RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #77June 11, 2012

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Juneteenth-- Next Saturday
Sugar: National Eyes on Richmond
LGBT at the Council
Council Notes on Hipocrisy and Riggers
Produce Swap
Be a Mentor
REDI Celebration
Saffron Strand Conference
Native American Pow-Wow
Richard Wolff Film
What's Good About Richmond
You Are the Only Alternative

 To have an item listed send it to

Progressive Office
1021 Macdonald, 510-412-2260

Next Saturday Celebrate Juneteenth


Juneteenth celebrates the end of official slavery and the long March to freedom and equality for African-Americans that continues today. All of us need to be celebrating this holiday because we cannot be free while some in our family are not. It will be a wonderful celebration with outstanding entertainment that will bring visitors to Richmond from around the Bay Area. The March is scheduled to go from 10 am to 12 noon and the festival will start afterwards. See the leaflet below for more details.


The REDI celebration for passing the General Plan also being celebrated that day (see leaflet below). We urge you to make a full day commitment, attend the Juneteenth March, go to the REDI celebration, and finish off with the amazing festival.


In honor of Juneteenth, The RPA office will be closed and we will not be doing organized canvassing on this Saturday. Everyone is going to Juneteenth. Saturday canvassing will resume the following Saturday and then we are going to the Pow Wow). At the Juneteenth festival, look for the Fit for Life booth and get some healthy drinks. 

Sugar Drink Tax  Vote in November  

Richmond gets National Attention

We all can be proud that national attention is focused on Richmond helping to lead the way for our kids.


Doria Robinson of Urban Tilth  

faces off with Corky Booze (briefly)  

on Fox News

Click here for the Facebook clip of Fox News 



 PBS Newshour  

PBS Sugar Drinks   

Click here for PBS Clip 

I was happily surprised to see Richmond's soda tax initiative discussed tonight on PBS Newshour, their national  TV show watched by zillions.  Congratulations to all involved with the soda tax campaign, Fit For Life, community gardens, and other programs that encourage healthy eating.  Special kudos to Jeff and Doria, who have been key leaders and deservedly interviewed in some depth on the show.  At the Council meeting when they decided to put the initiative on the November ballot, in the minute or two allotted me, I said that I hoped that Richmond would be the first city in the nation to adopt such a tax and thereby lead the country in the campaign to fight the obesity epidemic. Little did I anticipate that we would get national coverage this soon and on such a prominent program.Wow!

Bill Pinkham 

RPA Activist Logo  

New York Times  

Covers Richmond Sugar Drink Tax

CLICK HERE for National Article 6/2/12




See Fit-For-Life website for more information. 


Setting Richmond Right


Council AudienceMore than 100 people, many of them Richmond teens and many openly lesbian or gay, came to the Council to set Richmond right about respect for all people and their rights. The turnout was in response to both hateful statements made at the Council meeting on June 22 as well as the statements which suggested that to celebrate June as Pride Month in some way downgraded the celebration of Juneteenth.


Unity Pledge
Unity Pledge was signed by most of the audience
and All of the City Council

The RYSE center youth set the tone for older folks at the meeting, which was intended to be healing and educational rather than confrontational. Many of the speakers in the one-minute open forum were moving and inspirational. Some speakers argued that the silence of Bates and Booze during and after the hate speech did not mean they supported it.


Only two of the more than 50 people who spoke on the issue in the one-minute open forum were not supportive. Wesley Ellis, who identified himself as an NAACP member, held up his Bible and said "The Bible says it's an abomination." (In fact the NAACP has recently issued a statement in support of the right to same-sex marriage, and has been actively working with the LGBT community (see New York Times article). Rev HassanEllis was answered by Rev. Kamal Hassan of Sojourner Truth Presbyterian Church who said that Gay Pride and Juneteenth do not diminish each other.  


At the June 26th Council meeting, Councilperson Beckles has arranged for a Study Session with the Family Acceptance Project. More details to come but hold the date

Not a Competition for a Single Prize


Long-time Richmond resident and social worker Dajenya Kafele started the following statement at the Council but could not finish because of time.

The oppression of African-Americans is very real and on-going, and is exemplified in, for example, the degree of poverty among African-Americans in Richmond, the inferiority of many ghetto schools, the proximity of toxic emissions from Chevron and other oil plants to poor neighborhoods in Richmond, and the way so many needed services for the poor are the first to disappear in this troubled economy. The problems in Richmond are huge, from massive unemployment to self-destructive gun-violence, and yes it is very important to do everything possible to instill Black pride in our young people so that they can strive to improve conditions for us all.

That said, each people's struggle for liberation and/or the attainment of civil and human rights is not a competition for a single prize. We all deserve freedom from oppression, and we all have the right, and even the responsibility to fight for these rights. If we can learn to work together, despite our differences, for rights and freedoms for everyone, we can all get a lot further than when we fight each other, to the benefit of no one except those who would like to keep us all down.   

Council Notes


Stop the Hypocrisy: Respect City Staff


At Tuesday's Council meeting , Councilmembers Bates and Booze spent a lot of time chastising Councilman Tom Butt for being disrespectful and " bullying" city staff.

