RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #136
May 5, 2014  
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IN THIS ISSUE
Chevron's in a rush: Why?
Act May 7 to Keep DMC Open
Tell CCC Supervisors to Save DMC
Richmond Minimum Wage Revisited
Forum: Richmond Bay Campus
Upcoming Canvasser Trainings
Good Show for a Good Cause May 18
Connect the Dots: Martinez to Benicia
Grassroots Climate Conference
More pictures next time!
Endorse Team Richmond
Beckles on Minimum Wage
Some History of RPA
 

Bobby Bowens Progressive Center
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.

 

Rush to Judgment on Chevron EIR:
Serious Questions Remain Unanswered

It appears that there is a lot of pressure to jam the Chevron EIR through:
        Chevron has mailed every home a mailer.
        The city staff has scheduled the minimum amount of time the law requires for an EIR despite the mammoth size (over 4000 pages) and all the questions still to be answered.

And yes there are serious questions on the project including ones raised in the EIR.

The next public steps will take place at the Planning Commission Meeting, 6:30pm, Thursday May 8th, in City Council chambers.

The Richmond Environmental Justice Coalition (REJC) has submitted several pages of questions to be addressed in the revision process, before the EIR is completed.

Judge for yourself whether these are "significant."  See links to the REJC documents on the RPA web page:  www.richmondprogressivealliance.net 
                                                                                                --Mike Parker 
May 7th, 4:30pm, Doctors Medical Center San Pablo Auditorium:
Tell WCC Healthcare Board We Need a Hospital!

There is a real possibility that as early as Wednesday, May 7th, the West Contra Costa Healthcare Board may vote to close Doctors Hospital.

Such action would place an unbearable strain on the remaining emergency medical services of West Contra Costa under normal circumstances. In the event of another refinery incident, earthquake, or other disaster, potentially thousands of us living in Richmond and neighboring communities would not be able to receive timely medical care. 

Join with the California Nurses Association, the National Union of Healthcare Workers, and community allies in telling the Board not to take any irreversible steps towards closure.

[2000 Vale Rd, San Pablo.]
May 6th, 9am, Tell Contra Costa Board of Supervisors:
Assume responsibility & save DMC
 
Help convince the County Board of Supervisors to keep Doctors Medical Center open by affiliating it with Contra Costa Health Services.  Attend their meeting in Martinez (at 651 Pine Street, Room 107, 9am Tues. 5/6) to show community support for this approach and to express our need for the local emergency room and other health services that DMC provides.
May 6th, 6:30pm, Richmond City Council chambers:
Let's Raise the Minimum Wage, Richmond!

The Richmond City Council will hear (again) the first reading of a proposed ordinance to raise the minimum wage to $12.30/hour by 2017.  The measure is co-sponsored by Gayle McLaughlin, Jovanka Beckles, and Jael Myrick.

Show your support by attending the meeting, and consider signing up to tell your story.  For those wishing to speak, it will be agenda item G-13.

There is also the possibility that there will be a motion to raise the minimum wage  with more rapid initial increases, consistent with a proposal for a regional effort that is being circulated by Berkeley's mayor, Tom Bates.

The City staff has prepared a report on the Richmond ordinance with business outreach and analysis of potential impacts, available here. (Scroll for G-13.)  It will be received by the Council at the meeting.
May 8th, 6;30pm, Community Forum:
Jobs, Education, and  Wealth at the UCB/LBNL Richmond Bay Campus
 
The UCBerkeley/LBNL project for the Richmond Bay Campus (RBC) is the biggest economic development here since the shipyards of WWII.  Let's make sure the WHOLE community benefits!  Help plan for legally binding agreements to ensure Richmond residents are able to work and Richmond children are able to learn at the RBC. Co-sponsored by RPA, ACCE, CCISCO, Safe Return Project, Hass Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society,  AFCSME local 3299, Central Labor Council of Contra Costa County, AFL--CIO.

Miracle Temple, 2425 Cutting Blvd, Richmond. 

For an event flyer in English or Spanish, click here RBC forum May 8th   
Sat. May 10th & Sun. May 25th, 11am, Canvasser Trainings
Prepare to fill a key role in the campaign
 
Team Richmond is looking for more volunteers to sign up to canvass in their neighborhoods, and we are doing twice monthly trainings to get people started. We will be doing the trainings at the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center, 1021 MacDonald Ave, every 2nd Saturday at 11 am and every 4th Sunday at 11am. Our May trainings will be on Saturday May 10th and on Sunday May 25th. We will be doing a very short training and giving out walk sheets specific to each canvasser's neighborhood.

Our volunteer canvassers choose a few blocks in their neighborhood and commit to canvass once every week or two. Our volunteer canvassers are the face of the campaign with their neighbors and are key to helping us beat Chevron and corporate-backed candidates.  

If you have any questions about canvassing you can contact
Alex Early by telephone at 617-816-4260 or by email at earlyave@gmail.com
 
Thanks!
                                                                                    --Alex Early
Dramatic readings! Live music! Puppets! Hand painted sets!
The theatrical event of the season: The Iron Heel, a benefit for Team Richmond, May 18th at 7pm.


