RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #146
September 7, 2014  
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Richmond Progressive Alliance   

9/13: All RPA Renewal Meeting
Tell Jerry to sign SB 883 for DMC
Let's fight back smiling
What's Chevron up to?
Crude by rail update
Mark your calendars
"Violence has plummeted"
Enjoy Spirit & Soul
United for Unity Park

Bobby Bowens Progressive Center
1021 Macdonald,


Since we don't take corporate money,  our success depends on our ability to use "people power" to promote activities and programs in Richmond. The RPA Activist is one tool we use to put out our ideas. One simple thing that YOU can do is to forward the RPA Activist to friends and acquaintances. Thanks.


Sat., Sept. 13, 5:30-7pm, at BBPC, 1021 Macdonald Ave.
All RPA Members Renewal Meeting

As Kathleen Wimer, our Membership chair, wrote: "We're calling this a 'renewal' meeting for a couple of reasons.  1.) It's September, time to renew our resolve to elect progressive candidates to city council in Richmond. 2.) Many members paid their initial RPA membership dues a bit over a year ago on the first anniversary of the Chevron fire.  We promise a smooth operation that will enable you easily and quickly to renew your $12 annual membership at this meeting."

New members are welcome to join on-the-spot.

On the agenda: A debrief on the Chevron refinery project; a campaign update from co-ordinator Mike Parker; candidates' reports with a brief Q & A with Eduardo, Gayle, & Jovanka; a chance to share comraderie and build solidarity as we pledge time, money, and energy to get the Team Richmond slate elected!  All that, and some snacks, too.
Note that Macdonald Avenue will be blocked off 8 am-8 pm between Harbor Way and 13th Street for the Richmond Main Street Spirit and Soul Festival. For parking, try side streets, an inexpensive pay lot at Nevin and 12th, BART or the BART parking lot --free on weekends. Enjoy the festival and come right on in after.  
Lifeline for Doctors Medical Center: SB 883.
Urge Gov. Brown to sign it, now.

SB 883, authored by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, provides $3 million in one-time funds from the Major Risk Medical Insurance Fund (Proposition 99) to help keep West Contra Costa County's only safety net hospital open while long-term funding options are explored.   


To urge the Governor to sign this bill, click here, and you'll be connected to the Governor's website. When you see "Please Choose Your Subject," scroll down to the bill number:  SB 883.


In the comments, please tell Governor Brown why the hospital is so important to this community. 


A mailed letter may be even more effective.  Please write one if you can. Address

letters to:  

Governor Edmund Brown 
State Capitol, Suite 1173 
Sacramento, CA 95814

Send copies of the letter by email to Nancy Skinner's office:  Frances.Fortini@asm.ca.gov   


Here's a video to give you inspiration:


Nurses and the Community Want Doctors Medical Center San Pablo Open!
Nurses and the Community Want
Doctors Medical Center San Pablo Open!
Team Richmond's candidates --Jovanka, Eduardo, & Gayle-- have been endorsed by the California Nurses Association.


Here's an idea for a T-shirt slogan, thanks to Kate Sibley:
"I've lived in Chevron's Richmond my whole life, and all I got was this lousy asthma."

The hit pieces have started, and they're likely to intensify.  At least now Moving Forward is explicit about who they're targeting with Chevron's $1.6 million: "Opposing Gayle McLaughlin, Eduardo Martinez, and Jovanka Beckles for City Council 2014."  

We can counter with our humor and our work.  Sign up to volunteer (here).  Talk with your neighbors and friends.  Give money if you can.  Give time.  Do it now.  Absentee ballots will be mailed out early next month.  The stakes are high.  

Just in: Richmond Rising II canvassers before they hit the streets September 6th:   
"Chevron a wily corporation"
What could Chevron be up to?
The SF Weekly recently published a profile of one of the chief "spin doctors" for Chevron, Sam Singer (available here: http://www.sfweekly.com/sanfrancisco/sam-singer-chevron-tatiana-the-tiger-public-relations/Content?oid=3115485), which gives insights into his methods of damage control and opinion-shaping.  With the August 6, 2012 explosion and fire at the Chevron Richmond refinery,
he was probably busy before the first patient had been seen at Doctors Medical Center.

In contrast to Singer, Albany resident John Irminger displayed this understanding of Chevron's operations, published as a letter to the editor on Wednesday in the
El Cerrito Journal
(in an online edition of the Contra Costa Times, here) [emphasis added]: 


"In addition to financing the campaigns of local politicians, Chevron does million-dollar sweet things all over the East Bay. So people love Chevron.


