Bobby Bowens Progressive Center
PASS IT ON!!
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.
RPA Meeting Sat. 5/23/15, 3-5pm, at 1021 Macdonald
Talking Richmond, Talking Politics!
Our focus this month: Talking Housing. The RPA Housing Action Team reports. Learn about the work the HAT's doing on affordable housing, in lieu fees, city planning & neighborhoods.
Participate and guide RPA Standing Committees and possible new Action Teams. The Membership Cmte.
wants your input, and get updates and ideas for a Health Action Team (HeAT: DMC/Health related), Education Action Team (EAT); Police/Community Action Team (P-CAT: Pedie Perez/Justice/Community Safety) , Global Campus.
Note: To suggest or request topics for additional Action Team interest group attention, please call 510-412-2260.
And we'll revisit RPA's mission statement: What's our aim?
Here's the Facebook event page for the meeting; please, invite your friends.
New members can join at the door and current members can update their status.
If you'd like to join now, follow 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 email@example.com 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.
Tues. 5/19, 8:00am, Juvenile Court, 725 Court St., Martinez:
"Danger to Society" Action: Protest at Sentencing
Please note: Correct address is 725 Court St., Martinez.
Please join Lauryn Grayson's family, teachers, mentors, counselors, and supporters at her Court Sentencing to PROTEST and MAKE A STRONG STATEMENT! She has spent almost a month of her 14 year life in juvenile hall for a misdemeanor. Her case was reviewed by a Republican Contra Costa County judge by the name of Thomas Maddock on May 5th. The judge made some racially charged and disrespectful comments that showed his prejudices and biases. He called Lauryn a "danger to society," while he and the juvenile justice system are the REAL danger to society. Please come and show your support for Lauryn and your outrage for the school-to-prison pipeline that continues everyday, with children of color experiencing INJUSTICES and continued trauma by the system!! CHANGE NEEDS TO HAPPEN NOW!
Children who are not dangerous felons continue to be shackled from Juvenile Hall to their court appearances. DC stopped this practice; Contra Costa County and others can, too. Read about it here (Washington Post article) and see a news clip here. --Jovanka Beckles
Tues. 5/19, 5:30pm Rally before Richmond City Council mtg:
Support Richmond Resolutions Against Coal.
Tuesday, two long-awaited resolutions will be voted on by Richmond City Council. The resolutions oppose the mining, transportation, handling, and burning of coal, as well as supporting strong regulations on coal and petroleum coke ("petcoke") piles to restrict the dust.
From the Sunflower Alliance: Coal-hauling trains travel uncovered for hundreds of miles from Colorado. The rail company BNSF estimates that on an average trip a coal train can lose between 500 and 2000 pounds (1 ton!) of coal dust. If the plan to turn Oakland into a major coal exporting port is allowed to go forward, the impacts on Bay Area residents' health and quality of life will be enormous.
The first resolution, a policy statement, opposes coal mining, transport, export, and burning and restricts city-owned land, including the Port of Richmond, from being used to export coal and petcoke. The second resolution calls on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) to pass a new regulation requiring coal and petcoke storage piles to be covered, to restrict the amount of coal dust that gets into the air locally.
Rally for the resolutions in the Civic Center Plaza at 5:30. After 6:30, sign up to speak in support of both of these resolutions [Agenda item G-2] before they are formally considered by the Council.
Wed. 5/20, 10am Rally & Press Conference, Civic Center Plaza
Shareholders to Chevron: No more $$$ for votes!
A group of Chevron Shareholders is proposing a resolution to stop Chevron from spending money in politics. Richmond City Councilmember Eduardo Martinez will theatrically deliver 100,000 petitions calling on Chevron to stop polluting our democracy and elections. Come out by 9:30 for a free cup of coffee and help make sure that Chevron hears us, loud and clear, when we say: "Chevron: Stop Polluting our Democracy!"
Gotta love Photoshop. Source unknown.
For actions planned for the opening of the Chevron shareholders' meeting on May 27, see the next gold section below.
