El Cerrito Shows UP Going Dark (for awhile)

GET OUT THETE 101The ushering in of Daylight Savings Time will mark the end of El Cerrito Shows UP  for this year.  Local residents mobilized in 2016 at the height of the Nazi demonstrations in Charlottesville to send a message that our community does not tolerate hate and racism.  Since that time, residents faithfully appeared week after week (prior to winter darkness) to maintain this message.  Some of the human billboard actions were huge, with over 600 people in attendance.

@MaryMartinDeShaw-0011-XLFor almost a month, hundreds of local residents responded to the separations of families at the border.

IMG_1790 (1)With a plethora of countywide actions from the different organizations of the social justice community, residents “kept the heat on ICE.” (ICE is the acronym for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The County Sheriff finally agreed to end the County’s contract with ICE and no longer houses detained immigrants at West County Jail.

The point of El Cerrito Shows UP has been two-fold:

  • To build resistance and remind residents that our current administration cannot be tolerated, accepted or be normalized.
  • To create community among people who care about social justice and prevent isolation and depression that can easily beset individuals when power in this country is so abused and intended to promote hate.

Clearly, for those who are politically involved, we know the November 6th elections mean the possibility of stopping the train wreck of policies threatening our health care, education, environment and more.  How can we show others that voting can make a difference?  On Thursday, October 25th, from 5-7 pm., residents will gather for the last El Cerrito Shows UP for this year.  PLEASE JOIN US.  We will be focusing our attention to the mid-term with sign’s to remind voters what is at stake.  If you haven’t been involved, this is a time you can meet up with others and get involved. Plenty of phone banking, text banking and canvassing is still needed to be done.  You can find the Indivisible East Bay ready to get you started.


First Ever Truth Forum – Demand Transparency and Accountability

Under the TRUTH Act, any jurisdiction that has allowed ICE access in the past year is required to hold a community forum bringing transparency to local jail entanglement with immigration enforcement.

Through the advocacy efforts of coalitions and individuals the Board of Supervisors agreed to organize a community meeting so residents can learn about the level and type of ICE activity inside our community.  Sheriff David Livingston will be at the forum to answer questions from the Board of Supervisors and the community. Please join the Contra Costa Immigrant Rights Alliance  on Tuesday July 24, 2018 at 1 pm outside of 651 Pine Street, to rally for the Truth.

The coalition will also have speakers who will amplify Sheriff Livingston’s collaboration with ICE in Contra Costa. So please come out and support prior to entering the facility for the Truth Act forum at 2 pm.

We hope to see many of you there at 1 pm.

If you have any questions please contact Tony at Tony@workingeastbay.org

Truth Forum




“Monday, April 03, 2017 07:15PM

California lawmakers gave initial approval Monday to a measure that prevents law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials, a measure that proponents said rebukes President Donald Trump for his immigration crackdown.

It makes California a statewide sanctuary for many people who are in the country illegally.

The state Senate passed the measure on a 27-12 vote, sending it to the state Assembly over the objection of opponents who said it endangers the public by shielding felons from being deported.”

Volunteers Giving Free Rides to the Poll on Election Day (El Cerrito Area)

Free Rides to the Polls on November 6th (1) 

If you live in El Cerrito, Kensington, Albany, North Berkeley (to University Ave), Richmond Annex or Richmond, El Cerrito Progressives is coordinating a team of volunteer drivers on Election Day, November 6, to provide a ride to your own polling place and back.

To arrange for a ride, just text: 510-883-4526. Ordering a ride in advance is recommended, since rides will  be on a first-ask-first-serve basis. Please give the address where you need to be picked up, and list a time, preferably on the hour or half-hour. You’ll get a text in reply with details as to who will be picking you up and what time. Please spread the word to workers, elders and community centers!

Fix-it Clinics: Reducing waste one repair at a time

20180609_122049Last June’s Fix-it Clinic brought together neighbors and their items for repair, assisted by volunteers at local El Cerrito Library. (Photo Credit: Howdy Goudey) Below read a reprint from the Newsletter of Today at Berkeley Lab, featuring Fix-it Clinic extraordinaire, and El Cerrito Progressive member, Howdy Goudey.

Next Fix-it Clinic @ El Cerrito Library on October 17th, 2018   1-4PM

In Today’s ‘Throw-Away’ Society, Howdy Goudey Works to Create a ‘Culture of Repair’

— By Keri Troutman

Howdy Goudey, a scientific engineering associate in Berkeley Lab’s Energy Technologies Area (ETA) has always enjoyed “tinkering,” so he was intrigued when he first heard about “fixit clinics”— community events where people bring small broken items to get free repair help from fixit “coaches.” Goudey now volunteers as a coach with the nonprofit Fixit Clinic organization at numerous Bay Area events.

