Green Party: The New Progressive Leader

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(The following was originally posted on East Bay Express and cross posted onto the Green Party website.)

In years past, when the mainstream press turned its gaze toward Richmond, California, it usually was to report on one of three things: homicides, public corruption, or fiery accidents at the Chevron refinery. But now when reporters and satellite trucks descend on the city, it’s usually because the Richmond City Council has again thumbed its nose at powerful corporate interests by proposing some of the most progressive legislation in the country.

Under the leadership of Green Party Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, the Richmond City Council has taken on the Chevron refinery, the city’s largest taxpayer and the region’s largest polluter, for avoiding its utility tax, having repeated accidents and dangerous operating conditions, being reluctant to be inspected, and for coming up with a poorly planned facility upgrade. The council has also taken stands against the soda industry, PG&E, the casino industry, and more recently, the Wall Street banking industry — perhaps its most powerful foe yet.

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