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Issue: # 23May 25, 2010
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November Election Mobilization 6/12
The Chevron Settlement
Attention Bikers and Walkers
Recommendations for June Ballot
Environmental Justice Celebration
Richmond Block Party 6/30
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Saturday  June 12,  9:30 am
RPA Office  317 11th St
Mobilization for November Begins
Chevron and the developers have always put a lot of money into Richmond Elections.  This year expect them to outdo themselves.  The Supreme Court has made it easier, and they have a lot at stake in this election.
We don't try to match them in the money field (although contributions gratefully accepted ). We try to match them with activism and community work.  We get started earlier and we work harder and longer in  making direct contact with Richmond residents.
We are starting on June 12.  After coffee and snacks we will review how we are organizing the campaign and some of us will be starting to cover our neighborhoods. Some people will cover the same neighborhood every time.  Others will go out in groups to different neighborhoods.  Even if you can't do much that day but want to canvass a part of our community, we urge you to attend the 9:30 am  briefing and pick up materials.
Remember--there is a direct connection between the issues we care about and who gets elected.  A pro-Chevron city council could approve just about any revised EIR Chevron  submits.  A City Council which goes blind to every other issue, including whether the jobs are real, every time a developer mentions jobs, is a city council that will not respond to citizen movements or needs. 
Can't make it?  Call or email the RPA office and we will get you materials.
RPA Statement on Chevron - City Tax Deal
The RPA views the settlement with Chevron as a substantial victory for the Richmond community, which has demanded that Chevron start paying its fair share of taxes.
The city did not win everything we rightfully deserve but we did win a substantial increase in tax payments from Chevron. Recall that Chevron has been playing hardball with the community, from appealing its county property taxes andchallenging Measure T in the courts, to blocking the bike trail. There is no way that Chevron would have agreed to raise its taxes without the pressure brought by the community when it passed Measure T two years ago, the campaign to End Chevron's Perks, and the strong united opposition in the community to Chevron's cynical "reform" of the utility tax.
The victory is particularly significant given Chevron's deep pockets and ability to drag disputes through the courts at great expense to the city. Our victory at the polls next November would likely have seen another court battle rather than immediate income to the city.
Chevron apparently believed that its failure to settle would result in growing opposition to the company in the community and in the City Council and would prove costly in their business operations. But two big points must not be forgotten as we analyze our victory:  We won what we did by being willing to organize and stand up for what we believe is right.

There is still much that must be done. There are other issues in Richmond that must be dealt with. Jobs, Crime, Point Molate head the list. Chevron has yet to negotiate about fixing its EIR, restarting the expansion project and returning workers to their jobs. And we need to start talking about how the Prop 13 tax loopholes for corporations like Chevron need to be closed.

As with any settlement we might have gotten something more or less under other circumstances. There is also a range of opinion within the RPA of the meaning and lessons of this settlement. Please click here for more discussion. 
--Richmond Progressive Alliance Statement
Attention walkers and bikers! 
On May 13, Richmond celebrated Bike to Work Day with four energizer stations and lots of participation by local residents. Walking and cycling are two great ways to reduce fossil fuel use and promote healthy lifestyles, and these modes of travel are being promoted in Richmond in numerous ways.  
If you're interested in helping make Richmond more pedestrian and bicycle friendly, there are a few public meetings this week where  your input will be welcome:  one on making the Nevin corridor between BART and Civic Center safer and more accessible, another one will be the final workshop for public input on Richmond's new and comprehensive Bicycle and Pedestrian Plans, and one on closing the gap between the east end of the Richmond Greenway trail and the Ohlone Greenway trail (at San Pablo near Macdonald).  See the RPA calendar for times and locations. 
Anyone interested in getting more involved is welcome to join the Richmond Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (RBPAC).  See http://richmondbpac.org/ for more info.

