|Issue: #90||October 15, 2012|
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1021 Macdonald, 510-412-2260
PASS IT ON!!
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.
Did You get your $150.00 from Big Soda
That is how much Big Soda is paying for each vote it needs to defeat measure N. You didn't get your share? That is because most of the $2.2 million they are spending is going to San Francisco PR firms, expensive mailings, and lawyers. Of course, Big Soda is not spending big money because it cares a fizz bubble about Richmond or its small businesses.
By the way, as a friend points out, how much does Big Soda raise its prices to pay for these expensive campaigns across the country? It seems its OK for Big Soda to increase prices for their own profit or to pay for their campaigns. But if the price increase goes to help kids fight obesity, then it's an attack on the poor?
True, there is some small part of this big fortune being used to pay people to deliver literature or make calls. Joblessness and desperate times give large corporations another advantage. They can hire people very cheaply. Will this be enough? What we have found is that paid door-knockers and phone bankers are not as effective as real volunteers who believe in what they are doing.
At least one of Big Soda's local phone bankers told us that he agreed with Measure N but reading a script was a paying job. Another person called our office and said she was working for Bates but would never vote for him.
Will Democratic Party Sell Its Soul?
(or is it already sold?)
We hear that the Big Soda folks are offering to fund a substantial part of the local Democratic Party Campaign if the official Democratic Party will include "NO on N" on its slate cards.
The battle in Richmond is not over the technical details of Measure N. It is just the local battlefield of a national battle to reduce the costs to our health from businesses that make huge profits in destroying our health. Big Soda is spending Big Bucks here because it wants to slow the movement's growth nationally.
Slate Card Endorsements are Sold
Did you know that most of the Slate Cards you receive in the mail, with great names like Democrats for Progress, are nothing more than a money making operation where the endorsement of the candidates and the positions on propositions are sold to the highest bidder.
Look carefully at the one we received today. Note that the names and propositions with the * have paid to be included. Note also that the slate card endorses Bell, Bates, and Roberson and also opposes Prop 30 (millionaires tax for schools), supports the anti-union 32, the pro-insurance 33, and opposes the GMO labeling 37.
These endorsements cost a lot of money. If you look at the "460 forms" you will see that Chevron's candidates paid for a lot of endorsements.
Friday, October 19, 9:00 AM
Jeff Ritterman Debates Chuck Finnie
on Sugar Drink Tax
KQED Radio 88.5 FM
Please join in. Call or email in your questions
See the Video and Pass It On
Marilyn Responds to Chevron Hit Pieces
Marilyn Langlois Answers Chevron Hit Pieces on Taxes and 9/11
I have recently been attacked by numerous hit pieces funded by Chevron. The latest assault falsely paints me as an irrational 9/11 conspiracy theorist.
Here's the truth: On 9/11, my daughter, who was 18 at the time, lived just a few blocks from the World Trade Center. Thankfully, she survived. Because her life was put at such great risk, I took a keen interest in following all the available information about the events of that day. I do not accept "official" explanations without checking the evidence.
Here's the real question:
Why is Chevron so desperate to divert voters' attention with these tabloid smear tactics?
|Chevron Hit Pieces|
- Because I am beholden to no one except the people of Richmond
- Because, like you, I want to ensure that the Chevron refinery behaves as a responsible neighbor, paying its full share of taxes, minimizing pollution and preventing toxic fires
I remain focused on the important issues that matter most to Richmond families: building a healthy, peaceful, and vibrant city for everyone.
I challenge Chevron to turn its full attention to operating its refinery so that Richmond residents are no longer endangered by toxic fires and pollution.
Jeff Ritterman Letter to Chevron Executives on Hit Pieces
Chevron: The Responsibility is Yours
Jeff Ritterman sent the following letter to the executive leaders of Chevron: Nigel Hearne, Mike Coyle, Heather Kulp, Barbara Smith, and Walt Gill
I just received another of the negative campaign ads attacking Marilyn Langlois that you are funding.
