RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #196
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Richmond Progressive Alliance   

Good Morning! Rally at Chevron TODAY
Update & Action to support Public Education
Yes! Fair & Affordable Richmond Delivers
Ben Choi: Where he's coming from.
Next RPA Members Meeting Set for July 9th.
Read Steve Early on Chevron's Favorite in Demo Primary
RPA has free No on N&O yard signs
5/28: Fairmede-Hilltop Tackles Charter School Issue
Candidate Zapata Disappoints
Classifieds: RPA Office Help Wanted
RPA Media/Communications Postions Open
Richmond Boards & Commissions Need Members

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.


Quick Reminder: Early Morning Rally Today, Wed. 5/25
Tell Chevron Shareholders what really matters

7am-noon. 6001 Bollinger Canyon Rd., San Ramon, CA 94583.
Hope to see you there!

TONIGHT, 5/25, 6:30pm, Lovonya DeJean, 3400 Macdonald
Update & hearing: Possible sale by WCCUSD Brd.


On May 8, more than 150 concerned community members, including many neighborhood school parents and neighbors, attended the open community meeting regarding the proposed sale of the former Adams Middle School site to Caliber, a privately-controlled, publicly-funded tax-exempt organization. 

Most of the respondents questioned the need for Caliber to own a valuable piece of property, which has remained vacant since 2009. Unfortunately, the sale of the Adams Middle School site would surrender public control over this property forever. Under Caliber's own admission, the site could be sold to another "public" school (i.e. another charter school organization).  

Many legal, practical, and educational policy issues remain. How can the school district sidestep Education Code section 17466, requiring a 2/3 vote by the Board of Education that declares intent to sell any real property? Why is the District prioritizing Caliber over neighborhood schools, especially when middle schools are near capacity? How can the neighborhood accommodate Caliber's aggressive growth plans with limited public safety resources and limited road capacity? 

Attend the May 25 public hearing at the West Contra Costa Unified School District's Board of Education meeting and make your voice heard! The meeting begins at 6:30PM at Lovonya DeJean Middle School (3400 MacDonald Ave., Richmond). For more information, log onto www.publiccore.net.

                                                        --Peter Chau, RPA Schools Action Team (SAT)

The Public Core home page offers ways to get involved and gives this description:

Public Core is an organization of West Contra Costa County parents, teachers, community members, and school staff who fight for public control and accountability in our schools. We believe that public schools, open to all, are essential to the health of a democratic society. Our goal is high quality, inclusive public education for all students. We believe that the proliferation of privately-operated schools using public money will increase inequalities in education and in our society. We are dedicated to informing the public about the impact of publicly-funded, privately operated schools on our community.

The May 8th meeting was recorded by Don Gosney.  It is available on YouTube:

Th. 6/2, 12:30pm, Press Conf. at Richmond City Hall
Fair & Affordable Richmond Will Deliver Petitions

The campaign to put rent control and just cause eviction protections on the November ballot is planning a press conference for June 2, right before turning in the qualifying signatures to the City Clerk! All supporters are welcome to attend. (Official word that Richmond will be able to vote for the measure may take another 30 days.)

If you are collecting signatures, please turn in your petitions on or before May 26th. On Thursday the office, at 1021 Macdonald, will be open from 8am to 8pm for drop off and to sign the petition. You can also call Zak at (510) 621-7566 to arrange another drop off time. We will still gather signatures together on Saturday, 5/28, 10am-2pm and on Sunday, 5/29, 12pm-4pm, first meeting at the office.

Many thanks to all the voters who signed in support, to all the volunteers who collected signatures and registered new voters, and to Fair and Affordable Richmond coalition member SEIU Local 1021, which funded paid signature gatherers. 

If you or someone you know still has questions about the proposed ordinance, take a look at this FAQ Fact Sheet [http://richmondprogressivealliance.net/docs/Rent-Control-FAQ.pdf]
(also available in Spanish at http://richmondprogressivealliance.net/docs/Control-Rentas-Pregunta.pdf), and then come on by BBPC, from 8 to 8 on Thursday, May 26th, to sign a petition!
A recent statement from City Council candidate Ben Choi  
"Having the tough conversations is what matters"

Here's an introduction to Ben's perspective that he wrote for distribution at Saturday's FUNdraiser party:

Ben Choi in conversation Saturday.
 Photo: Erica Milsom
I grew up in a working-class area of Los Angeles where I helped my immigrant parents run a corner store. We served all the people of our neighborhood -- rich and poor and in between. But as the sole Korean-American family in a predominantly Latino and Anglo neighborhood, there was no question of trying to blend in. Instead, I came to truly value diversity -- of race, of economics, and of voice, and I had a chance to hear about life from many different perspectives.

Often there were differences of opinion. I thought then that if everyone listened and had a real conversation, we could come together through the values we share. I still believe that today.

I will lead Richmond based on this idea -- having the tough conversations is what matters as we look to define our future. In the coming years we do have common ground and shared values, and I'll help us find them.

Many thanks to all who contributed to and attended this successful event.  And, yes, it was a party!

