RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #118August 12, 2013
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Bobby Bowens Celebrated
Beckles - Butt on Fox News
Richmond Anti-Blight Plan Draws National Attention
Richmond Demonstration Against Climate Chaos
Tom Butt Calls Out Finance Giants
CNN Medical Expert Endorses Medical Marijuana
Are Renewables Really Coming?
Green Film in Richmond
Join the RPA
Some History of RPA
Understanding Chevron's Property Taxes
Union Reform Leader in Richmond
 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.


Dedication of Bobby Bowens Progressive Center   
Ribbon Cutting
Larisa Sanders, Bobby's daughter, leads the ribbon cutting marking the formal opening of the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center, August 11, 2013
More photos and videos in next issue    

Speakers at the ceremony included:  

  • Jovanka Beckles, Richmond Councilmember
  • Trevaj Siller, Bobby's Youth Groups
  • Dr Edwina Perez-Santiago,North Richmond activist

    Bobby Bowens

  • Dr. Jeff Ritterman, Activist Health Professional
  • Bill Jennings, Friend, neighbor, fellow BPP alumnus
  • Elaine Brown Black Panther Party
  • Eduardo Martinez, RPA
  • Millie Cleveland, SEIU 1021
  • Andrés Soto, Communities for a Better Environment
  • Najari Smith, Spoken Word Contest
  • Leann Bowen, Bobby's daughter
  • Gayle McLaughlin Mayor of Richmond
  • Damion King, M.C., BMOER  
Sponsored by 
  • Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) 
  • Black Mobilization, Organization, Education Richmond (BMOER)
  • Communities for a Better Environment (CBE)
  • SEIU 1021-Richmond
Honoring Bobby Lee Bowens, brave Black American soldier, committed Black Panther, dedicated health care worker, Richmond activist and community educator  
1021 Macdonald Ave
Beckles, Butt  on Fox News
Richmond's Ban-the-Box Makes National News Fox_BtB

Pretty good for
Fox News

National Coverage:
Richmond Plan to Stop Blight  and Foreclosures.

The Richmond plan to stop blight and foreclosures is getting national coverage. Much of it is favorable.  Event the business press is taking it as a serious alternative to watching our cities be overcome by blight.  The use of the City's power of eminent domain to back the plan when necessary draws the attention.  The banks that cause this crisis  are roaring.  The reality of  course is this is really a win even for the financial sector.  If the city can stop blight it maintains, stabilizes, and even increases the value of all the houses in the neighborhood.  This benefits all the holders of mortgages in the city. 

Here is some of he print coverage:


Business Week

Fortune Magazine

LA Times

Hear also Richard Wolff's national radio commentary praising Mayor McLaughlin.
Download it from KPFA  here  (about 50 minutes into the program).

National Coverage of Richmond
Climate Chaos Demonstration, Chevron ,


Both Richmond's law suit against Chevron and  the huge Climate Chaos Demonstration have received national coverage.

An article by Richmonders Steve Early and Suzzane Gordon was carried by several national on-line news feeds  and blogs.

Tom Butt Calls Out Banking Industry
Tom Butt said it so well that it deserves repeating exactly.  In commenting on the finance industry's threats and legal action against Richmond's plan to fight blight and rescue underwater homeowners, Tom said:
The bank's efforts to stop the plan may be just posturing that will last only until discovery starts in the lawsuit, which is something the banks will not want to be subjected to.


Now we hear that "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may be barred from buying home loans in cities that are threatening to use 'eminent domain' legal powers to seize mortgages, their regulator said on Thursday." Well, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are basically criminal enterprises that President Obama plans to close down: "For too long, these companies were allowed to make big profits buying mortgages, knowing that if their bets went bad, taxpayers would be left holding the bag," the president said. "It was 'heads we win, tails you lose.' "


Congress and money
Mark Lyons for The New York Times
Representative Andy Barr, right, with Speaker John A. Boehner, has raised more money from finance industry PACs than many longtime House members have

This is all so hypocritical and cynical, as the giant lenders, who were bailed out by taxpayers, circle the wagons to make sure their victims, ordinary people and cities like Richmond, have no way to dig themselves out of the hole the lenders created.




