A big thanks to everyone who came to Richmond City Council tonight, those who spoke against Catherine Montalbo's appointment to the Richmond Citizen's/Community Police Review Commission, and those who signed the letter that we delivered to the City Council.
Mayor Butt responded to the large group of people who gathered to speak against Montalbo's appointment by pulling the item from the agenda entirely -- so there was no vote on Montalbo tonight.
Councilmember Jael Myrick made the very reasonable motion/suggestion that the City Council be allowed to vote on the appointments of Christopher Whitmore and Armond Lee, the two non-controversial CPRC appointments made by Butt, so that the commission can function. Butt refused, and withdrew their nominations as well, and the City Attorney said there was nothing the rest of the Council could do to stop him. Because he may not be able to get Montalbo approved, it looks like Butt is trying to shut down the Citizen's Police Review Commission entirely. It was undemocratic and vindictive, right out of the Trump playbook, but it got our speakers very fired up.
Butt said he didn't want to hear from us tonight. But more than 20 of us signed up for open comment and used that time to say what we needed to say about the CPRC anyway. It was truly inspiring to see a diverse group of real Richmonders coming together to take care of our city's most vulnerable people.
Only two people spoke in favor of the appointment, one of them being Montalbo herself.
Check out the video here, comments on Montalbo start at 23:50.
After the meeting one of of our allies was asked if Butt was going to shut down the CPRC forever. He responded, "Well, we won't let him." Amen to that. Stay tuned for another update with next steps!
Anyone who wants to get these updates can sign the No on Montalbo Letter to be added to this list
Join us on May 4th 2019 from 4-6pm for a discussion with local author and highly successful housing activist, Randy Shaw!
We will discuss his new book: "Generation Priced Out: Who Gets to Live in the New Urban America” and particularly how it relates to Richmond.
Together we will have a discussion about how to address the challenges Richmond is facing during this ongoing housing crisis, and how to fight racial and economic inequalities in our city. We need solutions to bring more affordable housing to our working- and middle-class communities, and we need local government to encourage and cultivate more inclusive neighborhoods.
This is your time to participate in this conversation. It takes a city to fix our housing crisis!
Please RSVP so we can plan ahead: https://www.facebook.com/events/821260558227855/
More info about Randy’s work:
On February 23rd, at the RPA's Membership Meeting, the Housing Action Team announced its goals for 2019. Our members also had an update on what the HAT has been working on in the past few months.
Below is all the information you need to know:
Housing Action Team Goals for 2019:
1. Speculator’s Tax to support affordable housing
This policy works by establishing a tax to discourage speculative investors “house flippers”, from buying and rapidly reselling properties. In many communities like Richmond, large investors are buying up groups of homes and selling them for a quick profit. When these speculative investors do this, it artificially increases the demand for housing, forcing families to compete and pay higher prices and increasing rents and evictions. This makes it more difficult for moderate-income families to buy a home. A tax on speculators discourages this, which helps lower the high price of homes for sale. The tax also raises public money that can fund city services like youth programs and street repairs. (Haas Institute 2017)
2. Updating the Rental Inspection Ordinance
We are currently working on two angles: Inclusionary Housing & In-lieu fees.Read more
David Duhalde is a DC-based political and socialist activist, and is the current Political Director of Our Revolution – a progressive political action organization inspired by Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign.
Mark your calendars for a discussion with David: “How Can Our Revolution Work More Closely With East Bay Progressives?” hosted by the RPA. It will be held at Steve Early’s house on Monday, February 18, from 3-6pm (747 Lobos Avenue, Richmond). Beer, wine, and snacks provided. (Additional food or drink contributions welcome!)
Please RSVP to Steve Early at Lsupport@aol.com or at 617-930-7327.Read more
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.Read more
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
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
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
If you missed it, find below the presentation from the Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services (RNHS) on Opportunity Zones in Richmond.
"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
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.