RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #195
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Richmond Progressive Alliance   

Background for Tomorrow's (5/10) Community Meeting on fate of Adams School site
Sat. 5/14: FAR Campaign Event
5/18: Spare the Air: 2nd Richmond Forum
5/21: CCCRJC Summit on Racial Justice Priorities
5/22, Afternoon FUNdraiser for Ben Choi's campaign
5/25: Protest at Chevron AGM
Read Jovanka's Real Talk: What Really Matters
Thursday is Bike to Work Day
See FIX IT Wed. 5/11
Rally on Th. 5/12 for Adult Education & Educators
5/21: New play, Solitary Man, at NIAD Gallery
Art Show & Sale for Bernie this weekend

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.


Tues. 5/10, 6:30pm, Community Mtg at Mira Vista School
Charter Schools: Privatizing Public Assets
On Tuesday, May 10, the West Contra Costa Unified School District ("WCCUSD") will hold an open community meeting regarding the proposed sale of the former Adams Middle school site to Caliber Schools, a privately controlled charter school organization. 

The proposed sale is likely to undermine Mira Vista K-8 school, a former California Distinguished School, due to the sites' close proximity. Instead of investing resources into strengthening Mira Vista so that the school could earn a California Gold Ribbon (like 18 other WCCUSD schools), the District appears to be prioritizing charter schools over a strong neighborhood school. 

In fact, the sale will mark WCCUSD's surrender to Caliber's Prop. 39 demands for "reasonably equivalent" facilities. Instead of finding a more reasonable alternative, the District is privatizing the closed, vacant, and former Adams Middle School to privately-controlled Caliber. After the sale, the public will lose the benefit and enjoyment of a valuable piece of public land forever. 

Should we use the land for school workforce housing? Or should we privatize a valuable piece of public land? Make your voice heard at the open community meeting this Tuesday, May 10 at 6:30PM. The community meeting is at Mira Vista K-8 School, located at 6397 Hazel Drive, Richmond, in the school's multi-purpose room. 

                                                                             --Peter N. Chau, member RPA's SAT
                                                                                (School Action Team) 

Sat. 5/14, 10am-1pm, from 1021 Macdonald Ave., Richmond   
Big drive for Rent Control & Just Cause

Volunteers will also be working out of the BBPC on Sunday, 5/15, noon-4pm. To arrange another time to canvass, contact Zak Wear: zakwear@gmail.com, 410-570-9322.

Wed. 5/18,, 6-8:30pm, Stl Marks Church Gym, 159 Harbour Wy.
Second Spare the Air Forum in Richmond

Photo & article courtesy of SFA.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) is in the process of revising the rules for the five Bay Area refineries, whose hazardous emissions are responsible for the higher risk of dying from heart disease and strokes in surrounding communities. However, the current draft of the new rules could increase the amount polluters are allowed to emit, and if implemented, would allow refineries to process far dirtier crude such as Canadian tar sands. Communities at risk have joined with the refinery workers' union, USW Local 5, to support an alternative rule that would cap the amount of refinery emissions at current levels. Emissions reductions would not only improve air quality in the refinery corridor, but also downwind communities such as the Central Valley, which has some of the worst air quality in the U.S.

Please spread the word and plan to come to this second community forum. We will discuss the specifics of turning up the heat on BAAQMD to protect frontline communities, workers, our environment, and our global future. Bring a friend!

Sponsored by Sunflower Alliance, Communities for a Better Environment, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Sierra Club SF Bay Chapter, Richmond Progressive Alliance, California Nurses Association, and 350 Bay Area.

(Dinner  is at 5:30pm.)

RSVP to andrĂ©s@cbecal.org.
Sat. 5/21, 9:30am-2pm, Richmond Art Center, 25th & Barrett
CCCRJC Summit: Priorities for Racial Justice

Join in discussing what County priorities should be and how the people of Contra Costa can shape those priorities. This event is organized by the Contra Costa County Racial Justice Coalition (CCCRJC). 

"Our County, Our Choice." Invest in People. 
For more info & to RSVP, call: 510-414-9025.

