RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #85August 21, 2012

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Chevron's Candidate Nat Bates
Fire: Setting the Facts Straight
Fire: RPA on Community Compensation
Telephone Lies on Sugary Drink Tax
Rev. Bernstine endorses Sugary Drink Tax
Bobby Bowens: Mayor McLaughlin's Thoughts
Workers Co-ops Info 8/28
Mime Troupe in Richmond 8/30
Prop 30 and 32 Info
 To have an item listed send it to

Progressive Office
1021 Macdonald, 510-412-2260


As the campaign heats up Richmond mailboxes will be full of literature supporting the Chevron and Big Soda agendas. Since we don't take corporate money, once again, our success depends on our ability to use "people power" to publicize our candidates and programs in Richmond. The RPA Activist is one tool we use to put out our ideas. One simple thing that YOU can do is to forward the RPA Activist to friends and acquaintances. Thanks.

Chevron's Candidate

Read the fine print. All those Nat Bates billboards---paid for by Chevron.  


 Should Chevron's candidates be trusted...

  • to watch over Chevron?
  • to protect our safety?
  • to make sure that Chevron pays its fair share of taxes?
  • to ensure that Chevron pays the community for results of the fire?

Should giant corporations be running (and ruining) our city?


Vote for candidates who aren't beholden to Chevron or any other corporations.  


Vote for candidates who do not take corporate money for their campaigns. 

Chevron Fire Chevron Fire  

Setting the Facts Straight


Gary Bell, apparently also seeking Chevron's favor, suggests that the cause of the fire was that Chevron's 2008 expansion project was stopped by the City Council. At Monday's Southside candidate's night, Bell said it was like having a problem with muffler noise but the shop was denied a permit. Bell had all of his facts wrong.


Fact: The crude unit - the section which burned 0n August 6 - was never a part of Chevron's proposed 2008 project . In fact, Chevron has always had complete control over modernizing the crude unit and worked on it at its "turnaround" earlier this year. It appears that Chevron decided that the pipes under suspicion did not need modernization. The incident is still under investigation.


Fact: Chevron's 2008 expansion project  was about building a bigger hydrogen unit and refining heavier, dirtier crude oil. It was stopped first by a Superior Court judge  and then by a panel of three judges
Eduardo Martinez on Chevron Fire 
Eduardo Martinez
on Chevron Fire
who found that Chevron's Environmental Impact Report was flawed. They found that Chevron was telling its stockholders one thing about their plans and telling the city another. The City Council, at that time dominated by the "Chevron Five" had approved this flawed EIR. Had they been doing their job  as representatives of the people and not simply following what Chevron wanted, the project might have gone through properly.


Richmond Community Town Hall Meeting

The Chevron Toxic Disaster: The True Facts, Stopping The Next One and Holding Chevron Accountable.

Chevron Fire CM


Thursday, August 23, 2012, 7:00 -9:30 p.m.

Richmond Progressive Office

1021 Macdonald Ave.

Richmond, CA

This event will be broadcast live on KPFA Radio 94.1 FM


The toxic cloud Chevron sent over Richmond was a result of negligence towards our community versus profits for Chevron. Chevron held a "Town Hall" meeting but did not give us accurate information. Please join us for a community discussion  to get answers about the explosions, the fire, emergency response, your legal rights and much more. This event will feature:

Honorable, Gayle McLaughlin, Mayor of Richmond

Greg Karras, Senior Scientist for Communities for a Better Environment

Dr. Henry Clark, West County Toxics Coalition *

Hon. Jovanka Beckles, Richmond City Council

Denny Larsen, Executive Director, Global Monitoring *

Testimony of Richmond residents who experienced the Chevron Toxic Fire


Moderator, Andres Soto, Richmond Organizer, CBE and Host of KPFA's Morning Mix. This event is Co-Sponsored by Communities for a Better Environment, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, West County Toxics Coalition, Richmond Progressive Alliance, KPFA 94.1 FM and many others. (*invited)


RPA Statement on Compensation from Chevron


Community Compensation is What We Need


People must get compensated for individual medical conditions and damages caused by the Chevron fire.   People have a right to get this compensation easily, without red tape, and without having to sign away their rights for future compensation if new problems develop later.


Compensation is also  a community issue. It should be solved at the community level. It is the opportunity to establish a new relationship between the community and energy company that provides for safe operation, shared prosperity, and increasingly sustainable and less polluting energy.    


It should not be solved by Chevron picking some non-profits it finds worthy (and friendly to it) but by the City Council with genuine community input that democratically represents the community surrounding Chevron


Chevron should pay its full property taxes and stop the appeals that hold the county and city hostage and cost funds for defending against the appeal. But taxes are just the starting point-the obligation of all citizens. Chevron should be funding substantially more.


