RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #139
June 26, 2014  
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Richmond Progressive Alliance   

AGO OKs CHANGED Chevron Project
Canvass for the TEAM
7/1 Rally & Picket for DMC
6/28: Join Juneteeth Parade
More news about Principal Reduction
7/9: Planning Commission Tackles FEIR
RPA wants Morning Mix!
Chief Magnus: Working, a new way
Watch "Greenest Man"
Save 7/12: Connect the Dots Returns to Richmond
Chevron's Push for Project
Why we need DMC
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.


Will Chevron accept alternative?
Attorney General Supports Alternative to Chevron Proposal

The Office of California Attorney General (AGO), Kamala Harris, has sent a letter, dated June 20, to the City planners stating support for the new alternative project described in the final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the Chevron Project. Combined with the first letter of June 6*, the AGO is saying that Chevron's original proposal is not adequate under California laws.


Spin on letters

The AGO does say that the Final Environmental Impact Report is acceptable. Many people have taken that to mean that the AGO has signed off on the Chevron project itself. But the reason that the AGO gives for finding the FEIR acceptable is that it includes a new alternative to the proposed Chevron project which "along with other improvements made in the final EIR, ...would resolve the AGO's concerns. " It is this alternative that the AGO is supporting and not the original project as proposed by Chevron.


This re-evaluation and modification process is consistent with the purpose of developing an EIR in the first place: To examine the environmental impacts of a proposed project and weigh reasonable alternatives. Chevron's main reason for this project is to equip the refinery to process higher sulfur crude oil, which is significantly cheaper than traditional crude. The problem is that processing this higher sulfur oil produces more pollutants, more toxic substances, and requires more use of hydrogen (the production of which creates significant greenhouse gasses).  


The Alternative

Again, the Alternative (6.5.11) cited by the AGO was not in the original Draft EIR. As a result of many public comments and criticisms, the City Planning Department included this alternative in the FEIR:  "In response to comments, the Final EIR includes a new Alternative that combines the Reduced Sulfur Processing Alternative with a modified form of a Hydrogen Cap Alternative which focuses on total Refinery greenhouse gas emissions ... " (FEIR 4-47)


Under this Alternative the amount of sulfur processed would be cut to half of that in the original proposal, and hydrogen production would be capped at a level that would not increase greenhouse gasses. With these proposed limits, the refinery could operate at about 85% capacity. (This level could increase if the refinery put in place other ways to locally reduce greenhouse gasses.)


Chevron has not stated whether it will accept the Alternative. As is noted in the FEIR: "The EIR preparers have no information regarding the economic feasibility of [the Alternative] for the applicant relative to the project."    


Chevron could also possibly find other ways to meet the same "no increase" objectives.  (They could modernize the other parts of the refinery, for example.)  If Chevron chooses to push its original proposal and manages to get it through city council, Chevron and the City may face a legal challenge from the Attorney General.


If Chevron were to agree to the Alternative, it would be a giant step forward for both the project and for the health of Richmond, and it is likely that the project would move ahead quickly.

                                                                                            --Mike Parker  


*For the full text of the first AGO letter, click here and use this link for the second one. 

Want elected officials representing you, not corporate interests?
Canvass for the TEAM RICHMOND Slate!

What: We are looking for Richmond residents and other Bay area supporters to help us spread the word about the great Team Richmond slate. Neighborhood canvassing is key to our success in November (and it's pretty fun!).

How you can help:
1. Sign up to canvass your Richmond Neighborhood
2. Sign up to canvass with a Richmond resident (if you are from out of town)
3. Canvass with one of our great candidates from 4 to 6 any afternoon

When you can get started:
* Canvasser trainings will be held at the at the RPA office (1021 Macdonald Ave) every Saturday at 3pm starting on Saturday July 5th. You can also come at 3 pm if you want to just canvass for the afternoon.
* Sign up to canvass with a candidate any day with this link.

To sign up or for more info contact:
Alex (email, 617-816-4260) or Kathleen (email).
Tues. July 1, 3:30-5pm, Join nurses, patients, & the community:
Rally & picket to save Doctors Medical Center

From the event's page on facebook, here:

We're calling on Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors to take over operations of DMC with existing revenues and keep it as a full-service hospital.