To download the flyer, click here.  For a copy of the press release, use this link
.
Connect the Dots' Second Leg: Martinez to Benicia May 17th
Join in the Refinery Corridor Healing Walk

Photo from the Sunflower Alliance.
Before you sit down at 7 pm on Sunday May 18th to enjoy The Iron Heel, wear off a bit of your own shoe leather --or your vegan alternative-- the day before, on the second Connect the Dots Refinery Corridor Healing Walk, going from Martinez to Benicia this time.  Organized by Idle No More SF Bay, the Sunflower Alliance, and others, this walk is the second of 4 planned monthly through July to bring attention to the northeast San Francisco Bay refinery corridor and the 5 refineries in 4 cities. 
For details and updates, check this link.
May 9-11th, Grassroots Climate Conference
Dirty Energy/Clean Solutions

"This first-ever grassroots climate conference will feature activists & leading scientists addressing technical & political climate topics in the Bay Area & beyond."  Includes Refineries/Crude Transport Panel & Strategy Panels.  Co-sponsored by 350 Bay Area, Sunflower Alliance, Sierra Club-SF Bay Chapter, & Center for Biological Diversity.

For more information, follow this link. Tickets are required.

Fri eve in SF, at Laney College, Oakland on the weekend.
New Editor's Note:
Why this issue looks different

As many of you may be aware, I have recently assumed most responsibility for the RPA Activist & Key List mailings.  Due to the late-breaking and urgent nature of some items included in this issue and the steep learning curve I've experienced with the software used for this work, I was unable to include much of visual interest tonight.  I intend to have more in the future!  I love and miss the photos myself.   I hope you agree that it was worthwhile to get this information out in this form.                                                                                                --Patsy Byers  
Quick, easy and free!
Endorse Team Richmond Now

As you know, 2014 is going to be a super important election here in Richmond, if we want to keep the progressive momentum going and keep building on the good things happening in recent years.  You've probably noticed how Chevron is already spending tons of money on PR...
 
Here's a free and easy way to show support for Team Richmond.  Your endorsement is valuable and will make a difference!   Please let us know if you endorse the Team Richmond candidates:  Mike Parker for Mayor and Jovanka Beckles, Eduardo Martinez and Gayle McLaughlin for City Council.  
 
Simply send a brief e-mail to langlois-rine@comcast.net, with "endorse Team Richmond" in the subject line. Include your full name, city of residence, and any affiliation or title you would like to include (affiliation is for identification purposes only).
 
Thank you.  It only takes a moment and will be greatly appreciated!

From Mike Parker, Candidate for Mayor
Statement on the Chevron Draft EIR

Photo by Michael Beer
1. Almost everybody in Richmond favors a "Newer, Safer, Cleaner" refinery.
We have to work to make sure that such a project does go forward.

2. The Draft EIR is a real victory in terms of accountability and transparency. City staff, consultants and Chevron did excellent work on the Draft EIR. It provides a lot of information and allows a careful reader to understand most of what they need to know. There are still some questions to be answered and some additional scenarios that need to be run, but we're right on schedule. We never got this much information in the past, so the report is a big step forward. Everyone should celebrate this document as a victory for good government and thank the organizations who forced the disclosure of so much information - CBE, APEN, the RPA and the West County Toxics Coalition.

3. The Draft EIR misses important scenarios. The Draft EIR provides us with an assessment of the likely and possible impacts on the community from this project under different project scenarios. Under CEQA, it is up to the city planning commission and ultimately the Richmond City Council to determine the final set of "reasonable alternatives" that should be considered and to determine what conditions to set, if any, in permitting a specific project. This is a negotiation.


4. Chevron places higher profits abpve controlling emissions. Despite
being the 3rd  most profitable company in America, Chevron has proposed a project that increases both local toxic emissions that damage our health and greenhouse gas emissions that damage our planet. Couldn't they do better?
...To read the full statement, click here.
 
Vice-Mayor Jovanka Beckles:
Why the Minimum Wage is Good for Richmond

Jovanka [The first reading of the new minimum wage ordinance passed at the City Council March 18. The final vote is scheduled for the meeting tomorrow, April 1.  The ordinance will phase in a minimum wage of $12.30/hr, See article in previous newsletter]

Richmond is attempting to solve several issues at the same time. One, we are helping residents by providing a wage that will help more families  live with dignity. Two, we are helping businesses. When residents have more to spend, more disposable income, they spend it. When they spend it, demand increases. When demand increases, business improves; businesses thrive. When business improves and thrive, more people get hired. When those who want to work work, we create a healthy thriving city. 

Minimum wage increases have been shown to act as a stimulus to those cities where it was raised. A recent article in the San Jose Mercury stated, "A year later, it is clear that raising San Jose's minimum wage has been an incredible success. The data shows that under San Jose's minimum wage, unemployment was reduced, the number of businesses grew, the number of minimum wage jobs expanded, average employee hours remained constant and the economy was stimulated." 
  
In fact, I know several Richmond employers who already pay their employees at least $12 an hour and they are quite successful. They shared with me that when employees make a wage that they can live on, turn over is low thus allowing for stability in their business. 
  
There are some who say Richmond isn't in a bubble. We can't just raise it in Richmond and not have it affect businesses negatively because people can shop in the nearby cities. We are not in a bubble. But when other cities see the difference that it makes here in Richmond, the people will demand change in their cities as well.  
  
FDR once said, "The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough to those who have little."- Franklin D. Roosevelt

 RPA Membership Drive Continues 

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 authors, unsigned text  the views of the editor, Patsy Byers, 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.