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  RPA Takes on Local Democratic "Skinner/Thurmond Operation"
January 4, 2017

Flush with success from the 2016 City Council election, the Richmond RPA is joining with the Berkeley Progressive Alliance to take on the local Democratic “Skinner/Thurmond operation,” starting with a challenge to the Assembly District 15 Democratic Party Delegation. Following is an email from Andres Soto, who accuses Jael Myrick and me of weakening “environmental protections for Richmond residents in exchange for a Chevron sponsored scholarship program.” Note that the RPA City Council members voted against the $90 million ECIA Agreement that, among other things, is providing $35 million in scholarships for Richmond residents.

See Vote for California's Future ADEM Elections, January 3, 2017, for the candidates that I have endorsed and whom the “progressives” are running against.

Richmond RPA leader Mike Parker writes:
I am not a registered Democrat and this slate [Vote for California's Future ADEM Elections], is one of the reasons.  The disaster of the last national election is largely because the Democratic Party is dominated by corporate interests and protects them at all costs instead of responding to working people.  The Sanders campaign provided many people hope.  So first action after the election, the local Democratic "leaders" present a slate which  effectively cuts out the Sanders wing of the local party.  Does not sound very inclusive,  "grassroots", "progressive", "future"-looking", or smart  to me.
I responded to Mike:
Mike, don’t forget that 3.8 million more people voted for Hillary than for Trump. It was the electoral college, which has much in common with Gerymandering, that got Trump elected. Also, Hillary beat Sanders. There is no evidence that the Democratic Party needs to be more Sanders-like to attract voters. Clearly, they need to be smarter.
I did not bother to repeat what I have already noted that more than 60% of Richmond voters supported candidates other than the RPA slate.  It looks like we are in for prolonged Bay Area struggle between the progressive Democrats and the ultra-progressives.

From: Andrés Soto []
Sent: Tuesday, January 03, 2017 3:40 PM
To: Soto, Andres
Subject: VOTE FOR THE DEMOCRATS RISING SLATE ON JAN 7th - Its the “most important election that you have NEVER heard of”

Dear Friends:

Please come out and support the the true Progressive Slate, Democrats Rising, for the Assembly District 15 Democratic Party Delegation, this Saturday at the Albany Community Center. Unfortunately, the Skinner/Thurmond operation has chosen to purge or eliminate members of the Richmond Progressive Alliance and the Berkeley Progressive Alliance, both of which took over their City Council majorities.

The Skinner/Thurmond machine is supporting a rival slate and has the endorsement of people like Mayor Tom Butt an ardent opponent of rent control and Just Cause Eviction. Their slate includes people like Jael Myrick who, along with Butt, weakened environmental protections for Richmond residents in exchange for a Chevron sponsored scholarship program.

The ModDem leadership is afraid of the grassroots Progressive Movement building in the East Bay! Send the leadership a message. We choose our own.




VOTE FOR THE DEMOCRATS RISING SLATE ON JAN 7th. Its the “most important election that you have NEVER heard of”. 

Our slate of truly independent Democrats, including 7 young Dems (CYD), two recently Electeds and two proxies for recently Electeds, who endorsed by Bernie Sanders. We have a young physician who works with the underserved community in Oakland. 

We have very strong representation on environmental and climate change issues and the struggles against Crude by Rail through our neighborhoods and toxic tar sands “bottom of the barrel” refining in our local refineries. 

I believe that our diverse slate is 100% of what is needed to refresh todays “not-so-liberal-anymore” California Democratic Party, where fracking is considered the new normal, where the schools are among the worst in the nation because CA corporations pay relatively minuscule amounts of taxes (while residents pay ever increasing amounts) and where the Governors Twin Tunnel project will be allowed to drain the Delta in order to deliver precious fresh water to Central Valley "Big Ag”.

The Democrats Rising slate is not beholden to corporate interests or Big Oil.

Update on AD 15 Elections:  

Below are the details:  Must be a registered democratic voter in Assembly District 15.  To see a list of all candidates and why they’re asking for your vote, visit and click AD 15.  All final candidates will be posted by January 2, 2017.

ADEM | California Democratic Party
We need you to be a part of the California Democratic Party's blue wave by Donating Every Month between now and the 2018 Election! LEARN MORE

When: Saturday, January 7, 2017
◦                     speeches at 11:30am / voting from noon till 2pm
◦                     if you are not in line at 2pm you cannot vote, so plan on getting there early

Where: Albany Community Center, 1249 Marin Ave at Masonic

What do I need to bring: ID and $5 to register to vote; hardship waiver is available


RPA Takes on Local Democratic "Skinner/Thurmond Operation"

* Indicates a Young Dem
(All titles for ID purposes only)

Alejandro Soto-Vigil; Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board Commissioner; Legislative Aide, Berkeley City Council
As a lifelong Democratic activist, Alejandro wants to strengthen a Democratic Party that places people squarely before profit. He will work tirelessly to support candidates and policies to fight climate change, provide single-payer health care, provide free or low cost tuition, stabilize rents for low and middle income people, create a livable wage, and overturn the corporate tax breaks in Proposition 13

Alexander White; California Congressional District-13 Delegate for Bernie Sanders; UX Designer, Lanetix*

For the future of not only ourselves and future generations, but the planet as a whole, we must radically transform the Democratic Party, and I ask for your vote to begin that transformation now.  My experiences as a Chamorro American, growing up in a working-class household with mixed-race parents, living in a remote Kazakhstani village with a Muslim family, graduating from college during the worst recession since the Great Depression with the majority of my peers having student loan debt exceeding more than $50k - $100k, and fighting health insurance companies for my partner's lifesaving treatments when they were diagnosed with cancer; all of these experiences and more are why I would be honored to have your vote to represent our East Bay community.

