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Issue: # 34October 5, 2010
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317 11th St

Personal Attack on Gayle
Gayle Responds
Nat Neglects Truth
Co-ops: Jobs Outside the Box
10-10-10 in Richmond
Both Ways Viramontes
Letters on Measure U
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 Personal Attack on Gayle
"In politics, anything and everything goes"
                                                            Nat Bates
This is Nat Bates exact explanation for circulating to the press personal financial and medical information about Gayle McLaughlin from years before she served on the city council.  See Gayle's response below.
Nat is clearly following in the tradition of his supporters who like to drop surprises on the voters during the last weeks of an election.  In 2008 Nat's supporters, the RPOA  (the Richmond Police Officers Association) issued  the infamous racist flyer (blaming Latinos for the drugs and violence in Richmond)  in an attempt to defeat Jeff Ritterman and Jovanka Beckles.  The community mobilized and they were widely denounced.  According to reporters, the RPOA is involved in spreading Gayle's personal information. 
This year the RPOA  (which does not represent the political views of most police who try to do a good for the city) has put up over-sized banners making it appear that there is a rift between police/fire personnel and the Mayor. In fact there is no such rift. The Mayor is very supportive of the work of the police department in reducing crime through community policing.
But, Nat Bates should not be taking all the blame.  We do not know who paid for the investigation of Gayle's personal life, but we have good reason to believe that the Ziesenhenne campaign was involved in some way. Former Mayor Irma Anderson, a Z supporter gave it away at the Homefront Festival when she taunted Gayle supporters with items from Gayle's personal information.  It is entirely possible that Z supporters developed the attack and then passed it on to Nat knowing that he would do the dirty work and take the fall for spreading it around. 
In any event this kind of politics is bad for Richmond and for the country and should be soundly repudiated.  We want a country where people can surmount adversity, where redemption is encouraged, and where people who lead get judged for their leadership.
Mike Parker 

That someone could rebound after such a difficult time and perform as the best mayor ever in Richmond's history is testament to the resiliency of the human spirit.  I applaud you Ms. McLaughlin!  It is better to soar high above the darkest depths than to sludge through the mediocrity of those who want to drag one down to the lowly gutters that they are incapable of seeing beyond.  ---Eduardo Martinez
A Letter from Mayor McLaughlin
RGayle McLaughlinichmond, October 05, 2010

Dear Richmond residents,
Many of you recently received material disclosing personal information about my medical and financial history regarding adversities I experienced years ago before entering public office.

Some years in my earlier life were extremely challenging.  I was the victim of multiple crimes and experienced a host of personal losses, including debilitating illnesses and deaths within my family.  My health and personal finances suffered as a result.  But that is all in the past.  I overcame those challenges.  I believe my past challenges have strengthened me and made me a wiser and more compassionate woman, leader, and public servant.

It is not the adversity that one faces, but how one emerges from that adversity and overcomes one's challenges that defines a person.

Those who oppose our program for positive change in Richmond have decided to attack me personally, in an attempt to distract voters from the important issues and decisions we face.

This kind of campaigning - attacking with personal information - has damaged our political process across the nation, and has contributed to the cynicism and powerlessness with which too many people regard government.  Good people are discouraged from becoming active in public life.

But I know, with great certainty, that Richmond voters will support candidates on the basis of their values, ideas, and vision.  I know that you will look at my record in office over the last six years and judge me on the merits of my consistent hard work and achievements.  I stand on my record as Mayor of Richmond.
For anyone in Richmond who has ever struggled with adversity, I stand with you and for you.  A Better Richmond is possible, and we can build it together.

Gayle McLaughlin
Mayor of Richmond
NAT Neglects Truth
Bates Cartoon
Nat Bates insists on rewriting history to make his case against Mayor McLaughlin.  In speeches and in the article in the Richmond Post Bates says, "Target was brought in and supplied 300 jobs but she voted against it because it wasn't green enough."    
The problem for Nat Bates is that when he makes things like this up they can be easily checked.
The fact is that the City approved the Target project in early 2004  (Contra Costa Times Feb 13, 2004) before Gayle began to serve on the City Council.  We searched all the minutes of Council meetings from the time Gayle started on the Council through 2008 and can find only two votes on the Target project-- a unanimous vote on storm drain and bike path in December 2007. and a unanimous vote to accept Target's $300,000 contribution for the Police in December 2008.
Nat also likes to claim that the Mayor refused a contribution to the city from Target.  As the above vote indicates this is not true either. Gale does not accept personal or campaign contributions from corporations.  She does want them to pay their fair share to the city. Because the check was intended for police support, Gayle arranged for Chief Magnus to accept it.
Jobs: thinking outside the box

The Mondragon Cooperative Experience -
A Model for Richmond?

