RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #97November 26, 2012
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Council Backs Safety at Chevron
Close Deal on Re-Entry 12/7
Worker Co-op Loan Fund
Parks and Ban the Box
Catastrophism House Party
Salute to Walmart Workers
SEIU Port Strike
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1021 Macdonald, 510-412-2260


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Council Backs Safety Requirements at Chevron
Damaged Crude Unit (Chronicle Picture)

The  Council, at its November 20 meeting,  passed a resolution directing staff to make safety the priority when permitting Chevron's rebuilding of the Refinery after the fire. Chevron's position was that since it was not increasing production or changing the basic process, it was entitled to rebuild essentially as it wished and the city was obligated to issue permits "ministerially" -virtually automatically.  


The resolution introduced by Mayor McLaughlin with friendly amendments from Tom Butt provided the legal basis and instruction to the staff that the city provide strict oversight to the rebuilding. In particular the choice of the materials for the process piping was in dispute since the US Chemical Safety Board had raised concerns about the type of pipe Chevron was proposing to replace the sections that had corroded causing the recent fire. The resolution emphasized that the community could not rely on Chevron's choice of expert opinion but needed expert opinion independent of Chevron. Given the Council's firm stand Chevron announced that it was delaying certain decisions until regulatory boards had settled some issues.


The resolution passed with Bates voting No and Booze abstaining.


Following is the full resolution including the friendly amendments.



Resolution to provide for public safety in the refinery rebuilding


WHEREAS, given the seriousness of the August 6, 2012 fire and the potential threat of a refinery accident to the residents of Richmond, it is essential we make sure we have a full damage assessment and the most current industry information in the rebuilding process; and

WHEREAS, the role of the permitting process is to allow the community to insure that safe practices are followed; and

WHEREAS, even in the case of basic repairs the spirit of the state building codes provides that safety is the primary consideration (for example: State Building Code 3405.1.1 Dangerous conditions. Regardless of the extent of structural or nonstructural damage, the building code official shall have the authority to require the elimination of conditions deemed dangerous.); and

WHEREAS, by both independent and Chevron's own reports, a pipe ruptured August 6 due to corrosion; and

WHEREAS, preliminary reports by the Chemical Safety Board indicate a failure by Chevron to follow its own internal policies and inspect and replace the failed piping during the November 2011 turnaround; and

WHEREAS, simply rebuilding the crude unit as it was has raised serious questions regarding the potential for another serious incident to occur; and

WHEREAS, on October 2, 2012, the City Council unanimously adopted a resolution

regarding the repair of damage associated with the August 6, 2012 Richmond refinery

incident that, among other things, directed City staff to ensure that the repaired project

shall conform to all applicable safety and environmental standards, and shall use the best available technology for minimizing pollutant emission to the maximum extent feasible.  

WHEREAS, since Chevron has started the rebuilding, recent industry findings indicate that Chevron's proposed use of Chrome 9 piping   is not an adequate safety measure and  demonstrate the need of open information and public input into the process.


NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the City Manager formally inform Chevron, by way of a letter on behalf of the City Council, that if it repairs, rebuilds or replaces equipment that sustained damage associated with the August 6, 2012 incident before the investigation of this incident has been completed, Chevron does so at its own risk and the City reserves the right to require that work completed be disassembled and redone based on investigation information newly released.


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that City staff provides the City Council a full report in writing, as a public document, on the procedures they are using to ensure the health and safety of the public in the permit review process.


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that City staff shall make all reasonable efforts to seek the expeditious release of any and all relevant information developed by the Chemical Safety Board, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and Chevron to the public.


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that City staff shall continue to work as closely as posible with public agencies and independent organizations like Communities for a Better Environment that have demonstrated both technical expertise and commitment to the public interest on issues regarding the impact of refinery operation on the public.


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City Council expects City staff to exercise its authority under Richmond Municipal Code 6.02.160(B), California Building Code 107.4, California Fire Code Fire Code 105.4.1 and Business and Professions Code 6735, to require that all drawings, specifications and calculations in permit application supporting documents be signed and sealed by a California professional engineer licensed in the discipline pertinent to the content of the documentation; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City Council expects City staff to exercise its authority under 3405.1.1 of the California Building Code, which states: "Regardless of the extent of structural or non-structural damage, the building code official shall have the authority to require the elimination of conditions deemed dangerous," and staff shall provide a report documenting how "conditions deemed dangerous" have been eliminated; and  


 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City Council expects City staff to consider, in the review of permit applications, Richmond Municipal Code 6.43.050(d)(3) that requires: "For all covered processes, the stationary source shall consider the use of inherently safer systems in the development and analysis of mitigation items resulting from a process hazard analysis and in the design and review of new processes and facilities. The stationary source shall select and implement Inherently safe systems to the greatest extent Feasible. If a stationary source concludes that an inherently safer system is not feasible, the basis for this conclusion shall be documented in meaningful detail. This documentation shall include:

(A)    Sufficient evidence to demonstrate to Contra Costa Health Services' satisfaction that implementing this inherent safer system is impractical, and

(B)   The reasons for this conclusion.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City Council expects City staff to provide full documentation, including agreements that describe obligations, errors and omissions insurance (if any) and technical qualifications for any individuals and organizations, public and private, to whom permit review has been delegated; and


BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that City staff shall plan a community meeting as soon as the Chemical Safety Board's metallurgy report is released (expected in December) to hear from the CSB and also to hear from City staff on how, based on the newly released CSB report, they will be ensuring that past and future permitted activities shall use the best available technology for minimizing pollution emission and health and safety hazards to the maximum extent feasible.



