RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #65January 27, 2012

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Will Refinery be Safe if Strike?
CONTEST: Millionaires Tax Message
Give Yourself a Choice: Put it On Ballot
Richmond Kick-off on Millionaire TaxTax 2/2
LBNL Chooses Richmond
Issues in Richmond General Plan

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Will Refinery be Operating Safely? 

Possible Strike at Chevron 
Union Rally at Chevron HQ in San Ramon 

The contract between Chevron Richmond Refinery and the union that represents the workers who operate the plant is set to expire January 31.  National bargaining in the oil industry is currently under way and individual refineries bargain on local issues.   


According to United Steel Workers Local 5, the key issue in the bargaining is health and safety  for  the operators.  Those of us who live in the shadow of the refinery know that anything that affects operator safety affects the surrounding community. 

If a strike takes place, the usual practice of most refineries is to shut down rather than operate unsafely with inexperienced  workers or over-extended managers.  Most Bay Area refineries have committed to their communities to shut down in the event of a strike.  Chevron unfortunately  is considering trying to operate with management and 

Jeff Clark, Loni Hancock address union rally

scab workers in an apparent attempt to intimidate or break the union. Under these conditions the safety of Richmond would be threatened.

Mayor McLaughlin will be introducing a resolution at the Council meeting on February 7 supporting the health and safety demands of the workers. 

-Mike Parker

In Memory


Time for the 99% to show our strength

Help Put the Tax on Millionaires on the Ballot    





Fill in any or all of the balloons or provide a caption for the drawing. Send to RPAActivst@gmail.com by February 20

Prize: The original cartoon in color signed by David Moore and you. 




The RPA is preparing a banner drop for the launch of this campaign. We will start canvassing on  February 4. Call the RPA office and let us know if you are available.


We will have a kick-off meeting February 2.  (See below) 


Click here for a comparison of the proposed ballot initiatives

Click here for more information  

Click here for recent ABC news coverage of the campaign 


Tax Forum Leaflet

Chevron Should Pay More Not Less 

Here are some important facts concerning Chevron's attempt  to get back $168 Million in its property taxes. 
The county assessor says their 2900 acre waterfront property is worth $3 Billion or $23.75 per sq ft.  Chevron lawyers argue it should be assessed at $1.8 Billion or $14.25 per sq ft. 
County public records show that Richmond industrial companies like Sunpower, BioRad and Auto Point Motors are assessed at $37 to $55 per sq. ft.  Commercial businesses like Mac Hotel, Point Richmond Market, and Walmart are assessed at $103 to $196 per sq. ft. 

While it is true that comparisons are difficult and there is systemic inequity,  it still seems relevant to ask :


Why is Chevron  paying so much less per square foot than other businesses in Richmond?


Chevron is not seeking this refund out of economic plight. In fact their profits are huge: 2011 Q3 profits were $7.8Billion or $86 Million per day. Chevron's own publicity says the refinery was "virtually transformed to produce higher value, higher volume fuels.... By 2006 the refinery had a capacity of 225,000 barrels a day and processed more crude oil than any other plant in the Bay Area and ranked among the major refineries in the US."

Chevron is a good example of the 1%. The rules are rigged in their
favor and still they seek to bribe or bully further concessions and
subsidies. Chevron should be paying more not less property tax. We

Rick Sterling

Mayor Gayle McLaughlin:  


We are excited to host the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Second Campus in Richmond.  There was a long wait and a lot of anticipation, but I must say to LBNL: you made an excellent choice!


Richmond is the best place for LBNL because we are already transforming into a green and sustainable city.


 -We are an official green city of the state of California.

 -We are number one in the Bay Area for solar installed per capita.

 -We are home to many innovative green and clean tech businesses. In fact, we have over 50 core green businesses.

 -Richmond is home to world-renowned workforce development programs and green job training.


We look forward to partnering with LBNL in many ways.


-We look forward to the good-paying construction jobs this will create.

-We also look forward to partnering with LBNL on removing the remaining toxins at the site.

-We look forward to partnering also on projects that bring about community benefit. I know I've heard the Lab say they are willing to engage in such projects.

-And we also look forward to providing our Richmond amenities to Lab employees: such as our great restaurants, our easy access to modes of transportation (including BART, AC Transit, and Amtrak) as well as our Bay Trail and bike and pedestrian trails throughout the City.   We have 32 miles of shoreline, more than any other city along the bay, and as you can see this 2nd campus will be located at a beautiful scenic site here on our shoreline.


I would like to end by thanking, first and foremost, the entire Richmond community who unified to show our support for LBNL coming to Richmond. I would also like to thank the Richmond City Council, especially Councilmember Jeff Ritterman for taking the lead on this. Thank you also to all our city staff whose dedicated work helped make this happen, including Bill Lindsay and Shasa Curl in the City Manager's Office and all our department heads and employees, so many of whom are here today.


Once again, we are excited that LBNL has chosen Richmond. We are most definitely a great fit. And with that, I would simply like to say: Welcome LBNL to the innovative city of Richmond!   