Sun. 5/22, 4-7pm, 747 Lobos Ave, Richmond
Meet Ben Choi.  Enjoy BBQ.  Party.  Give.

Photo: Durand Ford.

RPA-endorsed Richmond City Council candidate Ben Choi supports Rent Control, Just Cause for Eviction, and Homeowners Protections through the Fair & Affordable Richmond Campaign, and he refuses contributions from businesses. He'll need your help, personal and financial, to run a successful race for the Council seat.  Come to this party, talk with Ben, and make a generous donation to his campaign! The event is co-sponsored by Richmond City Councilmembers Gayle McLaughlin and Jovanka Beckles and Vice Mayor Eduardo Martinez.  At least one of them will be there to introduce Ben.

Please RSVP to Lsupport@aol.com or call 510-260-0636 for more information.  If you just can't make this shindig, please consider sending a donation to "Ben Choi for Richmond 2016" to Box 70923, Richmond CA 94801 in your absence.
Wed. 5/25, 7-11am, Chevron HQ in San Ramon
Protest Chevron's "reckless pursuit of profits"

Be there as the Annual General Meeting of Chevron shareholders gets underway, at a colorful and fun rally outside in support of human rights, environmental, economic and climate justice, and more! Organizers say: "Indigenous and campesino allies affected by Chevron in Ecuador will be accompanied by a First Nations representative from Canada to the meeting. Allies from affected communities in Richmond, California will join the event. They will all have two things in common: They all come from communities that have suffered the dire impacts of Chevron's reckless pursuit of profits, and they're all fighting back." [Emphasis added.]
Photo from: https://www.facebook.com/events/1603794283281511/.

The Richmond Progressive Alliance is a co-sponsor of the rally. The event's
FB page gives a full and up-to-date list of all the co-sponsors.

The location: 6001 Bollinger Canyon Rd., San Ramon, CA 94583. Transportation from Richmond and the East Bay is being planned. When there's news, the Key List or Activist will have it.

From Jovanka's Real Talk newsletter:
What Really Matters

Rather than reading the excerpt below, please take a moment to follow this link to the full statement Councilmember Jovanka Beckles sent out this week to her email subscribers: http://myemail.constantcontact.com/What-Really-Matters.html?soid=1115419193088&aid=VOe2AXUVeYY. (For The Activist's format, some interesting sections had be omitted, alas.)  However, if you feel rushed, 
the portion below will give you some understanding of her position.

"I strongly oppose Measure N - the ballot measure that proposes to bypass city planning procedures to build  "The Richmond Riviera,"  a few luxury Richmond waterfront homes. We cannot let developers who can afford signature campaigns and fancy mailers, determine how we want to move forward in our city.
"I also strongly oppose Measure O - a ballot measure that would set the salary of a City employee. The City Council needs to have the authority to be able to hire the best candidate for the job and to determine the salary based on a fair and competitive process.
"Unfortunately some of the reporting about last Tuesday's meeting (May 3rd) makes it look like the Council was divided, or even supported Measure N. This is completely untrue. Six of the seven Council members (Councilmember Bates was not entirely clear) strongly opposed Measure N. The major difference of opinion the Council had was about how to best fight it, and whether a Council resolution would help or hurt in educating voters about what was at stake. 
"A majority of the Council disagreed with Mayor Butt's strategy about how to oppose Measure N. Unfortunately, in his frustration with the Council decision the Mayor's report to the community was misleading and his anger seemed to be directed against me personally and in particular.

"Mayor Butt published a picture of me appearing to not be paying attention during the budget debate.  Appearances can be deceiving. I regularly go through the packets and background materials carefully, and I sometimes review them with others. I actually paid close attention to the debate."

.     .     .
"That said, I genuinely apologize if any of my actions allow people to think that I do not take these issues very seriously. On the contrary, I am dedicated to my work on behalf of the people of this city and I believe that my integrity, my record and my actions reflect this.  ..."
                                                                                                    --Jovanka Beckles

Th. 5/12: Bike to Work Day. May is National Bike Month.
Refreshments & Swag Bags! (& Health & Savings)

Najari Smith from Rich City Rides & RPA SC. Photo source: City of Richmond.
The City of Richmond is collaborating with 
Bike East Bay, 511 Contra Costa, Rich City Rides, Richmond BPAC, and SunPower to host four Energizer Stations across the Richmond community. 

