RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #190
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Richmond Progressive Alliance   

3/19 Kick-off for Fair & Affordable Richmond
4/2: RPA Members Meeting: Candidate Endorsements & Ballot Campaign Top Agenda
ACT plans a little parade to rally
Richmond needs jobs, education & housing funds with Global Campus
Richmond voters deserve better!
Opposition to Phillips's SLO Crude Plan Loud & Clear
3/23: Reports on Recent Trips to Cuba
Rally for Valley View Wed.
More Trees for Belding Woods
Mark your April calendars
3/17 Deadline for Richmond Promise applications; filing help

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. 3/19, 11am, Nevin Community Ctr. 
Rally & Mobilize for Rent Control Campaign

Canvasser training with role playing, FAQ answer sheets, and walk-sheet signups will be available, then we'll hit the streets about noon to start collecting the signatures necessary to get these community protections on the November ballot.

Of note: Barbara Ehrenreich reviewed Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond, in the New York Times recently. Here's the link to the review: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/books/review/matthew-desmonds-evicted-poverty-and-profit-in-the-american-city.html?_r=2. That page has a link to a podcast discussion with Desmond.

Sat. 4/2, 3-5pm, BBPC, 1021 Macdonald 
RPA Members to endorse candidates 
& pitch in on Fair & Affordable Richmond campaign!

More details will be available before the meeting, but the two very important matters headlined above will be the subject of discussion and action by the membership. In order to vote, you must be an RPA member in good standing, present at the meeting.
Membership is open to "residents of Richmond and those who work or are regularly active in Richmond and who agree with the mission and core values of the organization and pay the basic dues of the RPA." (The mission and core values are contained in the RPA Bylaws.) New members will be able to join at the door, but it will be smoother on April 2nd if you join or update your dues ahead of time.

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 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.
And please bring some finger food to share at the meeting!

ACT in action: Building our community's visions of home
From Sisters in Solidarity to Sidewalk Parade

At Sisters in Solidarity on March 5th, RPA Arts Culture Team members set up a cardboard house they'd built and invited everyone to decorate a brick in answer to the question: "What becomes home?" Many of the children who participated chose to take their works home themselves, but the house is now covered with visions of what it takes to make a place "home." (You'll have a chance to see more photos from SiS at the Spring RPA Members Meeting April 2.)

Now we're planning a sidewalk parade to roll the house from BBPC to the Nevin Community Center to help kick-off the Rent Control campaign.  First, its cornerstone will be updated to read: "Fair and Affordable Homes: The Cornerstone of Community!" To join in the parade, meet at BBPC at 10am on Saturday, March19th. Bring signs, banners, and instruments. Rain cancels only the parade!

Th. 3/17, 5:30-6:30pm, Rally at Richmond City Hall
Tell UCB: Fund jobs, education & housing!

Richmond voters deserve better
What's behind attacks on RPA?

Voters held high hopes for Team Richmond, the three RPA-endorsed Council candidates, and those they supported: Jael Myrick and mayoral candidate, Tom Butt. Their mutual campaigns signaled relief from the discordant years Corky Booz√© fomented on city council.
We are not getting what we hoped.
The dissonance we get --instead of the respectful cooperation we anticipated-- particularly stuns me, an RPA volunteer. Now I and others have to weigh whether it's better to let stand what feel like, at best, mischaracterizations and misunderstandings, and at worst unfair and untrue attacks; or if we should respond to each inaccurate characterization, so the negative, broad-brush impression of the RPA they suggest does not morph into intractable public perception.
The RPA expects attacks during elections. Does an all-volunteer organization of poor, working, and retired people with limited expertise in media management now have to muster the energies to counter year-in, year-out attempts to undermine us? Attacks that don't always come from heavily-funded business interests, such as the landlords' association (CAA), but sometimes from council members whose election we supported.
Give voters what we hoped for. We want to be (forgive me) "Richmond Proud" of our mayor and council. Otherwise, we can legitimately suspect that it's the fear of members who value people over profits holding a majority of council seats that motivates these stepped-up attacks.
--Kathleen Wimer             
"An impressive showing of people power"
Overwhelming opposition to CBR plan in SLO

On Friday March 11, a community member delivered testimony from Richmond City Councilmember Jovanka Beckles, urging the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission to deny Phillips 66 its request for a permit to build a spur rail line between its refinery and the main California coastal railway for the transport of tar sands crude. Her statement to the hearing, available in full here, outlined many ways the proposed operation would threaten residents all along its course, and concluded:
Source: SFA

"We in Richmond understand how difficult it is to stand up to the political power of the oil industry. In our last city election, Chevron spent more than $3 million in an attempt to defeat me and other candidates it could not control. However, we also know it's possible to defeat that power - all the candidates whom Chevron opposed won.

