RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #166
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Richmond Progressive Alliance   

4/25: RPA Meeting: Stretching ourselves for outreach
4/26: Forum on Police Community Relations
Webworker Wanted
Bright Future for Sun, with your help
Mike Parker ReBUTTs Tom
DMC Closed Today. For bad.
Steve Early & UC Students on "Global Campus" Benefits
4/25: Richmond Toxics Tour
4/29: SFIFF Event: "Romeo is Bleeding"
Have an idea for Soil Not Oil Conference?
Promoting People Power
Rent Moratorium NOT Considered; Broad Coaliton to Be Built
EcoFest at Laney

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.


Sat. 4/25, 3-5:30pm, at 1021 Macdonald 
Hip, hip, hooray for the RPA Members, meeting.

Join members and friends of the RPA as we enjoy each others' company and our commitment to working together, building a better Richmond.

The RPA is searching for a new office.  Maybe you know a place?  Or can help us find one?

The RPA is working on an exciting and challenging process of transformation and growth.  We'd like you to be part of that.

There are many current and emerging issues that need to be addressed with energy, imagination, and dedication. Share you vision and shape our future.

This meeting, we want to focus on ways the Richmond Progressive Alliance can broaden and deepen its outreach efforts.  Please bring your ideas.

Help with the final planning for Saturday at the Membership Committee meeting, Thursday April 23 at 3pm, also at BBPC, 1021 Macdonald. 
Sun. 4/26, 4-6pm, BBPC, 1021 Macdonald Ave, Richmond 
The Shooting of Pedie Perez by Richmond Police Officer:  A Forum on Police Community Relations

On September 14, 2014 Richard "Pedie" Perez was shot and killed by Richmond Police Officer Wallace Jensen. The 24 year-old Pedie was intoxicated and resisting arrest, but according to attorney John Burris who is representing the Perez family, "he was not threatening." Police and eyewitnesses give different accounts. The RPD internal investigation is ongoing, but Officer Jensen has been returned to active duty.


The Contra Costa District Attorney refused to indict Jensen calling it a case of "justifiable homicide." Some of the DA's assertions contradict both witness testimony and statements made by Jensen. The Oscar Grant Committee has interviewed eyewitnesses who do not believe that the shooting was justified. Follow these links for a summary of their findings, videos, and other documents

This is the first lethal shooting by Richmond Police since 2007. "The killing of an unarmed man by a...police officer...deserves equal attention to other controversial examples of cops using deadly force," the victim's father said referring to protests in Ferguson and around the country.


Throughout the nation, the shock of so many shootings of unarmed people by police officers has shaken confidence in an institution that is sworn to protect. Rather than feeling protected by police, many individuals and communities feel threatened.

  • What can we, as citizens, do to make sure that police do not use excessive force?

  • How can we have an impact on police policy & training?

  • How can we help make sure that the shooting of Pedie

    Perez gets a thorough and fair investigation?

  • What can we do to demand accountability of local law


Join us to learn more about what happened to Pedie Perez and why the family --who will attend the forum-- and many others find the fatal shooting to be unwarranted as well as to discuss these difficult issues and prepare for upcoming  City meetings where you can make a difference.

On Monday, April 27, the Richmond Human Rights and Human Relations Commission will hold a Town Hall on these issues, 6:30-8:30pm, in City Council Chambers.  It will be an opportunity for the public to go on record.


And on Tuesday, April 28, Chief Magnus will be doing a study session at the Richmond City Council on the broader issue of how officers make use of force decisions, what RPD's process is for investigating use of force incidents (including officer-involved shootings), the policies RPD has in place and its ongoing efforts to avoid officer-involve shooting incidents whenever possible.


The April 26 forum is sponsored by the Richmond Progressive Alliance & The Oscar Grant Committee (www.oscargrantcommittee.org).

                                                                     --Tarnel Abbott & Marilyn Langlois
Anybody out there who can lend a hand?
Update RPA's presence on the www.

