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Issue: # 36October 17, 2010

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RPA Office
317 11th St

Petition to End Smears
Answers to the Lies
Viramontes Wants it Both Ways
The Real Campaign
Good News
Volunteer for Election Day
Letters: Rosemary Corbin
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More Lies in the Mail

Yet another series of glossy deceptive hit pieces filled Richmond mailboxes at the end of the week. Again, we are digging deep into our pockets to send out our answers to every Richmond voter. (Contributions greatly appreciated since we take no corporate money for the campaigns.) Below are the truthful responses we are mailing out.
There are also many mailings that require no response.  For example  Nat Bates supporters have just put out a piece that does its best to tear down Richmond to build Nat up.  But the mailer text does emphasize that "Nat Bates has an intimate understanding of criminal behavior."
Petition to End Smears 
We could end the smears and lies quickly if all candidates would stop legitimizing the groups that put them out.

Petition graphicRichmond United for Peace is circulating a petition calling on  candidates Viramontes, Lopez,  Rogers, and Bates  to  "join Richmond United for Peace in demanding their endorsers, Richmond Police Officers Association and Richmond Firefighters Association (RPOA/RFA), apologize to Mayor McLaughlin and the people of Richmond for their offensive campaign tactic and demand they pledge not do this again, now and in the future."

"Because candidates Bates, Viramontes, Lopez and Rogers are the intended beneficiaries of the joint RPOA/RFA campaign, should RPOA/RFA not apologize, these candidates should return any RPOA/RFA campaign contributions given so far and demand RPOA/RFA no longer spend any campaign funds on their behalf."

 Let's clear the air of the many lies and distortions about Mayor McLaughlin

 that are swirling around in campaign mailers and on signs.


Lie: Mayor McLaughlin voted against the Honda Port project. 


TRUTH:  Mayor McLaughlin supported the Honda Project. She would not support the project's Environmental Impact Report until it guaranteed clean air.  As a result we got the Honda project with clean air.


  Mayor McLaughlin voted against the Civic Center renovation


TRUTH:  Mayor McLaughlin was a strong supporter of the Civic Center renovation.

For environmental and employee health reasons, she opposed the installation of non-operable windows.



Lie: Mayor McLaughlin requested a 94% raise without public input. (RPOA/RFA website)


TRUTHOur full-time Mayor earns less than a city gardener.

Actually Council members Thurmond and Lopez made a motion to raise the mayor's salary 46%. The Council defeated this. After public input, on 7/31/07 the City Council voted raises for themselves and the mayor amounting to 5% per year from the last raise.  McGlaughlin was purposely absent and uninvolved in all Council discussions on the mayor's salary. She now makes about $47,000 per year while working far more than full time. (Compare to the salary of Police Sgt. Andre Hill, spokesperson for these lies, whose 2009 salary was $175,000.)  Verification: City Council minutes and Contra Costa Times Public Employee Database



Lie:  The Mayor voted against the Target project (statement by Nat Bates quoted in the Post, Sept 15-21 and repeated in many public forums)


TRUTH:  The City approved the Target project in 2004 before Gayle McLaughlin was elected to the Council.  (Contra Costa Times, 2/13/04) Through 2008 there were only two votes on the Target project - a unanimous vote on a storm drain and bike path in December 2007, and a unanimous vote to accept Target's $300,000 for the Police in December 2008. The Chief of Police received the check, with the Mayor by his side.


Mayor McLaughlin refuses to talk to Chevron


TRUTH:  The Mayor meets often with Chevron representatives. She is currently in negotiations with Chevron to reach agreement on restarting the refinery construction project while providing clean air and protection for Richmond residents. 

TRUTH: If you want to talk, Mayor McLaughlin will listen.

Mayor McLaughlin is open to meeting with anyone in the community upon request,

including representatives from businesses and employee unions.  She holds monthly Meet-with-the-Mayor sessions that are open to everyone.



TRUTH: Mayor McLaughlin is on excellent terms with the Richmond Police Department. 

Police Chief Magnus wrote to Mayor McLaughlin on Oct. 4, 2010,

"I continue to appreciate our positive relationship with all members of the City Council, including you as the City's Mayor.  Regards, Chris Magnus"



TRUTH: Mayor McLaughlin insists on accountability

A former employee in the Mayor's office improperly handled funds three years ago.  When this incident came to light, Mayor McLaughlin immediately terminated the employee, and reported it to the District Attorney. The person was prosecuted, found guilty, and 90% of the money has been returned to the City.  The checks and balances were in place and the system worked.



