RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #191
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Richmond Progressive Alliance   

Canvass to carry campaign to Nov. ballot!
Candidate & Campaigns on Members' Agenda
Poetry Party at BBPC 4/6
Watch out for another Landlords' petition!
Good turn-out in support of Valley View
Save 4/21 for Spare Our Air Forum
Free Citizenship Workshop 4/23 at BBPC
Article on new doc: "Nat Bates for Mayor"(!)
Next Ceasefire Night Walk 4/1
4/3, 10-noon, Spring in a New Garden
Take Back the Night CVS Event 4/7
Cuban Poet Nancy Morejon Here 4/10
Apply for Plumber/Fitter Apprenticeships
4/22 in The City: Labor for Bernie
Proposals requested for Soil Not Oil
Last but not least: "China on Strike" event

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.


For Rent Control, Just Cause, & Homeowner Protections 
It was a great kick-off...

Photos: L-Marcos Banales. 
R-Carole Yu-Johnson.


now, let's maintain the momentum!
Sat. 4/2, 10-2 & Sun. 4/3, noon-4, from BBPC
Canvass for a Fair & Affordable Richmond

or contact Zak: zakwear@gmail.com(510) 621-7566. Take along your hat, sunscreen, & water bottle. There'll be juice, coffee, & something to nibble at 1021 Macdonald to get you started or to tide you over. Training is available, and you can get a partner there to walk with, too, if you'd like one.

Sat. 4/2, 3-5pm, RPA Meeting, 1021 Macdonald
Spring '16: Time for candidate endorsement!

Monday night, the RPA Steering Committee chose a potential Richmond City Council candidate to recommend to the members for their consideration. (Only RPA members in good standing, present at the meeting, will be able to vote Saturday.) Assuming the general membership ratifies this endorsement, many volunteers will be needed to create a successful campaign. It promises to be an intense contest, and by RPA standards, we're getting a late start. Please plan to participate as fully as you can, in both the meeting and the election effort!  

Another important campaign is already underway: Gathering signatures to put the Fair and Affordable Richmond ordinance on the November ballot.  We'll discuss ways you can participate in that, too, along with a review of the initiatives that will come before the voters in June.
Memberships, new and renewals, will be taken at the door Saturday, but it would streamline things if you joined/renewed beforehand. To do so, 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.
Please bring a snack or finger food to share Saturday, too, if you're able to do so!

Wed. 4/6, 7-9pm, BBPC: ACT hosts a book party!
Celebrate One Way to Ask

The evening will include music, display of art from the book, an open mic for other poets, sweet treats, book sales and signings (with $5 from each copy sold being donated to the RPA--thanks, Daniel!)

Give yourself a midweek break and the chance to see a little bit of Richmond in a whole new light!

Beware Petition for Charter Amendment: 
"Richmond Homeowners & Private Property Rights Act"
Don't Sign the Landlords' Attempt to Make Rent Control Illegal!
The residents of Richmond have experienced some of the most deceptive political practices in California. Now the Real Estate Industry and large corporate landlords are circulating a petition that will make it illegal to implement rent control and eviction protections in Richmond forever.
  • This is a cynical and dishonest attempt to deceive Richmond voters and tie the hands of residents and the city council for generations.
  • This sweeping proposal would prevent putting in place even interim or temporary controls in an emergency, like a natural disaster, creating the potential for price gouging.
  • If passed, even tenants who pay their rent and follow the rules can be evicted at anytime. Without any reason.
  • Other communities that have put in place a permanent ban on rent control have seen rents rise dramatically. With no controls, landlords will charge as much as they can and local government can do nothing.
  • The Real Estate Industry has already shown its willingness to bend the truth, and it is clear that they will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, only to mislead voters.
In 2015, after the City Council passed Rent Control legislation, the California Apartment Association funded a signature petition drive to repeal the newly enacted legislation. The California Apartment Association's signature gatherers were found to have misrepresented the issue of the petition, telling residents they were signing in support of rent control instead of the truth that is was a repeal.
Now we are faced not only with a campaign to put a Rent Control Ordinance on the ballot and pass it, but we must also defeat this deceptive attempt to block any regulation of rental property in Richmond, forever.
Don't believe the lies. Don't sign the landlords' petition. 

                                                          --The Fair & Affordable Richmond Coaliton. 
Valley View Votes!
Action demanded from WCCUSD Board

A coalition of more than 75 parents, concerned citizens, and Richmond residents rallied at the March 16 school board meeting. Their universal demand: that the West Contra Costa Unified School District move forward with the Valley View Elementary School rebuild project.  

Currently, Valley View students are in temporary portables ("interim campus") with no end in sight. There is no timeline to demolish the old, asbestos-filled facility. Despite "shovel ready" plans, the Board of Education has left Valley View behind in purgatory. Simultaneously, the Board has unanimously voted to advance the $175 million+ Pinole Valley High School rebuild project. 

Stay tuned for a future school board vote. Together, we can stand up for our neighborhood schools! 