RPA needs help maintaining its website and transitioning to a 21st century web presence, with social-media integration and interactivity. If you enjoy technical challenges and have some knowledge of HTML/CSS, your help could be crucial to our ability to engage the next generation of activists. Please contact Daniel Goodwin at 510-527-4652 for further details.
Want to see some light shone on Richmond politics?
Help The Richmond Sun Rise Again

The RPA Steering Committee wants to see if it is feasible to get out a new issue of the Richmond Sun(the newspaper that Team Richmond put out twice during the campaign). While we are grateful for the coverage from the Richmond Pulse and Richmond Confidential and, occasionally, from the CC Times, we need something that clearly presents the progressive vision in Richmond.  
After all, Chevron has the Richmond Standard and Radio Free Richmond as well as its own mailings.

We need to put together the plans for editorial, production, fund raising, and distribution aspects of the paper.  If you are interested in participating in any phase, contact Mike Parker, mparker00@gmail.com 
reBUTTal on Rent Control, by Mike Parker
Tom Distorts Statistics and Logic

We know that tables, graphs, and  numbers, in addition to the information they contain, help make articles appear to be more accurate or true.  But these same tables, graphs, and numbers can also be used to redirect the argument or serve as a smokescreen for illogical statements.   Mayor Tom Butt has apparently decided to lead the campaign against rent control through his articles in his e-Forum.  Mike Parker challenges Tom on his data and logic.  The issues surrounding rent control deserve to be debated seriously and thoroughly. See Mike's answer to Tom here.  


April 21, 2015: A day that will live in infamy
DMC is closed.  If you prick us, do we not bleed?

This round has been lost.  You've read the arguments here.  The people of this community need and deserve a full service public hospital.  Several dozen residents from Richmond and neighboring communities --many of them former patients who owed their lives to DMC-- gathered in the hallway outside the CCC Board of Supervisors' meeting early today for a memorial service.  Then they went in and told the Board members what the closing meant to them, and begged, urged, and demanded that the County make the needed investments in our public health system and find the will and a way to get us a hospital.
These photos, from Tarnel Abbott, are of the early arrivals for the protest, above, and of the memorial.  Carnations, with notes in memory those touched by the hospital and its closing, were left on the podium. County staff found black ribbon to tie around the vase they put them in.  Why can't they find a way to meet our real need?

Steve Early's Counterpunch article asks: 
Who will UC's new "Global Campus" benefit?

The RPA is part of a coalition working to get a strong Community Benefits Agreement from the University of California as it plans for its new "Global Campus at Richmond Bay."


Steve Early's article, out just after the last issue of the Activist, provides lots of good information on the subject. Here's the beginning: "Members of AFSCME Local 3299 who in live in Richmond, CA. and work for the University of California in Berkeley have an urgent message for their neighbors: 'When the university plans a major expansion in our city, we need to get all its promises in writing!'


"AFSCME activists base that sound trade union advice on their most recent contract bargaining -and on-going labor relations battles-with the UC system. In 2013-14, it took more than a year of difficult negotiations, plus statewide strike activity, to win the collective bargaining agreement that currently covers 8,300 UC service workers.


"Several hundred Richmond residents are employed in this bargaining unit. According to AFSCME, their labor has been so undervalued in the past that some of the union's Black and Latino members at UC could even qualify for public assistance.


"Now, AFSCME rank-and-filers are campaigning, with student and community allies, for a different kind of 'CBA.' At meetings on campus, in local churches, and other venues, they are pressuring the university to sign a 'community benefits agreement' that would apply to the 'Berkeley Global Campus at Richmond Bay'(BGC) that UC-plans to build in partnership with private developers and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories (LBNL)."


Read it all here.


