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Issue: # 22May 16, 2010
End Chevron's Perks Cmpgn
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Alternatives to Casino at Point Molate
Brown Berets
Meaning of Chevron Settlement
EJ Picnic Celebration 5/22

 From Mayor Gayle McLaughlin

 Important Votes at City Council  Tuesday 5/18  6:30 pm

A Better Project at Point Molate is Possible! 

Many of you have come to the conclusion, as have I, that a casino at Pt. Molate is not in the interests of the community in Richmond.  However, it is time we shift our efforts to identify what COULD EXIST instead of a casino at Pt. Molate.   There are two important items on the May 18 City Council agenda that I encourage you to come and speak on.

1.  Let the LDA Expire.
The Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) for Upstream's casino project is set to expire on May 20, and Councilmember Bates has put an item on the agenda (K-1) to extend it for two months until July 20.  I am opposed to this.  The LDA has already been extended for four months beyond its original ending date in January, and it's time to let the LDA terminate and stop negotiating exclusively with Upstream.


Pt Molate Tour2.  Consider Alternative Plans.
We immediately should look at some other development alternatives to determine what offers the greatest benefit for the City and the community, especially in light of these challenging economic times.  Toward that end, I have placed on the 5/18 agenda an item (K-2) to discuss the rights of the City to explore various development alternatives for the Pt. Molate site.
Councilmember Butt and I have had communications with the California Attorney General's Office regarding the City's rights to explore other projects.  The Attorney General's Office clearly affirms the City's right to consider alternative uses including uses that don't involve lease or transfer to the current proposed developer (Upstream).  
Please click this link for background documents on these communications and more.
Pt Molate WinehavenIt just so happens that there is a really attractive alternative out there -- an alternative plan that will bring in jobs, revenue and healthy activities for our residents.   We need a plan that can begin to bring jobs for our residents (construction jobs and jobs for our unemployed youth) as soon as possible. 
Some have bought into the idea that a casino is a done-deal for Pt. Molate.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, a casino at Pt. Molate has everything stacked against it.  It is a pipedream that will never materialize.  There are state and federal approvals that have left this project totally in limbo.  The polls and calls coming into the City from the community show a deep opposition to a casino at Pt. Molate.  Nearby cities have registered their strong opposition.  The lawsuits that will come forward should this casino project be approved would mean hard-earned citizen tax dollars tied up in legal challenges for countless years to come.
An alternative project could offer jobs in a timely fashion.  We could get construction underway a lot sooner; we could see development take shape a lot earlier; and that development could give rise to a healthy project allowing our residents and visitors to experience our beautiful Pt. Molate as the place of wonder that it truly is. 
Check out this link for an article about how an alternative project has captured the attention of architects and planners.
A project that has educational, cultural, recreational, retail, environmental, and public health benefits is a project worth looking at.  The City and the community deserve an opportunity to explore an attractive alternative with all these possibilities. 
As mayor, I will continue to support the public's right to know what alternatives are out there. 
The casino proposal has held the City back long enough. 
If you agree that the City should review all proposals available, please come to the Richmond City Council Chambers (440 Civic Center Plaza) on May 18th at 6:30 pm and tell the City Council that it is not in the public's interest to restrict consideration of alternatives for Pt. Molate.  It is time for the City to explore and hear presentations that can bring about good jobs and benefit in the short and long term, and that can uplift us all as we continue to build a better Richmond together!       
                                                                                                          --Gayle McLaughlin

Photos of  Point Molate Walking Tour 5/16 by Kathleen Wimer 

Brown BeretsWatsonville Brown Berets Visit Richmond 

Representatives of the Watsonville  autonomous chapter of the Brown Berets spoke to Richmond youth on Saturday May 15 to explain how they had organized.  They stressed that any real organization had to come by dealing with issues that the local community felt were important. 
Brown Beret Meeting Although Brown Berets have historical roots in the Latino community they have an international perspective, recognize the struggles of all oppressed people, and welcome anyone who wishes to work for economic and social justice into their ranks.
The young people at the meeting developed a list of critical issues and prioritized  Check Points and  prostitution/rape as ones that needed immediate attention.
A Victory for the Richmond Community 
The RPA believes that the City settlement with Chevron on certain tax issues was an important victory for the Richmond community and a demonstration that when a community stands strong and united it can move forward against even the most powerful corporations. Does anybody seriously believe that Chevron would have increased its tax payments without the  pressure of the Measure T campaign two years ago, the Stop Chevron's Perk measure scheduled for the November ballot, and the fact that the community was clearly mobilizing against the attempt to strangle the city with Chevron's own tax "reform" measure?
In the coming weeks the RPA plans to consider 
  • what lessons we learned form this battle with Chevron,
  • what we should focus on next.
    There are the issues involving Chevron including protecting the community form pollution and greenhouse gasses, restoring the construction jobs, and Chevron's attempts to cut its property taxes.  What other issues require our immediate attention? 
There are a wide range of views within the RPA on both these issues and we will feature the discussion on our web site.  Contribute your ideas and views.  Email them to RPAActivist@gmail.com
                                                                                                                        --Mike Parker
 Picnic  Saturday  5/22  12 - 4 pm
 Community Victory for Environmental Justice
On April 26 the Appeals Court again found that Chevron's Environmental Impact Report was indeed flawed in its addressing the dirtier grades of crude oil Chevron  planned to process.   Now it is time for Chevron to come to the bargaining table and negotiate protections for the community so that the jobs can be restarted.
The organizations that brought the court suit,  Asian Pacific Environmental Network  (APEN), Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) and West County Toxics Coalition (WCTC) are holding a picnic for Richmond residents and allies to celebrate this important victory
Nicholl Park
 (Macdonald and 31st)

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 the 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, 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.


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