The pending closure will result in a catastrophic healthcare emergency for the residents of West County and could have a disproportionate impact on the health of African Americans and senior citizens in violation of their civil rights.

The hospital is the only provider of advanced cardiac care for heart attack victims in West County, and its closure would leave the area with only 15 of the county's 242 emergency room beds - and in sharp contrast with East County with higher income residents and more hospital care.

"I hate to say this, but I know that if this was going on in Orinda, this wouldn't be happening," Richmond Vice Mayor Jovanka Beckles told the Contra Costa Times. "A solution would be found."

Don't Discriminate Against West County Residents - Keep Doctors Medical Center Open!

Celebrating History, Freedom, & Culture in the City of Richmond!
Join with the Mayor on Juneteenth, Sat. June 28

This all day celebration commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States. Walk with Mayor Gayle McLauglin in the Family Day Parade to the Festival.  To join her contingent, meet at Cutting Blvd and Marina Way South by 9:15.  The parade starts promptly at 10amIt'll end at Nicholl Park on 31st and Macdonald, where the Family Festival will continue until 6pm, with two stages, food, health screenings, and more. To learn about the plans for the Richmond event, check here.

And be on the lookout for something special from Vice Mayor Jovanka Beckles, too.  
Have you seen this headline before?
Council members push to aid city's underwater borrowers

" 'There are two kinds of cities that Wall Street can't frighten --those that have serious underwater loan and foreclosure problems, and those that have dedicated Mayors and City Councils,' said Robert Hockett, professor of law at Cornell University."  (He's the one credited with developing the strategy of a municipality using its power of eminent domain as a tool for principal reduction.)  He then went on to name a city that he believes has both.  Sounds like he could have been talking about Richmond, maybe?

Well, in this case he wasn't, he was referring to the Big Apple!  Four New York City Council Members --at least one of whom is underwater himself, along with  New York Communities for Change and the Mutual Housing Association of New York, have jointly started to push for a plan similar to the one Richmond may implement, to prevent further foreclosures and their ensuing blight. 

Once again, Richmond may have some pretty big feet following in its footsteps.

To read the whole article on NYC, use this link.

Wed. July 10, 6pm, Civic Center*, witness history being made!
Planning Commission will consider Chevron FEIR

The Richmond Planning Commission intends to exercise its mandate to review and evaluate the Chevron project Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR), despite the rush recently imposed by the City Council majority.  Chevron has been waging a huge campaign to convince both the public and the council of the overwhelming and positive momentum behind its project.  It remains to be seen how it will respond to the recent and very restricted approval from the State Attorney General's Office.  The public health, environmental, and economic implications of this project are enormous; the technical complexities near-daunting.  It has all the elements of good drama, and its resolution will impact Richmond, likely for decades.

How can you stay home?  Plan to attend the Planning Commission meeting, and, if necessary, to be there the next night, too.  Sign up to speak if you are willing and able to do so.  If not, take a seat from away from a paid goon.  Participate in the process of public engagement, scrutiny, and oversight.  We need you there.

And if you have an hour or more in the coming week to call other residents and urge them to attend, your can get a script and help getting started.  Please call the RPA office,  510-412-2260, and leave a message about your availability, or come in to BBPC, 1021 Macdonald, 2-5 M-Th next week. (The office will be closed Friday, July 4th.)  

*Location for the Planning Commission meeting is still to be announced. 
RPA Steering Committee sent a letter:
In support of The Morning Mix on KPFA

Richard Pirodsky
Interim General Manager, KPFA Radio
1929 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way
Berkeley, CA 94704    

Dear Mr. Pirodsky,


The Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) is a grassroots, volunteer-based organization founded in 2003 in Richmond, California, aimed at eliminating the excessive influence of corporations in local politics and strengthening the ability of local residents to ensure that city policies meet their needs, especially the needs of the most vulnerable.   Our organization clearly has much in common with the values of KPFA and Pacifica.


We appreciated the introduction of the weekday 8:00-9:00 program, The Morning Mix, a few years ago, as it has provided the listening audience in Richmond and the greater Bay Area with a variety of excellent programs on topics of interest that are rarely, if ever, heard elsewhere.  Andres Soto's program, for example, has included many segments on progressive initiatives in Richmond that communities throughout the region can relate to, on housing, violence prevention, environmental justice, local arts scene and more.


