Here are some facts about the Richmond Progressive Alliance, which has become a powerful political force in Richmond in recent years.
The Richmond Progressive Alliance was founded in 2003 by activists Andres Soto, Juan Reardon, Roberto Reyes and a then-unknown newcomer named Gayle McLaughlin.
Soto has said that part of the raison d'Ã2/3tre for the group was an incident on Cinco de Mayo the year before, when Soto and his family and friends were allegedly beaten by Richmond police officers.
In 2004, Soto and McLaughlin ran for council. Soto absorbed the heavier attacks, but his loss helped pave the way for McLaughlin's win.
In 2006, McLaughlin won a razor-thin victory for mayor over incumbent Irma Anderson. McLaughlin was aided by the third party candidacy of Gary Bell, which siphoned votes from Anderson.
In 2008, Jeff Ritterman won a come-from-behind election, later to emerge as perhaps the RPA's most potent single voice.
In 2010, Mayor McLaughlin won another narrow re-election in another three-candidate race featuring bruising attacks. Jovanka Beckles won a spot on the council, giving the RPA its most decisive legislative majority and delivering a crushing defeat to Chevron-backed candidates despite nearly $1 million in funding.
In 2012, Ritterman declined to run, and RPA candidates Marilyn Langlois and Eduardo Martinez are bested by Gary Bell, thanks in part to more than $1.2 million in Chevron funding. The RPA is also trounced on Measure N, thanks in part to more than $2.5 million in funding from the biggest soft drink corporations in the world.