Rubicon Voter Guide 2016

By Lisa Dyas October 12, 2016

Vote for justice & equity in our communities!

At Rubicon, we are committed to helping our participants move out of poverty through success in building assets, increasing their income, being well, and building their network of professional and personal connections. We have studied the statewide ballot measures and adopted positions that support our participants' movement toward economic mobility and work to dismantle systemic forces that disproportionately impact communities of color. Our guide is grounded in Rubicon's values of hope, justice, and humility. 

We hope that you will consider our recommendations on the upcoming ballot measures. Let's move toward our vision of an East Bay without poverty.
Please consider our recommendations on the upcoming ballot measures. Register to vote before October 24 in Alameda & Contra Costa Counties. ​ Let’s move towards our vision of an East Bay without poverty.

Prop 57 - Vote Yes

Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act: Would increase sentencing credits for adult inmates, allow earlier parole for non-violent felons and let judges decide which juvenile offenders are tried as adults.

At Rubicon, we believe prison is not an effective or equitable way to increase public safety, especially as a response to non-violent offenses. We support getting more people out of the prison system and back to their families, where they can build the skills and connections needed to better their lives and be positive change agents in their communities. 

Prop 61- Vote Yes

State Prescription Drug Purchases. Pricing Standards. Initiative Statute: Would impose controls on state purchases of prescription drugs, establishing that prices can be no higher than what the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays.

Wellness plays an integral part in being able to secure and retain employment, remain proactive in your life, engage in positive relationships and activities, and ultimately break the cycle of poverty. We support keeping prescription drug costs under control to ensure that people experiencing poverty can continue to improve and maintain their health and wellness.

Prop 62 - Vote Yes

Justice That Works: Death Penalty Abolition: Would do away with the nation's largest death row and substitute life sentences with no chance of parole for nearly 750 condemned inmates. A competing measure to speed up executions is also on the ballot. 

Rubicon is against the costly, dysfunctional, and racially biased death penalty system that disproportionately affect our communities. Mounting evidence indicates the death penalty convictions are often biased, and is applied unevenly to poor people and people of color. We unequivocally support abolishing the death penalty. 

Prop 63 - Vote Yes

Safety for All Act: Would tighten California’s already tough gun control laws by requiring background checks to buy ammunition, outlaw possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines and streamline a program that allows authorities to seize firearms from owners who are no longer allowed to own them. NOTE: Increases the penalty for theft of a firearm to a Felony, regardless of whether $950 or under.

Many of the communities that we serve are disproportionately impacted by gun violence. We believe that tightening gun control laws will lead to less violence. There is growing evidence that demonstrates that states with strong gun control laws see fewer overall gun deaths.

Prop 64 - Vote Yes

Marijuana Legalization: Would allow adults 21 and over to buy an ounce of marijuana and marijuana-infused products at licensed retail outlets and also to grow up to six pot plants for personal recreational use. 

Rubicon supports the decriminalization of drug use. Historically, drug laws have disproportionately impacted people of color living in poverty. This proposition also reduces the sale of marijuana to a misdemeanor, and allows for destruction of records within two years for certain marijuana offenses. Individuals with prior marijuana sales or growing convictions would be eligible for re-sentencing, and those with completed sentences could apply to have their records expunged.

Prop 66 - Vote No

Shortening Death Penalty Appeals: Would accelerate appeals by inmates on death row to speed up executions. A competing measure to repeal the death penalty is also on the ballot. NOTE: If both 62 and 66 pass the one with the higher percentage of the vote will become law.

Rubicon does not support the death penalty. The potential of taking the life of an innocent person is unacceptable. Mounting evidence indicates that false convictions are frequent and disproportionately impact people of color.  

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Holding a Book, Having a Disability, Having a car breakdown – while being Black

By Jane Fischberg September 22, 2016

Recently I have been silent on police killings of people who are black, because I could not come up with anything unique or helpful to add to the discourse on social media -- posts, blogs, articles, many of which are more articulate than I could hope to be.  I didn’t want to be sanctimonious, redundant.  Nor did I wish to inadvertently disrespect the dignity of each life lost, each unique soul who was gunned done by those charged with protecting public safety.

Just as we hear or read the details of one death and see a new hashtag, we hear of yet another brutal killing.

I cannot speak with the righteous anger of my black friends and colleagues so I try to find my own voice. I try to imagine what it would be like if people who look like me were gunned down on a daily basis while carrying on the business of their lives. I could invoke the purge and genocide of Jews during the Holocaust.  And I don’t wish to lessen the dignity of those 6 million lives lost, nor deny history, nor say that one genocide is more important than another.  My family was lucky – we made it to the US in the late decade of the 19th century and early decades of the 20th.  I pay homage to my ancestors, and their brethren who were not so lucky.

