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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Progressive, activist Green Mayor heading big city USA

Richmond, California’s Mayor Gayle McLaughlin
Edited by Carolyn Bennett

PASSED: Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and Councilmember Jovanka Beckles propose resolution urging federal government to pass constitutional amendment limiting role of corporations in elections

This week when fire and explosions in Chevron’s refinery created billowing black smoke spewing over miles of California’s Bay Area and causing a level three health warning mandating “shelter -in- place” of “tens of thousands of people,” Mayor Gayle McLaughlin demanded accountability.

The mayor called for a “full investigation and analysis from both Chevron and independent sources [and] full and complete transparency and accountability” in determining the precise conditions that jeopardized community health and safety. 

The now-mayor of Richmond rises from many years of politically progressive activism.  
Chevron Refinery fire
August 7, 2012

In her early activist years, Gayle McLaughlin worked with such groups as the Central American solidarity movement; the North Star Network, a national networking effort to unite progressives; and coalition-building with People United to Save Humanity (Rainbow/PUSH). She was on the steering committee of the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES). 

In addition to being a U.S. politician, her career and character have been described as social activism participating in peace, social justice, civil rights, and environmental movements; an educator with research and  leadership experience promoting literacy, social justice, and environmental health and addressing needs of disadvantaged youth. 

She is a co-founder of the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA), a non-partisan progressive group of Democrats, Greens and Independents “coming together in progressive unity for a better and healthier Richmond,” the mayor’s website says. She is also co-founder of Solar Richmond, a nationally-recognized local program promoting solar power and green jobs in Richmond; and of Richmond Residents for a Responsible General Plan, “a community organization committed to ensuring that the General Plan process is transparent and open to public participation.” 

Gayle McLaughlin has stood against Chevron’s Richmond Refinery tax perks and against development on the North Richmond shoreline, against the USA Patriot Act and the criminalization of the homeless, and against cutbacks in jobs and salaries of union workers. 

Mayor McLaughlin
Power of ideas, values 

Mayor Gayle McLaughlin is a two-term mayor (2006, 2010) of the City of Richmond (Calif.), the largest city in the United States with a Green Party mayor 
Gayle McLaughlin

Before assuming the office of Richmond mayor, McLaughlin held an elective seat on the Richmond City Council. She has conducted her political campaigns “without a penny of corporate money,” her website boasts, thus marking “a turning point in Richmond politics, when voters selected a candidate solely on the power of her ideas and values, rather than the power of wealthy special interests.” 

While in office, Mayor McLaughlin has helped facilitate grassroots efforts calling for fair taxation. The result was a historic settlement in which Chevron agreed to pay an additional $114 million into the Richmond’s general fund over the next 15 years (a rise in the annual average of $7.6 million). The mayor has advocated for thousands of residents evicted from their homes by bank speculators and supported fair-cause eviction policies. She has protected Richmond open shorelines from toxic spills and unhealthy, ill-conceived development; and spearheaded and sponsored many new green and sustainability initiatives. 

Mayor McLaughlin is a member of the Mayors against Illegal Guns Coalition; and she has worked closely with law enforcement and neighborhood safety on strategies to reduce all violence in Richmond. She has defended victims of violent crime and spoken out particularly against church shootings and rape inflicted on school children and youth. 

McLaughlin’s schooling 

Gayle McLaughlin is U.S. Midwestern, eastern and western. A native of Chicago, Illinois, she took her undergraduate and graduate credentials in education and psychology at Massachusetts’ Bridgewater State College, the Rhode Island College, and the University of California Berkeley. 

Sources and notes 

“Richmond Mayor Seeks Full Transparency in Determining Cause of Refinery Fire Richmond, CA” (Office of Mayor Gayle Mclaughlin, Media Contact: Jeff Shoji, jeff@officeofthemayor.net), August 7, 2012, 450 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, CA 94804-1630 Telephone: (510) 620-6503   Fax:  (510) 412-2070   www.ci.richmond.ca.us

Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, biography

Richmond, California
Contra Costa County
Population in 2010: 103,701.
Rank: 2nd in Contra Costa County; 61st in California; 264th in the United States
City Data, http://www.city-data.com/city/Richmond-California.html#ixzz22zF8PZ6C
See also Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richmond,_California


City data dot com map

Smoke from the Chevron refinery fills the sky above Richmond after a series of explosions beginning around 6:15 p.m. No one was killed, Chevron said. Photo: Lance Iversen, The Chronicle / SF
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Fire-at-Chevron-refinery-in-Richmond-3767221.php#ixzz22zUVkQm0

Christopher Connelly/RichmondConfidential.org
Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and Councilmember Jovanka Beckles proposed a resolution to urge the federal government to pass a constitutional amendment limiting the role of corporations in elections. It was passed unanimously.http://blog.sfgate.com/incontracosta/category/news/page/4/

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