There is no question staff that staff, like all workers, should be treated with respect and their opinions should be highly valued. The Council relies on the staff for guidance and implementation. Ultimately, however,  it is the Council that sets the policy. When there are disagreements with staff, they must be discussed in a respectful manner  All parties, including Councilman Butt, agreed that the Riggers Loft issue could have been handled better.


However, we must note that in the case of the Riggers Loft debate Tom Butt was also an expert with as much experience in the technical questions involved as the City staff, did serious research, and put forward serious arguments on the issue (see below).

The hypocrisy of Bates and Booze "sticking up for staff" can be seen simply by looking at the earlier sessions of the same council meeting where they freely abused staff based on personal interest and no research or expertise.    


In the item presented by staff on using Integrated Pest Management (reducing weeds and pests in a sustainable way that protects the environment and the health of our kids), Bates expertise and evidence were  that he purchased Round-up to do his own yard. (Click here go to 2:40:00) Bates and Booze voted No on the staff recommendation.


And Booze was contemptuous toward the City Attorney who proposed tightening up our campaign disclosure laws, especially in a time where huge corporate and outside contributions can be expected in campaigns. Booze voted No. Bates Abstained.


And of course at a previous meeting Booze  actually put on the agenda a motion calling for a "Forensic Audit " of ONS effectively accusing DeVone Boggan of illegal activities. Several public members stated that Booze several times stated that he had it in for Devone


So YES let's stop all bullying and start respecting staff as people who are trying to do their jobs for us.


Tom Butt on the Riggers Loft Controversy


(The following introduction to the Contra Costa Times article is reprinted from Tom Butt's eforum.)


I believe that both the City Council and City staff are now aligned and committed to make the Port Operations and Security Center implementation coincide and co-locate with a rehabilitated Riggers Loft. For additional background, see The Riggers Loft is the Clear Choice for the Operations and Security Center/Emergency Operations Center, June 3, 2012.


The policy direction, which came after a 4-2 vote on Tuesday, June 5, was unnecessarily protracted and divisive. The new City Council tag team and party of "no," Nat Bates and Corky Booze, have consistently opposed any efforts to rehabilitate the Riggers Loft and its, neighbor the historic General Warehouse Building, both located near where the SS Red Oak Victory is berthed at historic Shipyard No. 3, now known as Point Potrero Marine Terminal.

In fact, Nat Bates has, over the years consistently advocated demolishing many of what are now Richmond's iconic cultural landmarks, including the Civic Center, the Plunge, the Ford Plant and the Mechanics Bank in Point Richmond (historically the "Trainmaster Building" or "Santa Fe Reading Room"). All were ultimately award-winning projects that not only helped change Richmond's image but in the case of the Ford Plant, became significant engines of job creation and economic activity. They also attracted millions of dollars in grants and tax credits and put a lot of construction people to work.

For his part, Booze criticized the City for allowing the historic SS Red Oak Victory to occupy a pier at Point Potrero Marine Terminal, and criticized me for my advocacy of railroad Quiet Zones throughout south Richmond, both of which he characterized as a waste of City money.

Some people are about building a better Richmond and improving the quality of life, and some people are about just tearing everything down. I hope Richmond voters will keep this in mind as the 2012 City Council campaign season approaches.


Click here for Robert Rogers article in the Contra Costa Times "Richmond council moves port security project to new location"


 Defending Public Participation


Thank you Councilmember Jovanka Beckles for defending the public.  


The public's ability to participate in Council decision depends on knowing in advance what is coming up at Council meetings. Bates and Booze have started making a practice of abusing their right to put anything they want on the Council agenda but not telling the Council or the public in advance what the item is really about. For example Bates has had an item on the Council Agenda to amend the Council procedures. But he does not state the amendments or even tell us what they are about.


Jovanka objected to putting items on this way because it means that neither other council members nor the public could prepare for these items.

Every Thursday evening starting June 14, 5:30 to 6:30  

Richmond Garden Produce Swap

ProduceCivic Center Plaza 


Do you have too many tomatoes/zucchinis/ lemons or something else in your garden? Come to a Crop Swap and trade your excess produce for something you don't have. Meet with your neighbors, trade gardening tips, recipes and help out your community. Excess produce can be donated to a local food pantry.


Note: for our first Swap on June 14th we will be giving away Purple Tree Collard cuttings so you can grow your own of this amazing plant.


BYOB (bring your own bags)


For more info or questions contact: transitionrichmond@gmail.com or look on www.RichmondRivets.org  


Sponsored by Richmond Rivets Transition Town, Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library & the Richmond Food Policy Council.

Thursday, June 14,  5:30 pm - 9:30 pm   

ProduceBe a Mentor  


450 Civic Center Plaza,

1st Floor, Richmond Conference Room


Every Richmond youth has potential. As a mentor, you can show them how to unleash it!


Our youth are facing serious challenges, such as gang violence, teen pregnancy, disadvantaged families, and drug abuse.


