RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #178
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Richmond Progressive Alliance   

RPA Members Adopt Organization's Bylaws
12/12: Election of RPA Steering Committee: Nominees Sought
Vallejo will learn: How Richmond triumphed!
10/6 & 7 at Noon: Show striking nurses WE care
Good News: Progress on Cleaner Air
Ribbon-cutting at Reentry Success Center 10/13
Happy 10th Birthday to Urban Tilth!
10/10: Defend the Earth fundraiser
Learn about the Black Panthers (in Richmond)
Links for your edification on the RPA

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.


A brief report on a long (& successful!) meeting  
The RPA membership adopts its bylaws

The RPA membership met last Saturday to consider 5 proposed amendments to the draft bylaws. Zak Wear welcomed the crowd, and Marilyn Langlois handled the challenging job of facilitating the discussion. Everyone who wished to speak was given the opportunity.  As one member noted: "I really appreciated the amendment process.  I found myself shifting my position on a few of them, sometimes more than once, on the strength of arguments made. Really great job everybody."

After long and sometimes intense discussions of the amendments, two were adopted: One to broaden and simplify language in the statement of core values and the second to require all candidates for Steering Committee elections to announce two weeks before the election, to allow for voter consideration and a more manageable process on election day.  Three other amendments [(1) to eliminate Steering Committee seats designated for representatives from allied organizations, (2) to allow proxy voting, and (3) to proscribe agenda formats and reporting requirements for Steering Committee meetings] were all defeated.

Stalwarts who stayed till the sweet end voted unanimously to adopt the amended bylaws. 
Photo: Juan Reardon.
The bylaws are now available here.
Save the date: RPA Election Day is December 12th!
Steering Committee nominations needed!

The Nominating Committee for the first RPA Steering Committee elections was introduced at the September members meeting as well as in the last Activist.  They are seeking suggestions for candidates and will prepare a slate, to be announced Novemeber 11.  Any others wishing to run will be able to do so, as long as the November 30 deadline 
(2 weeks before the election) is met, and those candidates will have equal access to RPA media. To submit suggestions, please follow the procedure on this form. Members may pick up copies at the office:  BBPC, 1021 Macdonald Ave.  Generally, 2-5pm, M-F; call ahead 510-412-2260 to confirm hours.

Satuday, December 12, is election day!  All voters must be RPA members in good standing,  and they must be present at the meeting.
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.

Mon., 10/5, 6:30-8:30pm, 505 Santa Clara St., Vallejo:
"Building bridges between our cities..."

Tu. 10/6 & Wed. 10/7, focus on noon* in Martinez
Come out in support of our striking caregivers

Our County health system is seriously hurting after the closure of Doctors Medical Center, and it is more important now than ever that we invest in our public health system in Contra Costa. 

* If you can't make it at noon please feel free to swing by the strike line whenever you can-- and bring your friends and family! It means the world to nurses to know that they are not alone in this fight.
Big news on new rules from BAAQMD: Looking good for a 
"Reduction in Refinery Emissions by 30-40%"

Thanks to years of work by many people in the environmental movement and in the RPA, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) is now working on a suite of rules that if adopted over the next year will make our rules on industrial emissions the strongest in the country. We should see improvements in reporting within a year and significant emission reductions within 5 years.

Even better, we can already see the path to 30% reductions in CAP (Criteria Air Pollutants) emissions such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and carbon monoxide. If we keep the pressure on and don't let industry weaken the effort, we should be able to reduce CAP emissions by 40% and chronic health risks by 30-40% within ten years. It's still a little early to say how much we can lower cancer risk. But any way you look at it, it's a big deal and a major victory for the progressive movement in Richmond and the other refinery towns.

There is even some good news for the refineries. The first wave of CAP emission reductions are being provisionally costed out at less than $6,000 per ton. In other words, the total cost of making the refineries as clean as they can be should be completely manageable for companies like Chevron and Shell that have $30-50 billion/yr capital budgets. Chevron, for example, may be able to clean up its refinery to state-of-the-art for less than $500 million. That's way less than what they are spending on their Modernization project! Over ten years, it's only $50 mil/yr. It's amazing how much can be done if the focus is shifted to continuous improvement and meeting health protection goals!

One thing that is helping significantly is the Federal Office of Environmental Health and Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) updating the health risks for the individual pollutants. And the Air District deciding to set lower thresholds for significant health risks. It is very likely that all of the refineries are going to "fail the test" when the first new Health Risk Assessments are due in March 2017. So even industry knows that emission reductions are necessary.

The rules are being developed in two phases. The first set of rules will go to the BAAQMD Board in December and the second hopefully in nine to twelve months. Much of the core regulatory structure is being put in place with the December rules, so there may be key points to fight for in December --we'll know in November when the staff's final proposal for the first set of rules is released.The second set of rules will be developed in the first half of 2016.

                                                                                                               --Jeff Kilbreth

Tu. 10/13, 2:45-3:45pm, 912 Macdonald Ave., Richmond 
Celebrate opening of Reentry Success Center


RPA was part of the successful effort to shift AB109 funds away from jail expansion and towards this and other re-entry programs back in 2012. RPA reps have also participated regularly in Re-entry Solutions Group, which has been following and giving input on the planning and kick-off of this important new center. --Marilyn Langlois
Rooty-toot-toot & good wishes to Richmond's Urban Tilth:
Relishing 10 Years of Growing Y/Our Own!

Saturday, Oct. 3, Urban Tilth is having a festive fundraiser to mark its 10th anniversary.  Word of it got to me too late to publicize it well here. (No need: only a handful of Gala tickets remain, but you could try here, or just go ahead and make a contribution.) Neverthless, I wanted to extend congratulations, thanks, and great green good wishes for the coming decades. --PB

Sat. 10/10, 5:30-10pm, fundraiser dinner, auction, dancing
Help buy billboards for Defend the Earth event


Fri. 10/2: Opening in Berkeley & Oakland for 1 week
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

Official film trailer.
Official film trailer.:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F56O3kZ9qr0

Schedules for the documentary, with East Bay guest appearances by its director Stanley Nelson and others, are available here. The film will also be shown by PBS on Independent Lens in early 2016.

The Bobby Bowens Progressive Center is named for Richmond Black Panther (and RPA) activist Bobby Bowens (1946-2012).  Whether or not Bobby Bowens and Richmond make it into the film, both are important in a recent interview with Panther historian and archivist Bill Jennings, written up by Steve Early in the Richmond Pulse. Jennings reported: "We started a free breakfast program that fed 35 to 45 kids per day. We collected and distributed bags of groceries and gave away 2,500 free pairs of shoes. We did testing, door to door, for sickle cell anemia and hypertension. At the time, African-American history was just not taught in Contra Costa County public schools. So we started a 'liberation school' that held classes on Saturday mornings." Read a bit about the work Bobby Bowens did in "Q & A: Bill Jennings on Black Panther Party's Place in Richmond's History," and make a visit to 1021 Macdonald to learn more.
Want to learn more about the RPA?
Here are some links, suggested by Mike Parker

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.