RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #59September 19, 2011

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Fred Jackson Speaks and Sings
Fred Jackson 1938 -2011
More on Corporate Contributions
Letters on Corporate Contributions
CEASEFIRE First NightWalk Friday 9/23
Co-Op Principles Thursday 9/22
Public Pays for Clinton Speech?
Reich on Lies of Trickle-Down
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In Memoriam:  Fred Davis Jackson
In Memoriam: Fred Davis Jackson

In this clip, Fred speaks at a 2008 demonstration in response to an anti-Latino racist hit-piece put out just prior to the election.  Afterwards, Fred sings  "If the Ozone is Gone" at the kick-off party for Jovanka Beckles' 2010 campaign for Richmond City Council..  Thanks to djoVida who posted this clip on YouTube.  See his website at www.djoVida.com  


Fred Jackson Book Cover

Fred's recent book

Fred Jackson

February 6, 1938 - September 8, 2011


Fred Jackson's life was celebrated at two public ceremonies last week -one at the North Richmond Missionary Baptist Church on recently named Fred Jackson Way in Fred's North Richmond Community and the second at the Richmond Auditorium. Both featured Fred's music and poetry along with very moving testimonials from people who worked with him and whose lives he so greatly affected as well as political leaders. His extended family well represented Fred in their love, vision, music, and humor.


Here are the remarks of Mayor Gayle McLaughlin at the celebration.


Fred Jackson was one of the most unique people I have ever met. I'll never forget the first time I really came to know Fred. This was at a RPA forum, where Dennis Kucinich who was a 2004 candidate for president, came to speak. Fred was one of the artists that performed at this forum. He sang one of his incredible songs that so many of us know. He sang Too Early Too Young. He referred to the lives of young people being lost to street violence. He sang his heart out that night, as was always his practice.


But Fred know all too well that street violence is rooted in the inequities and injustices of our society and worked his whole life to reverse those injustices and inequities.


Fred was the kind of person that we aspire to be - a person of deep conscience who understood that unity is the only way forward. Fred was an educator and a social activist. I remember how he marched all the way to Sacramento in 2004 in the March 4 education to speak out for equitable school funding. Following that, I remember how he participated in the Fast for Education for 19 days.

 Fred with Gayle

Fred was a peacemaker and community builder. He stood strong both against the death penalty and against violence in our streets. He stood for young people and for seniors, giving of himself, his resources, his voice and his commitment on countless causes, projects and activities.


Whenever there was an injustice to turn around, Fred was there. He marched, he talked, he sang, he wrote, and he stood up for those whose experience left them marginalized. He spoke with love; he spoke with kindness; he spoke with passion and sometimes with frustration. But he never lost his belief in the human experience. Fred understood that being a human being was something very special and it had to do with cultivating and shaping the human race, and that being a human being did not mean simply being one of the competing members of our society. As a result of this deep understanding, I believe Fred came so very much closer than most to exemplifying what a real human being looks like.


Fred at Climate Justice Rally
Fred at Climate Justice Rally

And Fred was also an artist - he so loved the experience and joy of creating. You could see his face light up when he spoke about his creations - his songs, his books, his plays. I was deeply moved by his art because it was so rich, so thoughtful, so vibrant, and so uplifting. He had the ability to make others enjoy what he enjoyed... and it was so clear to me that he enjoyed creating art that was socially meaningful. He was able to reach out and touch that universal thread of humanity that exists in us all, no matter how deeply it may be hidden. And when he captured our attention, he smiled that all-knowing smile that yes he had succeeded in reaching another human being. I thank you Fred for reaching me.   

--Gayle McLaughlin  

More on Corporate Contributions  

in Richmond Politics 


How much do corporate campaign contributions influence a person's vote?   Not at all in his case, was Corky Booze' answer to  RPA arguments that it was inappropriate for him to take campaign money from Chevron lobbyists or Richmond Sanitary and then vote on issues involving them. In fact the very night of Booze's fund raiser held at Richmond Sanitary offices he later argued and voted against taking bids for work to allow Richmond Sanitary to get a no-bid "sole-source" contract.


Councilman Jeff Ritterman has submitted complaints to the state Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) asking them to look into this activity with Richmond Sanitary and reports that Booze has used his position in the Council to create difficulties for CyberTran, a local company, because it declined to contribute to the Booze campaign.


The Richmond Confidential  quotes Booze's response to these reports as

"Lies. Bold face lies," Booze said. "I never solicited funds from CyberTran. Not once."

Click here to see the full Richmond Confidential Story



Speaking of Lies and Political Dirty Tricks  


At the City Council Meeting a number of people came to the meeting angry about an anonymous letter that had been sent to some churches attacking Booze for his bullying tactics.   They were angry about the letter --not the content. We think they were right to be angry. Anonymous hit pieces are part of the tradition of the old Richmond politics that we have fought. Whatever their contents they add nothing to political discussion and intimidate people who might want to be involved in politics.


We have always opposed such anonymous politics and the record is clear on this. The anonymous letter has all the earmarks of professional dirty tricks campaigners. Several speakers from the Richmond Progressive Alliance Steering Committee stated clearly at the meeting that we had nothing to with this letter and would have nothing to do with this kind of politics. Yet Booze and his Chief of Staff, Jackie Thompson, both continued to insist that this letter was our doing without a shred of proof  except that anyone who criticizes Booze must have done it. .

              --Mike Parker



Here are some letters in response to the RPA statement about corporate contributions and Richmond politics in issue 58.


