2012 Election

About RPA | 2012 Richmond City Elections


RPA Statement on Election Results

The City Council candidates supported by the Richmond Progressive Alliance, Eduardo Martinez and Marilyn Langlois, placed fourth and fifth, close but not enough to take one of the three open seats .  Measure N, the Soda tax that we actively supported, was defeated. Despite the losses, we are proud of our work in this election.  Our candidates and our volunteers worked very hard and in a principled campaign focusing on the issues and moving Richmond forward.

We are still evaluating to understand what we could have done better or differently and welcome input in this process.

The results highlighted a major issue in American politics-the role of corporate wealth in the American electoral system-the raw power of the 1%.  Millions of dollars were poured in to defeat us by Chevron and Big Soda. Our volunteer organization did well but we were not successful in: (1) overcoming their ability to circulate lies and distortions with paid campaigners and mass mailings and (2) getting our candidates well enough known.

Our primary purpose is not to win elections at all costs but to build a movement that unites and serves the people of Richmond especially those who get ignored because of the power and interests of a few large corporations. We remain committed to working toward these goals with all organizations in the community, all members of the council, and the city staff.

Measure N, the soda tax, was defeated.  One positive effect of the campaign is the new awareness about the health problems of sugary drinks and how our kids and our communities are at risk.  There were many people who agreed with us about this problem but disagreed that the soda tax was the proper response.  We look forward to hearing their proposals for ways to challenge the diabetes and obesity epidemic and funding healthy alternative activities for our kids.  We welcome the opportunity to work on these proposals.   

RPA Steering Committee, 11/11/12



1 % vs 99% on State Ballot

RPA Activist Logo Two measures on the November State ballot are about the domination of wealth in our government. Proposition 30 requires that the wealthy pay more to maintain education and other crucial state services. 

The RPA urges a YES vote on 30. On the same ballot is a measure that will weaken the power of unions while maintaining and increasing the power of wealth in politics. The RPA urges a NO vote on 32. We believe that both the Yes on 30 and the No on 32 are two parts of the same fight and should be waged together against the massive corporate money on the other side.



Yes on 30: Tax the Wealthy to Fund Education

We strongly supported the Millionaires Tax measure. The campaign for the Millionaires Tax forced Governor Brown to modify his Tax proposal. This compromise that is on the ballot raises 90 % of new funds through an increase in taxes on the wealthy. It's main drawbacks are that the ¼ of one percent sales tax increase clouds the issue and that the tax increase on the wealthy is only temporary. 

None-the less, Proposition 30 represents an important step in reestablishing the idea that the wealthy should pay more for education and other vital state services.

In Richmond there has been a of talk about the burden of regressive taxes on poor and working people. Public education is being strangled. This is our chance to shift the burden of taxes and defend our educational system. 

Click here to download full flyer that shows how money is to be spent.  Versions in  English and Spanish


Richmond Council says 

NO on 32:  STOP the Political Power Grab 

This measure pretends to be even-handed in "stopping special interests."

In fact it is designed to destroy unions' ability to raise money for political purposes. It  forbids unions from negotiating payroll deduction as a means of collecting funds and requires members to sign yearly individual authorizations It creates red tape to effectively prevent unions from raising money for political campaigns. No similar restrictions are put in place for corporations and some types of profit making enterprises are not even covered. The Richmond City Council voted at the last meeting to strongly oppose 32.

Not What It Seems
Not What It Seems

Although this measure would prohibit unions and corporations from making   any contributions to candidates, they can give to Political Action Committees which do campaigning. It prevents unions from raising money but does not prevent corporations from spending money in politics.

We have to start challenging the notions that unions are "special interests." Corporations have large resources at the disposal of a few people. They spend the money of their stockholders and customers on politics as they wish. Unions are working people pooling their resources to act together. Their leaders are elected and responsible to their members.

We say this despite the fact that in previous elections far more union money has been spent in attacking the RPA candidates than in supporting them. And we acknowledge that unions are far from perfect- many have tolerated corruption or have leaders who have lost their connection to their labor movement roots or abused their power. But these problems pale  compared to the abuse of the economy through corporate corruption. Unions are subject to control by their members who can elect new leaders or change union policies. Corporations do not have to answer to their customers and to most of their shareholders.

Unions are the largest counterweight to the power of corporations in this society and they have been greatly weakened over the past several decades. This ballot measure is an attempt to kill them politically and they must be defended if we have hope for democratic control in this society. No on 32.

