RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #155
December 4, 2014  
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Richmond Progressive Alliance   

12/7: Come to the Victory Party!
Join the Winning Team!
"We all live in Bhopal"
12/8: Human Rights Day Celebration
Some Help for DMC: County Forgives Debt
Black Friday in Richmond
More action against Crude by Rail
12/11: Refinery Safety Forum
12/17: Downtown Holiday Festival
Calendar crowded yet?
Policing Done Differently

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.


Sun. 12/7, 7-10pm at East Bay Center for the Performing Arts
Join in our Victory Celebration!
Graphic design: Daniel Goodwin
Join the Winning Team!
It's a great bargain, too!
RPA Logo
Enjoy the party Sunday, and enjoy membership in the Richmond Progressive Alliance every day in the coming year.  Let's work together to keep on building a better Richmond.  Our 3 council members-elect will need lots of support to fulfill their campaign pledge to do just that.

There's a history of the RPA (up until early 2013) in the article by Mike Parker at the end of this newsletter.

To get an overview of our core beliefs and primary activities, follow this link to the membership form.  When you're ready to join, print and complete the form and mail it in with a check for your dues, which start at $12/yr.  Or, if you prefer:
  •  send an email to info@richmondprogressivealliance.net with the information requested on the form &
  • go to the  RPA web page & press the "Donate" button in the left column and make a payment for dues. Any additional contribution is greatly appreciated and helps us keep dues low for those with low income.
Please give it serious consideration, today.

Through 12/8, a series marking 30 Years of the Carbide Disaster:
"We all live in Bhopal"
  "We all live in Bhopal: Commemorating 30 years of the Carbide Disaster" - is a series of events --films, panels, performances, & visual art exhibits-- from 1-8 Dec 2014 in commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Union Carbide Gas Disaster in Bhopal.  Sponsored by the UC Berkeley Institute for South Asia Studies & the School of Public Health.  For a full calendar of events, which run through Dec. 8, see here

One highlight: A panel discussion, "Industrial Disaster Prevention: Examining Corporate Responsibility, Obstacles, Solutions," featuring Tarnel Abbot of the Richmond Progressive Alliance, on Saturday, 12/6, 5pm, at 150 University Hall (2199 Addison in Berkeley).


Mon. 12/8, 6-8-m, Richmond City Council Chambers
Human Rights Day Celebration

If you are interested in volunteering to read an abbreviated version of one of the Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as part of the program, please complete and submit this form
CCC BoS decided to forgive $9M debt
Important step forward in saving Doctors Hospital
The Board of Supervisors made a step toward saving Doctors Hospital (DMC) on Tuesday, December 2.  It passed a resolution waiving  $9 million debt repayment. Eduardo Martinez, Melvin Willis, representing ACCE, and Mike Parker, representing the RPA, spoke at the Board along with several nurses and representatives of the CNA in support of this step.

Credit was given to the Richmond Council for providing leadership and for breaking the impass with its designation of $15 million in Community Benefits Agreement funds if others contribute. Supervisor John Gioia was one who responded.  Now others are coming to the table to maintain a full service hospital in West County.

This does not mean Doctors is saved yet.  There is still a lot of work to do.  This issue has to come before the other cities in the County --El Cerrito, Pinole, Hercules, San Pablo --- to contribute a share.   We need to look for ways that the major corporations in the County, especially the ones that handle hazardous materials, also are required to contribute.  Ultimately the County Board of Supervisors itself  is responsible for finding the ways to keep Doctors open on a sustainable basis--not just make a contribution to it.

Gioia's motion passed 3-2 (Gioia, Glover, and Mitchoff voted yes. Anderson and Piepho voted no).  There was general recognition that Doctors was in financial difficulty due to low reimbursement rates while having to serve a low wage and indigent population. None the less, Piepho, who shed tears in an earlier discussion about the County's program providing shelter and treatment of pets,  suggested that the County giving money for the hospital was an illegitimate "gift."

                                                                                              --Mike Parker 
Black Friday in Richmond: Walmart is the real Climate Criminal. 
Climate Movement Supports Walmart Workers
Photos: Tarnel Abbot.
This action drew hundreds to support Walmart workers in their fight to organize and drew attention to the impact Walmart has on global degradation. Co-sponsored by the Richmond Progressive Alliance, it was an effort of many allies.
Walmart workers' rights demonstration on Black Friday, Richmond, CA 
Walmart workers' rights demonstration on Black Friday, Richmond, CA.      Video: Richmond Confidential.
WCCUSD Board agrees:
Crude by Rail not a good idea
Wednesday evening, 12/3, the WCCUSD Board unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) to reconsider its permit to Kinder Morgan for crude by rail shipments coming in to Richmond.  AndrĂ©s Soto of Communities for a Better Environment brought the resolution to the Board.  The Richmond City Council passed a similar measure in October, and as a result, City Manager Lindsay sent a letter to BAAQMD making a case for reconsideration, review, and revocation of the permit.  That text is available here.
Photo source: Richmond Standard reader's submission. 
This recent incident may have helped persuade the Trustees: On Friday, a rail car derailed off BNSF tracks near the Richmond Parkway, where Pennsylvania Avenue ends near Peres Elementary School.  A reader submitted the photo above to the Richmond Standard (Chevron's PR organ), which ran a story on Wednesday.  Other media coverage was woefully scant. 
Th. 12/11, 6-8pm, Richmond City Council Chambers
CalEPA Refinery Safety Forum
Wed. 12/17, 4-7pm at East Bay Center for the Performing Arts:
Downtown Holiday Festival.

Other upcoming events:
Tour de Trails, Pogo Park, & U.S. CSB's 3rd report.

Sat., 12/6, 10am-1pm: Tour de Trails Bike Ride, a 16-mile flat route starting from
Richmond BART explores the wealth of Richmond's great trails.  Co-sponsored by Rich City Rides & Bike East Bay. More info: here.

Sat., 12/6, 6-9pm:

Wed., 12/17, Richmond City Council Chambers, time TBA: US Chemical Safety Board will release third installment of its report on the Aug. 2012 Richmond refinery explosion & fire.   
"Pre- & Post-Ferguson:
Real Police Reform Takes Root..."

"In the wake of a Missouri grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown on August 9, it can be difficult to imagine a city in the United States where a police department and a largely black and Latino population work together productively. 

"But it's happening in Richmond, California... [to read the full CounterPunch story by Steve Early, click here.] 
Mayor Gayle says: "This might be good to share."
The Made in Richmond Foodie Gift Box.

If your looking for a gift from Richmond, the promo materials say "The City of Richmond and the Richmond Economic Development Commission worked together to develop a gift box with a range of gourmet options made right here in Richmond from our growing Foodie cluster, including: Lemur International, Inc., Nutiva, Zoe's Cookies, Cassandras Dream Cakes, Catahoula Coffee Company, Oren's Kitchen, Lotus Foods, and Vassell Foods."  They are marketed by a local company, California Delicious
Another sweet treat:
Take a look at Richmond.

Mindy Pines was profiled recently in the Richmond Confidential ("With an iPhone, artist Mindy Pines photographs the everyday beauty of Richmond").  She writes: "Richmond, California lived up to its motto, 'City of Pride and Purpose' on Election Day 2014 when voters resoundingly showed they could not be bought."  Take a look at her photo essay here
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.