Election 2018

News from Gayle for California

Many of you have already heard the story: A couple of weeks ago, Gayle went to Martinez to officially turn in all the filing paperwork for her candidacy for California Lt. Governor. When she arrived, the clerk asked Gayle where her check was, assuming that like all other candidates in this race she was just going to pay to get on the ballot. Gayle smiled and reminded the clerk that her supporters turned in over 14,000 signatures in lieu of the filing fee, something that shocked the clerk until they got confirmation from the Secretary of State’s Office.

Then there was more good news: at the recent California Democratic Convention in San Diego, many corporate-free progressive Democrats voted to block an endorsement of the big money candidates. Although Gayle is running as an independent and therefore not looking to be the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor, what was telling was that there was not enough support for any of her Democratic opponents to win. Similarly, the Dems were not able to coalesce around a choice for Attorney General or Senator (Feinstein: you are officially on notice!)

Next up: statewide outreach driven by volunteers. This Wednesday, you are invited to come to the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center between 5:30-8:30PM for a text bank for Gayle McLaughlin's campaign for Lt. Governor.  RSVP here to attend.  There will be a phone bank on Wednesday, 3/14 at the same time.  RSVP here to attend that one. If you can't make either, visit Gayle's website and scroll down under Volunteer to see all the options to host or attend events.  

A New Sheriff In Town (Please!)

The RPA may be gearing up for Richmond citywide races, but one race that may go unopposed is the Contra Costa Sheriff’s race.

Judith Tannenbaum’s OpEd in the East Bay Times points out, “March 9 is a few weeks away, so there’s still hope that someone who better represents Contra Costa will file to run against the sheriff. However, even if Livingston runs unopposed, we must speak out against his record and speak out for a vision of public safety and justice that is more consistent with our values.” And excerpt of her OpEd is below:

My Word: Where are the candidates to oppose Contra Costa Sheriff Livingston?

Where is the sheriff Contra Costa County needs? Candidates have until March 9 to file for the June 5 election but, so far, only Sheriff David Livingston has signed up.

A sheriff, of course, runs the county jail system and decides how that system will operate. A sheriff can create a system based on the awareness that criminal acts are often a consequence of the racial and economic inequities that shape every aspect of life — from health care to education to workplaces to housing to transportation. A sheriff can learn from the people most affected by these inequities, listening to the personal stories that illuminate shared circumstances. And a sheriff can not only listen but also respond by providing alternatives to imprisonment, by recognizing that jail is no place for the mentally ill, and by offering the deep and substantive programming that encourages rehabilitation.

Or a sheriff can operate as David O. Livingston has, running our county jail system with the wrong-headed ideas and practices similar to those that resulted in three decades of nationwide mass incarceration.

For example, Sheriff Livingston contracts with ICE to hold immigrant detainees in the West County Detention Facility. At a time when SB54 is law and California a sanctuary state, this contract is a clear sign of how out of step our sheriff is with county and statewide values.

Click here to read the full OpEd.

RPA Gears Up for Election

This November, Richmond voters will be choosing its next Mayor, and as well as three City Councilmembers (Ada Recino’s, Eduardo Martinez’s and Jovanka Beckles’s seats are all up this year). The RPA membership has not yet made any 2018 endorsements for citywide races, but is gearing up now. At the end of the month, the RPA elections committee will make candidate questionnaires available to any candidates interested in seeking the organization's endorsement. As always, the RPA will not endorse candidates who accept corporate political donations.

In mid-March, the Richmond Progressive Alliance will hold a Candidates’ Night for members and the public to meet those running for citywide office. After a vetting process, the elections committee and Steering Committee will present a slate of candidates to RPA members at the March 31 membership meeting for vote. Stay tuned for more details!

Support Jovanka!

Jovanka Beckles is the only candidate in all of the nine Assembly District 15 candidates who refuses corporate money and has a political track record to prove that she fights for the issues while holding elected office. Now, we need your help to ensure that Jovanka emerges from the June 5th primary as one of two candidates who will face off in the November election to represent us in Sacramento.

In June of last year, one mainstream candidate considered to be a frontrunner for AD 15 reported $200,000 in her coffers. She worked on Obama’s campaign and led Hillary’s California primary campaign. Not surprisingly most of her treasury came from consultants, PR firms, politicians - the political establishment. Her list of endorsements begins with Kamala Harris, Gavin Newsom, and Howard Dean.

That same June, Jovanka had just under $50,000 – all from individual supporters. Jovanka’s list of endorsements reflects the coalitions she has worked with to get things done over the years: union members, city employees, transit workers, students, Teachers, environmentalists, housing rights activists, criminal justice advocates, and many more.

Jovanka’s campaign, made up of tireless dedicated individuals needs you. We have a strong people powered campaign. Join us to phone bank, to walk precincts. We need you to promote Jovanka as your favored candidate. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Kabir Kapur at (510) 915-1557.

Also, please donate as much and as you can as often as you can. Your donation will pay for lawn signs, literature and other campaign essentials. Together we can win  our people powered, corporate money-free campaign.

Melvin Willis to Run for Mayor!


On December 15, Richmond Councilmember Melvin Willis announced that he is running for mayor of the City of Richmond in the November 2018 election. The announcement was made at the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) holiday party, to a joyful crowd of supporters.

“Many people have contributed to Richmond’s transformation in recent years, and we are thankful to all. At the same time, many challenges remain, and a much better Richmond is possible!” said Willis.