Fixit clinics, which have become increasingly popular across the nation over the last few years, help people fix all kinds of small items, from broken zippers, toasters, and electric toothbrushes to computer monitors, Blu-Ray players, and microwaves. The clinics are typically held in libraries, museums, and other easy-to-access community spaces, and staffed with an array of volunteer fixit coaches, equipped with tools and sewing machines at the ready.

“The Fixit Clinic philosophy is basically about empowering people to fix their own broken items and reuse them, in an effort to reduce waste and build a ‘culture of repair,’” says Goudey. Participants work alongside coaches to repair their items, creating an opportunity to learn new skills. A central component of the Fixit Clinic mission is to use small appliance repair to shift attitudes about consumption and sustainability.

Hands-on work has also been a part of Goudey’s career at Berkeley Lab since starting as a student here in 1993. Experimental design and setup, along with the inevitable repairs, definitely require tinkering skills. Goudey now spends much of his time doing physical heat transfer experiments and infrared thermography to collect data to validate thermal models that are used to rate windows.

“I grew up tinkering — taking things apart and putting them back together was a fun activity for me; something I did along with my dad,” says Goudey. “These days, it seems like not as many people have that fixit mindset.”

Organizations like Fixit Clinic and The Culture of Repair aim to change that mindset, both among the general population and at the product design level. Both organizations track repair “hacks” and monitor what leaves fixed so they can collect data around what is repairable. “It’s important to look at what kinds of failures are causing people to throw things away,” says Goudey. “And think about whether anything can be changed at the design level to reduce that.”

Go  hereto sign-up for a Fixit Clinic co- sponsored by El Cerrito Progressives, or to volunteer as a coach.


Displacement and Gentrification Report points to El Cerrito

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To see more on this interactive map please follow the link: Map

El Cerrito is not immune to the Bay Area housing crisis that finds long term residents forced to move or pay an extraordinary percent of their income toward rent in order to stay.  Although the City Council is looking into short and long term solutions for tenant protection, the City Council’s lack of support for a temporary freeze on rent hikes may result in some families packing their bags and leaving.   For example, a resident writes about their story  (September 2018) of displacement in El Cerrito Next Door.

   “We moved into El Cerrito 9 years ago and paid $2375 for a 3 bedroom, 1 bath. We had a neighbor that was downstairs. During the nearly 8 years we lived there, the rent increased to $2,575 in the last two years of our tenancy there. Last year, owner decided to sell and we had to move. When we looked around May/June timeframe, the going rent was minimally $3,500 for a shared rental. This year, and one year after our last move, we were given notice again to move as the owner is selling. The going rate now is $4,100. I think this is reflective of a rental hike. Needless to say, we couldn’t justify living in El Cerrito anymore and just moved out to Pinole this past week before our 3 kids starts school.”

Another renter of El Cerrito (who chooses to remain anonymous) found herself sleeping in her car after her landlord raised her rent from $1,100 to $1,600 a month.  As resident renters struggle to stay in their apartment, the risk of homelessness grows. Not surprising, research conducted by Zillow last year predicts that rising rents will see an increase in homelessness in urban areas.   For example, a  5 percent increase in Los Angeles rents would lead to roughly 2,000 additional people experiencing homelessness. Zillow Rising rents and Homelessness

What can residents and local politicians and policy makers do to stop the bleeding of our local low and moderate income seniors, workers and residents?

El Cerrito Human Relations Commission speaks out on El Cerrito Housing Crisis

At their September meeting, members of the Commission listened to testimony from residents about the perils of rent increases,  including a story from one of their own Commissioner’s, Makalia Aga.   Commission members agreed that housing as a basic right is under the purview of the Commission, as is a call to action to prevent our community from being an elite city, affordable only to those with high incomes.  Commission members will be voting on an action to take a resolution for a rent/eviction freeze to the El Cerrito City Council.

Time is Running Out for Renters.  As our City Council and other cities seek to develop their commercial area, housing stock and ultimately the health of their city budget, demographic changes are inevitable.  According to the Urban Displacement Project (UDP),  research on gentrification and displacement bears out the importance of not only increasing production of subsidized and market-rate housing in California’s coastal communities, but also investing in the preservation of housing affordability and stabilizing vulnerable communities.Download the Research Brief here.

