|Issue: #58||September 6, 2011|
Corky Booze's fund raiser for 2014 reelection
Corporate Money in Politics.
Corky Booze has announced a fund raiser for his 2014 campaign. We have nothing against starting early but the fund raiser suggests important questions about corporate money and influence in American politics and in Richmond.
The chief sponsors of Corky's fund raiser include
- Eric Zell, lobbyist for Chevron, Praxair, and an Indian Tribe seeking a Casino in North Richmond,
- Richmond Sanitary Service , a subsidiary of the giant Republic Waste Management that has the franchise for Richmond waste collection
- The political consulting firm that ran the Card Club campaign last fall.
Not only are these the endorsers but the phone number given for the fund raiser is Zell's office. The Richmond Sanitary building is the fund raiser site. The fund raiser asks for a minimum $100 per person with Platinum Level at $2500, Gold at $1000, and silver at $500.
There would seem to be an apparent conflict of interest between leaning on corporate donors and sitting on a city council that votes on issues of major importance to these donors. Whether or not this is technically illegal is determined by laws written under the influence of corporate money and by judges who are appointed by politicians who depend on these contributions.
The Supreme Court itself has opened the way for corporations to be treated like "people" and allowing them to spend unlimited amounts of money anonymously to fund campaigns.
The more money corporations pour into political campaigns the more it costs for regular people to compete in elections and the more pressure is on candidates to make themselves acceptable to corporations to get money for their campaigns. Even well intentioned elected officials find they must bend their principles if they want to get anything done given the "reality of politics." This, more than "spinelessness," explains why so many Democrats are not willing to stand up against the right wing program at a national level to close tax loop holes or support common sense environmental efforts. It explains why at the state level, despite huge popular support, we can not get politicians to move on Tax the Rich solutions to pay for schools and desperately needed services.
In Richmond we have fought for years to remove the city from total corporate domination, which is in part why Richmond, with all of its problems, is doing better than so many other California cities.
Political donations are just a starting point. The Richmond Progressive Alliance refuses all corporate donations and will not endorse any candidate that accepts them. We did not endorse Corky in the last election for this reason.
We call on all candidates to refuse corporate donations. We have proven it is possible to win elections without such contributions and the elections themselves are much better. We can not depend on the law alone to protect the integrity of elections. We have to depend on ourselves and tell candidates that we do not want an election that is decided by access to money.
Beyond elections we have to begin challenging all the other ways that corporations dominate politics.
- lobbyists and "expert testimony"
- using the strangulation of public services to make people more dependent on "charitable contributions" made with a tiny portion of their tax loop-hole savings.
- control of vital decisions about the environment, investment, and employment
The incredible shift of wealth from working people to the super wealthy over the past 10 years is no accident. Federal officials serving the interests of corporations created NAFTA that de-industrialized the US and took the jobs to low wage countries with no environmental protection.. Federal officials in the pockets of corporations took us into wars for oil that cost us four trillion dollars. Federal officials bailed out the speculating banks and Wall Street ignoring the situation of regular working families.
Unemployment, public services, and our schools and communities are in worse shape than ever even while the salaries of top executives and corporate profits return to peak values and go untaxed. Unless we challenge unrestrained corporate power it will only get worse. Corporate money in our economic system is the curse of our nation and the end of hopes for our future.
Statement by RPA Steering Committee
RPA has as new office
Office Warming Party
Saturday Sept 10
6 pm to 9:30 pm
call the office for more info
|Challenging Violence in Richmond|
The summer of 2011 has been one of great loss for the city of Richmond. We have lost 16 of our young people to gun violence. Each death resulted in the loss of the future potential of the young person who died, as well as of many of the shooters. The shootings brought unimaginable grief to their families and friends, and a loss of a feeling of safety and security to many neighborhoods. A Proclamation at the City Council Meeting on September 13 will acknowledge the tremendous loss to our community, condemn violence, and encourage the community to come together to take back their neighborhoods.
There are some hopeful signs. We have shown in the past two years that this current level of violence is not an inevitable part of the community and therefore we can act to stop it. One recent positive development is the formation of CeaseFire/Lifelines for Healing in Richmond. The program which relies on a partnership of community leaders, clergy, residents, the police department and the Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS), is modeled after successful programs that have significantly decreased gun violence in over 50 cities throughout the country.
Underlying CeaseFire/Lifelines for Healing is community commitment that the shootings must stop and an understanding that the community can't stand aside and wait for the police to stop this violence by themselves, but must partner with them in the effort. The program will include the following:
¨Teams made up of community members, law enforcement, and social service providers will meet with individuals identified as likely to be involved in gun violence (in the beginning the focus will be parolees) and deliver a strong message that they must stop hurting themselves and others. They will be given alternatives to continued violence and offered services that can to help them lead a violence free lives.
