RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #193
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Richmond Progressive Alliance   

Can you canvass now?
Ben Choi for Richmond 2016
RPA HAT Sat. 4/16
Richmond Revisted by Moyers & company
Th eve: Spare Our Air Community Organizing Forum
Citizenship Workshops Sat. 4/23
RPA Members Meet May 7th.
2016 Healing Walks Kickoff Tomorrow
4/18: Safe Return Project: Prop 47 Help
See New RPD Chief Sworn In
Labor for Bernie Event Grows
Defending the Delta
CCCRJC Summit 5/21
Poetry Party Pix

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.


Canvass this weekend: 'Tis a FAR FAR better thing we do...
We want a Fair & Affordable Richmond! 

Think of what Rent Control and Just Cause for Evictions provisions, along with Homeowner Protections, could mean for Richmond*:  Families secure in their homes, knowing the kids can finish the school year and start the next without having to switch schools, the ability to budget with confidence, neighbors --owners and renters alike-- having a chance to develop long-term relationships... .
Photo: Eduardo Martinez.

Almost a month in to the signature-gathering effort to put the Fair and Affordable Richmond (FAR) measure on the November ballot, your help is really needed and will be much-appreciated.  Come to the BBPC, 1021 Macdonald, Saturdays 10-2 and Sundays noon-4, to participate.  Or contact Zak:  By phone at (510) 621-7566 or by email to zakwear@gmail.com to make arrangements to canvass during the week.

*Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin recently sent a newsletter with detailed responses to an e-forum mailing by Mayor Butt, in which she clarified elements of the proposed ordinance and corrected misinformation in his mailing. If you have not yet had a chance to read it, use this link.  It can be a useful resource if you find yourself questioning or being questioned about how the law will work. 

And remember: The "Richmond Homeowners & Private Property Rights Act" is a petition being sponsored by the real estate industry and large corporate landlords. Don't sign it!

Ben Choi for Richmond 2016
Want to help with Ben's campaign?

At the beginning of the week, Ben Choi filed his intention to run for Richmond City Council with the City Clerk. His Campaign Committee is in the early stages of planning his route to victory in November. If you're interested in joining them or want to volunteer in other ways to help, please send an email to marcosbanales@yahoo.com.  

And Save the Date of May 22 for the first fundraiser. Details to follow. Known now: Meet Ben. Eat barbecue.

Sat. 4/16, 3-5pm, BBPC, 1021 Macdonald 
RPA Housing Action Team Meeting

Anyone interested in housing issues in Richmond is invited. 
Here's the  agenda so far. it's open for other topics, too.
  • Progress on FAR signature gathering
  • Discussion of HAT outreach linked to signature gathering including visits to neighborhood councils
  • Matt Bacinskas' work on former Redevelopment parcels now belonging to the City

Richmond Revisited
What it takes to beat the elite

"How a bunch of underfinanced Davids in an unprepossessing burg managed to accomplish what all of this year's free-floating radicals would like to do --take the local elites down a peg-- seems a story worth examining more closely," says Kathy Kiely in her April 14th piece for Moyers & company.

It begins: "In a year of politics by extremes - trash-talking candidates, journalism by celebrity- and scandal-mongering, voter anger on the left and right - there are antidotes. One of them is a courtly, retired schoolteacher serving his first term as an elected official in a West Coast city of middling size and less-than middling means.

"Eduardo Martinez, is a member of the city council in Richmond, California, a city that regular visitors to BillMoyers.com may remember. As Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening activists gather this week in Washington, DC, to demand new restrictions on big political donations and an end to restrictions on ballot access, the story is an apt one.

"On paper, Richmond seems an unlikely showcase for civic empowerment. A town just shy of 109,000 residents, it's only 18 miles north of San Francisco, but economically a world away. In San Francisco, the median household income is $83,000 a year. In Richmond, it's $55,000. Nearly 18 percent of Richmond residents live below the poverty line; half of the population speaks a language other than English at home... " 

Use this link to http://billmoyers.com/story/richmond-revisited-what-it-takes-to-beat-the-elite/ to read the whole story. There, you can also watch video of Bill Moyers's 2014 interview with then-Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and reporter Harriet Blair Rowan. 

Many of us would, however, debate one point: the article's claim that "Martinez and a slate of allied candidates... won a majority on the City Council... ." 

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

Late-breaking details: Communication training & workshops, childcare, a raffle, Thai food dinner & dessert. Miss California Earth US 2016 will be in the house!
Sat. 4/23, 10am-2pm, BBPC
FREE Citizenship Workshop

Please share information about the event with co-workers, friends, and neighbors who may be interested and eligible. Applicants who complete the process soon may have the right to vote in November.  

