It is with utmost respect that the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) Steering Committee salutes Council Member Gayle McLaughlin as she steps down from the Richmond City Council to pursue her organizing electoral campaign as the next Lieutenant Governor of the State of California. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to her for 13 plus years serving as council member and mayor of the City of Richmond.
We will not be dismayed that our huge loss will be someone else’s gain, because who will gain when she succeeds? “They” are us. “We, the people” all stand to gain. Great things that need to be done on the state level can be moved forward: things like reforming proposition 13 so that local municipalities can thrive again. Gayle is taking our RPA experience to cities and communities all over California and encouraging them to follow our example of creating progressive grassroots organizations that are corporate-free, inclusive, diverse and that run candidates for local office to gain political power for the people.
She will also be promoting and bringing people together for statewide policies badly needed such as single payer health care, split-roll Proposition 13 reform, no-fracking, oil severance tax, immigrants rights, affordable housing, defending public education and opposing its privatization and the charter schools expansion, campaign finance reform, opposing the privatization of jails and detention centers, aiding cities for sustainable development.…so many struggles, so many opportunities.
Gayle’s message of hope and reason that a “better world is possible”, will resonate with people who are in desperate need of hope right now in these frightening and terrible days of the current federal administration. Hope is the life raft that gives us courage and strength to persevere against the odds.
The RPA membership has a proud history of participating in the tremendous struggle we have been engaged with here: particularly removing Chevron’s stranglehold on local politics and all the many other battles for health, justice and equity in which we continue to be engaged. Through the platform of this state-wide campaign, let us share our success and inspire others. May there be many Progressive Alliances throughout the state.
The RPA Steering Committee will discuss the issue of the seat vacated by Gayle McLaughlin without the participation of the Steering Committee members who are current councilmembers.
Sharron SK Williams and Marcos Banales
RPA Steerting Committee Co-Chairs
RPA officers and a new steering committee were elected at a well attended and enthusiastic membership meeting on February 25. The new Committee consists of:
Co-coordinator - Sharron SK Williams
Co-coordinator - Marcos Bañales
Communications Chair - Sue Wilson
Membership Chair - Kabir Kapur
Office Chair - Tarnell Abbott
Treasurer - Shoji
Recording Secretary - Michelle Chan
Schools Action Team - Peter Chau
Jovanka Beckles, Nancy Combs, Ben Choi, Sung Ae Cho, Porschea Brown, Kelly Dugan, Malia Everette, Laura Garcia-Santiago,Marilyn Langlois, Paul Larudee, Juan Reardon, Ada Recinos, Carlos Taboada, Zak Wear, and Melvin Willis
Representatives of allied organizations:
Claudia Jimenez, CCC Racial Justice Coalition
Millie Cleveland, SEIU Local 1021
David Sharples, ACCE
Alyssa Kang, California Nurses Association.
Brenda Williams, Richmond Rainbow Pride
There was some momentary confusion over an error on the RPA website, which mistakenly included Eduardo Martinez as a member of the new Steering Committee. Mayor Butt cried foul in his E-Forum, citing potential violations of the Brown Act. He later published a note of clarification from Eduardo Martinez, which unfortunately was made to sound as if he stepped off the committee only after he was called out on it. In actuality, Eduardo, who had served on the previous RPA Steering Committee, immediately resigned after the November 2016 election, in order to comply with the Brown Act. He was not nominated to serve on the current Steering Committee, nor did he seek to. Current City council members serving on the RPA Steering Committee include Jovanka Beckles, Melvin Willis and Ben Choi.
Tom Butt brought up a Brown Act issue when reading the RPA’s announcement of it’s new member-elected Steering Committee. The RPA Steering Committee has known since its inception that it could never have more than three council members on it. There was an error on our website with Eduardo Martinez' name mistakenly included on the 2017 RPA Steering Committee that has since been corrected. Eduardo had been on the RPA Steering Committee prior to the 2016 election, and right after the election in November 2016, he resigned in order to comply with the Brown Act, since we now had Jovanka and two council members elect (Melvin and Ben) on it. Jovanka, Melvin and Ben were also on the nominated slate for the 2017 RPA Steering Committee. Eduardo was not.