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Richmond politics heat up over incendiary mailer

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Tuesday, October 7th, 2008 at 5:20 pm in Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics.

West Contra Costa Latina/O Democratic Club President Andrés Soto is calling for the Democratic Party to rescind its endorsements of incumbent Richmond councilmen Nat Bates, John Marquez and Harpreet Sandhu in the Nov. 4 election.

Soto also vowed to present a list of demands at tonight’s City Council meeting related to the recent distribution of an inflammatory campaign mailer from the Richmond Police Officers Association.

The Latino community is furious over the mailer, which many view as racist. Click here to read a story in the West Contra Costa Times about reaction to the nastygram.

Read more for Soto’s demand letter to the council:

Richmond Community United for Peace

The Richmond Police Officers Association (RPOA) sent out a political mailer to the voters of Richmond that is highly offensive to the diverse community of Richmond and is designed to create racial division. It is also a diversion from the real issues that impact Richmond voters such as the recent Chevron vote by the Council majority against the people’s will.

In response to this offensive mailer, a broad coalition of Richmond community members have come together to present a list of demands of the Richmond Police Officer’s Association.

The following are our demands:

  • A retraction and apology from the RPOA and a promise not to engage in this type of ‘Karl Rove’ style of politics of racial division and personal destruction. This apology needs to be sent as a mailer to all Richmond voters just like the hit piece and approved by members of Richmond Community United for Peace.
  • All candidates denounce the piece and this style of politics, support the demand for an apology and the ceasing this type of politics in any future mailers.
  • If the RPOA refuse to apologize and agree to cease and desist in this type of politics, all candidates refuse the endorsement of the RPOA and return any campaign contributions received so far, promise to not accept any contributions in the future and to order the RPOA not spend any funds on their behalf.
  • The Contra Costa Democratic Central Committee join our call for these demands and withdraw their endorsement of any candidate who does not support the apology and call for clean politics.
  • The Richmond Police Commission investigate Det. Kevin Martin, President of the RPOA and Sgt. Andre Hill, Vice President of RPOA, for engaging in racially abusive behavior for the authorization of this hit piece. Commissioner Chris Tallerico be removed from the Commission as unfit to make fair and just decisions
  • The Richmond Human Relations and Human Rights Commission investigate the RPOA leadership for engaging in racially abusive behavior that violates the human rights of the Latino community and to demand Harpreet Sandhu resign as Liaison from the City Council to the Commission, until such time as he supports the community demands, renounces his endorsement from the RPOA and returns any contributions received from the RPOA.

The apology would be:

  • To the all of the people of Richmond for sending out such a divisive, misleading and racist political mailer.
  • To the Latino community for the harmful and portrayal of the Latino community being the source of crime in Richmond, when in fact Latinos are disproportionately victims of crime.
  • To the candidates Jovanka Beckles and Jeff Ritterman for slanderously suggesting that they support preferential treatment for Latinos at the expense of African Americans, Jewish Americans and EuroAmericans.

The Richmond City Council elections should be about issue and not dirty politics.

Richmond Community United for Peace calls on all candidates for Richmond City Council and current Councilmembers to pledge they will only engage in clean elections and to demand the RPOA send out to all voters a retraction and apology for sending out a malicious, racist and misleading political mailer.

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