Alana Burk and Leilaah Ali

Occupy Richmond gains momentum

on November 11, 2011

More than 90 protesters gathered at the steps of Richmond’s Memorial Auditorium today in support of Occupy Wall Street.  Under cloudy skies, protesters spoke out against wealth inequality, big banks, corporate greed and Richmond’s own “1%”: Chevron Corp.

City Councilmember Jeff Ritterman voiced his disapproval of Chevron’s recent property tax appeal, which would refund $150 million dollars to the multinational company.

“If Chevron gets $150 million … their shareholders get in line for another yacht … If Richmond has  $150 million the library stays open,” Ritterman said.

Along with Ritterman, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and Councilmember Jovanka Beckles attended the rally.  McLaughlin said that Councilmember Tom Butt also supported the movement.

At the council meeting Tuesday, McLaughlin, Ritterman and Butt will propose a resolution requesting that Chevron withdraw its appeal to get a refund on its property taxes. Also on Tuesday,  the council will discuss withdrawing the city’s money from Wells Fargo – a bank that Ritterman said dodged its income tax the past 3 years.

Mayor McLaughlin responded to criticism from local residents and various news outlets over her decision to attend Occupy instead of the Red Oak Victory Veterans Day event. She said she found it unfortunate that recent news media coverage pit the two events against one another.

“We clearly stand for veterans,” she said. “They are part of the event. Many are homeless, unemployed or suffering from mental illness. Today I stand with them as well as many people who are struggling in these times.”

Dennis Dalton, a veteran Teamster, Marine and a longtime Richmond resident said he admired McLaughlin and the other members of City Council for supporting the Occupy movement.

“It is rare for a city in California to have elected officials stand up for their views and stand up for their people,” Dalton said.

He said he wished more political leaders, like Congressman George Miller (D-Martinez), would listen to the movement.

As Dalton spoke the people chanted,  “We are the people, right?
“Right!”
“Are corporations people?”
“No!”

The group will reconvene Saturday at 1 p.m. They plan to occupy Bank of America in protest of the bank’s recent foreclosure on a Richmond family’s home.

 

15 Comments

  1. kate on November 11, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Nice. Let’s show the country what a freak show Richmond really is.



    • Occupy Richmond on November 12, 2011 at 2:22 am

      why because we are tired of Corporate corruption.



    • Jeff Ritterman on November 12, 2011 at 11:10 am

      Dear Kate, I was at the Occupy Richmond Rally. I’m not sure why you characterize it as a freak show. The very first speaker gave heartbreaking testimony about her family losing their home to foreclosure. Others spoke about the difficulty of affording college due to tuition hikes. There was a respectful silence honoring Veterans. I think its hurtful and inaccurate to characterize those who testified as “freaks”. The Occupy movement has focused the nation’s attention on rising income inequality which is causing untold harm. Would you be willing to watch a 15 minute TED talk on this to learn more? The link is below or just put in google Richard Wilkinson TED talk. In partnership, Jeff Ritterman, M.D., Richmond City Council. http://blog.ted.com/2011/10/24/how-economic-inequality-harms-societies-richard-wilkinson-on-ted-com/



  2. Margaret on November 11, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    The Occupy movement’s focus on redistribution of wealth, affordable education and jobs for the 99% shows the utmost respect for veterans who currently experience 30% unemployment.



  3. Occupy Richmond on November 12, 2011 at 2:07 am

    the Occupy Richmond Speak Out and rally was more then a Protest . it was a Chance to give community members the opportunity to voice there Frustration with Corporate and Bank Corruption the turn out was great inspite of the weather. we also honored the Veterans who are also part of the 99 percent and victims of this system as well.



    • RogerF on November 13, 2011 at 11:18 am

      That’s a positive: a chance to voice frustration is healthy.



  4. Big Mike on November 12, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    No corporations are not people, your right, but they are “made up” of people that work for them. Like me…..I work for and own stock in CVX. Millions of people own stock in CVX, either out right or in mutual funds. CVX paid to train me before I was even an employee. And then later after being hired and working for CVX for 25 years and counting, I appreciate my employer. People bad mouth CVX all the time, but man, what would Richmond be without them. I for one thank Chevron. By the way, my family has lived since the 1920’s and still lives in North Richmond so my roots run deep.