Save the date: RPA Members' Meeting July 9th!
Campaigns & Education!

The Membership Committee will meet soon to begin planning the meeting; contact Chair Zak Wear if you'd like to help.
If you're ready to become an RPA member 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 postage, 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.

NPP Voters Can Get Democratic Primary Ballots
Hilary's "Toxic Entanglements" vs. Bernie's stance

For Bernie Sanders to have a shot in California against Hillary Clinton, he'll likely need a large number of votes from "No Political Preference" Independents. Local journalist Steve Early had a piece in Counterpunch earlier this month which examines Clinton's broad and deep ties to Big Oil money (and Bernie's repudiation of them). Could it convince you to ask for a Democratic primary ballot, just this once?

To vote by mail, NPP Independents have until May 30 to request a Democratic primary ballot from their county elections office. In Contra Costa, all it takes is call to (925) 335-7800 for recorded directions on an easy email method or a visit to cocovote.us. Or you can bring your mail ballot to your polling place on Election Day and request a traditional ballot instead. NPP voters who go to the polls can ask for a Democratic primary ballot June 7th.

The subtitle: Don't buy the developer's lie
Remember: Vote NO on N&O on June 7th.

Photo: Patsy Byers

Bold & bright "No on N & O" yard signs are available free for pick up at the RPA office, BBPC, 1021 Macdonald, usually open 2-5 M-F.  (Call 510-412-2260 first to make sure someone will be there.) They can also be picked up at Tom Butt's Pt. Richmond office, 117 Park Place.

Sat. 5/28, 10am, Hilltop Community Church, 3118 Shane Dr.
Community Mtg to halt charter school expansion

The RPA Schools Action team received word from the Fairmede Hilltop Neighborhood Council about a community meeting to oppose the privatization of public education. This meeting will highlight the impacts of charter schools on our neighborhood schools.

You're invited to learn more about the privatization of our public education system!

In a related note, the Sacrmento Bee had an article this week on charter school money flooding local school board races there.  Read it herehttp://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article79172162.html.  Is Richmond another target?

Reaction to Cesar Zepata's campaign kick-off 
"Conflict always accompanies progress."

The following letter was sent to Cesar Zapata, a candidate for Richmond City Council, and shared with the RPA Activist:

Dear Cesar,

The event disappointed me. Yes, I marveled at how you accumulated --in the room--  such a broad and diverse number of apparent supporters. 

Still, it upset me to hear you characterize the last ten years in Richmond politics as marked by conflict, which you intend to diminish or eliminate. That is a slap in the face to all the people in Richmond who have fought so hard to make our community better.

Do you remember what Richmond was like before?

Conflict always accompanies progress and change. So what?

By denouncing what it has taken to accomplish the advances of the past ten years, by giving so much prominence to Chevron (a corporation which continuously seeks authorization to disregard the health and safety of residents) you appear to align yourself with those who seek to stall, stop, or reverse progress in Richmond.

I'm sorry you made that choice. Please don't imagine you haven't.

Kathleen Wimer
RPA Needs YOU to help in the office, 1021 Macdonald
Vacation sub & regular staffing opportunities 

Help needed:  Volunteer office staffing to open and close RPA office, greet people,  answer questions about the RPA or  efer as needed, possibly light data entry work and/or housekeeping. This becomes a busy place during campaign season, which is rapidly approaching. Basic hours 2-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and Saturday morning. Various time slots available and trades are possible. Currently coverage is needed for: Tuesday June 14, Thursday August 11, and any Friday or Saturday.  

If you are available on a day that is not listed, let me know, and maybe we can work out  a trade.

I would like to thank current  core volunteer office staff for their longterm ongoing commitments: Margaret Jordan, Miguel Cavalin, Mike Parker, and Tim Laidman. Thanks to current substitutes for helping with vacation schedules: Patsy Byers, Marilyn Langlois, Chy Nair, and Janet Johnson.

Tarnel Abbott,  Chair Office Committee

More opportunities to help amplify RPA's voice
Newsletter, Key List, & Webpage Workers needed

After 2+ years and 60+ issues, I'm preparing to leave my post as editor for the RPA Activist & the Key List emails.  We're looking for someone(s) to take on some of this work, likely as part of a small team.  Training will be provided.  It's often satisfying, sometimes creatively rewarding, and always challenging.  If you're interested, please send an email to the RPAActivist@gmail.com, outlining what you'd like to consider doing or asking for more specific information.

The RPA is also looking for help with its website design and maintenance.  Again, please contact us via RPAActivist@gmail.com. We will try to respond quickly and clearly to any questions! Please consider what you could do to help meet these needs.  If you are willing and able to take on some of this work, it would be very much appreciated.
Many thanks,        
Patsy Byers          
Yet another volunteer opportunity!
Many City Boards & Commissions have openings

Here's the May report on vacancies on City of Richmond Boards & Commissions.

Look it over, and if you find  something that interests you, find out more and follow the application procedure outlined on the City's website, http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/256/Boards-and-Commissions.  The appointments are all made by the mayor, with Council consent.

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.