RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #82August 5, 2012

Join Our Mailing List


Facebook: Richmond Progressive Alliance   

BAPAC attacks Beckles, RPA, Others
Jovanka Beckles Replies
Dotson Supports Sugar Tax
The Healthcare Movie Monday 8/6
Single Payer in Vermont 8/11
People Not Prisions Thursday 8/9
Sign the Petition
Heal Richmond Thursday 8/16
Raising Funds for the Campaigns
We Need Your Help

 To have an item listed send it to

Progressive Office
1021 Macdonald, 510-412-2260

BAPAC Attacks  

Jovanka, RPA, and Council Majority


The Black American Political Action Committee (BAPAC) has put out a Newsletter headlined

"Richmond a City Divided By Who and Why"  


The article attacks Councilmember Jovanka Beckles, the RPA, and a majority of the Council  and asserts that they are purposely dividing the city by supporting the sugary drink  tax and tries to link us to the Card Clubs.  Click here to see the article.


Jovanka's reply to these attacks is printed in full. Most Richmond residents will figure out for themselves who is trying to stir up race politics for this election.


The article is correct that the RPA stands for "One Richmond" and "A Better Richmond is Possible when we work together." The campaign to attract LBNL to Richmond is a great example. The RPA has fought for keeping the Richmond Public Schools open and providing quality education. We have fought for expanded athletic programs for our kids, and we have been active in programs to get at the causes of crime and violence and help those returning from prison. The sugar drink campaign is to give all of our kids a decent chance in life by discouraging unhealthy habits and raising money for sports,and health education for our kids.


The RPA has a clear record that we oppose corporate money in politics and do not accept any corporate contributions. This is what we said about the Card Club money in 2010: 

Gayle, Jovanka, and Eduardo accept no corporate contributions.  Even on a shoestring budget, they return any corporate contributions that are submitted.  
What about the Card Clubs and the Auburn Indian Tribe which are spending hundreds of thousands against the mega-casino at Pt Molate? The law unfortunately allows "Independent Expenditure Committees" to accept corporate contributions and spend unlimited amounts supporting and opposing candidates. Both Upstream, the Casino developer, and the Card Clubs are outside of Richmond and spending small fortunes in this battle.

 We oppose all corporate spending in this election including that of the Card Clubs. We think it is harmful to democracy and no matter what side it is on, it raises the price of participation so only the rich can play.      

Remember: the primary opposition to the mega-casino comes from the Richmond community, and is not reflected in the money spent, but in the volunteer work.
Click here to see Corporations, Card Clubs, and Our Campaigns
--Mike Parker

Councilmember Jovanka Beckles  

responds to BAPAC misinformation.


The recently published BAPAC statement regarding the sweetened beverage tax does a great disservice to the African American Community.  This statement by a small clique of individuals blatantly disregards and disrespects the diversity of the African American Community and all those African American leaders who are not on their side of this issue. It questions the integrity and the commitment of individuals who have a track record of fighting for the AA community such as Whitney Dotson, Jeff Rutland, Nicole Valentino, Doria Robinson, Richard Boyd,  Rev Alvin Bernstine , Dr. Henry Clark, Charles Ramsey, Bobby Bowens, Shyaam Shabaka, Deborah Price, Millie Cleveland, Leonard McNeil, myself and many others.
To make their point, BAPAC spokesmen tell outright lies. If this was intentional, it is very sad that they feel a need to stoop to deception in an attempt to get what they want. The lies in the BAPAC newsletter are easy to disprove. If it is unintentional, they will appreciate me setting the record straight here. 


BMOER 2009
2009 Juneteenth March
Far from being recently created , B-MOER (Blacks Mobilizing, Organizing,Educating Richmond) was formed in 2007.  In 2009, B-MOER marched in the Juneteenth parade and distributed leaflets encouraging us as Black people to bury the N-word.


B-MOER was formed to speak truths that some in the black community refuse to speak and promote healing through knowledge. We were established to bring to light the truth that there is a large Black progressive community in Richmond that has been silent for far too long, but is now ready to be heard. B-MOER is an organization that shares many of the fundamental values of social justice with the RPA, but it is an independent group.  

  BMOER Purpose

Any review of campaign records will clearly show that neither B-MOER nor the RPA, nor RPA candidates  ever took any money from the Card Clubs. That is preposterous nonsense of Big Soda (BS). In fact, it is the same consultant company - Whitehurst-Mosher,  that ran the Card Club campaign against the casino that is now running the campaign against the Soda Tax.

And of course suggesting that the Tea Party is part o
f the RPA or B-MOER  is a ludicrous smear.

BAPAC claims that we could have unified to work together as One Richmond. The only "unity" that BAPAC wants is unity with the power structures like Chevron and the Soda Companies that have been oppressing people of color for far too long.  It is leaders of BAPAC that supported giving millions of badly needed tax money back to Chevron. The Chevron refunds threaten to bring the city to the brink of bankruptcy and  would wipe out vital services to the Black community. The reason we don't have jobs is because the big banks and big corporations have been sucking our communities dry, sending work overseas and manipulating the financial system. 

The soda companies have been poisoning our communities because it is profitable. Plain and simple. And now BAPAC wants us to believe that an alliance with Big Soda is in the best interest of our community. This is outrageous!  An alliance with the soda industry that has consistently put profits before our health, is once again selling out to the highest bidder and it effectively keeps us as Black people enslaved.


Interestingly, the BAPAC argument against a tax that will benefit poor people the most, sounds frighteningly similar to those of the Tea party that is against any tax and are willing to vote them down even against their own best interest.     


The soda companies regularly raise prices to increase their profits.  Does BAPAC protest these increases?   


