This edition: Facing Down Corporate Election GreedTweet
Original tape date: November 7, 2014.
First aired: November 17, 2014.
In the midst of the midterm elections and the obsession with which party would control the US Senate, there were races at the local and state level with deeper implications for the future of the country. In the small city of Richmond, California, a slate of progressive candidates faced off against a challenge from pro-business candidates backed to the tune of more than $3 million by the energy giant Chevron. For years, Chevron has treated Richmond like a company town and its large refinery there has been a constant source of health and safety concerns. Among children in Richmond, hospitalization for asthma is nearly twice the national rate. There has been a series of leaks and explosions, and smoke from a 2012 fire at the refinery sent 15,000 to area hospitals for treatment.
Since 2007, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, a Green Party leader, and her allies on the city council have faced down not only Chevron but other corporate interests like the real estate and financial industries as well. This year, Chevron fought back with an expensive barrage of negative campaign media. But on Election Day, the progressive slate triumphed, despite the nearly $300 per vote Chevron spent.
On this week’s Moyers & Company, Gayle McLaughlin – who this year was term limited as mayor but won a city council seat -- and Harriet Rowan, a college student and journalist who uncovered the Chevron money story for the news website “Richmond Confidential,” talk with Bill Moyers about the role unlimited sums of corporate cash played in Richmond. They discuss the great success of the billions spent by wealthy individuals and companies in other races across the country and how to fight back, using Richmond’s example as a model for future fights of organized people versus organized money.