Issues

Vacant Seat on City Council

As you have probably heard, Richmond City Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin has decided to step down from her seat on the City Council to focus on her campaign for California Lieutenant Governor (Statement from Gayle McLaughlin).  The RPA Steering Committee issued its own statement thanking Gayle for her many years of service to the City of Richmond, and encouraging her as she brings her progressive leadership to a larger community (Thank You to Gayle from the RPA Steering Committee).  

The City Council will vote to appoint a replacement for Gayle.  At its next meeting on July 19th at 6:30 pm, the RPA Steering Committee will discuss making an endorsement for that position.  Current members of the City Council will not take part in the endorsement discussion.   Those who would like to be considered for an endorsement, or want to recommend others for it, can email Steering Committee Co-Chairs Marcos Banales (marcosbanales@yahoo.com) and Sharron SK Williams (skwilliams@yurumeinlaw.com).  Please put the word ENDORSEMENT in the subject line of your email. 

Fight for 15 in Richmond

The Richmond City Council  voted 6 to 1 (Tom Butt opposed) to direct staff to draft an ordinance increasing the Richmond Minimum wage  in steps to $15.00/hr by January 2019. The ordinance also will remove several exemptions in our current ordinance. While this is still far below a “living wage” in the Bay Area  it is a big improvement for low wage workers. The draft ordinance will be brought to the Council for a first reading on July 11.  Council members felt it was important to move quickly to give businesses time to prepare for the first step increase in January 2018 and because low wage workers are hurting  in this economy.

Rent Board Making Progress

There are a lot of details and much work required to get a new program going.  I am pleased to say that the Board and the City staff have been working well together and we are making progress.

  • Interviewing candidates for Executive Director of the Board.
  • Approving the expense side of our budget (completed last meeting).
  • Working on the revenue side—proposing the fee that landlords will pay to support the program (to be voted on by the City Council).
  • Establishing the 2017 maximum Annual Adjustment for Rents for tenancies prior to September 2016.

The Rent Control Ordinance can be found here.

Update on Gayle's Campaign For Lt. Governor

Gayle.jpg

Gayle McLaughlin, Richmond’s only corporate-free progressive mayor (2007-2014), started her campaign for Lt. Governor of California on June 6, 2017, with the goals of “putting people first, organizing corporate-free local groups throughout the state, and giving voters the choice of a corporate-free candidate.”

Gayle believes the best way to advance the transformation of our cities, state and nation is for progressives to come together into local political organizations that are corporate-free (no corporate money), inclusive and diverse, and function year-round. The key to success is the essence of the RPA model:  A local coalition or alliance of all the neighbors and supporters willing, regardless of party affiliation, to work for the betterment of their local community.

Gayle has traveled and met with residents of California cities from San Diego to Redding. Presentations have taken place in San Jose, Pinole, El Cerrito, Pacifica, San Joaquin County, Stanislaus County, San Leandro, Albany, Shasta County, Napa County, and Lake County. In the coming days she will visit Concord, Oakland, San Francisco, Monterey, Watsonville, San Luis Obispo and San Bernardino. Some of the groups welcoming her are Our Revolution affiliates. Some groups are well-established, and others are just starting up and thinking about how to act locally to gain political control of their city governments, too often in the hands of corporations and their representatives.

Gayle is received with great affection, preceded by the recognition she has gained over the years as the person who led the transformation of Richmond. People listen with great interest when Gayle describes the organizational experience of progressives in Richmond and the RPA's successes. Audience members say they appreciate learning how Gayle and the RPA were able to endure difficult early years, overcome obstacles, and achieve many great victories in the transformation of Richmond.

“We will consider our campaign successful if by the end of 2018 we have helped to established grass-roots corporate-free progressive organizations in 100 California cities, and when members of these organizations are running for local city councils and local school boards without taking corporate money and supported by their local alliances. If the people of California also elect me as their first corporate-free progressive Lt. Governor of California, fantastic!  I will use the position to diligently watch for corporate corruption in Sacramento, to denounce it, and to rally the people of California, and to expand further grassroots organizing throughout the state.  With my record you know that I will not let the people down,” Gayle added.

To express your support and donate to Gayle’s campaign. Also refer your contacts throughout the state to Gayle’s website. www.gayleforcalifornia.org

 

Jovanka Only Corporate Free Candidate for AD-15

Richmond’s very own Vice Mayor Jovanka Beckles is the only corporate money-free candidate running for Assembly District 15.

Think about those friends and neighbors who are disgusted by Trump but haven't jumped into RPA's campaigns yet. They're frustrated, maybe showed up to a thing or two but not much else. We need you to invite them to a house party this summer so their energy can go toward a corporate-free Sacramento. Multi-billion dollar corporations buying elections and setting the agenda in Sacramento are not going to create the future we all want for California. Jovanka’s people powered campaign is changing the way voters view candidates and proving that candidates do not need to be beholden to deep-pocketed corporate interests to succeed!

Join Jovanka’s campaign to lift up the voices of working families in Sacramento: jovanka.org or call us at (510) 621-7566 to host or co-host a house party. Be sure to stay up to date with her campaign activities and endorsements by following her on Facebook at @JBfordistrict15.

Save the Richmond Post Office

Like so many other public services endangered by encroaching privatization, the main post office in Richmond at 1025 Nevin Ave. is being threatened with closure.

Richmond’s Mayor, Congressman DeSaulnier, and Supervisor Gioia have joined with the Richmond Main Street initiative to mount a campaign against the proposed closure, which follows the recent shuttering of Station A on Broadway.

