RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #111June 7, 2013
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Good Neighbors?
FAQ About Chevron
Chevron Lawsuit-- Hold June 18
Stop Givaway to Refineries
Tar Sands by Rail?
Eminent Domain to Stop Foreclosure
Issues Remain after Resignation
Join the RPA
More Council Parlimentary Procedure
Immigration Discussion
Te's Harmony Back by Popular Demand
Volunteers Needed for Saffron Strand Conference
Richmond Powwow June 22
Bobby Bowens Spoken Word Contest
 To have an item listed send it to

Progressive Office
1021 Macdonald, 510-412-2260


Since we don't take corporate money,  our success depends on our ability to use "people power" to promote activities and programs in Richmond. The RPA Activist is one tool we use to put out our ideas. One simple thing that YOU can do is to forward the RPA Activist to friends and acquaintances. Thanks.


Chevron takes some first steps 

What It Takes to be a Good Neighbor      


Since the fire, Chevron has taken some steps to repair its image in the community. They have upped their contributions to non-profits and West County Education, they have taken some serious steps toward making it possible for Richmond residents to get some of the good jobs at Chevron,  they have started directing more of their contracting business to Richmond firms like DP Security and Catahoulla. You may have seen their recent mailer promoting their Richmond connections.  


We welcome these steps, but they should not hide the fact that there is a lot more that Richmond must demand and Chevron needs to do (and not do) in order for the Corporation to be a genuinely good neighbor.


Mayor McLaughlin and others have put together a list that would protect our safety and health, promote our democracy and make Richmond a better place."



For Our Safety

  • Chevron shall create and publish a Five Year Plan for Plant & Equipment Maintenance and Safe Operations
    • With an adequate number of shut down weeks & adequate funding for the implementation of industry best practices & inherently safer systems
    • With an adequate system for tracking & reporting inspection results and planned repairs
    • With safety performance targets based on the guidelines of the US Chemical Safety Board
  • Chevron shall support and fund more inspections and new regulatory processes
    • To help create a culture of safety where workers have a real vote in the planning & scheduling of maintenance and the right to shut down unsafe operations
    • To balance the power of management and to make sure the right things are being done
  • Chevron shall maximize full-time union jobs at the refinery
    • Career union employees understand the whole operation better than contract employees
    • Contractors should be used only for the spike in work associated with major repair & construction projects
    • With a goal of at least doubling the number of full-time employees who live in Richmond


For Our Health

  • Chevron shall create and publish a Ten Year Emissions Reduction Plan
    • With increased investments in emissions monitoring, emissions control equipment, advanced refining processes and solar energy
    • With limits on the amount of sulfur (known to be corrosive) in the crude oil that is refined
    • With a goal of driving total emissions down 40% by the end of the decade
    • With yearly progress reports presented publicly


For Our Democracy

  • Chevron shall stop making unfair political contributions to influence Richmond municipal elections
    • Chevron's deep pockets create an unfair playing field for local candidates and ballot measures
    • Effective and balanced oversight of Chevron requires an independent City Council
  • Chevron shall pay its fair share in property taxes
    • With a simple, understandable method of tracking the value of its plant & equipment
    • With a recognition of the extra costs the refinery places on our community
    • Without wasting tax payer money on constant appeals



Real Answers to FAQ

Questions about Chevron's Richmond Refinery and its Relationship to Richmond?      


Chevron Richmond has assigned numerous staff members to circulate in the community to spread Chevron's views on community safety, Chevron tax policy, and what a good neighbor Chevron is. They spend millions on media promotion of the company in Richmond. At the same time same time they spend 10's of millions on a legal assault on the City and County. Did you know that the county and the city are paying more than $2 million dollars for lawyers just to defend the public from Chevron's suits?


Want to hear some answers other than Chevron's official line? 

RPA has posted answers to Frequently Asked Questions by Richmond resident and researcher, Jeff Kilbreth. Check it out. If you have a question that isn't answered or you want more information, just ask and we will try to get it for you.   

Click here for Chevron FAQ.

Tuesday, June 18, 6:30   City Council Meeting 

Holding Chevron Accountable     


Hold the date. Plan to Attend.   


At this  meeting the Council may again consider the issue of hiring  a law firm on contingency to sue Chevron for damages to the city caused by the fire. At its May 21 meeting, the Council voted to hire the firm in 30 days, giving themselves the opportunity to call it off at the June 18 meeting.   


At the May 21 meeting , Bates and Booze opposed the bringing on the lawyers.

Immediate Help Needed to Stop AB 26

Don't Give MORE Public Money TO Refineries   

AB 26  is an amendment to California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006: Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund
(Susan Bonilla Assembly District 14)

There are at least three reasons this bill should be opposed.

