RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #89October 8, 2012

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$1.2 M for Chevron Candidates
Corbin Responds to Chevron's Hit Pieces
Negligence at Chevron?
Response to Hit Piece on Eduardo
Chevron playing Hardball
Big Soda Pours $2.2 Million. Our Answer
Saffron Strand BBQ Sunday
Indigenous People Celebration Tuesday
It's Up To YOU
Plant the Signs
Prop 30 and 32 Info
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.



Bates Bell Cartoon


$1.2 Million Dollar  

Chevron Funds  Expensive Richmond Campaign  

Chevron is spending plenty to control the city of Richmond. It is operating behind a front group Moving Forward, claiming to be a coalition or unions, businesses and community groups. The legal papers show that only Chevron has contributed to the giant $1.2 million that this committee has to elect Bell, Bates and Roberson and defeat Langlois and Martinez. Yes those are the specific names on its filing papers. It has bought up all the bill-boards in the area (except those bought by Big Soda) and is shoving its candidates at us by flooding our mail boxes. They think if they keep repeating the candidates names often enough that it does not maBates Bell Cartoontter that their mailers say nothing of substance.


  The Chevron committee even sent out a full mailer for Gary Bell. Bell's insistence that he is independent of Chevron rings as true as Romney's claim of independence from the Koch brothers. Bell, the financial expert, was not heard from when Chevron tried to use legal bullying to extort property tax refunds that would seriously harm the city and county services. Nor was Bell anywhere to be seen in the fight against foreclosures in Richmond. Many long-time observers remember that Mr "fiscally responsible" Bell took a junket to Los Vegas  on Richmond's dime after he was defeated for re-election in 2004.


And Nat Bates, the Councilman who likes to brag to reporters that he can get away with driving the wrong way because he has friends on the police force, has no trouble going whatever direction best serves Chevron at Council meetings.


Chevron operates through many groups. It is also the major funder of the Council of Industries, BAPAC, and the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, The RCOC is known

Bates Bell Cartoon
RichPAC is the political arm of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce 

for supporting Chevron's interests against those of other small businesses and, of course, also supports Bell, Bates and Roberson.


Chevron Funds Hit Pieces 


Over the last week the hit pieces against Marilyn Langlois and Eduardo Martinez kept landing in mail boxes. All of them are put out by a committee "with major funding by Chevron". In fact Chevron is the only major contributor listed. Like the billboards for Bell and Bates the fine print states that the committee is specifically funded to oppose Marilyn and Eduardo


Apparently the committee has more money than it can spend so it sent out the same lame hit pieces twice with slightly different formats. In Marilyn's case they tried to twist around her principled stand against the unjust and tragic Iraq War (click here). This kind of attack only served to demonstrate where the real lines are drawn in Richmond. Former Mayor Rosemary Corbin responded immediately

In Eduardo's case the best they could do was complain that he only attended 2/3 of the committee meetings he was serving on as a volunteer. (See the letter below).






Negligence at Chevron?  Who Pays? 


As the investigation into the Chevron fire continues, there are reports that investigators are looking at Chevron negligence. Apparently there was at least one and possibly more instances over the last 10 years where workers and inspectors recommended that the now infamous 8" pipe be replaced but were overruled by upper management.


 Perhaps Chevron management would do better to look after plant safety instead of trying to manipulate Richmond politics to suit the company or to get taxes reduced.


This is a national problem. Five top U.S. corporations racked up millions in profits last year and paid no federal taxes. They spent money instead on political campaigns and it was money well spent. Over the last

We foot the bill for Chevron's fire and for their political campaigns.

decade, Bank of America, Boeing, Chevron, ExxonMobil and General Electric handed out $78.7 million to state political campaigns and $45.3 million to federal campaigns, according to a report by the National Institute for Money in State Politics. In return, the corporations in 2009 won $3.7 billion in tax breaks overall and paid $0 in federal taxes. They enjoyed a combined profit of $77.16 billion in 2010. Read the report HERE.  


In the mean time because of the fire and some other incidents at California refineries, gas prices have spiked.


Hit Piece Attacks Eduardo

Two hit pieces with the same content attacking Eduardo  arrived in many mailboxes on the same day.  Here is a response. Well said.

Eduardo Hit Piece One need not wonder anymore about why good hardworking people don't run for office. This year's election for Richmond City Council answers the question. The special interest, big money backers are resorting to a new low of lying by omission. The flyer sent out attacking Eduardo Martinez and Marilyn Langlois are typically used by those who wish to continue exploiting the community. They think that the community is so out of touch and not educated enough to know that big money wants to continue their oppression of the masses. I don't agree with everything Eduardo or Marilyn support, but I do know that I can discuss the issues with them and each will be very open to hearing the other side before making a decision.


The attack on Martinez with his face on a missing milk carton lies by omission. It implies that he had government jobs and missed work continually. The fact is that he had been a committed teacher in Richmond for many years and after retiring continues to serve the community by volunteering on many school committees as well as committees for the City of Richmond. Like most people that volunteer, one can only be in so many places at once; therefore, to only miss 1 out of 3 or 4 meeting on a particular committee speaks volumes to one's commitment to serve our schools and community in some way. One can only ask how many times the backers of the hit pieces missed a meeting, or if they know the reason committees have secretaries who send out notes on what happens in a meeting? Do the backers of the hit pieces know if Martinez read the notes of the meeting, or discussed the meeting with other members? My guess is that they don't care; all they wish to do is to throw stones and hope some will hit.


--Scottie Smith

Educational Advocate

Chevron Playing Hardball 


At last Tuesday's Council meeting there was discussion on a resolution urging Chevron to reconsider its decision to pull out of the offices it was leasing in  Marina Bay.  The following is an edited version of a statement made during the discussion.



