Who is the RPA? It’s made up of volunteers with passion, progressive values, and who love Richmond. In this series, we get to know the new faces on the RPA Steering Committee. This month, we had the pleasure of speaking with Peter Chau, who also co-chairs the RPA Education Action Team.
TA: Tell us about your involvement in the RPA and in progressive causes.
PC: I campaigned for Ben Choi and Melvin Willis in the last election and worked with the RPA on the half-cent sales tax in 2011. I am currently a member of the RPA Education Action Team.
I am passionate about public education. I have particular knowledge and experience with the West Contra Costa Unified School District, including13 years of volunteer experiences launching new programs like the Mock Trial program; running multiple bond and parcel tax campaigns; serving on bond and budget oversight committees; and running for the school board in 2014.
TA: What are your ideas about how change and progress occur?
PC: Change and progress occur when a group of like minded individuals rally behind a comprehensive, cohesive vision. In Richmond, that meant creating an independent progressive organization and executing campaign strategies to get progressive councils members elected.
TA: What would you like the RPA to accomplish? What is your vision of where the RPA is headed?
PC: I would like the RPA to become more active in public education causes in Richmond. Public education is one of the last frontiers that Wall Street and billionaire bullies are trying to privatize. I believe that until we focus on improving our public schools, we will not be able to stop privatization efforts, nor improve the City of Richmond. Let's work together to improve our neighborhood schools!
The two individuals who most set the tone for justice in Contra Costa County are the Sherriff and the District Attorney. For years we have been battling the Sheriff and the priority of building jails rather than providing the services needed to help people not in jail.
The other powerful individual is the County District Attorney. The previous DA, Mark Peterson, illegally diverted campaign money to his own use, was caught and had to step down. But he was also a District Attorney who was at odds with the values of our community. He reinforced institutionalized racism, supported the unfair bail bond system, and directed his attention to petty crime instead of the crimes of corporations and the wealthy. He failed to investigate seriously the murder of Pedie Perez and was quick to exonerate the cop who shot the unarmed youth.
On Sept 12 The Board of Supervisors gets to select the temporary DA until the election next year. But the temporary DA will be running as the incumbent which gives her/him a tremendous advantage in the elections. We need a DA for the people. Some members of the Board of Supervisors have already indicated support for a traditional DA who will carry on Peterson’s policies.
We need to make it clear to the BOS that we want a different kind of DA -- one who not only gives lip service to community values but one who will lead the fight for them. A coalition of progressive labor and community groups have been interviewing potential DA candidates and have published a scorecard showing the candidates’ stands on issues. (See candidates’ answers to community questionnaire here)
Unfortunately there has been a well-organized smear campaign against the top-ranked candidate, Judge Diana Beckton, who come closest to our values.
To learn more, and to hear from the DA candidates directly, you can join a District Attorney Town Hall on Saturday, September 9 at 1pm at Miracle Temple, 2425 Cutting Blvd., Richmond. We also need as many people as possible to attend the Board of Supervisors meeting on September 12, 9am at the County Building in Martinez. (Watch for announcements about carpooling and busses)
Members of the coalition include: ACLU of Northern California; Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE); Contra Costa AFL-CIO Central Labor Council; Contra Costa County Racial Justice Coalition (CCCRJC); Courage Campaign; Democratic Party of Contra Costa County; East County NAACP; Healthy Richmond, Safe Return Project; and Smart Justice California.
The RPA is seeking a short-term (4 month) consultant. Please see details below.
Title: Organizational Development Consultant
Compensation: $9,000.00 (Disbursement to be determined)
Schedule: Flexible schedule from September through December 2017 (extensions may be negotiated based on progress and deliverables review)
Organization Summary: The Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) is an unincorporated nonprofit organization dedicated to putting political decision-making power in the hands of the people by electing corporate-free representatives. The RPA is a non-partisan coalition of activist individuals and organizations that mobilizes people in support of progressive policies and candidates to create positive change in our community. After nearly 15 years in operations, the RPA is recognized as a national leader in local progressive politics. Its alumni are running for state offices and the organization presents its model throughout the state and country. RPA is poised for its next stage of growth and development: establishing strong internal systems to build upon gains made in Richmond, while further supporting the development of allied groups within a strong progressive movement.
Position Summary: The Organizational Development Consultant will work closely with the Steering Committee and other designated RPA leaders to establish, hone, and implement organizational systems. The primary areas of focus will be: administrative, financial, fundraising, human resources, strategic planning, and interactions with external parties.
The consultant will recommend all changes including procedures, bylaws, budget, etc. to the SC co chairs or designated members or RPASC, for final decisions.
The successful applicant will have strong experience in organizational development, working with volunteers, and community activism. Based on the short-term nature of this role and the desire to achieve maximum impact, the RPA seeks someone familiar and active within the organization. The Organizational Development Consultant will be hands-on and active, managing projects from inception to implementation, leveraging tapped and untapped resources with the goal of setting RPA up to build its capacity further through hiring a part-time employee during early 2018. Experience working with NationBuilder or similar database software is a plus.
