RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #51May 13 ,2011
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IN THIS ISSUE
Support Schools! Yes on C & D!
Chevron Action Week
Big Oil Gouging
Urabn Ag, Healthy Food
Co-ops June 25
"Medicare for All" moves ahead in California
Teacher Action on Budget Cuts
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Support Richmond Public Schools
RPA urges YES on C & D

 

Why does the RPA urge Richmond voters to support this increase in the regressive sales tax?Ballot

 

The fundamental problem here is that the state's tax structure protects the wealthy at the expense of services needed by the rest of us.  As a result the state government is currently cutting various programs for both the schools and the city.  These cuts will hit poor and working families the hardest.  The schools are the center of our community.  The schools train our kids to be citizens. The schools determine the ability of our kids to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.  We have to minimize our children's suffering even while we fight the battle to reform the tax structure.

 

The state has left the city with no progressive way to raise money.  Proposition 26 on last year's ballot now requires a 2/3 vote on "fees" and other kinds of local taxes effectively blocking them.

 

Therefore we have no choice but to take care of necessities by using the sales tax. Measure D raises the sales tax in Richmond 1/2%.  But if we must use a regressive tax we can at least make sure that the money raised goes disproportionately to the needs of those who have already been disadvantaged by the system.  That is why the council made a commitment  that  1/2 of the tax increase goes to Richmond  schools and the other 1/2 to be used by the city to help counter some of the impact of the state cuts in programs. Proposition C on the ballot is an advisory measure asking Richmond citizens to go on record for these priorities.

 

Text BoxThe fact that we have no choice on this tax does not mean that we support proposed regressive sales and other taxes at the state level.  We emphatically do not.  At the state level there is a clear alternative:  reform the tax system to restore some fairness.  Increase the income tax on the top 1%.  End the corporate property tax loopholes in Proposition 13.  Establish an oil severance tax in California.  

 

We will not get tax relief or fix the system until we make major reforms in our tax structure  at the state and the Federal Level.  We have to join in that fight(see the article on the Teacher campaign in Sacramento).

 

But while we are making the fight for tax reform, we have to democratically protect our own. We have to defend our schools.  That is why we must support Measures C and D  on the June ballot.

 

The schools hold our future

Vote Yes on C and D

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Chevron ProtestMay 25, 7 - 11am
Protest at Chevron Annual Stockholder Meeting 

 

Chevron's World Headquarters
6001 Bollinger Canyon Rd
San Ramon, CA 94583

 

Car pooling from Richmond, call Margaret  510-412-3673

  

True Cost of Chevron 
  

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But First, Learn More at the
 
True Cost of Chevron Public Teach-In
 

May 23,  7pm

David Brower Center
2150 Allston Way
Berkeley, CA 94704,

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Community leaders will travel from Ecuador, Angola, Nigeria, Indonesia, the tarsands of Canada, Alaska, Texas, and more to expose the True Cost of Chevron and encourage us to join them in fighting back.
 
Let Us Count the Ways
How Does Big Oil Gouge Us?

 

by Paul Buchheit

It's not just at the gas pump. The oil companies don't pay much in federal income taxes either. Over the past five years Exxon has paid at a 3.6% rate (federal tax as a percentage of total pre-tax profits). Chevron was little better at 5.6%. Marathon paid 12%, Conoco Phillips 17%. 

They use American research, infrastructure, and national security to make record profits. 
ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips realized a combined 42% increase in profits in the first quarter of 2011. Together, the five biggest oil companies made almost $1 trillion in profits over the past decade. 

 
Goldman Sachs noted that speculation on oil prices is causing the price at the pump to go up. But according to the Huffington Post, the resulting oil company profits "are not finding their way back into the communities from which they came; are not being used to create more jobs; and are not being invested in new equipment and exploration." Instead, the money is going to dividends and stock buybacks. "They're basically enriching themselves," said Daniel J. Weiss, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. 

The big profits are certainly 
not being used to create jobs and stimulate the economy, or to pursue alternative energy research. The Wall Street Journal reports that the big five oil firms are holding $70 billion in cash.Meanwhile, they're paying an average of $15 million apiece in annual salaries to their CEOs. Occidental and Chesapeake each paid over $100 million to their CEOs in 2009. 

