Richard Alarcon

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Richard Alarcon

Richard Alarcon is a Los Angeles City Council member. He is a former teacher, community activist, State Senator and State Assemblymember.

Councilmember Alarcón lives in Panorama City, California.[1]

He is the brother of Communist Party USA activist Evelina Alarcon.

Political career

As a State Senator, Alarcon was Chair of the Select Committee to Develop a Master Plan to End Poverty in California. Through this committee he held hearings across the state, looking at solutions on how to reduce poverty and hearing the stories of Californians who are struggling to be self-sufficient. He has been a long-time advocate for updating the Federal Poverty Guidelines to a measurement that accurately reflects the realities of today and has passed resolutions and the state and city in support of this update.

During his time in the Senate, he was the Chair of the powerful Labor and Industrial Relations Committee and was essential in overhauling workers compensation. He also created the Cal Home Program which brought in $550 million to expand homeownership opportunities, brought $85 million dollars to community clinics through the Cedillo/Alarcn Primary Care Clinic Act and acquired $200 million for teacher recruitment, training and salary increases.

As a City Councilmember, Alarcon introduced a motion to create the Ad Hoc Committee to End Poverty in Los Angeles, for which he is the Chair. Over 2011, the Ad Hoc Committee has held a series of hearings on specific topics including calling on DWP to increase the percentage of eligible Angelenos who participate in the low-income utilities program, considering the role of education in reducing poverty, and an emergency hearing on the foreclosure crisis in August of 2007, well before most politicians were willing to speak about the need for government intervention for the emergency.

The work of the Ad Hoc Committee to End Poverty in Los Angeles will culminate in the distribution of the Master Plan to End Poverty in Los Angeles. The Master Plan is a document, compiled under the supervision of Councilmember Alarcon, which is being reviewed by over 100 different people from various non-profits, service providers, government agencies, the business community and foundations.

In 1997, he spearheaded the creation of the Northeast Valley Enterprise Zone, bringing businesses, which in turn, brought good jobs to the area.[2]

Environmental activist

An environmental activist at a young age, one of the first fights that Councilmember Alarocn engaged in was to close Lopez Canyon Landfill, which he did as a City Councilmember in the 1990s. Now, he is working with te Dept. of Park and Recreations to turn portions of this 392 acre site into a park, complete with hiking and horse trails.[3]

Lawmakers back longshore workers

California lawmakers lambasted the Bush administration for its threatened intervention in West Coast longshore negotiations, at a public hearing held at Banning Landing at the Port of Los Angeles on Aug. 16 2002.

The hearing was called in response to revelations that a secret federal task force established by President Bush threatened the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) with using the Taft-Hartley Act, military troops and National Railway Labor Act-type laws to take over the ports in the event of a strike or slowdown.

Calling the collective bargaining process “the right of American workers,” State Senator Richard Alarcon (D-San Fernando Valley), chair of the hearing and chair of the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations committee, said, “It is not our practice to engage in contract negotiations, but when President Bush threatened to intervene, we felt it was absolutely necessary to hold this hearing.”

Legislators on the hearing panel included state Sen. Betty Karnette (D-Long Beach), Assemblymembers Paul Koretz (D-West LA), who chairs the Assembly Labor Committee, Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) and Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.). The hearing was called by the State Senate and Assembly Labor and Industrial Relations committees.

Assemblyman Lowenthal told the hearing that a resolution, calling on Bush not to intervene on behalf of California, was headed for the state legislature’s approval.

In closing the hearing, Senator Alarcon pledged that the legislature would continue to watch and monitor this situation including other hearings if necessary. [4]


In 2003, he was one of eight state legislators in the United States called a "Local Hero" by The Nation magazine. The national magazine picked Senator Alarocn as a state legislator who sets an example of leadership that Democrats in Congress should emulate.

In addition to this honor, in 2005, he received the Truman Award for the Outstanding Elected Official from the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley and has a 100% voting record with Environment CA Scorecard and Planned Parenthood of California.

Along with his work as a public servant, Councilmember Alarcon founded and co-founded many non-profits, including Richard Alarcon's Young Senators (his youth leadership training program, which is now in its 11th year), the Gift of Christmas (a toy give-away program that was inspired by the generosity of his father) and most recently, Richie Alarcon C.A.R.E. Foundation.[5]

Greetings to the Communist Party

In June 1996 the Communist Party USA paper People's Weekly World held[6] a tribute event in Los Angeles for unionists Jerry Acosta and Gil Cedillo.

The Southern California Friends of the People's Weekly World tribute to two of Los Angeles' finest labor leaders, Jerry Acosta and Gilbert Cedillo, became a dynamic rally of elected officials, activists, labor and community leaders in solidarity with labor struggles and in the fight to defeat the ultra-right in November...
"The People's Weekly World and all of us in this room feel very strongly about who we honor today," said Evelina Alarcon, chair of the Southern California District and national secretary of the Communist Party USA, one of the emcees of the tribute. "Jerry Acosta and Gilbert Cedillo represent the new fightback vision of the Sweeney, Trumka, Chavez-Thompson leadership in the AFL-CIO. They represent the rank and file that is pushing from the bottom for that new vision!"

According to the World, Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon, brother of Communist Evelina Alarcon, spoke on behalf of the council which adopted a resolution honoring Acosta and Cedillo;

"Gil Cedillo and Jerry Acosta have changed the whole dynamic of what it means to be for the working class and what it means to fight for workers rights. Because of them and other labor leaders, we have seen a resurgence of strength of the least empowered in our country..."

Presentations to the honorees were also made by Clara James, chair of the Community Affairs Commission of the Second Baptist Church, on behalf of Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Antonio Aguilar, on behalf of State Senator Hilda Solis, California's first Latina elected to the State Senate, who, along with labor, led the drive to put a minimum wage increase initiative on the ballot...

