RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #130
February 17, 2014 
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Public Housing Problems
Chevron Sues Cartoonist
Team Richmond Candidates
Chevron Takes Credit
New Video Explains Principal Reduction
MLK Day Greenway Photos
Po Boy's Kitchen
RPA Membership Drive
Some History of RPA

Bobby Bowens Progressive Center
1021 Macdonald,


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.


Problems in Public Housing Exposed
"This is Home" (Off/Page Project)
Raw Talent demonstrates the problems

Amy Julia Harris, of the Center for Investigative Reporting, today revealed a large number of problems in Richmond public housing.


It was good multi-meda reporting showing the problems and the human suffering.  While some of the problems were well known from reports at City Council meetings, the extent and range of problems were not so well understood.  


See the coverage here:


Center for Investigative Reporting 


KQED Blog  


Chronicle Story 



Mayor McLaughlin's statement 


It is clear there are major problems in our Housing Authority (going back decades from previous leadership) and I thank the reporters for bringing the current problems to our attention.  It is also important to note that cuts in federal funding have caused more problems than existed before, but it is essential we all recognize that more needs to be done at the local level. 


I want to clarify that the Housing Authority is under the City Manager's authority.   The City Council has received updates on progress-to-date, but the day to day work is supervised under the direction of the City Manager.  I am making sure the City Manager and the Housing Authority act more swiftly to address the problems.  I am holding a City Council study session on 2/25 and will be seeking a full report along with a time frame to address these problems.   Money has only recently been acquired for renovations and the Council has been updated on this development, but we need to see short-term solutions side by side with long-term renovation solutions.


Housing Authority issues are priority for me.  I want to thank the Housing Advisory Commission members that I appointed.


Although a lot of these issues are slated to be resolved through the renovations, I will be seeking a more immediate plan to eliminate many of the problems in the next months.  


I will be asking our City Manager and Executive Director of the Housing Authority to provide a report on how to control the rodent problems and structural building problems, along with access and service issues.  I have also convened a working group of the City Council (which includes myself and Councilmembers Booze and Myrick) to work directly with staff in moving forward all changes as expeditiously as possible.  I am also seeking from staff an outreach plan to convene opportunities for all public housing residents to share their issues and concerns and a follow up plan for staff to respond swiftly to their problems.  


Lastly, we must continue to call on the federal government to do better with its policies.  To underfund public housing is an injustice that needs our fullest attention.


Gayle McLaughlin

Mayor, City of Richmond  

Bullying the Free Press
Pulitzer Cartoonist Sued by Chevron
Donny Rico & Chevron make it a crime to defend the environment.
Donny Rico & Chevron make it a crime to defend the environment. Chevron didn't like this so they sent Donny Rico after the cartoonist
Using the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) laws against mob activity, Chevron is actually suing Pulitzer Prize Winning Cartoonist Mark Fiore  for "loss of goodwill and reputational damage. "  Fiore, former staff cartoonist for the SJ Mercury, satirized Chevron's use of the RICO laws to attack the victims of the massive Ecuador pollution.

Click on the video to see what Chevron is suing over.

See details on Mark Fiorie's site

See Salon article

Check out Amazonwatch.org  that first displayed the video. Sign the Petition
Mike Parker enters the race for Mayor; Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, Vice Mayor Jovanka Beckles, and Planning Commissioner Eduardo Martinez to run for City Council seats

Team of Candidates for Richmond 2014 City Council will continue decade of progress under Mayor McLaughlin   

"Richmond is Better Now; Let's Build on a Decade of Progress" is the theme promoted by a progressive team of candidates for Richmond City Council, announced today.

Mayor Gayle McLaughlin (limited by City Charter to two consecutive terms as Mayor) will run for a City Council seat, along with Vice Mayor Jovanka Beckles, and Planning Commissioner Eduardo MartinezMike Parker will seek the office of Mayor.

Team RichmondNicknamed, "Team Richmond," the four candidates are united in their commitment to continue and expand Richmond's remarkable transformation during a decade of progressive policies spearheaded by McLaughlin.  The team is also dedicated to standing strong for Richmond residents in the City's dealings with the Chevron Corporation, demanding safety, transparency and accountability from the oil giant as plans are negotiated for major repairs and a renewal project for the Chevron Richmond Refinery.

The four candidates support a modernization of the refinery so that the devastating explosion of August 6, 2012, never happens again.  The team calls for:  repairs and renovations that will take place soon to ensure community safety; a project that will provide jobs for Richmond residents; and a significant and measurable annual reduction of the pollution emitted from the refinery.

Long characterized by poverty, homicide, and industrial pollution, Richmond began a grassroots renaissance with McLaughlin's election to the City Council in 2004.  Since then, policies and initiatives focused on sustainable growth, community health, income equity, and clean energy have gained Richmond national attention as a city willing to adopt bold and innovative solutions to chronic problems.


Mayor McLaughlin Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, now completing her second term as Richmond Mayor, will ask voters to elect her to the City Council.  During her tenure as Mayor, homicide rates have been cut by 66 percent; Lawrence Berkeley National Lab chose Richmond for its second campus; Chevron was pressured into agreeing to a $114 million tax settlement; and the City's community survey shows residents are experiencing increased quality of life and City services.