Save the date: RPA Members Meeting May 7th!
Focus on Education & Environmental Justice

The meeting will be held Saturday afternoon, 3-5pm, at the Bobby Bowend Progressive Center (BBPC), 1021 Macdonald.

To join the RPA 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.
Tomorrow, Sat. 4/16, Walk starts at 9:30
First Refinery Corridor Healing Walk of 2016

From the Sunflower Alliance webpage:
"The 2016 Refinery Corridor Healing Walks will begin on Saturday April 16th, with a 14 mile walk from the Pittsburg Marina to Martinez Shoreline Park. For this first walk of 2016, come celebrate our victory in defeating the WesPac oil terminal proposed for Pittsburg.

"These walks, started in 2014 by Idle No More SF Bay, were inspired by the Alberta Tar Sands Healing Walks and many other similar Native American journeys.  Join any or all of the four walks as we Connect the Dots between the Tesoro, Shell, Valero, Phillips 66 and Chevron refineries.  Walk with Idle No More and the Bay Area Refinery Corridor Coalition to bring attention to the health risks and climate dangers posed by the explosive crude, tar sands and fracked oil these refineries want to bring through our communities."

To learn more, sign up, and get directions from BART, go to http://www.refineryhealingwalks.com.
Mon. 4/18, 6:30pm, at BBPC
Safe Return Project Prop 47 training event

Over 4 million California voters supported Prop 47, which passed in November 2014. Prop 47 will reduce 40,000 felony convictions a year and will change the lives of over 10,000 residents of Contra Costa County.

Safe Return Project in Collaboration with CCCRJC, the Public Defenders' office, and Jessica Flintoft is organizing a PROP 47 budget and implementation training Monday April 18th, 6:30pm, Bobby Bowen Progressive Center, 1021 MacDonald, Richmond, CA. For more information contact Tamisha Walker 925-335-6738.

Tues. 4/19, 5pm, Richmond Memorial Auditorium Lobby
Richmond Police Chief to be sworn in.

Allwyn Brown, the City of Richmond's 16th Police Chief, will be sworn in on Tuesday, April 19th, 2016 at 5:00 PM. The ceremony is set to occur at the lobby of the Richmond Memorial Auditorium located at 403 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond. This ceremony is open to the public. 
Fri. 4/22, 6-8pm, SEIU Local 87, 240 Golden Gate Av, S.F.R
Labor for Bernie Rally

From the invitation: "The program for this exciting event includes the following:
  • Greetings from our hosts at janitors Local 87 and Sal Rosselli, NUHW president.
  • Pat Wynne and the SF Labor Chorus will lead us in song-three new ones about Bernie!
  • SF Supervisors, who are supporting Bernie, will be there-Aaron Peskin, Eric Mar, John Avalos, and David Campos!
  • Anand Singh, president of UNITE-HERE Local 2 will report on plans to bring Bernie to San Francisco next month to aid local labor struggles.
  • Lisa Kermish from UPTE-CWA will describe the workplace canvassing that's critical to voter turn-out and winning on June 7. (Canvassing materials will be available at the meeting.)
  • Sanders campaign labor out-reach coordinators Phillip Kim and Fernando Losada, on leave from CNA/NNU, will update us on their statewide activities, now underway.
  • ...and more to come!"


Sat. 4/30, 9am-2pm, 213 F St., Antioch
If the Delta could speak:


Admission is free, but RSVPs are required.  Register now at http://therightsofnature.org/what-would-thedelta-say/ or Facebook at "Bay Area Rights of Nature Alliance."



Save the Date: Sat. 5/21, 9:30-2, Richmond Art Center
CCCRJC Upcoming Summit

"Priorities for Racial Justice in Contra Costa County" discussion and organizing, an event of the Contra Costa County Racial Justice Coalition.
One Way to Ask Poetry Party Pix
Richmond's Vice Mayor Chalks the Walk

All photos: Tarnel Abbott.

L: Before the party, Liz Watts & Vice Mayor Eduardo Martinez write chalk poems on the sidewalk outside BBPC to greet guests. R, top: Daniel Ari signs copies of his new book of poems, while Richmond Co-poet Laureate Lincoln Bergman signs in. R, below: Daniel reads to an appreciative audience.  An open mic followed. The party was a partial benefit for the RPA; Daniel made a generous donation to the organization from book sales.

Thanks again, Daniel!

And the RPA Arts & Culture Team was asked to host regular poetry nights at BBPC.

Daniel reminded everyone that the deadline for submissions to the forthcoming Richmond Anthology of Poetry is April 30.  For details, see the RPA Activist # 188, available on the RPA website. You may send 1-4 poems, each up to 50 lines: 

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.