Full employment for Richmond will take ideas and action at a number of levels, from demanding that the Federal Government start a major program for rebuilding our infrastructure, to helping small businesses in Richmond, to making Richmond a still more desirable, safer community whichcan atttract new businesses.  One new possibility is promoting co-operative enterprises. The Mondragon coperatives are the most well known. They employ over 100,000 people. Recently they have assisted the Evergreen Co-operative in Cleveland, collaborated with the United Steel Workers in adapting  collective bargaining to the co-op process,  and worked with Austin Polytechnic High School in Chicago,  to prepare students in low-income neighborhoods to start cooperative high tech manufacturing.  In September Gayle attended a conference in Mondragon  (no city funds were used).
Gayle McLaughlin Reports

Gayle at MondragonImagine a world where businesses derive their power from the people who work there and capital is used as a tool to serve the people, instead of the other way around, as is the case with conventional corporations. A world of true workplace democracy, where each worker has an equal say in how the business is run. A world where workers pool and leverage their resources to start new businesses and create new jobs. A world where top managers earn no more than 6-7 times the salary of the lowest paid workers and everyone has a secure and decent standard of living. A world where education, training and innovation are abundant. A world without lay-offs.

Mondragon FactoryI had the opportunity to immerse myself in just such a world last week in the Basque region of Spain, where I attended an intensive five-day seminar at the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation, along with 25 worker cooperative enthusiasts and practitioners from all over the US and Korea. The first Mondragon cooperative started 56 years ago with a few people under the visionary guidance of Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta, and it has grown into an extensive network of 120 industrial, financial, retail and education cooperatives with over 16 billion euros in sales and employing about 100,000 people.

There is a great deal of collaborative and cooperative spirit in Richmond, and numerous residents and City staff have indicated to me their interest in exploring the possibility of starting worker-owned cooperatives here. Given the need to think outside the box in addressing our high unemployment rate, Richmond could provide fertile ground for implementing this model of job creation along with other strategies.

At the conclusion of the seminar, Mondragon's Director of Cooperative Dissemination, Mikel Lezamiz, and I signed a letter of intent and endorsement to pave the way for initiating conversations with stakeholders in Richmond and beyond. I want to share with you what I learned and also hear your ideas. 

To this end I would like to invite all who are interested to a presentation and discussion on Mondragon and the potential for worker cooperatives in Richmond. The same presentation will be given on two dates to accommodate diverse schedules (call 620-6502 for more info):

Tuesday, October 12, 7:00-9:00 pm in the Whittlesey Room of the Richmond Library

Thursday, October 14, 1:00-3:00 pm in the Multi-Use Room, 440 Civic Center Plaza


10-10-10 Action in Richmond

350 logoJoin your neighbors in Richmond and people around the world in a global work day to combat climate change. Richmond's event will feature lots of fun, useful actions such as a compost giveaway, bike ride, gardening workdays, plant & produce swaps, workshops, food & music.

See the 10-10-10 Richmond page

RPA recommendations on the Ballot Measures
The "No Position" reflects either that there are strong differences within the steering committee, or the feeling that the ballot measure does not properly address the real problem.(This listing corrects the editor's mistake in the original newsletter which incorrectly listed our position on Proposition 24. I apologize.)
19 (Legalization of Marijuana)   No Position
20  (Redistricting)     No Position
21  (Vehicle tax surcharge to support parks)   Yes
22  (Prohibits State from taking funds dedicated to roads, transportation, and local government)  No Position
23 (Kills AB 32 clean air)     NO
24 Repeals certain business tax breaks and loopholes  YES
25 (Majority Vote on Budget)   YES
26 (2/3 vote for local fees)     NO
27 (Redistricting)   No  Position
Measure M  Parcel Tax for Schools  YES
Measure  U   Casino at Pt. Molate  NO
Measure V   Tax on marijuana Sales  YES
Letters on Measure U  and the Environment  


I am coming out of hiding to make my position clear on Measure U.

