RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #194
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Richmond Progressive Alliance   

No RPA Members Meeting May 7th, but here's a report on April RPS SC Meeting
Just Cause & Strong Rent Control Needed to Protect Children's Health
CCCRJC Summit Sat. 5/21
5/22: First Fundraiser for Ben Choi
Claudia Jimenez, Community Organizer, in Richmond Pulse
See FIX IT on Healthcare 5/11
How to vote for Bernie in CA primary without joining the Democratic Party
Artists planning fundraising show for Bernie
"What Becomes Home" at BridgeMakerARTS & 50th Anniversary for Contra Costa Chorale

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.


RPA Members Meeting May 7 is CANCELLED!
April report: Steering Committee endorsed Bernie!

At its April meeting, the RPA Steering Committee (SC) formally endorsed Bernie Sanders for President in the Democratic primary.  In support, RPA co-coordinator Marcos Benales said, "The endorsement for Bernie Sanders would be an effective way to attract young people and people of color to our organization."
The SC also agreed on a policy of limiting the candidate campaign literature available from the RPA to materials from RPA-endorsed candidates.
In addition, the RPA SC heard reports from the Housing Action Team (HAT) and the School Action Team (SAT); discussed forthcoming development and affordable housing issues and the WCCUSD Board Elections; received an update from the Ben Choi for Richmond 2016 Committee; appointed a treasurer for The Richmond Sun account (look for the next issue later this month!); and considered potential ballot initiatives and a policy on RPA communications about the military, as well as conducting regular organizational business.
This meeting was the first time all current RPA members (with email addresses in our database) were sent the agenda in advance, with an invitation to attend the meeting as observers. We were happy to welcome these members and thank them for their participation and support. Having SC meetings open to RPA members will continue, with the agenda sent out as soon as it is available. The next RPA Steering Committee meeting is set for May 23rd at 6:30pm.

RPA membership is open to anyone who lives, works, or is regularly active in Richmond, who is in agreement with RPA's mission and core values [see here], and who pays basic dues, which start at $12/yr. If you need to update your membership or wish 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.  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 note that the RPA Members Meeting announced for May 7th has been cancelled, due to scheduling conflicts.

Fair & Affordable Richmond (FAR) Campaign continues
Help Wanted: Here's why

The campaign to put Rent Control, Just Cause for Eviction, and Homeowner Protections on the November ballot in Richmond needs volunteers to gather signatures from voters.  Zak Wear is coordinating this effort out of the BBPC every Saturday 10-2 and Sunday noon-4. Please join in!

Need reasons? 

A recent article in the Mercury News by a San Jose pediatrician, writing in support of just cause and stronger rent control there, pinpoints some of what is at stake. Catherine Nelson writes: "I care for patients with the medical and developmental consequences of living in substandard housing... the mold, pests, and structural hazards that endanger ...children's health." She sees that a "vicious cycle--started by water damage and mold in their apartment--results in a relentless downward course" for her patients and says: "My patients' parents are terrified to ask the landlord to abate the problems in their apartment. This family and countless others legitimately fear that, if they ask their landlord to make repairs, the landlord will retaliate by evicting them." [Emphasis added.] The proposed Richmond ordinance would provide protections here like those Nelson is advocating.

Sat. 5/21, 9:30am-2pm, Richmond Art Center, 25th & Barrett
CCCRJC Summit: "Priorities for Racial Justice"

This event is organized by the Contra Costa County Racial Justice Coalition (CCCRJC).  Join in the discussion about County priorities and how the people of Contra Costa can shape those priorities. 

"Our County, Our Choice." Invest in People.
For more info & to RSVP, call: 510-414-9025.

The CCCRJC meets the first Monday of every month; go to cccrjc.wordpress.com for more info, or email cccrjcinfo@gmail.com.

Sun. 5/22, 4-7pm, 747 Lobos Ave
House Party & FUNdraiser for Ben Choi

Photo: Durand Ford.
You're invited to party with supporters of Richmond Planning Commissioner and RPA SC member Ben Choi, recently-announced candidate for Richmond City Council on May 22. The event is co-sponsored by Richmond City Councilmembers Gayle McLaughlin, Jovanka Beckles, and Vice Mayor Eduardo Martinez.  One or more will be on hand to introduce Ben.   

Like the other candidate endorsed by the RPA (that'd be Bernie!), Ben refuses to accept any business contributions to his campaign, and he will be depending on individual donations to counter anticipated opposition from local and statewide special interest groups with lots of cash to oppose him. (Ben is a staunch supporter of rent control and just cause, for starters.)

