Richmond Progressive Alliance

The Activist

Issue #226, 6-19-2017

In this issue:
No Jail Expansion in Our Town -- Services not cells!
Stop Subversion of Refinery Caps!
Gayle Announces  for Lt. Governor
RPA Solstice Party
Jovanka's Campaign for 15th Assembly District
Rent Board Progress
Richmond Minimum Wage Going to $15/hr
Engage with the Community: Distribute New Richmond Sun
Update on Pedie Perez death investigation
This is What Democracy Could Look Like: Proportional representation

Editor's Note: Two  struggles crucial to the welfare of Contra Costa residents -- stopping jail expansion, and controlling refinery pollution --come to a vote this week.  Our success requires large community participation. Please consider joining one or both.

Tuesday, June 20, 9am

Supervisors to Vote on Jail Expansion

Contra Costa Supervisors to Vote on Richmond Jail Expansion this Tuesday!

We need you at the Contra Costa Supervisor’s Meeting Tuesday, June 20th,  9am.  651 Pine St. Martinez

Join us to demand Services-Not-Jail Cells! Supervisors will be voting on  accepting the $70. Million grant from the Ca. Dept. of Corrections and spending $25 Million from County reserves to build this jail expansion in Richmond. Jail expansion will also cost an additional  $5 Million every year for operations. We think we need to shift just one vote.

If you need a ride/want to carpool call Rita 510-932-3398

The fight against the Sheriffs application for jail expansion is crucial. By every measure it should be stopped.

  1. It is strongly  opposed by the city of Richmond where the expansion will be located
  2. It will allow the Sheriff to rent out more space to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)  to hold people caught in their raids against the sanctuary policy of Richmond, California and every other civilized community.
  3. Holding ICE prisoners undermines the trust required for successful community policing.
  4. The mental health services, the Sheriff claims will be provided can be far better provided outside the jail environment
  5. It will commit the county to provide $25 millions in additional funds. 
The ICE-Jail connection is also being fought in the state legislature.  SB 630,  sponsored by State Senator Nancy Skinner has passed the Senate and passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee. The Bill will block leasing jails built with state funds for ICE detention.  The Richmond community is substantially united in its opposition. Mayor Butt testified at the Assembly Committee hearing for the bill’s passage arguing that spending on the jail was the opposite of our crime prevention priorities.
--Rita Barouch

Bait and Switch! People Power Can Still Win Wednesday

BAAQMD Senior Staff Subverts  Directions >From Board

Tesoro Flaring 11th-hour Air District staff changes to Rule 12-16, scheduled for a vote this coming Wednesday, effectively sabotage what was to be the first-in-the nation rule to regulate local refinery-emitted greenhouse gases.  In a stunning reversal, the Air District is now trying to grandfather in horrendous emission increases.  Staff’s history of reckless permitting is causing them to propose a total gutting of the caps by raising permissible emissions levels by 25%—the equivalent to adding a whole other Chevron or Shell refinery to our air load!  We must pack the house and express our outrage.

 We need the GHG emission limits that were in Rule 12-16 when the staff proposed it at the continued adoption hearing on May 31, and which Board voted to direct staff to bring for adoption on June 21.

 The Board must resist staff chicanery and stay the course.  Now more than ever the community needs to stand up in support of meaningful caps on refinery GHGs, not faux-caps that allow massive emissions increases.

 Read the Sunflower Alliance update.

 Wednesday, June 21st, 8:30 AM - 1 PM

BAAQMD Offices
375 Beale St., 1st Floor Board Room
San Francisco 94105
(Between Folsom & Harrison)

Please arrive no later than 8:30 AM so that we can fill the hearing room.   There will be massive oil industry & building trades turnout, so come early to stand at the head of the line.

We Need GHG Caps, Not Massive Emissions Increases!  
--Thanks to our friends at Sunflower Alliance

On the Chopping Block

Keep Richmond Main P. O. Open

Main Post Office
Like so many other public services endangered by encroaching privatization, the main post office in Richmond at 1025 Nevin Ave. is being threatened with closure.