"We urge you to follow our lead, stand up to Phillips 66, and reject its proposal for a project that would create serious harm to San Luis Obispo, Richmond, residents of the California coast, and our entire planet."

This statement was read on the 4th day of hearings on the Phillips 66 permit. Paul Rea's article on the Sunflower Alliance Website says of the first two days:

"On February 4th & 5th, a wide-ranging, dynamic coalition made an impressive showing of people power in San Luis Obispo (SLO). Over two days of hearings, speaker after speaker critiqued Phillips 66's plan to have trains bring in highly flammable and toxic tar sands oil to its Santa Maria refinery. 

"...By the end of the second day only a half dozen speakers out of 200 had spoken in favor. 

"...Activist groups from the East and South Bay also had a huge presence at the hearings. They made the Central Coast public understand that the route of the tar sands oil trains runs the full length of the East Bay urban corridor, from Richmond through Oakland, Hayward, Fremont and on to San Jose. (See an interactive map of these rail lines at the Forest Ethics website,Oil Trains Blast Zone.) The lives, health, and property of over a million Californians would suddenly be put at risk if 'bomb' trains were given a green light." 

He concludes: "While it looks like sanity will prevail on the southern front, tough battles remain... ." Says a Sunflower Alliance activist: "The jury is definitely out."

Wed. 3/23, 6:30-8pm, Whittlesey Rm., 325 Civic Ctr. Plz.
2 Richmond Leaders to Report on Cuba

Wed. 3/16, 6:30pm, WCCUSD Brd Mtg, 3400 Macdonald (MPR)
Rally to Demolish & Rebuild Valley View

What's next for Valley View? Currently, there is NO TIMELINE and NO COMMITMENT from the District to Rebuild Valley View. Urge WCCUSD School Board to demolish the old campus: Phase II of the construction process for Valley View.

Organizers say: "We will need a VERY LARGE turnout. Plan to bring the whole family. Wear your Valley View tee-shirts or Valley View blue. Spread the word: tell friends, neighbors, and community members to attend. Arrive at 6:00pm to sign-up for public comment. Free pizza and homework passes provided."

Sat. 3/20, 8:30am, Belding-Garcia Park, 15th & Coalinga*
Richmond Trees: Planting the Urban Forest

Help plant 30 trees in the Belding-Woods neighborhood. If you have a favorite shovel, bring it along! Otherwise the only thing you need is some sturdy shoes, work gloves, drinking water and yourself! Info at richmondtrees.org. *Just west of Chavez Elementary. 

Also, monthly Tree Care Walks, every 3rd Sun., 9-noon, start from Burg Park (30th & Clinton) to water, weed, mulch, and nurture the 500 young trees planted so far. Next one: Mar. 20. No experience necessary.  Walk, talk, work, & enjoy!

Save these April dates today
Celebrate Poetry; EJ Education; Citizenship Help

Wed. 4/6, 7-9pm, BBPC: You are warmly invited to celebrate the release of One Way to Ask by Richmond poet Daniel Ari, illustrated by 67 artists from Richmond and around the world. This RPA ACT poetry party will include command performances, art on display, music, and refreshments. There will be an open mic for people who would like to share their poetry. Purchase your signed copy of One Way to Ask at the event and $5 will be donated directly to the RPA. Free admission. Donations encouraged.

Th. 4/21, 6-8 pm, Grace Lutheran Church, 24th & Barrett, Richmond: Local environmental justice organizations will hold the first in a series of community organizing events on refinery emissions and crude by rail. Get ready to put the heat on our Air Quality Management District Board so they adopt limits on refinery emissions this year.

Sat. 4/23, 10am-2pm, BBPC, 1021 Macdonald: Naturalization Workshop for qualified foreign nationals who wish to obtain
US citizenship (in time to vote in November!)  Organized by JINA Immigration Legal Services (JILS) & co-sponsored by RPA. Details in next issue.

Th. 3/17, 2-8pm, Richmond Promise Scholarship Workshop   
Application deadline: 11:59pm 3/17

The Richmond Promise will host a scholarship application workshop to help students complete their applications, with free access to computers and the internet, at the Richmond City Hall Computer Lab, 450 Civic Center Plaza. Register for a spot in the lab at www.promiseworkshop.eventbrite.com and go to www.richmondpromise.org for applications and more info.

Want to learn more about the RPA?
Check these out & see what you think.

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.