You should all be ashamed of yourselves for engaging in this nasty business. You are attacking Marilyn Langlois for protesting the war by withholding her income tax. How dare you! Marilyn's was a courageous and moral act.
It's not enough to finance your own candidates. You need to stoop to this kind of nasty politicking and then you wonder why your image is on a steady downhill course in Richmond.
Chevron is paying the bill. You are Chevron's representatives in Richmond. The responsibility is yours.
Tom Butt on the 5-2
Who Are the People Getting Things Done?
Editor's note: There are people, some who make it a platform for their campaign, encouraging the notions that the City Council has done nothing these past two years or that the bad vibes at the council meeting are because "both sides refuse to cooperate." The reality is quite different and Richmond is moving forward as Tom Butt explains in a recent email. For those who missed it, we print it here. Thanks Tom
Who really are the radicals and who are the people actually getting things done?
The RPA may have initiated a couple of harmless items, such as changing the description of pet owners, which some people consider frivolous, but they didn't cost anything and didn't harm anyone.
However, over the past two years, the 5-2 majority that includes three RPA members has successfully concluded an astonishing amount of real business that is already making a substantive difference in the lives of Richmond residents. And much of it has been done in spite of consistent "no" notes by the other two City Council members, Bates and Booze.
Probably the biggest achievement was adoption of the General Plan 2030, on a 5-2 vote with Bates and Booze dissenting. No reasonable person could describe this new general plan as radical or "too fast too far," yet the very coalition Chevron wants to augment would have defeated it.
Another example is the Integrated Pest Management Ordinance, encouraged by the EPA and required to bring the City into compliance with the Clean Water Act. It clearly will improve health, and staff testified it would trigger no new costs. Yet again, Bates and Booze voted against it.
Just last month, Richmond Pacific Railroad provided a grant to the City to establish a quiet zone at a grade crossing between Marina Bay and the Southside neighborhoods. Booze voted against it.
While crime in Richmond has continued to plummet, and the City may be on the way to the lowest homicide rate in recent history, Booze has made a crusade of destroying the Office of Neighborhood Safety, one of Richmond's highly innovative strategies for crime prevention.
RPA stalwart Jeff Ritterman worked harder than anyone else in the successful effort to bring LBNL to Richmond, probably the most important jobs and economic development initiative ever. And their detractors accuse the RPA of not being "job creators" and not pursuing "development?" And remember, the General Plan 2030, opposed by Bates and Booze, is incredibly aggressively pro-growth and pro-development.
Maybe that RPA dominated majority is actually making Richmond a better place, actually attracting business and actually creating jobs.
Just who are the radicals on the City Council? By my definition, the term radical, or perhaps reactionary, fits Bates and Booze much better than it does the RPA.
Want to see some frivolous agenda items? Just check out next Tuesday's agenda. Booze wants to revisit facts about Marin Energy Authority that have already been presented to the City Council and the public a half dozen times. Guess he forgot to take notes. Bates wants to revisit the alleged assault on or by Booze, whichever it is, even though such matters are now out of City Council purview. Both these items will generate endless harangues by Bates and Booze and their vocal colleagues in the audience, but nothing will change, and the rest of the City's business will be delayed interminably. The real business probably won't come up until well after midnight.
What would a voting majority consisting of Bates, Booze, Roberson and perhaps Bell look like? If the past two years is prologue, not much of anything would get done after January 2013. It would become a period of massive political destruction, not a continuation of policies and programs that have clearly moved Richmond forward.
Why is Chevron spending over a million dollars to destroy the RPA? It makes no sense. There have been two resolutions in the last two years directing City Council policy to expedite Chevron permits, one for the proposed energy project and another for the repair of the fire damaged crude unit. Both were co-sponsored by RPA members and approved unanimously by the City Council. So why does Chevron want to get rid of a majority that is doing everything it can to help Chevron rebuild and upgrade its facilities? Beats me.
And finally the soda tax. The one person on the City Council who knows more about health than the rest of us combined (and incidentally is part of the RPA) wants to give the electorate an opportunity to accept or reject a health measure backed by the medical community, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Heart Association the Center for Disease Control and the United Nations. Controversial perhaps, but not radical. It's pure democracy in action. Just the people decide.
