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Issue: # 38November 1, 2010

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A Chance to Make History
Religous Community Speaks Out
Times Endorses Gayle
Why Chevron Bets $1 Million
Corporations and Card Clubs
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A Chance To Make History
Slate Card Front
This is it. 
Election  Day.
Can people organized together beat millions of dollars of corporate campaign contributions  combined with a smear campaign that goes to new lows?

We think we can and will, but it still depends on you  since we are an all-volunteer effort.

We think we can count on you to vote all the way down the ballot to the council candidates. 

But can you make sure your friends and neighbors do the same and vote for Jovanka Beckles and Eduardo Martinez  as well as Gayle McLaughlin?  Please remind them.

You have seen the Richmond Police Officers Association (RPOA)  hit pieces and posters against Jovanka.  The BAPAC has sent out a hit piece against Jovanka and Corky.  We have to redouble our efforts to spread the word that we need to change the City Council to one that shares Gayle's vision.

We still need help  today and on election day.  Call the RPA office 412-2260 to find out how you can assist.   It is not over until tomorrow night and we will be working until the last minute. Join us in the effort and join us in the party afterwards as we celebrate that effort.

slatecard back

Opposition to the Casino and Establishment Candidates in Richmond's Religous Community

See the letter by Pastor Ulis G Redic, Pastor Mt. Zion Baptist Church, published in the October 27 Richmond Globe

See the commentary by Rev. Alvin C. Bernstine "The politics of dis-ease; A pastoral comment on Richmond's mayoral campaign" published in the October 27 Richmond Globe


Opposition to the Casino in Environmental Community

See the letter to the City Council from the Native Plant Society.


Contra Costa Times Endorses Mayor Gayle

Why we need Jovanka, Eduardo, and Corky

October 28, 2010

Dear Friends, 
I thank the Contra Costa Times editorial board for its endorsement of me for Mayor (10/28/10).   I especially appreciate their reasoning:  It is not about personalities, it is about the powers at play in Richmond and what direction we want the City to go.  The Times properly identified that we need a City Council that is willing to stand up to Chevron when necessary, and that we need to oppose the casino.
Unfortunately, the Times did not use the same logic when it came to its City Council endorsements. The Times endorsed three individuals (Viramontes, Lopez, and Finlay) who supported Chevron's flawed Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for its refinery expansion project.  The endorsement of Viramontes and Lopez was particularly puzzling, given the Times stern reprimand in 2008 saying the Council majority "...led by Councilwoman Maria Viramontes, should be ashamed" of their secret deal with Chevron to approve the flawed EIR. (Stop the secret oil deal, 5/12/08).  Viramontes, Lopez, and Finlay also, in one way or another, have promoted and/or enabled the casino development to date.
As Mayor of Richmond, I have only one vote on the Council.  For a Council that stands up for Richmond, I ask that you vote for Jovanka Beckles, Eduardo Martinez, and Corky Booze to join me on the Council.  These three candidates share a positive vision of empowering Richmond residents and have stood consistently for an alternative to a casino at Point Molate.  We need City Council members who see their job as moving Richmond forward, rather than prioritizing the needs of corporations, developers, and other deep-pocket special interests.
The Richmond Police Officers Association (RPOA) has been amplifying its attacks against Jovanka Beckles, blanketing the city with smear messages in mailings, billboards, and robo-calls.  Undoubtedly there will be last-minute hit pieces this weekend.  The RPOA's deplorable tactics during this election are condemned by the Times in today's editorial: 
"The police and firefighters unions should be ashamed of their hit pieces... there is no excuse for their despicable personalizing of their attacks. We're disappointed that public safety workers in Richmond continue to choose union leaders who still cannot conduct themselves in a professional manner."
We may be outspent by unscrupulous opponents, but we can harness the indomitable power of truth, integrity, and grassroots participation. And you can make the difference.   In addition to your vote for Jovanka Beckles, Eduardo Martinez, and Corky Booze, we need you to talk to your friends and neighbors.  Help them understand that we must elect a City Council that is dedicated to Richmond steering its own destiny, toward a healthier and more prosperous future for all.
Building a Better Richmond together,
Mayor Gayle McLaughlin
Contra Costa Times endorsement

Why is Chevron spending $1,000,000 dollars in this election?

Signs by Chevron
Chevron paid for these signs planted on almost every vacant lot in Richmond
Chevron is spending a million dollars trying to prevent Gayle McLaughlin, Jovanka Beckles and Eduardo Martinez from getting elected in Richmond. (See Richmond Confidential)

Chevron yearns to return to the days when the City Council would roll over for whatever the corporation wanted. In 2008, working through the "Chevron 5" (including Viramontes, Bates, and Lopez) Chevron used its influence to push through a secret Community Benefits Agreement  (denounced by everybody from the Contra Costa Times on down) which allowed Chevron to slip a flawed Environmental Impact Report (EIR) past the City Council.  Had the Council instead insisted on a well-written EIR, the Chevron modernization project could have been built without an interruption.  But Chevron and Viramontes had their way.


Chevron has made it perfectly clear  -- with a $1 million investment -- whom it wants on the Council --Viramontes, Lopez, and Bates.  Chevron wants the same "Chevron 3" who approved their last flawed EIR. Chevron wants a council that will not object to its new demands to get its property tax reduced. Do you want the Chevron 3 to represent you?

Corporations, Card Clubs, and our Campaigns


Contribution CheckCorporations contribute to campaigns to gain influence.

Simms Metals, for example, just contributed $2000 to most candidates running for city council. Many issues concerning Simms Metal come before the council (including complaints from the surrounding community).  Maybe the $2000 isn't enough to buy a council decision, but it sure helps bend the stick.


And then are contributions from Veolia (the company that manages our wastewater treatment and the plant that just released toxic Hydrogen Sulfide into surrounding neighborhoods) to the campaigns of city council people who are supposed to monitor this company.
Gayle, Jovanka, and Eduardo accept no corporate contributions.  Even on a shoestring budget, they return any corporate contributions that are submitted. 
What about the Card Clubs and the Auburn Indian Tribe which are spending hundreds of thousands against the mega-casino at Pt Molate? The law unfortunately allows "Independent Expenditure Committees" to accept corporate contributions and spend unlimited amounts supporting and opposing candidates. Both Upstream, the Casino developer, and the Card Clubs are outside of Richmond and spending small fortunes in this battle.
We oppose all corporate spending in this election including that of the Card Clubs. We think it is harmful to democracy and no matter what side it is on, it raises the price of participation so only the rich can play.  
Remember: the primary opposition to the mega-casino comes from the Richmond community, and is not reflected in the money spent, but in the volunteer work.
Gayle, Jovanka, and Eduardo accept no money from the Card Clubs or any other corporation, or developer. In addition to the huge independent expenditures, the other candidates accept as much as they can get and make pronouncements legitimizing the role of the corporations: "Lopez said she appreciates the support [of Chevron] and praised the company for..."(Richmond Confidential)

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.


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