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Issue: #73

April 19, 2012

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IN THIS ISSUE

General Plan Debate at Council

Chevron Attacks Again

Campaign Kick-off Sunday

RYSE: "Be A Kid"

 

 

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General Plan Debate At  City Council   

 

 Ban Box

After 6 years of discussion the Richmond General Plan is before the Council. Last Tuesday saw a huge turnout, an impressive presentation by city staff, and 111 cards submitted for public comment in the hearing. Much of the comment centered around amendments put forward by the REDI coalition (ACCE, CBE, Faithworks, CCISCO, Urban Habitat, and APEN) on issues of jobs, transportation, housing and the environment. The most contentious issues were industrial emissions and the consequences for both health and jobs. After the public speakers the hearings were closed and the next City Council meeting Tuesday 4/24 will continue with consideration of these issues

 

 

RPA Statement on General Plan 

 

The Richmond Progressive Alliance thanks the Planning Commission and the city staff for their work on the general plan providing a vision and direction to help Richmond.

We appreciate especially the recognition that our city plan must focus on the needs of residents for a healthy and safe environment and jobs.

The Planning Commission, the staff, and community have had to deal with some difficult questions and most of us recognize that planning for the community must include industry land use and resource use.

We recognize that there are many complicated issues that need more discussion. We have no desire for unintended consequences to keep green industries out of Richmond. Nor do we support unnecessary burdens on businesses seeking to modernize and become more efficient.

Therefore we recommend the Council adopt the plan as recommended by the staff and refer the proposals on industrial emissions and energy efficiency back to staff for review, further community input, and an open public process through the Planning Commission and City Council.  We also recommend that the Council refer the Pt. Molate land use designation to staff for further review with public comment and certain land use modifications for this change area.


We also acknowledge that there may be some other areas of concern that need addressing.

--RPA Steering Committee 4/20/12

 

 

Chevron continues the attack

Demands More Property Tax Refunds 

 

ChevronAll of us concerned about the city's ability to provide necessary services breathed a sigh of relief when we learned that the County assessors board rejected Chevron's demand for a refund on its property taxes  and actually ruled that Chevron was under-assessed and must pay more. (See story on victory)

 

But don't go to sleep.  We have not won yet.

  • The previous appeal aboard awarded Chevron part of what they demanded for the years 2004-2006 and Chevron is appealing in the courts demanding still more.
  • Chevron is likely to appeal the recent 2007-2009 decision, although no official announcement has been made.
  • Now Chevron has just started appealing the 2010-2011 assessment.

 

Chevron keeps trying to bully the county and the city with its army of lawyers.  As the recent appeals hearings show, public attention helps counterbalance the impact of corporate lawyers who can play the inside game.  

 

But it means we must keep it up.  Chevron is sensitive to public opinion, which explains why it spends so much on its ad campaigns. We have to continually remind them that continuing the appeals and similar legal bullying does not make it a good neighbor.

     

Most of the members of the City Council recognize this and supported a resolution to ask Chevron to drop its appeals. (Booze absented himself).  Recently whenever a criticism of Chevron comes up,  Bates and Booze become apologists for Chevron, choosing to tout Chevron's handful of jobs to Richmond residents and modest donations to local non-profits, while ignoring its on-going attempts to financially cripple the City with its unrelenting pursuit of huge property tax refunds.

 

If we are not to be strangled by Chevron's bullying, the city must stand united as it did in the campaign for LBNL and tell Chevron to Drop these Appeals.   

 -Mike Parker

 

 

 

 Moving Backwards 

First day of Chevron's New Appeal

 

Monday, April 16, the Chevron Corporation appeared before the three-member Contra Costa Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board in Martinez and, as announced, appealed its taxes for 2010 and 2011.

 

Yes, we mean the same Chevron that was just ordered by the same panel to pay an additional $26 million to the county for 2007-09.  The machine that is the Chevron Corporation plunges ahead full steam, while the lives of the residents of Contra Costa county are so much collateral damage.

 

Monday was the preliminary hearing, and Chevron made some procedural requests.  The most important were that Chevron asked the board to grant it a waiver to get more time for its lawyers, Pillsbury, etc. to prepare and present their case. Chevron's lawyer argued that the panel should wait to hear the results of the Superior Court decision on its appeal of the 2004-2006 first decision that awarded it a refund of $17 million dollars when it wanted $50 million dollars.

 

The county's lawyers, Mr. Lally and Mr. Makin, fought to keep the next Chevron hearing within a reasonable amount of time since, after months of hearings, the current panel is now extremely knowledgeable about refinery procedures, costs and profits.

 

By stalling as long as possible, Chevron hoped to achieve a) a court decision favorable to the second and third appeal and b) (unsaid but obvious) the replacement of one of the panel members who in its recent surprise decision voted unanimously to levy Chevron an additional $26 million.

 

One darkly humorous moment occurred over how to bundle the appeal years.

Chevron argued that it was always better to treat its appeals in batches of three years.  The county argued that doing so would give Chevron greater ability to "bludgeon" the county and intimidate its residents.  Mr. Honig accused Mr. Lally of making this a "political" issue when it was simply one of "law."

 

Another joke was that Chevron, like every other property owner, will not receive its 2012 tax bill until next year, but everyone knows that given its belligerent, avaricious history, Chevron will appeal it whatever the assessment.  In the end, the appeal panel agreed with Chevron's request to bundle 2010, 2011, and 2012 together should Chevron decide to appeal. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

 

During the lengthy periods of appeal, the cities, the county and the school district will follow the "responsible" policy of not spending the money. Given the economic situation, they will be placed under greater pressure to settle out of court on future property taxes or possibly other Chevron demands having nothing to do with taxes. Chevron's profits give it the cash so it keeps on with this legal bullying for as long as it takes.  The communities do not have that kind of cash

.

Chevron is still "deciding" whether it will appeal the just rendered decision that not only let's us keep our money, but puts fresh money in our general funds. There is still time to let them know, we want them to drop ALL appeals and with no-preconditions.

 

Richmond will rally against Chevron's gluttony on Friday, April 20 beginning at 5:00 pm and meeting at the Richmond BART and marching to Civic Center.  

--Michael Beer 

 

 

 

RPA Activist Logo

 

 

Don't Miss RYSE's 'Be A Kid' Annual Fundraiser!

 

Get Your Tickets for 'Be A Kid'!

 

be_a_kid_2012_front 72

When:

Friday, April 27, 2012

Time:

6:00pm-10:00pm Silent Auction and activities will be offered between 6:30-8:30pm, and music and dance party to follow thereafter!

Where:

RYSE Center
205 41st Street
Richmond, CA 94805

 

See what it's like to 'Be A Kid' at the RYSE Center! The event is only a few weeks away so be sure to purchase your tickets.

 

To purchase tickets online, click  here

.

 

To purchase tickets by mail, send checks to:

The RYSE Center

205 41st Street

Richmond, CA 94805

 

If mailing in payment, please email

with your name and 'Be A Kid' price level.

 

Event Highlights:

This year you will have the opportunity to participate in a silent auction and raffle! Prizes include premier packages in the following categories: Health & Wellness, Media & Entertainment & Art.

 

We have something for everyone including an exclusive grand prize guitar signed by members of the esteemed local band

!

 

Enjoy food from gourmet food vendors, and wash it down with a glass of Lagunitas beer, wine or our signature cocktail!

 

 

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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