RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #188
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Richmond Progressive Alliance   

RPA SC says:"Richmond leads the way on accountability"
Seeing the positive for Richmond residents
Saturday: Summit on Racial Justice
YES! Benicia Planning Commission denies Valero's Crude Plans
Organizing Rally for Bernie draws hundreds in Richmond
Tomorrow: AC Transit hearing on Korematsu bus route
"Refugees Are Welcome Here"
Thumbs up for Michael Moore movie
"Ancestral Portals" Artist Talk
Sat. 2/20, RPA HAT meeting
Bay View Paper Celebrates 40th.
Grant Info Meeting: Money for community, youth sports, & youth programs
3 Important events to plan for:(1) Sisters in Solidarity Mar. 9
(2) U.S. Policy towards Cuba: Real changes? Mar. 11
& (3) 4/6 & till 4/30: Celebrate Richmond Poetry.
Here's some of the scoop on the RPA
Last but not least: Join the RPA today!

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 Steering Committee on The Citizens Police Review Commission:
Richmond leads the way on accountability

We have arguably one of the best police forces in the state and now we'll have one of the best accountability and community oversight standards in the state, too.  

The measure approved by Councilmembers McLaughlin, Martinez, Beckles, and Myrick last week, once established as an ordinance, will provide the Richmond community meaningful oversight when police activities result in the loss of life or in serious injury.  In a time when other police departments have become mired in controversy, this policy serves to create transparency and accountability.  We're moving very clearly in the right direction and that has required and will continue to require vision and a steady commitment to a culture of government open to oversight, input, and collaboration with the community it serves.

The following links provide information about the Citizens Police Review Commission ordinance and the investigation requirement called for on February 2nd:

Richmond Confidential - Feb 3, 2016 - Richmond city council meeting discusses investigating the death of Richard "Pedie" Perez.

Justice for Pedie Perez Movement & Oscar Grant Committee says
Council decisions: "A positive for citizens of Richmond"

This statement is from the Justice for Pedie Perez Movement and the Oscar Grant Committee:
In response to Mayor Butt's and Chief Magnus's comments after the last  [Feb. 2] City Council meeting, the Perez family along with the Oscar Grant Committee would like to address a few issues that are being misconstrued as a negative rather than a positive for the citizens of Richmond.
Mayor Butt continues to try and raise suspicion towards the Perez family for wanting a true and impartial investigation, which was never performed after the shooting death of their unarmed son, Richard Pedie Perez III, by Officer Wallace Jensen on Sept. 14, 2014. To say our mistrust in a few represents our opinion for the larger majority of the Richmond Police force is just a play on words to demonize not only the family, but also the City Council members and others who see the true injustices that are taking place here.
We applaud the fine job that the majority of the Richmond Police Department (RPD) officers are doing in this community, but the fact of the matter is: a 24 year old man lost his life at the hands of one of their officers whose reputation isn't the most pristine.
Clearly Mr. Butt doesn't understand this situation: it is not a matter of antipathy towards the RPD, but merely an effort to hold them accountable for their actions in the same way that every other member of the community is held accountable, by an independent investigation of any incidents involving violent inflicting of harm on other community members. While it is true that this would be almost unprecedented in the United States, that is simply symptomatic of how little accountability the police have in our society. In point of fact, in almost every jurisdiction in the United States, police violence is investigated by the police departments themselves, or by the same prosecutors and district attorneys who have a collegial relationship with the police departments...

Sat. 2/20, 9:30-2pm, UUCoB, 1 Lawson Rd., Kensington   
Help set priorities for racial justice in Contra Costa

The agenda for the Summit is available here.
Benicia Planning Commission unanimously says:
"No!" to Valero Crude by Rail

Thanks to all who worked on this long and hard campaign! Several RPA members spoke during four nights of hearings that ran to after 11 pm each night, contributing to the huge historic victory. Among them was Janet Johnson, who pointed out similarities between Chevron and Valero, "especially the insidious ways in which they buy influence in their respective communities."