Fifteen million kids face each day without a caring adult in their lives. You can make the difference. Become a mentor to a youth.


Refreshments will be provided.


Please email rgray@beamentor.org to RSVP  

and  share this announcement with others.


For more information, please visit Be A Mentor's website.

Juneteenth PosterClick here for more information

Come Celebrate the Passage of Richmond's General Plan 2030 with REDI!

Saturday, June 16th 2012, 11am- 2pm

The East Bay Center for Performing Arts

339 11th Street

Richmond's updated General Plan passed on April 24th 2012.  After a nearly six-year community-based campaign to incorporate equitable land use policies in the General Plan, REDI collaborative members are excited to celebrate our success because a majority of our policy recommendations were included!  Some of these policies include: prioritizing local hire for Richmond residents, more and better mass transit service, and more accountable air quality monitoring. There is still more work to do to ensure that these policies are implemented,  and that the Housing Element and Energy and Climate Action Plan (ECAP) reflect a community, not corporate, vision for Richmond, but first, let's celebrate our long-fought General Plan victory!!


REDIThe REDI coalition is made up of six community-based organizations who came together in 2006 to provide low-income and minority populations access to land use planning processes which directly impact their lives and livelihoods.  Over the course of our campaign, the REDI coalition developed supplementary recommendations to five of the General Plan's twelve elements, including economic development, land use, circulation, community health and wellness, and energy and climate.  REDI's recommendations were adopted by the Planning Commission (see detailed attachment) in fall of 2011. The General Plan (GP) with the Planning Commission recommendations lays the foundation for land use policies framed within equity.  More importantly, these policies represent a community vision that puts community health and the quality-of-life of city residents first!    


**Please RSVP to Christy Leffall at christy@urbanhabitat.org, 510.289.1658 by June 13th

June 18 & 19, 2012  

Defragmenting the Homeless Continuum: Linking Pathways to Self-Sufficiency

Saffron StrandRichmond Memorial Auditorium,  

Civic Center Plaza



Saffron Strand's Third Annual Conference "defragments" the confusing continuum of separate, isolated services serving those who are homeless. This conference empowers service providers to improve the self-sufficiency and employability of those they help:


  • Healing the trauma of homelessness
  • Building the capacity for work
  • Enabling community re-entry and re-integration
  • Achieving and sustaining and gainful employment
  • Rekindling hopes and dreams


Our 2012 Conference features nationally renowned authorities and the Bay Area's most innovative and successful leaders who help the homeless and other vulnerable, low-income populations.


In addition to plenary sessions Monday and Tuesday, our 2012 Conference includes more than 20 workshops and networking activities


Click here for  full agenda  


Pow WowFor more information contact
Courtney Cummings, 510-672-9877 

Richard Wolff

The Problem is Capitalism

The Solution is Democracy at Work

                  Richard Wolff

Film Show

2 p.m. Sunday, June 24, 2012

Richmond Progressive Office

1021 Macdonald Ave. Richmond CA

The Problem is Capitalism, The Solution is Democracy at Work. April 2012 (70 min. approx) Richard Wolff with Brian Edward Tiekert of KPFA.   A follow up to Wolff's talk Capitalism Hits the Fan, which explains how deep economic structures account for our fiscal crisis. What new rallying vision of an alternative, better economic system could become a means to mobilize a broad and inclusive social movement? What do we propose? A basic social change that would transform every individual's daily life and the structure of our society as a whole- Democracy at Work.   Wolf discusses the worker coop movement in Mondragon, Spain as an example of a new model.   


Richard Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and currently a Visiting Professor at the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University in New York. He has a PhD in Economics from Yale University as well as degrees from Harvard University (history BA) and Stanford University (economics MA). Wolff has authored or co-authored 10 books, over 50 scholarly articles and 75 popular articles.


Film show initiated by Contra Costa Chapter of Committees of Correspondence & The Richmond Progressive Alliance. Co-Sponsored by Northern California CCDS, & the Contra Costa County Peace & Freedom Party Central Committee

What's Good About Richmond


In early June, reporters from KQED set up in a Laundromat on Macdonald to hear what the community thought. One thing they heard was that the media only covered negative events in Richmond. A reporter, Jon Brooks, invited the community to send him a few lines or paragraphs about what we felt was good in Richmond. A number of people responded.  Some of them copied us.

Click Here to see the responses of


Kathleen Wimer

Susan Wehrle

Kay Wallis

Jeff Ritterman

Mike Parker


You can add your favorite good things about Richmond  bey sending an email to RPAActivist@gmail.com

RPA Activist LogoWant to fight  politics dominated by money? The only alternative is that we do the work.  

  We need your help
  • canvassing,
  • phone-banking,
  • data entry work,
  • arranging house meetings, rallies, and events.  
Please do your share to keep People Power in Richmond.

The office is open on Saturdays 9:30 -2 
Weekdays 2-6.  All staffed by volunteers.  
Come in or call and tell us what you are willing to do.
1021 Macdonald 

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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Richmond Progressive Alliance | P.O. Box 160 | Station A | Richmond | CA | 94808