RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #164
3-25 -15   
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Richmond Progressive Alliance   

Commercial Property Tax Reform Kickoff!
Send Comments to BAAQMD for Cleaner Air
Co-Learning a People-powered Economy
Whose World Is It?
4/4: Join the RPA Social Media Collective
"Inclusive Prosperity" via Robin Hood Tax
Reports on "The Future of Railroading"
HERstory in Richmond
The Importance of Our Youth by Gayle McLaughlin
First Steps to a Nuclear Free Future

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.


Thur. 3/26 at noon, rally in Richmond at Chevron
Let's end the way Prop 13 favors corporations


The fight for corporate property tax reform is getting underway!  Meet at Washington Park at W. Cutting & S. Garrard at 11:30 for the noon rally, a Campaign Kickoff to increase awareness and then bring the issue to the voters.  This campaign is all about people power. Corporations won't give up their special deal without a fight, so it's up to people like us to out-organize them. Together we can get back more than $6 billion annually to fund our schools and public services.  


The focus Thursday is at Chevron, which benefits to the tune of at least $100 million annually (and maybe much more); with its huge holdings severely under-assessed, its willingness to use millions of its tax savings to (try to) buy elections, and its annual profits approaching $20 billion, it's a good place to start.    


Get your comments in by Fri. 3/27:
Tell BAAQMD to change rules & protect us!

Here's what it says on the RPA Facebook page: "Where do refineries get off not cutting toxic emissions harmful to health; and BAAQMD (Bay Area Air Quality Management District) not insisting? Tell BAAQMD: require refineries to measure reliably and to cut toxins we breathe 20% or more over the next ten years. Beginning NOW. Cut the Crap. Email estevenson@baaqmd.gov before March 27, when public comment on proposed rules for refineries closes."

    Couldn't say it better.  But I'd shorten it to 5 years!  2020 is late enough.
Here's what Mike Parker sent BAAQMD. 
Sat. 3/28, 10am-4pm, Grace Lutheran, 2369 Barrett
people-powered economy for Richmond

Be part of the "Co-learning Forum" working towards creating a people-powered economy in Richmond.  The event is co-sponsored by the Richmond Progressive Alliance.  Join other activists and residents as we determine how we can meet our real needs together.
It's not too late to register!  Please do so today, so planners can be sure to have enough food prepared for the crowd.  (Breakfast will be served at 9:30!)  Fill out the short form here. Short form?!  Sounds like taxes!  See the next green block. 
Also Sat. 3/28, 3-6pm, Whittlesey Rm., Main Library
Race & Social Justice Workshop with Bill Say

A public forum to:
  • address race and social justice 
  • and begin to make needed changes
    • in our city and world,  
    • in our relationships,  
    • and within ourselves.

This workshop asks: Whose world is it?     

Sat. 4/4, 10am, BBPC, 1021 Macdonald Ave.:
Join the RPA Social Media Collective

RPA Social Media wants to be on the cutting edge of this opportunity for resident-led, resident-focused government. That's what RPA always champions. Still, some politicians recently thought they struck a chord by talking about how a fourth City Council seat would give RPA control, as if a majority of members in support of such a government could be a bad thing.


Obviously, RPA Social Media wants to defuse whatever misunderstanding that represents and, in fact, help to activate increased people-powered government here.

                                                                      --Kathleen Wimer, RPA's FB lead


Produce, critique, publish, and share content.  
Exchange, teach, and learn social media skills and strategies.
April 8, National Day of Action:
Robin Hood Tax Bill for Inclusive Prosperity
Photo source: NNU

From an announcement by National Nurses United: "This week, Congressman Keith Ellison reintroduced the 'Robin Hood Tax bill,' The Inclusive Prosperity Act, H.R. 1464. By establishing a small tax on certain Wall Street transactions, it would raise more than $300 billion a year for American families and communities, and curb casino-style high frequency trading."

There are several ways to show your support:  
  • Call Rep. Mark De Saulnier.  His Richmond number: 510- 620-1000.  Urge him to co-sponsor!
  • On April 8, Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street supporters will hold vigils at congressional offices across the country, demanding Congress pass H.R. 1464 --commemorating 47 years since Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered while conducting a national campaign against economic inequality.  An action is already planned for the Walnut Creek office of Rep. De Saulnier (info here.)  What about in Richmond?
  • Selfies & social media: Print or make a sign and fill in what you would do for Richmond and the world with $300 billion annually.  Take a photo of yourself with the sign (and a green hat with a red feather?) and hashtag it #RHT300B.

Here's some helpful background reading on the Inclusive Prosperity Act, also suggested by NNU. (These links are also good for social media sharing.)

