RPA New LogoThe Activist

Issue #202, 8-16-2016

In this issue:

Community Protests Salute Eviction

House Parties and other ways you can support Team Richmond
YES on L for Rent Control and Just Cause
Thousands of Rosies
FUNd Party for Melvin Willis;
Renter Protection Needed
Community Protests Salute Eviction
The Richmond community has given strong support to Salute e Vita Ristorante  and its owner, Menbere Aklilu (Membe) resisting eviction from its current home on the Marina. The restaurant is known as much for Menbe's generous community efforts as for its food and ambience. On Thanksgiving its doors are open to the homeless.  Mayor Tom Butt and the Marina Neighborhood Council are promoting a petition campaign and letter writing drive to try to get the landlord to reverse the eviction. See Tom's latest update. With so many coming to Menbe's aid, there is a good chance that she will be successful. But in addition to supporting Menbe, we also need to remember others, not so well known, who face similar circumstances.  Here are one RPA member's observations of the Salute rally.

Retaliatory Eviction or Business as Usual?

With an audience that could be considered who’s who in Richmond the Office of the Mayor held a press conference on the front steps of Salute’s Restaurant in Marina Bay.

At issue was an eviction notice given to Salute’s Restaurant, a special Richmond institution.  It is especially known for its  outreach to homeless for first-class meals at the restaurant on Thanksgiving. Salute’s Restaurant is well-loved in the community.  It’s a local business that hires local cooks, bartenders, servers and support staff.

Mayor Butt opened the press conference with a dozen or more reporters, some with TV cameras, making a semi-circle in front of the podium.

Speakers from the Family Justice Center, Richmond Community Foundation, Channel Lumber, East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, Former Mayor Irma Anderson,  Kathleen Sullivan, Betty Reid Soskin and representatives from Supervisor John Gioia, Assembly member Tony Thurmond and State Senator Loni Hancock’s office spoke to the crowd pointing out the injustice in the eviction and denouncing the landlord, Richard Poe.

Menbere Aklilu (Menbe), proprietor of Salute’s Restaurant  then explained that she received an eviction notice four days ago.  She spoke a little about her background and why she opens her restaurant for special events and meals. 

There is an irony in many of this group protesting an eviction and denouncing certain landlords.    It’s like many residential rental evictions faced by carpenters, college students and families with school age children.  Yet some  of the who’s who at the press conference would never be at a rally for an unjust residential eviction.  In fact some of the same people are leaders in the opposition to a measure on the ballot this Novembers that would help renters  address is unjust evictions.

Salute’s Restaurant, which has 26 days left before it will be evicted, sits on prime real estate.  The owner of the real estate, Richard Poe, the initiator and funder of Measures N and O defeated by the voters in June, wants Menbe and her staff to hit the road.  Does Richard Poe have a scheme to get hold of the property, purchase a vacant dirt parcel next door and build a Poe Tower?  Or is it, as many think, a retaliation for Menbe’s public stance against Measures N and O?


See SF Gate article: Richmond leaders rally for beloved restaurateur facing eviction

The landlord's actions were unfair and not in the interests of our community.   Menbe  deserves our full support. I would hope that the press, community, and the Mayors Office showed such support for the hundreds of residential renters in our community that get evicted unjustly -- because they’ve complained too much about mold or  unattended needs that make their place unlivable. 

Maybe now  the Mayor and others at the press conference could get behind the Measure this November and prevent unjust evictions of residential renters. 

It’s important we do what we can to help Menbe and keep Salute’s in its Richmond home, and it’s just as important to help renters stay in their homes. 
--Paul Kilkenny

We depend on people power -- not corporate contributions."
Choi-Willis Campaign needs YOUR help

Houseparty graphicTeam Richmond does not accept corporate donations to fund our election campaigns. Instead we rely on the financial contributions and hard work of our supporters. House parties are an invaluable opportunity for Richmond residents to get to know the candidates in a small setting. In addition to raising money for the campaign we are able to recruit more volunteers to work on the campaign in a number of roles including canvassing, telephoning, providing office support, and hosting another house party. We are asking you to invite some friends and neighbors to meet Ben Choi and Melvin Willis, our two excellent candidates for City Council. If you can hold a House Party e-mail @mjordan00@gmail.com or call 313-575-6565. Margaret Jordan
What else can you do

Endorse Ben and Melvin
You are a big name to your neighbors

Talk to your Friends
It is the best political communication

Make a $ Contribution
We rely on volunteers but mailings and printing costs

Canvas with us in evenings and weekends.
Learn your neighborhood

Phonebank or work in the office

Call the RPA office  at 510-412-2270 (leave a message) or email info@richmondprogressivealliance.net

Saturday 8/20   10 am   2540 Macdonald (across from Civic Center)L Yes
Rent Control / Just Cause Kick-off:  Yes on L

We got the letter designation for ballot measure yesterday. It's time to campaign for a Fair and Affordable Richmond. Come join tenants and tenant allies for a rally on 8/20, 10am at 2540 Macdonald Ave. We will have food, hear speeches, and launch into canvassing and phone banking across the city. Wrap up around 1pm. If you wish to phone bank, please bring a laptop and a cell phone, if possible. Call Zak at (510) 621-7566 for questions. Together we will secure Richmond families from the intense wave of evictions they face with fair housing policy.
Richmond takes back lead in competition
More than 2700 Rosies

On a great day for a celebration of the National Park system and the Homefront Festival  more than 2700 "Rosies" suited up.  This year men were invited to participate and support the effort to remember the strides toward equality made by women during the Second World War. Ben Melvin and friends Rosies come in all sizes
Sunday, August 28,  4pm - 7pm, 747 Lobos (corner of Western) in Pt. Richmond 
Melvin WillisFUNd Raiser Party for Melvin Willis
Steve Early and Suzanne Gordon held  a party to help turbocharge Ben Choi's campaign at this location.  Now they  are hosting another one featuring Melvin. Food, drink, live music, and a good time by all is guaranteed! Please RSVP to Lsupport@aol.comor 510-260-0636

Melvin is one of thousands of young activists around the country who have been inspired by Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign. Now, at Bernie's urging, these labor, community, and environmental activists are stepping up and running for public office themselves. Born and raised in Richmond, Melvin was the city's youngest-ever city planning commissioner. He has knocked on doors to fight home foreclosures, increase the local minimum wage, seek stronger refinery safety rules and fair taxation of Chevron. He has mentored other young people as a leader of Black Mobilization Organization Education Richmond (BMOER). Three years ago, his service to the community won him national recognition as a recipient of the 17th annual Mario Savio Activist Award.

Melvin has been endorsed by the Richmond Progressive Alliance. If you are unable to attend on August 28, please consider sending a check made out to:"Melvin Willis for Richmond City Council 2016" to Box 1573 Richmond, CA. 94802.