RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #137
May 16, 2014  
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Richmond Progressive Alliance   

See the Iron Heel May 18
Global Anti Chevron Day 5/21
Take a look at this video
If DMC closes, lives will be lost
Town Hall for DMC 5/22
What could happen, Chevron?
Help Shape Community Benefit Agreement 5/28
Next Canvasser Training 5/25
Connect the Dots: Martinez to Benicia 5/17
Say NO! to ROTC at DeAnza
Update on minimum wage
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.


A multi-media extravaganza, now with refreshments, too!
Don't miss it, one night only: The Iron Heel,
a benefit for TEAM RICHMOND, May 18th at 7pm.

Wed., May 21: Think Globally, Act Locally, on 2 feet or 2 wheels:
Stop fueling climate chaos! Convert to renewables!

The Richmond Progressive Alliance signed a statement in support of this action that reads in part: "Together we demand that Chevron acknowledge its responsibility for all the damage it has caused to the environment and human rights."

The TEAM RICHMOND slate promises civil & civic City Council meetings.  Sock-it-to-me!
Maybe you remember that at the City Council's winter retreat 2 members refused  to make a commitment to treat all on the Council with respect?

Watch this video if you want to see and hear a bit of what currently goes on all too often.  Mercifully, the video is just about 2 minutes.  Council meetings are often 5 hours.

Is this the kind of "representation" you want?  
Image from CNA
Due to technical difficulties, the colors are off, and the text is nearly illegible.  Maybe you still get the message?
The text reads: When the next Chevron Refinery disaster strikes...Where will you or your loved ones go for emergency care?  If Doctors Medical Center and its ER closes, lives will be lost. 
Thurs. May 22nd, 6:30pm, Easter Hill UMC, 3911 Cutting Blvd.:
Town Hall Meeting: Save Doctors Hospital!

The California Nurses Association has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, calling upon federal authorities to intervene to stop the closure. Join the nurses from Doctors Medical Center, California Nurses Associaton, and other community organizations in demanding that Contra Costa County keep DMC open as an acute care hospital with a fully staffed emergency department.

For more information, please contact Sue Fendley at 510-316-1301 or Patrick Doyle at 510-433-2726.

That old lady's asking a good question:
Let's think about it...
Cartoon by David Moore
...& then on Wed. May 28, 6-8pm, in the Civic Center Auditorium,
let's let Chevron know what we'd want!

Community input is needed to push for an equitable and meaningful Community Benefits Agreement, to be included as a condition of any approval of the proposed Chevron project.  (And Chevron's offering free refreshments, too!)
Sun. May 25th, 11am, at BBPC, 1021 Macdonald Ave:
Get trained to canvass for TEAM RICHMOND
If you're already walking the talk on your block, why not ask family members, friends, and neighbors to join you in the campaign?  These warm late spring days mean there's time in the evenings as well as on week-ends, and the value of this contribution can't be overestimated. 

After a very short training session, we'll give out walk sheets specific to the area you're willing to work.  You can pin on a beautiful TEAM RICHMOND button, with a photo of all 4 candidates, and get started!    

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.

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. 
May 17th: A "National Day of Action Against Dirty Fuels" Event
Martinez to Benicia Refinery Corridor Healing Walk

The second Connect the Dots Refinery Corridor Healing Walk is going to go from Martinez to Benicia on Saturday.  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. This time, you'll have the option of walking across the bridge over the Carquinez Strait, joining a kayak flotilla paddling alongside, or walking a shorter portion of the route.  Call (510) 619-8279 during the walk for location and timing information. For details and tips, check this link.
Image from Sunflower Alliance

Wed. May 28th, 6:30pm: Ever wish you could be 2 places at once?
WCCUSD Board Considers ROTC for de Anza High


The Trustees expect to approve $100,000 a year (for the first 2 years), to introduce "Junior" ROTC into DeAnza High School.  If you think this district money could be put to better use elsewhere, speak out at their meeting:  DeJean Middle
School, 3400 Macdonald Ave, Richmond. 

If you plan to speak, Betty Brown would appreciate a call at 510-524-6071. (She plans to have some speakers cards in
Watch for it:
TEAM RICHMOND has sent you something!

TEAM RICHMOND doesn't have the big bucks of Chevron (which is spending nearly $11 million on contractors for its EIR and untold tens of millions on its PR and political campaigns this year), so when it sends out a mailing to all the homes in Richmond, please don't let it get lost in the shuffle of brochures that are already stuffing your mailbox.  Take it out, pay attention, read it, talk about it with the neighbors, contact members of TEAM RICHMOND with comments and questions.

Suit to stop Crude-by-Rail is still rolling through the courts &
Bakken crude is still rolling through Richmond!

The DOT warning placard on the train spotted in Point Richmond last week indicates that it's carrying Crude Oil, and the transporter Kinder-Morgan shows that it's bringing Bakken crude to the west coast.  There's an 800 number on the rail car, to be called "For Chemical Emergency."

You might want to be at this protest:
Source: greenaction.org
At least a little about the minimum:
A majority of current council puts on amendments

On May 7, the 3 members of Richmond City Council who first co-sponsored the ordinance to raise the minimum wage saw their effort encumbered by the other 4, who supported a series of "at least" 7 amendments with special exemptions and exceptions.  Part of the momentum for the changes came from "research" polled from local businesses.  Didn't those guys (Rogers, Butt, Booze, & Bates) learn that a self-selecting sample of 5% has dubious validity?

City staff was directed to draft an ordinance that would not extend the benefit to workers at small businesses, or to workers under 18, or to workers who are regularly tipped, or to workers at non-profits, or several other categories less easy to characterize.  The complexity of the ordinance is likely to make compliance harder to achieve and may possibly encourage age discrimination.

When the measure comes back to Council for a first reading, expect there to be significant efforts to remove the amendments.  If you would benefit from a higher minimum wage, or if you're an employer who believes in paying close to a living wage, please try to come to the council then and tell your story.  It's tentatively scheduled to be on the agenda June 3rd.

On the horizon in June:
Details will follow; here's a heads-up

Fri 6/6: Report back from Richmond delegation to Regla, Cuba, Sister City Trip, 6pm, Whittlesey Room

Mon & Tu 6/16 &17: Saffron Strand Homeless Workforce Conference: "Let's Get Serious--Skills, Jobs, Careers as Paths Out of Homelessness & Poverty"

Sat. 6/21: Save the date: Grassroots Adult Education Meeting: Telling our story.  Planning for the future.  11am-3pm, Berkeley Adult School       


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!

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 

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 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.