|Issue: #49 ||April 15 ,2011|
RPA Response to Brown Proposed Cuts and Taxes
Time to Campaign for Fair Taxes
--Not More of Same
The Richmond Progressive Alliance believes now is the time
- to reform the California tax structure so corporations and wealthy people pay a more equitable share, and
- to strengthen our education and social programs to meet the challenges and hardships resulting from the economic crisis.
We believe it useless to continue cutting programs and extending tax breaks and regressive taxes, because it wastes this important opportunity to campaign for real progressive tax reforms and to defend important public services. Specifically, we must
- raise income taxes on income over $500,000,
- fix the loopholes in property tax law which maintain antiquated values on the property corporations own, and
- establish an oil severance tax.
--RPA Steering Committee 4/1/11
Californians are ready. We know it from talking to our neighbors, people at work, and taxi drivers. The California Federation of Teachers (CFT) commissioned an important poll reported in the Chronicle.
Seventy-eight percent of likely California voters support a 1 percent increase in the income tax rate for Californians earning more than $500,000 a year, according to the poll, which was conducted by Democratic pollster Ben Tulchin and sponsored by the California Federation of Teachers.
A one percentage point increase, which would raise an estimated $2.5 billion a year, offers a possible Plan B for helping solve the budget deficit, with 60 percent of Republican respondents and 79 percent of independents and other voters backing it, along with 89 percent of Democrats. The maximum income tax rate is 9.55 percent, according to the Californian Franchise Tax Board.
People are angry
"There is a populist anger out there that cuts across all lines," Tulchin said. Many voters felt it was unfair that the wealthiest Americans got their Bush-era tax cuts extended last year.
"They see that these (state) service cuts would affect middle-class and lower-class people, and they want rich people to pay their fair share," Tulchin said.
Lenny Goldberg, executive director of the California Tax Reform Association, said, "Those are the highest numbers I've ever seen. On a tax scale - that's pretty much a perfect score."
Now is the time for progressive forces, the labor movement, environmental groups, and those concerned with education, jobs and decent communities to lead this sentiment and do what it takes to change the tax structure to make it fair. It is an opportunity that should not be wasted on chasing or begging Republicans for four votes just to get the right to vote on whether to continue the old, unfair and failed policies.
Enough is Enough
Tax Day Protest in Richmond
On Tax Day, April 18, as millions of Americans patriotically pay their taxes, we will call on corporations and millionaires to pay their fair share.At hundreds of events from coast to coast, we'll present the bill to corporate tax dodgers for the billions of dollars their legions of lobbyists helped them avoid. We'll organize a peaceful but powerful day of action to call on corporations to pay their fair share. And we'll demand that our elected leaders make them pay.
This comes after a year that saw Bankspay their execs record high bonuses and pay record low taxes, all while they continue to throw families from their homes and kick education, vital services and the public employees who make them work, to the curb.
Come to a "Make them Pay" event on Monday, April 18!
What: Press Conference and National Tax Day of Action
When: Monday, April 18th
Time: 3:30 pm
Where: Corner of MacDonald Ave and San Pablo Ave parking lot and March down to Bank of America at 4800 MacDonald Ave.
In California we've got a plan to make them pay. ACCE and our allies, including CCISCO SEIU Local 1021 have introduced a bill to make the banks and Wall Street pay for the havoc they have caused in our communities. AB935 would make the banks pay $20,000 for each foreclosure they complete in California. This would repay $12 billion dollars to re-fund our schools, our public safety workers and city and county services.1
We know that the corporations and Wall Street have the money. But we have the people and the organizations working together to fight back. ACCE members are partnering with moveon.org, Common Cause, SEIU, PICO California, the AFL-CIO and other organizations around the state to put these events together so we can make the greatest impact. Together we can hold corporations and Wall Street accountable and we can make them pay their fair share
Sponsored by ACCE and allies. For more info call 510-866-5032
Sports Available to All
SAFE Fields Coalition
The Richmond SAFE Athletic Fields for Education Coalition, is a coalition spearheaded by the RPA and working for "sufficient multi-purpose, all-weather, illuminated and safe fields in Richmond". We had our third monthly meeting on Wednesday March 23rd. We appreciated the generosity of the Solar Richmond organization for allowing us to use their office for this meeting.
