RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #48 April 10 ,2011

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Pt. Molate Casino; Voted Down! What Next?
Day of Action to Defend Union Rights
Richmond Municipal IDs
Urban Tilth Challenge
Lifeline Water Rates
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Pt. Molate Casino voted down

This is What Democracy Looks Like!

No Casino

After a long meeting on Tuesday April 5, the Richmond City Council voted 5 to 2 to "discontinue" consideration of a Casino at Pt. Molate. Mayor Gayle McLaughlin made a 12 point motion, seconded by Jovanka Beckles and backed by Corky Booze, Jeff Ritterman and Tom Butt, ending consideration of the Casino. Jim Rogers and Nat Bates voted against the motion.

The Council then recessed to allow the staff time to redraft the motion as an official resolution and came back together to pass the resolution by the same vote.

Click here for text of final resolution .

Where Things Are:

Under the terms of the Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) of 2004 between Upstream (Developers) and the City Council, Upstream has up to 120 days to rework its plans for the area for a project that does not include a Casino. If Upstream does not come up with a satisfactory non-Casino plan then Richmond can actively entertain other plans.


In reality,  Upstream may make a number of attempts, including legal maneuvers, to reverse the Council decision. By the Tuesday meeting, the developer was busy attempting to buy support with promises to almost every group that had an interest in the issue. Promises were made to protect employees and patrons from second-hand smoke, pay for a bicycle path, and buy video equipment for the Richmond Auditorium.  So we have to continue to be vigilant.


Democracy in Action:

The battle against the Casino at Pt. Molate is an inspirational case of democracy in action. Six years ago the city council overwhelmingly supported the Casino. As late as a year ago pundits pronounced opposition to the Casino so weak that it seemed like a sure thing. The developer had enough money  to hire PR forces, pay community members to create a pretense of community support, and offer huge sums to environmental groups like the Sierra Club, and Citizens for East Shore Parks (CESP). They even tried to present themselves as the "hometown team" defending Richmond against the "outside" Casinos and Card Clubs which only cared about killing potential competition.


Thank you to the Community

Outside the AuditoriumThis developer strategy failed because most of the opponents of the Casino could not be bought. Hundreds of people took their own time last November to campaign against the Casino. They sent council members a record number of e-mails opposing the Casino and came out to speak against the Casino at numerous meetings including this last one. All were doing it because they cared for the community and understood what a threat the Casino would be to the future of Richmond and its ability to attract good jobs and improve conditions in the community. They made brilliant, heart-felt, thoughtful statements that compared well to the a statements of paid staff of organizations with a financial interest in the Casino.


The RPA thanks every person who made a contribution of time, money, and spirit to this remarkable effort.


Click here to watch the testimony and proceedings at the Council meeting.


This struggle in Richmond follows in the tradition of the civil rights movement, the uprising in Egypt and the struggle in Wisconsin--people understanding that only by putting in the time, organizing and standing together can we retake some control over our lives and our futures.


As the chant goes: This is What Democracy Looks Like!



top photo from Richmond Confidential

Local Action included Marches, Sit-in, and Work-stoppage 
Support for Collective Bargaining and Worker Rights


David Bacon photo Bridge 

 On Monday "We Are One" demonstrations across the country supported workers in Wisconsin and other Midwest States defending their unions and collective bargaining. The day itself also marked the anniversary of Martin Luther King's assassination. King was in Memphis supporting striking public sanitation workers.  

There were four big marches and rallies around the Bay.  Dockworkers in San Francisco and Oakland refused to load and unload ships in support of the national action. The Oakland Education Association  sat-in at Wells Fargo demanding  a bailout for the schools not the banks.  

BannerThe RPA helped turn out people for a demonstration on the Zampa Memorial (new Carquinez) Bridge. The Contra Costa Labor Council organized the march from the South Side. We rallied with marchers from Napa/Sonoma and the North Bay Labor labor councils in the middle of the bridge. Estimates in participation ranged from 500 to 1000.



Wisconsin Fight Back Continues--Election Victory


Also on April 5, Wisconsin labor appears to have elected its candidate, Joanne Kloppenburg, on the state Supreme Court, beating the incumbent Republican supporter of the governor. The vote was close and may be subject to a recount.
Not Wall Street
Only a week before the rebellion/revolt, the incumbent was leading by over 20% and considered a shoe-in. Once a popular movement gets mobilized things change overnight and are not accurately reflected in static polls.



Thanks for Richmond Resolution

Unionists in Wisconsin and elsewhere expressed appreciation for the Richmond City Council resolution supporting Colleccitive Bargaining Rights  and the struggles of workers in the Midwest.  See Resolution here

In keeping with the tradition of this movement, as our friends leave the stage, we chant, "Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!"

Truly, thank you for your community's support. Our struggle is far from over. We have taken it up on several fronts. Instead of the struggle unfolding on an hourly basis it is now moving on more of a daily basis. We are a bit sleep-deprived but energized!.

David Poklinkoski

President, IBEW Local 2304 



SEIU is very proud to work in a city that honors its workers. I sent the Richmond resolution to six other cities. Thank you again.

Millie Cleveland

SEIU 1021. Worksite Organizer 


Thanks for the support, Jeff! We have been receiving messages of encouragement from across the country - and now across the world! I'll be sure to spread the words around via our web tools. Thanks again, 


Matthew Call, Communications Specialist
Wisconsin Education Association Council



  Such a great compliment to our Union, many thanks! Together, we shall overcome. 