Never again, we say.

Genocide happened, and is happening again here.  If our nation’s Original Sin was genocide of Native Americans, then the legacy of slavery is our Second Sin. 

I try to imagine -- and I keep coming back to what it must have been like when white slave owners sought to recapture slaves who had escaped in search of a free life.  I have been reading Homegoing and I reflect on the relationship between our nation’s Second Sin and what is happening in our world today.  I think of Ness and Sam’s escape, capture, the brutal punishment they both received -- and Sam’s fate. 

We cannot distance ourselves from this traumatic legacy

So, as a white person, what can I do?  Here is what Derrick Weston says:

1. Don’t Silence Us
2. Confession
3. Use your privilege for good
4. Amplify black voices
5. Transfer resources

Wise words.

Read Weston's full post>>

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Solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

By Jane Fischberg September 8, 2016

Many of us have been following and supporting the Standing Rock Sioux tribal members’ protest over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which would be placed less than a mile upstream of the reservation, and could impact drinking water for more than 8,000 tribal members and millions who rely on it downstream. Further, it would disturb the site of an ancient burial ground.  In response to the protest, six people — including a child — have been bitten by guard dogs and at least 30 people were pepper-sprayed.

This protest, and the response to it, make me think about the relationship between our values of justice and hope, and solidarity with justice movements throughout the US and the world. The issue also vividly demonstrates the connections between poverty and environmental justice.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Rubicon’s Workforce Services Team Meets Your Hiring Needs

By Lisa Dyas September 6, 2016

Hayward job fairRubicon's Workforce Services team connects Bay Area businesses with pre-screened, qualified job applicants at no cost to the employer. Serving a geographic area spanning the entire East Bay from Hayward to Richmond, we draw on a roster of over five hundred job seekers to find the ones that meet your unique hiring needs. Our business clients range from multi-national corporations to local small business owners.

Our Workforce Liaisons provide a comprehensive array of staffing services to employers including:

  • Customized direct staffing assistance
  • Host on-site recruitment
  • On-the-Job Training (OJT) opportunities
  • Access to training and tax credit resources

In addition to staffing services Rubicon offers businesses the following resources:

  • Labor Market Information
  • Business to Business Networking
  • Employer Education Workshops
  • Access to local/regional business organizations
  • Chamber of Commerce connections
  • Economic Development Forums

If you are a business owner or hiring manager and would like to learn more about how Rubicon can help solve your staffing needs at no cost to you, please contact:

Workforce Services Manager 
Traci Young

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Rubicon History | Mental Heath & Wellness Services

By Lisa Dyas September 6, 2016

Beginning 1973, Rubicon offered mental health and wellness services to some of our most vulnerable neighbors in Richmond, CA. We helped people living with persistent and severe mental health issues find stability, access benefits to help them address their health needs, find housing, and manage their money.

As the agency grew, however, it evolved to meet the changing demands of the communities it served. In 1989 Rubicon began Project Independence to help people access permanent and permanent supportive housing. Rubicon also started two social enterprise businesses, a bakery and landscape company, and began its workforce development services in both Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.

In 2014, we realized that we were providing two very different sets of services to equally unique populations. While we were extremely proud of our more than 40 year history of helping people meet their mental health needs, we knew that we could best achieve our vision of an East Bay without poverty by focusing our services on our program participants who were seeking to enter, or re-enter the workforce, with the ultimate goal of earning self-sufficiency wages.

We made the difficult decision to stop offering our mental health and wellness services in 2016. Mental Health and Wellness services are offered at organizations throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. There are many providers throughout the East Bay that continue to provide mental health services. Please see the list below for resources.


Resources for Mental Health Services

From anywhere in the East Bay, call 211 (dial 211 from your phone or go to for referrals to resources in your area.

In Contra Costa County:

  • Contra Costa County Access Line: 1-888-678-7277.
  • Money Management assistance, please call Criss Cross at: 1-866-380-9708
  • Substance Abuse services, please contact the Contra Costa Substance Abuse Access Line at: 1-800-846-1652.
  • If you are Homeless, please contact the Contra Costa County Homeless Hotline at: 1-800-799-6599.
  • You may also contact 211 (dial 211 from your phone or go to, the Bay Area Social Service information network. They will refer you to resources in your area.

In Alameda County:

  • Alameda County Access line: 1-800-491-9099
  • Alameda County Crisis Line: 1-800-309-2131.
  • Berkeley residents may contact the Berkeley Mental Health crisis and information line: 510-981-5290.
  • Berkeley residents who are homeless may contact the Berkeley Homeless Outreach program: 510-981-2388

If you are a former participant of Rubicon's Mental Health and Wellness program and need access to your medical records, please contact Hallie Friedman.

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