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The story of how the Richmond Progressive Alliance took power – as of November 2016 with 5 of 7 seats on a weak-mayor city council – is eloquently and lucidly described by veteran trade unionist and labor journalist Steve Early. Early moved to Richmond late in life, but has now produced a compelling work that describes the halting process of holding Chevron and the real estate lobby accountable for its frequent misdeeds by building a dynamic multiracial coalition that eschews traditional party politics.
It has been another victory for rent control, just cause eviction protections, and the voters and renters of Richmond. The California Apartment Association retaliated with a lawsuit against the City of Richmond after the voters and renters approved Measure L last November in a landslide victory. In a ruling filed on Feb. 14, Judge Judith S. Craddick of Contra Costa County wrote, “The California Apartment Association’s motion for a preliminary injunction is denied.”
On Tuesday, Feb. 23, the Fair and Affordable Richmond Coalition, a group uniting renters, homeowners, organizations, local elected officials, local community activists and labor, filed a proposed ballot measure to protect Richmond’s tenants against unjust evictions and unfair rent increases. The Richmond City Clerk has 15 days to write a title and summary for the initiative. The coalition will have until June to gather 4,198 signatures to place the measure on the November ballot.
Trade unionists joined a rally and press conference on Dec. 24, 2015, on the steps of City Hall for Mario Woods, a young African American worker who was executed by San Francisco police on Dec. 2, 2015, in Bayview Hunters Point. Black San Franciscans are being driven out of San Francisco through gentrification and displacement and a decades-long job lockout, and some unionists are calling for labor action to stop these economic and police assaults.
Over 200 community members, activists, union members, transportation experts, family and friends flocked to Oakland’s New Parish for non-profit leader Lateefah Simon’s kick-off fundraiser for her 2016 campaign to join the BART Board of Directors. Despite running as a first-time candidate, Simon has already built a broad coalition that includes some of the Bay Area’s top elected officials and civic leaders. True to her reputation as a tireless community advocate, Simon spoke passionately about her personal connection to BART and her commitment to transit justice for working people.
Eighteen-year-old high school senior and Oakland resident Alan Blueford was shot to death by police on May 6 under curious circumstances. The coroner’s report, showing Blueford never shot at the officer, was finally released after the July 19 press conference Alan's parents were forced to organize.