Here's the story, reprinted with permission from the Sunflower Alliance website:

"Extraordinary news from Benicia, CA, where the Planning Commission voted unanimously Thursday night, Feb 11, to deny a land use permit for a proposed oil trains project at the Valero Benicia Refinery.

"The decision comes despite immense pressure from Valero, the City Staff, and City Attorney, who all recommended approval of the project on the basis that federal law preempted the city from even considering rail impacts in making their land use decision.

"The decision comes at the tail end of four straight nights of public hearings that lasted past 11pm. Public comment reflected the broad-based opposition to the oil trains project fostered by tireless grassroots organizing.

"Valero will likely appeal the decision to the Benicia City Council, who could vote on the project as early as mid-March. Stay tuned for updates, because we have a big fight ahead of us.

"The lion's share of credit here goes out to the incredible grassroots leadership of Benicians for a Safe & Healthy Community. These tireless, fierce, and deeply passionate leaders have been fighting Valero tooth and nail for over three years, and have done a tremendous job in a tough industry town to build a campaign to be reckoned with.

"Hopefully this momentum carries us forward for a denial at the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission later this month.

"Onward together!
Ethan Buckner, Forest Ethics"

Bernie Sanders Rally in Richmond: Standing room only once again
Hundreds here say "Bernie Sanders is for me."

Photos: Steve Early.
The organizing rally for Bernie Sanders in Richmond on Friday, 2/12, attracted an enthusiastic crowd of about 300, many of them RPA members, ready to work on the campaign.  The event gave supporters a chance to shake hands and meet each other, and more than 30 house party/phone-calling events were set up to organize outreach to Nevada. Jovanka Beckles and Eduardo Martinez, seen in front in the last picture, were co-sponsors and special guests.  
As Jovanka Beckles told the crowd: This has to be about "Power to the People!"

Out today: "Labor, The Left, & Sanders," a Michael Albert interview with Steve Early and Rand Wilson.  Read it here:  https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/labor-activism-sanders/, and then discuss it with your friends and neighbors. And the idea for the headline quote comes from Steve Randy Waldman's "Your idea of politics is wrong," at http://www.interfluidity.com/v2/6400.html. Check it out.

Tomorrow, Th. 2/17, 6pm, El Cerrito City Hall AC Transit hearing:
Bus service for students at new Korematsu Middle School

AC Transit needs to reroute buses to the new school site when it opens In March. What's at stake here is how close the buses will pick up and drop off at the new school,10890 San Pablo  (at Manila /Bayview). The street in front of the school was designed with bus pullouts to handle the buses, but some are saying that maybe the buses should not come in front of the school.  

If families of Korematsu students --half of them from Richmond-- can attend this meeting or weigh in though email, it will help the authorities to make a more informed decision.

More information about the bus routes and the meeting here: http://www.el-cerrito.org/Calendar.aspx?EID=3112Comments can also be sent by email to planning@actransit.org.

Seen around Richmond:
Signs of welcome

Some merchants on San Pablo Ave. have recently posted these signs on the front windows of their businesses. Provided by community activists, the signs help create a local spirit of welcoming solidarity, fighting xenophobia and Islamophobia. 

When you see one, consider going in to say thanks, and maybe you'll want to shop there, too.  

We encourage our readers with businesses in Richmond to create their own signs and to display them proudly.  
           --Item suggested  & photo by Juan Reardon.

Fri., 2/19, join RPAers to see Where to Invade Next together*
"Looking at some other boxes!"

The word "politics" has many meanings.  Often the term is used to suggest a questionable motive, or a way to achieve power over others or gain personal benefits.

Those of us who volunteer many hours in "politics"  view  politics as the way that we act collectively for our collective interest and the way we can end injustice in the society.  For those who see politics in this way, I strongly recommend Michael Moore's new movie,  Where to Invade Next.  It takes  the  well-known progressive critiques of US society and power and combines them with charming and clever snippets to demonstrate alternatives already working in other countries. It turns out in many cases that "thinking outside the box" just requires looking at some other boxes!