At least with the increases from the  proposed soda tax, the soda industry will not be the one reaping the benefits. A tax on soda will benefit our low-income community greatly as the proceeds will be spent on improved parks and community centers, reduced costs to join organized sports, support to our already established organized sports teams, athletic fields for our kids, health education programs, and the improved health of our children. A majority of our Council members have already pledged that money raised from the soda tax will go only for these purposes. The only Council members who refuse to take that pledge are those supported by BAPAC. There are no other proposals out there that address our need for valuable resources to make our community healthier.  We must take care of ourselves because no one else will.


To quote freedom fighter and social justice advocate, Frederick Douglass : "The world in which we live is very accommodating to all sorts of people. It will cooperate with them in any measure which they propose; it will help those who earnestly help themselves, and will hinder those who hinder themselves."  


Unity in the African American community has to be based on both our common needs and the celebration of our diversity.  We have a range of religious and political views and different preferences in arts and music.  We have different sexual orientations.  We carry the history of slavery, but it is filtered through different regions, and even different countries.  This diversity is our strength.

We also share the problems of joblessness, racism, poor healthcare, and poor education with Latinos and others in Richmond.  We need to unite to deal with these problems and not play the game of fighting over crumbs.

--Jovanka Beckles

Whitney Dotson Supports "Soda Tax"

Whitney Dotson Longtime Richmond community health activist Whitney Dotson  announced his strong support for a November 2012 ballot measure known as the "soda tax."

Dotson, who has served since 2008 on the East Bay Regional Parks District Board, stated:
I am in complete support of the 'soda tax.' We need to work against childhood obesity and approach it from every possible angle: Local access to healthy food, community gardens, education, resisting addictive sugary drinks and -- very importantly, offering opportunities to all our children to participate in group sports and recreation activities.

With his deep roots in the Richmond community and decades of public service, Dotson brings insights that also reflect his academic training:
I know the science of prevention and the lessons of tobacco control. Cigarette taxes contributed to the decline in youth smoking. I also know that the ill effects of sugar and sugary drinks can be both worse and more deceptive than tobacco.

Dotson has a BA degree in Education and Health from San Francisco State University and a Masters in Public Health Administration from UC Berkeley. He also worked as program developer for Contra Costa Health Services to develop the Center for Health in North Richmond. Noting that a companion measure to the soda tax will advise that funds be spent on sports and anti-obesity programs, 
Richmond needs more multipurpose sports fields and more support for local sport clubs and education programs. With the 'soda tax' Richmond has a great opportunity to fund programs to get our children more active and eating healthier.

Dotson reminds Richmond voters:
"Soda corporations have grown rich at the expense of our low-income families. It is up to us, the Richmond community, to take control of our children's health. The soda tax measure is part of the solution of our children's obesity problem. I'm voting for it, and I know that the Council and the community will make sure the money is spent on the needs of our children.
The Healthcare Movie

Saturday, August 11,  6-9 pm  VWC Benefit Party 


Learn From Vermont's Single-Payer Struggle      


Vermont Single Payer The Jobs-with-Justice affiliated Vermont Workers' Center (VWC) achieved a major breakthrough last year when the Vermont legislature began the process of building a state-level single payer health care system. On Aug. 11-12, VWC leaders James Haslam, Amy Lester and Anisa Potvin will be in the Bay Area to discuss lessons from Vermont's "Healthcare is a Human Right" campaign and the obstacles and challenges to single-payer implementation in Vermont that still lie ahead.


VWC Benefit Party: Saturday, August 11,  6-9 pm at 747 Lobos Avenue, Richmond  

VWC supporters Suzanne Gordon and Steve Early will host a party, fundraiser, and informal discussion with Vermont Workers' Center activists in Richmond. Come learn more about Vermont's universal healthcare breakthrough, what the national healthcare industry is doing to block fundamental reform, and how Californians can assist this struggle, while fighting for single payer here.   The related work of the Vermont Progressive Party will also be discussed. (Click here


No minimum donation. For more information or directions, call Steve Early at 617-930-7327 or email him at Lsupport@aol.com


Thursday, August 9   Buses Leave 7:15 am

Invest in People -- Not Prisons

We are at a watershed moment, when Contra Costa County will decide whether to use state realignment funds to move in the direction of locking up more and more people (most of whom have not been convicted of a crime), or in the direction of preventing crimes and reducing the jail population by ending ICE immigration holds and directing funds towards much needed re-entry services (housing, employment, mental health, substance abuse treatment for the formerly incarcerated, as well as pre-release programs). 


The county's Community Corrections Partnership is slated to vote August 9 on a budget that could go in either of these two directions.  A large coalition of community and faith groups will be there to call for
investing in people, not prisons
--please join us!
-Marilyn Langlois
For more explanation see Marilyn's longer article in RPA 79 

Heal Richmond


We Need Your Financial Support 


Our fund raiser and activities around it raised well more than our $10,000 goal for that particular event.   It's a great start but it's not enough for the whole campaign season.

We use volunteer labor for almost everything, but a single mailing costs us more than $10,000.  Plus we have to pay for printing literature, buttons, and other campaign expenses.

We are aiming to raise more than $30,000 for each candidate.  Our opposition will be able to draw on probably millions of dollars of PAC money from Chevron, developers,  Big Soda  and their front groups like the Community Coalition.

We do not take corporate contributions, so if you know others who want to help keep democracy in Richmond real, please ask them to dig deep.

You can donate on-line

www.MarilynLanglois.net       www.EduardoMartinez4Richmond.net  

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.


This email was sent to mparker00@gmail.com by rpaactivist@gmail.com |  
Richmond Progressive Alliance | P.O. Box 160 | Station A | Richmond | CA | 94808