                                                                                                      --Peter N. Chau

Th. 4/21, 6-8:30pm, Grace Lutheran, 24th & Barrett
Spare Our Air! Community Forum

Photo: Shutterstock

The Bay Area - Gas Station for the Pacific? 

The five Bay Area refineries are planning to start importing large amounts of oil from the Canadian tar sands -- greatly increasing their production of both greenhouse gases and the toxic emissions that poison refinery neighborhoods. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), charged with controlling air pollution, seems poised to give these plans a green light.

Please come to this important community forum on April 21. Participants will learn about the fight to control refinery emissions and start planning to build a strong movement to protect our vulnerable communities, our environment, and our global future.

Plan now for Sat., 4/23, 10-2, BBPC
FREE Citizenship Workshop

Please share this news with neighbors & friends who may qualify.

Make a big bowl of popcorn
"A Last Hurrah in Richmond?"

Steve Early has a piece this week in Beyond Chron that focuses on a newly-released video documentary (available online for free viewing). Nat Bates for Mayor is the work of  film-makers Eric Weiss and Bradley Berman, who taped here during the 2014 campaigns. Steve's article begins: 

The city of Richmond's next municipal voting is less than eight months away.  But memories of our last election-one of the most expensive in local history- remain fresh in the minds of many participants. For Refinery Town residents whose recollections are fading, we now have a fascinating 90-minute video history of that campaign. Entitled Nate Bates for Mayor, it provides a timely reminder of the stakes involved in a key local battle against big money in politics that resonated nationally.

To watch the trailer or the whole film, go to: www.natbatesformayormovie.com.
Photo from Beyond Chron.

One thing is certain. Without campaign finance reform of the sort advocated by Bernie Sanders (or the Green Party's Jill Stein) in their current presidential campaigns, there'll be no last hurrah for big money in politics, in Richmond or anywhere else, anytime soon.

Fri. 4/1,7pm, Bethlehem Missionary Baptist, 684 Juliga Woods

Caminata para Paz en Richmond

The Ceasefire Lifelines to Healing Community invites you to come out and help us spread the message:

More info: donnell@ccisco.org

Sun. 4/3, 10-noon, 1st & Market, N. Richmond
Celebrate Spring in a new garden


See what's sprouting and stretch yourself (in preparation for an afternoon of canvassing!) in the new community garden being developed by Urban Tilth at this site. There's a work party there every first Sunday, 10am to noon.


Also Wed. 4/6, 6-8pm, WCCC Family Justice Ctr., 256 24th St.
Community Violence Solutions Event

Speakers, entertainment, and a march are planned.
Sun., 4/10, 3-5pm, Whittlesey Rm, 325 Civic Plaza
Cuban Poet Nancy Morejon in Richmond!

Photo: Tony Ryan
Nancy Morejon, a major Cuban poet, editor, essayist and critic, will be reading her poetry. A member of the Editorial Board of Casa de las Americas journal and Director of the Union of Artists and Writers of Cuba (UNEAC), Morejon has had her work translated into many languages worldwide. 

This FREE program will also include: translator/poet Kathleen Weaver; Richmond Co-Poet Laureate, Lincoln Bergman; and drummers Carolyn Brandy & Elizabeth Sayre playing congas in the Afro-Cuban tradition.
You're invited for an afternoon of poetry and music dedicated to US/Cuba friendship and the amazing Nancy Morejon! (For more info please call (510) 860-3516 or email tonybook@att.net.)
Sponsored by the Richmond-Regla Cuba Friendship Committee, Richmond Arts & Culture Commission, the Bay Area Friends of Nancy Morejon, and The Turquino Project.

GED or HS grad? Over 18? Applications open 4/4-4/15:
Plumber/Fitter Apprentice Opportunity

Fri. 4/22, 6-8pm, 240 Golden Gate Ave, SF
Rally with laborforbernie.org

The list of Northern California unions that have endorsed Bernie Sanders keeps on growing! 

Labor for Bernie is focusing on getting activists to take "I support Bernie Sanders" pledge cards into the workplace for on-the-job canvassing to help build lists of pro-Sanders voters for upcoming primary GOTV. You can request cards for your union from laborforbernie2016@gmail.com. 

Submit Workshop Proposals before 6/3
2nd Richmond Soil Not Oil Conference

This international environmental conference, "Agro-Ecological Practices to Mitigate Climate Change and Restore Ecosystems," will be held August 5-6 at the  Richmond Memorial Auditorium in the Civic Center.  What can you expect?
Presentations by grassroots organizers, farmers and renowned scientists.  There will be plenaries and workshops during the two day conference as well as a gala and a multicultural celebration. Get the facts and the tools to restore our ecosystems. This year organizers are partnering with national and international organizations, and they anticipate a large gathering. 

If you are interested in presenting a workshop the deadline to submit proposals is Friday June 3rd (it may close earlier depending of the volume of proposals). A sample presentation from last year's conference can be seen here.

Early bird registration is open. For volunteering opportunities before or during the conference, check here.

Th. 4/7, 7pm, Marxist Library, 6501 Telegraph, Oakland 
China on Strike Worker-Activists Book Talk

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.