1.This bill takes money collected from the Carbon Tax and gives it to refineries like Chevron  to clean up their acts.  Refineries should be made to clean up out of their enormous profits and give more money to the public not take more public money.

2. It effectively subsidizes the operation of the most polluting energy companies instead of the cleaner energy alternatives

3. It supports the Building Trades Unions in a jurisdictional dispute with the International Union of Petroleum and Industrial Workers (Part of the United Steelworkers which also represents workers at the refinery.)

The bill passed the assembly (supported mainly by Democrats and heavy lobbying from he Building Trades).

It is now in the State Senate.  It is scheduled to go to the Rules Committee which meets Wednesday afternoon.

Call members of the State Senate and tell them that you are opposed to the bill and explain why.

Call the President pro Tem of the State Senate, Darrell Steinberg.  His number is (916) 651-4006. 

Call Loni Hancock you should contact her
  her Capitol Office is   (916) 651-4009 
and her Oakland office is  (510) 286-1333
email  her through her web page 


Tar Sands Rail Map If not by pipeline then by rail

Tar Sands Oil in Richmond?      


While the dangers of the Keystone-XL pipeline is getting all the press,  there are immediate dangers from dirty crude.


Huge quantities are being shipped by rail and will continue with or without a pipeline.  Rail shipping may be even more dangerous.

See Contra Costa Times Article  





Refining Tar Sands oil produces huge amounts  of a waste product called petroleum coke. It is high sulfur high-CO2-producing fuel which can only be burned in fuel in countries that don't lax environmental regulations like China, India and some Latin American countries.



Saturday, June 15, 10:30 am 


Town Hall Forum with Mayor McLaughlin  

Using Eminent Domain to Reduce Principal for Underwater Homeowners


Stop Foreclosures--Gayle Nevin Center,  

598 Nevin Ave.


ACCE is holding a forum with Mayor McLaughlin about the program to address the foreclosure crisis in Richmond we are fighting for. The program has the potential to reduce the mortgage debt of hundreds of underwater homeowners in Richmond by tens of thousands of dollars.


We all know how devastating the housing crisis has been to our communities. Because of predatory lending practices we have seen the hard-earned wealth of working families stripped away. This wealth loss is widespread, but African-American and Latino communities have been particularly hard-hit.  The devastating setback is staggering-from 2005 through 2009 alone, Hispanic households lost 66% of their median wealth and black households lost 53%


  The community is coming together to advance a local solution that will provide principal reduction to large numbers of underwater homeowners, reset the local housing market and restore family wealth. This program is focused on loans that meet certain criteria. If bank servicers are unwilling to work with homeowners, and unwilling to sell the loans, then the  City can use eminent domain to take the loans, pay fair market value for them, and help homeowners get into new loans with reduced principal and favorable loan terms.


(Click Here to Reserve Your Space)  


We have developed principles to guide the design of this kind of program, including:

  • The primary purpose of the program must be to put homeowners into good, sustainable mortgages with reduced principal and payments that they can afford;
  • Homeowners must be able to choose whether or not to participate in the program; and
  • The program should be done at no cost to the homeowners benefiting or to taxpayers

Wall Street banks and their lobbyists are lining up to oppose this project and pressure local communities to back off.  First, Wall Street banks targeted our communities with predatory loans.  Now, as our communities begin local initiatives to prevent further devastation, Wall Street is trying to scare and bully us - but we are not backing down!

--Melvin Willis


Trust in City Government at Risk


Issues Remain After Knight Resignation  


The resignation of Assistant City Manager Leslie Knight allows the city to move forward. But only if the city addresses the fundamental issues of establishing fair procedures for employees and accountability for city management.  


There are questions about whether the "penalty" was appropriate for the actions of someone in charge of employee relations.  The Contra Costa Times has editorialized that she should have been fired.


NBC Bay Area covered the issue including a demonstration calling for the District Attorney to investigate. (The DA says he will give a response in a week.) The coverage also includes comments by Mayor McLaughlin and City Manager Lindsay.

Click here for video clip.

Related City Issues

Both the Human Rights Human Relations Commission and the City Personnel Board have been taking up the issue of workplace bullying.  


Stacie Plummer
Stacie Plummer exposed problems with the HR director and library procedures 

At its June 7 meeting the Finance Committee received a report of a recent independent audit of the library that had been triggered by numerous charges of serious management and procedural problems in the library made by Stacie Plummer, the Library Finance Manager. It took great courage for Stacie to make the allegations. An independent audit confirmed the problems and made numerous recommendations to right the wrongs. The finance committee, chaired by Councilmember Jovanka Beckles will continue to address the issues at its July meeting and then move the issue on to the Council for a full hearing.




Join the RPA

RPA Symbol We can only keep this city moving forward, protect our health and safety, and resist corporate domination of our politics if enough of us join together. We are asking you to take sides--to join the RPA.     