Give me a break.
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FOLLOW THE MONEY: Why I Support the Sugar Tax by Reverend Dr. Alvin C. Bernstine
The dominant arguments being posed against Proposition N, the so-called "Soda Tax" is that it hurts poor people; it's bad for small businesses, and no specifics for where and how the tax revenues will be spent. As I ponder over the depth of the above arguments against Proposition N, I am not convinced that the proponents of those arguments have thought long and deep.
For one, Proposition N is a statement about the health of a community that historically has been exploited by sugar-laden products and sugar peddling multi-billion dollar corporations. The widespread availability and variety of sugar-laden beverages within poor communities calls for radical intervention that discourages reckless and thoughtless consumption.
To truly understand the intricacies of Proposition N follow the money.
Please know that a high consumption of sugar is bad for any people, but detrimental to poor people whose diets disproportionately consist of high sugar, massive carbohydrate intake, and who lack quality health care and access to quality food products. Poor people are hurt by high sugar consumption which is the primary contributor to obesity, diabetes, as well as severe social, psychological and behavioral ailments. Poor people can ill afford the high cost of bad health caused by obesity and diabetes.
For instance, according to the American Medical Association, the annual average cost for maintaining mild diabetes is $7,000 a year. More severe diabetes cost as high as $25,000 per year, not counting the cost of expensive amputations, infection control, disability, or lost wages. Poor people can ill-afford to miss any time from work, but the maladies precipitated by sugar-laden diets makes it inevitable. Someone pays for the expenses incurred by bad health practices, and it's not Big Soda, Coca- Cola or Pepsi, who by the way have grossed on an average of 7 to 9 billion dollars a year in the past five years. Who pays? Tax payers pay for the pain, bad health, and expenses of poor people's obesity and diabetes.
In the HBO special, The Weight of America, viewers are provided real-life images of the dominant food industries in poor communities, as well as the food products being consumed. The food industry in poor communities thrives by selling cheap, sugar-laden, greasy, unhealthy products. A legacy of poor nutrition has radically increased child obesity, and rising rates of diabetes among children. An unhealthy child usually grows up to be an unhealthy adult, who perpetuates unhealthy nutritional behavior to succeeding generations. We are literally becoming an obese community while uncaring corporations make billions in profits and throw crumbs to opportunistic politicians and money-hungry community groups.
Admittedly, I do not see Proposition N as a cure-all to child obesity or diabetes. It will take much much more than political interventions to radically disrupt the nutritional genocide of our communities. For instance, in an effort to reduce consumption of fried foods and sugar consumption in our congregation, I have led our congregation to declare our church facility a "No-fry and No-soda zone". It will take all kinds of creative community initiatives to provide lasting impact to the health of our community, but Proposition N sends a powerful message that sugar laden beverages that offer nothing of nutritional value will cost businesses that sell this nutritionally worthless product. I challenge the voting constituency of Richmond to consider the high cost of maintaining status quo sugar consumption. Ultimately, we pay pennies now to reduce sugar consumption or millions later for escalating health care for an unhealthy community
The Reverend Dr. Alvin C. Bernstine is a fourth generation Baptist preacher. He was born in Oakland, California, receiving his primary education in the Oakland Public School System.
Dr. Bernstine has been given the tremendous honor to serve the Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, which represents the primary Christian community in which his family was nurtured. His immediate predecessor, Reverend Dr. Abraham Henry Newman, was used by God to spearhead Pastor Bernstine's educational pursuits at Bishop College. Currently, he is shaping the vision of ministry around the theme, "A Ministry That Saves Lives."
Wednesday, October 24, 6 PM
East Bay Center for the Performing Arts
Macdonald and 11th
(Space is limited. Registration in advance suggested.)
Plant the signs
Come by the office 1021 Macdonald and pick some up
or call us and we will deliver 510-412-2260
$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 matter 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
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.
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.
Want to fight politics dominated by money? The only alternative is that we do the work.
We need your help
- 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.
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.