Members: The SAFE coalition now has members representing Richmond United Soccer Club, Richmond Sol, Richmond Eclipse Club, Richmond Youth Baseball, the Richmond Progressive Alliance and others. We keep expanding.
What we are doing: The SAFE coalition members continue an outreach campaign to promote "All sports for all children" and in particular to encourage young African American men and women, boys and girls to see soccer as a sport that welcomes their participation. Soccer can be a great opportunity for all our communities to develop our "One Richmond" values and to bring us together for the days ahead We are preparing for outreach in North Richmond culminating in a "soccer clinic day" Sunday May 1.
We need you: We especially welcome people representing all Richmond sports' clubs and leagues.
Next Meeting: The Coalition's next meeting will be Wednesday April 27, at 7-9 PM at 3727 Barrett Ave [Thank you to the Laotian Organizing Project / APEN sharing their community meeting room]
If you want to be kept informed about the coalition's progress send us an e-mail to RichmondSAFEfields@gmail.com
Juan Reardon [RPA member and SAFE Fields Coalition facilitator
Click here for the Soccer Clinic Flyer in English Click here for the Flyer in Spanish
Click here for the Full Report
Protest at County Board of Supervisors
Honor Chavez by Respecting Immigrant Workers
The Contra Costa County, CA Board of Supervisors conducted their 18th annual commemoration of the life and work of Cesar E. Chavez founder of the United Farm Workers Union on April 15. In response, a group of 15 representing the Richmond Progressive Alliance, doctors and other staff at the Contra Costa County Public Clinic system and the Health Care Action Team-East Bay let the Board know that their decision in 2009 excluding undocumented immigrants from public clinics is unacceptable, stands in contradiction to their honoring Cesar Chavez and shall not stand.
Nine of us spoke out against their xenophobic policy during the open comment session before the Chavez Commemoration (there were no other speakers on other topics during this period). The most important challenge came from the Board's Keynote Speaker and honoree, Professor Blas Guerrero. After speaking at length about how, Cesar Chavez had motivated his mother and himself to believe that he could in fact rise above oppressive field labor and go to college, he then chided the Board on betraying Cesar's legacy with their discriminatory practices.
The Board was rattled by Blas' comments. and by the silent picket sign holders in a line at the rear of the auditorium. In the earlier open mike period one of the young women family practice docs in the County system talked about some patients who, now lacking coverage for medications, had allowed dangerous and potentially lethal diseases to get out of control. Another explained the greatly increased financial costs of forcing people to rely onexpensive emergency room treatment rather than clinic care. Mike Parker of the Richmond Progressive Alliance pointed out the public knowledge that reducing primary care access to any part of the population threatens the entire community with infectious diseases which recognize no citizenship or papers. Given the moral, financial, and community health arguments in favor of providing clinic access to all, he wondered out loud if the Board policy was anything more than a capitulation to Right Wing racism and xenophobia.
The Board can reconsider and reverse the exclusion of undocumented immigrants from the Public Health Care Plan during its upcoming budget debates. To the undocumented, as to us all, the right to health care is part of the struggle to be treated as human beings who have unalienable rights that must be preserved and honored.
Marc Sapir, MD, MPH
See the full proceedings on video (Item D3 Annual Caesar Chavez Celebration;Item SD1 Public Comment).
North Richmond Issues; Casino
Protest at Supervisor Gioia's Office
The North Richmond Community Council organized a protest at County Supervisor John Gioia's office on San Pablo, supported by several RPA members.
The Community Council includes both the incorporated areas of North Richmond (Shields-Reid) which is part of the City of Richmond and the unincorporated sections which have safety and other services provided by the County government. As the community attempts to rid itself of the crime and poverty in the area, controversy has developed over several issues. In particular there is a dispute over how so called "mitigation funds" $600,000 from the dump located near the community, should be used. The Council also complains about especially poor services in the unincorporated areas and is talking about the whole area becoming part of the city of Richmond. For more information see Richmond Confidential story.
The picket also challenged Gioia's and the County Board of Supervisors' agreement with the sponsoring Tribe to support the Pt. Molate Casino in the fall of 2009. The Supervisors had led opposition to the Casino but suddenly flip-flopped position in exchange for a promise of an additional $6 million. See story.
