RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #138
June 9, 2014  
Join Our Mailing List





Richmond Progressive Alliance   

Revise EIR says CA AG!
Stop WCCUSD JROTC Plan 6/11
Connect the Dots 3rd Leg 6/14
Testimony from a Canvasser
Comedy Video Premiere 6/18
Council rushes review
FEIR Community Forum 6/19
Mayor Gayle on minimum wage
Be Hosts with the Most for TEAM RICHMOND
Powwow June 21
Adult Education Stories & Plans
Homeless Workforce Conf.
Hearing on DMC 6/9
The Nation Article
If we had a billboard...
Endorse Team Richmond

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.


EXTRA! EXTRA! Newsflash! This just in:
State's Attorney General says Chevron's EIR needs revision!

Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) has just issued a press release, in response to the June 6th letter from California Attorney General Kamala Harris. 
It begins:

"Urging the City of Richmond 'to revise the EIR so that it will fully inform the public and the City Council of the local and statewide impacts of this Project,' Attorney General Kamala Harris cited refinery safety, air pollution, and climate protection concerns with Chevron's proposed Richmond refinery expansion-the same concerns raised by Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) last month."

It goes on to note that Harris identified at least five issues that require further evaluation:
  1. Safety hazards of the proposed project;
  2. Potential project impacts on statewide climate protection objectives;
  3. The project's cumulative air pollution impacts on the already-disparately impacted local community;
  4. Feasible measures to cut local air pollution; and
  5. Reasonable alternatives that may be environmentally superior to the project as currently proposed.   

See her letter here.


And please read the sections of this newsletter, written earlier, that raise the same concerns.  They're also on a light blue background.


FYI: When you Google "richmond chevron feir," Google asks Did you mean: richmond chevron fire?     


Wed. June 11, 6:30pm WCCUSD Board Meeting, 3400 Macdonald
Keep JROTC out of Richmond area schools!
If you feel that the $100,000 a year in district funds (required for the initial program at DeAnza High, each of the first 2 years) could be better used elsewhere, and that Richmond and other West County students will not be well educated by a military recruitment program in their schools, please voice your opposition by letter, email, phone calls, and speaking to the Board.  

At the May 28th School Board Meeting, 14 speakers opposed the Junior Reserved Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program planned to start this fall.  Board President Ramsey --who's also running for mayor in Richmond-- then announced that this item would be considered at the meeting on June 11th, with Principal Evans from DeAnza and a JROTC representative presenting.   


At the upcoming meeting, we need to impress the Board again with the breadth of opposition to JROTC.  Attend this meeting and raise your voice against this plan.  If you intend to speak, please try to be there at 6, and let Betty Brown know your plans: 510-524-6071.


Consider letters, emails, and phone calls with a simple statement: No JROTC in WCCUSD public schools!  Contact information for the WCCUSD Board members (trustees) is available at  http://www.wccusd.net/site/Default.aspx?PageID=69.     
Sat. June 14, starting at 8am, continue to Connect the Dots:
Benicia to Rodeo Refinery Corridor Healing Walk

The third Connect the Dots Refinery Corridor Healing Walk has a route of about 11 miles from Benicia to Rodeo.  Plan to walk the whole way or just a bit of it.   For location and timing information during the walk, call 510-619-8279.  An inspiring and informative website that gives details and suggestions is available here.  (The full site may take a few seconds to load, or copy and paste the link into your browser: https://actionnetwork.org/events/connect-the-dots-refinery-healing-walk-3.)
Kelly Johnson: Revolutionary Photography 2014
Organized by Idle No More SF Bay, the Sunflower Alliance, and others, these walks
bring attention to the northeast San Francisco Bay refinery corridor and
the 5 refineries in 4 cities.
Around the last mile, walkers are encouraged to begin imagining what their own communities would ideally be like beyond fossil fuels.  This time, at the closing ceremony in Lone Tree Park, Rodeo, they will be able to create illustrations of this vision on muslin.  These pieces will be joined into a quilt, which will be brought to the last walk, on July 12th, from Rodeo (Phillips 66) to Richmond (Chevron).  Save that date, too!
TEAM RICHMOND needs more canvassers.  Here's some
encouragement from an active canvasser:
The Progressives have changed Richmond for the better. I cannot imagine what will happen to Richmond if Nat Bates, Chevron's candidate for mayor, or Charles Ramsey, the corporate special interests' candidate, wins. Richmond will fall back to the dark ages of corporate cronyism. Nat Bates consistently supports Chevron and other corporate interests over community interests, and he will have the advantage of Chevron's billboards, TV ads and mailers. Charles Ramsey wants Richmond to be another Silicon Valley, a poster child for income and housing inequality with the cost of living skyrocketing. His campaign has the deep pockets of the building trades (Chevron's "Modernization" Project with pollution increases intact) and other special interest groups.