Richmond’s Mayor, Congressman DeSaulnier, and Supervisor Gioia have joined with the Richmond Main Street initiative to mount a campaign against the proposed closure, which follows the recent shuttering of Station A on Broadway.

 The closure would pose significant hardship to seniors, those who rely on public transit, those with limited access to the Internet, as well as small businesses in the downtown area. As Supervisor Gioia said in a letter to the USPS, the Nevin post office is “central to the health of downtown.” Built during the New Deal, the location has historical value as well.

 The main post office is located at the heart of a historically underserved and diverse community, and the alternative site on Chanslor is far from public transportation and has limited parking. Residents who rely on public transportation have voiced their concerns at public meetings, most recently at the Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council last week. The Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council has said it will file a lawsuit against the USPS if the closure is approved.

 Officials have also expressed concern over the effect the closure would have on the revitalization of Richmond downtown.  Over 1,000 new units of housing and 60,000 square feet of retail at 12th St. and Macdonald Ave. are in the pipeline and have been moving toward completion. These residents and businesses will need more services, not fewer.

 The USPS has said that comments will be heavily weighted in the decision. Comment letters, not emails, are due before 6/30, so they need to be mailed no later than 6/26 so they arrive on time. You can download a comment letter and sign the petition here.

--Janet Johnson

People Powered Distribution This Week

Help Shed Light on Richmond

Richmond Sun The new issue of the Richmond Sun is out.  It is one of the main ways we have to get solid news and our understanding of what we need to do in Richmond to the community.  This issue concentrates on affordable housing and has many other stories.  We are using distribution as an opportunity to talk to neighbors and find out what they are thinking.  Join us in going door to door to distribute the Sun. Click here for more information.


For Assembly

Jovanka Campaigns

JovankaRichmond’s very own Vice Mayor Jovanka Beckles is the only corporate money-free candidate running for Assembly District 15.

Think about those friends and neighbors who are disgusted by Trump but haven't jumped into RPA's campaigns yet. They're frustrated, maybe showed up to a thing or two but not much else. We need you to invite them to a house party this summer so their energy can go toward a corporate-free Sacramento. Multi-billion dollar corporations buying elections and setting the agenda in Sacramento are not going to create the future we all want for California. Jovanka’s people powered campaign is changing the way voters view candidates and proving that candidates do not need to be beholden to deep-pocketed corporate interests to succeed!
Join Jovanka’s campaign to lift up the voices of working families in Sacramento: or call us at (510) 621-7566 to host or co-host a house party. Be sure to stay up to date with her campaign activities and endorsements by following her on Facebook at @JBfordistrict15.

Saturday   June 24, 4 - 6 pm

Justice4Pedie Community Meeting

Justice4Pedie Community Meeting
Saturday, June 24, 2017 4-6 PM
(Doors open at 3:30, forum starts promptly at 4 pm)
Richmond Public Library, Whittlesey Community Room
325 Civic Center Plaza. Richmond, CA  94804

Speakers include:
Jovanka Beckles
Eduardo Martinez

Co-sponsored by  RPA, Oscar Grant Committee, Veterans for Peace, East Bay Chapter

For more information click here.

Organizing for Our Future

Gayle McLaughlin Runs for Lt. Governor

Gayle for Lt Gov
Gayle McLaughlin, Richmond’s only corporate-free progressive mayor (2007-2014), started her campaign for Lt. Governor of California on June 6, 2017, with the goals of “putting people first, organizing corporate-free local groups throughout the state, and giving voters the choice of a corporate-free candidate.”

Gayle believes the best way to advance the transformation of our cities, state and nation is for progressives to come together into local political organizations that are corporate-free (no corporate money), inclusive and diverse, and function year-round. The key to success is the essence of the RPA model:  A local coalition or alliance of all the neighbors and supporters willing, regardless of party affiliation, to work for the betterment of their local community.

