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College District governing board approves new Chancellor contract for Dr. Bryan Reece

Posted in: News, Education | Comments (0)

Includes base annual salary of $315,000, with performance-based incentives

By Timothy Leong, Public Information Officer, CCCCD

Dr. Bryan Reece. From his website.

At their October 14, 2020, meeting, the Governing Board approved the contract for Dr. Bryan Reece to become the ninth permanent Chancellor of the Contra Costa Community College District (District). The Chancellor Emeritus of California Community Colleges was hired by a board vote during their meeting on Sept. 22. (See related article)

“We are excited to work with Dr. Reece because the District needs a strong and visionary leader to meet the challenges we face,” said Governing Board President Rebecca Barrett.  “He brings an exemplary higher education background and experiences that will help us address the social justice and equity issues we face, particularly for our students. We look forward to the transformation and innovation our District will make under his leadership that will increase the success of our students.”

Dr. Reece has been working in higher education for over 30 years, with 15 years of academic and private sector leadership experience. He has taught Political Science as a tenured community college faculty member for 19 years and has a documented record of moving community colleges in directions that improve the academic success for students across all groups and has particular expertise with student populations from historically underserved communities.

Dr. Reece has been a transformational figure at three California community colleges, including Cerritos College, Crafton Hills College and Norco College. His most recent accomplishment came under his leadership as the President of Norco College where he organized college and community leaders into teams that implemented programs to improve the lives of students, community members, and college personnel.

“I am honored the Governing Board has selected me to lead this great District,” said Reece.  “Our future success can only happen if we all work together for the good of our students. I look forward to the challenge of bringing together our trustees, faculty, classified professionals and managers as we engage more deeply with our community and business leaders, and transform the lives of our students as they achieve their educational goals with us.”

Dr. Reece will start work on November 1, 2020, and receive a base annual salary of $315,000, with performance-based incentives. The contract will run through June 30, 2022, at which time the Governing Board can consider up to a two-year extension based on an evaluation that exceeds expectations.

Dr. Reece has a Bachelor of arts degree, Master of arts degree and doctorate in Political Science from the University of Southern California.

About the College District

The Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) is one of the largest multi-college community college districts in California. The CCCCD serves a population of 1,019,640 people, and its boundaries encompass all but 48 of the 734-square-mile land area of Contra Costa County. The District is home to Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, as well as educational centers in Brentwood and San Ramon. The District headquarters is located in downtown Martinez.

 

 

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Publisher @ October 21, 2020

Candidate Profile: Manny Soliz Jr for Antioch City Council District 1

Posted in: News, Politics & Elections, City Council | Comments (0)

Manny Soliz, Jr.

Manuel (Manny) Soliz, Jr.

Candidate for Antioch City Council, District 1.

City of Antioch Planning Commissioner.

Previous Offices: Mayor Pro Tem & Councilmember, 1996 – 2000

City of Antioch, Parks & Recreation Commissioner, 1994 – 1996 and 2016-2018.

City of Antioch, Planning Commissioner 2018 to present.

Occupation: Financial Advisor and Small Businessowner.

Top Issues: Public safety and clean neighborhoods and streets, Economic development, A humane approach to the homeless, well thought out, logical and realistic city planning.

Top Accomplishments:

  1.  In my previous term, hiring additional police and code enforcement to dramatically reduce crime and code violations city wide.
  2.  Refinanced existing Mello Roos bonds that reduced the public indebtedness by over $15 million and reduced the payback period by over 9 years.
  3.  Worked with telecommunications companies to place fiber optics along Lone Tree Way, paving the way for future retail businesses in Antioch.
  4.  Approved Slatten Ranch and Williamson Ranch retail centers on Lone Tree Way.
  5.  Worked and fought to include citizen oversight and a sunset to Measure W.