A special effort on Bike To Work Day was made to reach out to day laborers, who congregate around the Home Depot on San Pablo Ave on the Richmond/El Cerrito border. We were fortunate to have a bilingual teacher/administrator and non-motorized transportation advocate to assist us. Along with the usual Bike To Work day swag, we offered free donuts and ESL information, to those on bike and not.
One of the reasons for adoption of bicycles on the part of day laborers, besides the problems one might expect with a lack of documentation, is that using bicycles makes them less vulnerable to being robbed. Since the day laborers may lack documentation, they don't have bank accounts and carry cash. The thugs know this and victimize these workers more readily when they are on foot.
We do need to work on educating the day laborers and many other workers who rely on bicycles out of necessity in the safe rules of the road for bicyclists. The Richmond Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee has made its materials available in Spanish (many workers are functionally illiterate and need to be encouraged to attend the bilingual League of American Bicyclist classes, as well as the ESL classes). Our parent organization, the East Bay Bicycle Coalition (www.ebbc.org) added a Latina to staff, about a year ago now, as Out Reach Coordinator (contact Carrie Harvilla 510 5337432, carrie.harvilla@ebbc.org
-- Marilyn Langlois and Tony Sustak 
 RPA Recommendations on June Ballot Measures
Measure D:  Schools    Yes
Our children should not be penalized for all the errors that we allowed our society to commit against us. As a parent of a child in public school in the WCCUSD I tell you that the needs are very many and the children need the support of "the village".
Review the full text of  Measure D. See the Priority School Projects List, the School Renovation, Repair and Upgrade Projects, and the School Health Safety and Security projects or the  Earthquake Safety and Energy Efficiency school projects. District-Wide Wiring,  Instructional Technology for effective Learning Environment, Job Training, Class Size Reduction  are also included.
Yes, the Feds should be paying for all this, and they are using the money for wars.  [Schools! No War]
But they are not. We let them.
Give our kids coming up a fighting chance...
--Juan Reardon
Proposition 16: PG&E Power Grab  NO
PG&E is using our money for a massive propaganda campaign to vote them protection for monopoly power in the electrical market.  Virtually every editorial, and person of knowledge opposes this bill but PG&E is saturating the airwaves with its  "right to vote" camouflage. 
We don't have the money to counter their saturation bombing.  We have to depend on people taking action to make sure their neighbors and everyone else in California know about this outrage. 
You can get full information, see the editorials, and get some tools by going to  www.noprop16.org    and www.powergrab.info 
Community Celebration
Victory for Environmental Justice
Waiting for Chevron to Move on Jobs.
On April 26 the Appeals Court again found that Chevron's Environmental Impact Report was indeed flawed in its addressing the dirtier grades of crude oil Chevron  planned to process.   We are still waiting  for Chevron to come to the bargaining table and negotiate protections for the community so that the jobs can be restarted.
The organizations that brought the court suit,  Asian Pacific Environmental Network  (APEN), Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) and West County Toxics Coalition (WCTC) held a picnic at Nichol Park for Richmond residents and allies to celebrate this important victory Celebration of 2nd EJ court victory
Sunday May 30, noon - 6 pm
Huge Richmond Block Party
Craneway Pavillion, Ford Point
The Richmond community at large is creating an extraordinary free afternoon event reaching out to unite residents, businesses and the vast array of community organizations all in one fabulous place. The event is about trying something new in Richmond.  There is live musical entertainment and a youth stage,  a BMX Bike demo, Richmond and Contra Costa County Community organization activities, Ford Point tenants, local food vendors, and finally - a Gallery of Local Artists.  Brush elbows with your neighbors and come together for a true neighborhood block party on the sunny waterfront.  It's a great reason to stay home this Memorial Day Weekend; creating good news... while it happens in Richmond.  And, don't forget to pick up your free community calendar so you don't miss anything coming up this year!
For much more info, check out the Richmond Block Party website.

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 the 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 author, unsigned text  the views of the editor, 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.