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Issue: #45 March 8, 2011

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Council Certifies Pt Molate EIR
Who has the cookies?
International Womens' Day March 12
Is California Broke?
KQED Radio Debate
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Confusion and Tempers at City Council Meeting

Council Narrowly Certifies Pt Molate FEIR 


The City Council certified the Final Environmental Impact Report for several different possible developments of Point Molate, on Tuesday March 8th. The long hearing included requests to speak by 46 people examining all aspects of the FEIR.


The council was clearly caught in a procedure and contract with the developer adopted by the previous pro-Casino council. The whole council seemed to agree that they wanted the EIR to be certified with changes even if slightly flawed so they could move on in the process.  The council would have the opportunity to vote directly on the Casino project in a month or so  after the EIR passed.


It was clear that council members wanted to make major changes in the EIR, but were also guided by wanting to avoid situations that improved the developer's ability to sue the city.  Unfortunately there was not agreement about how significant changes could be without crossing the legal line.


Late in the meeting the Council recessed to closed session to discuss some of these questions.  When they came back into open session, Tom Butt lost his temper complaining that the rest of the council had been intimidated by the lawyers.  He then said that he would vote for the Casino and stormed out. (Hopefully he will reconsider after a night's sleep and apologize-His contributions to the council were obvious to all earlier in the meeting.)  


The amendments covered many issues.  Particularly critical  was the TRAC proposal that the developer be required to cover 95%of the Bay Trail costs.  The proposal adopted after the closed session consult  only required "fair share" payment.


Other amendments covered cost of sewage treatment,  native plants, smoking, and traffic. Several stronger amendments on these subjects ("Errata B" ) were rejected by the council apparently because of concerns about  liability issues.


Mayor McLaughlin amended the EIR with numerous studies detailing the negative social and economic impact of gambling.


The vote on the EIR as amended was passed by the Council (Beckles, Booze, Ritterman, and Rogers in favor, McLaughlin opposed, Butt and Bates absent).


Many members of the RPA  and the community who spoke from the floor at the hearing felt the EIR, even as amended by the Council,  was inadequate or clearly flawed on a number of points including  the issues of crime, economic and social impact, and traffic.  However we understood that pressing for major changes in the FEIR could legally result in extending the "approval process" with another round of comment.  We prefer the process keep moving to the next steps --probably in April-- where the council has the opportunity to vote directly on whether or not to have a Casino

 --Mike Parker

Where did all the cookies go?

Who took the cookies?

"A Wall Street billionaire, a unionized public employee, and a Tea Party member are sitting at a table eyeing a huge plate piled high with a thousand delicious cookies. The financier reaches across and takes 999 cookies, looks at the tea partier and says, "Watch out for that union guy. He wants your cookie."


Idea from Les Leopold, Huffington Post, 3/4/11

Cartoon by David Moore

Saturday, March 12, 2011      10am - 3pm

Join us for Richmond's 4th Annual International Women's Day Celebration


Sisters in Solidarity - Richmond the Beloved Community


Sisters in Solidarity

Keynote Speaker:   Linda Salinas

Community Organizer and Education-Youth-Immigration-LGBTQ Rights Activist


More speakers and performances by local dancers and poets,

Round-table discussions with 25+ community organizations


Lovonya DeJean Middle School                    

3400 Macdonald Ave., Richmond, CA


FREE admission,

lunch, child care


Info and registration:






Unase a la 4a Celebración Annual del Día Internacional de la Mujer en Richmond


Hermanas en Solidaridad - Richmond la Querida Comunidad


Sábado 12 de marzo de 2011, 10am - 3pm


Conferencista :   Linda Salinas

Organizadora Comunitaria  de la Educación-  Juventud- Inmigración y Activista de los derechos de la comunidad LGBTQ


Más Conferencistas y actuaciones de  bailarines y de poetas locales, discusiones de mesa redonda con mas de 25 organizaciones comunitarias


Lovonya DeJean Middle School                    

3400 Macdonald Ave., Richmond, CA


Entrada , almuerzo y cuidado de niños  GRATIS

Información y registro : 510-620-6527


Co-sponsors to date: Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Black Women Organized for Political Action, Brighter Beginnings, Building Blocks for Kids, Communities for a Better Environment, Communities United Restoring Mother Earth, Community Violence Solutions, Contra Costa County Commission on Women, Girls Inc., Haiti Action Committee, International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five, Journeys Above and Beyond, Laotian Organizing Project, Morada de Mujeres del Milenio, Mothers Against Senseless Killing, Native American Health Center, Planned Parenthood Shasta-Pacific, Richmond Equitable Development Initiative, Richmond Progressive Alliance, Richmond Progressive Arts Committee, Richmond Regla Sister City Committee, Richmond Rivets, Rosie the Riveter WWII Homefront National Historic Park, RYSE Center, Saffron Strand, Solar Richmond, STAND! Against Domestic Violence, The Latina Center, Ujima Family Recovery Services, Unity in the Community, Urban Tilth, Verde Partnership Garden, Weigh of Life, Youth Enrichment Strategies