MannySoliz.com

www.Facebook.com/MannySoliz4Antioch

mannysoliz4antioch@gmail.com

(925) 384-2629

 

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Publisher @ October 20, 2020

Regional housing needs proposal allocates 2,481 more housing units for Antioch between 2023-31

Posted in: News, Growth & Development | Comments (0)

Photo: ABAG

1,443 to be low- to moderate-income units; 43,942 total units allocated for Contra Costa cities

Methodology emphasizes equity for projected 441,000 additional housing units needed Bay Area wide

“Housing Element Law emphasizes that all Bay Area communities have to share the increased state planning number…” – ABAG President and Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin

Public comment period begins Oct. 25

The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG)’s Executive Board at its meeting Thursday evening, Oct. 15 passed the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) proposed methodology — a mathematical formula by which the state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD)’s requirement that the Bay Area plan for more than 441,000 additional housing units during the 2023-2031 RHNA cycle will be distributed among the region’s nine counties and 101 cities and towns. New state laws — as well as the region’s strong economy and related job and household growth over the past decade — are also a significant reason for the growth in HCD’s determination, which will require the Bay Area to plan for 253,000 more units than required in the 2015- 2023 RHNA cycle. ABAG RHNA 10-15-20

Under the proposed methodology, communities in Contra Costa County would be expected to add 43,942 housing units, about 10% of the total. Antioch is allocated a total of 2,481 more housing units, with 1,443 of them low- to moderate-income units.

From ABAG’s RHNA dated Oct. 15, 2020.

Communities in Santa Clara County would be expected to account for about one-third of all new units to be incorporated into the housing elements of Bay Area jurisdictions’ general plans, and San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland are expected to have the highest expected planning numbers for individual cities.

ABAG President and Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin commented, “Housing Element Law emphasizes that all Bay Area communities have to share the increased state planning numbers.  The adopted proposed methodology is the best way to share the housing responsibility among all our region’s local governments, to encourage housing in areas with good access to jobs and in locations designated by the state as high-opportunity areas, and to meet fair housing and greenhouse gas reduction requirements.”

With the Executive Board’s action, ABAG on Oct. 25 will open a public comment period on the proposed RHNA methodology. The comment period will include a public hearing at the Thursday, Nov. 12 meeting of ABAG’s Regional Planning Committee, after which both the committee and the Executive Board will again weigh in on the methodology. If approved, ABAG will submit this draft methodology to HCD for review, likely in January 2021, and then use the state agency’s recommendations to develop a final methodology and draft RHNA allocation in spring 2021. Release of the draft allocation would then kick off an appeals period in the summer of 2021, with the final RHNA allocation assigned to each of the Bay Area’s local governments in late 2021.

According to the California Department of Housing and Community Development, “Since 1969, California has required that all local governments (cities and counties) adequately plan to meet the housing needs of everyone in the community. California’s local governments meet this requirement by adopting housing plans as part of their ‘general plan’ (also required by the state). General plans serve as the local government’s ‘blueprint’ for how the city and/or county will grow and develop and include seven elements: land use, transportation, conservation, noise, open space, safety, and housing. The law mandating that housing be included as an element of each jurisdiction’s general plan is known as ‘housing-element law.’

California’s housing-element law acknowledges that, in order for the private market to adequately address the housing needs and demand of Californians, local governments must adopt plans and regulatory systems that provide opportunities for (and do not unduly constrain), housing development. As a result, housing policy in California rests largely on the effective implementation of local general plans and, in particular, local housing elements.” Each of the regions in the state must develop a plan for their Regional Housing Needs Allocation and Housing Elements.

The allocation methodology is a formula for accommodating the Bay Area’s total housing need by quantifying the number of housing units — separated into above-moderate, moderate, low and very-low income categories — that will be assigned to each city, town and county.  The allocation must meet statutory objectives and be consistent with the forecasted development pattern from Plan Bay Area 2050. The final result of the RHNA process is the allocation of housing units by income category to each jurisdiction. Each local government must then update the Housing Element of its General Plan and its zoning to show how it can accommodate its RHNA allocation.

