RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #109May 13, 2013
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Chevron Workers and Safety
ACCE Honors Mayor, May 15
Council Implements CSB Recommendation
Global Warming Closer
Parliamentary Procedure and Council Meetings
Oppose AB-26
Volunteers Needed for Saffron Strand Conference
Richmond Tales
94801 Pollution
Bike Month Ride of Silence
Speaking of Whistle Blowers
New RYSE Video
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Progressive Office
1021 Macdonald, 510-412-2260


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Of course they do! Chevron workers are the most vulnerable to accidents. If the refinery goes up or releases toxic chemicals, refinery workers will be hit first and hardest. We know many of them. They are well trained. They are safety conscious. Some live in Richmond and many of them make extra contributions to our community.


Chevron Richmond Refinery: Our Employees Are Your Neighbors 
Chevron Video: Our Employees Are Your Neighbors

Chevron is running a massive public relations campaign to improve its safety image. One of its tactics is to use employees to shield a very dangerous and deceptive management policy. You certainly have seen the website video or the glossy mailers sent out to convince us that the workers believe that their work environment is safe, suggesting somehow that the Chevron employees do not agree with the US Chemical Safety Board report as well as the "willful violations" documented by OSHA. Both of these document that despite the reports and requests of safety conscious employees, the corporation decided to pass on fixing patches and replacing corroded pipe.


The reality is that, despite the words of the glossy fliers, that while workers may be well trained and safety conscious, their observations and recommendations do not guide the critical decisions that determine the safety of the refinery. These critical decisions are made by individuals and computer systems programmed to evaluate risks based on the bottom-line corporate profits.  

 *  *  * 

It is the top management that puts the lives of workers and the communities at risk to make profits. It happens when decisions are made to:

  • refine more corrosive crude oil,
  • reduce turnaround maintenance time to get the refinery operating and producing profits more quickly,
  • operate with thousands of patches on pipes.

Given this conflict between profits and safety in top management there are two things we must do.


We must demand effective independent regulation of Chevron operations and processes.


We must support the workers' union that supports workers who step up as "whistle blowers" calling attention to safety problems and protecting the whistle blowers from retaliation. The workers who work in the plant on a regular basis are the "experts" on the refinery equipment and will be the first to notice when an unusual event takes place. Chevron's attempts to weaken the union by outsourcing work and bringing in contractors means that workers in the refinery will have less expertise on the daily operations and process and be more concerned with short-term solutions.


Wednesday, May 15  6:30 pm

ACCE to Honor Mayor McLaughlin   

Mayor McLaughlin
Mayor Gayle McLaughlin speaks at rally to stop foreclosures 
Let's face it, our Mayor, Gayle McLaughlin, puts up with a lot of crap.

Being the Mayor of a city with a contentious political environment can be a thankless job. And yet through it all she has been a strong ally of our community and an important leader on progressive causes.

She has stood up to Chevron and the Big Banks. She helped pass the General Plan, the Housing Element and the Vacant Property Registration Ordinance.

That's why on Wednesday, May 15th we are honoring Mayor McLaughlin with ACCE's Community Empowerment Award. Join us as we come together to show her we have her back and appreciate her hard work. We will also be screening a 30 minute documentary that highlights ACCE's work to hold the Wall St. Banks Accountable.

The event is a fundraiser. The suggested donation is $20 but no one will be turned away. We'll have food, drinks and raffles (raffle prizes include a kindle, a Nook and a $50 Target gift card) Please join us for this important event!


David Sharples, ACCE

Council Passes Resolution to 

Implement Chemical Safety Board Recommendations  

Animation of Fire at Chevron's Richmond Refinery, August 6, 2012
US Chemical Safety Board Animation of Chevron Fire



Mayor McLaughlin and Councilmembers Beckles and Butt introduced a resolution to start the ball rolling to modify our Industrial Safety Ordinance based on the  recommendations of the Chemical Safety Board to improve refinery safety. This is similar to changes being made in the County ISO.  The vote on the ordinance was unanimous. 


View the animation (Click on the image) produced by the US Chemical Safety Board. (Note: Chevron has says it is misleading and asked that it not be shown.)  




Global Warming Milestone Reached  



While Councilmembers Bates and Booze argue that trying to deal with global warming takes the council away from more important business, the world passed a critical milestone according the New York Times.


The level of heat-trapping carbon dioxide reached a new high (for the past few million years), of 400 ppm (parts per million). This is a level which many feel is past the tipping point in keeping global warming and sea level rise at a tolerable level.


Drought, extreme weather and other results of early climate change are already causing death and suffering for millions in countries that can not pay for water, food, and air conditioning. It will only get much worse for our children and grand children.





Do the Math - The Movie
Do the Math - The Movie
Those who missed the Mayor's presentation and discussion of the movie Do the Math can watch it by clicking on the movie to the right. 

The last Council meeting adopted the resolution to urge that our pension funds divest from fossil fuel industries both as a political statement and as a prudent financial decision protecting the pensions. (All for except Booze and Bates opposed.)



Council Meeting Runs Well
Mayor Asserts Authority


When people seek to work together and respect each other, the rules usually can be relaxed and informal to fit the situation.  But when a couple of council members work to disrupt meetings in an attempt to discredit the Mayor and others on the Council, informality is difficult. And when one of those council members uses his loud voice and bullying persona to over-talk other council members, informality has to give way to strict enforcement of the rules.  