Stephen Barton (El Cerrito resident) and Eli Moore recently prepared a report for the Haas Institute, making the case that relief for renters must happen now, and that rent control and just cause eviction although not the only solution, is part of the five pillars to ensure that a city like El Cerrito maintain it’s economically diverse population. Read the full report here:  The PDF _Rent Control- Opening the Door    45 minuteVideo Presentation

Do you want to be more involved in creating protection measures for tenants in our city? Please contact us at:  elcerritoprogressives@gmail.com





El Cerrito Shows UP NEW TIME: 5-6PM

20180621-untitled shoot-12By Carol Thomas-XL@MaryMartinDeShaw-0011-XL@MaryMartinDeShaw-0063-X3On a summer day in July of 2018 when news reports splashed out headlines and images of family separation, hundreds of residents descended on the intersection of San Pablo and Carlson. Families stacked the steps in front of the El Cerrito Plaza carrying signs of protest to say no to these policies.

Fast forward two months later.  As of August 31, according to the Washington Post, “Nearly two-thirds of the 497 minors still in custody — including 22 “tender-age” children, who are younger than 5 — have parents who were deported, mostly in the first weeks of Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy.”

And as recently as mid September, the New York Times reported that the number of migrant children being detained by the government has reached its highest level ever.  The Times showed that 12,800 children were detained in federal custody this month, compared to 2,400 children detained in May 2017. Federal shelters housing migrant children have remained filled at around 90 percent capacity since May of this year.

In addition to the assault on refugee families, Trump is proposing a regulation that could change the face of legal immigration — by restricting low-income immigrants. According to reporting by VOX New Trump Plan, it would give enormous discretion to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officers to reject an immigrant’s application for admission, or for a green card, because the officer feels the immigrant doesn’t make enough money to support a large family or doesn’t have the resources to provide health care for a preexisting condition.

Please be advised that although the brash and heart wrenching reporting of family separation in July is no longer in the headlines, vulnerable families, refugees, immigrants, and our neighbors in our community are in peril.  What can you do?

1, Do not accept the normalization of administrative policies. Show UP! Thursday at 5:00 P.M. at the El Cerrito Plaza entrance on the west side, in front of Daiso.

2. Challenge your elected officials to push back on racist and heartless policies by calling and sending letters.

3. Write letters to the editors.

4. Stay informed and impassioned by connecting to organizations working directly with targeted families including:  Freedom for Immigrants, and  interfaith Movement for Human Integrity



El Cerrito Progressives Candidate Scorecard

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How do voters gather information about candidates to make the best ballot choices? We can attend candidate forums, watch videos, and read candidates’ websites. We can also ask candidates questions directly.

This is exactly what El Cerrito Progressives, a group of El Cerrito residents, did. We crafted 10 questions for our Assembly District 15 and 10 for El Cerrito City Council candidates. Questions were informed by three policy areas of our group’s particular interest: social and racial justice, environmental justice, and affordable housing. We scored the responses based on how closely they match our progressive policy agenda. You can find ECP Policy Statement for reference.  Our scores are based solely on the candidates’ responses.

El Cerrito Progressives does not endorse candidates and are providing this information as a service to help the community be informed voters.

ECP feels it is important to learn about candidates’ positions at the local level, where less information is available. We are very disappointed that City Council Member and current Mayor Gabriel Quinto did not take the time to explain his positions on issues important to the residents of El Cerrito. His lack of responsiveness raises questions about his receptiveness towards working with and for his constituents.

We also have developed an impartial assessment of Measure V The City Charter/Real Estate Tax Measure. That is found here Measure V- Why become a Charter City-    

We are providing this information to assist residents in being informed voters.  We did not take any endorsement positions on Measure V or or any candidates. We encourage everyone to do their own research about all candidates and measures on the November ballot. We hope our Scorecard is one useful source of information.


0 = Responded in a manner that did not address the issue

1 = Less than 25% in alignment with stated ECP policy positions

2 =  25%+ in alignment

3  50%+ in alignment

4  75%+ in alignment

5  100% in alignment

We didn’t score several questions because they were about issues that ECP had not yet taken a position on.

Assembly District 15

Jovanka Beckles Score 30/35

Buffy Wicks Score 34/35

35 maximum possible score

Click here for the full list of questions and answers. Assembly Candidate Answers


El Cerrito City Council

Janet Abelson  Score 18/45

Gabriel Quinto (no response)

45 possible maximum score

Click here for the full list of questions and answers. City Council Candidate Answers