Line between Government and Corporations

Dear RPA: Your essay on money and politics is outstanding. So much so I will go over to my desk and make you a teeny tiny donation (I'm on a pension). Do you know what fascism is, as a real form of government, not just an epithet to throw around, as I used to do? One definition is: When you can't tell where the corporations leave off and the government begins, that's fascism.  This is the form of government that Mussolini introduced. And we've got it, or are getting it.    


Now to Beckles and Jordan: All who are interested or involved in Ceasefire should see The Interrupters, if they can still find the film playing around the Bay Area. It's dynamite and very instructive. Note that the Chicago Interrupters have absolutely no connection to the police. They feel that their effectiveness would be damaged thereby. This is a different strategy than that of Ceasefire, but it's good for folks to learn about different approaches. We don't know yet what will work best in our community (though these approaches have been invented and experimented with since the 1950s!!).


Good luck.

-Jeffrey Dickemann


Chevron Lobbyist 

I first heard of Eric Zell when he was appointed to the West Contra Costa Health Care District Board, with the strong backing of John Gioia, whom I have mistrusted ever since. Nancy Casazza and Bev Wallace were the only board members opposing his appointment. I spoke against the appointment on the grounds that since he was a lobbyist for Chevron, and the Board was taking a position on the health effects of Chevron's proposed hydrogen gas pipeline, it was a conflict of interest. 


Within a fairly short time Zell was appointed to serve on the Joint Powers Authority Board created when the county stepped in to cover Doctor's Hospital debts remaining after Tenet left. He's a true operator. To his credit, he has worked hard to keep the hospital open, and supported having the entire elected district board as part of the new Governing Board, rather than completely disenfranchising the voters. 


-Debbie Bayer


Stupid Stuff in Newsletter   

I don't remember the RPA asking for the card clubs funding against the Point Molate casino to stop their spending ala Russ Feingold in Wisconsin did in his senate reelection bid.  Do you really mean that no corporation can donate or just large ones?  All corporations would mean that private non-profits cannot donate on an issue!  Or a small business run by the only employee who is also the owner?  


--Michael Nye


Actually during the last campaign, the RPA did make clear its opposition to the Card Club spending:  "We oppose all corporate spending in this election including that of the Card Clubs. We think it is harmful to democracy and no matter what side it is on, it raises the price of participation so only the rich can play."  See RPA Newsletter Issue #37


Challenging Violence in Richmond




Join the First Nightwalk

Friday, September 23, 7P

North Richmond Missionary Baptist Church


Richmond's Ceasefire/Lifeline to Healing Initiative will have its first community action this Friday. Ceasefire invites ALL citizens of Richmond who want to help decrease violence and make our city a safe, walkable city to participate in the Night Walk in North Richmond to deliver a message of concern, peace, and no tolerance of violence. The group will be gathering at 7PM at North Richmond Missionary Baptist Church at 1427 Fred Jackson Way in North Richmond.


Come Be Part of the Solution

Make a Statement for Peace in Richmond

For More Information Call 510-872-3085

The Richmond Worker Cooperative Initiative presents:

Bob Schildgen

on the importance of the cooperative principles

Thursday, September 22, 7:00 pm

Whittlesey Community Room

Richmond Library, 325 Civic Center Plaza

Everyone Welcome!


twin pines iconHello Fellow Co-op Job Creation Enthusiasts:  


I'm guessing you are interested in worker cooperatives because you want to see different kinds of businesses -- more democratic, more community-minded, more just. Why do cooperatives hold the potential for being those kinds of businesses? What are the mechanisms that make them different? At the core of that discussion are the Cooperative Principles.


Our speaker this Thursday nite has a wide background in co-ops and is especially adept at explaining how and why the Cooperative Principles are important in the daily running of a business.


Bob Schildgen was the co-editor of the Co-op News, the weekly paper of the Consumers' Cooperative of Berkeley, from 1978 to 1985. He is a co-founder of a worker-owned co-op, Pacific View Press, a publisher of multicultural books since 1992 and much more. 

-Terry Baird




Public is Paying Part?

Is Clinton Speech Worth $150,000? 


Bill ClintonFor once I agree with Dan Borenstein (Contra Costa Times editorial 9/16/11).


It is just absolutely wrong to have former president Bill Clinton in Richmond at a cost of $150,000 paid partially with public funds.


If Clinton comes to speak to Richmond (invitation only,  Craneway Pavilion,  October 21, sponsored by Bay Area Air Quality Management District) he should be paid just a living wage, say $15 an hour, since he indeed has little to say to any policy discussion on industry, green house gasses and jobs, other than for starters "I'm sorry for NAFTA"


Clinton is in fact personally responsible for many aspects of the globalization of pollution, the de-industrialization of America (with NAFTA and  the WTO), and  the de-regulation of both the industrial and financial business sectors of our economy. Clinton got NAFTA passed when his predecessor failed.


The no-jobs recession we are experiencing today came about, partially, from de-regulation measures by Clinton during the last years of his presidency.


If supervisor John Gioia, who serves on the Board of  BAAQMD wants his picture with Clinton he should use his own money to finance the occasion, not the public's.


Additionally, supposedly regulated companies like Chevron helping to foot  the bill adds insult to injury.  How hard does anyone think Clinton will slap Chevron's worldwide polluting wrists? More likely Clinton's speech will be something between a caress and heavy petting.

 -Juan Reardon



Robert Reich on the Lies of Trickle-Down Economics

Robert Reich Debunks 6 Big GOP Lies About The Economy
Robert Reich Debunks 6 Big GOP Lies About The Economy


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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