Gayle has traveled and met with residents of California cities from San Diego to Redding. Presentations have taken place in San Jose, Pinole, El Cerrito, Pacifica, San Joaquin County, Stanislaus County, San Leandro, Albany, Shasta County, Napa County, and Lake County. In the coming days she will visit Concord, Oakland, San Francisco, Monterey, Watsonville, San Luis Obispo and San Bernardino. Some of the groups welcoming her are Our Revolution affiliates. Some groups are well-established, and others are just starting up and thinking about how to act locally to gain political control of their city governments, too often in the hands of corporations and their representatives.

Gayle is received with great affection, preceded by the recognition she has gained over the years as the person who led the transformation of Richmond. People listen with great interest when Gayle describes the organizational experience of progressives in Richmond and the RPA's successes. Audience members say they appreciate learning how Gayle and the RPA were able to endure difficult early years, overcome obstacles, and achieve many great victories in the transformation of Richmond.

“We will consider our campaign successful if by the end of 2018 we have helped to established grass-roots corporate-free progressive organizations in 100 California cities, and when members of these organizations are running for local city councils and local school boards without taking corporate money and supported by their local alliances. If the people of California also elect me as their first corporate-free progressive Lt. Governor of California, fantastic!  I will use the position to diligently watch for corporate corruption in Sacramento, to denounce it, and to rally the people of California, and to expand further grassroots organizing throughout the state.  With my record you know that I will not let the people down,” Gayle added.

To express your support and donate to Gayle’s campaign. Also refer your contacts throughout the state to Gayle’s website.

--Juan Reardon

Saturday, June 24,  6pm - 8:35pm

Summer Solstice Party

Celebrate with us as we mark the official start of summer. These are the longest days of the year and  on Saturday we will be partying till sundown  The fun starts at 6pm; please bring yourselves, your friends, your good cheer and some food or drink to share. 


Rent Board Making Progress

There are a lot of details and much work required to get a new program going.  I am pleased to say that the Board and the City staff have been working well together and we are making progress.

  • Interviewing candidates for Executive Director of the Board.
  • Approving the expense side of our budget (completed last meeting).
  • Working on the revenue side—proposing the fee that landlords will pay to support the program (to be voted on by the City Council).
  • Establishing the  2017 maximum Annual Adjustment for Rents for tenancies prior to September 2016.

 You can see the agenda for the next meeting, Wednesday June 21  at 4 pm in the City Council Chambers  here.

The Rent Control Ordinance can be found here.

--Nancy Combs

$15/hour  by 2019

Local Minimum Wage Going Up

Tina SandovalThe Richmond City Council  voted 6 to 1 (Tom Butt opposed) to direct staff to draft an ordinance increasing the Richmond Minimum wage  in steps to $15.00/hr by January 2019. The ordinance also will remove several exemptions in our current ordinance. While this is still far below a “living wage” in the Bay Area  it is a big improvement for low wage workers. The draft ordinance will be brought to the Council for a first reading on July 11.  Council members felt it was important to move quickly to give businesses time to prepare for the first step increase in January 2018 and because low wage workers are hurting  in this economy. 

Picture :Tina Sandoval, Macdonalds worker and mother of three testifying for the increased minimum wage

What Democracy Could Look Like: Presentation on Proportional Representation


Join the RPA in an interactive presentation which will provide an overview of local election systems, and discuss possible reforms, including ranked choice voting and forms of proportional representation.  Speakers will include Pedro Hernandez, Deputy Director of FairVote California; Steve Chessin, President of Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER); and Joan Strasser, Board Member of CfER, and a teacher at Richmond High School. 

There will be plenty of time for questions and answers.
Wednesday, June 21 from 7-9 p.m.
Bobby Bowens Progressive Center
2540 Macdonald Ave. (near Civic Center)

[Photo: Theresa Johnson via Flickr]