Issues

March 30-31: California Progressive Alliance Founding Convention

The new California Progressive Alliance seeks to elevate progressive ideas; promote the creation of local political alliances and coalitions for political power; support corporate-free progressive candidates and issue-based electoral campaigns; and expand the communication and dialogue among all our progressive family in the state of California, respecting and supporting the work done by all.

The CPA is having is founding convention in San Luis Obispo March 30-31!

Read more

Interview with City Council Member Eduardo Martinez

This month, The Activist sat down with Eduardo Martinez, who started his second term as Richmond City Councilmember, to discuss some of his priorities for 2019.

TA: You are one of the environmental leaders on the City Council. What are some of your main concerns these days?

EM: I continue to be concerned about the climate and local health impacts of coal movement in Richmond. On Tuesday I will have a tour of Richmond Levin Terminal, along with city staff. The Levin terminal moves over a million tons of coal per year.

I recently submitted an agenda item to stop the storage and handling of coal in Richmond. Staff are now reviewing a proposed ordinance. For example, they are coming up with an amortization schedule to account for the possible economic loss from not being able to move coal. This will prevent the company from claiming a “taking.” Of course, Levin has lawyered up, and are trying to let the city know that they are not going to take this easily.

Read more

On Recent Email Leaks

A former member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance has released a batch of private emails exchanged between RPA members in 2017. Richmond’s mayor considered that exchange worthy of publicizing in his email forum this week. Most of the material had been previously released by the same former member during last year's election. The former member is engaged in similar conflicts with other organizations in the area.

As an organization, we know that we will face opposition from those who do not want to share Richmond's rise with everyone. That's what we are seeing now. We will stand up to the challenge, and hope others will join us.

The Richmond Progressive Alliance will continue to move forward with its agenda, which includes:

  • protecting the environment including the shoreline
  • the expansion of rent control
  • the construction of truly affordable housing
  • investment in public schools
  • protecting immigrants
  • better police oversight
  • dismantling the prison pipeline
  • acknowledging and working to end racism in all its forms

In January we held a full-day retreat that was attended by more than 40 people who are interested in working together to move Richmond forward. The next RPA Membership Meeting is on Saturday, February 23rd. Current members and those interested in joining can go to the RPA website for more information.

-RPA Co-Chairs BK Williams and Malia Everette

 

Pt. Molate: A Jewel Worth Protecting

In the latest attempt to deny public input into the future of publicly-owned Point Molate, the newly- seated Richmond City Council voted Tuesday January 15, 2019 to amend the RFP on Point Molate, removing restrictions and gutting community benefits: No limit on number of units to be built, no limitation on building on southern watershed (AKA Drumlot 2), no affordable housing beyond City ordinance requirements, and no guarantee that financial burden will not fall on the City.

Read more

RNHS Presents: An Opportunity Zone Conversation in Richmond!


If you missed it, find below the presentation from the Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services (RNHS) on Opportunity Zones in Richmond.

CITY OF RICHMOND OPPORTUNITY ZONES 1/24/2019

 

"RNHS has gathered industry leaders, stakeholders, housing and economic development practitioners to lead a conversation from their perspective of the benefits and potential risk of the new tool Opportunity Zones which encourages private investment in communities that have historically been under resourced."

Some background on Opportunity Zones (information provided by RNHS)

Q. What is an Opportunity Zone?
A. An Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Localities qualify as Opportunity Zones if they have been nominated for that designation by the state and that nomination has been certified by the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury via his delegation of authority to the Internal Revenue Service.

Q. How were Opportunity Zones created?

Read more

Willis, Recinos, and Martinez Open Up Point Molate Process

Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) is pleased to announce that a motion regarding Point Molate, sponsored by RPA-endorsed Council Members Eduardo Martinez and Ada Recinos and Vice Mayor Melvin Willis, was unanimously passed Tuesday June 19, 2018. In the motion Staff was directed to make modifications to the timeline and scope of the Point Molate Land Use Visioning process to allow for more comprehensive outreach and meaningful community participation. This significant motion put forth by RPA council members has the goal of engaging more residents to participate in the decision-making process around Point Molate, something RPA has continuously fought for. Though originally critical of the motion, Mayor Butt voted with the progressive council members to improve on the work plan originally brought forth by consultants

Tuesday’s motion by Martinez, Recinos and Willis will:

1. Make sure that public input on is gathered from a minimum of 2,500 community members from across Richmond (via the website, workshops, pop-up events, youth forum and interviews).