Wed. 5/20, 5pm Meet at Civic Center & ride from 5:30 to 7pm:
Annual Community Ride of Silence
A somber, slow &
quiet ride to honor those who have been seriously hurt or killed while bicycling in Richmond. The ride will traverse areas that the City of Richmond is planning to improve to increase safety for cyclists. The Ride of Silence aims to raise awareness among motorists, police, and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways. More here
on Richmond's Bike Month activities.
Rent Control Debate Updates:
Up to 5000 units* in Richmond would be effected
In late April the Activist
featured Mike Parker's analysis of the distorted statistics and faulty logic in Tom Butt's arguments against rent control. Read that ReButtal here
Tom wrote a response to Mike, and that, in turn, provoked an answer from Dean Preston and Dan Harper of Tenants Together, "Richmond Mayor Tom Butt Backs Unlimited Rent Increases,"
.* Their conclusion: "Butt's rebuttal is weak." Tom Butt did circulate it on his e-forum, bu
t least one reader took exception to the introductory comments that were appended. See that
response in the next section.
*Updated estimates of the number of rental units in Richmond eligible for rent control show that nearly one-third of the city's renters could be protected.
Resident's letter to Mayor & Council in support of rent control:
"... I stand with those at the bottom..."
To Tom Butt and the Richmond City Council,
I do appreciate that Tom Butt sends out media stories in favor of rent control which he personally opposes. I do not appreciate that he introduces them with his own weak arguments against rent control. Tom, please stop sounding like the hysterical manager of a real estate firm with a portfolio of apartment complexes who wants to make enormous profits instead of just reasonable profits. You have already made your case too many times in previous emails.
In his intro to Preston and Harper's essay, Tom Butt says that rent control does not happen because "most people don't" believe in it. When I moved to Richmond in 1998, Chevron had a free hand in Richmond politics. Does that mean that people supported low taxes for them, weak controls on their emissions and dangerous working conditions that allowed for frequent "accidents" like the one in 2012? No, in both cases, there is a rich and powerful special interest (real estate owners in once case, Chevron in the other) that spends essentially unlimited money to maintain control over politicians. Look across the country and what one sees is that in almost all cases money wins. It takes years of persistent, skillful organizing to win against the 1%. Only after ten years is the Richmond Progressive Alliance finally in a position to win more often than lose. Most other communities do not yet have what Richmond does.
I could go on to pick apart how silly Tom Butt's arguments sound, but I thought that Preston and Harper did a good enough job.
I want Tom Butt to STFU about rent control. The reasoned and well researched arguments that usually come from him are totally absent on this issue. If you do not know what STFU means, look it up. I choose to be crude because he has lost my respect.
I want rent control to win because I stand with those at the bottom who earn minimum wage; rent control would help some of them. Of course, there are small time property owners whose profits will be reduced. But they will still make money if they manage their property well. Meanwhile, without rent control, there are some people that would be evicted for nonpayment of rapidly rising rent who will be protected if it passes. Will it protect all such people? No, but protecting some is better than none.
I urge all of the City Council to back rent control and do it ASAP.
Wed. 5/20, 6:30pm, LaVonya Dejean Mid. Sch., 3400 Macdonald
Tell WCCUSD Board to Support Adult School
From Saturday's Key List mailing:
Protest school district plans to crush its successful adult school program:
- The district is telling adult school staff that cuts and layoffs may be necessary next year because there will be less money. Yet the governor's budget plan released in January proposes that, beginning in 2015, adult schools will receive dedicated funding from the Adult Education Block Grant. This funding can only be used for adult schools and is equal to the amount spent this year.
- The district is converting the Alvarado Adult School campus into a district training facility and headquarters of a district math program. The English as a Second Language (ESL) offices located in that building have been ordered to move immediately, and teachers on special assignment who administer the ESL program have had their hours cut. These district actions are highly disruptive, as they come at a time when the ESL staff coordinates year-end CASAS and EL Civics testing, which brings in $300-400K annually to the program.
- The district has told the ESL program that aides and babysitters for the ESL/Family Literacy classes are not in the adult school budget. These resources are critical for the success of the program's least literate students.
- Cuts to the adult school ESL program ultimately hurt children: the student body of WCCUSD is now 40% Latino, and a third of the children in the district are English Language Learners. Parents need ESL classes to support their children's academic success.
- High school diploma, GED, career and tech training programs are already affected.