I am opposed to Measure U. As the former chair of the West County Sierra Club, former board member of the West County Toxics Coalition, former chair of Richmond Neighbors (campaign finance reform), and former chair of the West County Legal Defense Fund (environmental litigation), Measure U will convert the Point Molate shoreline into a gambling casino, inviting organized crime and promoting exploitation of low-income citizens. The project will degrade the shoreline experience for citizens who wish to enjoy the spectacular peacefulness and beauty of the Molate shore.

Corporate and elite interests use economic extortion in an effort to coerce citizens into approving projects they don't want in a time of severe unemployment. The elites tell us that we have only two choices: their gambling casino, or nothing. Casino jobs, or no jobs. This is a false dichotomy, a false choice. We have many choices in front of us as a means to put people back to work. We have our own choices. We should make our own choices based on our own desires.

We can have jobs, full employment, and a beautiful shoreline park for all to enjoy. We can make this happen. The central problem is the domination and exploitation by the corporate elite. The problem of unemployment in Richmond is the problem of unemployment throughout the US and beyond. We should unite with other citizens in addressing the local problem of unemployment as a part of the larger national problem. We are not alone.

As a former member of the board of directors of the West County Toxics Coalition, I urge citizens to think a moment about the many possibilities before us, not solely the casino project being shoved in our faces. The shoreline can be cleaned up and we can have a shoreline park, also.

Vote No on Measure U

Mark Mason PhD

 Response to Henry Clark's mailing in support of the Casino


I am very disappointed with the letter you sent supporting Measure U. I am astounded that you, as the spokesman for the West County Toxic Coalition would imply that all those progressives in the community who have worked with you for years, and now oppose Measure U are dupes of the "out of town card clubs". 

While Measure U specifically asks voters to weigh in on whether or not there should be a casino at Point Molate, you are lending your stature as a leading environmentalist in the city to further the Upstream Development Corporation in their attempt to pretend it is an environmental issue. This is not an environmental issue. This is an issue of ceding the land and inviting a mega casino and all the negatives that come with it to come into Richmond to make their billions, while Richmond bears the social consequences.

In reality this is another form of environmental racism. Do you think that the cities of Sausalito, Tiburon, etc would ever allow a casino to be built in their cities? Of course not. But we are Richmond, we are poor, we are desperate. So, just as poor, desperate cities have been long been the chosen location for incinerators (or crematoriums), we are being asked to bear the burden of all the negatives that come with a casino. Past experiences in other cities shows that it's likely that the poor, the most disenfranchised citizens of Richmond, likely will lose a disproportionate amount of their financial resources to the casino.

The letter sent out in your name was financed by the Upstream Development and the Guideville Indian tribe. I want to state that the RPA took a position against the casino prior to the card clubs activities against the casino.We are currently raising our own funds to finance our campaign for a NO Vote on Measure U.

I support the right of any individual to hold their political point of view. This case is no exception. But I think that the innuendos in this letter are an insult to many allies in the environmental community who have worked with you for many years for a cleaner, better Richmond.

Margaret Jordan

Show Your Support for a Grass Roots Campaign


Available with metal stakes as lawn signs or  window/fence signs
Come by the office (weekdays 2-5pm or Saturday 9am -2pm),
317 11th St. to pick some up for yourself and your neighbors.
Or call  510-412-2260 for delivery.

Make A Difference
We don't take  corporate contributions, we depend on on people like you volunteering to make democracy work.
Phone Banking  With Others

phoneEvery Wednesday  6:30pm - 9pm (starting September 1)

At a location convenient  to South Richmond and Annex

            Phones provided


            Email Kay Wallis  kaywallis@hotmail.com


Every Thursday  6:30pm - 9pm

At RPA office  317 11th Street

            If possible, please bring your cell phone,
           charger, and headset


            Call 510-412-2260 

Talk to your neighbors
Door-to-Door Every Saturday 9am--2pm  plus...
Our door-to-door  is a slow process. But it works.  We reach new people and get them involved.
The office is open from 9 am to 2 pm on Saturdays.   The best time to come is  between 9:30 and 10 am  for coffee and  nosh. The candidates are usually there at that time. 317 11th St.   510-412-2260
If you can't come in on Saturday, come in during the week to get the new literature and find out the exciting news.
Remember:  To get this job done we are working every Saturday as a group.  Many of us are also covering our own neighborhoods during the other days.  If you have not picked up walk sheets and literature for your neighborhood call the office to make arrangements. 

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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