2. Publicize community meetings, tours, forums and other activities widely and at least 30 days before the date of the event.

3. Provide at least 4 public tours of Pt. Molate with transportation, translation, and childcare as needed.

4. Include community-driven, special-topic forums as part of the community planning process. Some examples of potential forums would cover topics relating to:

  • Community Economics and Housing Forum
  • Public Uses of Pt. Molate Forum
  • Achieving Equity and Sustainability
  • Natural Resource Forum
  • Site Infrastructure Forum

5. Redirect market analysis and feasibility studies to include development benefits for Richmond residents.

6. Add a transparency component that gives progress reports on Council agenda and lists all organizations and businesses that are contacted and interviewed.

7. Add a real-time evaluation component for participants to give feedback after every workshop and event.

8. Solicit development proposals after City has completed zoning and made updates to the General Plan.

For more information about the role of the Richmond Progressive Alliance in protecting Point Molate, go to www.richmondprogressivealliance.net/environment.

CCC Racial Justice Task Force Presentation

The Contra Costa County Racial Justice Task Force (created as a result of excellent campaign work by the CCC Racial Justice Coalition) has recently come out with a set of thirty recommendations for ensuring racial equality within the county’s criminal justice system. Recommendations range from providing resources to incentivize school districts to explore, evaluate, implement or expand existing non-punitive discipline practices; to establishing a community capacity fund to build the capacity of community based organizations - especially those staffed by formerly incarcerated individuals - to provide services to reentry clients.

New Refinery Monitoring Tool

Big thanks to all the presenters who inspired us at the RPA’s Earth Day event, Activating Environmental Justice.               

And many thanks to panelist Cheryl Holzmeyer who just introduced us to the Refinery Monitoring Tool.

Produced by Air Watch Bay Area this new, online, interactive tool allows you to see current data on air pollution in Richmond, Crockett, Rodeo, and Benicia. You can also sign up for daily air quality alerts or use the website (or a downloadable app) to report smells and pollution events to the Air Watch Bay Area website and/or to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

This tool was created by the The Fair Tech Collective at Drexel University in Philadelphia in collaboration with the Community Robotics, Education, and Technology Empowerment Lab at Carnegie Mellon University.

Richmond People's Assembly

Inspired by the Richmond People’s Convention of 2004 (organized by Richmond Progressive Alliance, Just Cause Richmond, ACORN, and others) which drew over 300 people, the 2018 Richmond People’s Assembly aims to gather neighborhoods together to organize for collective power, bring a voice to the community, and empower residents to engage in political activities to create the change and solutions we need as a community.

The Richmond People’s Assembly will take place on May 19th at Richmond High School from 9:30 - 3pm.

It’s being led by the Richmond Our Power Coalition, a collection of local community organizations including the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Communities for a Better Environment, Urban Tilth.

In the weeks leading up to the Assembly, coalition canvassers will go door to door to listen to and take inventory our community members needs. Maybe you've already been approached! Please mark you calendars and watch this space for more information!

RPA Featured in New Podcast

Our movement is in the news again!

Hot off the "presses" is a wonderful podcast from Stepping Up, titled Smackdown: City Hall v. Big Oil. Produced by Claire Schoen, this podcast focuses on “surprising stories from climate activists” and features our favorite Communities for a Better Environment rep, Andres Soto. Well worth a listen!

And if you haven’t already checked it out, read a Counterpunch article penned by Ralph Nader titled Citizen-Mayor Gayle Roars through Richmond California. It chronicles the history of the RPA and Gayle’s bid for Lt. Governor. An excerpt is below:

[In Richmond], McLaughlin found a few like-minded progressives and started the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA). (Gayle had volunteered in the Green Party’s 2000 Presidential Campaign)

With very little money, but many long overdue proposals for the betterment of the city, the RPA went to work. They had three public assets—a set of progressive policy changes, support of a large silent majority of residents, and a dedicated core of thirty no-nonsense local champions for a just community.

RPA ran a slate of candidates for City Council in 2004, with some success. This was followed by a victory in 2006 that made McLaughlin mayor—a post she held until 2014 when she was termed out and then successfully ran for city council. RPA now controls five of the seven seats—overcoming the Chevron Company’s longtime political boosters…

Because of McLaughlin and the RPA, Richmond has a higher minimum wage of $15 an hour, a police department that has curbed police misconduct, a major drop in serious street crime, an increase in Chevron’s tax payments, a decrease in toxic pollution by Chevron, and Solar Richmond, a program demonstrating a greener local economy, more energy self-reliance and jobs.