And apologies for the short notice, but I just got word of:



Sat. 4/25, 10am-2pm, Meet at BBPC, 1021 Macdonald
Right before the RPA Mtg: Richmond Toxics Tour

The Richmond Toxics Tour, led by Andrés Soto, Richmond Organizer for CBE (Communities for a Better Environment), combines environmental and social
justice with a large dose of local history to provide a context to our lives in West County. We will visit several locations that highlight the challenges and the resilience of the people of Richmond as we turn from a legacy of industrial pollution to one of a renewable energy future. Seats fill up early. Reservations recommended. To reserve a seat contact Andrés Soto, 510.282.5363 or andres@cbecal.org    
Wed. 4/29, 7:30pm, El Cerrito High School Pref. Arts Theater 
"Romeo is Bleeding" World Premiere
A Richmond Love Story at the Crossroads.
Romeo is Bleeding - SFIFF58 Excerpt 
Romeo is Bleeding - SFIFF58 Excerpt
This screening is part of the San Francisco International Film Festival. "This project is about rebuilding a community, rerouting a vengeful heart down the road of love, healing through the power of storytelling and personal sacrifice; a call for people to speak and be heard." --Donte Clark, Te's Harmony Playwright 

This documentary film on the genesis and production of the play "Te's Harmony"  features playwright Donte Clark, a Richmond Poet Laureate, and the local youth who developed, produced, and star in this modern re-imagining of Romeo & Juliet. 
For tickets and more information, follow this link.  
Apply now to present on Sept. 4 & 5, here in Richmond
Soil Not Oil International Conference

The theme: Practicing Sustainable Agriculture to Restore Ecosystem and Mitigate Climate Change, advocating for the sustainable and regenerative management of soils while reducing dependency on fossil fuels.


As an international platform to share, learn and launch campaigns in support of restoration of ecosystems, more than 60 speakers --from farmers, activists and community organizers to scientists and elected officials-- will share their perspectives and present alternatives to solve one of the most important problems that humans face today.


Over two a hundred workshops, networking sessions, and classes will be offered on a variety of topics over the course of two days.  Right here in Richmond!


If you would like to submit  a proposal to speak, give a presentation, facilitate or hold a workshop, the deadline for submissions is June 15.  Learn more here.  


Others want to know:  How do we do it in Richmond?
RPA as a model & inspiration

Organizations in other cities have been asking for information on the RPA and how the people of Richmond beat Chevron's money.

Some want to build something like the RPA.  Kathleen Wimer, Jamin Purcell, and Jeff Kilbreth spoke to the Progressive Democrats in San Francisco. Margaret Jordan and Gayle McLaughlin are scheduled to speak in Santa Rosa. 

Jamin Purcell and Mike Parker spoke at the Alameda Forum with newly elected Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer, above, on defeating big money candidates.  
UPDATE: Tonight, 4/21, 6:30pm, City Council Chambers
Speak out: Rent moratorium taken off agenda.

[Ed. note: I was not able to complete this issue of the Activist before tonight's Richmond City Council meeting.  I believe this article still has relevance and value.--PB]

Vice Mayor Jael Myrick has 
apparently decided to pull from tonight's agenda his item, which would have called for a 45-day freeze on rent increases, due to its anticipated failure to receive the 6 (of 7) votes required for an "urgency item" (one which goes into effect immediately). Nevertheless, please consider speaking in Open Forum at the beginning of the meeting if you support the measure or other action council could take to help prevent displacement of tenants, as the cost of rentals in Richmond climbs steeply.  

Here's a bit of background on the situation that prompted the drive for a rent moratorium,  as presented in the RPA Key List mailing this past week: ACCE (Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment) has been documenting many cases of rents for low income tenants being increased up to 20% all at once, which is devastating for struggling families.  Overall rents in Richmond have increased dramatically in the last three years. 

The RPA has a history of strong support for Just Cause Eviction and Fair Rent legislation in Richmond, and while we have not had a chance to take a formal position on this item, which was developed very quickly, we are in the process of joining a growing community coalition that will be working on crafting a more long-term ordinance.*  

Please come to the council meeting and speak up if you want to protect tenants from displacement!
_     _     _     _     _     _     _     _  
*A meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 4/28 at 1 pm at the Bobby Bowens Center to start making plans for building a broad coalition in support of a Just Cause/Fair Rent Ordinance.    
Th. 4/23, 11am-2pm, Laney College
Who can resist an EcoFest?

It promises: Music! Food! Dance! Poetry! Fellowship! Community!
Hybrid & Electric Cars! 3-D Printing! Urban Gardening!  Mini Farmers Market!

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.