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Issue: # 28July 18, 2010
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RPA Office
317 11th St

Tuesday: Casino, Marijuana
Campaign Notes: Iron Triangle Picnic
Public Vote on Casino?
Council Casino Procedure?
Medical Marijuana
New Oil Initiative Trick
Chevron Project Restart?
BP Spill, Big Oil Teach-in
 To have an item listed send it to
Casino, Marijuana, on Council Agenda  Tuesday
Tuesday July 20  6:30
Civic Center (25th and Macdonald)
These controversial issues (see below) are expected to draw a large crowd.  We need as many people as possible there to speak on the Casino issues--against the Casino and for the public to be able to vote on it.  Please come prepared to let Richmond hear how you stand. When you come to the meeting fill out a pink slip to speak.  You must do this before the topic begins.
The meeting is likely to be long and unless the agenda is changed, the Casino points  will be toword the end of the meeting 
Campaign Notes 
Our future: What it should all be about.
Iron Triangle kids
We try to go to all community public events, so that community members can talk directly to our candidates and let us know what is going on.  If you know of community events let us know and join us at these.  On Saturday we went to the Iron Triangle Picnic.
Saturday morning precinct walks 

 Gayle   (10 am is best time  but office is open 9:30 to 2:30 on Saturday) 
Start at the RPA office  317  11th St.  Have cup of coffee and get an assignment and packet. If you haven't gone before go out with someone else.
Take charge of part of a precinct in your neignhborhood.
 Let us know where you want to cover and we will prepare walk-sheets
Volunteer in the office.  The office is open at least 9 an -- 2 pm Saturday and  2pm -5pm weekdays.  Usually more hours.
 Call the office  510-412-2260 to make sure we are there. 
 If you don't care for door-to-door work, how about helping enter data in the computer? Call or email us and let us know.
 We have not set up phone banks yet, but if you this is what you would like to do, let us know and we will make sure to contact you  when this starts.
Other ways to help:
 There is a much longer list of ways you can help on the RPA website: Get Involved
Join Us
Talking to your neighbors is the key to making Richmond a better place.
You can pickup materials at the office, open afternoons 2-5 and Saturdays 9-2.  Or  email us and we will get you the materials and walk sheets.
Casino: Let Richmond Voters Have a Say
Council Meeting  Tuesday
Councilmembers Butt, Ritterman, and McLaughlin have proposed that the Casino issue be placed on the November ballot for an advisory vote.
Advisory Vote Only:

"Shall the City of Richmond approve a project including a casino at Pt.
Molate provided that this advisory measure is considered in a manner
consistent with all the City's legal obligations?"
In response to this, Councilmember Viramontes  has a separate motion to put this item on the ballot
Advisory Vote Only:

Shall the City of Richmond approve a project including a casino with shoreline and open space protections at Pt. Molate provided that this advisory measure is considered in a manner consistent with all the City's legal obligations?"
he only purpose of Viramontes item is to try to cause confusion to give the impression that this ballot measure is about  insuring  shoreline  and open space protection if we get a casino. It would give  her candidates for mayor and council who are supporting the casino some excuse for why they are supporting a YES  advisory vote.
Viramontes, as you will recall,  keeps claiming she is against the Casino but puts forward the motions that keep it alive with her misleading parliamentary maneuvers.  (See Council procedure below). 
Controversial Council Procedure on the Casino
 Council Meeting  Tuesday
On Tuesday's Council agenda is Mayor McLauglin's motion to require staff clarification  of the procedure  usedin passing the extension of the Casino LDA at the May 18th Council meeting.  At that meeting  after public comment and council discussion, Councilmember Viramontes made a rambling, confusing, verbal amendment  which completely changed the nature of the motion.  It  changed what was agendized as a short-term extension into an 11 month extension, effectively taking the pressure off the developer and it added several procedures which are still not clear. The Casino- Four passed it without public discussion or even discussing it themselves in public.  So confusing was it, that the experienced Contra-Costa Times reporter got it wrong in her story.

