RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #123October 22, 2013
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BlackRock Demonstration
Call Congressman Miller
Melvin Willis Wins Award
BART Accident
Vote for Saffron Strand
Was Chevron Tax Settlement Good?
Some History of RPA
Join the RPA
 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.



Support Fight Against Blight
CALL Congressman George Miller  

Please make the call today. Can you also ask other people at your organization to make the call? We're trying to get at least a hundred calls into Miller's office by the 30th!


Here is one possible approach.  But speak your mind:


"Hi my name is ___________ and I'm a Richmond resident. I'm calling because I'm concerned about the devastating impact the foreclosure crisis has had on Richmond. I want to ask the Congressman to support the Richmond CARES program which would help prevent foreclosures by helping underwater homeowners get into better loans. Wall Street is threatening to redline Richmond and we need the Congressman's support for Richmond's Local Principal Reduction Program. Can you please tell the Congressman that I want him to sign on to a letter of support for the program and publicly call on FHFA to back off. The Congressman needs to decide if he is going to stand with struggling Richmond Homeowners or with the Wall Street Bankers. Thank you!"

 Congressman Miller's Bay Area phone number is 510-262-6500.
His Washington DC phone number is  202-225-2095

Tuesday, November 12, 8pm
Melvin Willis Wins Young Activist Award

Melvin Willis We are pleased to report that Melvin Willis active in ACCE, RPA, and BMOER has won the Mario Savio Young Activist Award for 2013.

Melvin  is currently focused on the Principal Reduction Plan to Fight Blight

The award carries both recognition and  cash to help the winner further the activities. It will be presented at the

Mario Savio Memorial Lecture


Tuesday, November 12, 2013 from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM (PST)

Berkeley, CA

Get free tickets at


Doors open at 6:30; tickets must be presented by 7:45 to receive priority entrance. The only way to assure a Reserved Seat is by making a donation to the Lecture fund via this link:




Panelists  at the event include: May Boeve, Executive Director and co-founder of 350.org, Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, Gopal Dayaneni of Movement Generation (Justice & Ecology Project), Sharon Lungo, co-director of The Ruckus Society, and Phil Radford, Executive Director of Greenpeace.



BART  Accident

Federal investigators revealed that a trainee was operating the BART train that was involved in Saturday's crash that killed two workers, the Mercury News reports. The trainee, who is also a BART manager, was preparing to drive trains during the strike - a move that employee unions had warned would be dangerous. Saturday's fatal incident also appears to have helped bring an end to the strike, as both sides agreed last night to a tentative contract deal. BART trains, as a result, restarted this morning with limited service and full service is expected to be restored by this afternoon's commute.
From East Bay Express

Help Saffron Strand, Inc. get $10,000 more
from Safeco Insurance


Yvonee Nair

Yvonne Nair has been named a Safeco Insurance Community Hero and Saffron Strand, Inc. will be receiving a $5,000 donation  
from Safeco Insurance on her behalf for its work with the homeless.


Now we have a chance at an additional $10,000 grant if Yvonne Nair garners the most votes in the "Vote for your favorite Safeco Community Hero" contest!


Your vote can help us win!



You can vote once every 24 hours until 10 a.m. PST Nov. 4, 2013.



Thank you for your support!
Understanding Chevron Tax Settlement 


As most people have heard, the County Assessor and Chevron reached an agreement last month to end the 10 years of appeals on a "fair" assessment for Chevron's Richmond refinery. The deal needed to be approved by both the County Supervisors and the Richmond City Council - both of which approved it quickly in closed sessions.


The Settlement sets the total assessment for the Richmond Refinery's 2012 land, buildings and personal property (equipment, inventory, etc) at $3.28 bil. It is a victory because Chevron's negotiating positions had been between $1.45 and $1.75 bil. The working assumption of the agreement is that Chevron's property taxes can be increased by 2% per year from this point. This means that Chevron will be paying around $50 mil in property taxes in 2014. Richmond's share of this will be $14-15 mil.


Why did Chevron settle? At the most basic level, they had gotten into a very bad place with the community and needed to end their image of intransigent and bullying ways to move forward on the Modernization Project and other important matters. The heat applied by the Mayor and the community certainly helped make them come to the table and the August 2012 fire and losing the 2007-2009 Appeal at the County's Assessment Appeal Board didn't put them in a very strong negotiating position.


Is $3.28 bil a "fair" assessment? No - it is 18% less than the $4 bil average assessment for 2007-2009 decided by the Assessment Appeals Board in 2012. And it is 32% less than the $4.85 bil mid-point in the range provided by the County Assessor's Expert Witnesses in the 2007-2009 Appeal case. And both the $4 bil and $4.85 bil figures are based on Chevron's manipulated "book income" for the Refinery. True operating income is much higher than what they report. So "Fair Value" calculated using discounted cash flows is clearly in the $8-12 bil range. The net of all of this is that Chevron is going to pay property taxes on roughly 1/3rd of the property's true value. And this is consistent with the way that Prop 13 caps property taxes for large properties that don't change hands. If Chevron Richmond was valued at $1.6 bil in 1978 when Prop 13 took effect, adding 2% per year gets you to the $3.3 bil Settlement for 2012. It's no accident.


Long term, we need to separate Commercial & Industrial Property from Residential Property and allow Commercial & Industrial property assessments to go up according to its true value and not limited to 2% per year. If Chevron had been simply paying 3% more every year since 1978, the County would be getting around $20 mil/yr more than this settlement. If we could have fought for the $4.85 mid-point of the range provided by the Expert Witnesses, they would be paying $23.5 mil more per year.   

- Jeff Kilbreth  

Some History and Understanding of the RPA
  Social Policy Article

Long article with pictures 

--have patience in downloading



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.