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Issue: # 29July 30, 2010
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RPA Office
317 11th St

Keeping Walmart Out
Support Chief Magnus
Parchester Success
Campaign Talk
Good Reading
Forum on Gaza Blockade
Michael Moore Film
Mime Troupe in Richmond
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Keeping Walmart Out:  Two Battles


RPA Activist LogoOn Thursday, July 29, the Rohnert Park (Sonoma County)  City Council overturned its Planning Commission and granted Walmart's appeal  to expand their existing discount store to become a supercenter selling both groceries and retail merchandise. On April 22nd, the Rohnert Park planning commission had unanamously rejected the proposed.


On Tuesday July 27 a coalition of labor and community forces blocked a Walmart expansion in Antioch.  Congratulations.


These battles are important to us here in Richmond. Walmart keeps poking at Bay Area communities to find weak spots where they can construct supercenters.  Although the projects provide construction jobs, the North Bay Labor Council and Contra Costa Labor Council  and many other labor and community groups strongly oppose these super centers because of the damage they  do to the community including driving out smaller businesses, depressing local wages,  and destroying good union jobs. 


Check out the Sonoma Living Wage website.

Supporting Richmond Police and Chief Magnus


Police participation in community events
Richmond Police
A group of Richmond residents have put up a new website to support Richmond's progress by providing accurate information about the Richmond Police Department under the leadership of Police Chief Chris Magnus.


A handful of Richmond police staff has accused the Police Department and the city of discriminatory practices. The complaints seem to stem from police managers who felt bypassed during reorganization and change programs within the police department.


The complainants' lawyer circulated a DVD  hit piece with statements taken out of context. (Sounds similar to the recent case of right-wing TV circulating  out-of-context statements of a speech at the NAACP convention resulting in the firing of Shirley Sherrod or the campaign to fire Van Jones).   In May, the lawyer was slapped with a fine (click here for Contra Costa Times article)   But the rumors --still circulating--can damage the positive steps taken in the past four years to improve community-police relations  


The website is part of an effort to rebuild community confidence in the police.  It contains information about the police department as well as a place for residents to write their own testimonials and sign a petition supporting Chief Magnus and his policies. 


 Click here for the We Support Richmond web site.  

Neighborhood Watch Parchester  community-police success story


The process of reclaiming a neighborhood can be slow, but it is possible.


See a recent article in the Contra Costa Times 


Jovanka Beckles and residents during a precinct walk Richmond Confidential photo by Veronica Moscoso.
Campaign Talk


The heart of our campaign is having neighbors talk to neighbors about the issues. It is our only answer to the enormous amounts of money Chevron and other corporations will shovel to our opponents. Many of our canvassers write short reports of their experiences.  Here is Roberto Reyes' report:


 I selected to walk the North and East neighborhood for three reasons: 1) it is the fastest growing Latino home buying neighborhood in Richmond (at least one out of three,) 2) it is the largest voting neighborhood in the city, and 3) it is John Z's backyard.


 After three Saturday walks and about 350 voters, I have found that Gayle is well-liked and most folks like the direction the city is going in. Most voters are aware that Nat Bates will be her primary challenger and they do not want him.  Of course this weekend I ran into one person who was going to support Z, representing a view that goes back 30 years.  It was then that Z was the poster child for a mostly white all business city council.  Yes, Z was the tail end of that bunch and there are a few (very few) staunch supporters in the North and East. 


There was a real good mix of young parents who like Eduardo and view education as very important, especially new homeowners who decided to stay in Richmond and raise their families.  I also received good response from older babyboomers who actually thanked me for walking for Gayle.  One person told me they watch the treatment of her on the tube and get disgusted. There were also some family members in the N & E who come from long established Latino  family clans in Richmond and have household with 4-5 voters.  They welcome other Latinos walking the neighborhood for the good of the city. As I move further down toward 23rd street, the high number of voters in these households will only increase.  We found this out in 2004 and 2006.  I intend to walk each Saturday until the victory...anyone who wants to join me, please do.


-Roberto Reyes


Please do join in, especially


Saturdays 9 to 2 at the RPA office 317 11th St.  510-412-2260

Some Good Reading


 Marie Choi an environmental justice activist writes in Labor Notes: Community-Union Collaboration in California Beats Oil Refiner's Divide-and-Conquer  click here 



Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich  points out how the recent profits of corporations comes from cutting jobs not creating them.  See Common Dreams 


Mavi Marmara wikipedia
Mavi Marmara
From Richmond to  Palestine

Thursday, August 12

Richmond Civic Center Library


Kathy Sheetz and Paul Larudee,   Richmond residents who were on the 2010 flotilla that was assaulted and seized by Israeli commandos will share their stories.



Rev. Phil Lawson, former pastor of Easter Hill United Methodist Church, Richmond

Nadeen Elshorafa, youth organizer from Gaza

Andres Soto MC, Richmond activist and musician  


Light refreshments


Sponsored by:  Middle East Study Group of Contra Costa County, Richmond Progressive Alliance, Free Palestine Movement, Macehualli, West County Toxics Coalition, International Solidarity Movement, Jewish Voice for Peace/Bay Area, American Muslims for Palestine, Middle East Children's Alliance, Students for Justice in Palestine, Bay Area Women in Black, Haiti Action Committee, Palestinian Youth Network


For more info call:  Marilyn Langlois - 510-232-4493

Michael Moore's  Capitalism: A Love Story

Michael Moore\: CapitalismWednesday August 18  7 pm

RPA office 317 11th St


In this well-known film Michael Moore goes into the homes of ordinary people whose lives have been turned upside down. He  goes looking for explanations in Washington, DC, Wall Street,  and elsewhere.  More information about the film is available here.    


This free film show is cosponsored by the Richmond Progressive Alliance  and the Peace & Freedom Party, Contra Costa County Central Committee


For more information call Tarnel Abbot at 510-910-4510  or RPA 510-412-2260
SF Mime TroupeWed. , August 25  6 pm 
S.F. Mime Troupe
Anywhere, USA: another American factory is closing its doors, and on the final day of work, one tired employee sits down on the job. "Oh no, a worker sit-in, an occupation!" thinks the hapless Boss. Actually, the tired employee's just gone into labor - no pun intended - but before anyone can stop to think twice, the work force IS occupying the factory. Will these accidental organizers make the most of their plight? Can they successfully save their jobs without being tainted by - shudder - politics? And what can they learn from Mexican telenovelas and the workers of Argentina? Stay tuned to see what is . . . possible!
A Richmond presentation  by the San Francisco MIME Troup
Wednesday, August 25
6:00 p.m. - Music
6:30 p.m. - Play begins
Richmond Civic Center (stage will be at Nevin Street end of the plaza)
Ticket Info: FREE (donation)
For more info and other dates and places  see the SF MimeTroupe 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, Mike Parker, 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.


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