- Popular community classes in languages, music, art, dance, etc. may be curtailed for lack of space.
The situation will get even worse next year if the district enacts its threats of teacher layoffs and cuts to services.
Come to the school board meeting and ask: Why is WCCUSD working to undermine its highly successful adult school program? Adult schools throughout California are planning to use the next school year's dedicated adult school funds to restart and reinvigorate their programs. WCCUSD should be doing the same thing!
If you cannot attend the meeting Wednesday, please consider making calls or sending emails in support. Contact information for the WCCUSD School Board members is available here and more detailed talking points can be found here.
--Edited from an article by Janet Johnson
Thurs. 5/21, 9:30am, 7th Flr Brd Rm, 939 Ellis St., San Francisco
Demand of BAAQMD Cleaner Air
A coalition of environmental organizations is pressing to get the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) to take stronger action in reducing smog-forming, toxic, and climate disrupting pollutants. The groups are asking both BAAQMD's Climate Protection Committee and its Stationary Source Committee to adopt a resolution recommending that the full BAAQMD Board pass policy
"directing Air District Staff to develop, for Board consideration in proposed Rule 12-16, enforceable numeric limits on criteria, toxic, and greenhouse gas air pollutant emissions that will prevent increased emissions from Bay Area refineries."
The coalition is asking as many people as possible to attend the Climate Protection Committee meeting May 21st.
The coalition is trying to get the resolution added to the agenda, but it may be necessary to speak about this and other issues during the public forum portion of the meeting. The agenda for the May 21st meeting can be found here.
There is also a Stationary Source Committee (refineries, etc) meeting scheduled for May 27. The coalition will decide whether to press its case at this meeting or at the full Board Meeting June 3, based on what happens at the Climate Protection Committee.
If they build it, won't they fill it?
Sheriff's Office wants more than 400 new jail beds
The Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office is proposing to expand the West County Detention Facility by building a new 150K square foot building on the current prison grounds (5555 Giant Hwy, Richmond0. The new building would add more than 400 new beds to the facility.
Some background: About two years ago, the CCC Sheriff put together a proposal for $80M in state funds for jail construction under SB 1022, but the proposal was not successful.
Now, Senate Bill 863 has authorized $500 million to underwrite jail construction projects in California. Once again, the Sheriff's Office is planning to submit an application.
No one --neither the City nor Richmond residents-- seems to have heard about this plan until very recently. Here are two opportunities to learn about it now.
Reentry Solutions Group Meeting:
Tues. 5/26, noon-2pm, Bermuda Room, Civic Center
Sheriff's Office representatives will be at the meeting to discuss this issue.
RSG meetings are free and open to all, but you MUST register to attend.
Sheriff's Office presentation of proposal to Richmond City Council
Tues. 5/26, 6:30pm, City Council Chambers
Wed. 5/27, 7am, Chevron World Headquarters*
Protest putting profits above people & planet
Environmental and human rights community protests are planned for outside the Chevron Annual Shareholder Meeting in support of shareholder resolutions on accountability, environmental, and human rights issues. Support communities in Ecuador, Nigeria, Richmond, and around the world that are negatively impacted by Chevron's actions. See TrueCostofChevron.com.
The True Cost of Chevron is Too High:
On Climate - Chevron must invest in renewable energy, not dirty crudeOn Public Health - Chevron must stop putting our children's health at riskOn Democracy - Chevron must stop corrupting our democracyOn Respect for the Environment and Human rights - Chevron must clean up its toxic messesOn Accountability/Free Speech - Chevron must stop attacking its critics and violating First Amendment rights
*Chevron World Headquarters: 6001 Bollinger Canyon Rd., San Ramon, CA
Sat. 5/30, 2-4pm, Whittlesley Rm., Richmond Public Library :
Absolved by Solidarity: Work by Antonio Guerrero
The 'Hole' and Separation (2014).
Exhibit & book presentation. Paintings by Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban Five political prisoners, recently freed after 16 years in U.S. prisons.
The exhibit will feature watercolor paintings by Antonio Guerrero, who learned from fellow inmates how to draw and paint. The 31 images will include a new series contained in the book Absolved by Solidarity and the series "I Will Die the Way I've Lived" painted in 2013. They portray the first 17 months the Cuban Five served in solitary confinement and their year-long trial.
