Issues

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.

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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.

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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?

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Thank You

We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks for the effort, time, and heart you poured into the 2018 elections. Despite what the press reports, the results are not yet final. The Contra Costa Elections Department still has 177,000 ballots to count county-wide, and we believe an election does not end until every vote is counted. But while we wait, we wanted to reach out today to tell you that we are so proud of what we have been able to accomplish together.

With our members running for city council, mayor, assembly, and lieutenant governor, the RPA took our progressive agenda to the next level this year. We were, are, and always will be, an audacious, hopeful and visionary group. We ran positive and substantive campaigns in all our races. Through the five campaigns we have made connections with thousands of like-minded people, building alliances which will bring us closer to our goal of creating a society that puts people above profit.

Once the results are in, we know there will still be a solid core of strong progressive voices on the Richmond City Council. Looking at the group of people who made serious runs this year, it’s heartening to see how, after years of effort, we have been able to break the stranglehold of Chevron and establishment politics in our city. RPA has helped redefine the political landscape in Richmond and the East Bay. We look forward to making progress towards a more sustainable, equitable and just city, state, country and world.

Richmond Progressive Alliance
Team Richmond

Vote November 6th!

The Richmond Progressive Alliance has endorsed:

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.

June 5 Voter Guide

 

PRIMARY RACES
Vote for one, top two advance to November election. Elect a West County team!

Lieutenant Governor Gayle McLaughlin
Contra Costa County DA Diana Becton*
County Supervisor John Gioia
Assembly District 15 Jovanka Beckles

 

STATE PROPOSITIONS

Prop 68 Yes Creates a $4 billion fund for parks in low income neighborhoods
Prop 69 No Dedicates diesel tax receipts to transportation projects
Prop 70 No Requires a 2/3rds vote of the legislature to spend cap and trade funds
Prop 71 Yes Moves effective date of ballot propositions to 5 days after election certification
Prop 72 Yes Excludes rainwater collection systems from property tax

 

CITY OF RICHMOND
Measure E Yes
Charter Amendment creates a Department of Children and Youth with a community oversight board and requires increased funding of youth programs and services from the general fund with significant use of non-profit community organizations (The Richmond Kids First Initiative)

Measure K Yes
Charter Amendment to modify Measure E if it is passed. Modifications include removal of the requirement to use non-profits for a significant portion of the youth services defined in E, and providing that funding obligations beginning on July 1, 2021, are contingent on passage of a general tax measure for the City of Richmond

County Sheriff - Write in “No Confidence”
Current Sheriff David Livingston is running unopposed but has supported the expansion of the County’s contract with ICE and has prioritized jail expansion over providing services that would reduce recidivism and the need for jails. The write-in is the recommendation of the Contra Costa Racial Justice Coalition as well as the RPA — let’s send him a message!

 

* Candidates marked with an asterisk haven’t yet pledged to run for office free of corporate donations. The RPA only endorses candidates who make this pledge, so these candidates are supported by the RPA but not officially endorsed

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.