400 Billionaires have more wealth than  160 million Americans combined!
America is not broke!

Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich ... The only thing that's broke is the moral compass of the rulers. And we aim to fix that compass and steer the ship ourselves from now on."

- Michael Moore in Madison, Wisconsin on March 5, 2011

Full Speech


KQED  Radio Debate on Casino
What  Was Missing
(This is from a letter responding to the KQED Forum with host Michael Krazny in March 2 debating the Pt Molate Casino)

Here are some angles that did not get discussed:
1. Time and again, it's been shown that Indian casinos promise jobs and hire locals, then lay them off several months later to bring in their own people. People have come to us from other areas to share their personal experience in this regard.
2. The developer has never been able to show that the funding for this project actually exists.  City council people who were originally for the casino now reject it based on this fact.
3. You didn't discuss the faulty EIR report.
4. You made no mention of the traffic nightmare that would ensue.  I invite you to come over the Golden Gate Bridge, take the San Rafael Bridge exit, cross the bridge, and quickly exit at Point Richmond as you leave the bridge from any but the far right lane.  You will feel as though you are taking your life in your hands.  To then go to Point Molate, you will need to go left at the bottom of the exit ramp, go under the freeway, go up on a cloverleaf, and back toward the San Rafael Bridge for another quick exit -- this one the unidirectional Point Molate exit.  If you can survive all that with your nerves intact I will buy you lunch in Point Richmond.
4. The reason the town of San Pablo has less crime right around their casino is because they and the county had to spend public funds to beef up security.
5.  No mention of the implications of a sovereign nation right in our back yard.  If caller Hugh is pro-casino but doesn't like smoking, he should know that we local citizens get to make no rules about anything once this becomes Indian land.  That is not an exageration.
6. Other viable proposals for this beautiful piece of land HAVE been offered through the years.  We needed to throw the corrupt pro-developer bums off the city council to get a chance to consider those well-though out alternatives.  We succeeded. If it takes 10 more years and a turn-around in the economy to get something appropriate built there, so be it.  The promises of jobs and revenue would never materialize were we to proceed with the casino, so we might as well wait until we can do it right.
7. You made no mention of the horrible mistep by the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations who formed a group to let themselves be bought off by an unholy alliance with the Point Molate developer and the tribe.  Of course there were organizations -- Citizens for a Sustainable Point Molate, and the Native Plant Society among them, who could not be co-opted and who shared with us the pressure they were put under not to "queer the deal." 
Michael, why don't you do a show on Richmond sometime?  We put Berkeley to shame.  Berkeley is now developer driven and broke.  We have a balanced budget, a Green Party (second term) mayor, a progressive city council, no layoffs, a constantly improving infrastructure, a 60% reduction in serious crime, really good public health access, and wonderful redevelopment projects that have benefited the whole community  -- including great housing for seniors and the disabled, the Craneway Pavilion, new parks and soccer fields, repaired streets, and on and on.
Not to mention the Richmond Natatorium (The Plunge) and JFK Swim Center.  Even as I sit here writing this, the Plunge is being utilized by dozens of disabled people receiving Aquatherapy.  (Compare that to Berkeley, where residents wouldn't agree to raise their property taxes by less than $10 to build a new warm pool for their disabled population.)
I feel much safer walking down MacDonald Avenue through the Iron Triangle these days than I do walking south of campus in Berkeley, where every week citizens are mugged, often in broad daylight, by, as the paper puts it, "young men in hoodies."
I  would love to see a billboard campaign showing the lives of real Richmond residents -- not old media stereotypes -- in my wonderful city.  I would have pictures of us tending our roses, playing soccer, working in community gardens, running small vital businesses, going to church, feeding and housing our homeless, supporting our libraries, hiking on our highly developed segments of the Bay Trail, caring for our young people and old people and disabled people and immigrants.... with the header, "This is MY Richmond."
I hope you will seriously consider helping update the Bay Area's outdated ideas about Richmond.
Jessie West



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 or call  510-595-4661. Longer articles of analysis and archives of past newsletters can be found on our website.


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