The closure would pose significant hardship to seniors, those who rely on public transit, those with limited access to the Internet, as well as small businesses in the downtown area. As Supervisor Gioia said in a letter to the USPS, the Nevin post office is “central to the health of downtown.” Built during the New Deal, the location has historical value as well.

The main post office is located at the heart of a historically underserved and diverse community, and the alternative site on Chanslor is far from public transportation and has limited parking. Residents who rely on public transportation have voiced their concerns at public meetings, most recently at the Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council last week. The Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council has said it will file a lawsuit against the USPS if the closure is approved.

Officials have also expressed concern over the effect the closure would have on the revitalization of Richmond downtown.  Over 1,000 new units of housing and 60,000 square feet of retail at 12th St. and Macdonald Ave. are in the pipeline and have been moving toward completion. These residents and businesses will need more services, not fewer.

The USPS has said that comments will be heavily weighted in the decision. Comment letters, not emails, are due before 6/30, so they need to be mailed no later than 6/26 so they arrive on time. You can download a comment letter and sign the petition here.

RPA Thanks Gayle McLaughlin as She Steps Down as Councilmember

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.

Sincerely,

Sharron SK Williams and Marcos Banales
RPA Steerting Committee Co-Chairs

Kabir Kapur is the RPA!

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 Kabir Kapur, who came to the RPA after volunteering with the Bernie Sanders campaign.

Kabir.pngTA: Please tell us about your involvement progressive politics.

KK: I was involved with Occupy UC Davis in November of 2011, when the infamous Pepper Spraying incident occurred. The following quarter I was elected to the ASUCD Senate, the student government at UC Davis, running on a platform to “Empower Student Advocacy” by increasing student involved in lobbying on higher education issues in the Capitol in Sacramento and in administrative decisions made on campus.

I then interned for Assemblymember Roger Dickinson in the California State Assembly. I was also involved in the initial organization of both the UC Davis for Bernie Sanders and Davis for Bernie Sanders groups, and traveled to Iowa for a couple weeks to volunteer for the Sanders campaign. Currently I am involved with organizing the Richmond chapter of Our Revolution.

TA: What are your ideas about how change and progress occur? 

KK: I believe that change and progress occur through coalition building and working with people that you may not agree on every political issue on but are willing to find common ground to accomplish a collective mission.

I agree with Bernie Sanders when he says “Change takes place because people struggle” and “​Change never takes place from the top down. It always takes place from the bottom up.” I also believe progress takes place we people are honest and genuine with each other, and are transparent about public affairs. 

TA: What are you interested in bringing to the RPA?

KK: I am interested in bringing a millennial perspective to the Richmond Progressive Alliance. I believe the future of our society and species depends on the actions of my generation, and that we must act swiftly and steadfastly to save the future of both our planet and species and evolve into a democratic socialist and humanist society.

Gayle Runs For Lieutenant Governor!

original-grey-background---.jpgSee www.GayleforCalifornia.org for the latest info and to contribute to Gayle's campaign!

The former mayor of Richmond, California, Gayle McLaughlin, announced today that she is running for the office of Lieutenant Governor of California with the goals of “putting people first, organizing corporate-free local groups throughout the state, and giving the voters the choice of a corporate-free candidate.”

McLaughlin, called the Bernie Sanders of the East Bay, pledged not to accept any money from corporations for her campaign and to only represent the interests of working people.

“Corporations have all the advantages and too much influence in California’s government. This has serious consequences for our communities, cities, counties, and schools and hospitals. Corporate perks starve regular working families of the resources they need,” said Gayle McLaughlin.

“The big companies of California need to be regulated into behaving as good neighbors and paying their fair share of taxes. And this cannot happen when the whole political establishment is taking in corporate money by the truck-load, directly and mostly indirectly through corporate PACs and loading the parties’ coffers.”

“Change did not happen in CADEM-Sacramento in 2017, and we, the progressive forces of our state need to continue building from below, changing the mind-set of candidates and voters, reminding all that elected officials cannot serve well both the people and the corporations. Corporate money is both toxic and addictive. Our democracy needs to get clean and sober.”

McLaughlin says that throughout her grassroots campaign, and later as Lt. Governor, she will support the struggles of the people of California, build progressive coalitions, promote progressive policies, and mobilize all Californians of good will, regardless of party affiliation, who are willing to transform the state.

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Jackson Michigan Joins the Ranks of “Rebel Cities”

Jackson.jpgJust a few weeks after the November elections, Kate Shea Baird of Working Families Party wrote  an article titled America needs a network of rebel cities to stand up to Trump, in which she argued that “it will fall to America’s cities and local leaders to act as the institutional frontline of resistance against the Trump administration.”

But she is quick to point out that “cities can be more than just a last line of defense against the worst excesses of an authoritarian central government; they have huge, positive potential as spaces from which to radicalize democracy and build alternatives to the neoliberal economic model. The urgent questions that progressive activists in the States are now asking themselves are, not just how to fight back against Trump, but also how to harness the momentum of Bernie Sanders’ primary run to fight for the change he promised. As we consider potential strategies going forward, a look at the global context suggests that local politics may be the best place to start.”

Richmond has been one of the cities gaining national attention for its progressive politics. In a recent town hall, Bernie Sanders specifically gave a shout out to Richmond (the RPA is officially an Our Revolution affiliate), and the RPA Outreach team is busy giving presentations across the country to activists wanting to create durable progressive change.

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