Demand Transparency and Accountability from Chevron, the County Health Department and the City of Richmond
The Richmond Equitable Development Initiative (REDI) denounces the damage done by the Chevron refinery fire in the strongest possible terms. Though smoke poisoned the atmosphere throughout the region, sent hundreds of people to the hospital, and stopped BART trains, once again the harm fell hardest on Richmond’s low-income community and people of color.
Members of REDI’s partner groups have deep roots in these communities, and we see this event as both a source of outrage and a call to action: We demand transparency and accountability so we can protect the health of our community.
It is unacceptable that people had to sit imprisoned behind duct-taped doors with headaches, burning eyes and lungs—or had symptoms bad enough to force them into the toxic air to seek medical help. To make matters worse, few people got warning robocalls from the Contra Costa County Health Department—they only heard the sirens, saw and smelled the smoke.
For Immediate Release
Richmond General Plan Passes!
RICHMOND, Calif. –On Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 12:44 am, the Richmond City Council voted to pass the General Plan 2030 (GP) with a vote of 5-2—Councilmembers Booze and Bates voted ‘no’. Nearly 30 members of the REDI (Richmond Equitable Development Initiative) collaborative filed into an already packed City Council chamber around 8pm Tuesday evening for the second and final round of the GP adoption hearing. The GP agenda item didn’t begin until 10:45pm. Roughly two hours into deliberations, the Council voted unanimously to approve the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), then minutes later to approve the Plan.
Listen to Christy Leffall, land-use program coordinator and coordinator of the Richmond Equitable Development Initiative (REDI) at Urban Habitat, on KPFA's Morning Mix hosted by Richmond Planning Commissioner Andres Soto that aired on April 19, 2012 at 8:00 am. Leffall gives a recap of the General Plan Rally at the Richmond City Council Chambers on April 17th and subsequent adoption hearing of the General Plan with the Environmental Impact Report, which REDI has been working on for over six years.
REDI members turned out in significant numbers to this meeting. The vote was tabled until next week because the general plan agenda took over four hours, one hour for the staff’s presentation, and another three hours for public testimony where 111 speakers had signed in to speak. The upcoming City council vote on Tuesday, April 24th, 6:30pm at Richmond City Hall. Listen to an edited version of the segment here (or download). Visit, KPFA to hear the full version.Christy Leffall is currently a Land Use Program Coordinator working in Contra Costa County. Leffall is coordinator of the Richmond Equitable Development Initiative (REDI) in Richmond, CA, which advocates for the adoption and implementation of equitable elements within the city’s updated General Plan.
We, the Richmond Equitable Development Initiative (REDI) are excited to attend the General Plan Adoption Hearing to support and urge our allies to put community health and the quality-of-life of city residents first!
When: Tuesday, April 17, 6:30pm
Where: Community Services Building 440 Civic Center Plaza Richmond, CA
We are optimistic that our allies on the City Council will pass the Planning Commission’s recommendations to the General Plan, but We Still Need Your Help!
We ask that you please commit to supporting REDI’s General Plan campaign by doing one or more of the following:
• Call and email our allies on the City Council to adopt the General Plan
• Bring your friends and family to the April 17th adoption hearing
• Speak in support of the General Plan at the adoption hearing
• Forward this attached letter to all of your community allies (Download the PDF here)
Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, was a day to celebrate. REDI community partners gathered at Grace Lutheran Church in Richmond to celebrate the group’s accomplishments of the more than five-year General Plan campaign. Representatives from REDI partners included, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization (CCISCO), Faith Works, and Urban Habitat.
Community members from each group shared stories around their personal and group’s participation toward a vision for a better and more equitable Richmond. The partners were excited to reiterate their success in getting the Planning Commission to incorporate a majority REDI’s recommendations regarding jobs, transit, housing, safety, and community health in the final draft of the General Plan. This event was also a call to action to mobilize members to attend upcoming city council meetings and the impending general plan vote expected within the next few weeks.
After the General Plan is passed, REDI members will remain vigilant heading into the Housing Element analysis and implementation phases of the General Plan.
In a complex and dynamic world where scientific certainty is hard to come by and new technologies, chemicals and industrial processes are being introduced into the world, Richmond’s City Council decided that it is best to take a cautious approach to making policies and city planning. At least, that’s the aim of a resolution passed at last night’s city council meeting.
The idea behind the resolution is that the city should use the precautionary principle, which holds that if there is a possibility that a policy or plan will have potentially dangerous health or environmental impact—even if there is no scientific consensus—it is better to err on the side of caution. This resolution will put the burden of proof on companies proposing new developments and businesses within city limits to show that there is little chance that a local group will be negatively impacted. Although the resolution is symbolic, it is a statement that the council will consider health impacts for any decisions they make—like new buildings or industrial and manufacturing developments—and will ask the organization proposing a new action to prove that it is unlikely to cause harm.
When a city approves a General Plan, it makes a commitment to the kind of place it wants to be. This is our chance to prepare to speak out and calion the city's leaders to lift up our needs and dreams. The General Plan can help us make Richmond a safe, healthy and thriving place that has homes people can afford and sustainable jobs. A city that makes sure no neighborhoods bear more than their fair share of pollution, and polluters bear their fair share of cleaning up the air. The Richmond Planning Commission AND the City Council have to approve the plan. Get ready by attending the REDI Leadership Training- come strengthen your skills, speak up for your community!
After a citywide restoration project to revitalize the Nevin Community Center and the surrounding area, the center will celebrate with a much-anticipated grand re-opening celebration this Saturday.
“I think it’s part of the Iron Triangle cleaning itself up,” said nearby resident Richard Boyd, referring to the center’s new look from the inside out. For the last three months, the center’s doors have remained open as over 50 community members volunteered hundreds of hours to wax floors, paint walls, remove graffiti, refurbish classrooms, and collect trash surrounding the center.
“Teams would take shifts to renovate and clean the center. Those working would range from 14 years old to 77 years old and across all racial lines,” Boyd said. A resident of the Iron Triangle, Boyd also works with Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization (CCISCO), an interfaith organization comprised of 25 congregations and youth organizations representing 35,000 families throughout the county. He helped organize city officials’ visits to the park and generate interest from residents outside the Iron Triangle.
The Greening Equity Report for Richmond, California is the result of the early community outreach and research efforts of the Richmond Equitable Development Initiative (REDI) to understand
- Creating opportunities to grow green collar employment and businesses
- Ensuring that new green jobs offer livable wages and benefits
- Connecting residents to employment and/or training opportunities
- Promoting efficient and environmentally-friendly land use decisions
- Leveraging federal, state, and local funds to enhance economic opportunities for residents
- Supporting policies that create new markets for green products and services.