RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #162
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Richmond Progressive Alliance   

2/28 RPA Members' Meeting Preview
3/7: Sisters in Solidarity: Women Make It Happen
3/17: Let's get BAAQMD to improve refinery emission rules!
Community Celebration of Thanks to Gayle
Richmond Whistleblower to be honored
Save 3/28 for forum on Race & Social Justice
Events for new book, Collaborative Caring
3/1: Resistance Grows in Haiti
Hear Father Alejandro Solalinde on KPFA
3/1: Global Community Monitor's work to be featured on "60 Minutes"

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.


RPA Members' Meeting Sat. 2/28, 3-5:30pm, at 1021 Macdonald 
Take a seat at the table!
RPA Logo

All members and friends of the Richmond Progressive Alliance are invited to the meeting this Saturday afternoon.  You'll have the opportunity to choose an issue that interests you and talk about it with Richmond residents (and maybe a councilmember), examining how the RPA can work with allies and our communities to develop creative and effective approaches that will help make Richmond a more just, healthy, and vibrant place.  We hope some ongoing workgroups will emerge, to help learn what's needed, research possible future policies, and build connections and support for action. 


The issues chosen for this meeting are       

*Doctors Medical Center   *Environmental Justice   *Housing   *Police/community  *Schools & Education   *UC Berkeley's Global Campus at Richmond Bay


We will also have an update on plans being developed to restructure the Richmond Progressive Alliance, with an opportunity for you to share your ideas and suggestions.


And we'll all have an chance to hear from Richmond's newest Councilmember, Vinay Pimple, who has agreed to a short Q & A.


The agenda is obviously full.  Please join us, and get to the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center at 3 for the best choice of snacks! 


All supporters are welcomed.  New members can join at the door, and current members can update their memberships.   


If you'd like to join now, follow this link to the membership form.  Print and complete the form and mail it in with a check for your dues, which start at $12/yr.  Or, to avoid printing and snail-mailing, you can:

  •  send an email to info@richmondprogressivealliance.net with the information requested on the form &
  • go to the RPA web page & press the "Donate" button in the left column and make a payment for dues. Any additional contribution helps us keep dues more affordable for those with low income and is welcomed.
Sat. 3/7, 10am-3pm, at Nystrom Elementary, 230 Harbor Way:
Sisters in Solidarity: Women Make It Happen 

In honor of International Women's Day, the City of Richmond is hosting its 8th annual Sisters in Solidarity Celebration. Captain Bisa French, Richmond Police Department, will be the keynote speaker.  The celebration will include speakers, group discussions, interactive activities, lunch and a call to action. Sponsorship of the event, which draws over 200 attendees and supports over 30 local organizations, started under Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, and has moved to the Richmond City Council this year.  Everyone in Richmond is invited to participate.

Tu. 3/17, 5:30-7pm, Whittlesley Room of Richmond Library
Improve Refinery Emissions Rules, BAAQMD!

2015's the year!  The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) is hosting a Town Hall Style meeting to receive input on their proposed Bay Area Refinery Emissions Rule.  We need to be there in numbers, asking for everything we want. We should be as specific as possible and think about the best language for rules that everyone can understand. (Jeff Kilbreth will have some recommendations available in the next issue, which will also include links to Communities for a Better Environment's [CBE's] specific demands.)

Later in the spring, we hope to also pass a resolution at the Richmond City Council establishing the City of Richmond's view of what should be addressed in the rule changes based on our experience with the data in the Chevron Modernization Project EIR.

Here's some background and analysis from Jeff Kilbreth: "On October 15, 2014 the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board directed its staff to complete the development and approval of major changes to our refinery emission regulations in 2015. The improvements will address deficiencies in data collection and reporting and the implementation of some mechanism for forcing continuous improvement, ie: actual reductions in emissions. Only the BAAQMD can do this. And the Board has even given staff one very specific target result: a 20% reduction in CAP emissions (PM, SOx, NOx, CO, ROG) within five years. This is a very big deal. Partly because it is simply a once a decade chance to meaningfully improve public data and company reporting, reduce loopholes and establish fundamental expectations around the use of Best Available Control Technology (BACT) and capital spending timelines. Both the environmental movement and John Gioia deserve a lot of credit for getting us to this arguably historic moment. 

"In the past, the BAAQMD staff hasn't been as aggressive in pushing the refineries to do better as they might have been. And one thing that is more than a little irritating is that the Southern California AQMD has been tougher, and their refineries pollute less than ours do. Many argue that our BAAQMD has served industry far more than the citizenry. So, it is very important for people to be very specific about what they want included in the rule changes. Will all battles be won? No. But an enormous improvement should be fairly easy if we address every opportunity for improvement, get our demands very specific, and target a solid majority of the Board for "re-enforcement." Right now we believe there are 6 or 7 solid votes on the 23 person Board for making the most of this opportunity. We will only need 5 or 6 more to pass a major upgrade to the regulation of the refineries!

"The second phase of the campaign will probably begin in April and focus on outreach and organizing in the districts of the 6 or 7 target BAAQMD Board members." 

The Air District's flyer is available in English here

A crowd of supporters and friends (guesstimated at more than 150) gathered at the Grace Lutheran Church Hall on Sunday, 2/22, in celebration and thanks for Gayle McLaughlin's 8 years of service as the Mayor of Richmond.
All photos: Malaika Kambon, People's Eye Photography, unless noted. 

Gayle and her husband Paul Kilkenny were honored with a Laotian Baci ceremony for good fortune, connection, and appreciation, pictured below.  Saffron Strand's crew provided a delicious light supper and wonderful service.  And Sonidos Progresivos, Progressive Sounds,
made music before and after the program.  Much of the success of the event is due to the great planning of Marilyn Langlois and her helpers.   

