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Issue: # 37October 24, 2010
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IN THIS ISSUE
7 Days to Make a Difference
East Bay Express Endorsement
Why Chevron Bets $1 Million
Answers to More Lies
Corporations and Card Clubs
Beneficiaries of Smear
Viramontes Flip-flops on U
Letters
Petition to End Smears
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7 Days to Make a Difference
Gayle, Jovanka, EduardoNext Tuesday's election is one of those rare times in politics when we really do have a chance to make a difference and shape our future.  We can continue on a path that is remaking Richmond with the simple strategy of empowering Richmond residents.  Richmond will be rebuilt by actions like neighbors getting together to create and build the Solano Playlot, the neighborhood watches that are making the city safer,  the  community turnout to Juneteenth and Cinco de Mayo, the Urban Tilth gardens, or the Solar Richmond job trainings.  City government can help by attracting and promoting the 21st century economy to Richmond at the same time that it respects its history and guards its natural beauty. We can turn our schools into places of superior education and community centers. City officials can help by being models for what we want our kids to be and do.
 
We can make a difference by electing Gayle, Jovanka, and Eduardo.  Even when we're outspent 100 to 1, even when the opposition relies on the politics of fear and smear  -- we can still elect candidates dedicated to building on the strengths and resources of Richmond.  This requires all of us.  In this last week of the campaign, we need more people sharing truth and optimism with our neighbors via phone banks, distributing literature, and talking.  Be part of the change.  Make a difference.  Call the RPA office (412-2260) and tell us when you can help.  We need the most help on Election Day, Tues., Nov. 2.

East Bay Express Endorses

Gayle, Jovanka, and Eduardo 

 

"Incumbent Gayle McLaughlin deserves reelection...during the last six years, she has proven to be a stable, strong leader. We're particularly impressed with her courageous stances against Chevron.  Her main opponent, Nat Bates, by contrast, has been too cozy with the oil giant over the years. We [also] endorse...progressives Jovanka Beckles and Eduardo Martinez...we think Beckles and Martinez, who also have stood up to the oil company, will make good additions to the council." (10/20/10)

 

Why is Chevron spending $1,000,000 dollars in this election?


Signs by Chevron
Chevron paid for these signs planted on almost every vacant lot in Richmond
Chevron is spending a million dollars trying to prevent Gayle McLaughlin, Jovanka Beckles and Eduardo Martinez from getting elected in Richmond. (See Richmond Confidential)

Chevron yearns to return to the days when the City Council would roll over for whatever the corporation wanted. In 2008, working through the "Chevron 5" (including Viramontes, Bates, and Lopez) Chevron used its influence to push through a secret Community Benefits Agreement  (denounced by everybody from the Contra Costa Times on down) which allowed Chevron to slip a flawed Environmental Impact Report (EIR) past the City Council.  Had the Council instead insisted on a well-written EIR, the Chevron modernization project could have been built without an interruption.  But Chevron and Viramontes had their way.

 

Chevron has made it perfectly clear  -- with a $1 million investment -- whom it wants on the Council --Viramontes, Lopez, and Bates.  Chevron wants the same "Chevron 3" who approved their last flawed EIR. Chevron wants a council that will not object to its new demands to get its property tax reduced. Do you want the Chevron 3 to represent you?

Truth - the Best Vindication Against Slander
 
Chevron and the Richmond Police Officers Association/Richmond Firefighters Association (RPOA/RFA) are desperate. Apparently they've decided that they can't beat Gayle in a fair, clean election.  So they've turned to lies, distortions, and smears.  Such smears are double-edged swords. The irony is that the more the opposition lies, distorts, and smears, the more people are volunteering and the more contributions and endorsements are flowing into the campaign to reelect Gayle McLaughlin for Mayor.The opposition is counting on the conventional wisdom that when lies are repeated enough, they gain some traction, especially among people who are not paying close attention. We are redoubling our efforts to get the truth out to Richmond voters.  We especially need help on Election Day.
 
Volunteer on Election Day
Volunteer on the weekend before
Call the RPA office 412-2260 and see how you can help.
 
Truth in response to recent lies:
Lie: Mayor McLaughlin authorized $65,000 in fraudulent credit card payments.

TRUTH: In 2007 a former employee in the Mayor's office improperly handled funds.

During routine auditing, the embezzlement was uncovered. Mayor McLaughlin immediately terminated the employee and worked with the District Attorney to determine the full extent of the theft. As a result, the staff member was prosecuted, found guilty, and 90% of the money has already been returned to the city. The checks and balances designed to protect the city were in place and they worked because Gayle acted with responsibility and accountability. See Tom Butt E-Forum  for more information about this.

 

Lie: Mayor McLaughlin wants to raise your property tax.


TRUTH: Mayor McLaughlin stands for lowering the taxes on ordinary working people and raising taxes on the super-wealthy. 
She stands for closing the loopholes in Proposition 13 that allow corporations and wealthy landowners to save billions, while shifting the cost of government to the rest of us. And yes, she thinks sales taxes are regressive and the worst way to finance necessary government functions

 

Corporations, Card Clubs, and our Campaigns

 

Contribution CheckCorporations contribute to campaigns to gain influence.


Simms Metals, for example, just contributed $2000 to most candidates running for city council. Many issues concerning Simms Metal come before the council (including complaints from the surrounding community).  Maybe the $2000 isn't enough to buy a council decision, but it sure helps bend the stick.

 

And then are contributions from Veolia (the company that manages our wastewater treatment and the plant that just released toxic Hydrogen Sulfide into surrounding neighborhoods) to the campaigns of city council people who are supposed to monitor this company.
 
Gayle, Jovanka, and Eduardo accept no corporate contributions.  Even on a shoestring budget, they return any corporate contributions that are submitted. 
 
