RPA New LogoThe Activist

Issue #209, 10-16-2016

In this issue:
Bernie backs Ben and Melvin!
Show your support for Ben Choi and Melvin Willis
Richmond Sun: Election edition
Deconstructing some myths about the RPA

Our revolution continues
Bernie backs Ben and Melvin!

Check out these great pics of Ben Choi and Melvin Willis with Bernie Sanders in San Francisco on October 15th. Bernie was in town to drum up support for Proposition 61, which would set a state cap on prescription drug costs.

He took some time out from his busy schedule to offer words of encouragement to Ben and Melvin, who were among the first candidates to earn Senator Sanders’ endorsement for local office.

Come canvass on the weekend!
Show your support for Ben Choi and Melvin Willis

Ben Choi and Melvin Willis have been tirelessly hitting the campaign trail: meeting voters at candidate nights, mingling with them at community events and going door to door. On October 16, they showed up at a North and East houseparty where they were warmly welcomed by a crowd of current Richmond voters, and sent off by a posse of future ones.


Haven’t had a chance to talk one-on-one with Melvin and Ben yet? Tune into El Show de Andres Soto on 94.1 kpfa on October 20 from 3:30 – 4pm, when both Ben and Melvin will be on air.  Feel free to call in with your questions: 510-848-4425


Haven’t had a chance to canvass for them yet? If, not you still have a chance to make a real difference this election! The RPA is an all-volunteer organization which gets its political muscle from grassroots organizing and the contributions of everyday people who pitch in what time and resources they can. Your support and engagement is critical!


Street teams meet at the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center (2540 Macdonald) at 10am every Saturday and noon every Sunday to canvass for Ben, Melvin and Measure L.  

Coming to a mailbox near you
Richmond Sun: Election edition

We hope everyone has had a chance to pour over the new Richmond Sun, which hit mailboxes last week. It was chock-full of articles, including information on Measure L (rent control and just cause for eviction), news on the proposal to close Alta Bates hospital, interviews with Ben Choi and Melvin Willis, and how City offices like Community Services are coping with budget cuts.

It also includes an editorial highlighting key policy issues for the next political term, including:

  • getting faster at building affordable rental housing
  • developing the South Shore, Downtown and the Hilltop Mall site while resolving the goals and bidding process for Point Molate
  • increasing County funding of social services — from adult mental health to children’s services
  • pressing for a hospital in West County
  • improving our City's fiscal and operational management, including increasing our reserves, paving our streets and paying only for retirement benefits we can afford — while restoring normal community services
  • increasing community confidence in the police department

An online copy of the Richmond Sun can be found on the RPA website.
Offering a re-Buttal
Deconstructing some myths about the RPA

Mayor Tom Butt, in his October 13 statement announcing his endorsement of Jim Rogers and Jael Myrick for City Council, spent relatively little time speaking about the merits of Rogers and Myrick. Instead, much of his statement was spent railing against the RPA. He argued that if Choi or Willis are elected, “the City will be run, not from City Hall by the City Council, but by a group of RPA insiders from their new headquarters conveniently located across the street from the Richmond Civic Center.” (Cue ominous movie music here.)

City Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin addressed this concern eloquently in a guest commentary in the September Richmond Sun:

Some say that having “too many ” progressives on the council would not be good, claiming that progressives will act as a voting bloc, conspiring in advance on how to vote. On the contrary, councilmembers are prohibited by law (Brown Act) from discussing council items with any three other councilmembers. The progressives on the council have always respected this law, and will continue to do so.

Progressives do not share a single mindset for casting votes. The 2015 vote on who should fill a vacant council seat is just one example. Progressives share common values, but my progressive colleagues on the council can and do disagree on issues, and our political process is stronger for it.

For a more realistic view on how RPA-backed council members (Team Richmond) tend to vote along shared values, see this vote chart below:

For those of you interested in a no-nonsense takedown of Butt’s statement attacking the RPA, see Mike Parker’s personal rebuttal.  It sets the record straight on the many falsehoods perpetrated in Butt's statement, including some particularly egregious accusations about how the RPA is fiscally irresponsible and “continues to be obsessed with ideology… and never compromises or negotiates with parties they don’t agree with.” As Parker neatly sums up: “According to Tom, when the RPA agrees with him, that's great. But anything we disagree with him on is proof that we are ideologues unwilling to listen to (his) reason.”