The Richmond Progressive Alliance and the Team Richmond candidates don't have those kinds of deep pockets. What we have is people power which we need to utilize by getting supporters out to canvass their neighborhoods. I've had the pleasure of canvassing with Mike Parker, our progressive candidate for mayor, a number of times over the past two months. The canvassing has been a wonderful, positive experience. People are very receptive to our cause, especially if you tell them that the Team Richmond candidates take no corporate donations, and are beholden only to the citizens of Richmond.

I realize that some of you might feel somewhat intimidated by canvassing. I felt that way myself, but once I experienced the openness and friendliness of most people who answer their doors, I was no longer intimated, but enthusiastic and hopeful.

I want to encourage everyone who cares about the Richmond election in November to get out and canvass for our progressive candidates. Richmond is better now, and we must continue with the positive changes that have been made possible by our progressive majority on the city council.

Please consider canvassing your neighborhood, or coming to canvass with a
Richmond resident if you are from a neighboring town. Team Richmond holds
canvasser trainings to get people started at 11 AM every 2nd Saturday and every 4th Sunday of the month at the RPA office on MacDonald. (They'll be June 14th & 22nd.)  You can sign up through the web site http://teamrichmond.nationbuilder.com/canvassing.  Your contribution as a canvasser will really make a difference in this important election and ensure that Richmond continues to improve.

Thank you!

-Jeanne Kortz
Richmond Resident and RPA Member

If you are interested in canvassing or have questions about it, please contact Alex Early by phone:
617-816-4260 or by email: earlyave@gmail.com.

Trained or experienced canvassers who would like TEAM RICHMOND candidates Mike Parker (for mayor) or Eduardo Martinez (for city council) to walk with them may choose a convenient day, usually from 4-6pm, by signing up at http://doodle.com/k8mqa4n23ke3fmdq.  
Wed. June 18, 7-8:30pm, BBPC, 1021 Macdonald (BART's close):
Greenest Man in America Comedy Video Premiere

Join Movement Generation and our Bay Area familia as we premiere our newest
Starring Lipo Chanthanasak(r), Torm Nompraseurt(l), & Josh Healey(c)
political comedy video, "The Greenest Man in America." Written and produced by Josh Healey, the video features Healey alongside Richmond environmental justice leader Lipo Chanthanasak. In this crazy bilingual sketch, Lipo and Healey debate what's the best way to "go green." Is it community organizing against Chevron...or buying all the gluten-free quinoa that you can fit in your Prius?   Directed by Yvan Iturriaga.

The event will also feature performers and a talk-back with activists leading the charge for a localized, living economy in Richmond and beyond. Participating activists including Andres Soto (Communities for a Better Environment), Melvin Willis (Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment), Marilyn Langlois (Richmond Progressive Alliance) and of course Lipo Chanthanasak (Asian Pacific Environmental Network). 

This is our kickoff event for a big summer of activities building the Our Power Campaign. Across the country, Our Power communities are leading the fight against extreme energy and building a just transition towards sustainable economies and climate jobs for our people. This summer, Richmond will host the Our Power Campaign national gathering from August 6-9, which is the 2nd anniversary of the massive Chevron refinery fire. 

