Chevron Threatens Our Air

Flaring at the Richmond Lubrications Oil Plant. April 14, 2-4 pm.

United Steelworkers (USW) Local 5 workers have been on strike at Richmond's Chevron Refinery since March 21, 2022. Since then, workers and community members have carefully documented flaring events at the refinery, which is currently run by strikebreakers who do not have the necessary training to safely operate the equipment. Below are three important documents of this extremely unsafe situation: a) a letter addressed to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) by organizer Marisol Cantú, articulating the current risks to our surrounding community and demands of relevant inspection agencies; b) a photographic gallery of flaring events taken during the strike by workers and community observers; and c) a letter authored by a USW Local 5 refinery worker, describing the extensive training he and his colleagues receive that is necessary to keep the community safe (and that current employees operating the plant do not have).

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The Activist Celebrates May Day

The Activist wishes all RPA members and allies a happy May Day, in celebration of the international labor struggles that continue to shape our world. We are so excited to witness the surge of organizing activity and unionization efforts across the United States. This renewed labor solidarity, not seen on such a scale since the early 1980s, comes under the urgent conditions of stagnant wages, meager healthcare, and increased economic precarity. 

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Fair Chance and Housing First Policies

On April 19, 2022, Mayor Tom Butt agendized City Council item W3, which sought to amend Richmond’s Fair Chance Housing Ordinance. While the mayor has been a vocal opponent of most tenant protections, this item reflects an interest in improving housing access. 

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The Chevron Strike Continues

By Shiva Mishek 

Photo Credit: @USWLocal5Richmond on Instagram

“To strike at a man's food and shelter is to strike at his life, and in a society organized on a tooth-and-nail basis, such an act, performed though it may be under the guise of generosity, is none the less menacing and terrible.”

—Jack London, The Scab, 1904

This week, United Steelworkers (USW) Local 5 enters its seventh week on strike at the Richmond Chevron refinery. Over 500 Chevron employees have been on strike since March 21, rejecting a contract that would codify a meager raise, unsafe working conditions, and Chevron’s so-called “standby” policy.

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Road Safety is Public Safety

By Jamin Pursell

Over the last century, the automobile has become a potent symbol of traditional Americana. The Ford assembly line brought the car to the American masses in 1913. At only $260 by 1925, the Model T was affordable, costing the average worker only a few months' wages. During that time, Prohibition created an industry for the American Bootlegger. Bootleggers drove vehicles called “stock cars” to distribute their illicit goods, making them small, fast vehicles to better evade the police. Drivers also modified vehicles for speed, handling, and increased cargo capacity. The early NASCAR drivers used those same cars in Daytona Beach.

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How Much are Richmond Police Being Paid?

By Mike Parker and Shiva Mishek*

Richmond police officers are better-compensated than officers in surrounding communities. Oakland comes close, with officers being compensated an average of $279,869.87 annually to Richmond’s $283,866.50. 

The claim that police officers are leaving Richmond because they are not being paid enough does not fit the data. According to data for the latest year available (2020), the average total pay plus benefits for RPD staff is higher than in comparable surrounding communities. While the base pay for police officers in all of these communities starts out roughly the same, overtime plus extras quickly boost the average.

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RPA Calendar May

Here are upcoming RPA meetings and events. Note, most meetings are only open to RPA members, although allies and guests are often welcome. If you are interested in becoming a member, you may do so here. Dues may be waived if they are a barrier to you joining the RPA. If you have questions about joining the RPA, or are interested in attending a meeting as a non-member, please contact  [email protected]

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Point Molate: The Real Story

By Jeff Kilbreth

Until two years ago, the battle for Point Molate was largely waged between developers and environmentalists. Those in favor of development assumed that the resulting building jobs and property taxes would be great for Richmond, while environmentalists saw a precious opportunity to create the last ridge-to-shoreline park on the San Francisco Bay. 

It was simply a tough call between two perfectly reasonable points of view. Developing Point Molate would create a lot of jobs for a period of time, and Richmond undoubtedly needs to expand its tax base.

What changed?

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Jamin Pursell Announces Candidacy for City Council

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My name is Jamin Pursell, and I am running for Richmond City Council in District 4. I believe that healthy communities thrive when a city provides abundant services and resident protections. Richmond must continue building on its progressive leadership, and District 4 is home to a new generation of families who deserve focused representation.

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Transit Agencies and the Movement Forward

By Jovanka Beckles

Serving on the AC Transit Board continues to take me around both literal and metaphorically complicated routes as I navigate our agency from austerity measures toward justice for our transit users especially, students, low-income users, elders, people with disabilities, and other challenges. This month we have the opportunity to avail ourselves of state funding that will help both our riders and our planet.

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