RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #141
July 18, 2014  
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Richmond Progressive Alliance   

Short & sweet: "We deserve the best!"
Speak up 7/22 with REJC: Tell City Council to uphold Planning Commission decisions
A story to support 7/30 Rally & March for DMC
8/1: See "Ghost Town to Havana"
More Endorsements for Team Richmond; Add Your Own!
7/16: Chevron had another fire; a "small" one 4 stories high!
Host a House Party & Canvass with a Candidate
Register NOW for Aug. Our Power Convening in Richmond
8/9: Plans for Our Power Day of Action

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.


Tell the City Council to make the good choice for Richmond:
"We deserve the best...and Chevron can afford it."


Graphic by Kathleen Wimer  


This message, that "we deserve the best... and Chevron can afford it," comes from Richmond resident Stephanie Hervey's comments to City Council in Public Forum on Tuesday.   The Chevron project was not on the agenda then, but it will be both next Tuesday, July 22, and the following Tuesday, July 29.


Join with Richmond Environmental Justice Coalition & say:
City Council must uphold Planning Commission!

The Richmond Environmental Justice Coalition (REJC) calls on the Richmond City Council to uphold the Richmond Planning Commission's 7/10/14 decision, which added conditions to Chevron's project to make the refinery cleaner, safer, and more modern, and to create more local jobs.  


The project as originally proposed would allow Chevron to process higher sulfur crude that poses greater threats to the health of the community.  The Planning Commission unanimously approved an environmentally superior alternative to the project [Alternative 11], as recommended by California's Attorney General.


The additional conditions set by the Planning Commission include: 

  •  Local reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, including the creation of a community-controlled Clean Energy and Jobs Program
  • Reductions in toxic air emissions
  • Adherence to BAAQMD's 1995 limit on unhealthy particulate matter emissions from the fluid catalytic cracker using state of the art measuring and monitoring (recent improved measuring methods have shown that Chevron has been emitting substantially more than this limit)
  •  Replacement of all pipes older than 25 years that process high temperature oil
  • Replacement of all temporary clamps with state of the art leak repairs
  • Use of shore power for ships docked at the long-wharf, instead of using polluting heavy fuel power
  • Replacing 6 tugboats instead of 1 with less polluting technology
  • Placing domes on 30 storage tanks instead of 3 to contain volatile organic compounds
  • Documentation of Chevron's compliance with these project conditions

The REJC also favors including a strong local hire component that ensures one out of three workers are Richmond residents.   


Come to the City Council hearing on July 22 at 6:30 pm in the Richmond Auditorium and sign up to speak in favor of a cleaner, safer project with more local jobs, as approved by the Planning Commission!   


[Editor's note: Chevron representatives immediately filed an appeal of the Planning Commission's decision, so the City Council takes it up.   Reports have differed about the extent of Chevron's appeal: there have been claims that they're studying  Alternative 11, but that they reject all the added conditions outright.  If possible, arrive at the Auditorium (403 Civic Center Plaza)  soon after 5 on Tuesday, to secure your place and get an early spot on the speakers' list.]


You can also write to the Mayor and City Councilmembers: Gayle McLaughlin: 

Tom Butt: tom.butt@intres.com; Jovanka Beckles: jovanka_beckles@ci.richmond.ca.us; Jael Myrick Jaelpmyrick@yahoo.com  


The City Council will deliberate and vote on July 29, at 6:30 pm.  Come to that meeting, too, as a strong presence in favor of protecting the health and well-being of the community will be very important.

                                                                                       --The REJC


The full text of the motion the Planning Commission approved is available here
Wed. July 30, 4:30-5:30pm, Join RNs to Rally & March for DMC
Why Doctors Medical Center Can't Close

Perhaps this story from Melvin Willis will convince you:

"Back in March 2014 while I was visiting my mom at her home she suddenly lost her breath, and couldn't catch it. Her breathing was so labored she could barely talk. An ambulance came and took her to the nearest public hospital, just 5 minutes from her house-Doctors Medical Center.

"The team there quickly went into action and by the time I arrived, she was stabilized. Now, the fate of Doctors Medical Center is undetermined and I keep wondering what if her ambulance drive had been fifteen, or twenty minutes longer? That's about how long it'd take to get to the next nearest public hospital in Oakland"... Read the full piece by Melvin Willis, from the Richmond Pulse, here


Gather at Doctors Medical Center, 2000 Vale Rd., San Pablo 
Marching the short distance to West Contra Costa County Health Clinic
Fri. 8/1, 6:30-8:30pm, at BBPC, Richmond/Regla Friendship Event
Special Screening: Ghost Town to Havana

The Richmond/Regla Friendship Committee will be showing the feature length documentary, Ghost Town to Havana.  The event will include a guest appearance by Co-Director/Producer, Eugene Corr, a Richmond native, and time for Q&A after the screening. The film centers on inner city Little League Baseball but deals with larger themes of male-mentorship and the reclaiming of lives and communities. KQED said "'Bittersweet' barely begins to describe it."