While the Casino was voted down in a Richmond advisory vote last November, and by the City Council last week, the developer is still trying to find a way to keep the project alive. It is important that the County Supervisors reverse their position out of respect for the decisions of the city or Richmond.
Started in North Richmond
History of Neighborhood Councils
by Lucretia Edwards
Lucretia Edwards is the model of the citizen-activist. For some 50 years she led the way in Richmond in the fight against racism in the city, for opening the Bay shoreline to all of its citizens, against the polluters, and for empowering neighborhoods.
Lucretia wrote a brief history describing the beginnings of a system of functioning neighborhood councils in Richmond. We have come to accept these councils as normal, and do not realize that most cities in this country do not have them and therefore are missing a very vital democratic institution. The article is still used by the Pt. Richmond Neighborhood Council to help orient newcomers but it deserves a far wider circulation.
Read the history here
-- Margaret Jordan
Support from Police Chief and Mayor
Day Laborers Stand Up for Rights
A delegation of five Richmond day-laborers ['jornaleros'] met April 14 with the Police Chief Chris Magnus and Mayor Gayle McLaughlin to challenge inappropriate actions of Richmond Police officers' towards the day-laborers who 'stand for work' near the U-Hall business on 23rd St. The delegation included jornalero spokesperson Rodolfo, and jornaleros Abraham, Remberto, Victor and Angel. Supporting the delegation were Renee Saucedo from La Raza Centro Legal and Juan Reardon of the Richmond Progressive Alliance. Captain Vega and Captain Brown were also present.
The day-laborers complained that Police had repeatedly ordered them to disperse from the area around U-Haul. They reaffirmed their constitutional right of freedom of speech on any public site and their right to seek honest work for fair pay. They asked that the RPD officers be reminded of the day-laborers rights in public spaces.
Chief Magnus responded that the RPD policy was to respect Constitutional Law and the explicit agreement signed in 2003 between Richmond Jornaleros and the RPD. He suggested new officers may not be clear on these concepts and would make sure that they understood.
The day-laborers offered their cooperation to maintain a clean and respectful area, and received a phone number for a Spanish speaking police contact to deal with subsequent problems. The jornaleros were pleased with the Chief's response and expressed their appreciation for the meeting and the promised resolution. Gracias, Jefe!
Juan Reardon .
Clear Nonviolent Misdemeanors from Record
Clean Slate Clinic
Do you or someone you know have a nonviolent misdemeanor on your criminal record that is hindering your ability to find employment or access other important resources?
Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, County Supervisor John Gioia and State Senator Loni Hancock are sponsoring a Clean Slate clinic in Richmond to help Contra Costa residents get their records wiped clean.
To take advantage of this service you must attend one of the pre-screening clinics listed below and then attend our Clean Slate event at Project Homeless Connect on June 15, from 9am-3pm.
Saturday, April 23, 9am-1
Saturday, April 30, 9am-1
Saturday, May 7, 9am-1
Rubicon Legal Services 101 Broadway, Richmond, CA 94804
Brian Hogan, Staff Attorney, firstname.lastname@example.org, (510) 620-1161
Call or Email in advance. Space is limited
Council Mtg 4/19 Community Mtg 4/18
Setting Policy for Murals and Youth Art
The Council meeting on April 19 will take up an item to ensure that the Gompers students can re-paint their art mural on the Richmond Greenway at 8th St., and that staff will not paint over it. This is a continuation of the issue from March 19 when students told the story of how they worked with their art teacher last fall to create a mural on the section of the Greenway that Gompers High School has adopted (they're also planting a vegetable garden there). Shortly after the mural (done in the graffitti art style) was completed, it was painted over by the City's Code Enforcement Dept, who viewed it as "unauthorized graffitti". The 4/19 agenda item helps allow the students to repaint their mural and supports a general moratorium on eradicating any murals until a new process is finalized, as recommended by the Richmond Arts and Culture Commission.
As part of this process the Arts Commission is holding several community meetings with various stakeholders from the community and from the City. The first one has been scheduled for Monday, April 18th - from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. It will be held at City Hall, 450 Civic Center Plaza in the Point Molate conference room, 2nd Floor.
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.