TRUTH: Mayor McLaughlin helped create Solar Richmond, but does not own it nor profit from it in any way.
Mayor McLaughlin
worked with Michele McGeoy to co-found the nationally-recognized Solar Richmond as a grassroots initiative in 2005.  Ms. McGeoy later turned Solar Richmond into a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.  Mayor McLaughlin was never on the board or staff of this non-profit, and Solar Richmond is not "owned" by her  or anyone.  According to Ms. McGeoy, "Mayor Gayle McLaughlin has never received a penny for starting up Solar Richmond and supporting it through these years."


TRUTH: Mayor McLaughlin overcame past hardships and retained responsibility for school loans.
Mayor McLaughlin's request, during a time of personal hardship, for debt relief on her school loans was denied.   She has long overcome past hardships, and has retained full responsibility for payment of these loans. 


 TRUTH: Mayor McLaughlin Takes No Corporate Money for Her Campaign

 "This is my third electoral race and I have never taken a dime from corporations for my campaigns.  While most of the corporate money in this race is directed toward my defeat, there are some - card clubs and competing casinos - that are sending out literature supporting me  because they oppose the mega casino in Richmond.  I do not control their actions.  And I accept no contributions from them.  My goal is to keep all corporations out of electoral politics - including them. In 2004 I began a new practice in Richmond by rejecting all corporate contributions.  Since then, Dr. Jeff Ritterman and candidates Jovanka Beckles and Eduardo Martinez have embraced this practice as well.  We believe that the power of ideas and principles resonates more among the voters than the power of corporate money."      --Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin

 Maria Wants It Both Ways.

MTVThere is a good reason that Maria Viramontes won the title of Leader of the "Chevron 5 (now 3)" and the "Casino 4."
In both cases she is the one who organized the deals to give Chevron or the developers what they wanted at the same time claiming to be a strong critic of them.

Maria insists that she can take money from Chevron but will stand up to them when necessary.  Yet it is Maria who organized the now well-known secret deal for a Community Benefits Agreement with Chevron and the approval of the flawed Environmental Impact Report.

Maria says she voted against the Casino years ago, but Maria is the one who organized the 11 month extension of the Land Disposition Agreement to extend the life of the Casino project.

Maria claims to want "truth" in council meetings, but when lies and smears are spread about political opponents, Maria is silent or encourages them. For example Maria knows full well that Gayle never initiated an increase in the Mayor's salary.  Maria knows it because it was Maria that initiated it. See video stream of council meeting June 26,2007 9:35 pm

Maria in Action

Incumbent Richmond City Councilmember Maria Theresa Viramontes was canvassing my Richmond Annex neighborhood today. I was pulling my car into my driveway when I saw her coming down from my front porch, having left a door hanger.
I thanked Mrs. Viramontes for leaving literature for us, and then asked if she would please consider renouncing the terrible personal smear campaign perpetrated by the Richmond Police Officers Association (RPOA) against our Mayor.  The RPOA is a big supporter of Mrs. Viramontes, and she has made no public statement against the RPOA's vicious tactics.
She refused to condemn the RPOA's savage attack, and hurriedly changed the subject to campaign literature against Myrna Lopez used by the anti-casino groups.
I was dumbstruck that Viramontes could stand silent and support the deplorable tactics of the RPOA. 
"Please..." I implored.  "As a mother, as a woman, tell me you don't condone the RPOA's cruel and unfair attacks..."
"I'm not talking to you!" she yelled, turned her back, and stomped down the street.

Kay Wallis.
 Who Backs Viramontes  


Viramontes Backers


Jovanka BecklesSupport Gayle by Electing Jovanka and Eduardo to City Council

With all of this attention focused on Gayle, one of the dangers is that people will not pay attention to the council race. Yet the council race is equally important. It should be clear that this orchestrated attack underscores the need to elect a progressive majority to the Richmond City Council--one which can deal with the issues of jobs, Pt. Molate, and clean air in the intersts of Richmond residents.   