And when else will you have a chance to see Nat Bates at the *BBPC? (He shows up in a cameo.)

$5-10 is the suggested donation, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Here's the film's trailer:
Ghost town to Havana 
Ghost Town to Havana
* [BBPC: 1021 Macdonald, near Harbor, & Richmond BART] 
Why not add yours now?
Recent Endorsements for Team Richmond

Recently Team Richmond has received endorsements from these fine folks:

The one from the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club is notable since it's the first time they've supported a slate that is not affiliated with the Democratic Party.

And read about ILWU support for the Maritime Union of Australia in their battle against Chevron's attacks on labor, including their recent meeting with Gayle McLaughlin and Mike Parker, here.

If you have not already done so, please add your name to the list of endorsers for the Team
Richmond candidates:  Mike Parker for Mayor and Jovanka Beckles, Eduardo Martinez, and Gayle McLaughlin for City Council.  Your endorsement is valuable and will make a difference!     
To make an endorsement, 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).

It's free and easy.
  Your taking this step to support Team Richmond will really be appreciated. Thank you!
Not a leaky pipe!  A hose. Got that? A hose, not a pipe, this time.
July 16th: Another fire at Chevron

The Contra Costa Times story (here) didn't clearly give its readers the old Who, What, Where, When, Why, & How.  Their headline called the fire "small," yet the first line described "flames as high as four stories tall," and included in that crucial first paragraph the claim of a company spokeswoman that the fire "was sparked by materials leaked from a specialized hose and not the result of a pipe leak."  Further down, the paper said the leak came from a hose used by maintenance workers in a part of the refinery not in use, per Chevron spokeswoman Melissa Ritchie.

Richmond Fire Chief Michael Banks made this report to  the City Manager later in the day: "This morning at 2:10 am, five Richmond Fire units and two Battalion Chiefs were dispatched to a reported structure fire at the Chevron Refinery.  Upon arrival, our personnel were assigned to begin a fire attack on the Fluid Catalytic Cracker (FCC) unit.  There were visible flames and smoke showing on the second and third levels of this exterior structure.  The fire was brought under control by 3:00 am. It was initially reported to us by Chevron personnel that a ¾" processing line had ruptured and was leaking a heavy oil distillate (petroleum product).  It was later clarified that a specialized hose failed which contained a partially refined hydrocarbon product.  Either way, due to the high temperature of this oily substance, it ignited and created a fire hazard.  The fire and subsequent leaking product were contained to the FCC unit.  Shut down of the product was eventually completely by fire personnel.  Air monitoring was conducted throughout the incident and there were no readings to indicate that smoke or vapors were escaping outside the FCC unit perimeter.  A Level One notification was made to Contra Costa Health Services and Cal-OSHA arrived early into the incident.  Overall, our Richmond Fire crews did an outstanding job extinguishing the fire and preventing it from spreading into adjoining areas."

We do not know yet the cost to the City of Richmond for responding to this incident. 

As of Thursday evening, July 17th, this link to abc 7 News had a brief story with 2-3 minutes of video reporting on the most recent fire.

Be a party planner and/or go out canvassing:
Introduce the candidates to friends & neighbors

Once the official filing deadline arrives on August 8th, the TEAM RICHMOND candidates' campaigns will intensify, so if you're thinking about hosting a house party for some of your neighbors and friends to meet one or two of the Team, please make your plans now, while their schedules are more open.   Contact Margaret (email: mjordan00@gmail.com or call: 510-595-4661) to work out the details.


And if you'd like to have one of the candidates walk with you while you canvass your area, reserve a session from 4-6pm with this link.  (To get started with canvassing, attend an orientation any Saturday at 3 pm at the BBPC, 1021 Macdonald.  Sign up by email to walk4teamrichmond@gmail.com or  call 510-331-3985.)   Thanks.

Register by 7/18 for National Our Power Convergence here 8/6-9
New Economic Solutions Based on Healthy Work
A recent email from a Movement Generation organizer says it well: "If you are interested in engaging with others around the vision and practice of creating a Just Transition away from the Extractive Economy and towards and Economy for Life, please register for the convening. There will be plenaries and workshops on strategy, cooperative economics, climate justice, non-extractive finance, housing rights and more."

Activists from all around the country will be gathering in Richmond.  Join us!  The fee for members of RPA is $55, or $30 for seniors and students.
Please register today!

See the next section for details about what's planned for August 9.     
Sat. Aug 9: Our Power Day of Action, free & open to everyone.
Help create the better world we know is possible.

You might want to combine a couple hours of canvassing for Team Richmond candidates with participation in the Day of Action activities.  There's a brief orientation for canvassers every Saturday at 3 in the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center (1021 Macdonald).  If you have questions about canvassing or want to sign up for it, email walk4teamrichmond@gmail.com or  call 510-331-3985.
 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.