Issues

Where Is Everybody? Don't Ask The Mayor

On September 23, Councilmember Claudia Jiménez asked City Staff to provide her, along with the rest of Council and Mayor Tom Butt, a full list of vacant positions in Richmond’s city government. The vacancies chart returned to Councilwoman Jiménez confirms what Richmond residents already knew: our city is inexcusably understaffed.

Vacancies are both fulltime and part-time positions that have already been budgeted for in this fiscal year. The money has already been set aside for these future employees. When the positions remain unfilled by the City Manager, the cash budgeted for these positions stays tied up; it cannot be moved elsewhere without formal budget amendments or until the next year’s fiscal budget is approved. 

Richmond currently has 123 vacant full-time employee (FTE) positions and six vacant part-time positions. This means that roughly one-sixth of our city government functions have been deemed inessential by city management.

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Full Electrification: Richmond’s Latest Push for Green Energy

Power Plant, by Henry Lyman Saÿen

In early 2020, Richmond adopted an ordinance implementing a limited ban on new natural gas infrastructure in the city. This measure addressed a crucial component of global warming: buildings are a serious source of pollution. Their use of fossil fuels accounts for roughly 12% of the United States’s greenhouse gas emissions.

While a substantial step in the right direction, the original ordinance fell short of achieving a true natural gas ban. For example, it permits new residential construction that utilizes natural gas kitchen appliances and in-residence fireplaces. Such uses require the construction of gas pipelines throughout buildings and beneath city streets. 

On September 21, Councilmember Eduardo Martinez brought the issue before the City Council, which seeks to close the loopholes allowed by the 2020 measure. The new ordinance would ban natural gas infrastructure in all new buildings in the city, with few exceptions.

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The Golden Hour to Save Point Molate is Now

Photo credit: Jack Scheinman

Point Molate is Richmond’s wide, expansive, and beautiful public land as well as Ohlone sacred land. It is an ecological treasure rich in cultural and social history. Protecting rare biological and sacred cultural resources, access to nature, and recreation for the public is an environmental justice solution in a city crying out for climate safeguards and racial equity. SunCal’s proposed private residential enclave at Point Molate would burden our city’s residents with infrastructure costs that Richmond can ill afford. Community leaders, public agencies, and foundations are stepping up to support this world-class designated parkland.

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City Council Endorsement Process 2021

Running for Richmond City Council? Want an Endorsement from the RPA?

Photo credit: Tony Tamayo

Are you or someone you know thinking about running for Richmond City Council and interested in seeking an endorsement from the RPA?  Here's how it works.

The Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) is looking for candidates to endorse for the 2022 Richmond City Council race. Members of the RPA Election Coordinating Committee (ECC) will interview candidates in November of 2021, and the RPA membership will vote on endorsements in early 2022.

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Youth Speak Out on Climate Crisis in Richmond

On September 25th, youth from across Richmond came together to share their perspectives and experiences growing up during the climate crisis in our city. The Listening Project team organized the Youth Listening Project (YLP) with the goal of listening to understand and empowering youth in our community to lead. As young people, we are often told to sit back and let the elders and adults lead, but many of those decision-makers have led us to an environmental reality of severe droughts, constant wildfires, and life-threatening air, water, and soil pollution in our communities. These environmental crises are mirrored with communal crises of inequities and public safety.

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RPA and SOS! Richmond Building Relationships

Councilmember Eduardo Martinez meets with residents of the Castro RV encampment.

The RPA Membership met this past Spring and again in late September to explore securing greater public safety in our city. We hosted a panel of speakers who were asked to share 1) the main public safety issues facing their community; and 2) what their community might need from the RPA and how we can build a reciprocal relationship. Two speakers from Safe Organized Spaces Richmond represented our unhoused community members.

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Arts and Culture Highlight- JD Arandía

Local Richmond artist JD Arandía is a podcast host, stand-up comedian, and County Arts Commissioner. JD is Bay Area born and raised. He grew up on a steady diet of Cantiflas, Chespirito, Jim Carrey and The Simpsons and from the first time he made someone laugh he was hooked. He enjoys the art of comedy because it brings light to all aspects of the human experience.

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RPA Calendar- October 2021

Happy Labor Day From the Richmond Progressive Alliance

The Mower, Georges Seurat (c. 1882)

 

The Richmond Progressive Alliance wishes all of its members and the Richmond community a Happy Labor Day. To honor the occasion, we have compiled a small gallery of worker-centered art. We hope you enjoy. Solidarity forever!

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Excavation of Toxic Material Begins at Site in Richmond

pennants made by Debbie Bayer, photo credit: Jin Zhu

The following is an update of the proposed cleanup of the HRP Campus Bay Development site, also known as AstraZeneca and formerly Stauffer Chemical. Those latter two company names reflect only a few of the recent owners of the 86-acre site on Richmond’s South shoreline.  The legacy of 100 plus years of chemical manufacturing remains buried:  550,000 cubic yards of mixed toxic material including VOCs (volatile organic compounds), heavy metals, TCEs (trichloroethylene), arsenic, etc. Contrary to community pleas for a comprehensive cleanup to remove of all the contaminants, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) approved a work plan to remove less than 2% of the toxics, cap the area, then build 4,000 housing units above the toxic sludge. Uncontained on the sides or the bottom, the toxic plumes will continue to leak into surrounding properties, including Stege Marsh and the San Francisco Bay. Sea level rise will force off-gassing toxics inland and upwards putting future residents at risk. The excavation work, paid for by Zeneca (AstraZenca) and carried out by Terraphase will begin soon and will continue during September and October. This work will take place on Lot 3, near South 49th St., and will likely be visible (and audible) from the Bay Trail. Only 200 notices were sent out by DTSC, mostly to nearby businesses, in English only. Nearby neighborhood residents were not informed. Real time air monitoring is not included in their plan. 

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