And then we have the continued flow of taxpayer subsidies to the oil industry, totaling about 
$4 billion a year. We just awarded a $42 million no-bid contract to BP to supply fuel to the Air Force, even as a criminal investigation continues over its Gulf of Mexico ineptitude. Why no-bid? Because the contract was called "an unusual and compelling urgency," which made it a national security issue. 

Adding insult to gougery is the attitude of oil company executives, who have apparently convinced themselves of their righteous ways. An 
Exxon VP referred to his company as "a leading U.S. taxpayer." An American Petroleum Institute spokesman said that "everyday Americans," including teachers and firefighters, benefit from oil industry profits. 

What they're saying, in effect, is that it's good not to pay taxes, because that leaves more money to invest in America. Gouging us again, in doublespeak.

 

Paul Buchheit is a college teacher, an active member of US Uncut Chicago, founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org, RappingHistory.org), and the editor and main author of "American Wars: Illusions and Realities" (Clarity Press). He can be reached at paul@UsAgainstGreed.org.

Published on Thursday, May 5, 2011 by CommonDreams.org 

Urban Ag 

Co-ops 

For full-sized leaflet click here.

Now is a great time to send letters to the editors and to ask reporters to cover the issue. The bill still has to get through the Appropriations Comm. and the Senate floor before going on to the Assembly.
"Medicare for All" Bill Passes Health Committee

 

The Senate Health Committee approved the California Universal Health Care Act, authored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) on May 4. Senate Bill 810 guarantees all Californians comprehensive, universal health care while containing ballooning health care costs and improving the quality of care and delivery of health services statewide. The legislation passed with a 5-3 vote.
 
"California is being overrun by out-of-control health care costs, which has a significant impact on the state budget, businesses and families," said Senator Leno. "Our single payer plan not only guarantees universal coverage for all Californians, but also contains health care costs, which is essential to solving our state budget crisis in the long term."  
 
SB 810 creates a private-public partnership to provide every California resident medical, dental, vision, hospitalization and drug benefits and allows patients to choose their own doctors and hospitals. This single payer, "Medicare for All" type of program works by pooling together the money that government, employers and individuals already spend on health care and putting it to better use by cutting out the for-profit middle man.
 
California currently spends $200 billion annually on a fragmented, inefficient health care system that wastes 30% of every dollar on administration. Under Senate Bill 810, that wasteful spending is eliminated. The bill creates no new spending, and in fact, studies show that the state would save $8 billion in the first year under this single-payer health care plan.
 
 
 
SB 810 is sponsored and supported by a broad coalition of patients, nurses, doctors, teachers and school employees, small businesses, faith community members, retirees, local governments and school districts. These groups represent more than 2 million Californians. The bill is also sponsored by the California Nurses Association, Health Care for All California, California One Care, California School Employees Association, Physicians for a National Health Program-California, Single Payer Now, California Teachers Association, California Federation of Teachers, California Alliance of Retired Americans, Amnesty International, League of Women Voters, California Council of Churches, Progressive Democrats of America, California Consumer Federation, National Organization for Women-California, Vision y Compromiso, Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club, Dolores Huerta Foundation, California Health Professional Student Alliance and Courage Campaign.
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Week of May 9 -13
Teacher Actions Around the State

 

During the week, teacher unions and some allies carried on a series of actions designed to show the California public how serious  the current threat to public action is.  Unfortunately the unions could not get it together enough to have a united state-wide action or even get across a clear message. Despite the fact that it is primarily working people hurt by the proposed  school and social service cuts, few other unions responded.

 

Tax the RichThe state California Teachers Association seemed insistent that the only thing it wanted was support for its deal with Governor Brown to extend some of the Schwarzenegger regressive taxes.  In exchange the Brown budget would partially spare K-12 education at the expense of Adult education, community colleges, colleges, and social services.

 

But the demonstrators who converged on the State Capitol on Monday for the most part wanted to oppose the cuts and reform taxes with various tax-the-rich proposals.  Lead by the Oakland Education Association leadership, and Educators for a Democratic Union in San Francisco, teachers, students and supporters held a  militant demonstration in the Capitol Rotunda  which ended with nearly 70 people arrested.  

 

The CTA demonstrations began to get more militant and on Thursday CTA State President David Sanchez and 26 others were arrested. See CTA site

 

Mike Parker

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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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