RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #52May 31 ,2011
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IN THIS ISSUE
June 7 Key Issues
Municipal ID
North Shore Development?
RPA Salutes Bill Lindsay
Arts and Sustainability June 12
Adult Education June 1
Chevron Project Restarts
Support Schools! Yes on C & D!
Urabn Ag, Healthy Food
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Tuesday, June 7

A Lot Happening  

This is a very important week  for  progressive activists with a focus on Tuesday June 7

 RID symbol

1. Campaign for Municipal ID cards.  This campaign has been building in Richmond , with research, mobilizing, and petition drives. (see article below)   It now comes before the city council.  On Tuesday at 5:30, a rally in Civic Center will show massive support for this act of fairness and sensibility. The City Council will consider a resolution to accept the request from the community for a Municipal ID program and direct staff to prepare an ordinance for consideration two weeks later (June 21st) when It will formally come before the Council for a first reading.

 Shoreline

2.  North Richmond Shoreline.  A crucial piece of the General Plan comes before the City Council on Tuesday evening and reflects a more than ten-year struggle to protect open space on the North Richmond shoreline. Developers are organizing for zoning that improves the value of their land. The RPA has long supported protecting the shoreline from commercial development but we do not yet have a position on specific zoning proposals.  See one point of view in the article below.  We need you at the Council meeting.

 C&D

3.  Yes on C & D.  Finally, we can improve the lot of our kids and the future of Richmond by  voting Yes on C and D  on Tuesday (see article below) .   The RPA is organizing a leafleting at shopping areas on Saturday and Sunday. Please help.  Call the RPA  and leave a message at  510-595-4661 or email info@richmondprogressivealliance.net  

 
MID Flyer
 
 
See powerpoint presentation (large file-slow download)
 
 
Council Decision
North Shore Open Space?
  

While the discussion of the General Plan is supposed to be about zoning the whole area, debate at Tuesday's Council meeting will likely focus on two parcels, marked on the map as Freethy and Murray. Here are the reasons why I oppose commercial development of the North Richmond Shoreline

 

The Richmond Core

Richmond suffers from the legacy of development determined by the greed of speculators and developers only interested in the quickest buck and who, in the past, found a receptive and pliable political leadership. The Hilltop project helped gut our core commercial areas.

 

In response, Richmond has adopted a strategy of redeveloping its core areas, restoring them to vitality and thereby, attracting investment and development that will benefit all of our residents, especially those who have been most heavily impacted by unemployment, drugs and crime.

 

Development on the North Shoreline is a loser because it will divert scarce investment resources from the core, increase the GHG footprint and will stretch already thin governmental infrastructure, public safety and street maintenance resources even further. And development will result in the loss of resources available to us from an ecological and aesthetic point of view that is in easy reach by bicycle and could be a draw for people to visit Richmond from any place reachable by BART, AMTRAK or car.

 

Ecological

Freethy PropertyThe North Richmond Shoreline is an extremely important natural resource because it provides habitat to a large variety of flora and fauna that make their homes in its sub-tidal (areas always covered with shallow water), tidal marsh and marsh upland/coastal prairie. In addition, the area serves as a "refueling" station for migratory birds using the Pacific Flyway.

 

The marsh areas are where the tidal/bay, land and air are in constant interchange. Marsh areas are important incubators of all sorts of life, from the flora that anchors it to the bacteria and fungi that feed on the decaying eelgrass and reeds, to the little critters that feed on the bacteria and fungi and in turn supply food for the larger critters that depend on the marsh for that food source and shelter. These are the spawning grounds for commercially and recreationally important species of shell fish, fish and fowl and the feeding way stations for those migratory species.

 

We can quantify the cost of the loss of habitat on commercially important species. We don't know what the ultimate outcome of the loss of those migratory species would be. But we do know that biological diversity is tremendously important and many scientists suspect that our ultimate survival as a species may depend on the conservation of robust diversity.

 

Aesthetic

Human beings need beauty in their lives. Study after study has shown the linkages of the outdoor experience to human mental and physical health.

Escape from the built environment and the opportunity to revel in the natural environment, lies just beyond our doorsteps in the North Richmond Shoreline. We have now been granted this opportunity to preserve the shoreline, not because of any grand schemes on the part of environmentalists, but because the area has been abandoned by the same forces that abandoned the core area of Richmond

 

Open space advocates have been trying preserve the shoreline as well as the bay it surrounds, since the founding of the Save the San Francisco Bay Association in 1961. Today, an offshoot of the Save the San Francisco Bay Association (now known as Save the Bay), Citizens for East Shore Parks, has taken on the task of preserving the Richmond Shore Line.

 

The North Richmond Shoreline offers marvelous views of both the natural world and the built: sunset over the Bay, the last rays of the sun fading behind Mt. Tam and Mt. Hamilton; a flight of Brown Pelicans, swooping in low over the water to settle in after satisfying themselves on anchovies; the antics of the Coots and Cormorants  in sharp contrast to the refined decorum of an Egret stalking the near shore shallows; the evening fog creeping over the east side of the West Bay hills; tufts of fog, rolling like huge cylinders of fluffy cotton under the Golden Gate Bridge; fog claiming the bridge itself, until just the two suspensions towers poke out of the undulating white mass; and the smell of salt water mingling with  the scent of the Blue Gum Eucalyptus, Bay Laurel and Coastal Sage.

