby property owners (reduced property values and equity within 150 feet) was estimated at $200,000. (Download report here.)

    The CARES program would cover all city costs plus some for other housing programs.
     
    Using the most conservative figures, the first two hundred families that are kept in their homes by the CARES program will save the residents and the city more than $20 million.  Compare that to the $1 million cost, spread over 15 years, of Bates-Bank Bullying.

  3. There is a good chance that, by encouraging buyers to avoid Richmond bonds, the banks are engaging in illegal "redlining."
  4.  
  5. Finally, Bates is"blaming the victim".  According to financial professionals, the financial basis for the bonds remains rock solid. The cause of the loss is NOT the CARES program, but is the result of the "noise" that the banks and realtors made with their lawsuits (that were dismissed). The situation is similar to a bully who threatens to hurt you if you speak up, then tries to hurt you when you do speak up, and THEN says that the scratches are your fault.
--Mike Parker
Get Answers to your Questions

The Richmond CARES program is is a new approach.  The idea is to fight blight and keep our communities stable by keeping people in their homes.  By preventing foreclosures through  restructuring mortgages in line with their present value rather than the inflated values of the bubble, we help all the homeowners in the community. 

With the realtors and Bates/Booze trying to sow confusion there are bound to be questions.

This weekend  there will be people at the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center who can give you the latest information  on the  program.  Stop by for a cup of coffee, pick up some literature, and chat.

Saturday  1- 4 pm

Sunday  1- 3 pm

Bobby Bowens Progressive Center
1021 Macdonald

Here are some good sources you can get on-line:

Letter to the City Council 
Praising Chevron's Contributions Distorts Reality 
At the Council meeting (11/26) Jim Rogers presented a proclamation thanking Chevron for its generous contributions.

 I am not against any of the recipients
of these contributions. What is disturbing to me is that it would have been a much better deal for Richmond and Contra Costa County if Chevron had paid the original property tax assessment. Based on the limited information made public at the Assessment Appeals Board hearing that finalized the "deal", this is whatI learned:  
  • The Chevron property was assessed at only $94 million dollars for 41.6 million square feet of prime coastal real estate. If the assessment were at even half the average rate of residential property, their assessment would be $600 million or greater.
  • Net additions and improvements of only $1.2 billion over 35 years. Chevron must have spent more than this in the last 35 years.
  • Prop 13 allowed a 2% annual assessment increase. This number should have been around $1 billion higher. If you look at the 1978 assessment values and increase them by 2% for 35 years, you would have doubled the original assessment. If the average additions and improvements were made 18 years ago, those assessments should have gone up 50%. The total comes out to $1.8 billion, not $800 million. 
Instead of thanking Chevron for their "contributions", the county should be stopping its gift of $10 million to $17 million per year in reduced taxes. There was no need to give them this deal. We could have taken Chevron to Superior Court and won. Instead, we are getting $3 million per year, for a total of $15 million over a five year period through Chevron's Community Revitalization Initiative.

We have been manipulated.
 

While I realize that Prop 13 takes some blame in this, corporations should have
never been allowed to take the advantages that residential property owners receive. Corporations have big pockets and essentially pay way less in taxes than the average homeowner. 

I am also disturbed by this "contribution" because it makes non-profits and schools beholden to Chevron. They cannot do or say anything that goes against Chevron, even if Chevron behaves irresponsibly.  These donations embody a political ideology that is contrary to representative democracy. When corporations pay their taxes, the citizens can, through their representatives, decide how that money is used. When a corporation diverts money from a tax base to private donations, they and not the citizenry, can inform the curriculum and have a stronger voice in the schools than the citizens. This is fundamentally contrary to representative democracy. 

Thank you for your time.
 
--Jeanne Kortz
A Richmond Resident
RPA Leaflet distributed at Chevron "Town Hall" Meetings


* * *

Pope Francis: 

Attacks New Tyranny  of Inequality 

 

Pope Francis

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor." 