What about the Card Clubs and the Auburn Indian Tribe which are spending hundreds of thousands against the mega-casino at Pt Molate? The law unfortunately allows "Independent Expenditure Committees" to accept corporate contributions and spend unlimited amounts supporting and opposing candidates. Both Upstream, the Casino developer, and the Card Clubs are outside of Richmond and spending small fortunes in this battle.
 
We oppose all corporate spending in this election including that of the Card Clubs. We think it is harmful to democracy and no matter what side it is on, it raises the price of participation so only the rich can play.  
 
Remember: the primary opposition to the mega-casino comes from the Richmond community, and is not reflected in the money spent, but in the volunteer work.
 
Gayle, Jovanka, and Eduardo accept no money from the Card Clubs or any other corporation, or developer. In addition to the huge independent expenditures, the other candidates accept as much as they can get and make pronouncements legitimizing the role of the corporations: "Lopez said she appreciates the support [of Chevron] and praised the company for..."(Richmond Confidential)

Participants, Silent Bystanders, and Beneficiaries of the Smear
Josh Genzer property
Genser, a major Ziesenhenne supporter, owns the land pictured and has given his approval for the series of RPOA/RFA billboards and signs against Gayle and Jovanka

 

Nat Bates has received the lion's share of bad press for the RPOA/RFA's smear campaign.  But the reality is that the RPOA/RFA campaign is aimed at defeating Gayle and Jovanka, and electing Viramontes, Lopez and either Ziesenhenne or Bates. These candidates' refusal to take a principled position against negative smear campaigning promotes the continued assault.  Harris, Finlay, and Rogers are also happy to accept RPOA-funded endorsements, making them complicit as well.

 

Yet another reason to defeat them all--they have demonstrated their colossal lack of integrity

Viramontes Flip-flops on Measure U

 

jokerMaria Viramontes: a future Olympic gymnast? Seeing the likely defeat of Measure U, she has performed a double back-flip to follow the votes.  Viramontes recently released an email that puts herself at the head of the Anti-Casino Parade.  For the first time in recorded history she is now recommending a "No" vote on Measure U.  
 
Casino opponents are right to be skeptical of this sudden change of heart.  Viramontes has a history of covering  her pro-casino actions with anti-casino rhetoric. She was the leader of the Casino 4 that last May extended the  Land Disposition Agreement with the mega-casino developer for  11 months (well past the election). 

 

What could Viramontes have done instead?

  • Viramontes could have killed the Casino then by refusing to extend the LDA.

  • Viramontes could have extended the LDA for another two months. At a previous council meeting City Manager Lindsay had noted that short extensions gave the city a lever to press the developer in the negotiations. But after public discussion was closed, Viramontes made a new motion to extend the LDA 11 months, thus weakening the city's negotiating position. (See May 18th city council meeting at end of long discussion of K1.)  

  •  Viramontes could have voted for extending the LDA with the condition that Upstream allow the city council a full hearing of alternate proposals for Point Molate without a casino. Instead she created a sham procedure which, instead of allowing the Council to hear the alternatives directly, required all alternatives to be filtered through Upstream--the entity created to build the mega-casino!

 

It's clear that if reelected to the Council, Maria Viramontes will again lead the push for a deal that the mega-casino developers need and want.

Letters:

Measure M and RPA Candidates
I want to share a positive phone banking experience I had while phone banking for Measure M, the parcel tax to support West County Schools. 

This was supposed to be an easy night, calling people who had already said they supported the measure and reminding them to vote "yes on M" and send their mail-in ballots.  However, some of the people I called didn't remember that they had previously said they supported the measure, so I did end up having to argue for the measure at times. One of the people I called said she was worried that the parcel tax money would not go to services for the children, but would be spent on other things.  "If you can convince me right now that I should vote for it, I will," she said.  I was a bit tongue tied, but then she said, "Can you tell me some candidates that support it?"

"The mayor!" I blurted out, "Eduardo Martinez. Jovanka Beckles."

"OK," she said, "You've got my vote.  I'll go mark my ballot right now."

I think this is a strong testimony to the respect Mayor McLaughlin, Jovanka Beckles and Eduardo Martinez have in the community.

Thank you RPA for supporting Measure M.

Kristen Pursley
 

Good Job, Mayor

Regarding the Richmond police and firefighters unions' outing of Mayor McLaughlin's past challenges, my response is much like Abraham Lincoln's when the teetotalers complained about Ulysses Grant drinking whiskey: "Tell me what brand of whiskey that Grant drinks.  I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals."   In my opinion, Richmond is in the best shape it has been since we bought our home here 23 years ago.  What brand of whiskey does McLaughlin drink? I'd like to send some to our other politicians, firefighters and cops.

Mike Meagher, Richmond
Letter to the Editor, West County Times, 10/21/10

 
Petition to End Smears 
 
We could end the smears and lies quickly if all candidates would stop legitimizing the groups that put them out.

Petition graphicRichmond United for Peace is circulating a petition calling on  candidates Viramontes, Lopez,  Rogers, and Bates to "join Richmond United for Peace in demanding their endorsers, Richmond Police Officers Association and Richmond Firefighters Association (RPOA/RFA), apologize to Mayor McLaughlin and the people of Richmond for their offensive campaign tactic and demand they pledge not do this again, now and in the future."

"Because candidates Bates, Viramontes, Lopez and Rogers are the intended beneficiaries of the joint RPOA/RFA campaign, should RPOA/RFA not apologize, these candidates should return any RPOA/RFA campaign contributions given so far and demand RPOA/RFA no longer spend any campaign funds on their behalf."

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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 author, unsigned text  the views of the editor, Mike Parker, 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.

 

 
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