Eduardo Martinez

Gayle needs Jovanka and Eduardo on the Council. They support the direction that Gayle is leading the city. They do not take corporate contributions; they will represent the people rather than Chevron and the RPOA/RFA.

Good News

As important as elections are, the most important forces to move Richmond forward are when we organize together to take action on our own.  Here are two recent activities which help make Richmond's slogan, City of Price and Purpose, a reality.


Solano Playlot  Appears to Have Won Contest


      See Channel 7 story  



From Vacant City Lots to Food on the Table

People rarely get a say in what happens to land when their city falls apart. But in the last five years, some Richmonders have taken matters into their own hands. Often with official permission but sometimes without, they have planted more than two dozen gardens in public lots and school grounds all over the roughest parts of town. Urban Tilth calls them "farms," and last year grew 6,000 pounds of food, which went to dozens of local families.

Article in Yes! Magazine 9/17 by Madeline Ostrander 


Mae Clark has created this sign

 Here Comes the Sun

Volunteer for Election Weekend  and Election Day


On Election Weekend (October 30-31) we  will need as many people as possible on the phones and distributing election cards throughout the city.


On Election Day (Tuesday November 2)  our main task is to be at the polls  handing out slate cards.  The other campaigns will hire people for this activity. We don't have the money.  We need to count on you.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who vote who do not pay attention to any of the campaign literature and make up their minds at the last minute.  Part of how they vote depends on last-minute personal contact and answering questions. We need lots of people volunteering lots of time to cover 13 hours of polling at 38 polling places. 


Please call the office (412-2260) or email us at rpaactivist@gmail.com. and let us know how you can help. 

Letters for Gayle and Against the RPOA Smear
To Contra Costa Times 10/15


      I was the victim of a hit piece by the same group that attacked McLaughlin when I was running for mayor. It wasn't successful against me. I hope this latest smear will be unsuccessful, too. The "old boys" don't like McLaughlin's tendency to support people who actually live in Richmond, instead of those who come to Richmond to make a buck and then leave. Her two opponents, whom I served with on the City Council, rarely voted with me except when there were unanimous votes.

      They represent a return to the past.

      Vote for Mayor McLaughlin so Richmond can continue moving forward.


Rosemary M. Corbin

Rosemary Corbin is a former Richmond mayor.


To: Richmond Police Association


      I continue to receive, and be offended by, your email messages. I'm not sure how you obtained my email address but I request that you remove me from your list.

      Since you are focusing only on Mayor Gayle McLaughlin's history prior to City Council, I must conclude that you cannot find fault with her six years of community service.

      Her tireless work to improve life in Richmond by expanding green businesses and jobs, youth services, neighborhood and school gardens, community involvement has impressed me and many others.

      This movement to promote a more peaceful and healthy Richmond has left the station and cannot be derailed.

     Why not reconsider and find a productive and respectful way to contribute to our community?

     Thank you for listening,

Rita Barouch

Richmond Resident

Show Your Support for a Grass Roots Campaign


Available with metal stakes as lawn signs or window/fence signs
Come by the office (weekdays 2-5pm or Saturday 9am -2pm),
317 11th St. to pick some up for yourself and your neighbors.
Or call 510-412-2260 for delivery.

Make A Difference
We don't take  corporate contributions, we depend on on people like you volunteering to make democracy work.
Phone Banking With Others

phoneEvery Wednesday  6:30 pm - 9 pm (starting September 1)

At a location convenient to South Richmond and Annex

            Phones provided


            Email Kay Wallis  kaywallis@hotmail.com


Every Thursday  6:30 pm - 9 pm

At RPA office  317 11th Street

            If possible, please bring your cell phone,
           charger, and headset


            Call 510-412-2260 

Talk to your neighbors
Door-to-Door Every Saturday 9 am--2 pm  plus...
Our door-to-door is a slow process. But it works.  We reach new people and get them involved.
The office is open from 9 am to 2 pm on Saturdays.   The best time to come is  between 9:30 and 10 am  for coffee and nosh. The candidates are usually there at that time. 317 11th St.   510-412-2260
If you can't come in on Saturday, come in during the week to get the new literature and find out the exciting news.
Remember:  To get this job done we are working every Saturday as a group.  Many of us are also covering our own neighborhoods during the other days.  If you have not picked up walk sheets and literature for your neighborhood call the office to make arrangements. 

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 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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