It is clear from the recent accident that the community bears considerable costs by having Chevron as a neighbor. The costs come in both short term and long term health problems, pollution in our air, soil, and water and even the loss of property values and attractiveness to new jobs and industry in Richmond. Years of work improving the image of Richmond were wiped away by the fire.


A Chevron Community Benefits settlement should include the following:

  • Establish and fully fund community hospitals and clinics that continually provide access in normal times and are equipped for emergencies.  Supply all people subjected to possible pollution by Chevron access regardless of financial situation.
  • Fund an effective warning system, under community control.   
  • Enlist community involvement in monitoring effectively both internal plant processes and outputs to insure maximum reasonable safety.  Include enhanced emergency safety procedures with immediate and precautionary shut-down of production equipment at first sign of gas leak or breach of hydrocarbon containment. 
  • Supply mitigation funds for community centers and community projects.
  • Pay fair taxes.
  • Hire locally and provide preference to people living in immediate plant vicinity; supply upgrade training to provide those hired access to better jobs.
  • A statement by Chevron that once and for all ends the suggestions that environmentalist objections to its expansion plans in some way prevented modernization of the refinery and would have prevented the fire. The section of the refinery was not involved in the previous expansion plans and decisions about replacing the faulty piping were solely within Chevron's control.


RPA Steering Committee



Paid Telephone Lies About Sugary Drink Tax 


phone Following is a transcript of a call last week.  How many lies (or misstatements or stretching the truth) can you  find?   



BS (Big Soda paid caller): I'm calling on behalf of the Community Coalition against Beverage Taxes and I would like to give you a little information.

On November 6 you and other residents of Richmond will be voting on a beverage tax which will increase significantly the price you pay for soft drinks such as teas, juices, sports drinks like Gatorade, vitamin water and any sort of beverage sold in Richmond.


Now say for example you go to the local supermarket and purchase a 12 pack of any sort of beverage. It will go up in price three or four dollars. Now we are arguing to vote NO on the tax because it is unfair and misleading. They haven't clearly stated what they are going to do with these millions of dollars a year. The supporters claim that the beverage tax will help childhood obesity in Richmond however the money raised goes directly into the City's general fund account meaning the politicians can spend it on themselves if they like or salary hikes for themselves or petty programs. Given Richmond's already strained budget you can bet that the Council won't be using this money for new playgrounds and anti-obesity programs. So can we count on you to join us to vote no on the beverage tax in November?


RR (Richmond Resident)  Is this going to be a tax on all beverages?


BS: All beverages, Sir. All beverages are going to go up.


RR: Like beer?


BS: Everything!


RR(unbelieving): Beer and diet pop and all that will go up too?


BS: Yes sir. Everything except for water.


RR(More unbelieving): Beer and diet pop will go up?


BS: Yup


RR: I heard the beverage companies are paying you guys to do this. Are you paid by the beverage company?


BS: I'm not directly paid by the beverage company. I'm actually paid by a different company. It is funded by the Association for Strategic Advocacy fund committee but a lot of this funded by the American Beverage Association.


Rev. Alvin Bernstine heeds NAACP mandate  to support efforts for reducing sugar consumption among African-Americans

Recommends YES on  Measures O and N

Rev A. Bernstine The Rev. Alvin Bernstine, Pastor of Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church in Richmond, has joined many other local African-American leaders in supporting two November ballot measures to tax sugary drinks in Richmond.
I fully support the NAACP's call to reduce consumption of sugar products in African-American communities.

Rev. Bernstine, referred to a resolution ratified at the NAACP national convention in 2010.  The resolution cites research demonstrating that when prices of unhealthy products increase, consumption of them decreases.
I want to see thousands more of our children practicing sports, learning to swim, cultivating green gardens, learning to cook healthy meals, and developing healthy bodies and healthy minds.  Measures O and N can help us reach those goals.

Rev. Bernstine  shares the widespread concern among community leaders that over half of Richmond children are overweight or obese, and at serious risk of diabetes and heart disease.  Each year, the average Richmond kid consumes 40 pounds of sugar from sugary drinks, and these drinks are a leading cause of weight gain and a host of chronic illnesses related to obesity.
Measure N will place a one cent per ounce tax on sugary drinks, like soda.  If a drink has no added sweeteners (such as 100% juice, or unsweetened milk, or unsweetened baby formula) the tax wouldn't apply.  

Rev. Bernstine recalls the tremendous influence that cigarettes taxes had on decreasing teen smoking. A sugary drinks tax could also reduce consumption - helping more children to live longer, healthier lives.  Proceeds raised from Measure N can further help fight obesity and diabetes with the passage of Measure O, a companion measure that will advise City officials to spend Measure N funds on sports fields, recreation, and health education.
.By supporting Measures O and N, our community can take control of our children's well-being.