Alfred Twu; Berkeley Zero Waste Commission Chair; Berkeley Student Cooperative Alumni Association Boardmember*
Alfred is here to make housing a statewide priority.  We need solutions that allow both existing residents and newcomers to afford homes in our most progressive and prosperous cities.

Ben Choi; Richmond City Councilmember-elect; Urban Habitat Boardmember

Ben has recently been elected to the Richmond City Council, but my commitment to service began much earlier. Having served 6 years on the Richmond Planning Commission, and 3 years on the Board of the social justice organization, Urban Habitat, he has the proven experience and clear vision to fight for my constituents' interests: fair, affordable housing and smart growth that stabilizes our neighborhoods, attracting businesses that build wealth for our region and provide good jobs at livable wages, making our streets safe for all, effective environmental protection that safeguards our health and our future, and public schools we can be proud of

Charlie Davidson; Environmental Justice Organizer; Medical Researcher

Charlie composed the anti-fracking resolution and the platform statement for the CA Democratic Party and was one of the founding members of the Bay Area environmental justice organization, the Sunflower Alliance. There is huge hope in the wellspring of progressive activism that has arisen as a result of the Bernie campaign and so, he is seeking to have a grass roots revolution within the Democratic Party and to offer alternative, real-world solutions to complex social, economic and environmental problems.

Christina Murphy; Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board Commissioner; Housing Coordinator, Berkeley Drop In Center
Christina was recently elected to the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board to provide her expertise as a housing coordinator to help address our current housing crisis and for her ability to facilitate proactive discussions between community leaders and elected officials. Endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders, she espouses Bernie's commitment and passion to help low-income seniors, students, and disabled community members and their families.

Hussain Gilani; Nephrologist and Chief Medical Advisor at Livzo, inc.

Hussain is a physician that has spent my entire career working with poor and underserved patients within the city of Oakland. The DNC is as strong as its members, and he believes that if we are dissatisfied with our candidates and the turnout of our elections, then we need to participate more in our party and force it to represent our values.

Joey Smith; Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA) Richmond/Contra Costa Chapter, 1st VP; Tradeswoman/Water Conservation*

Joey is a Commissioner for the Contra Costa Women's Commission, an Associate Member of the Contra Costa County Democratic Central Committee, has served on the Exec. Board of the Richmond/CCC Chapter of Black Women Organized for Political Action, and is a Lifetime Member of the Coalition of Labor Women. Leading by example, Joey is running to be Delegate of AD 15 with a focus on increasing accessibility in civic engagement; she is an advocate of equal opportunities for employment & supporting local businesses; and is passionate about STEAM education and Trades training.

Julia Schnell; Transit Planner, Western Contra Costa Transit Authority*
As an urban planner working in the public sector, I understand from experience how directly state-level legislative and funding decisions can impact local agencies' ability to address these issues and support the wide-ranging needs of area residents. I am running to represent District 15 as an Assembly District Delegate to promote candidates, ballot measures, and policy initiatives that most empower local agencies and community groups to identify solutions that will strengthen neighborhoods while reducing current levels of displacement and homelessness.

Kori Anderson; Graduate student, Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley; E-board member, East Bay Young Democrats*

Most recently, Kori served as the district press assistant and scheduler for Bay Area Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), and before that, she worked on the successful re-election campaign for U.S. Senator Tom Udall.  This year's election has been-- as it has for many-- a wake up call, and as a young woman and ally to our minority, LGBTQ and disabled communities, she knows that now is the time to fight back against a Trump administration and Republican Congress.

Melvin Willis; Richmond City Councilmember; Community Organizer, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment*
While working with Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Melvin has been apart of passing rent control and just cause for evictions in Richmond, passing a health care program that provides preventative health insurance in Contra Costa County, and assisted homeowner in preventing foreclosures and obtaining loan modification with principle reductions. This year he ran for Richmond City Council with the endorsement of Bernie Sanders, along with multiple unions and political action groups.

Selina Williams; President, Hercules Democratic Club; CADEM E-Board Member 2015-2016

As a State Delegate for district 5 and CADEM Executive Board member (Contra Costa County) for the previous two years, Selina has supported resolutions and plate-form changes that support criminal justice reform because black lives have been unduly harmed by the "war on drugs" and all lives must have equal protection. Because climate change is real and the health and welfare of all our citizens is compromised and communities of color are un-equally impacted, she supports a moratorium on fracking and the use of fracking water on crops and a moratorium on crude by rail and coal transport to our ports in California.

Seren Pendleton-Knoll; Program Director, Berkeley-Haas Center for Responsible Business; Commissioner and Policy Chair, Alameda County Human Relations Commission*

Seren has a 8-year record of bringing diverse perspectives to the same table and lifting up voices that are traditionally underrepresented. She worked for four years in social services, and her experiences assisting parolees in finding employment, working with foster and homeless youth in group homes, and promoting alternatives to incarceration for youth offenders have lead her to propose the creation of a Family Unification Caucus addressing the needs of parolees, foster youth, undocumented parents, and the homeless.

Yelda Bartlett; Attorney; President, Berkeley Democratic Caucus

As an attorney, a Californian, and an immigrant from a Muslim country, Yelda feels duty-bound to ensure that our Party will protect all people and will fight for our progressive ideals: protecting the environment, ensuring a living wage, universal health care, free public education, and affirming the dignity and value of all human beings. She is inspired by the resurgence of a strong Progressive movement within the Party, and as your delegate, she will work to ensure a more inclusive, humanitarian, and just party platform.


Seren Pendleton-Knoll
Commissioner, Alameda County Human Relations Commission
CASA Volunteer, Alameda County Court Appointed Special Advocate 
Mobile: (509) 540-4153
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