Come to the video premiere, enjoy the hilarity, and get involved in the Our Power Campaign here in the Bay Area.  

Free!  Light refreshments provided, too!  Presented by Movement Generation
Laugh. Connect. Join the movement.  
Yes, "something smells funny around here!"
There's still time to demand changes, but...

Did you see this cartoon in the last Activist?  It's still relevant:
Cartoon by David Moore
Chevron's "modernization" project had a draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) of 4500 pages; the final version will be even bigger, with responses to all the comments and questions raised in the initial review process.  Chevron's theme has been that its EIR is already "perfect," ready to be-rubber stamped for immediate approval.  It's sent out numerous mailers; paid to have that message said loud and clear at City Council meetings, public information sessions, and hearings; and mounted an extensive "feel good, we're good" billboard campaign.

On Tuesday, June 3, the 5 men on City Council --with uncharacteristic willingness to extend the meeting past 11:30pm-- voted to amend the review process and usurp authority from the Planning Commission.  In response, the Planning Commission is unanimously urging the Council to reconsider and not finalize that change on its second reading, June 17th, citing significant changes in the project since the Council's previous action six years ago, the need for adequate time to  thoroughly review of the Final EIR (FEIR) (beyond the suggested 10 days), and a questioning of the rationale for this special case treatment.

Many important issues remain unanswered as of this writing.  Why the rush now, after Chevron itself delayed the process for years?

Look over the "Straight Talk about Chevron and Richmond" mailing from TEAM RICHMOND that was delivered in May.  It supports "modernization done right":
  • Modernize the whole refinery, not just the proposed 20%.
  • Work hard to reduce emissions over time, not increase pollution as planned.
  • Stop trying to buy political power and control elections.
  • Be a better neighbor with more local job creation, fair tax payments, preventative safety programs, renewable energy projects, and support for education.

Think about what you'd like to see in a Community Benefits Agreement.  Read the questions the Richmond Environmental Justice Coalition submitted in response to the DEIR here (please have patience for the document to load).  See if you don't still have some questions of your own.  Then plan to attend the REJC Community Forum June 19th.  Details are right below. 

Thurs. June 19, 6-9pm, BBPC, 1021 Macdonald Ave, Richmond:
Community Forum & Training on Chevron FEIR!


Chevron is proposing major changes to the Richmond Refinery. Join the Richmond Environmental Justice Coaliton (REJC) for a special information session to learn how those changes will affect you, your family and the air you breath, and what you can do to have a voice in this process.


Join us in demanding power without pollution and energy without injustice!


Light Refreshments Provided.   


For more information contact:  Andrés Soto, 510-282-5363 or andres@cbecal.org

or Megan Zapanta 510-236-4572 x 302 or megan@apen4ej.org.    


Presented by the Richmond Environmental Justice Coalition (REJC): Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), ACCE, Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA), 350.org, Chevron Watch, Urban Tilth, West County Toxics Coalition.  

The lowdown on the minimum:
Leading the Way for Our Working Families


On June 3, 2014, the Richmond City Council unanimously passed a first reading of our Minimum Wage Increase Ordinance. The second reading will take place on June 17th and is expected to pass again with unanimous support. This great victory for Richmond is long overdue!

This ordinance mandates a phased-in approach to raising the minimum hourly wage in Richmond in the following way:

Jan 2015  $ 9.60
Jan 2016  $11.52
Jan 2017  $12.30
Jan 2018  $13.00
Cost of living increases every year thereafter.

We are on our way to providing a wage that will help more families live with dignity. We are also helping our business community; when residents have more money to spend, our local economy has an opportunity to thrive and expand, and to create more jobs.

Make no mistake: the new wage level still leaves workers below the "living wage," and we must do more. But the ordinance represents a significant and continuous increase in the wages of low-paid workers.