John Matthews
Executive Director, Madison teachers Inc.




This is amazing. Thank you. I'm sharing with our other Wisconsin unions. 

Laura Kendellen 

Communications/Program Coordinator

SEIU Wisconsin State Council


Heard about RPA at the Labor Rally



" Pound for pound the toughest political group around."

"RPA has 6 forward gears and no reverse."

"A group where people really care about issues and other people."





photos: David Bacon, Tarnel Abbott, Mike Parker 

Richmond Municipal IDs

ID flyerThe Richmond Municipal ID Cards Coalition 2011, [R-ID]  is moving rapidly to make Richmond Municipal ID cards a reality. 


The Latino Caucus of the RPA jump-started the effort this year building on great work done previously.  The coalition has:

Produced a Power Point Presentation explaining the issue.

.Click here for Power Point (Have patience--this is a very large file.)


Met with Police Chief, Chris Magnus and senior members of the Police Department.  The coalition delegation included Maria E. Rivera, immigration attorney; Roberto Reyes, RPA member and Planning Commissioner;  Alejandro Navarro, president of one of Richmond's. Neighborhood Councils and carpenter's union advocate; Alvin Herring and Richard Boyd,CCISCO organizers and Ramon Cardona of the Centro Latino Cuzcatlan.  It was a very positive dialogue, covering anti-fraud technology, and the use of the ID with many other city departments.

Produced fliers in English and Spanish  to explain the concept 

 English download here        Spanish download here


The next meeting:  Wednesday  April 13, 2011  7-9 PM  at the Madeline F. Whittlesey Community Room Richmond Public Library 325 Civic Center, [with co-sponsorship by the Office of the Mayor.]  Media and outreach for the "Cinco de Mayo" festivities will be discussed  and volunteers are needed to get the word out to the communities.

If you want to be involved send an e-mail to :   RichmondMid@gmail.com  

April Challenge 
Urban Tilth

Urban Tilth 

Urban Tilth, a wonderful Richmond institution, needs  help to raise $4000 in 30 days.  If they succeed at this challenge, the Urban Agriculture Institute will earn a permanent spot on Global Giving, allowing it to attract donors from across the county and around the world, and making it  eligible for matching funds in future campaigns!

Urban Tilth's  mission is to cultivate Urban-Ag  "homegrown experts" in Richmond.

"Growing our own" - that's our motto, here at Urban Tilth. Our mission is to support our community's ability to grow its own healthy, affordable food.

But "growing our own" also reflects our commitment to cultivating another resource: our children and young people. Day in and day out, we're helping a generation of young residents become "Home Grown Experts" in urban agriculture, social justice, and community service. And we hope you'll partner with us.


Click here for more info and to make a donation to support our April Challenge fundraising opportunity!

Assistance for Low Income Families
Expand Lifeline Water Rates


Water EBMUD's lifeline rates for low-income families will be up for a vote at the Board of Directors meeting Tuesday. One proposal calls for a 50%  discount for four-person households with income less than than $3400 and  two-person households  with less than $2400

Individual letters/e-mails from the community, plus your own letter to the Board, would make a big difference.
Send Email.


Click here for more information

CBE Training Program 
"Groundtruthing" Effort in Richmond


Shirley Bodde, North Richmond resident, with Ana Orozco of CBE.

A statewide effort has started  to protect areas overburdened with environmental hazards from high levels of pollution and public health problems (disproportionately poor and communities of color). Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) is organizing and training community members to participate in "Groundtruthing," an environmental mapping technique that can be used to gather evidence for the creation of "Green Zones" in Richmond. The goal is to demand protections for these communities.

Groundtruthing is an on-the-ground procedure developed to gain a detailed, accurate count of both hazards and sensitive receptors both of which are grossly underestimated in official govenment maps. Hazards include manufacturing, auto body shops, dumping areas, and even some nail and hair salons that pollute the surrounding communities. Sensitive receptors are areas where people gather together like churches, schools, and homes.

Richmond community members are already out mapping their communities. These new maps will be used to designate unhealthy areas as "Green Zones" and to demand stricter environmental protection and additional funding to support community-based solutions to alleviate these problems.

On Saturday, April 9 12 North Richmond community members gathered for training and then went out into the community to begin mapping North Richmond.
There are many other areas of the city that need to covered. CBE is asking all interested citizens to come for training and to be part of mapping vulnerable areas of Richmond.

Students who need to do hours for school will be given double credits. This project will look great on a resume as this mapping in Richmond will be part of a Statewide map of communities like Richmond! 

Training sessions are scheduled for:
Saturday, April 16th, 11am-3pm (location to be announced)
Wednesday, April 20th, 4pm-7pm (location to be announced)
Food will be provided.
For more info:  Jessica Tovar  jessica@cbecal.org 510-302-0430 ext 12 or 415-596-3517.


-Margaret Jordan

photo by Jessica Tovar

Next Issue 


We had too much for this issue.  The next issue will be out within a week and will include:


  • County Celebrates and Ignores Chavez
  • North Richmond Protest at Gioia's Office
  • Silly Parade
  • Brown's Budget Cuts and Tax Proposal
  • SAFE Fields Coalition
  • History of Neighborhood Councils


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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