"But, that wily corporation then finagles hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and property devaluations that primarily affect the ability of local governments to fulfill the needs of their constituents.


"Chevron's strategy ensures it always has some friendly politicians, and that prominent and influential people, especially in charities and education, are dependent on Chevron for their programs. Thus, they (understandably) sing the praises of their benefactor.


"These are the tentacles of power -- pulling us the wrong way.


"Let's not forget that Chevron's primary motivation is to make money by refining increasingly toxic oil sources, and is spending billions to do this. This is not planet --or life-- friendly energy investment...."


A recent Buzzflash for Truthout article (find it here ) nicely fleshes out the premise of its title: "Chevron: Global Bandit, Local Bully," but its concluding paragraphs show a stunning lack of awareness by the local media people it cites:  "As KQED's Tara Siler and Molly Samuel recently observed: 'What, exactly, is coming up on Chevron's agenda in Richmond is an open question.'

"The Contra Costa Times' Robert Rogers told KQED that 'The modernization plan was a major hurdle, and Chevron passed it. What they foresee as being an issue in which their interests could perhaps be decided by the council is relatively unknown.'"


Have they forgotten the lawsuit the City of Richmond has brought against Chevron for damages, including the August 6th disaster?  I bet Chevron and Sam Singer remember it.  Isn't it likely that City Council will be making decisions about that in the next 4 years?  Wouldn't it be a whole lot more profitable for Chevron to have a council that's comfortable with Richmond once again being a company town?   With councilmembers who are themselves in the role of dependents, colluding to undermine legitimate public power? 


Let's elect a city council that is willing to challenge the power plays of Chevron!  Let's get a council that will implement the life-friendly suggestion with which John Irminger concluded his letter: "If cloudy, high-latitude Germany makes solar its priority, the sunny United States surely can also."  

                                                                                              --Patsy Byers 

More [on] Crude by Rail in Richmond :
The people here Thursday showed some guts!

According to Andrés Soto: Thursday Sept. 4 the leased Kinder Morgan rail yards in Richmond were the site of a lock down action, designed to stop the movement of explosive Bakken crude from unsafe DOT 111 rail cars to waiting tanker trucks and then out onto Richmond streets. The Kinder Morgan facility is right across the street from two elementary schools, residences, and businesses in the Iron Triangle and Pt. Richmond.

This action was also designed to highlight the issues involved in the upcoming hearing for the lawsuit against Kinder Morgan and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District filed by Earthjustice on behalf of Communities for a Better Environment, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club. The suit argued that BAAQMD had issued the permit for crude without any notice to the public or environmental, safety and health review, in violation of CEQA

At the hearing on Friday afternoon, the judge dismissed the suit on a technicality, finding the filing untimely with his choice to rely on a 2013 permit date, thereby making it outside the statute of limitations.  Here's what Earthjustice attorney Suma Peesapati had to say (from their press release): 

"This is just how the agencies and industry wins --hide the information, make the change under the cover of night, and hope people don't notice while the clock winds down on any hope to stop these dangerous and callous developments. That's no way to treat your communities or the public. Now the people of Richmond have to live with the air district's decision to hide the change from the public and not address any of the harms. What's worse is this emboldens other companies to do the same thing and hide their switch to crude oil."

Here is a detailed and dramatic first person account from another of the participants at Thursday's action:

"...We arrived at 7 am, prepared to climb over a fence with ladders we had brought --only to discover a strategically located hole we could crawl through.    Eight people quickly locked themselves to four different spots on the chain link fence, blocking trucks from passing through the gate. Four protestors used bicycle U-locks around their necks, and each of them had a partner, with their arms connected within a tube. There was a support person for each of the four teams, as well as a worker liaison who talked to some of the truck drivers and Kinder Morgan employees, a police liaison who talked with the police and reported back to the teams, and a legal observer there to watch how the police treated the protestors. Several media people were also on the property. At least half of us were in our sixties. All of us were subject to possible arrest.

"We were encouraged by the STOP sign on the fence that read: "Kinder Morgan You can stop!"

"The Richmond police officers arrived first. They were, as usual, a delight to work with, but they soon explained that they do not have jurisdiction, and that 15 feet on either side of railroad tracks is under federal jurisdiction. ..."  To read the full story, use this link.
All #146 photos by Juan Reardon
For more information on how to get involved contact Andrés Soto, 510.237.6866 or at andres@cbecal.org.
Upcoming September events:
Mark your calendars now.

