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Around the Way: Is California ready for Gayle McLaughlin?

on October 28, 2017

Instead of attending extravagant fundraisers, setting up political action committees or courting corporate donors, Gayle McLaughlin spends her days driving around California and speaking to small groups of people who want to bring back progressive politics. McLaughlin will be running as a third-party independent candidate in the race for California’s lieutenant governor next year.

From small beginnings as a co-founder of the Richmond Progressive Alliance, she was elected to Richmond’s city council on a corporate-free platform. She served two terms as mayor and now intends to take her message statewide. It is a simple but potent axiom.

“Government is for the people, not corporations,” McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin has the experience. During Richmond’s 2014 elections, she was the focus of a $3 million attack-ad campaign by Chevron. But despite the corporation’s best efforts, McLaughlin and her RPA peers maintained their hold on the city council.

In what is looking to be an expensive race to the finish, McLaughlin is running her campaign one small donation at a time. Through a network of grassroots groups spread out across the state, she has every intention of bringing her progressive values to the state Capitol.


  1. Commenter on October 28, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    God help us all if these whacky communists get in power in Sacramento. It’s a safe bet they will tank our economy and bankrupt the state. Vote for McLaughlin if you want a select group of far left extremists controlling the government. I suggest Richmond Confidential do a piece on the recent letter Juan Reardon sent out to RPA members and candidates threatening them with retaliation if they do not follow the party line. I also suggest that many who vote for the RPA are simply not looking deeply enough into who and what they are voting for. I voted for them for years until I finally paid enough attention to realize just how crazy these people really are. Read Reardons letter, you can find it at Mayor Tom Butts e-forum. That’s just a small piece of the crazy you will get with your support for these people. Let the buyer beware.

  2. Commenter on October 28, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    What you are actually voting for when you support RPA candidates…..

    From: Juan Reardon
    Date: Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 10:59 AM
    Subject: [rpa-sc-discussion] We need to build a better, more democratic RPA
    To: RPA-SC-Discussion

    We need to build a better, more democratic RPA
    Democracy has been an RPA key value since day one.
    We created this organization because Chevron ran Richmond like a feudal lord. We created the RPA to be democratic and to defend and build democracy.
    Over the years our organization has taken steps to expand our democratic nature. In recent years we became a membership organization and the general membership assembly is the ultimate decision making body. We also formalized bylaws and a steering committee elected directly and periodically by the members.
    We make important decisions through a process that is very democratic, and we expect all members to follow these democratically made decisions. This expectation also applies to the RPA members who are in the City Council.
    Having all members follow the democratically voted policies and recommendations makes the RPA a more democratic organization, and obviously a stronger one.
    There are hundreds of issues that come up for a city council vote regularly. We expect the councilmembers to hear from all interested parties and vote on those items as they see best.
    However, when it comes to matters of fundamental importance to the RPA, which are brought-up and voted on by the RPA Steering Committee and/or General Membership, we expect the RPA councilmembers to adhere to the recommendations and preferences of the RPA.
    Some years ago, an RPA councilmember dismissed the RPA recommendations on key issues which were part of the core of the RPA values. This councilmember voted against the City employees’ union, voted also to re-zone light industrial the North Richmond open shoreline, and voted to cut a deal with Chevron inferior to what we had fought for. This was wrong.
    Following the RPA democratically voted recommendations only when it is not inconvenient, or when friends or other advisors are not opposing them, is a serious problem. It damages and weakens the resolve of RPA activists when they see that their democratically discussed and voted positions are dismissed by those we elected into office.
    Not one RPA councilmember can say that they got into office by themselves. It was the collective efforts of the RPA who put them there.
    We need to build deeper into our collective thinking the understanding that a democratic progressive movement needs democratic loyalty to advance its goals.
    We will always have differences of opinion, but in the key junctures and issues all members of the organization must follow the decision arrived by the democratic process.
    The RPA cannot do much immediately when an RPA councilmember chooses to ignore the democratically voted recommendations on key issues and go on their own way.
    Nevertheless, all potential RPA candidates must be made aware during their candidacy exploration that this is the RPA expectation, and that the RPA as an organization, and the RPA members as individual activists, will take into account how this expectation was fulfilled, when subsequent endorsement and campaign processes come up.
    Councilmembers who explicitly go against the votes of the RPA SC and membership on key issues should not receive further electoral support from the organization or the activist members.The RPA is a membership organization. They are either with the RPA or not.
    If this common-sense understanding has not been clear to all RPA members till now, it is time that it becomes clear, so that in the future we avoid tragic situations like the one mentioned of our former RPA councilmember years ago, and other situations which may come to mind.
    All the 2018 city council candidates must be made clearly aware of this expectation, and of the consequences of not fulfilling it.

    The RPA cannot be an organization used to get into office and ignored and dismissed afterwards.
    Juan Reardon
    Co-founder of the RPA
    14 year member
    SC member
    Chair of the RPA Outreach Team

  3. Commenter on October 28, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    George W Bush: “Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

    Juan Reardon : “The RPA is a membership organization. They are either with the RPA or not.”

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…..

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