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Issue #207, 10-04-2016

In this issue:

RPA Recommendations on State and Local Ballot Measures

Special day of action – come out to canvass for Ben, Melvin and Measure L!
The fight for fair wages and county social services
Measure L is for Love
Benicia says no to Crude Oil Trains

RPA Voting Guide 2016
RPA Recommendations on State and Local Ballot Measures

The Richmond Progressive Alliance recommends voting in favor of the following ballot measures:

YES on ...
  • Proposition 51, California Public School Facility Bonds Initiative
  • Proposition 55, California Extension of the Proposition 30 Income Tax Increase Initiative
  • Proposition 56, Tobacco Tax Increase
  • Proposition 57, California Parole for Non-Violent Criminals and Juvenile Court Trial Requirements Initiative
  • Proposition 58, Non-English Languages Allowed in Public Education
  • Proposition 59, Overturn of Citizens United Act Advisory Question
  • Proposition 61, Drug Price Standards
  • Proposition 62, Repeal of the Death Penalty
  • Proposition 63, Background Checks for Ammunition Purchases and Large-Capacity Ammunition Magazine Ban
  • Proposition 64, Marijuana Legalization
  • Proposition 67, Plastic Bag Ban Veto Referendum
  • Measure T, West Contra Costa Unified School District
  • Measure X, Contra Costa Transportation Authority District
  • Measure L, Richmond Fair Rent, Just Cause for Eviction and Homeowner Protection Ordinance
  • Measure M, Richmond Real Estate Documentary Transfer Tax
  • Measure C1, AC Transit
  • Measure RR, BART Safety, Reliability and Traffic Relief
The Richmond Progressive Alliance urges voting against the following ballot measures:

NO on ...
  • Proposition 52, Voter Approval to Divert Hospital Fee Revenue Dedicated to Medi-Cal
  • Proposition 53, Voter Approval Requirement for Revenue Bonds above $2 Billion
  • Proposition 54, Public Display of Legislative Bills Prior to Vote
  • Proposition 65, Dedication of Revenue from Disposable Bag Sales to Wildlife Conservation Fund
  • Proposition 66: Death Penalty Procedures
Richmond City Council

The RPA is endorses and is enthusiastically campaigning for two City Council candidates in 2016:
  • Ben Choi
  • Melvin Willis

Ben and Melvin are the only two City Council candidates who have pledged to not take corporate money. As the RPA asserted in its September 30 statement on a Corporate-Free City Council, “We deserve to feel confident that our council members put our people’s needs first. We need to know they aren’t keeping an ear or a hand out for donations from Chevron, lobbyists, developers, and the big apartment owners.”

West Contra Costa Unified School District

The RPA endorses the following candidates for WCCUSD Board:
  • Carlos Taboada
  • Mister Phillips
  • Antonio Medrano
Each of these candidates have affirmed that they will refuse to accept corporate and charter PAC contributions and will move away from the charter school agenda.

Important dates

Finally, please keep in mind that:
  • The last day to register to vote (or re-register if you have moved) is October 24. You can register online.
  • The last day to request a vote by mail ballot is November 1. Email the county to change your status to vote-by-mail.
  • Regional early voting dates are October 31 – November 5. You can vote in person at Bay Hills Community Church at 4100 Klose Way (11am – 7pm, except November 5, when early voting hours are 8am – 5pm).
  • Election Day is Tuesday November 8
Monday, 10/10 11am
Special Day of Action:  Canvass for Ben, Melvin and Measure L!

Next Monday, October 10th is just about one month before Election Day (it is also Indigenous People's Day, a.k.a. Columbus Day). Let’s drum up our courage, our energy, our determination, our conviction, our support and our friends and family and hit the streets and the phones for Ben, Melvin and Measure L! Some of you who work outside your homes and for other employers will be on holiday. Those who work for themselves (or their children) might be able to take a couple of hours. Whatever your capacity, if you have not yet done anything for our campaign, this is the time to do it! If you have done a lot or some for our campaign our candidates and their committees are so grateful to you and we are asking you to do just a little bit more.

Please come out to canvass or phone bank on Monday, October 10, 2016 at 11:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m. There will be orientation for those who need it and refreshments for all! Meet at the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center (2540 Macdonald).

Also, for those of you living in the North and East (as well as points beyond), please consider coming out to a houseparty on Sunday, October 16 at 2pm (845 37th St) to introduce your neighbors and follow Richmond voters to Ben and Melvin. Contact Claudia for more information.

SEIU 1021's strike concludes
The fight for fair wages and county social services

After four months of negotiations, over 1,100 Contra Costa county social and eligibility workers concluded a four-day strike yesterday, which culminated with a community picket in Martinez. At stake: critical services for Contra Costa’s at-risk residents, who include the homeless, victims of child and elder abuse, and families in need of food assistance. The county’s failure to recruit and train staff has led to chronic understaffing, increased case loads and backlogs. Staff vacancies in the Employment and Services Department run as high as 40 percent, which has led the county to return millions of dollars to state and federal sources that should have been spent on critical services. (Photo: SEIU 1021)
National Renters' Day of Action
Measure L is for Love

On September 22, the National Renters Day of Action, renters and housing justice groups in more 48 cities took to the streets for the largest mobilization of renters in years. According to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, about half of all renters nationwide are "cost burdened (spending more than 30 percent of their income for housing), and 26 percent are severely burdened (spending more than half their income on housing).

In Richmond, rental prices continue to increase, a phenomenon that we can plainly see all around us.  According to Truila.com, “Median rental price for rentals in Richmond, CA for September (2016) was $2,600, an increase of 17% compared to the same period last year.”  Rental prices have gone up by about 50 percent compared to five years ago (median rents were $1609 in August 2011 and $2378 in August 2016, according to Zillow,).

There are many things we need to do to address the housing crisis, but as the Fair and Affordable Richmond campaign recently stated, “Rent control is an important tool for extending some love to a generation of working and middle-class families in our community, those being critically squeezed… Measure L is not just about stabilizing rents, it is about all of the social and economic ripple effects of stabilizing rents,” including reducing crime, boosting schools and improving public health.

To show some love to your neighbors, come out to Bobby Bowens Progressive Center (2540 Macdonald) at 10am every Saturday and noon every Sunday to canvass for Measure L. You can also pick up a nifty lawn sign at the the Center (M-F 12p-8pm, Sat 10-2 and Sun 12-4) or send an email with your name, number and address.

Finally, along with urging support for Measure L, we will also be hitting the streets for Ben Choi and Melvin Willis. When we have city officials like Mayor Tom Butt -- who take corporate donations from the California Apartment Association, and then go all-out against rent control -- it shows how much we need independent leaders who are beholden to voters, not corporate contributors. (Photo credit: Juan Reardon)

Some good news for the planet
Benicia says no to crude oil trains!

From our friends at the Sunflower Alliance:

A great win for People Power!  The Benicia City Council voted 5-0 on September 20th to deny the use permit for Valero’s proposed oil train facility.  A Surface Transportation Board ruling which arrived a few hours before the meeting assured city council members that contrary to the advice of their city staff, federal preemption does not interfere with local control over health and safety.  “We Benicians are elated that the federal government has our back,” said Andrés Soto of Benicians for a Safe and Healthy Community…

City council members unanimously agreed that the threat from Valero’s proposed crude by rail project was just too great.  In Benicia it would have meant more air pollution, more explosive crude oil, and more traffic.  For California, it would have meant putting thousands of people in the oil train blast zone.  And for the whole planet, it would have meant increased burning of the fossil fuel that is causing climate catastrophe.