Mike Parker For Richmond Mayor
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Mike Parker for Richmond

Mike Parker has withdrawn from the Mayor's race and is endorsing Tom Butt. Mike recommends that you donate to the campaigns of Team Richmond - Gayle McLaughlin, Jovanka Beckles and Eduardo Martinez. To donate go here: http://www.teamrichmond.net/donate
Mike is still accepting donations to help pay back loans that financed his campaign.
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ABOUT MIKE
Why I am running for mayor

Issues

Brief Bio

  • BA from University of Chicago and MA from UC Berkeley
  • Worked for 30 years in manufacturing as an industrial electrician, mostly in the auto industry. Active in the United Auto Workers.
  • Retired from Chrysler in 2007 and moved to Richmond to the home where my wife’s family had lived for years.
  • Teach industrial electricity/electronics at Los Medanos Community College in Pittsburg - have been actively involved in worker training for decades.
  • Member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance and editor of its newsletter.
  • Worked hard on campaigns to get Chevron to pay its fair share of taxes, for adequate safety and emissions monitoring, to Save Point Molate, for support services for re-entry, to ban the box, and to fight foreclosures.
  • Member of the Richmond Workforce Investment Board.
  • Have attended 90% of City Council meetings for the past six years - careful student of Richmond's political process and committed to civility, democracy, and understanding the issues.
Mike, Margaret & Johanna
My wife, Margaret Jordan, grew up in the Bay Area and we married in 1978. Margaret went to college at Cal. She was an elementary school teacher in the Richmond Unified School District for 12 years. In Detroit, she trained as an RN and worked in pediatrics. She has a PhD in Psychology and worked in training programs for Family Medicine residents. We have one daughter, Johanna, who lives in San Francisco.
Mike with Zoe and Harley


Since we returned to Richmond, Margaret has been active in community issues. She is the president of the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council and is on the board of Weigh of Life and teaches nutrition classes. She volunteers at UCSF teaching medical students physician-patient communication skills so that they will be able to relate well to their patients.

Our daughter Johanna is a Spanish-English interpreter. As a medical interpreter, she works to ensure equal access to healthcare for the Latino community. She also interprets for unions and community organizations and teaches medical interpreting.

 

Richmond has made remarkable progress in the past 10 years. Richmond has come from a city known for its murder rate, toxic dumps, polluted air, and corrupt city government to a city with a solid and improving government, a lot of promise and a can-do attitude. Violent crime has been significantly reduced. We are increasingly known for our shoreline parks and great views of the bay and as a city willing to stand up to protect and improve the health, safety and opportunities of its residents. All of this progress took place because we broke the system of politics-as-usual where Big Money called the shots. 

Fire Marshall HarrisEverybody is upset by corporate domination of our politics. Across the nation corporations and rich individuals have never exercised more control of our government than they do now. In Richmond we have fought the power of Big Money. We have shown that you can win elections without taking money from corporations. The people can win. But it’s hard work. It requires a large number of people debating the issues and talking to their neighbors. It requires raising hundreds of small contributions.

It also requires independent people willing to run for office. Why is this hard? Because if you don’t make a deal with Big Money, they will spend five times your entire campaign budget on smear campaigns telling everyone what an awful person you are. This reality discouraged a lot of good people who would have made fine candidates for mayor. I know – I encouraged a number to run.

Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryRichmond Progressives led the way in attracting the LBNL to locate in Richmond. Now the challenge is to make sure it benefits Richmond and that Richmond residents get jobs.

This election is too important to concede to Big Money. The progress we’ve made is too valuable to surrender. And we must continue to fight for our health and safety. We need a Mayor and a City Council that will be reasonable but firm about ensuring that Chevron’s Richmond Refinery is the safest and cleanest in the world.

Every candidate declares that their priorities are jobs, health, safety, and education. But what polices get these? In the real world, candidates whose campaigns are financed by Big Money use these terms as an excuse for giving corporations what they want. Look at who worked to bring Richmond Bay Campus (LBNL) to Richmond; forced Chevron to pay increased taxes, forced Chevron to clean up its flaring, made city government more responsive, supported community efforts for bike trails and shoreline. And who opposed these or dragged their feet.

CanvassingI have long studied how city government works. And I have worked closely with Mayor McLaughlin on a number of important issues over the last 7 years, so I have a good understanding of Richmond’s history, organizations and current initiatives. I also bring with me a lot of experience in training people for skilled jobs in the trades. I know what is required to get these jobs and how the schools and society have left so many people unprepared for these jobs. This is one of the key challenges we face. How do we get Richmond residents trained to apply successfully for the good jobs that will be available locally? My expertise and interest in these issues is one more thing that sets me apart from the other candidates.

