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.
On Sept. 13, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt and Councilmembers Nat Bates and Vinay Pimplé blocked a proposed 45-day “urgency” moratorium on rent increases and no-cause evictions. Before Mayor Tom Butt voted “no” to block the moratorium, he failed to disclose to the residents at the Sept. 13 City Council meeting that he has been accepting political contributions from the California Apartment Association, an organization representing the interests of landlords, not tenants.
Sept. 9, 2016, is the day that many people in America are wholeheartedly organizing, mobilizing, taking action, standing and locking arms in solidarity against what we know as prison slave labor – yes, legalized slavery – and people are saying, “No more!” Even though there are many taking action and answering the call to cure this particular ill of society, there is an overwhelmingly larger portion of the U.S. population who are absolutely clueless to the fact that slavery still exists.
Richmond residents, social justice advocates, elected officials and Chevron shareholders today announced a resolution being put forward at Chevron’s upcoming shareholders meeting that would prevent the company from dumping money into the political cycle. The resolution comes after Chevron spent more than $3 million to influence elections in Richmond – a small portion of the millions spent to influence elections at all levels across California and the country.
Chevron has openly bought out pretty much all the billboards in Richmond and surrounding cities. They’ve bought TV ads, radio ads, tons of expensive, glossy mailers that state false, misleading information against me, Gayle McLaughlin and Eduardo Martinez. They are printing the same lies over and over again hoping that the more often you see them, the more likely you are to believe them.
In August 2012, a rusted pipe inside a massive Chevron refinery in Richmond, California, caused an explosion and fire that spewed toxic chemicals into the air, sending 15,000 people to the hospital for treatment. A year after the fire, the city filed a lawsuit against the company, citing its record of safety violations and disregard for public welfare going back to 1989. Chevron’s response? As Rachel Maddow reported, they’re trying to buy the city government of Richmond.
The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United blasted a report issued Sept. 24 from the supposed “independent” panel of stakeholders set up by the hospital giants to provide a cover for the closure of embattled Doctors Medical Center, long a mainstay for the people of Richmond and San Pablo. While the report carries a label of being comprised of “independent” stakeholders, it is anything but, said CNA.
It’s common for all the members of a city council to vote unanimously to move forward with good will, no matter how long they have wrangled to reach a compromise that has majority support. That did not happen at the Richmond City Council this week, when the council approved Chevron’s complex oil refinery expansion permit. Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and Vice Mayor Jovanka Beckles abstained on the final midnight vote.
After the Richmond City Council meeting of July 1, I experienced one of the most intense and hostile encounters I have had to endure as a public official and in my entire life for that matter. Since then, there has been at least one news report and a series of deliberate misrepresentations of what took place that night. It is not my intention to respond to false accusations raised or dignify the insults with a response.
A video purportedly released by the armed Boko Haram sect based in northeastern Nigeria showed what was said to be school girls who have been held by the group for a month. The Boko Haram leader said that the young women could be released in exchange for the prisoners belonging to their organization being held by the Nigerian government.
There’s a good old-fashioned muckraker’s war going on in Richmond, Calif., and Chevron’s “community-driven” news site Richmond Standard is the latest fighter to step into the ring. This sprawling city east of San Francisco is home to Chevron’s oil refinery, which has made it a battleground between the company’s business interests and environmental activists who are calling for checks on air quality and safety.
At Chevron’s annual shareholder meeting, impacted community members who had traveled to the company’s headquarters from around the globe confronted CEO John Watson with the brutal human and environmental abuses caused by the oil giant’s operations.
America has truly become the land of plenty. There are plenty of Ponzi schemes, plenty of bank failures and plenty of foreclosures. This leaves us with plenty of debt, plenty of crime, plenty of corruption, plenty of inflation, plenty of homelessness, plenty of poverty and plenty of unemployment.
At the Toxic Triangle hearing on June 12 at St. John's Baptist Church, residents discussed the many undiagnosed and unidentified health and skin problems that have resulted from the many pollution sources such as Chevron, the Navy’s Hunters Point Shipyard and the PG&E toxic site.
The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) predicts a 16-inch mid-century sea level rise, covering Bay Area coastal lands and eventually swamping downtown San Francisco up to Market Street. The primary global warming gas is carbon dioxide. Methane gas, heavily implicated in global warming, has been emitted for years from the Bayview Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. Sea level rise will release methane gas from wetlands and landfill, of which much of Hunters Point is composed.
Chevron's 107-year-old Richmond refinery is the largest industrial polluter in the region, and communities in Richmond, particularly low-income and communities of color, already suffer from industrial pollution-related health problems. Putting a halt on this expansion project will prevent increased pollution in Richmond and throughout the Bay Area.
"Due to the media blockout, Americans may not realize that a rise in the price of gas at the pump is related to bloodshed in the Niger Delta," said Daphne Wysham, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. "As one of the largest consumers of Nigerian crude, the United States government cannot stand idly by and watch innocent civilians being killed, starved and maimed."