Council Member Jeff Ritterman:

My hope is that the grand vistas of the Richmond Field Station and the intelligently designed campus which will be built there will inspire some of the world's most creative minds to make the scientific breakthroughs that will lead us toward environmental restoration and equitable economic development.  Richmond and other cities in the bay area can house the clean tech and green tech companies which will emerge to translate these scientific breakthroughs into goods and services while providing well paying jobs.

How did we attract LBNL against some pretty tough competition?

Clearly one reason was that that the community came together and mobilized to put Richmond forward. Here is how Berkeleyside  put it. The same sentiments are in the New York Times.

In late September and early October, Dr. Jeff Ritterman, a member of the Richmond City Council, went down to Berkeley West Biocenter on Potter Street, one of the divisions of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Both times, Dr. Ritterman arrived before 8 am and staked out a spot in front of the entrance. As scientists came to work, Dr. Ritterman handed them a 46 postcard with a picture of the Richmond shoreline, signed by a resident of that city. It was a pitch for placing LBNL's second campus in Richmond.

"I knew the decision would be important to (lab) employees," said Dr. Ritterman, who served as head of cardiology at Kaiser Richmond for 30 years and became a city councilman in 2009. "I knew people had some concerns about Richmond and I wanted to reassure them and make an extra effort."

While Dr. Ritterman's outreach efforts were only a small part of the city's pitch to lure Berkeley Lab to town, it was emblematic of the city's enthusiasm. On Monday, at a press conference in Richmond packed with lab officials, city employees, a Congressman, a state senator, the UC Berkeley Chancellor and other dignitaries, it became official: the second campus of the LBNL will be in Richmond. The city beat out Berkeley, Oakland, Emeryville, and Alameda.

Richmond's eagerness for the second campus apparently played an important role in the city's selection. Speaker after speaker mentioned the huge crowds that attended the information sessions or expressed their support in other ways.

"An outstanding show of community support occurred in Richmond," said Paul Alivisatos, the director of the lab.

In other words the buttons symbolized

what we wanted and how we did it.


Richmond's General Plan Can Steer us towards a Greener and Healthier Future


General PlanIs Richmond ready to become a leader in the transition to cleaner energy during the next 20 years? The Planning Commission believes the answer is yes. Last November, the Commission passed a resolution recommending that the City Council adopt the August, 2011 draft of the General Plan with a handful of amendments that would strengthen the City's commitment to substantially reducing greenhouse gas and other emissions by 2030.


One of these amendments would affirm the City's intent to adopt an ordinance aimed at requiring maximum feasible energy efficiency, minimum feasible carbon (fossil fuel) intensity and support for public transit access for all major new industrial and commercial projects. In addition, it would steer us away from "cap and trade" practices, so that any increased emissions in Richmond would have to be offset or mitigated in Richmond, rather than elsewhere.   In other words, Richmond would be rolling out the welcome mat for companies that engage in clean, green technologies and the 21st century jobs that they bring with them.


According to the graph below provided by Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), there's no getting around the fact that industry will need to play a major role in achieving state mandated GHG reductions, considering the fact that nearly 90% of Richmond's current GHG emissions come from industrial and commercial uses in the city.


Green House GasThe proposed ordinance, which would be crafted and vetted in detail through public processes after the General Plan is adopted, would allow for economic development and job creation in Richmond while reducing rather than increasing emissions of greenhouse gas and co-pollutants.


Plan Good, EIR Needs Work


The extent to which an ordinance of this nature would mitigate and reduce emissions still needs to be fully analyzed and added to the General Plan's EIR, which was finalized in August, 2011 (but has not yet been certified by the City Council). The EIR as currently written includes a statement of overriding considerations, claiming that implementing the General Plan with all feasible mitigation measures could still result in significant and unavoidable GHG increases. Yet a major potential mitigation measure--the emissions reduction ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission--has not yet been considered or analyzed, and this needs to be fixed.   After all, we deserve a Plan that can reliably make our city better, not worse.  

--Marilyn Langlois


Note: The General Plan includes much more than the above discussion, of course. It's an expansive document--covering 14 major elements--that Richmond has been working on for the last six years, with much community input, to envision what people want our city to look like 20 years from now. The amendment described above was introduced by CBE to the Planning Commission in April 2011. CBE is a part of the Richmond Equitable Development Initiative (REDI), which proposed several additional amendments to strengthen the Plan's commitment to social, economic and environmental justice, and which were also adopted by the Planning Commission. The RPA supports these amendments.


Planning Commission resolution 20-11, dated Nov. 3, 2011, with its recommended amendments, can be found here. 


The FEIR statement of overriding considerations, dated October, 2011, can be found here.


The draft General Plan and all related documents can be found here.



When: Because developers succeeded in getting a ruling that Tom Butt's business dealings create a conflict of interest on issues regarding zoning of the North Shoreline, the council cannot consider the whole General Plan until the Shoreline issues are finalized without Butt. When that will be is uncertain. The Shoreline issue goes back to the Planning Commission at its meeting on 2/16 and then must go back to the Council.


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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