Stop by on your way to work for refreshments and a Bike to Work Day bag with all kinds of swag and goodies to make your biking experience more fun and enjoyable.

Energizer Stations will be open 7:00 am-9:00 am along key bicycle routes:
Find out more information and other Energizer Stations and events in the East Bay at BikeEastBay.org/BTWD.

Reminder: Wed. 5/11, 7pm, BBPC:
Free screening of FIX IT documentary.

A pro-business case for Single Payer Healthcare.  Discussion with Health Care for All--Contra Costa County, after the film.  Co-sponsored by Green Party of CCC.

Th. 5/12, 3:30-5pm, WCCUSD Offices, 1108 Bissell, Richmond
Rally for Adult Education & Adult Educators!

Join District Adult Education teachers as they demand better pay and better programs from the WCCUSD (Western Contra Costa Unified School District) Board in a rally outside the District office.

Did you know that:
  • Adult Education teachers are the only WCCUSD employees who have NOT received a pay raise this year; 
  • these teachers are hourly employees, so they are only paid for the hours they work, and a cut in hours is a significant cut in pay for them; and
  • their hours were cut sharply in 2009 and never restored?
Here's a section from the Fact Sheet that will be distributed at the event:

Cuts to adult school hours hurt adult school students, adult school teachers, and the community; the elimination of summer school has been particularly harmful.
  • West Contra Costa County has a large population of immigrants who need to learn English to improve their earning power in the workforce and to help them support their children's school success.
  • Research shows that optimal language learning takes place with 12 to 15 hours of instruction a week. Most of WCCUSD's adult English as a Second Language (ESL) classes met 12 to 15 hours per week before 2009; now most classes meet only 9 hours per week.
  • Language learners lose ground if they have to take a three month break over the summer.  Summer ESL classes were eliminated in 2009 and never restored.
  • Summer classes for Older Adults were also slashed in 2009 and never restored.  Research has shown that the mental stimulation and social contact older adults receive in adult school classes are very protective of their health and well being. The needs of older adults don't go away in the summer, but their classes do.
  • When workers make less because they can't increase their English skills, the whole community is poorer.  When parent's can't help their children succeed in school, the school system is less effective. When the seniors fall prey to preventable health problems because they can't get services, their families suffer, the community loses their contributions as volunteers, and governments bear increased health costs.
State funding for adult schools has been restored, but WCCUSD's adult school is being subjected to austerity measures and is losing ground.

Demand an answer from the District: What is being done with the state money?
 It is not going into adult school programs!

Sat. 5/21, 4pm, NIAD Art Gallery, 551 23rd St., Richmond
Solitary Man: Written, performed by Charlie Hinton

Subtitle: My Visit to Pelican Bay State Prison 
Directed by Mark Kenward
Update discussion will follow the performance at 5:15.

From Charlie Hinton: "In July 2013 I responded to an action alert to write letters of support to a number of hunger strikers held in the Pelican Bay Security Housing Units (SHUs), also known as solitary confinement. Several of them wrote me back. Through their letters, conversations with former prisoners, and my personal observations, I've created a solo performance for theater: Solitary Man: My Visit to Pelican Bay State Prison, which takes place in November, 2014" Use this link  for more information about the play and its significance.

Says Marilyn Langlois: "This show is a must-see for anyone interested in fighting mass incarceration and reclaiming dignity for all people.  It has been performed to high acclaim in Oakland and San Francisco and will soon travel to New York. Don't miss this special Richmond performance!"

Donate by 5/10.  Buy art Fri-Sun, 5/13-15: Yves' Gallery, Berk.
Art Show Fundraiser for Bernie

The Opening Celebration: Friday May 136-9pm, at Yves' Gallery of Fine Art & Jewelry, 1865 Solano Ave, Berkeley. 

Show & sale continue: Saturday May 14 & Sunday May 15, 11-5 both days.  

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.