Rev. Bernstine particularly reminds Richmond senior citizens to listen to the advice of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). The AARP has joined the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Heart Association, in supporting a tax on sugary drinks.  He also underscores the First Lady's interest in fighting childhood obesity:
Mrs. Obama has being working for several years to improve the health and fitness of American children.  By putting our kids first and passing Measures O and N, Richmond can advance the First Lady's efforts at the local level.

The Reverend Dr. Alvin C. Bernstine is a fourth-generation Baptist preacher. He was born in Oakland, California, and received his primary education in the Oakland public school system. He earned a Masters of Divinity Degree from Vanderbilt Divinity School, of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. He was a Dr. Samuel Dewitt Proctor Fellow at the United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio, and in 1995 he received his Doctor of Ministry Degree. Dr. Bernstine has served the Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church in Richmond since 2006.


Bobby Bowens

Mayor McLaughlin wrote the following letter to Bobby before she heard of his death. She read this at his memorial on  Saturday.  




Dear Bobby,

I hope you are feeling okay and are involved with beautiful engagements with your family and close friends. After all, those beautiful engagements are what we work so hard to strengthen and enhance.


I wish I knew you in the 60s when you were with the Black Panther Party. I can only imagine what it was like in Richmond having you and the Black Panther Party being a force here in these critical times.


Knowing you in recent years has touched my heart. I see in you a truly genuine human being - someone who believes in the people and believes in yourself. I see in you an intellect who has been bringing to people of all colors the honest education that is needed, particularly about race, but about the overall problems of this oppressive system in general. I see in you someone who is calm in your presentation and deep in your passion. I see in you someone who touches others so naturally with your smile and your words. I see in you a force that has never wavered in your stand for a better Richmond, a better world, and a better society.


I saw this in you the first time I met you when you came to meet with me about the needle exchange program and I see that in you now.


Bobby, please know we are with you. You are loved by Richmond. The heart of Richmond and North Richmond is bigger because of you and it will never stop beating.


Please heal well.

With love and deep appreciation,


Gayle McLaughlin

Mayor, City of Richmond


Bobby Bowens was a member of the RPA Steering Committee.  For memories of other members of the Steering Committee see Issue # 84

Tuesday, August 28, 6:45 pm

Richmond Worker Cooperative Community Meeting  

Dear Worker Cooperative Enthusiasts and Job Creators,


Bobby Bowens Please join us on the evening of Tuesday, August 28, from 6:45-9 p.m. to update each other on our worker cooperative job-creation projects here in Richmond.  Speakers will include Mayor McLaughlin, and participants in such cooperative projects as restaurants, solar energy, bicycles and aquaponics, as well as service providers such as The California Center for Cooperative Development, the Richmond Worker Cooperative Revolving Loan Fund and the East Bay Community Law Center. There will be time for Q&A and networking.


We will meet in the Whittlesey Community Room next to the Richmond Library (325 Civic Center Plaza). The meeting is informal and open to everyone.  You can take this opportunity to inspire and learn from each other, whether you are just beginning to think about creating a worker-owned cooperative or are well on your way in the planning process.

This meeting continues our series of community gatherings in Richmond for those with all levels of interest and knowledge about creating their own jobs.  In future gatherings we will continue the momentum with presentations, films, reports, discussions, and always an opportunity to meet with members of our community who share your aspirations for Richmond. 

Hope to see you on the 28th!

Be well,

Terry Baird,

Wayne Landers

For further information or if you'd like to be a presenter, please contact Wayne Landers at landers_wayne@yahoo.com


Thursday, August 30,  7 pm
Mime Troupe

1 % vs 99% on State Ballot   


Proposition 32: "A fraud to end all frauds"

LA Times columnist Michael Hiltzik didn't mince words when he described Prop 32 in this Sunday's paper. He called it out for what it is: "a lie" and "a fraud to end all frauds."

"In this state, we've come to expect ballot initiatives sponsored by business interests to be, essentially, frauds. But it's hard to conceive how one could be more fraudulent than Proposition 32. If there was any doubt left that the initiative process has been totally corrupted by big business and the wealthy, this should put it to rest for all time."

See Column in LA Times  

Yes on Proposition 30 on the web 
Yes on Prop 30 website 

Read the initiative 768k PDF
Download the fact sheet 56k PDF
Print your own window sign 78k PDF 



RPA Activist Logo Two measures on the November State ballot are about the domination of wealth in our government. Proposition 30 requires that the wealthy pay more to maintain education and other crucial state services.  


The RPA urges a YES vote on 30. On the same ballot is a measure that will weaken the power of unions while maintaining and increasing the power of wealth in politics. The RPA urges a NO vote on 32. We believe that both the Yes on 30 and the No on 32 are two parts of the same fight and should be waged together against the massive corporate money on the other side.


It's time to plant the signs

Come by the office 1021 Macdonald and pick some up  

or call us and we will deliver 510-412-2260

 Lawn Signs


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