Progressive sweep 2020 races

Progressive sweep 2020 races

Following Contra Costa County’s semi-official Election Night final results (which showed RPA-backed candidates winning by margins of 13 to 20 percent), BK Williams, Chair of the Richmond Progressive Alliance, offered this statement:

The Richmond Progressive Alliance acknowledges and thanks all the candidates who ran for City Council. Although every vote must still be counted, we extend our warm congratulations to Melvin Willis, Gayle McLaughlin and Claudia Jimenez, who each are on track to winning a majority of the votes. 

These electoral victories belong to everyone who shares and collectively worked towards a progressive vision for our City -- a healthy, inclusive Richmond where everyone thrives. We express our heartfelt thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who donated their time and resources to help elect these corporate-free candidates to office. Again, we showed that grassroots, people-powered movements can overcome great odds.

We applaud the voters’ decision to pass Measure U, which would make our City’s business tax structure more progressive. Richmond will now follow in the footsteps of other Bay Area cities by taxing businesses based on the amount of money they bring in, rather than on numbers of employees. 

It is still too early to call, but we still hold out hope that California voters will pass Proposition 15, Schools and Communities First, an important measure to close loopholes in the 1978 law that was intended to limit property taxes for homeowners. For decades, industrial and commercial property owners also benefited from this law, if Prop 15 passes, they will begin to pay their fair share. 

The RPA strongly backed both of these ballot measures, and if they both pass, it will be a game-changer for Richmond and our local schools. The City would see around $27 million in new revenue every year, while West Contra Costa Unified School District would get an additional $19 million. These resources would be a tremendous help as Richmond grapples with an unprecedented set of challenges -- the coronavirus, a severe economic downturn, housing and income insecurity, the continued challenges of systemic racism, and more. 

But as Councilmember-Elect Claudia Jimenez stated, “Richmond has always recovered from tough situations. Our community is resilient. We know how to get organized and solve problems. Today, the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging us with many uncertainties, but I know that once again we will take care of each other.”

Indeed, the needs facing our City are too great to allow past disputes and personal gripes to divert us from the urgent task of taking care of each other. Councilmembers, including RPA-backed Members, will surely disagree on issues. The RPA may even disagree with its own endorsed candidates on some things. But we strongly believe that Richmond will pass better, more progressive policies -- and build a stronger democracy -- when public debate is robust, civil society is actively engaged, and government is transparent.

There is much to do going forward. Let us rise up together, and create a Richmond which is healthier, stronger, and where everyone belongs.

We invite everyone who shares this vision to join us.

-- BK Williams