Areas of Responsibilities
These are a list of target areas that the Organizational Development Consultant will work on alongside organization volunteers. The Organizational Development Consultant will establish with RPA leaders during the first weeks of the consultancy, a work plan to meet as many of these objectives in the time allotted. Weekly check-ins with consistent designated group of RPA volunteer(s) committee as well as monthly reporting to SC.
Administrative and Legal Compliance
- Review and update organizational bylaws
- Establish and post calendar of filing deadlines
- Work with Steering Committee on governance, including legal requirements
- Develop record keeping and file sharing systems both online and hard copies
- Ensure financial management duties are fulfilled, including sharing responsibilities to support of the Finance Committee (including Treasurer)
- Creation and maintenance of organizational budget
- Establish financial policies and procedures
- Maintain fiscal records and tax preparation documents
- Review existing funding streams and recommend new opportunities
- Create Fundraising Committee including plans for year 1 fundraising
- Participate in revenue generating activities
- Create plan for sustainability of paid staff/consultant position(s)
- Support systems creation and implementation for donations and donor relations
- Establish a strong system and assist with volunteer recruitment, on-boarding and role selection with a priority on filling leadership positions
- Establish and support implementation of conflict resolution and accountability systems
- Establish a job description for a part-time staffer with targeted start date of early 2018
- Create sub-committee to create a strategic concept paper
- Respond to media requests and perform media outreach
- Respond to other requests for information and collaboration
- Extensive experience with all aspects of organization development listed above
- Extensive experience with community services and activism, including work in community collaborations and coalitions.
- Experience volunteering with the RPA or similar organization and a familiarity with RPA organizational needs
- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent work and life experience
- A commitment to working with diverse communities
- Strong written and verbal communication
- Familiarity with facilitation and mediation skills
- Working knowledge of Microsoft Office and other technology file sharing systems
To Apply: RPA provides equal opportunity contracting and Richmond residents, people of color, women, LGBTQ etc. are encouraged to apply. Interested applicants should submit their resume, a targeted cover letter, three professional references and proposed scope of work with deliverables considering the organizational needs to the RPA steering committee at rpaconsultant2017[at]gmail.com.
Application period closes 9/8/2017
The Richmond Progressive Alliance is proud to endorse three strong candidates for the vacant City Council seat. The three endorsed candidates are listed in order of preference.
1st and Preferred Recommendation: Marilyn Langlois
Based on her distinguished service to Richmond in a public capacity, for having the best list of qualifications for the position of City Councilmember, and on her 14+ years of progressive activism in Richmond, with the Richmond Progressive Alliance and beyond, we endorse and recommend Marilyn Langlois as our first and preferred choice to be appointed to the Richmond City Council.
2nd Recommendation: Ada Recinos
Based on her distinguished service to Richmond in a public capacity, for having a good list of qualifications for the position of City Councilmember, and on her two years of service on the Human Rights and Human Relations Commission, her recent activism with the Richmond Progressive Alliance and her work beyond Richmond, we endorse and recommend Ada Recinos as our second choice to be appointed to the Richmond City Council.
3rd Recommendation: Diego Garcia
Based on his distinguished service to Richmond in a public capacity, for having a good list of qualifications for the position of City Councilmember, and on his nine years of service on the Parks and Recreation Commission and two years in the Police Commission, and for his activism as an ally of the Richmond Progressive Alliance, although not a member, and his work beyond Richmond, we endorse and recommend Diego Garcia as our third choice to be appointed to the Richmond City Council.
The RPA opened the endorsement process to all Richmond residents in July. Potential candidates submitted substantial written materials and sat for interviews with members of the RPA Steering Committee. The full Steering Committee and the RPA membership voted in favor of these endorsements. The RPA endorsements are separate and independent of any action taken by the Richmond City Council, who will vote to fill the seat on September 12th. City Council Members who are also members of RPA were not part of the endorsement process. Thanks to the many people who participated in this process.
Phillips 66 hasn't heard of "buying locally": apparently they want Canada's toxic tar sands oil, and they're pushing for a permit that would more than double the number of ocean tankers they can use to get it. The Bay Area "Air Quality Management" District will decide if this could possibly have any negative impact (hint: it will). The district, whose board is made up of our elected officials, loves their rubber stamp, so we need a flood of comments to stop it.
The potential doubling of ship traffic comes on the heels of an Air District approval allowing an increase from 30,682 to 51,182 barrels per day in 2013, so the currently proposed increase of 78,818 would let them churn through 130,000 barrels every day -- over four times the level they were doing just a few years ago. Needless to say, pollution controls cannot keep up.
In addition to drastic changes in quantities coming across our bay and into our communities, it's quite possible the type of oil will be the heavy, dangerous kind coming out of Canada. Because it sinks it's very hard to clean, and chemicals it contains are especially dangerous to human health.