, 9/7, 9-3, at the corner of Santa Clara & Sutter in the Richmond Annex:  Troving for Treasures yard sale to benefit Eduardo Martinez's City Council campaign.

Sat. 9/13:  All RPA Membership Renewal meeting.  See 1st section, above.

Sun. 9/14, 4-6pm:  Richmond Past, Present, & Future. Open House fundraiser for Eduardo Martinez's campaign.  Great view, food, & company!  Call 510-528-0369 to help planners anticipate the crowd and for valuable driving directions & parking tips. 

Tues. 9/16, 6:30pm:  First Richmond City Council meeting after summer recess.  Show up for civility.

Sun. 9/21: NorCal People's Climate Rally, Lake Merritt, Oakland.

Sun. 9/28, 4-6pm, BBPC: "Are You Game?" FUNdraiser for EDUARDO.   
You'd prefer a youtube style link?  No can do.  Watch anyway!  
"Violence has plummeted" w/ Operation Ceasefire

If you missed it before, here's the link for a 2-&-a-half minute KPIX report on the success of Richmond's innovative (& controversial) program.  (Due to its format, the link is the best this email program can offer.)  Please, have patience while the video loads and give it a look:  http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/video/10490891-richmond-on-pace-for-another-year-of-record-low-crime-rates/

Here's more info about the Spirit & Soul Festival:
Stop by the RPA table and say "Hi," on your way back from canvassing, perhaps?
Wanting --and working-- to work together:
"The kind of story that could inspire communities all over the country."

The last issue concluded with a photo collection that prominently featured folks expressing and enjoying themselves on the Richmond Greenway.  Here's a video that celebrates the work and achievements of the Signers of Friends of the Richmond Greenway, including the RPA, in the creation of Unity Park:
United for Unity Park! 
United for Unity Park!
Easy, fast, & free! 
Give your endorsement to Team Richmond today
If you've read this far, odds are you're a Team Richmond supporter.  Please show that publicly by adding your name to the candidates' lists of endorsers.  
All that's needed is a brief e-mail to langlois-rine@comcast.net, with "Endorse Team Richmond" in the subject line. Include your full name, city of residence, and any affiliation or title you would like to include (affiliation is for identification purposes only).
Your endorsement could really make a difference!

 RPA Membership Drive Continues 

Become an RPA member
Under the leadership of Mayor McLaughlin and her progressive colleagues on the City Council, 
Richmond has drawn local, national and international attention with its innovative solutions to persistent problems.  Let's keep the momentum going!  As we gear up for the coming election year in 2014, RPA needs your support more than ever. Join now and be part of history in the making.
Dues are just $12 per year (or more if you are able), and go towards paying our share of rent at the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center, 1021 Macdonald Ave--a space that is used by RPA and other organizations for educational forums, town hall meetings, strategy sessions, campaign organizing, celebrations and many other events open to the community.
By joining now you'll get our e-newsletter and action alerts, and opportunities to participate in building a better Richmond.  We'll also give you a large, attractive tote bag--ideal for grocery shopping, now that Richmond has enacted a plastic bag ban as another step toward protecting our precious environment. 
Don't put it off--  write, call or e-mail us now!

Join the RPA

RPA Symbol

We can only keep this city moving forward, protect our health and safety, and resist corporate domination of our politics if enough of us join together. We are asking you to take sides--to join the RPA.     




UNITY - One Richmond: African-American, Asian, Latino/a, Native Americans, white, united for the good of all.

DEMOCRACY- Government of, for, by the people; all the people, not just those rich enough to buy influence.

DIVERSITY - of ideas: Democrats, Greens, independents, or other. We sometimes disagree but respect each other enough to keep working for a better Richmond together.


  • participate in periodic RPA discussions and events of community interest;
  • staff the office, make phone calls, meet in committees, arrange events and parties;
  • work on campaigns of RPA-endorsed candidates for city council;
  • engage with neighbors;
  • help shape RPA and its priorities;
  • join in support of other allied organizations working to make a difference in Richmond;
  • read the newsletter at www.richmondprogressivealliance.net for what REALLY goes on in Richmond;
  • eat; have fun.

Download the membership form and mail it in with dues.


Send us an email at info@richmondprogressivealliance.net with the information requested on the form.  And go to the RPA web page. Press the "Donate" button in the left column and make a dues contribution. An additional contribution is greatly appreciated and helps us keep dues low for those with low income.


Some History and Understanding of the RPA
  Social Policy Article

Long article with pictures 

--have patience in downloading


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 authors, unsigned text  the views of the editor, Patsy Byers, 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.