RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #86September 4, 2012

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KPFA Debate on Soda Tax Thursday
Danny Glover Endorses Soda Tax
Why Tax Will Go to Child Health
Battle with Sheriff Thursday
Big Soda Hires Actors
Roberson Falsely Lists Endorsers
Big Soda Sues City
Join in Phone Bank
SAFE Agreement for Fields
Weigh of Life--Unique Richmond Program
Richmond Co-ops in International News
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.


KPFA  Debate on Soda Tax Thursday Morning
Jeff Ritterman will debate one of the executives of the Beverage Industries PR firm.

Listen,  Plan to call in.

KPFA   94.1 FM      7:30 am  Thursday
 Danny Glover
Actor and Human Rights Activist Danny Glover says "Yes on N, Yes on
Richmond Soda Tax!"

Why We are Certain
Tax money will fight Child Obesity


Yes on N The Big Soda companies are desperate.  Everyone now recognizes and admits that excessive amounts of sugary drinks are dangerous. Sugary drinks are not just another source of calories-they are toxic. The body cannot handle the quantities of sugar that flood the system each time a sugary soda is consumed.

(see Fit-for-Life for the latest health information

Since they have already lost the science and health argument, Big Soda is now resorting to raising cynical, unfounded doubts about how the money raised by taxing these drinks will be spent.  Proponents of the tax say that the money will go to improving child health by paying for sports programs, nutrition education, and numerous other health programs. But spokesmen from Big Soda assert " Not one thin dime" will be used for these purposes.

We reject this cynicism and are convinced that the money will be used to further the health of our citizens:

  • Five of seven current council members have pledged that they will spend the money for these purposes (Booze and Bates have refused to sign this pledge).
  • When passed, Measure O on the ballot will put Richmond voters on record as supporting that tax money collected be spent on health initiatives. Any elected official who would divert the money or try to make behind the scenes adjustments after this clear mandate, would simply make a fool of him/herself.  
  • Because of Measure O and the pledges the public will be watching closely to see that funds are spent as designated.

 Republican/Tea Party arguments

The campaign against Measure N has become a Richmond version of Republican/ Tea Party propaganda that says that all government is bad. You can never trust elected officials to do what they say they will do so we should get rid of all government programs.  This kind of thinking is destroying all of our social safety nets from Medicare and social security to jobs programs.  Our answer is that it depends who the elected officials represent -the corporations, wealthy,  and lobbyists  or the interests of working people and their communities.    

And who should you trust on these issues--the paid spokespeople for the beverage companies who are earning big bucks by taking the cynical view of our Richmond City council? Or Richmond residents who have a record of working for the community and have no financial interest in this issue?


Why doesn't Measure N designate the tax directly to child health programs? Why do we need two separate measures?

Conservative forces pushed through a state regulation that requires a 2/3 vote if a ballot measure  designates specifically where the money is to be spent.  This is an undemocratic rule designed to prevent the majority from making decisions about funding (and explains why although over 65% of voters in the WCCUSD approved more money for the schools in June, yet the measure failed and our schools are suffering). The only way for the voters to designate money for a specific purpose with a simple majority vote is as we are doing here-pass one measure by majority vote to set a the tax and then pass a second advisory measure to specify how the money is to be spent.  


But isn't this a regressive tax?

In one sense it is. We generally oppose sales taxes-which hit the poor disproportionately harder. But in this case at least all the proceeds from the tax will go to helping those in the community who need the help most. The rich do not need public athletic fields-they can go to private clubs. The wealthy have insurance and can pay for doctors. This tax will provide health facilities and programs and pay for diabetes treatment for kids that don't have them now. It is not a tax on a necessity. As long as the wealthy don't pay their fair share of taxes we will be in the position of having to use an unfair tax system to fund worthwhile, important programs.

--Mike Parker 


Yes on N back



Big Soda has plenty of money to spend in fighting Measure N
Casting Call for Soda Tax Actors

Last week a casting company put out a call for actors to play background parts as "Movie Goers" in a commercial for "No on Soda Tax in Richmond California."


Casting was looking for "African Americans, Asians, and Hispanic" ages 10 to 50. The rate offered was $500 (not clear if for one day or two days).


BTW the Century 16 Hilltop Movie Theater not only charges you an outrageous amount for soda and popcorn, but they also are subjecting you to an ad against Proposition N.