The RPA learned, to our dismay, that you had made the decision last month to cancel The Morning Mix and re-schedule some of its programs to shorter time slots in the mid-afternoon.  We believe it is extremely valuable for the morning drive time audience to be able to hear the diversity of programming that The Morning Mix offered, and hence we urge you to reverse your decision and re-instate The Morning Mix to weekdays at 8:00-9:00 am.




Marilyn Langlois

Mike Parker

Co-coordinators, Richmond Progressive Alliance



1021 Macdonald Ave.

Richmond, CA  94801


If you want to show your support, too, send an e-mail to KPFA General Manager Richard Pirodsky, richard@kpfa.org.
In the tradition of Studs Turkel's Working:
Interview with Richmond Police Chief Magnus


Richmond resident Steve Early talked with our Chief about the way he wants the force to work in this city
.  Here's some of what he had to say about community policing:

"If you're really committed to community policing, you have to make structural changes within your organization. Are you going to have community policing officers who are just this small cadre within a department --essentially its public relations wing-- or are you going to integrate the larger expectations of community policing into the role of every officer? The latter is what we've tried to do here --to say no matter what your assignment, we expect you to, first and foremost, build quality relationships."   
Photo courtesy RPD
It's a new and apparently effective vision, another one of the ways Richmond is better now.  Read the whole piece, published in In These Times, here.  


Movement Generation's newest satirical video, released 6/24:
The Greenest Man in America
In case you missed the standing-room only World Premiere at the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center last week, here's your chance to see it any time you like:  
The Greenest Man in America! 
In the words of Josh Healey, who wrote and is one of the stars of the video: "And if you do like it...please share it around! ...Feel free to have fun with it!"

The event last week kicked off summer activities to build the Our Power Campaign, in support of the fight against extreme energy and towards a just transition to sustainable economies and climate jobs.  On August 6-9, the second anniversary of the Chevron refinery fire, Richmond will host the
Our Power Campaign national gathering. 
Watch for more info soon. 
Sat. July 12, Connect the Dots Refinery Corridor Healing Walk:
Rodeo to Richmond

The fourth and final leg will return to Richmond.  Details here, soon.  Plan for it. 
Who's that knocking on your door?
Chevron Mobilizes for Approval of Its Project


Despite the community criticism about increased pollution and greenhouse gasses and the Attorney General's questions about the legality of Chevron's proposed project, Chevron is moving ahead with trying to win public support for its project. It's using its sponsored media like The Richmond Standard, and "Radio Free Richmond" to spin the news on its project... .  Its paid canvassers are knocking on every door in Richmond.

It also is apparently calling in chits on the community and non-profit groups that it funds.


So 4Richmond (http://4richmond.org/) which claims to unite Richmond and proclaims that it "is Richmond" has announced that its Board of Directors, Steering Committee, and staff "unanimously endorse the Chevron Richmond Refinery Modernization Project" [emphasis added]. 4Richmond has announced that they will be actively mobilizing community support for the project. (Also, 4Richmond is registered as a 'C4' non-profit which allows it to back candidates --so watch for it to be further involved)

.                                                                                                  --Mike Parker


A personal message from the editor:
  We need Doctors Medical Center, San Pablo!


In the beautiful sunshine last weekend, while cutting down my dead fava beanstalks, I almost lopped off the end of my left thumb.  My family has good medical insurance, and as medical emergencies go, I know this one was minor, but nevertheless, I was extremely glad that I could get to a hospital in less than 5 minutes, instead of the 20-30 minutes it would have taken to drive to Alta Bates, or the half-hour-plus that a trip to Martinez would likely involve.  Imagine if it were a matter of life or death.


I want to thank everyone, especially nurse Cheryl, who took care of me.


If you need further convincing of the importance of this facility, please watch this video.  While the characterization of Chevron's potential role isn't one I'd make, I heartily agree with its perspective on the local community and our need for DMC. 
People are going to die: Save Doctors Medical Center San Pablo
People are going to die: Save Doctors Medical Center San Pablo
So, on Tuesday, July 1, 3:30-5pm, at DMC, 2000 Vale, SP, I'll be walking the line.
                                                                                                  --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!

 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.