For the most part the film could be an ad for the policies that Bernie Sanders promotes. But Hillary supporters might appreciate his "women are better at running the world" segment.

Progressives should definitely see it and talk about it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  --Mike Parker  

*An impromptu RPA ACT event: Meet to the left of the box office at 6:50pm on Friday, Feb.19, to see the film together at the California Theater, 2113 Kittredge Street, between Oxford and Shattuck, in Berkeley, CA.  It's close to BART.  (Look for the RPA blue & gold.)

Sat. 2/20, 1-3pm, Joyce Gordon Gallery, 406 14th St., Oakland CA
"Ancestral Portals" Artist Talk with Malik Seneferu

Malik Seneferu is a Richmond Artist and member of the RPA Steering Committee.  
More information about the exhibit and talk is available here.

Also Sat. 2/20, 3-5pm, BBPC, 1021 Macdonald Ave.
RPA Housing Action Team (HAT) Meeting

Anyone interested in housing issues in Richmond is invited.

On the agenda thus far: 
  • Outreach subcommittee report from its first meeting
  • Rent control/just cause campaign update and HAT's potential involvement
  • Michael's presentation on affordable housing in Richmond 
    • The challenges for a nonprofit developer
    • Latest news from the Mayor's working group
    • Commercial impact fees - where that process stands

Sun. 2/21, 1-5pm, S.F. Main Library, 100 Larkin, San Francisco
Wish the Bay View a Happy 40th Birthday

San Francisco Black Film Festival director Kali O'Ray and SF Bay View associate editor JR Valrey are making a movie about the Bay View's 40-year history of liberation journalism! It's a work in progress, and here's the first trailer.

Here's what the folks planning the celebration wrote:
We're celebrating SF Bay View's 40th birthday, and we'd love to have you join us. It's all afternoon, and it's all free: a panel of folks who've brought you the BayView paper over the years, a fashion show and performances by our treasured Avotcja, Stoney Creation and Sista Iminah. You can even thumb through old papers to find a story you wrote or a picture you were in. Read all about it HERE, and our Facebook event page is HERE. While you're there, LIKE us on Facebook.
Show the Bay View some love.

SF Bay View, the paper many Black Panther veterans call the successor to The Black Panther newspaper, is facing a serious financial challenge. Only with your help can we continue to publish. Ad revenue is down, and we need nearly $5,000 by the first of March to pay for printing, distributing and mailing the March paper.

Most of our readers are about as broke as we are, and we don't want your last dime. Just pass this appeal along to someone you know who has the means to help. For those of you who can, please go to  Support SF BayView. There you can choose to make your donation tax deductible or not. Don't let our 40th year be our last. Keep the Bay View alive and kicking!

Wed. 2/24, 6-7:30pm, City Council Chambers, 440 Civic Center Plaza
Community Grant Program Informational Meeting

The Environmental and Community Investment Agreement (ECIA) funds were part of what Richmond required of Chevron in the approval of its "modernization" project.  Grants, from $5000 to $75000, will be awarded annually for the next 10 years.

Sat. Mar 9, 10am-2pm, Richmond Auditorium, 403 Civic Center Plaza
9th Annual Sisters in Solidarity Celebration

The Richmond Progressive Alliance will have a table, and the Arts & Culture Team is planning an interactive art project examining the meaning of "Home." Please look for us!

Coming Mar. 11:
Join in this discussion on U.S. Cuban policy

Open now, deadline is 4/30: "Look, a book!"  "See me, p. 3!" 
Calling all Richmond Poets


The RPA Arts & Culture Team is planning a Poetry Month celebration of the publication of Daniel Ari's One Way to Ask on Wednesday, April 6th, 7-9pm at BBPC. More details soon.

Want to learn more about the RPA?
Here are some links, suggested by Mike Parker

After all this, how can you resist?
Now's the time to join the RPA!
To join the Richmond Progressive Alliance, 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 & then go to the RPA web page. Press the "Donate" button in the left column there and make a payment for dues. Any additional contribution helps us keep dues more affordable for those with low income and is welcomed.

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.