  5. Robert Rogers on November 12, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Thanks to you all for your feedback on this. We understand that this is an issue that sparks passionate debate, and we seek to report what we see on the ground to help you draw your own conclusions.

    Best,
    Robert



    • RogerF on November 13, 2011 at 11:20 am

      Robert, if you are from Richmond Confidential, kudos and thank you. You’re the best source of news and do an excellent job when reporting issues directly impact us, Richmondians/Richmondites



      • Robert Rogers on November 14, 2011 at 1:03 pm

        Thanks so much, Roger. Yes, I do work with RichmondConfidential.org. We always try to improve, and particularly appreciate the vital feedback that we get from residents like you. We see local news as a collaborative, community effort.

        Best,
        Robert



  6. RogerF on November 13, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Does the kid holding the sign “Fight like an Egyptian” really know what the sign says? Just a thought. To fight corporations, one could start by not using their business and services. Not that simple, but it can be done.



  7. Tony Suggs on November 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    I hear the repeated refrain of corporate corruption. If it is as wide spread as some protesters say it is, then why haven’t the corporations been prosecuted?

    And if they have been or are being prosecuted what are you complaining about?

    Secondly, I have yet to hear anyone state clearly how they would redistribute the “wealth.” Is it going to be taxing the so called “1%ers” 100% of their income?

    Even if that is done it will not be enough to give everyone that thinks they deserve something from someone else, what they want!

    Finally, I for the life of me can not feel sorry for someone that is an adult and can read and understand the English language, that enters into a legal contract and should understand their obligations under that contract and not think about all the possibilities before signing it.

    In other words, no one held a gun to the head of homeowners and forced them to buy a house they could not afford!

    Where is the personal responsibility here?

    No one is guaranteed anything in life. It is not for me if I am successful because I work hard and sacrifice, to just give what I have earned to anyone else.

    For the record I do give to charities and volunteer my time. The key here is I make the choice to do that.

    I will not be forced to do so by a group that thinks they deserve what I have worked for.

    I am not rich and was not given any special treatment by anyone. What ever success I have is because I had two parents, a mother and father in the home, that taught all 6 of their children to study hard in school and work hard on your job.



    • OWS ORSM on November 15, 2011 at 1:47 pm

      During WWII corporations paid a 94% rate on profits made above $200,000 (equivalent of $2,5 million in today’s money). A high rate of 90% lasted till 1964 when it went down to 77%. The corrupting influence of money in congress, in elections, in the courts, suceeded in reducing the tax rate on profits to something between 15%-and -35%. Many corporations don’t pay any taxes.
      All OWS is saying is : TAX THE RICH (at least as they were), END THE WARS and let’s have an HONEST and REPRESENTATIVE GOVERMENT without corporate money controlling it.
      Do you get that?



      • Tony Suggs on November 16, 2011 at 9:09 pm

        I don’t know what figures you are using but here is a link to the Tax Policy Center showing the corporate tax rates around 40% during the periods you quoted.

        http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=64&Topic2id=70

        Secondly, if you want an honest elected government, then elect honest candidates. Only corruptable people are corrupted!

        Please name a corporation that that did not pay any taxes at all.

        If you want everyone to pay a fair share of taxes, then push for a flat tax with no deductions for anyone. Period.

        How about that or do you believe that some people should pay a higher rate than others?



  8. Jason Myers on November 19, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    If Richmond truly wants equality and protection from corporate influence, the first objective should be to divide the city into districts and have DISTRICT ELECTIONS. Period.

    EXAMPLE: Three of the current council members live less than a mile from each other on the hill in Pt. Richmond. A fourth lives less than a mile from them in Brickyard Cove.

    Doesn’t sound like equal representation to me.

    Divided into districts, a council member would only have 15-17,000 citizens to represent from his/her OWN NEIGHBORHOOD/DISTRICT where they actually live.

    a) it helps to ensure that the councilmember is held accountable by representing his/her neighbors/district. Otherwise, they won’t be re-elected.

    b) it avoids the need for an inordinate amount of contributions for a campaign

    c) it tempers the temptation to accept corporate contributions from

    VEOLIA (Tom Butt, Jim Rogers, Nat Bates),

    CHEVRON (Bates, Rogers),

    etc.



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