Mike Parker Mike Parker, an educator and former industrial electrician in the automotive industry, is running for the office of Mayor.  A lead organizer of the Richmond Progressive Alliance, Parker has a long history as an advocate for organized labor, civil rights, and other social justice issues. He is actively involved in efforts to stop foreclosures and reduce blight, and to set a livable minimum wage in Richmond.  Parker, an instructor in an electrical technologies program, serves on the Richmond Workforce Investment Board and has sought ways to provide Richmond residents with training for higher-skilled jobs.


Jovanka BecklesVice Mayor Jovanka Beckles will seek a second term on the City Council.  She has led the City's initiative to fight crime and violence by productively integrating residents released from incarceration.  Beckles' "Ban the Box" ordinance prevents the City from disregarding applications for City employment because of previous incarceration.  Beckles also introduced the Richmond Municipal Identification Program, strongly supported by Police Chief Magnus as a tool to improve police-community interaction.  She fought discrimination and harassment of LGBT residents in the City Council chambers and elsewhere.  


Eduardo MartinezRichmond Planning Commissioner Eduardo Martinez is running for City Council with a campaign sub-theme, "A City for Our Children." A retired local elementary school teacher, Martinez is a long-time advocate for education and was a lead organizer for the March for Education in 2004.   He serves on the board of the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, an interdenominational organization helping immigrants navigate the immigration process.  Martinez ran for City Council in 2012 and fell short of election by only 516 votes.

The four candidates have worked closely together for several years to build "One Richmond, A Better and Healthier Richmond," a unified community of diverse populations, working together on the problems of economic inequality, crime, racism, and pollution.  They seek to organize community members to define their city's destiny, countering the outsized influence of corporations, developers, and other entrenched special interests on the democratic process.

To underscore the importance of clean elections that are free of corporate influence, Parker, McLaughlin, Beckles, and Martinez have pledged not to accept any campaign contributions from corporations. All four candidates will utilize a volunteer campaign team. Individuals who are interested in volunteering may call (510) 709-4433 or contact any of the candidates. 

An official "kick-off" event for Team Richmond will be scheduled during the summer of 2014 in Richmond.


Twitter:  @ TeamRichmondCA

Taking Credit for an Improving City
Chevron's Charm Offensive

No one could miss all the billboards praising Richmond (with the Chevron logo). Chevron got one thing right -- the parks, shorelines, and Rosie the Riveter do make Richmond an attractive place to live and do business.


Some people have noted that Chevron seems to be taking credit for improvements in Richmond that were done without their help and frequently over the resistance of the politicians Chevron lavishly promote.


But just in case you missed the billboards, Chevron is bringing these same messages to our doors.  


On Friday a well dressed young woman, came to the house of Paul Kilkenny who was working in the yard and offered him the door-hanger . They got into a short conversation:  

  Canvasser: Chevron has built schools and parks in Richmond.

  Paul: What Parks?

  C:  Nevin Park

  P:  The City of Richmond built Nevin Park.  What schools did Chevron build?

  C:  That school over there, (pointing south) and  Portola and Coronado.      

  P:  The school district is building Coronado and Portola.   

  C:  I not sure about all that technical stuff.....


Program to Stop Foreclosures and Fight Blight
Get Answers to your Questions

New Videos Explain Principle Reduction Programs

The Real Nightmare on Elm St.: Fighting Foreclosures with Local Principal Reduction 
The Real Nightmare on Elm St.: Fighting Foreclosures with Local Principal Reduction

New from Jeff Ritterman

"Heart Attacks, Depression and Suicide: The Toxic Fallout From the Foreclosure Epidemic and a Prevention Strategy That Just Might Work"

Click here for the Huffington Post article

For in-depth information on the legal and economic theory behind this strategy, readHere are some other good sources you can get on-line

Thursday, February 20, 11am
Richmond UPS Workers Protesting Layoffs    


Richmond United Parcel Service workers will protest the layoffs and dislocations that will occur in the Richmond facility during upgrade and construction beginning March 1st of this year. Workers were given short notice of about one month about the temporary shutting down of that facility and the move to Oakland while the Richmond facility is being redeveloped.  For low-paid part-time workers based in Richmond, the extra commute is especially burdensome and many will be forced to leave their employment and give up benefits.   The protest will be at the UPS facility at 1600 Atlas Rd.  


Martin Luther King Day
Photos from Greenway Celebration 

Here are links to photos from different sources of the wonderful celebration of Martin Luther King Day in the Greenway


Photo by Fletcher Oakes


MLK Day 2014
MLK Day 2014















Michael Beer 

MLK Day of Service on the Greenway 2014
MLK Day of Service on the Greenway 2014














Richmond Institutions Need Your Support
Periodically we highlight some of the  Richmond businesses, organizations, and community activities that deserve our support.

Send suggestions to RPAactivist@gmail.com

 RPA Membership Drive Continues 

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.     




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.


  • 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.


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.