How can the finance industry get away with this?  Check out the New York Times article about how  Congressional representatives who are friendly with the industry have no shortage of campaign funds.  
CNN Medical Expert
Why I Changed My Mind on Weed

Dr. Sanjay Gupta says we have been "systematically misled" on marijuana, and apologizes for his role

See CNN Website

The CNN Poll shows that Americans are overwhelmingly (more than 85%) in support of medical marijuana.

The Third Carbon Age: Don't for a Second Imagine We're Heading for an Era of Renewable Energy

How to Fry a Planet


Oil Sands
Extracting Oil Sands

When it comes to energy and economics in the climate-change era, nothing is what it seems.  Most of us believe (or want to believe) that the second carbon era, the Age of Oil, will soon be superseded by the Age of Renewables, just as oil had long since superseded the Age of Coal.  President Obama offered exactly this vision in a much-praised June address on climate change.  True, fossil fuels will be needed a little bit longer, he indicated, but soon enough they will be overtaken by renewable forms of energy.


Many other experts share this view, assuring us that increased reliance on "clean" natural gas combined with expanded investments in wind and solar power will permit a smooth transition to a green energy future in which humanity will no longer be pouring carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.  All this sounds promising indeed.  There is only one fly in the ointment: it is not, in fact, the path we are presently headed down.  The energy industry is not investing in any significant way in renewables.  Instead, it is pouring its historic profits into new fossil-fuel projects, mainly involving the exploitation of what are called "unconventional" oil and gas reserves.


See full article by Michael Klare in Common Dreams 

Saturday, August 17, 5pm, 8pm
Mark Kitchell in Richmond
Fierce Green Fire
On Saturday, August 17, Academy Award-nominated director Mark Kitchell ("Berkeley in the Sixties") will appear in person at the Magick Lantern following the 5 pm and 8 pm screenings of his new eco-documentary A FIERCE GREEN FIRE. Kitchell will discuss the making of the film and the future of environmental activism as well as take questions from the audience.  A FIERCE GREEN FIRE shows August 16, 17 & 18. More information at www.themagicklantern.com

A FIERCE GREEN FIRE - Official Trailer
A FIERCE GREEN FIRE - Official Trailer
Narrated by
Robert Redford, Ashley Judd, Van Jones, Isabel Allende, Meryl Streep

Magick Lantern Theater
125 Park Pl. (behind Starbucks)
Pt. Richmond
$7.00 General Admission
$6.00 Seniors

Friday 8pm, 
Saturday 5pm, 8pm,
Sunday 2pm, 5pm,8pm
Stand Up Against the Banks and the Corporations Who Gang Up on Richmond

Brochure Cover  

Some History and Understanding of the RPA
  Social Policy Article

Long article with pictures 

--have patience in downloading


PowerPoint Slides
Understanding Chevron Property Taxes

RPA asked Jeff Kilbreth to research and help us understand the situation with Chevron's property taxes since millions are at stake for the city budget and city services.  Chevron regularly threatens the City and County with expensive legal action. Since the tax laws are deliberately murky and hard for most of us to understand, Chevron frequently gets its way behind closed doors.

Jeff made a presentation to us that made it clear that Chevron gets away with a lot in this process. You can see a revised version of his PowerPoints here.   There will be more revisions and graphics added later, so check back. In the fall Jeff will give some more presentations on this topic.

Jeff has just retired from a 30 year career in High Tech, mostly in the Silicon Valley enterprise software business. He has a Masters of Business Administration  from Yale University and kind of likes accounting.

Saturday, August 24, 2 pm




BBQ and Fundraiser

in support of the Teamster Rank-and-File Education and Legal Defense Foundation (TRF)


Ken Paff

Join special guest Ken Paff


and other labor and union reform activists for a discussion on the latest developments inside labor and the new organizing we need to rebuild our power.

Ken Paff is the national organizer for Teamsters for a Democratic Union, the largest and longest-running grassroots labor reform movement in the U.S.

747 Lobos Ave., Pt. Richmond,  

Directions / Parking: 747 Lobos Ave. is at the corner of Lobos and Western in the part of Pt. Richmond facing the Bay. Parking may be hard to find unless you proceed down Western, toward the Chevron pier and park beside the small park on your left. Call for further info about bus connections from the Richmond BART to Pt. Richmond and possible pick-ups if you are using public transportation.

Call 510-260-0636 to R.S.V.P. or get directions.


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.


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.