This successful initiative is also a prime example of the grassroots model to produce change, from the bottom up. Local communities like Richmond can spur change at the state and -- eventually -- the federal level by creating a multi-city, multi-state insurgence of demands. Richmond benefited from the small steps taken by other California cities, by the example of fast-food workers all
over the nation who mobilized and went on strike for "$15 and a union." Our local mobilization influenced other communities in the East Bay and elsewhere who joined in with their own initiatives, ordinances and ballot measures. Now the State of California is proposing measures similar to what we proposed and gained in

The fact that this first reading, introduced by myself, Vice Mayor Beckles and Councilmember Myrick, passed unanimously is especially noteworthy given the recent history of this ordinance.  At a previous meeting, several odious amendments were proposed by councilmembers in response to pressures from
some businesses. We were able to get the Council to back away from exempting youth, nonprofits, tipped workers, and other unfair exemptions, which would have made the ordinance unworkable. A lot of credit goes to the Labor movement, especially to SEIU, for filing a ballot measure without carve-outs and with a faster phased-in approach. The filing of this ballot measure put pressure on the councilmembers who favored these amendments. The current ordinance still has a few carve-outs that may make it somewhat hard to implement. We accept these for now in order to get this ordinance on the books and enacted. With the victory of Team Richmond in November 2014, the Council will change, and we can improve the ordinance.

This is a time to celebrate our progressive journey in Richmond.  With the support of labor and our working families, we put the needed pressure on the City Council and showed once again that we are building on a decade of progress and leading the way to a just future for all!
--Gayle McLaughlin, Mayor, City of Richmond

The sooner the better, host a house party & meet the candidates.
Just invite a few friends & neighbors over.

We are looking for folks willing to host a small gathering of their friends and neighbors to meet and talk with a couple of the members of TEAM RICHMOND.  Meeting face-to-face is the best way to build support for the candidates, and it gives them an opportunity to learn what issues are most important in your area.  We hope some of the guests will decide to host parties of their own, sign up for yard signs, make endorsements, and start to canvass.  Of course, financial contributions are welcomed, but they're not the main purpose of these "house parties."  It's the casual interchange in living rooms that matters the most.  An  hour or two in the evening or on a weekend afternoon, maybe coffee and a little something to snack on, that's all that's needed.  We are scheduling them Monday and Thursday evenings, Saturday afternoons, and Sunday between 3 and 8.

If you are interested in hosting a group to meet Mike Parker and another TEAM RICHMOND member, or you'd like more information, please call Margaret at 510-595-4661 or send email to mjordan00@gmail.com.   She'll get back to you! 
Sat. June 21, 10am-6pm, Nicholl Park, Richmond:
Honoring the Native American Community!

  To download or print the flyer, use this link
Sat. June 21, 11am-3pm: Wishing again you could do both?
Join Richmond adult educators...

June 16 & 17 at Richmond Memorial Auditorium:
Saffron Strand's Homeless Workforce Conference 

See details, including a link for registration, here
Mon. June 9, 6-9pm,  Maple Hall, 13831 San Pablo Ave, S.P.
Public Hearing on Impacts of DMC ER Changes


"The Contra Costa Health Services' Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Division will hold a public hearing on the impacts of the potential downgrade or closure of hospital emergency services at Doctors Medical Center (DCM) in San Pablo. The purpose of this hearing is not to determine whether or not the hospital will close. The hearing is part of the legally-mandated process whenever changes to hospital emergency services are proposed. Contra Costa EMS is required by state law to hold the hearing to collect public comment on the impacts and to submit the public comment in a report this month to the state Health and Human Services Agency.

"Website: www.cchealth.org/dmc

"Written comments must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. on June 9 in order to be included in the impact report. Written comments will be accepted via email to EMS Director Pat Frost at Patricia.Frost@hsd.cccounty.us
, fax: 925 313-8389, or mail: Contra Costa EMS, 1340 Arnold Drive, Suite 126, Martinez, CA 94553." [Emphasis added.]
Have you read this yet?
The Nation: Can Big Oil Retake Richmond?
It's a minute-&-a-half well spent:
What we lack in capital we'll make up in creativity!

If I Had a Billboard 
If I Had a Billboard

& we do have one classic one, @ 23rd & Garvin.
Check it out!
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!

 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.