--Mike Parker 

Jeff Passes Microphone

RPA Endorses Eduardo, Marilyn

An overflow, standing room only, crowd enthusiastically embraced Eduardo Martinez and Marilyn Langlois as we kick-off their  campaigns for the City Council. Jeff Ritterman announced that he had decided not to run for reelection so he could spend more time with his  family but was pleased that someone as qualified as Marilyn would step in.

Here are Marilyn's remarks:

Thank you Jeff and thank you all for being here.

It's another beautiful day in Richmond, like yesterday, when we had so many fantastic Earth Day activities going on:   at Civic Center, EcoVillage Farm Learning Center, Point Molate Beach and the dedication of the Fred Jackson Harmony Garden in North Richmond. How fitting a tribute that was to our beloved Fred.

I want to give special acknowledgment today to my mother, Barbara Langlois, who just turned 90 and is here with us, for giving me so much support and unconditional love. And for being a role model in local politics. She was the first woman elected to the Lafayette City Council in 1974, and she advocated for equitable development and smart growth long before these concepts became buzzwords throughout the country. Thanks, mom

I, too, believe in equitable development in Richmond with the emphasis on EQUITABLE. After all, Richmond is the city we call home, and we all deserve to feel healthy, happy and safe here. As a City Council member, I will support every policy we can to achieve this end, addressing the needs of those among us who are hurting, while also recognizing that each of us has something to contribute to benefit our community as a whole.

Meet Marilyn


Jeff, one of the many things I'm grateful to you for is drawing attention to the issue of excessive income inequality and how that correlates with all the social ills we face in Richmond. I intend to pursue that theme throughout my campaign, because I know it's possible for everybody to have a good life if we can collectively to do a better job of sharing our many resources and assets-and that includes multi-billion dollar corporations whose sharing skills are still a bit lacking. I also want to thank you Jeff for your leadership in the Fit for Life campaign both leading up to the coming election and beyond, and you can count on me as a participant in that effort.

Jovanka and Eduardo, I'm really looking forward to joining both of you and our Mayor on the City Council come January. You have been steadfast comrades throughout so many struggles in the past years, ever since I first met each of you--Eduardo, in 2004 when we were part of the group that organized March4Education and we walked side by side from Richmond to Sacramento demanding equitable funding for our schools-and Jovanka, in 2006 when we campaigned for the first Measure T to raise taxes on Chevron, and you came up with that wonderful slogan: T taxes Chevron not you! I really appreciate the deep commitment from both of you

Gayle, our Mayor, you have been the pioneer and guiding light for all of us. For your first four years on the Council-2 years as City Councilmember, and your first two years as Mayor, you were often the lone voice of the grassroots progressive movement until we got Jeff elected and then Jovanka. Our challenges are still huge, but because of you, it will be easier for all those who follow to achieve social, environmental and racial justice. Gayle, I also want to express again publicly how much it has meant to me personally to work with you in the Mayor's office these past four plus years, where I learned so much. If it weren't for you, I wouldn't be here now, running for office. Thank you Gayle.


And now, most importantly of all, I want to express my gratitude to all of you who are here today for your inspiration and your undying support for our movement and our vision of a beautiful and healthy city for future generations. You are all amazing people with a rich diversity of backgrounds, skills and ideas and I feel privileged to know so many of you. Fred Jackson would call you a People Bouquet.   You have taught me a great deal over the past years by sharing with me your pain and frustrations, as well as your insights and ideas for solutions. Thank you for that. I look forward to getting to know more of you during the course of my campaign. After all, we're here because of you, and we're all in this together.


Keynote Speaker from Haiti Action Committee

The keynote speaker for the afternoon was Pierre Labossiere, a grassroots human rights activist and frequent guest on several KPFA radio programs and a co-founder of the Haiti Action Committee. He is also an active member of BAJI, Black Alliance for Just Immigration and has worked in Richmond as a union organizer. Labossiere told us that our challenge to corporate power in Richmond was a beacon of hope to people in other communities in the U.S and countries like Haiti.


Opportunity Lost

Deal Stops Millionaires Tax Campaign

The Millionaires Tax campaign is probably over. The opportunity for a game changer in the politics and economics of this state and possibly the nation has been lost.

After weeks of intense talks, Gov. Brown and the main backers of the Millionaires Tax reached a compromise deal. Brown agreed to cut the proposed sales tax in half (from .5% to .25%) and to increase the share paid by the wealthy. The income tax increase will be in effect for two additional years for a total of 7 years and the Millionaire Tax campaign will end. See Full Article Here