Candidate Bea Roberson
Endorsers Falsely Listed

Candidate Bea Roberson's mailer hit the mail box today. It's only real substance was the list of endorsers.  They included predictably, Bates, Booze, the spokesperson for the Big Soda front group, and  the Richmond Chamber of Commerce. She lists the RPOA and Firefighters, but her interview with them is not scheduled until tomorrow.

it also included a number of names who never endorsed Roberson and do not endorse her.  Within two hours after receiving the mailer, we identified three people including newspaper reporter Robert Rogers who were listed falsely.
Hiding where the money comes from
Big Soda Sues City


The Community Coalition Against Beverage Taxes , the "astroturf" (fake grass roots) organization funded by the American Beverage Association has filed suit against the City of Richmond in Federal Court for a temporary restraining order and an injunction to overturn the City's ordinance requiring disclosure of who pays for campaign mass mailings.


At its next meeting on September 11, the City Council,  will take up a response to this. 

Join our progressive campaign phone banking next week.
Phone bank Please Sign Now
Hi, Friends:
Let's continue to make history in Richmond!


We invite everyone to sign up for our twice-weekly "Campaign Phone Banks" for:

  • Marilyn Langlois for Richmond City Council
  • Eduardo Martinez for Richmond City Council
  • "Yes" on City of Richmond Measures N and O (sugary drinks tax and funds for anti-obesity programs)

 This year we will be phone banking from two locations. On Monday (some weeks on Sunday) evenings (5:30-8:30) we will be calling from a location convenient to the Annex.


On Thursday evenings (5:30-8:30) we will be calling from the RPA office, 1021 Macdonald.


Refreshments? Of course!.  It's also a lot of fun.   


We will also have phone banking on week late afternoons at the office .


Your RSVP is important.  Please sign up now.  Call the office at 510-412-2260  

Safe Fields
For SAFE the agreement was signed by the co-chairs Gelberg Rodriguez and Diego Garcia and SAFE co-facilitators Eduardo Martinez and Juan Reardon. For the City the document was signed by City Manager Bill Lindsay and Recreation Director Keith Jabari and the City Attorney Bruce Goodmiller and City Clerk Diane Holmes.

Safe Athletic Fields for Education

Agreement for Better Access to Recreation Fields


The City of Richmond and the Richmond SAFE (Safe Athletic Fields for Education) Coalition signed an agreement on August 27 that will give the youth sports organizations in the coalition secure and coordinated access to community recreation fields at reduced fees so that the City and SAFE can more effectively serve youth in the Richmond community.,


The SAFE coalition members that came together to mobilize for this agreement include Richmond United Soccer Club, Richmond Sol Soccer, Eclipse Soccer, The Eagles (football); Little League Baseball, Richmond Half-Steppers (track), Richmond Grinders (track) and the Richmond Steelers (football).


The City will be charging the SAFE clubs for the fields at a reduced rate. "The clubs associated in SAFE requested free access to City fields. We did not get that at this time. Nevertheless we consider the reduced fee schedule obtained an important  partial victory and a good step forward that will help the clubs." said Eduardo Martinez SAFE co-facilitator. "We need to do a lot more to expand the number of children playing organized sports. It is a great way of educating and instilling important values"  added Martinez, who is also a City Parks and Recreation Commissioner.


The clubs will perform an 'annual field maintenance day with volunteers and coordinated other efforts with the City.

--Juan Reardon  

Weigh of Life

A Unique Richmond Program to Combat Obesity

Weigh of Life


While others bemoan the rising obesity levels in the US and the lack of exercise opportunities and nutrition education in our economically disadvantaged communities, registered dietician, Jan Shilling is doing something about it. As Executive Director of Weigh of Life, Jan has devoted herself in her retirement to helping hundreds of Richmond residents become healthy as they exercise regularly, eat healthily, lose weight, and get in better shape.  


For an excellent description of Weigh of Life, see the article in the Richmond Pulse.


Since March when this article was published, the word has spread through the community. Annie Nelson and three friends started attending classes at the Nevin Center after her husband heard about the class at the Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council. The classes have already reached capacity with at least 70-80 members attending regularly. Funding from HEAL was obtained for six months of classes at Shields-Reid Center in North Richmond. These classes are full too.


Weigh of Life's understanding of the relationship between the health of adults and children is reflected in the childcare program. For a modest fee while parents exercise their children learn teamwork as they engage in active play and learn about nutrition.


How to Continue and Expand?  

The success of Weigh of Life shows the hunger for exercise and nutrition programs in areas of Richmond that have not had them available because of cost or location. Until now the modest membership fees have not covered the costs of the program and have been supplemented by grant funding. The only thing limiting the hours of the program and the spread of the program to more centers is a lack of funding. But we have an opportunity in November to help Weigh of Life and other positive health programs grow by passing Measures N and O to tax Sugary Drinks and fund Anti-Obesity Programs.



--Margaret Jordan

Weigh of Life

International News Covers Richmond Co-ops


Coop Richmond's promotion of worker-owned co-operatives was covered extensively in the Financial Times on August 27. The FT, based in London, is one of the most respected International Newspapers.


You can see the article reprinted here 



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.


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