Los Angeles Martinez Jobs Bill support rally

On October 18 1997, Matthew Martinez, State senators Hilda Solis and Diane Watson, City Councilman Richard Alarcon, Miguel Contreras, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles Federation of Labor and Geraldine Washington, president of the Los Angeles NAACP addressed a Los Angeles "show us the living wage jobs" rally, as part of a national day of action, calling on Congress to pass the Martinez Jobs Bill. there were concurrent rallies in nearly 20 cities, organized by the Communist Party USA dominated National Labor-Community Coalition For Public Works Jobs. Pastor Cecil Murray of the First AME Church in South Los Angeles sponsored the rally.[7]

Cesar Chavez rally

On November 6 1999, a rally was held in Los Angeles, at Placita Olvera kiosk, calling for a holiday to mark the birth of Cesar Chavez. Contact for the rally was Evelina Alarcon of the United Farm Workers and the Communist Party USA.

Speakers included Dolores Huerta of the UFW, and Majority leader of the California State Senate, Richard Alarcon, who introduced Senate Bill-984, which would make March 31, Chavez's birthday a paid public holiday.

Also speaking were Los Angeles Board of Supervisors member Gloria Molina, who introduced a similar measure at county level, Art Pulaski, of the California State Federation of Labor executive, Los Angeles City Council member Jackie Goldberg, Los Angeles Federation of Labor executive member Miguel Contreras, and Paul Chavez, son of Cesar, and president of the National Farm Worker Service Center.[8]

Cesar Chavez walk

Thousands of people from across Southern California joined the 4th Annual Cesar E. Chavez Walk in East Los Angeles on Saturday, April 6, 2002 --marking the ninth anniversary of the legendary farm worker and civil rights leader's death and the 40th anniversary of the United Farm Workers.

Walkers who assembled Saturday at East Los Angeles College Stadium for the walk included Chavez's widow, Helen, other Chavez family members and UFW President Arturo Rodriguez. Also participating were Hollywood figures including Martin Sheen; Jackie Guerra, Pete Leal, Austin Marquez, Edward James Olmos; Esai Morales; Mike Farrell; Ed Begley, Jr.; Marisol Nichols; Richard Coca, Evelina Fernandez, Mike Gomez, Sal Lopez, Dyana Ortelli, Jose Luis Valuenzuela; and Michele Greene.

Many elected officials also joined the walk, including U.S. Rep. Hilda Solis, state Sen. Richard Alarcon, Sen. Gloria Romero, Sen. Nell Soto, Speaker of the Assembly Herb Wesson, Assemblymembers Marco Firebaugh, Judy Chu and Paul Koretz, and Board of Equalization member John Chang.

After a brief welcome by emcees Sid Garcia (ABC7) and Nancy Agosto (KMEX-TV), participants traveled a five-kilometer route through the neighborhood before returning for free music and entertainment.

Sponsors supporting the 4th Annual Cesar Chavez Walk included ABC7, KMEX, La Opinion, Super Estrella and L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina.[9]

Cesar Chavez National Holiday campaign

In 2009, Richard Alarcon, Los Angeles City Council Member, former CA State Senator was listed on the Advisory Council and as a Founding Sponsor of the Communist Party USA initiated Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday organization[10]

Budget cuts protest

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was among the scheduled speakers at a downtown rally march 23, 2011, to protest proposed federal budget cuts, which organizers claim would hurt the city and county governments and attempts by small businesses to avoid layoffs.

Reps. Maxine Waters, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Karen Bass, Laura Richardson and Judy Chu, Councilman Richard Alarcon, actors Tim Robbins and James Cromwell and actress Mimi Kennedy were among the other scheduled speakers for the rally at the Edward Roybal Federal Building, set to begin at 2:30 p.m.[11]

Supporting "Occupy" and Mario Brito

The following memo was transcribed in Daily Kos, December 22, 2011, by Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism activist Clay Claiborne. It was from Los Angeles City Council member Richard Alarcon, supporting Occupy Los Angeles, and Communist Party USA member Mario Brito.[12]

From: Councilmember Richard Alarcon
To: Hon. Carmen Trutanich, City Attorney
Chief Charlie Beck, Los Angeles Police Department
Tony Royster, General Manager, General Services Department
CC: Mario Brito, "Occupy Los Angeles"
Date: Friday, September 30th, 2011
Re: Providing Occupy LA Event - Tomorrow Saturday, Oct. 1st at City Hall- with Reasonable Accommodations to Peacefully Exercise 1st Amendment Rights
I'm writing to urge you to provide a reasonable accommodation to "Occupy Los Angeles" in order to both protect the City's interests and to allow this group to peacefully exercise it's First Amendment rights.
It will benefit neither the City nor "Occupy Los Angeles" if peaceful protesters are arrested at or near City Hall tomorrow night...It would be unwise for our City to be overly aggressive and change the story from what it is--a protest against financial institutions--into a story about the City being inhospitable to peaceful demonstrations of civil rights.
I recommend that "Occupy Los Angeles" demonstrators be allowed to sleep near City Hall tomorrow night...

CC: Mario Brito, "Occupy Los Angeles"Ten years ago he was organizing meat packing employees in Ventura County. More recently he is a Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Council member and endorsed the call of Latinos for Peace. Early on he got involved in building Occupy Los Angeles and it became the focus of his work. After the encampment began he slept there almost every night.

Communist campaign manager

In 2012, Communist Party USA member Mario Brito was supporting Richard Alarcon, as Field Director, Co-Campaign Manger at Alarcon for State Assembly 2012.[13]