 

See the Guardian article

 

Ohioans Elect Two Dozen City Councilors on Independent Labor Ticket
Joshua Thornsberry
After one too many sell-outs by the local Democratic Party, the Lorain County central labor council decided to draw "a line in the sand" and run their own city council candidates on an Independent Labor Party ticket. Two dozen won seats-including union teacher Joshua Thornsberry, shown canvassing with his young son, who beat the head of the local Chamber of Commerce.
Union-dense Lorain County, Ohio, is now home to an independent labor slate of two dozen newly elected city councilors-recruited and run by the central labor council there. All labor's candidates had strong showings last month, and all but two were elected.

 "This was a step we took reluctantly," said Lorain County AFL-CIO President Harry Williamson. "When the leaders of the [Democratic] Party just took us for granted and tried to roll over the rights of working people here, we had to stand up." -
Read the full article in  Labor Notes here
November-December RPA Membership Drive

RPA Bag
Become an RPA member
Under the leadership of Mayor McLaughlin and her progressive colleagues on the City Council, 
Richmond has drawn local, national and international attention with its innovative solutions to persistent problems.  Let's keep the momentum going!  As we gear up for the coming election year in 2014, RPA needs your support more than ever. Join now and be part of history in the making.
 
Dues are just $12 per year (or more if you are able), and go towards paying our share of rent at the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center, 1021 Macdonald Ave--a space that is used by RPA and other organizations for educational forums, town hall meetings, strategy sessions, campaign organizing, celebrations and many other events open to the community.
 
By joining now you'll get our e-newsletter and action alerts, and opportunities to participate in building a better Richmond.  We'll also give you a large, attractive tote bag--ideal for grocery shopping, now that Richmond has enacted a plastic bag ban as another step toward protecting our precious environment. 
 
Don't put it off--  write, call or e-mail us now!

Join the RPA

RPA Symbol

We can only keep this city moving forward, protect our health and safety, and resist corporate domination of our politics if enough of us join together. We are asking you to take sides--to join the RPA.     

 

 

RPA BELIEFS:

UNITY - One Richmond: African-American, Asian, Latino/a, Native Americans, white, united for the good of all.

DEMOCRACY- Government of, for, by the people; all the people, not just those rich enough to buy influence.

DIVERSITY - of ideas: Democrats, Greens, independents, or other. We sometimes disagree but respect each other enough to keep working for a better Richmond together.

WHAT RPA MEMBER VOLUNTEERS DO:

  • participate in periodic RPA discussions and events of community interest;
  • staff the office, make phone calls, meet in committees, arrange events and parties;
  • work on campaigns of RPA-endorsed candidates for city council;
  • engage with neighbors;
  • help shape RPA and its priorities;
  • join in support of other allied organizations working to make a difference in Richmond;
  • read the newsletter at www.richmondprogressivealliance.net for what REALLY goes on in Richmond;
  • eat; have fun.

Download the membership form and mail it in with dues.

OR

Send us an email at info@richmondprogressivealliance.net with the information requested on the form.  And go to the RPA web page. Press the "Donate" button in the left column and make a dues contribution. An additional contribution is greatly appreciated and helps us keep dues low for those with low income.

 

Some History and Understanding of the RPA
  Social Policy Article









Long article with pictures 

--have patience in downloading

 

RPA Activist Info

is for Richmond community members who want to be active in taking on the problems of the environment, racism, joblessness, housing, and crime to create a healthy Richmond. We believe that community involvement means more than voting every two years. It means regular communication with the candidates we elect, letting them know our issues and positions, supporting them as they try to take our issues forward. It means we attend meetings, use email, phone our neighbors, or go on marches building an organized movement to create real change.

Comments and columns are welcome. Articles and columns are the views of the author, unsigned text  the views of the editor, Mike Parker, and not necessarily those of the RPA. Send photos, articles, and comments to  RPAactivist@gmail.com or call  510-595-4661. Longer articles of analysis and archives of past newsletters can be found on our website.