The party will be at the home of Steve Early & Suzanne Gordon, and co-hosted by Jeff Kilbreth & Gail Eierweiss, Kathleen Wimer & Joe Puleo, and Margaret Jordan & Mike Parker.

Please RSVP to Lsupport@aol.com or call 510-260-0636 for more information.  If you are unable to attend, please consider sending a donation to "Ben Choi for Richmond 2016" to Box 70923, Richmond CA 94801.

RPA Steering Committee member profiled on page 1:
Claudia Jimenez featured in Richmond Pulse

Claudia Jimenez, who serves on the RPA Steering Committee as a representative from the Contra Costa County Racial Justice Coalition (CCCRJC), is profiled in the lead article in the latest issue of the Richmond Pulse (https://issuu.com/richmondpulse/docs/rp_may2016web?e=6443991/35326572). Hard copies of the paper are available at the RPA office.

The article by Edgardo Cervano-Soto describes her long-standing work as a Richmond community organizer, including campaigns for immigrant rights, against the jail expansion proposals, for racial justice, and in support of community benefits from the Berkeley Global Campus, and it discusses her involvement in the RPA. It concludes: "'A lot of people around the country are looking at what is happening in Richmond,' says Jimenez, 'and people are impressed, because it's real.'"

Wed. 5/11, 7pm, doors open 6:45 at BBPC 
FIX IT: Healthcare at the Tipping Point

"FIX IT demonstrates how our dysfunctional healthcare system damages our economy, suffocates businesses, discourages physicians and degrades the nation's health," says the event flyer.

Watch the trailer by clicking on the arrow below:
Fix It Healthcare movie trailer
Fix It Healthcare movie trailer: 

A 38-minute version of the documentary, packed with interviews, stories, and stats, will be shown, followed by a discussion of what we can do to fix our healthcare system. This screening is co-sponsored by the GPCCC (Green Party of Contra Costa County) and Health Care for All--Contral Costa County.

"No Party Preference" allows vote for Bernie in June
Registration deadline is May 23

Those who wish to vote in the Democratic Party Presidential Primary in June, but who do not wish to join the Democratic Party, can do so by registering, at least temporarily, as "No Party Preference" (NPP).

You can change your registration by filling out a new voter registration form and turning it in before May 23.  Or you can go on line to www.cocovote.us and select the "register to vote" button and fill out the "online voter registration."  (You fill out the same form as a new registrant).  You will have to provide:
  • California Driver License or California ID number, or
  • The last 4 digits of your Social Security, and
  • Your date of birth
NPP registrants will have to take some extra steps to vote in the Presidential Primary, according to the County elections officials:
  • If you are registered NPP, you will receive a ballot with no presidential races.
  • At the polls: you can request a ballot with presidential candidates for the Democratic, American Independent, or Libertarian Parties
  • Vote by Mail: you can request a ballot by calling the Registrar at 925-335-7800 or by returning the card printed on the back of your Voter information Guide.
Those registered as Democrats will automatically get a Democratic Presidential Primary ballot.  

                                                                                                              --Mike Parker

If you have moved or want to register in Contra Costa County for the first time, go to www.cocovote.us for an easy online process.  Paper copies of the mail-in Registration Form are also available at the BBPC, 1021 Macdonald Ave.

Give art by 5/10.  Buy art 5/13-15.
Art Show & Sale for Bernie

If you are interested in donating art, contact Amy Faust by text at 415-452-9070, before May 10th.

The Opening Celebration will be Friday May 13, 6-9pm, at Yves' Gallery of Fine Art & Jewelry, 1865 Solano Ave, Berkeley. Some works will be featured in a silent auction. The event continues on Saturday May 14 and Sunday May 15, 11-5 both days.  Visual Art, jewelry, ceramics, wine, & clothing will all be offered.  All sales go directly to Bernie's campaign.

Speaking of Art--
Another opening, another show!

And they both feature RPA members.

G.L.U.E. Group  and ACT member Regina Gilligan provided the inspiration for the RPA Arts & Culture Team's recent home-building project at Sisters in Solidarity, later paraded to the FAR kickoff and seen at canvassing events, when she asked: "What Becomes Home?"

Afternoon Reception: Sat. May 7, 2-5pm at BridgMakerARTS, 23 Maine, Richmond.  Gallery hours: Tues-Sun 10am-5pm.Show continues to May 27.

~ & ~

Several members of the Contra Costa Chorale are RPA members and/or supporters.  Their Spring 2016 concerts will be held Sat. May 14, 8pm, at Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, in Kensington, and Sun. May 15, 5pm, at Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church. A newly-commissioned work will be performed in celebration of the Chorale's 50th anniversary. Tickets are available here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2512727.

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.