A report by Rob Ham on the 3/14 Richmond Conference
"The Future of Railroading"

Photo: Rob Ham 
The T-shirt says: Unity.  Democracy. Solidarity.  


An eclectic mix of union and environmental activists met at the Richmond Recreation Center for the "Future of Railroading" Conference on March 14th. The attendees were a multi-ethnic and age-diverse group representing a variety of organizations and crafts. The conference was sponsored by Railroad Workers United (RWU), "a cross craft caucus of railroad workers drawn from the ranks of all union members" and The Backbone Campaign for "artful activism."


The day started with opening remarks by Hugh Sawyer of RWU and Alex Knox of the Richmond Mayor's Office and then proceeded into a program of learning and networking that lasted well into the evening.


Topics included the safety issues of transporting Bakken and Tar Sands crude oil by rail through our communities, with trains that are miles long and consist of a hundred or more tank cars. Other labor and environmental issues were discussed as well.


In cost cutting moves, the railroads are moving to crew these trains, carrying highly toxic and explosive materials, with only one employee, exponentially increasing the danger of incidents occurring and minor incidents escalating to major disasters. For more information, see the link: http://railroadworkersunited.blogspot.com/2013/12/whats-wrong-with-single-employee-train.html   


Union employees, not only from the railroads but also oil refineries, power plants, and even maritime transport companies, described how corporate America is playing "Russian Roulette" with the environment, our communities and, in many cases, our lives, by reducing staffing levels and cutting corners on safety at every stage of transport and refining operations in the interest of profit, and how union leadership is often complacent in the process.


For Rob's full report, go to this link.

Another article on the conference, with an emphasis on the threats posed by crude-by-rail, written by Steve Early and published in teleSUR (online), is available here.  


March is Women's History Month,
Richmond knows!

From the Proclamation in late February,
Photos: Tarnel Abbott

to the Sisters in Solidarity International Women's Day Celebration,

to this article with Rosie the Riveter's Ranger Betty Soskin telling her story,
Photo source: NPS
let's pay attention. 
Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin writes on:
The Importance of Our Youth

At the March 17th City Council  

meeting, the City Council approved up to $50k for a budget for the Youth Council. There was a sample budget included. The great majority of this money in this sample budget does not go directly to the Youth Council for discretionary spending, but rather it addresses specific needs of youth for staff support, leadership training and technical assistance that are unique to preparing the youth to effectively and responsively work as a youth leadership body. It does provide a fund of about $10k to carry out a meaningful project or event focused on youth issues and engagement each year. Half of that could go for the cost of renting the Auditorium, so the remaining $5k for planning an annual event is not much indeed.


I want to thank Councilmembers Beckles and Myrick for co-sponsoring and supporting this item with me. Thank you also to Councilmember Martinez for voting to approve this.


It is important to understand that there is a history in recent years of attempts to acquire more funding for youth and to raise the youth voice in the City of Richmond. For example, in 2008, I brought an item to the Council, with the co-sponsorship of then Councilmember Tony Thurmond (now Assemblymember Thurmond) to ask that staff explore that a certain percentage of our overall budget be committed to youth activities similar to the Oakland Children and Youth Fund and schedule a future study session. While this was approved unanimously by the City Council, a study session was never scheduled. It was about that time that the Great Recession hit and the issue was left in limbo.


So discussions were continued... read the rest of the article here.  

At the start of Spring:
Walk of Life, from Richmond to the U.N.

Photo: Paul Kilkenny
Councilwoman Gayle McLaughlin and other local supporters joined the kickoff at Richmond BART for a peace walk across the nation for a nuclear free future.  To learn more, see this flyer
Save the Date:  Sun 4/19, 4-7pm, 747 Lobos Ave.
Benefit Preview Party for "Against Hate"

Richmond film-maker Brenda Williams, a member of the city's Arts and
Culture Commission, is completing a documentary film about City
Councilor Jovanka Beckles and last year's community mobilization against
hate speech, homophobic harassment, and disruption at city council

Donations are requested; no minimum required.  More details soon.

Michael Beer's
Quotation for Now

"Power concedes nothing without a demand.  It never did, and it never will."
                  --Frederick Douglass
New members welcome anytime. 
Read this far?  Ready to join the RPA?
RPA Logo
Many thanks to current members.  (Our next Members Meeting is tentatively scheduled for Sat. 4/25, 3-5:30pm.)

If you're ready to join now, use this link to the membership form.  Print and complete the form and mail it in with a check for your dues, which start at $12/yr.  Or, to avoid printing and snail-mailing, you can:

  •  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 helps us keep dues more affordable for those with low income and is welcomed.
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.