Save Friday December 7  

Closing the Deal on Funding Re-Entry Services 

Eleanor Thompson
Eleanor Thompson
The end is in sight in our effort to fund people not prisons, and we need as many of you as possible to come to Martinez at 8:00 am on Friday Dec.7, for the Community Corrections Partnership (CCP) meeting.  Buses will leave Richmond at 7:00 am from St. Marks Church.

The CCP is on the verge of making crucial budget decisions for the $19 million in AB109 realignment funds coming to Contra Costa County this year and every year (thanks to prop.30, which makes this allocation permanent).  AB109 addresses individuals convicted of non-violent, non-sexual and non-serious offenses who are being transferred form State to County jurisdiction.

Originally, CCP member Sherriff Livingston wanted to use part of the funds to expand the West County Jail, but thanks to our strong community mobilization, he has backed off on that.  Richmond Police Chief Magnus, also on the CCP, has been a vocal advocate of using funds for re-entry services with a proven track record in preventing repeat offenses, rather than simply putting more people in jail, which doesn't work.  We thank Chief Magnus for speaking out.

Tamisha Walker
Tamisha Walker
Since August, the seven-member CCP has hesitated, however to take the constructive step that the community has been demanding for months, namely allocating $6.4 million for re-entry services that are currently severely lacking and that research shows would be highly effective.
The CCP wanted to first establish a solid basis for justifying budget allocations for re-alignment funds.  To this end,  in August 2012 it voted to follow Contra Costa County's Re-Entry Strategic Plan (completed in 2010) as a guiding principle.  Then, in September, the CCP voted to have a subcommittee draft a Re-Entry Operations Plan for implementing the Strategic Plan, noting that all re-alignment budget allocations should be consistent with the Operations Plan.

The Operations Plan is now complete and was adopted by the CCP on Nov. 9.  The Community Advisory Board (CAB) of the CCP, along with several other community representatives (including Safe Return Project, CCISCO, RPA, Men and Women of Purpose, BWOPA, League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley and more) have been giving input all along the way,  and have proposed a $6.4 million budget allocation that clearly fits right in with the Operations Plan.  This $6.4 million proposal includes funds for the formerly incarcerated AB109 population in the following areas:
  • pre-release case management
  • three First-Stop Centers in West, Central and East County, where information, referrals and peer support can easily be accessed
  • housing services and temporary rent subsidies (70% are without stable housing)
  • employment services and temporary wage subsidies  (80% are unemployed)
  • education, training and family re-unification services

(Note, funding for behavioral health and substance abuse treatment is already in the re-alignment budget) 

On Dec. 7, the CCP wll be making budget decisions, and we need to send a loud and clear message to support the CAB's $6.4 million budg

Eduardo Martinez
Eduardo Martinez 

et proposal that is consistent with the Re-Entry Operations Plan.  We also need to insist that no funds are earmarked or set aside for a possible future expansion of the jail.  Time is of the essence, as the County Supervisors in January would need to approve the CCP's vote, and then an RFP process would be set up to ensure the funds are utilized in the best way possible by the best qualified service providers (both public and private).

What:  CCP meeting to vote on $6.4 million CAB proposal to fund essential re-entry services 


When:  Friday December 7, 8:00 - 11:00 am 


Where:  Board of Supervisors Chambers, 651 Pine St., Martinez 

Buses will leave Richmond at 7:00 am from St. Marks Church 

--Marilyn Langlois

Pictures are from 11/9 Meeting of CCP

Worker Cooperative Loan Fund Launch 


Twin Pines

A new source of small loans is now available for Richmond businesses operating as worker cooperatives. This is part of an effort to encourage job seekers and entrepreneurs to band together and create their own workplaces. From 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 27 the Richmond Worker Cooperative Revolving Loan Fund (RWCRLF) will host an informational briefing for interested parties and the media. The event will take place at the offices of Richmond Main Street, 1000 MacDonald Avenue, Suite C. Everyone is welcome.



The new fund is designed to meet a specific hurdle in starting worker owned businesses. Securing financing for new cooperatives can be challenging. Financial institutions are often unwilling to make loans to a group of people who share equal responsibility for running the business, preferring to lend to sole proprietors. Neil Helfman, attorney and a founding member of RWCRLF, states "it takes a lot of perseverance to get a worker coop started, but once it gets going, it's a much more robust and sustainable business structure."


"Workers who are also owners require no supervision; we all understand the importance of getting the job done right because we each have a stake in the on-going health of the enterprise," noted Terry Baird, co-founder and longtime worker owner of Arizmendi Bakery in Oakland and also a founding member of RWCRLF. To work collectively, good communication and conflict resolution skills are essential. Members support each other, and the risks inherent in running a business are shared.   Having all members bring their talents and perspectives to the decision making process usually results in better outcomes.

