Issues

Richmond Progressive Alliance Members Elect New Leaders

In the biennial elections held at the February membership meeting, Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) members re-elected twelve members to the Steering Committee (SC) and added four newcomers.  

Both the returning Steering Committee members and the newly elected can be characterized as bridge-builders. Collectively, the SC members actively engage with at least 24 city and/or community organizations on top of their work with RPA. Going beyond our core group of members to cultivate relationships with more people and organizations is a shared goal of this Steering Committee. That’s how political power grows.

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More People Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccination

 

As of 3/31, EVERYONE 16 years or older who lives or works in Contra Costa County can be vaccinated at one of the county-run vaccination sites - without health issues, without being a front-line worker.  You can request a county appointment online here or by calling 1-833-829-2626.  Vaccination sites run by the State (which you find on My Turn), health systems (like Kaiser or Sutter), and pharmacies (like CVS and Walgreens) are also vaccinating, but they might have more restrictions than the sites run by the county do. Contra Costa County continues to maintain an excellent webpage that lists who is qualified for vaccination at each kind of vaccination center, and gives links and phone numbers for all the places you can schedule a vaccination appointment locally. Because supplies of the vaccine are still limited, you may need to try more than one option, more than one time, to find an appointment.

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Richmond Passes Real Eviction Protection

Out of all the strategies to stop the spread of COVID-19, the ability for people to isolate is one of the most obvious and impactful. The National Bureau of Economic Research found that stopping all US evictions and utility shutoffs through November of last year could have saved 164,000 lives lost to the virus. Never has there been a more urgent need to prevent individuals from sliding into homelessness. 

On March 23, the Richmond City Council passed a an urgency ordinance to enact a temporary moratorium on evictions related to the pandemic. Richmond tenants are now protected from eviction for the duration of the state of emergency and 60 days thereafter.

With SB91, the COVID-19 tenant relief act signed into law in January, California legislators also took some partial steps to help tenants across the state. The Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency recently published resources and eligibility guidelines for renters and small landlords seeking relief through the Housing Is Key program. This information is also available in Spanish, and by phone at 1-833-430-2122.

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Sign Petition for Medicare for All!

From Healthy California Now, a healthcare reform coalition of which RPA is a part: 

We are Californians who believe that healthcare should be guaranteed as a human right. We are calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to fulfill his promise to fight for single-payer healthcare in California.  Sign the petition here www.petition.healthcare.

Gavin Newsom led the fight for universal healthcare as mayor in San Francisco and made single-payer a pillar of his campaign for governor. On his first day as Governor, he made the same request of Trump that we’re now asking him to make of the Biden Administration. It seems complicated, but requesting the federal Medicare waivers is mandatory for a state to have its own single-payer system. The official who would grant these waivers is the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Biden Administration has nominated Xavier Becerra — who is also an advocate for single-payer, and is the outgoing California Attorney General under Governor Newsom's administration. With this unique situation, there has never been such an enormous opportunity for Governor Newsom to guarantee that every Californian receives high-quality, comprehensive healthcare.

We understand the power of the healthcare industry and the millions they will spend trying to defeat our efforts. We are asking Governor Newsom to lead the way and request the necessary federal waivers, to fulfill his promise of single-payer healthcare. Californians, please join our fight.

 

We Are All in This: A Call to Support Our Unhoused Community

By Claudia Jimenez, Richmond City Councilmember

On February 23, after years of planning by City staff, much discussion from City Council, and varied input from Richmond residents, the City Council voted to approve the Safe Parking Pilot Program to be located at the city-owned parking lot at Barrett Avenue and 25th Street. Our vote also approved city staff’s recommendation for Housing Consortium of the East Bay (HCEB) to serve as lead provider.

While council’s approved location was not my first choice, I am glad we came to a decision and were able to secure $560,000 of funding for this one-year pilot project. I believe we need to leverage whatever resources we have to better serve Richmond's many residents who are experiencing homelessness and the community as a whole. 

Richmond residents who are interested in working with us to make the project successful can reach out to me at [email protected], and we will connect you to opportunities.

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Saving Richmond's Shoreline- No Housing on a Toxic Waste Dump!

By Tarnel Abbott and Deborah Bayer

Where We Stand Now

The Richmond Shoreline Alliance, Citizens for East Shore Parks, Sierra Club, Green Action and the Sunflower Alliance, have filed a lawsuit against the City of Richmond, based on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and due process violations, to stop the proposed development of housing on top of the contaminated soil of the AstraZeneca (former Stauffer Chemical) site.  The community is advocating for the City to insist on a full clean up before any housing is built. The lawsuit and the development have been discussed in Closed Session twice already, but the public is not privy to how those discussions are going.

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It’s Time for Richmond to Plan for a Just Transition

By Eduardo Martinez, Richmond City Councilmember, and Eli Moore

The Chevron oil spill into the Bay in February is only the latest in a series of devastating fires and releases of toxic chemicals into the air, water and soil of Richmond and the region.

The refinery is also the second largest source of greenhouse gases in all of California. 

Scientists have determined that the only way for California to reach its goals for overcoming the climate crisis is to start closing refineries and switching to renewable energy sources. 

For years, the prospect of the refinery closing was only a threat Chevron used against us, to silence calls for public health protections and fair corporate taxes. But lately the scenario of a refinery closure is much more visible, with refineries in Rodeo and Martinez both announcing in the past year that they were halting fossil fuel processing. The economic effects of Covid 19 have rocked the oil industry, and that has speeded up a process that was already underway to replace fossil fuels with clean, renewable energy sources.  The end of oil refining is actually in sight. Even General Motors realizes this and has planned to end its production of gas-powered cars by 2035.

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How to Participate in a Richmond City Council Meeting During COVID-19

Here is where you can download the agenda for all Richmond City Council Meetings.

Public comment may be submitted to the Richmond City Council by paper mail, email and/or Zoom video conference in the manner that follows; provided that no member of the public may submit more than one verbal comment per agenda item.

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Street Sweeping: News of its Death are Greatly Exaggerated

There is still street sweeping in Richmond.  Look at this map to find out when the street sweepers come to your neighborhood, and do your best to move your vehicles on sweeping days to make way for them.

To set the record straight:

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RPA Membership Meeting 2/27/21

All RPA members are encouraged to attend the online General Membership Meeting on Saturday, February 27th at 2 pm. A full agenda and links to the meeting will be emailed to members on Tuesday February 23rd. Participants will be given the opportunity to vote for members of the Steering Committee, the leadership body of the RPA. 

If you are not currently a member, join or renew your membership with the RPA today to receive an invitation.