¨To take back the streets, groups of trained community members will walk the neighborhoods. They will model an alternative to the fear and isolation that keep people off the streets separate in their houses. They will invite the community to join them to take control and actively work for peaceful neighborhoods.
¨Trained community members will go to the scenes of shootings and work with police and ONS members in these areas to calm the neighborhood, encourage community members to give information to help to apprehend shooters, intervene to prevent retaliation, and help the residents regain a sense of security by mobilizing to protect the neighborhoods, rather than retreat into isolation in their homes.
If you are interested in learning more and/or being trained to be a part of CeaseFire/Lifelines for Healing you are invited to a training meeting Thursday, September 15. Click here for more info
CCISCO is also encouraging community members to organize House Meetings and invite their friends and neighbors to become part of Ceasefire/Lifelines for Healing. If you can organize a meeting of four or more people in your neighborhood call Apolonoio Morales at 510-529-1567 to arrange for CeaseFire/Lifelines for Healing members to come to explain the program and provide training for those who would like to join this effort.
A second project initiated by CCISCO and the Pacific Institute, and ONS to prevent violence is Safe Return. Safe Return focuses on providing a welcoming city to those returning from prison. The team from CCISCO, made up of individuals who themselves have been incarcerated, understands that unless parolees have social support, a place to live, job opportunities, access to mental health services, etc, they are much more likely to return to the streets and engage in violent behaviors again. The goal is to create a "One Stop" Center where those returning to Richmond can go for help with the challenge of readjusting to being home. In a united effort of community members and groups, non-profits, and county and city service providers are meeting regularly to plan and open up a Center as soon as possible.
We support the direct action of Operations Ceasefire and the efforts of Safe Return. We must take immediate action to prevent more loss of life, to take back the neighborhoods. We also know that the ultimate solution is opportunity-opportunity for good education and jobs. When our youth believe and expect that they will be able to work and become contributing community members they will thrive and work toward these goals. Without this hope they turn to drugs and other ways to assert themselves-all too often involving gun violence.
The only way to provide this opportunity is to reverse the corporate and financial domination of our city, state and country. We must fight all the policies which currently favor these institutions, which protect their profits at the expense the community. We must think creatively to find ways to make corporations pay their fair share. We support the People's Budget that calls for an end to military spending and taxing the rich to provide money for education, health care, and job opportunities, and all other basic human rights currently being denied many because of corporate greed.
When Violence Strikes:
Neighbors Help Each Other
Members of the North and East Neighborhood have mobilized to help the family that was victimized by the home invasion on Moran on August 26th. The grandmother died, and the father is in critical condition.
At this point the best way to help is with a monetary contribution to a fund established to help the family
Cash or check contributions can be made to "The Kumar Family Benefit" at any Mechanics Bank branch.
Let's all pull together to and show our support for this wonderful and innocent family that has been dealt such a cruel blow. Every little bit helps! Please forward this message to all your friends in Richmond and beyond.
The community has organized a vigil and has intensified its neighborhood watch and patrol activities.
Click here for the story in the Contra Costa Times
SAFE Fields Coalition Fills Richmond Auditorium
The SAFE Fields Coalition showed the potential for united action in Richmond. More than 800 people participated in the Safe Fields Coalition celebration at the Richmond Auditorium on August 24 with a potluck, music, and short speeches.
The kids had center stage that night. They had the tables on the main floor and most of the adults ate and sat in the sloping stands seats.
This was an example of how we can get real unity in Richmond through organizing around issues that broad sections of the population need. The coalition is seeking sufficient, free, safe, fields in good conditions for all major sports. All kids should have easy access to healthy physical activity which also teaches teamwork and skill.
For more pictures click here
Free Film Showing
ZERO: An investigation into 9/11
2008 by Telemaco, in English, 100 minutes.
On September 11th, 2001 two airplanes piloted by terrorists hit the twin towers causing them to both collapse. Is this the whole story? This Italian documentary presents physical evidence and eyewitness testimony that challenge the official narrative surrounding 9/11. The film scrutinizes the U.S. government's version of events. "What results is a sequence of contradictions, gaps, and omissions of stunning gravity," writes Italian daily newspaper Il corriere de da Sera. Featuring American author Gore Vidal and Italian satirist Dario Fo, ZERO argues that the public has been misled, with disastrous consequences still being felt 10 years after the attacks.
Monday, September 12, 2011
1021 Macdonald Ave. Richmond, CA
Richmond Progressive Alliance Office
Discussion to follow, moderated by Marilyn Langlois.
Light refreshments will be available.
Sponsored by the Richmond Progressive Alliance, Librarians for Intellectual Freedom, and the Peace & Freedom Party - Contra Costa County Chapter.
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.