Melvin Willis, a community organizer with Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), made history in 2016 when at 26 he became the youngest councilmember ever elected in the City’s history. He received the highest number of votes in the race, and his success was crowned by the passage in Richmond of the first Fair Rent Control and Just Cause for Eviction law in California in 30 years, a ballot initiative at the center of his campaign.

At the announcement, Willis was flanked by Vice-Mayor Jovanka Beckles and Councilmember Ada Recinos. In addition to Beckles and Recinos, Councilmembers Ben Choi, Eduardo Martinez and two-term former Mayor Gayle McLaughlin have all endorsed Willis’ candidacy.

“Melvin has the values, the vision and the commitment to lead Richmond to a higher level of progress and to make it a better city for all our residents. He thinks globally and organizes and mobilizes locally. He is thoughtful, caring, gentle and generous. People know him and love him. Melvin is the best of Richmond,” said former Mayor Gayle McLaughlin.

During his announcement Willis stressed that the important achievements that have transformed Richmond over the past decade and are inspiring many other communities throughout the nation need to be defended against undermining measures at higher levels of government.

 “As Mayor I will lead all those in Richmond willing to work to make our city better. Together we will sustain our accomplishments and keep folks in their homes, fight pollution, defend immigrants’ rights, improve our schools and libraries, and continue our progress in reducing violent crime. I will promote a community participatory process for the city budget. I will respond to the needs of our youth, I will focus on the creation of affordable housing, and my doors will always be open to every resident of our community to hear their thoughts and ideas,” Willis added.

Willis affirmed that his campaign for Mayor will be based on peoplepower and neighborpower, and free of corporate donations. He rejects the corrupting influence of corporate money and invites all residents to support a one-person, one-vote true democratic election.

Worth Reading: Chron on Gayle's Campaign

If you didn’t have a chance to check out John Wildermuth’s spread in the SF Chron article on Dec 29, Ex-Richmond mayor looks to bring a Bernie Sanders approach to Sacramento, it’s worth a read!

Ex-Richmond mayor looks to bring a Bernie Sanders approach to Sacramento

December 29, 2017

For former Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, it’s time to take her city’s progressive politics on the road.

McLaughlin, a former Green Party member, is running for lieutenant governor in 2018 as an independent candidate, confident that California is ready for the type of all-in liberal politics that her Richmond Progressive Alliance brought to the East Bay city.

 “I decided that at a certain point I had to do a statewide race,” said the 65-year-old McLaughlin. “If I ran statewide we could spread the Progressive Alliance farther and move it to a larger stage.”

The Chicago-born McLaughlin was one of the founders of the Richmond group, which ran a slate of progressive outsiders in 2004 to replace City Council members they said were both ineffective and too closely tied to Chevron, the city’s most powerful business.

After two years on the council, McLaughlin beat an incumbent mayor by 242 votes in 2006. She held that office until 2014, when she was elected again to the council, where members of the alliance now hold five of the seven seats. She resigned her seat this year so she could campaign to replace termed-out Democrat Gavin Newsom as lieutenant governor.

“We want to show the rest of the state how we did it, how we reduced crime, raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour and put in new rent control rules,” she said. 

To read the whole article, click here.

Jovanka Burns It Up at AD15 Candidate Forum

The California Democratic Party African-American Caucus hosted a candidates forum last Saturday on the Contra Costa College campus. WCCUSD board member Mister Phillips organized the event, and the keen interest in the Assembly District 15 primary race, still seven months away, showed in the large turnout.

Jovanka’s answers to the series of thoughtful questions posed by moderator Paul Cobb revealed her deeply held progressive beliefs, and more importantly, the high passion for social justice that motivated her to first run for office 11 years ago. Her responses were very often singular: she was the only panelist to back a moratorium on charter school proliferation, measures to incentivize housing cooperatives and build low-cost housing, and a moratorium on new fracking infrastructure.

Her deep understanding of racial injustice also emerged in her reply to the question, “What are your top three criminal justice reforms?” She proposed not only abolishing private prisons and ending cash bail — responses echoed by other candidates — but probation reform, a statewide ban-the-box for jobs and housing, and true expungement of criminal records.

One ingredient that elevates Jovanka above the pack is her Category 5 personality, and when it shone through, she lit up the room. When asked, “What would you do to prevent sexual harassment in the state legislature?” her answer brought the most vigorous applause of the day: “Put more women in powerful positions—like me!”

You can be part of the campaign to make Richmond a formidable presence in Sacramento! Jovanka is the only candidate with a strong, proven record for social, racial, economic and environmental justice. Learn how you can get involved at www.jovanka.org.

East Bay Express: Gayle Force


Yes, even more good reads: hot off the presses is an excellent article on Gayle McLaughlin’s Lt. Governor campaign, in this week’s East Bay Express:

It was a bad year all around for Richmond. That May, the police department violently arrested two dozen people, nearly all of them Latino, who were celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Officers clubbed people with flashlights and batons and paraded them before the rest of the community in handcuffs.
To make matters worse, the city’s finances were falling apart. People were talking about municipal bankruptcy.

For McLaughlin, it was all a wake-up call. Appeals to reason and compassion fell on deaf ears. Other interests — raw, powerful “corporate” interests — prevailed. It convinced her that it wasn’t enough to just protest. At some point, you had to take power.

“We realized we needed to be the leaders we were waiting for,” McLaughlin explained.

Read the entire article
, “Lieutenant Governor Hopeful Gayle McLaughlin Wants to Take the East Bay’s Progressive Revolution to Sacramento”

Update on Gayle's Campaign For Lt. Governor


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. www.gayleforcalifornia.org


Jovanka Only Corporate Free Candidate for AD-15

Richmond’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: jovanka.org 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.