Specifics about applying for loans, as well as general information about cooperatives, will be available at the meeting. For more information visit www.richmondcooploans.net

Worker cooperatives follow the seven cooperative principles: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; member economic participation; autonomy and independence; education, training, and information for members and the public; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for community.


What: Launch of Richmond Worker Cooperative Revolving Loan Fund

When: Tuesday, November 27, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Where: Richmond Main Street, 1000 MacDonald Ave, Suite C, Richmond


Contact: 415-240-8738, Wayne Landers or Stephanie Hervey at outreach@richmondcooploans.net 



More on November 20 Council Meeting


Ban the Box Part 2 and Parks for Everyone


The Council made a number of important decisions in addition to the resolution on Chevron rebuilding despite an escalation of disruption and hostility from the "Corky Gallery." 


The Council passed a resolution introduced by Councilwoman Beckles working with "Safe Return" directing staff to draft an ordinance to extend the "Ban the Box" concept to contractors who do work for the city. The "Box" refers to the question on initial employment applications asking about previous criminal records. The intent of :banning the box" is to level the playing field and give someone who has come out of jail a chance at serious consideration for jobs. The ordinance would not prohibit employers from asking about past history in interviews later in the application process. Booze voted No. Bates abstained


BMOER Presentation The Council also passed a motion to search for grants to provide a play structure at Kennedy Park.   Three representatives of BMOER (Blacks Mobilizing, Organizing and Educating Richmond) made the case that parks need to provide places where children AND seniors can be near each other, where seniors can bring their grand kids and enjoy watching children play.




Saturday  December 1,  5-8pm  East Bay

PM Press House Party for


The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth

with co-authors Sasha Lilley (host of KPFA's Against The Grain), 

Eddie Yuen,and Jim Davis



At the home of Steve Early and Suzanne Gordon

747 Lobos Avenue (at corner of Western)

Pt. Richmond, CA 94801

Contributions of wine, beer, and food are welcome (but not required). RSVP preferred to Lsupport@aol.com or 510-260-0636

Sasha Lilley is a writer and radio broadcaster. She is the co-founder and host of the critically acclaimed program of radical ideas, Against the Grain. Sasha Lilley is the author of Capital and Its Discontents: Conversations with Radical Thinkers in a Time of Tumult and series editor of PM Press' political economy imprint, Spectre.

Eddie Yuen teaches in the Urban Studies Department at the San Francisco Art Institute. He is the co-editor, with George Katsiaficas and Daniel Burton-Rose, of Confronting Capitalism: Dispatches from a Global Movement.

James Davis is an Irish documentary filmmaker based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His works include "Safety Orange" and "Meeting Room."

  A Salute to the Walmart Wokers 
On Black Friday there were hundreds of protests around the country and a sign that the struggle at Walmart is developing momentum. Walmart workers risked firing for telling their stories.

Langlois at Walmart
At the Hilltop Walmart the turnout from around Richmond and the East Bay was excellent and the crowd, lead by the Liberation Brass Band was spirited.  The Building Trades, the RPA and the Faith Community  gave strong support to the Walmart workers and union activists tat have been trying to organize against one of the most powerful corporations in the world.

 Rev. Giles
Our Father-- we have come on this day to pray and ask for Divine 
Some of the workers at our
Walmarts all over America have suffered injustices namely:

1. Racial Disrespect and discrimination 
2. Illegal Retaliation 
3. Low wages and and benefits 
4. and many have been terminated for raising these concerns 

Therefore, Oh Heavenly Father, today we are praying and asking on behalf of the workers at Walmart and their families: bless them on this Thanksgiving weekend and during the Holiday Season and reverse this discrimination.

For, we are all members of Your family. Therefore, help management to be sensitive to the pain, needs, and concerns of the Workers of Walmart. 

In Your Name we pray.


The Rev. Dr. John L. Giles

Pastor, Union Baptist Church



Jovanka Beckles  Walmart  Worker

Walmart  Worker

SEIU Port of Oakland 24 -hour strike


Eduardo Martinez Thank you to everyone who came out to support the SEIU 1021 Port Workers! The 1021 workers at the Port were militant, and dedicated--many of them were on the lines for 20+ hours. We appreciated everyone's participation:


Thank you Justice for Allen Bluford Coalition, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, Occupy Oakland and San Francisco, and many other community groups that came to support us! Thank you CNA who was on strike at Alta Bates Hospital for welcoming us to your lines, and for coming to support ours! Thank you Alameda Central Labor Council for your continued leadership and support. Thank you to the workers of other unions that lost a days pay because you would not cross our picket line--we are humbled by your solidarity. Our 24-hour strike has ended with great news: The Port and the Mayor have agreed to come back to the bargaining table and are saying they are interested in finding agreement instead of imposition. We must remain vigilant, we may be on the lines again if this doesn't work. Thank you again for your support, Solidarity! We have a lot of work to do, this is one struggle of many-but every step forward.


--Alysabeth Alexander 


More pictures and reports at SEIU 1021 website 


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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