RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #87September 20, 2012

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Fundraiser Saturday
Refinery Fire Community Meeting Monday
Soccer Club President Endorses N
CC TImes: False Information
Pulse Interviews Doria
Real Parent Choices Under N
Jail Stopped--Next Steps
National Native Vote Week
Neighborhood Council Election Debates
Campaign Notes
Chevron Fire Compensation
Co-op Meeting
Action at Refinery Planned
Climate Change?
Prop 30 and 32 Info
Plant the Signs
We Need Your Help
 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.


Fundraiser 9/22
Monday, September 24,  8 - 8:30 PM
Next Refinery Fire Public Meeting

Richmond Auditorium
Hosted by Contra County Health Services 
and City of Richmond

Hear from several agencies on updates.
Childcare and light refreshments provided

Gelberg Rodriguez endorses "soda tax" to fund new youth sports fields and fitness education

Richmond Soccer Club President Urges 'Yes' Votes on Measures 'N' and 'O'

Gelberg Rodriguez on the Soda tax
Gelberg Rodriguez on the Soda tax

Gelberg Rodriguez, president of the Richmond United Soccer Club, joins the growing list of local youth leaders who support two November ballot measures to tax sugary drinks in Richmond. "The soda tax is a positive thing for our community. Youth sports are an important way to combat obesity and teach good values; yet more than 10,000 children in Richmond are not playing sports. One reason is a lack of facilities. Richmond currently lacks over 20 sports fields to meet our community's needs."
Response to Contra Costa Times Editorial on N
Times Puts out False Information


Chevron Action I very much appreciate the fact that the Times editorial staff took the time to comment on Richmond's soda tax. Unfortunately, its lack of scientific knowledge resulted in a poor recommendation. This is to be expected since much of the science is new and since much of the opposition's arguments are meant to confuse, not clarify.


The paper seems to think no direct link exists between sugar-sweetened beverages and obesity, diabetes, premature heart disease and cancers. It is wrong. The medical literature is full of articles demonstrating a definitive link. It is irresponsible for the Times to put out this false information to the public.


The editorial states: "sugar is one of many contributors to obesity. And soda is just one form of sugar delivery. Once we start down the path of taxing soda, what else should be included? Butter? Hamburgers? Cheesecake? Snow cones? Donuts? It's a slippery slope."

Sugar is not only "one of many contributors to the obesity epidemic." Liquid sugar is by far the main contributor to the obesity epidemic. The epidemic is not just about obesity, it is about diabetes, premature heart attacks and some cancers. It's not about being overweight. It's about dying young.


Butter, hamburgers, cheesecake and doughnuts are solid foods that go through the digestive system. All have some nutritional value. Sugar-sweetened beverages have none.


For 150,000 years, we have satisfied our needs for liquids with water alone. That's what the body expects.  


But instead we mix huge amounts of sugar in with the water. The sugar is made up of two molecules, glucose and fructose.


The glucose causes a spike in serum insulin levels. When insulin is circulating, we lay down fat and we are unable to break down fat. These high insulin levels predispose to fat accumulation. High insulin levels also promote cancer growth. Meanwhile, the fructose goes straight to the liver, where much of it is converted to fat.


It's not the fat we see that is the problem. It's the fat we don't see. The liver itself gets packed with fat and makes the liver insulin-resistant. The pancreas overworks to compensate and eventually fails, leading to diabetes.  


The liver also makes the kind of fats (small, dense LDL particles) that plug up the coronary arteries leading to premature heart attacks. That's why men who drink one can of soda a day have a 20 percent increased risk of having a heart attack compared with men who don't drink soda.


Much of this science is new and obviously not known to the Times editorial board. But much of the medical community is now aware of it and that is why the California chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics "applauds the Richmond City Council of behalf of the health of California's children ... and strongly endorses" the Richmond soda tax. It's also why the American Medical Association, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Public Health Association all support taxing sugar-sweetened beverages.


The editorial further claims: "Excess weight and obesity cannot be curtailed with a tax." Does this paper know better than the United States' top doctor for prevention, Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who said that the sugar-sweetened beverage tax "could be the single most effective measure to reverse the obesity epidemic"?

There is incontrovertible scientific evidence linking sugar-sweetened beverages to overweight, obesity, type 2 diabetes, premature heart attacks and cancer. If we don't intervene successfully our children will lose years of life. The country's best medical minds are supporting the Richmond soda tax.  


Let's make history and begin to reverse the obesity/diabetes/premature heart attack/cancer epidemic right here in Richmond. Vote yes on N, yes on O.

