RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #179
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Richmond Progressive Alliance   

Nominating Committee accepting suggestions for SC slate till 11/2
Join the Housing Action Team Discussion
Tarnel Abbott
Somos Latin@s invites you to see "Underwater Dreams" at RHS 10/22
Mt. Diablo Peace & Justice Center Gala: RPA is Community Organization of the Year
Celebrate at ACCE Fundraiser 10/29
Soda Tax Campaigns have cut consumption
Scenes from the CNA Strike Oct. 6 & 7
Links for learning more about 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.


There's still time to suggest Steering Committee candidates.
Slate will be announced 11/11, & election is 12/12!

The RPA Nominating Committee will soon name a slate of candidates for election to the RPA Steering Committee. Nominating Committee members are Tarnel Abbott, Marcos Banales, Michelle Chan, Stephanie Hervey, Claudia Jimenez, Andres Soto, Zak Wear, Kathleen Wimer, and Cesar Zepeda.

The Committee already plans to interview at least 26 specific individuals and twelve persons affiliated with organizations allied with the RPA.  Nominations of others for the committee to consider placing on a recommended slate are open until November 2. Please submit nominations to RPAnominations@gmail.com, following the format on this formThe Nominating Committee will publish the recommended slate 30 days before the election scheduled for December 12.  Nominations of people running independent of the slate are open until November 30

Candidates for RPA Steering Committee --on the recommended slate or otherwise-- will be asked to submit a candidate statement to be distributed to RPA members in advance of the election.  The nominating committee asks that the statement address these questions:
  • What would you like RPA to accomplish? 
  • What is your vision for where RPA is headed? 
  • What are some concrete steps to move toward the vision? 
  • And for organizations, how would [allied organization] want to engage with RPA over the course of the year?
Saturday, December 12, is election day!  The Members Meeting will be at BBPC, 3-5:30pm. All voters must be RPA members in good standing and present for the voting.
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 very much appreciated.
If anyone wants more information about nominations and the upcoming RPA Steering Committee election, please call Zak Wear, 410-570-9322, or Kathleen Wimer, 510-230-4600.

Sun. 10/25, 2-4pm, 6108 Santa Cruz, Richmond
RPA Housing Action Team Meets

We will talk about the pending initiatives that apparently gained enough signatures to get on the ballot and review what we know of developments, affordable and otherwise, going ahead in Richmond.  If you think you might like to work with this group on housing issues, please come to the meeting.

We are lucky to have her among us.   
Tarnel Abbott: Dedicated Richmond Activist

Tarnel Abbott, one of the founders of the RPA, was profiled in a recent
Contra Costa Times feature by Karina Ioffee.  Please click on this link to read it in its entirety.  
Photo credit: Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area New Group.

The caption for this photo gives an idea of the scope of the piece: "Tarnel Abbott, a retired Richmond librarian, frequent City Council attendee, advocate of free speech and great-granddaughter of novelist Jack London, talks about her civic involvement at home in Richmond... ."

It concludes with this thought from Tarnel: "The revolution, and by that I mean a real change in society's priorities, will take many moments of people trying to take power for themselves. People have amazing ability to help each other and want fairness in the world, and as long as that desire is in enough people, we will eventually prevail. That is really the message of Jack London and something I've adopted."

Thurs. 10/22, 6-8pm, Richmond High School Theatre 
Somos Latin@s presents Underwater Dreams

Co-sponsored by E4FC, a Bay Area organization that works to empower undocumented youth to pursue education and US citizenship.  Come for refreshments, see the film ("the epic story of how the sons of undocumented Mexican immigrants learned to build an underwater robot from Home Depot parts and defeat engineering powerhouse MIT in the process"), and stay for a panel discussion with undocumented students.  

Free.  Please invite friends and family members. 
Sat. 10/24, 6-9pm, Gala at UU Church, Walnut Creek*
RPA honored by Mt. Diablo Peace & Justice Ctr.

The Richmond Progressive Alliance is being honored for "courage, foresight, and success" as the Community Organization of the Year, and Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin will be the keynote speaker at the Gala.  Here's a link for more information about the Center, the award, and how to order tickets.

*Bortin Hall, UU Church, 55 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek
Thurs. 10/29, 6-9pm at Up & Under Pub, 2 W Richmond Ave.
5th ACCE Anniversary Fundraiser

From the event website: "We are inviting you to join us in 'Honoring the Fighters' in a night of celebration and reflection on the amazing work ACCE [Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment], allies and supporters have achieved throughout the past 5 years.

"Though there is a long fight ahead of us to defend affordable housing, responsible development, comprehensive health care and opportunities for jobs that pay a living wage in our communities, we are taking some time to celebrate our victories and the everyday fighters in our neighborhoods!"

Join in the festivities and support ACCE in its work empowering low-and-moderate income Californians. Purchase tickets here.

Soda tax success stories:
"The decline of 'Big Soda'"

Two recent articles in The New York Times dealt with a decline in sugar-sweetened  (or "full calorie") soda consumption.  A link to the first one was suggested for the Activist by Juan Reardon and Kay Wallis, who worked hard in support of Measure N in Richmond in 2012.  Headlined "Yes, Soda Taxes Seem to Cut Soda Drinking," it's available here.  It discusses how early research on data following the 2013 Mexican tax shows "that the tax prompted a substantial increase in prices and a resulting drop in the sales of drinks sweetened with sugar, particularly among the country's poorest consumers." 

The other piece notes that even failed campaigns for the soda tax seem to have had a positive impact: "In the course of the fight, they have reminded people that soda is not a very healthy product. They have echoed similar messages coming from public health researchers and others - and fundamentally changed the way Americans think about soda."  

"The drop in soda consumption represents the single largest change in the American diet in the last decade and is responsible for a substantial reduction in the number of daily calories consumed by the average American child," it declares.  Read the full article here.  

[From my perspective, the next challenge is promoting tap water, enjoyed from a washable glass, as a great drink that beats any soda alternative --including H2O!--that's purchased in a plastic bottle. --PB]

An issue of life and death.
Nurses tell County to fund public health system.

Top photos: Tarnel Abbott.  Bottom: Mike Parker.
Richmond Councilmembers Eduardo Martinez & Gayle McLaughlin, above, spoke in Martinez on Oct. 7th in support of Contra Costa County nurses, during their 2-day strike for safe patient care.  They urged County Supervisors to invest more in the public health system, especially to meet the needs of West County residents who are most severely impacted by the closure of Doctors Medical Center.
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.