The Five were arrested in 1998. Antonio Guerrero was one of the three Cubans remaining in prison who were freed on December 17, 2014, under the impact of a worldwide campaign to win their release. All five are now in Cuba.
Sponsored by the Friends of the Richmond Public Library. Presented by Pathfinder Press. Free & open to the public.
Fri. 5/29, 729pm, East Bay Ctr. for Performing Arts, 339 11th St.:
Make it Fresh:1 Night Only Showcase/Celebration
From the Movement Generation (MG) announcement:
"Hosted by Josh Healey (NPR Snap Judgment) and Shannon Matesky (HBO Def Poetry) with music from DJLN.
"FREE and Open to the Community!
Limited Seats. So reserve your spot now by clicking here.
"Join MG and friends for the all-star Make it Fresh performance showcase...for the first time in Richmond! This show will be ONE NIGHT ONLY.
"Over the last two months, 15 emerging writers, artists, & rockstar activists from Richmond and the greater Bay Area have come together to write, learn, and share their stories. Spoken word, songs, and poetic manifestos, these are stories of refineries and rebellions. Mother Earth and Mac Dre. We have asthma in our lungs, joy in our hearts, and we're ready to shout our stories to the world.
"Join us for this one-time-only performance showcase, where the newest round of Make it Fresh storytellers will share their freshest creations with the community.
"Participating artists and activists come from groups like: Urban Tilth, RYSE Center, Rich City Rides, Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization, Gabriela SF, YES Nature to Neighborhoods, Richmond Progressive Alliance, RAW Talent, Youth Speaks, Arab Resource & Organizing Center, The
Artisanal Hub, Movement Strategy Center, and many more."
Check out the Facebook event page here.
Action Alert for Thurs. 6/4, 5pm at City Hall:
Berkeley Global Campus in Richmond
The new Berkeley Global Campus in Richmond could have a bigger impact on the city than Chevron. It could become a huge asset for the current residents by providing good jobs, boosting local businesses, and helping create affordable housing. Or it could simply force the cost of housing to sky-rocket while providing mainly minimum wage jobs for Richmond residents.
The Regents who run the University of California (UC), representing predominantly right-wing business interests, cannot be counted on to look out for Richmond. Once construction is started the city has very little power over campus construction or policies. It is crucial that we get the University to agree to a binding Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) while the city still has some leverage. Although CBA's are now common for large projects, UC is resisting a binding agreement. The City has a major role in the organizing and financing of the infrastructure that will be required for the Campus. We are lobbying in Sacramento to make sure that the legislation that will permit the infrastructure development includes a contingency clause that requires UC to sign a CBA.
The Raise Up Richmond Coalition, including CCISCO, ACCE, Safe Return Project, AFSCME 3299, RPA, and others, is fighting to win a CBA that will truly benefit Richmond. The Coalition is working to build community understanding of the importance of this CBA.
RPA members who want to be more involved in this organizing can contact me by email.
The flyer these images came from didn't show up clearly in the Activist format, but here's one important line from it:
We say no public money without public benefit!
Sat. 6/13, 6pm, East Bay Center for Performing Arts :
Richmond-Regla Friendship Committee presents:
Films to be shown: Reembarque/Reshipment (2014) & Eyes of the Rainbow (1997). For a full-page flyer with more details, click here.
Save these dates now.
Coming in June:
Sun. 6/14, 2-6pm
Richmond Greenway @ 8th Street & @ 16th Street
Community Design Review Event: Come out and help design UNITY PARK!
UNITY PARK on the Richmond Greenway is coming!
Wed. 6/17th, 9am-12:30pm at RYSE (205 41st. St.)
Gender Justice, Trauma, and Healing: Exploring the impact of gender privilege and gender violence on trauma and healing for young people of color.
Registration will open in early June.
Sat. 6/20, all day
Refinery Corridor Healing Walk from Benicia to Rodeo.
This issue was extra-long because I'll be taking a break until about a week before the RYSE event. Thank you for reading this far! I hope you find the Activist interesting and useful. --Patsy Byers.
Some History and Understanding of the RPA
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.