The speakers all noted how much Gayle's steadfast courage, her willingness "to be there for them" --whether or not the press was present-- and her sustained encouragement and support had enabled them to contribute to making Richmond better in a multitude of ways. 

Saffron's Strand's crew here & below, right.
Photos in this row:
Tarnell Abbott 
Marilyn Langlois, celebration planner.

Sonidos Progresivos

The event was also a fundraiser to support Gayle as she writes her book, Against All Odds: A Decade of Progress in Richmond.  There's no big advance for this work, which Gayle envisions as a handbook for those in other communities,
who are wanting and working to restore grassroots democracy.  If you'd like to make a (tax deductible) contribution, please write checks to Gayle's fiscal sponsor:  Praxis Peace Institute (include "Book Project" in the memo section of the check), and mail them to: Richmond Book Project / PO Box 5284 / Richmond, CA 94805. 
Northern California Society of Professional Journalists:
Staci Plummer
Wins Whistleblower Award

Earlier in February, the Northern California Society of Professional Journalists Freedom of Information Committee announced the winners for its 2015 James Madison Freedom of Information Award.  Staci Plummer, a Richmond city employee now at the Library, is one of two recipients of the Whistleblower Award.  She exposed wrongdoing in her city government,  publicly revealing in 2013 that Richmond's Assistant Manager was running a gift-basket business from city hall and otherwise abusing her position. Eventually, Leslie Knight was forced to accept retirement, and Plummer has remained an advocate for more transparency in Richmond.  In fact, she was at last Tuesday's council meeting, speaking out against bond funding and in support of city union jobs as street repair choices are debated.   


IFPTE Local 21 Member Stacie Plummer On Bullying, Corruption And The City Of Richmond 
 Stacie Plummer On Bullying, Corruption And The City Of Richmond, from a 2013 Conference

The award will be presented at 30th Annual awards dinner on March 12, 2015 at the San Francisco City Club.  Congratulations and thanks, Staci! 
Coming: Sat. 3/28.3-6pm, Whittlesey Rm, Richmond Library
Race & Social Justice: Whose world is it?

From the Meetup page for the event: "This public open forum is designed and intended to address race and social justice, and to begin to make needed changes in our city and world, in our relationships, as well as within ourselves.  

"The facilitator: Bill Say, works at the intersection of diversity, conflict resolution and community building as a consultant, trainer and facilitator. ...Bill's Korean father was a child slave in Japan and brought some of the harsh realities of this abuse into their home; it is partially this background that has motivated Bill to work with relationships, community and our own bodies and minds as ways to become more whole and aware. His website is: www.billsay.com"

Save the date now.  More info in the next Activist. 
Two opportunities, Sun. 3/1, 4-7pm & Mon.3/2, 6-7pm:
Hear Suzanne Gordon on Patient Safety

Richmond author and editor Suzanne Gordon
will be discussing her latest book, Collaborative Caring: Stories & Reflections on Teamwork in Health Care.

The Sunday event will be a publication celebration with many of the Bay Area health care workers and advocates who contributed to the work.  The location: 747 Lobos Ave, Richmond.  For info, directions, or to RSVP, call 510-280-0636.

The Monday reading is scheduled for the West Side Branch of the Richmond Public Library, at 135 Washington Ave.

Sun., 3/1, 3-5pm at Humanist Hall, 390 27th St., Oakland
Resistance Grows in Haiti

Join Haiti Action Committee on the 11th anniversary of the US-backed 2004 coup that overthrew democracy in Haiti. While the US/UN occupation continues to impose President Martelly's dictatorship, popular resistance in Haiti grows.

A two-day general strike recently paralyzed Port-au-Prince and many other cities. The popular movements are striking to demand that the entire Martelly government resign. They're also protesting governmental repression and corruption. Haiti faces a constitutional and profound political crisis.

Join the Haiti Action Committee on March 1st for an in-depth look at this situation.

KPFK interview with Father Alejandro Solalinde:
Mexican activist priest: a radical humanitarian.

Uprising on KPFK/KPFA had this segment on 2/20
with  an admirable guest: Father Alejandro Solalinde. He is famous for his solidarity with the folks migrating north from Mexico and Central America.  His humanitarian approach is accompanied by a strong analysis of the causes of the problems.

He also clearly defines the Mexican government  as 'part of the drug cartels"; he is part of a movement to "re-found Mexico" and he supports a model of communities taking power (all power) on themselves to fight-off and remove the narco-trafficking-capitalists and all "their parties" from power.  He does not want Americans to send money for his work in Mexico. He wants Americans to take care of the immigrant communities here in the US and to stop supporting corrupt governments elsewhere. 

The interview is simultaneously translated into English in a very well done job.
Please take a moment to hear this man. There may be good lessons for us here:  
http://uprisingradio.org/home/2015/02/20/alejandro-solalinde-mexican-activist-and-catholic-priest-discusses-human-rights-in-central-america/ Click on "Listen to this segment" to hear the interview.  A brief video excerpt is also available there.
                                                                                                    --Juan Reardon 
El Cerrito-based Global Community Monitor to be featured on:
60 Minutes March 1

GCM is a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing toxic chemicals in the environment.  They used to do "Bucket Brigades" in Richmond about Chevron's pollution.

From their announcement: "Global Community Monitor's work to protect the public from health threats will be featured on 60 Minutes this Sunday March 1st


"According to 60 Minutes' own show notes: 

"'After a seven-month investigation, 60 MINUTES found that Chinese-made laminate flooring sold in Lumber Liquidator outlets across the country contains amounts of toxic formaldehyde that may not meet health and safety standards.  Anderson Cooper reports.'"  


Here's a link to more on the flooring issue. 

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.