--Jeff Ritterman 


See the Contra Costa Times editorial  

Richmond Pulse Interview with Doria Robinson 


Richmond Pulse:
What was your initial response to the possibility of a sugar sweetened beverage tax in Richmond?


Doria Robinson: Actually [City Councilman] Jeff [Ritterman] came to me a couple years ago saying that he was interested in this idea of a soda tax and he was wondering what I thought of it. I started thinking about it and I really started to actually look into the way that we spend our money. The kids that are comin' to my programs buy this $2.00 soda thing every day. They're already spendin' a ton of money on a beverage when they have free water. What's 16 cents on the $1.99 that you already spent for your sugar water? I started to think this could be something really good. It was an opportunity for us to change our own destiny by all throwing in just a little bit.


RP:  But is soda really the problem?


DR: If you're going to focus on one thing in particular to make the biggest impact and change on your health, soda is a great thing to focus on. It's the single biggest way that people are taking in empty calories. It offers you nothing. Maybe a little bit of thirst quenching. But sometimes it even makes ya' more thirsty because of all the stuff that's in it.

I am pre diabetic. ... Diabetes runs on both sides of my family. When I found out that I had really high sugar levels in high school the first thing I did was stop drinking soda. I just stopped and my glucose levels just immediately balanced out. If you can choose one thing that makes a really big impact, soda is a really great thing to choose. 


Click here for full article in Richmond Pulse  

Measure N Provides Parents Real Choices


Yes on N With Measure N, sugary drinks  are not prohibited. Parents still have to take responsibility whether to purchase these for their kids.

Measure N gives parents new and real choices.

  • With Measure N a parent does not have to keep the kids inside watching television out of fear for their safety.  Measure N will offer the choice of safe sports programs and other youth activities. That is new choice.     

  • Measure N gives a parent who has a child with diabetes and cannot afford treatment the choice of getting medical treatment.      

  • A parent will have a choice if he or she wants their children to learn about healthy food rather than the messages the giant food companies push on kids through advertising. 

Parents will have these choices because Measure N, the Soda tax, and Measure O   begin to provide these choices . They are the only actions on the political horizon that will raise funds for these programs. The funds  are not enough but they are a good start. There are no other proposals to provide for these programs.  


Measure  O will put the city residents on record for spending the tax money on these programs 


Three of the four continuing council members who are not up for reelection this year have pledged that the tax revenues for N will be spent on these programs. Candidates Eduardo Martinez, Marilyn Langlois, and Tom Butt  have pledged the same. (Candidates Bates, Bell, and Roberson have refused to make the pledge.)

-Mike Parker
Update on AB109 realignment funds
Jail expansion stopped!


Strong community  presence at CCP meetings was essential to backing progressive policy
A major step towards investing in people not prisons was made on Sept. 6.  Following a broad community mobilization that began in Richmond and grew to include voices from all over Contra Costa County, Sheriff Livingston stated that he is willing to take jail expansion off the table for now.  Click here for the press release from CCISCO.  The RPA is proud to be part of this successful and inclusive coalition.

The funds that had been proposed for the jail expansion and related staffing (approximately $6 million) have not yet been re-allocated to much needed one-stop re-entry centers and services for housing, jobs and education, so we need to keep our voices heard! 

The Community Corrections Partnership (CCP) executive committee established an ad hoc committee to look at all the budget proposals for this year's $19 million in realignment funds and make sure they are well integrated and in line with the County's re-entry strategic plan.  They are holding four working meetings and hope to come back to the CCP with a recommendation in early October. 
The second of these working meetings will be Friday, Sept. 21, from 11am - 5pm in the basement of 440 Civic Center Plaza in Richmond, and it is open to the public.
The ad hoc committee is comprised of:
  • 3 CCP members (Robin Lipetzky, Public Defender; Chris Magnus, Richmond Police Chief; and Kiri Torre, Executive Officer of the Court)
  • 2 members of the CCP Community Advisory Board (Bishop Edwina Santiago of Reach Fellowship and Devorah Levine of Zero Tolerance for Domestic Violence)
  • 1 representative from the County Administrator's office
  • Supervisors John Gioia and Federal Glover, who chaired the county's re-entry strategic plan process
I'd like to emphasize that some of the most important voices in this process have been those of the real experts, namely members of the Safe Return Project and others who have been incarcerated in the past and know what it takes to successfully turn their lives around and contribute to the community.  They have been there, know what the obstacles are, and are now leaders in this positive social movement.  The decision makers need to listen to their expertise

--Marilyn Langlois 

September 24-28th is
National Native Vote Action Week!!!
The Native American Health Center Oakland,San Francisco and Richmond sites hav pledged to help community members
REGISTER TO VOTE for the 2012 Elections on November 6th!!
We are working on ways to encourage education and involvement with our Native Community towards understanding the value in exercising the right to VOTE and expressing our Native Voices.
PLEASE Stop by on Sept.27th at the NAHC Richmond site and support or register to vote yourself.
  -Learn some interesting information about Native Voter turnout in previous elections!
Thursday September 27, 12pm-4pm
260 23rd street, ( Macdonald Avenue)
All are welcome!!!!
Facillitated by Jordan Skye Paul-Official NAHC Native Vote Coordinator, NAHC Media and NAHC staff.


