Gayle McLaughlin Speaks Out

The Discipline of Fairness
By Gayle McLaughlin, Richmond City Council
 
On 10/11/16, the East Bay Times editorial board conveyed its endorsements for Richmond City Council. 
 
The editorial board criticized me and my RPA colleagues by calling us the "fiscally undisciplined Richmond Progressive Alliance."  Now, it's clear the Times editorial board and the RPA see the world in different ways. The East Bay Times, like most mainstream media, echo the voices of corporate America. The RPA is a grassroots organization, mobilizing communities to create positive change for all residents. To the RPA, democracy is about people, not corporations.
 
The Times' use of the term, "fiscally undisciplined," made me think about the meaning of the word, "discipline."
 
From Latin disciplina, it means "instruction given, teaching, learning, knowledge." Well, Richmond Progressives have plenty of that.
 
To be disciplined: "To have a rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity."  Absolutely, we have a set of rules that has governed our activities in Richmond. People see it and it looks something like this: 
  • There is the discipline of integrity in not wanting to see cuts in essential city services; instead we propose a different way to balance the budget - with a temporary graduated salary reduction for the highest-paid city employees. 
  • There is the discipline of character in having the backbone to stand against corporations that pollute us daily.
  • There is the discipline of fairness in fighting against a potential backdoor deal with an unscrupulous developer before a bid process has occurred. 
  • There is also the discipline of being consistent in one's values and principles in standing with communities most in-need to advance social, environmental, and economic justice. 
  • And, of course, there is the discipline of facing the fact that continuing to balance the budget on the backs of our working families in Richmond is untenable. It hasn't worked in the past and it isn't going to work now. In the past 5 years, we've witnessed in this country a massive rebellion against wealth inequality. Many Richmond residents were inspired and strengthened by the efforts of the Occupy Movement and the Bernie Sanders Revolution. The trend is clear: people are standing up for themselves.

The Times editorial board and the RPA think differently, because we serve different people. Corporate media serve the top 1% income earners who have ravaged the economy and benefited from the largest transfer of wealth in our nation's history.  We serve the Richmond families who suffer the consequences of corporate greed. When was the last time you read a Times editorial demanding that corporate tax evaders be punished? Who can recall when the Times scolded the U.S. government for "undisciplined" spending on corporate-backed wars?

 
Instead, the Times board insists the people of Richmond - who live in one of the Bay Area's most economically disadvantaged cities - should tighten their belts. We think Richmond needs good programs and services for all our neighborhoods. Richmond families deserve relief from the systemic injustices that plague so many disadvantaged communities.
 
That's why the RPA is supporting two great corporate-free candidates (also endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders), running for the Richmond City Council. We think that the road ahead must be more equitable. We are not for waiting on the sidelines. We bring forward policies that allow working people to get a foothold on their lives by raising the minimum wage and providing job training for our residents.  And yes, we sometimes think the highest-paid city administrators could temporarily take a little cut in pay for the "good of the city."
 
Most importantly, we have the discipline to continue this struggle for the betterment of our entire community. 
 
Vote Melvin Willis for Richmond City Council
Vote Ben Choi for Richmond City Council
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