Finally, one skill I would bring to the job of Mayor is that I know how to attract and organize volunteers. City government does not have the money or the power to do everything that needs to be done. And it probably never should. So much must be accomplished by individual volunteers working together on social services and on issue campaigns. The City can support these organizations and initiatives. We all know that Mayor McLaughlin’s energy and commitment to creating a culture of volunteerism and community activity has been part of her legacy. It would be an honor to have the chance to build on her work.

Like Mayor McLaughlin, I commit to representing you.

Mike Parker


My Background and Career in the Labor Movement

I was born in Ohio in 1940 and grew up in Cleveland Heights. My grandparents were immigrants from Eastern Europe. My dad got a Depression-era job as an office boy and finally retired as a manager of a building materials company. He then developed a new career as a management consultant. My mother was a garment worker and then worked full-time taking care of four boys. My parents were very active in the labor movement. They were committed to defending and promoting the rights of working people, even during the repression of McCarthyism.

I went to college in 1958 at the University of Chicago and majored in physics. I became very active in student activities to advance civil rights and to oppose the nuclear arms race and took off two years from school to work in these movements as the National Secretary of the Student Peace Union. I returned to the University and earned a BA in Political Science. I paid for my education by doing electrical and electronic work at the University’s audio-visual center.

In 1964, I moved to Berkeley to start graduate school in Political Science. I worked my way through graduate school, first as a researcher and teaching assistant and then later with TV repair work. I earned my MA in Political Science in 1965 and successfully completed the courses and exams for a PhD in Political Science. I even started work on a dissertation. But finally I decided I preferred electrical work to being a professor at a university. I liked the mix of manual and intellectual skills required in electrical work. Similarly, political theory was only interesting to me if I could apply it to the real world.

Vote!All through this period I was a political activist seeking fundamental changes in society. I was a leader in the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley. I believed then as I believe now that injustice in the world is only reduced when people organize to demand justice. Later I was very involved in civil rights, particularly with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). I was an active supporter of the Farm Workers organizing struggle. I was one of the original organizers of the Peace and Freedom Party and worked closely with the Black Panther Party. I was a member of the Independent Socialist Club, which ultimately became part of an organization called Solidarity. I believed then as I do now that freedom, democracy, justice, and equality are worth fighting for.

In 1975 I moved to Detroit. Over the next 32 years, I worked there as a skilled industrial electrician, mostly in the auto industry. During this time, I also taught and did some engineering work. I was involved in both my local and national union. I believed that the union movement had lost its way and I was involved in many efforts to reform and rebuild unions. The main issues we fought for were democracy within the union, an active, involved membership, and leadership that represented the members rather than making deals with management that cut members' pay and benefits.

I was one of the founders of a publication/network called Labor Notes. I continue to serve on its National Policy Committee. I wrote or co-authored several books published by Labor Notes; the last two were Working Smart: A Union Guide to Participation Programs and Reengineering and Democracy Is Power: Rebuilding Unions from the Bottom Up.

 
My Life in Richmond

In 2007 I retired from Chrysler and we moved to a house in Point Richmond that Margaret’s parents had purchased in 1969.

Mike ParkerMargaret’s family has a long history in Richmond,. Her father established a lighting fixture business in 1952 and they were politically involved. Her mother, Lore Shaper, worked closely with Lucretia Edwards to save much of Richmond’s shoreline for people to use.  Lore was treasurer of the first Farmers’ Market in front of the Main Library and served on the Economic Development Commission.

When we moved to California I started teaching at Los Medanos Community College—part of the Contra Costa Community system in Pittsburg. I continue to teach industrial electricity/electronics there in a two-year program that certifies electricians/technicians for a number of industries, including refineries.

I first got involved in Richmond electoral politics via Jeff Ritterman’s successful 2008 campaign for City Council, becoming his campaign coordinator. This led me to become a strong supporter of Mayor McLaughlin and a member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA). I edit the RPA Newsletter and website, www.RichmondProgressiveAlliance.net. You can find much of what I have written about Richmond in the back issues of the Newsletter, available through the website. I stand on the record of the RPA.

Like Mayor McLaughlin, I am registered in the Green Party. I have not been active in the Greens myself, but I register with them as a statement about paying attention to the environment.

What will my detractors say about me?

Chevron or its agents may say anything to try to discredit me. We know from past elections that Chevron will hire public relations agencies to put on smear campaigns through direct mail, billboards, and TV. If they can’t dig up anything “damaging” about me personally, they will take words out of context or try guilt by association.

I am not embarrassed by my past and will put everything here up front to show that.
Click here for the facts.

 
Mike Parker for Mayor, 2014, PO Box 5514, Richmond CA 94805
MikeParkerforRichmond@gmail.com  ·    (510) 842-5207     ·     FPPC# 1363920