Deadline for comments is August 28! Send an instant comment here, or skim through the short BAAQMD project description and email your thoughts directly to P66MarineTerminalPermitRevision@baaqmd.gov (potential impacts are on page 5-6; it's most helpful if you can reinforce or add to those based on your own knowledge or personal concerns).
Our beloved compañero, Maximo Rivera, passed away on August 16. He lived in North Richmond and was an active member of RPA and ACCE for many years, advocating on housing, environmental justice and immigration issues. He brought to our events and actions his soft spoken and kind, yet persistent demeanor. He lifted our spirits with his humor and the music of his band.
In 2015, Maximo and I were both members of a delegation to his home country of El Salvador, organized by School of the Americas Watch. We visited grassroots organizations and officials who are working to build a just society in El Salvador, following the brutal war against the people there a few decades ago that was backed by the U.S. military, and in the ongoing context of harmful neoliberal policies the U.S. is pushing throughout Latin America.
Our group was moved to witness Maximo’s emotional response to visiting his home town of Cinquera in Cabañas province -- now recovering from the destruction of the war -- for the first time since his childhood. He shared memories of sitting behind his father on a horse before roads or cars arrived. His family left Cinquera in 1953 when he was 10 after his uncle was killed by the National Guard because someone said he was a communist. Maximo was inspired to meet and interact with young Salvadorans who honor the martyrs of the past and are striving for a peaceful and socially just future.
Maximo’s son, José, is also a longtime RPA activist and musician who coordinated Richmond’s Municipal ID program. He expressed that the family is urgently requesting assistance to cover funeral expenses. Donations can be made online; anything helps and will be greatly appreciated.
Maximo Rivera was part of Richmond’s progressive transformation and he will be sorely missed.
Who is the RPA? It’s made up of volunteers with passion, progressive values, and who love Richmond. In this series, we get to know the new faces on the RPA Steering Committee. This month, we had the pleasure of speaking with Ada Recinos. In her day job, she is the Advancement Manager for Prospera, which partners with low-income Latina women so they can achieve economic prosperity through cooperative business ownership.
TA: Tell us about your background in progressive activism.
AR: I am a commissioner on the Human Rights and Human Relations commission. I have about 4 years of experience organizing and campaigning for progressive community issues in Oakland and my hometown of Torrance regarding rent control, immigrant reform, women's rights and have supported local campaigns.
TA: What are your ideas about how change and progress occur?
AR: Change and progress occurs through education. Folks need to educate themselves on how to make progressive values accessible and in turn use education to support folks to claim progressive identities. In my experience, movements are by the people and for the people. Folks are accepted at every level of 'wokeness' with an understanding that compromise is not defeat if we keep pushing forward. I do not expect folks I approach to accept what I am teaching and sharing the first time. I anticipate hard discussions and disagreements. Change and progress occurs after gaining the trust of folks who then become ambassadors for the movement. When people become educate about the issue and feel included in the movement, it becomes theirs and a deep part of their identity.
TA: What are you interested in bringing to the RPA?
AR: I am interested in bringing a challenging perspective, a commitment to bring more diversity in Richmond's leadership and passion for issues that affect folks of color. I also hope to bring a voice and support to Richmond during a Trump presidency.
TA: What are some of the issues you’re most passionate about in Richmond?
AR: I am particularly interested in supporting the enforcement of measure L, and to keep the police and sheriffs accountable to not cooperating with ICE. I hope the RPA is headed towards making Richmond residents more proactive about their rights and introducing legislation that is proactive about residents needs.
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:
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”
Check out this new Opinion-Editorial in the New York Times, “A Dangerous Idea: Eliminating the Chemical Safety Board.” Steve Early points out one of the many ways in which Trump’s budget would be harmful for people and the planet.
If the board is abolished, hundreds of thousands of people who live near chemical factories and refineries will be at greater risk. I came to appreciate the board five years ago, when its experts came here to my hometown to investigate a huge fire at the Chevron refinery at the end of my street.
To read the entire OpEd, click here.
In 2016, about two-thirds of California voters supported Proposition 57, which helps California reduce its costly overreliance on prisons through parole and sentencing reforms and incentives for rehabilitation. But now the CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is proposing regulations that threaten to undercut Prop 57.
The faith community, led by PICO, a network for faith based organizations, is urging Californians to write to the CDCR to amend their regulations before they become final. According to PICO, the three main problems with the proposed regs are:
- They do not apply new programming credits to people who have been dedicated to rehabilitation for years, or decades. There is no reason why benefits of Prop. 57 should not apply retroactively to cover genuine rehabilitation programming in the past.
- They exclude young offenders eligible for parole under SB 260 and 261, two laws aimed at creating special parole hearings for young offenders. At its core, Prop. 57 promised to correct over incarceration of young offenders and encourage positive rehabilitative programming—there is no justifiable reason to undermine the positive reforms of SB 260 and 261.
- They exclude people who are serving life sentences under the Three Strikes law for nonviolent crimes. Prop. 57 promised to apply to all nonviolent prisoners.