Chevron Fire Tonight we have the chance to ask the Chevron Corporation to do right by investing in a Richmond research facility.


We are pretty well timed out with their P.R. rap that they're been our neighbor for 110 years. The Iron Triangle is Chevron's literal neighbor, but does it feel like a neighbor to California's richest corporation?


After 114 toxic years and the fire, Chevron owes us.


Chevron has acres and acres of land available. What would it have been like if it had chosen to build its world headquarters here in Richmond instead of in the white suburb of San Ramon? They didn't want their executives to breathe our air, or their children to attend our schools.


In spite of being asked over and over not to meddle in Richmond's politics, Chevron provides major funding to candidates who they think will put their profits above our needs.


In spite of their being asked by unanimous City and School District resolutions to drop their tax appeals and in spite of the Assessment Appeals Board unanimously turning down Chevron's last appeal, Chevron announces it's appealing again, forcing us to waste our precious resources to fight them in court.


God help us if we should lose and have to pay back what's chump change for Chevron and heart's blood for Richmond.


Chevron's statement yesterday plays hard ball, "We are not going to stop appealing our taxes or invest in Richmond until our Refinery Expansion project is approved." (said like nyah nyah on you)


Our response and the patriotic response of all candidates has to be, "Your Refinery Expansion Project will be approved when you drop all of your property tax appeals."


Sylvia Hopkins and Michael Beer


Big Soda  Puts in $2.2 Million  So Far

ugly cans
photo by Fletcher Oakes
It's bad enough that Chevron polutes our elections with its massive amount of campaign money.  Big Soda may beat them.  Legal filings covering to the end of September shows that Big Soda has spent $2.2 Million in its campaign against measure N.  They really are worried that the measure may reduce the profits of their sugar drink empire. It is not worried about it's profits in Richmond.  They are afraid that if it passes here it will quickly spread to other cities.  They are certainly not spending this kind of money because they care about the Richmond community, regressive taxation, or the small businesses.

We would like to say that at least this is bringing much needed money into Richmond.  But we suspect most of this $2.2 million is going to the high-priced San Francisco firm and all the mailings that are going out.

Our answer to their money is the truth and the spirit of the people.  On Saturday a new mural appeared at 37th and Macdonald.
ugly cans
photo by Fletcher Oakes
The mural was part of a project
called Dunk the Junk Dunk the Junk which attacks the junkfood epidemic through various forms of youth culture.

Click below for a sample of the rap.
DTJ Top Ten Foods to Dunk - #1
DTJ Top Ten Foods to Dunk - #1

Sunday, October 14, 11 am - 4 pm  Miller-Knox Park 

Family Fun and Great Food at Saffron Strand BBQ

It's an old-fashioned community get-together with fun for the whole family, both kids and young-at-heart adults: Face-painting, sack race, egg-and-spoon race, three-legged race, drawing station, bubble blowing, and tug-of-war.

And the food's going to be great! This community picnic includes the first BBQ Ribs Throw Down featuring Saffron Strand's amazing Chef Chi versus Richmond ribs artist Carlton Lax. These Saffron Strand BBQ experts meet in fork-to-fork competition over the smoking grill, with their BBQ ribs judged by a panel of Bay Area gourmands, including Margaret Jordan (RPA, Richmond), Richard Hong (California Bank & Trust, Albany), and Joe Escobedo (The Glam Box, Oakland).

Also, hot-from-the-grill: BBQ chicken, hamburgers and hotdogs, and veggie burgers. Delicious sides and desserts include potato salad, string beans, sweet corn, collard greens, fresh fruit kabobs, peach cobbler, and Jell-O fluff. Saffron Strand has a growing Bay Area-wide reputation for delicious food.

To register for the Friends & Family Barbeque, click here . For more information, visit the Saffron Strand website or contact Saffron Strand at (510) 778-9492 or info@saffronstrand.org.

Half a dozen businesses already support this event and it's not too late for others to help, too. They should contact Chi at (510) 778-9492 or Chi@saffronstrand.org.

A majority of the homeless in Richmond want to get back to work. Saffron Strand members are leading the way: They are not sitting idly by and waiting for public agencies and charities to support them. While they're training and looking for jobs, they're getting real-world work experience by organizing Saffron Strand annual events (Vigil for the Homeless, Annual Convention, Friends & Family Barbeque, etc.) and advocating for new, employment-focused solutions to reduce homelessness.  




Tuesday October 9th- 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.  

Richmond Memorial Auditorium,


Celebrate Indigenous People's Day by

Demanding EBRPD Listen to Native Voices!


On Tuesday October 9th, East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) will hold its final public comment meeting on the upcoming revisions of its Master Plan. We are asking for a massive display of public support at the meeting to amplify regional Indigenous people's concerns.  


For more than a decade local Native people have insisted that EBRPD implement appropriate protection and management of cultural sites and resources within their jurisdiction. EBRPD has consistently failed to acknowledge these perspectives.  


Please take the opportunity to commemorate Indigenous People's Day by demanding that EBRPD finally include local Native voices and create effective policies to guide the stewardship of sacred land.


Please write letters to EBRPD prior to October 9th to insist that they give Indigenous people a defining voice in how the District manages their sacred sites. The more specific that you can be in reference to the proposed revisions, the better.


Emails should be sent to: General Manager Robert Doyle bdoyle@ebparks.org 


For more information click here.

You see what we are up against.  The only way we win is if you help. 
Call the office
,510-412-2260  and do your part to say NO to money buying our city.

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


Yes30  No32

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.


SEIU 30/32

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.


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