 

All of this is accessible for the members of Richmond's communities, many of whom may never have the opportunity to jet off to some exotic island locale. Just beyond our doorsteps lies an opportunity for our children to learn about the complex, interconnected web of life and to understand that they are part of it. This is there for the people of Richmond, if we act now to preserve the shoreline.

 

Sea Level Rise

I think it is imperative that any zoning ordinances, written to guide future development, must take into consideration the implications of sea level rise. First, all coastal environments are dynamic; although the interior of the Bay is relatively sheltered. We got to see drama unfolding on our TV screens, of apartment complexes falling into the Pacific Ocean as the coastal bluffs on which they were built were eroded by storm wave forces hammering the San Mateo Coast in Pacifica. We will not have such high drama. Once the North Shore properties are built on, there will be tremendous pressure exerted on future decision makers in Richmond to preserve the value of those properties and protect them from the encroaching Bay, at tax payers' expense. It is time for this generation to show some responsibility and not bequeath more problems onto our heirs through our short sightedness.

 

In the consideration of sea level rise, we must take into account, that the three phases of the Bay shoreline environment will move inland and upland. What today is sub-tidal may be too deep to support eel grass and the habitat the eel grass anchors. What today is salt marsh, will be constantly inundated and  become sub-tidal; what today is dry most of the time will become salt marsh; what will be marsh upland areas will be pushed much further upland than what exists today. These three distinct bands represent important, unique, interdependent habitat areas that need to be preserved for the health of the entire ecosystem by allowing enough room in our zoning planning for these changes to take place.

***

I don't say that all shoreline development is improper. I think that large scale development and the infrastructure to support it, is improper. What might be OK? Low cost structures that support recreational use and access to the shoreline. Responsible community agriculture can be conducted on lands that are today dry enough to be tilled and away from sensitive upland habitat areas.

 

The General Plan is about zoning and must be done cautiously.  Zoning should not be determined for the allowance of a specific project as that sets a precedent for developers to promote anything that fits in that zoning classification. We don't need more Hilltop projects which help gut the core city.  We need to rebuild the city.  For projects, there are large vacant tracts in several places east of the Richmond Parkway. There is a large vacant tract just above the former temporary Richmond City Hall on Marina Way. In fact, the warehouse that used to house city offices is probably available.

Tony Sustak

Richmond Progressive Alliance Treasurer

Member of the Board of Directors of Citizens for East Shore Parks

and it's Expand the Park Committee

 website.

Shoreline cartoon

RPA Salutes Bill Lindsay
  

Bill Lindsay's great work as City Manager  got recognition in a long article in the East Bay Express.  The article praised Bill for his appointments, particularly Chief Chris Magnus and Finance Director Jim Goins,  and his rebuilding a city administration that had been previously had been mired in corruption and incompetence.

 

We, in the RPA, salute Bill and thank him for being exceptionally cooperative, fair and committed in helping to build our better Richmond.


Gayle McLaughlin

Mayor, City of Richmond

 
Sunday, June 12  1 pm
Arts & Sustainability
  

We, in Richmond, have a spirit of determination.   Our progressive political journey has ignited us and continues to inspire us.  It is because we understand the need to nurture each other in heart, mind and spirit that we continue to gain strength and courage.  We have shown we can make progress and have overcome many challenges, but many more remain.

 

We now need a visionary cultural statement, something that inspires us along the way to create more progressive change.  Something unique to Richmond - an outgrowth of our history and a testament to our determination as we overcome even greater challenges and injustices.  Something that also draws visitors to Richmond, who want to experience something beyond the mundane. 

Can Richmond add to our being a "green city" and also become a "city of creative possibilities?"

 

Can we synergize our efforts with a hi-tech, multi-media arts vision?  One that will attract and educate our youth in filmmaking, special effects, virtual reality, electronic music, robotics, and computer animation.   Will this benefit Richmond by economically bringing us hi-tech arts industries and accompanying jobs?    If we can weave together our progressive politics and a progressive culture, what heights might we reach?

It is a vision worth considering.  

 

Please join me and the RPA Arts Committee on June 12th from 1 - 3 pm for a Sunday afternoon exploration of such a vision.  Get the full sized flyer here. 

Sincerely,

 

Gayle McLaughlin

Mayor

 
Wednesday, June 1
Support Adult Education  

The next two weeks are crucial for adult education in West Contra Costa.  Please come to the Board of Education meeting on Wednesday June 1 to support adult education, and consider coming to one or more of the other events listed below as well.  Rather than being overwhelmed by the number of events, please think  of this as  a wealth of opportunities to make your voice heard.  Support for adult education in West Contra Costa is growing.  Be part of the groundswell.  Details here

Kristen Pursely

 
Chevron Moves to Restart Project
  

On Monday, May 23, Chevron submitted a revised proposal  for its modernization program at the refinery to the city.

 

This is a victory for us all, as we have finally gotten Chevron to agree to be transparent in the process.  There will surely be issues of concern related to the data, but there will be full transparency, as we move through the EIR review process!!

 

This is a victory to everyone that worked on the campaigns making sure our candidates got in and not Chevron's candidates.  I am so proud of everyone who helped bring us to this day. This is a victory for every person who spoke out at council meetings and other meetings with regard to the previous flawed EIR.  This is a victory for all who have stood strong for years (decades!) in requiring Chevron to be accountable to the people of Richmond!

 

Let's continue to assure that we, the people, are making the decisions that affect our future.  Our efforts are bearing fruit!

 

Gayle McGlaughlin

cartoon

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.

 

The 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.  Text BoxIncrease 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 .

 

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

 

Urban Ag 

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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