Joan Garrett  leader of the Coalition for a Sustainable Point Molate   filed a complaint (click here) saying among other things that the council's behavior a Brown Act violation (prohibiting council decision without public input).  This point on the agenda  takes up the staff's response.   Whether or not the process technically violated the Brown Act , it was clearly a maneuver to prevent the public from commenting and mobilizing and it should be  reopened. 
Medical Marijuana
Council Meeting  Tuesday
First reading of an ordinance controlling the sale of medical marijuana.  The ordinance, drafted by city staff, provides for a maximum of three marijuana sales locations in Richmond, a procedure giving the Police Department authority over which applicants will be acceptable, and charges establishments for additional police coverage in the area.
The last several city council meetings have seen dozens of Richmond residents, many with obvious disabilities, attend and testify about the importance of having access to medical marijuana to alleviate symptoms of AIDS, cancer and other illnesses.  
 Oil Companies Push Another State Initiative Trick
 Council Meeting Tuesday
The Oil companies are trying to use unemployment as a way to gut clean-air legislation.  They are pushing Proposition  23 on the November ballot  to undue AB32 which puts some limits on greenhouse gas. (The law is flawed-but even that much seems to more restrictions than the oil companies want.)
The City Council will consider a motion to oppose Prop 23
New Discussions on Restarting Chevron Project
State Democratic legislators have initiated a mediations session to see if there can be an agreement that can allow restarting the Chevron project.  The project was stopped because state courts at two levels, responding to a suit by  Communities for a Better environment, (CBE) , APEN, and WCTC,  ruled that Chevron filed a faulty Environmental Impact  Report. The lead mediator is Assemblyman Mike Feuer who represents the Hollywood-Beverly Hills area.
The meetings include representatives from the environmental groups, Chevron, Richmond, and the City.  Also participating are representatives of the Building Trades Unions.  The representatives of the City include Mayor McLaughlin, Vice-Mayor Ritterman, Councilmember Maria Viramontes, City Manager  Bill Lindsay City Attorney Randy Riddle and Special council Ellen Garber.
Our hope is that Chevron will agree to procedures to allow restarting the project while protecting the air and health of Richmond. 
At previous discussions, (Chevron refusing to participate), the environmental groups demonstrated a willingness to be flexible on the method of protecting the community and the air.  Chevron's refusal to negotiate may have reflected its own reduced economic self-interest in the project when gas demand went down.   As the market has partially recovered Chevron may now be willing to negotiate  an agreement so that  work can restart.  In any case, it should be clear that it is Chevron that is holding up the project and not the environmental groups or the city.

Part of the 3-Month Gulf Disaster Anniversary National Week of Action
Tuesday July 20, 7-9pm
(This is the same eveing as the important Richmond City Council meeting. The Point Molate Casino discussion will likely come up late in the Council meeting. Come to the Council meeting after this forum.)

La Peña Cultural Center
3105 Shattuck Ave (at Woolsey next to Ashby BART), Berkeley
Free-donations appreciated. Food will be provided.

Rose Braz, Center for Biological Diversity. Since the BP explosion, the Center's decisive action and in-depth investigating have exposed massive government corruption and lax environmental review, leading to major media exposés and six lawsuits to secure a full cleanup and wildlife protection.
Antonia Juhasz, Director of Global Exchange's Chevron Program. Antonia will have just returned from the Gulf, meeting with impacted communities and groups. She is an organizer with True Cost of Chevron Network, and the author of The Tyranny of Oil: The World's Most Powerful Industry--And What We Must Do To Stop It.
Lindsay Imai, Urban Habitat's Transportation Program, advocating for affordable, reliable, and racially and economically just public transit system in the Bay Area. 
4:30 to 6:30pm: Nonviolent Direct Action Training: Same location
Sponsored by:
Mobilization for Climate Justice West & The Center for Biological Diversity

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, 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.


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