UNITY - One Richmond: African-American, Asian, Latino/a, Native Americans, white, united for the good of all.

DEMOCRACY- Government of, for, by the people; all the people, not just those rich enough to buy influence.

DIVERSITY - of ideas: Democrats, Greens, independents, or other. We sometimes disagree but respect each other enough to keep working for a better Richmond together.


  • participate in periodic RPA discussions and events of community interest;
  • staff the office, make phone calls, meet in committees, arrange events and parties;
  • work on campaigns of RPA-endorsed candidates for city council;
  • engage with neighbors;
  • help shape RPA and its priorities;
  • join in support of other allied organizations working to make a difference in Richmond;
  • read the newsletter at www.richmondprogressivealliance.net for what REALLY goes on in Richmond;
  • eat; have fun.

Download the membership form and mail it in with dues.


Send us an email at info@richmondprogressivealliance.net with the information requested on the form.  And go to the RPA web page. Press the "Donate" button in the left column and make a dues contribution. An additional contribution is greatly appreciated and helps us keep dues low for those with low income.


Understand Parliamentary Procedure II: 

Council moves forward but...      


Despite the rancor, recent Council meetings have moved through a lot of city business because Mayor McLaughlin has been chairing firmly.


Councilman Booze still abuses his position, makes a campaign speech for every issue, and attempts to bully the Mayor.


Councilman Bates alternately tries to put some distance between him and Booze's embarrassing antics and then serves as his cover.


You can get an example of all of this by watching the last Council meeting. The resolution originally introduced by Councilman Butt to support moving gun control legislation through the State Legislature was passed unanimously. This only became an acrimonious discussion when Booze launched into a personal attack on Butt and would not stop.  Click here for streaming video. (The gun control portion starts about 1 hour into the meeting.   


The Mayor attempted to get Booze back on the subject, but when he continued trying to overtalk the Mayor, she recessed the meeting so he could cool down.


Two parliamentary issues should be understood

1. It is the Mayor's responsibility to keep the discussion on-track.   By tradition, unlike for public members who are limited to two minutes, there is no limit on how long Council members should speak so it is especially important that this be enforced during Council discussion.


Rosenberg's rules (the rules the Council follows)

" The Chair should always be sure that debate and discussion of an agenda item focuses on the item and policy in question" 


2. Once the Chair has ruled someone out of order, that person no longer has the floor. The person may appeal the ruling of the chair for a vote of the council, but otherwise must become silent and not interrupt the chair or the next person to speak.


Rosenberg's Rules: "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"  Click here for for the first in series 

Saturday, June 8, 9:30

Discuss Immigration
with Congressman George Miller

We need to show Unity in the Community.  There are many tough issues and some of the proposed immigration "reforms" are really poison pills.  Please try to attend this important meeting and show your support for this struggle for dignity.

Wednesday, July 29   morning 

BACK by Popular Demand    


  Te's Harmony



After selling out the first production in February, "Te's Harmony" is back by popular demand! This spoken word theater piece was written and performed by RAW Talent, the creative arts department of the Making Waves Education Program, and directed by Donte Clark and Rooben Morgan.  


Members of RAW Talent will present their modern-day rendition of "Romeo and Juliet" for the stage, reworking the Shakespearean masterpiece into an allegory for the  conditions haunting their city and their daily lives. It is the classic tale of star-crossed lovers when Te' from North Richmond falls for Harmony from Central, and they must fight for love in the midst of a war that has devastated their community for too long.  


The students of RAW Talent have been deeply impacted by violence in Richmond, and they are determined to continue demanding change through their art. After putting on poetry shows and town hall discussions around gun violence, poverty and the prison industrial complex, they have decided to address these issues facing their community through a new medium: theater. The students and staff have written their first play, a heart-breaking and at times humorous reflection of daily life in Richmond. "Te's Harmony" will push the boundaries of artistic genres, and ultimately push the audience to question the culture of violence in our city; to re-imagine Richmond through the lens of love.


Articles on "Te's Harmony":  


Huffington Post          Richmond Pulse      Richmond Confidential


This will be RAW Talent's biggest show yet- please spread the word and sell all 1200 tickets! All proceeds go towards RAW Talent workshops, field trips, retreats, shows, and expanding creative arts programming within the Richmond community.

CONTACT: Molly Raynor, RAW Talent Coordinator, mraynor@making-waves.org, (734) 395-5899 


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


Powwow 2013
For vendor applications please email at ccummings1102@yahoo.com, Attn:Ruth Hopper/ for Information, Attn:Courtney Cummings

Hosted by Richmond Native American Pow wow Committee

Download a full-sized pdf of flyer
Click here for some background 

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.