Thank you~ Let's ROCK THE NATIVE VOTE 2012!


 Neighborhood Council Election Debates
Wednesday, 9/26  6:30 pm 
Combined  N&E and other Neighborhood Councils candidates night,  Richmond Senior Center, 2525 Macdonald Ave.

Thursday, 9/27  7:00 pm
Point Richmond Neighbor Council Candidate's Night, 7 PM - 9PM, 1160 Brickyard Cove Rd, Schooner Building, Rm 202

 Election Campaign Notes
Willie Brown  Apparently  Willie Brown's recent testimonial in Richmond opposing Measure N and urging on Bates and Booze was actually paid political advertisement.   The SF Chronicle reports that Brown was paid by the Beverage Lobby for the speech (although he may have given them a reduced rate.)

More Chevron than Chevron   Candidates Bates, Bell and Roberson were so concerned to protect Chevron that they opposed a City Council action that would amend the Richmond Industrial Safety Ordinance to bring it into line with the County ordinance which is leading the investigation.  Apparently they don't want the city to do or say anything about the Chevron fire until after "all the studies are completed"  which will be months or even years.

Ironically the Refinery Manager, Nigel Herne, had no objection to the council action since the Refinery was already complying with the County version.

False Advertising  In a previous newsletter we noted that checking just three of the "endorsers" of Bea Roberson we found them to not be supporters at all.  The Richmond Confidential checked a larger sample and found that seven had not endorsed her.  

Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce made it appear that No on N  was connected with the home-front festival.  The Park Service sent out a retraction to set the record straight.  Unfortunately the literature is already printed and distributed.
--Mike Parker
Chevron Fire
More Needed in Community Compensation


This letter is in response to the

Chevron Fire I think there is something missing from your list of items of deserved community compensation from the fire.


Why is there no daily monitoring of regular pollution in those neighborhood which even the environmental community representative said are exposed to pollution from the refinery daily.  I think the community needs to have a data base of what those people who live near the refinery are being exposed to.  These people need to have recourse for the medical effects of living that close to the refinery, and all their asthma etc. diagnoses, visits and meds, need to be reimbursable at all times, not just in crisis times.



*  chevron should pay for the installation of adequate monitoring equipment in all affected neighborhood in the flatlands around the refinery


*  chevron should fully fund sufficient staff to read, collect data, store and organize this data, and who would allow access to such data to legally qualified individuals such as lawyers, doctors, city administrators and elected officials, as well as all health and environmental organizations


*  chevron should agree in advance to fund all medical costs of all residents in these neighborhoods at all times when the medical condition is related to exposure to polluted air from the refinery by a legitimate medical person/system


I'm not happy that the cloud full of particulate matter floated over my house in Richmond Heights.  But I am even more unhappy for our residents in the city of Richmond living near the refinery who often don't have other options and have been and are continuing to give away their health because of their corporate neighbor's pollution.


The fire was unfortunate.  But if it means we can lead the way in this country for establishing the culpability of corporate industry for the daily pollution which damages people in their normal lives, perhaps it will have been a gift for us.


So, I'd ask you to consider adding a version of these suggestions to your list.  


We're proud of the work you are doing for all of us.  Thanks for your leadership.


--Jude Levine

Thursday September 27, 
The Take to Show at Next Co-op Meeting


twin pines This educational and mutual assistance meeting continues our momentum to build a worker cooperative movement in Richmond, California to create empowered and consistent employment here. We will watch a film and then discuss our proposed and current cooperative projects.


We will watch the inspiring film "The Take" by Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis, about the takeover of abandoned factories in Argentina during its economic collapse several years ago. The movie gives a sense of what workers can do to empower themselves in the face of greed and indifference, while strengthening their communities and creating secure livelihoods for themselves.


There will be a discussion following. Please bring questions/issues about your proposed or current cooperative projects.


Please come join us on the evening of Thursday, September 27, from 7-9 p.m. in the Whittlesey Community Room next to the Richmond Library (325 Civic Center Plaza, to the left as you enter the Civic Center parking lot from MacDonald).

--Terry Baird


Chevron Action
Weathergirl goes rogue
Weathergirl goes rogue
Climate Change?

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.