At the last council meeting on May 7 Mayor McLaughlin began by reminding councilmembers and the audience of parliamentary guidelines and then enforced the rules strictly. She stated clearly that she would not tolerate council members ignoring her authority as chair or disruptions from the audience. She held firm and called a five-minute recess when Booze tried to over-talk her. She had a disruptive audience member removed during another five minute recess when he would not stop shouting out. The meeting was one of the best council meetings in recent years; discussion was informative and to the point and with few exceptions not directed at personalities.  The council actually voted unanimously on some issues like making clear to the BART board that the Council supported a BART extension but only if it didn't isolate Richmond.


Parliamentary Rules Explained

The Richmond City Council functions under Rosenberg's Rules, a set of parliamentary guidelines which are a simplified version of Roberts' Rules of Order. Both Rosenberg's and Roberts' rules state clearly that it is the responsibility of the Chair to rule about what is the proper procedure at meetings, that all questions of procedure are directed to the chair and that the Chair's rulings are  final unless overruled by the Council.

Rosenberg's Rules says, "The Chair, for all intents and purposes, makes the final ruling on the rules every time the Chair states an action.  In fact all decisions by the Chair are final unless overruled by the body itself"  (July 2011) 


Roberts Rules states, "Parliamentary Law gives the chair alone the power to rule on questions of order or to answer parliamentary inquiries" and that the  parliamentarian's role is purely "advisory and consultative."  


In other words, questions about parliamentary procedure are directed to the Chair. What is in order is also determined by the chair. These rules mean that a speaker must stop talking when the Chair rules him/her out of order. He/she can appeal the ruling of the chair, but cannot otherwise continue to speak or argue with the chair.  


All rules of order give this power to the Chair because the authors of parliamentary rules (Roberts, Rosenberg) understand that situations at meetings can become complicated and it is important to adjust to those complications  through interpretation of the rules. The judgment of applying the rules is given to the chair (not a parliamentarian) because it is the task of the chairperson to consider the context.


Chairing a Council meeting with important differences on the Council is a difficult and important task. Orderly meetings can take place if the Mayor has council backing. Informality and flexibility will become more possible when all council members respect the role of the chair.



Oppose AB-26

Tax Money Should Not Go to Refineries

Keep Safety-Conscious Workers in the Refineries


A bill which is allegedly designed to reduce greenhouse gasses contains a couple of poison pills. Communities for a Better Environment, and the United Steelworkers (USW), the union that represents the refinery employees, are mobilizing against AB 26. They are asking all those who are able to go to Sacramento this Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to help mobilize against this bill.


If you can't go,  you can email members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Click here for contact information.   


If you can go or know of someone who might go contact Andres Soto (510.282.5363 or andres@cbecal.org) CBE will be organizing ride-sharing and shuttles.

Oppose AB-26  


Volunteers Needed 

Saffron Strand needs volunteers for its 4th Annual Conference for the following:


1. Set-up on Sunday, June 16 at 2:00 p.m.

2. Room monitors for workshops and help at the registration table on June 17 & 18

3. Clean up on June 18 at 3:00 p.m.

Call 510-778-9492
Email info@saffronstrand.org


May 17,18,24,25  East Bay Center for Performing Arts
Lost Secrets of the Iron Triangle

  Richmond Tales  

Click here for full size and Spanish  

Richmond ZIP 94801 In Top 5% of  Pollution Burden

The California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) present the California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool,  This is a screening methodology to identify California communities that are disproportionately burdened by multiple sources of pollution and most vulnerable to its effects.

Much work is ahead to clean-up our city and shoreline environments. 


  Thanks to Sherry Padgett 

Bikes May is still BIKE Month    

Richmond Ride of Silence

The third annual Richmond Ride of Silence will occur on Wednesday, May 15th. The Richmond Ride of Silence is a slow, quiet ride to honor those who have been seriously hurt or killed while bicycling in Richmond. The ride will traverse areas that the City of Richmond is planning to improve to be safer for cyclists. The Ride of Silence aims to raise community awareness that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways and asks that we all share the road.  Bicyclists are asked to travel no faster than 12 miles an hour, observe the rules of the road, and remain largely silent. Helmets are required. All members of the community are welcome and are encouraged to join the ride. All riders are asked to gather at Civic Center Plaza at 5:00 PM to begin the ride.


Trust in City Government at Risk


Speaking of Whistle Blowers

City Whistle Blower issue is still not resolved.


Just as whistle blowers are critical at Chevron, they are also important in  
making sure that our city stays on track in serving the needs of Richmond residents. The violations of rules by Richmond's head of Human Resources have not been adequately addressed. One of the charges confirmed by the independent investigator was that a staff member was given access to whistle blower Stacie Plummer's email --a move that can only be taken as retribution and intimidating to others who might also want to blow the whistle.



RYSE Up (Official Music Video)
RYSE Up (Official Music Video)

Co-Directors: William Haynes and Gemikia Henderson

Editor: Gemikia Henderson

Assistant Editor: William Haynes

Additional Camera: Manuel Floriano (Chito Floriano)

Performers: Vondre Wood, Don black, Jazz Hudson

Beat Production: Reece Beats

Recording, Mixed & Mastered by: Xavier Polk (Da KiDD AOB)

Special Thanks: Blue Sky Studios (SF), Fred Thomas


RPA Activist Info

is for Richmond community members who want to be active in taking on the problems of the environment, racism, joblessness, housing, and crime to create a healthy Richmond. We believe that community involvement means more than voting every two years. It means regular communication with the candidates we elect, letting them know our issues and positions, supporting them as they try to take our issues forward. It means we attend meetings, use email, phone our neighbors, or go on marches building an organized movement to create real change.

Comments and columns are welcome. Articles and columns are the views of the author, unsigned text  the views of the editor, Mike Parker, and not necessarily those of the RPA. Send photos, articles, and comments to  RPAactivist@gmail.com or call  510-595-4661. Longer articles of analysis and archives of past newsletters can be found on our website.