The proposed RHNA methodology was developed by ABAG’s Housing Methodology Committee (HMC) after nearly a year of meetings and technical analysis. The HMC process provided a forum for local elected officials, staff from city and county governments, various stakeholder groups, and members of the general public to formulate a data-driven proposal.  Members of the HMC were selected from a diverse pool of applicants and included representatives from each of the nine Bay Area counties.

President Arreguin praised the HMC for its challenging work: “The proposed methodology represents a big accomplishment not only for the HMC or for ABAG, but also for our region.  The committee members’ involvement in this complicated and sometimes contentious process brought together very diverse voices to develop a methodology that works for the entire Bay Area.”

Additional information about the proposed methodology and the RHNA process is available on ABAG’s website:  https://abag.ca.gov/our-work/housing/rhna-regional-housing-needs-allocation.

Founded in 1961, ABAG is the regional planning agency for the Bay Area’s nine counties and 101 cities and towns, and is recognized as the first council of governments in California.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Publisher @ October 20, 2020

Community College District announces Spring 2021 will be online

Posted in: News, Education | Comments (0)

By Timothy Leong, Public Information Officer, CCCCD

The Contra Costa Community College District (District) has decided to offer predominantly online courses and student services for the entire 2020-21 academic year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A limited number of students will continue to be allowed on campus to attend hard-to-convert courses and labs — strict adherence to county social distancing guidelines will be enforced to ensure student and employee safety. The District has been operating remotely since March 16, 2020.

“We thought it was best to make this decision as early as possible to give our students, classified professionals, faculty and administrators the opportunity to plan accordingly,” said interim chancellor Gene Huff. “This has been a challenging time for many of our students who are taking online courses for the first time, and we want to thank them for their perseverance and flexibility. Our many support services like tutoring and counseling are ready to assist our students achieve their academic goals with us.”

Registration for spring 2021 courses begins in November and depends on a student’s priority. To view what classes may be offered, students should visit their InSite account or college website of their choice for specific details.

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Publisher @ October 20, 2020

Letters: Writer responds to Antioch police “untruths” about homeless issues

Posted in: Opinion, Opinion, Letters to the Editor | Comments (0)

Dear Editor:

In order to combat untruths from both the Antioch Police Officers Association and from the election campaign of Antioch’s current mayor, I offer the following facts relating to homeless issues in Antioch, particularly with respect to the proposal that the city convert to Executive Inn on 18th Street near Cavallo to transitional homeless housing.

  1. A city-wide survey of Antioch residents indicated that homelessness was among the top issues of concern in the city. The city declared homelessness to be a crisis last year.
  2. The Antioch City Council that was seated after 2018 elections voted to appoint an Ad Hoc Committee to study homeless encampments.
  3. The Homeless Encampment Ad Hoc Committee composed of Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts and Councilman Lamar Thorpe began their research, visiting encampments and talking with homeless residents. They set up study sessions a.) to explore the impact and cost of homelessness on existing city services, businesses, AUSD, local hospitals, and BART; b.) to learn about the work of Contra Costa County Health, Housing and Homeless Services and community groups that serve the homeless; c.) to get information on programs that have had successes in other cities; and d.) to hear from homeless residents themselves and, very poignantly, from city leaders who themselves endured periods of homelessness. (These sessions were open to everyone; I attended nearly all of them.)
  4. The most obvious solutions for Antioch that came out of these studies were: a.) the need to coordinate the various organizations helping homeless in Antioch, thus the need for a city coordinator position; b.) the need for more drug abuse and mental health resources for homeless in Eastern Contra Costa; and c.) housing first is the most successful and least costly way to address homeless issues. Temporary stop gap solutions considered in Antioch included designated parking areas for safe overnight sleeping for homeless with cars or RVs, and managed camp sites.
  5. Antioch received five FEMA trailers from the state and began the process of finding a place to put them to house up to five people in each, most likely families.
  6. Ad Hoc committee member Thorpe met with the Executive Inn owners to discuss a bridge housing proposal and they were open to it. Currently the inn works with the county providing crisis housing to individuals and families with children. Golden Hills Community Church currently feeds homeless next door weekday evenings.
  7. Motts and Thorpe have proposed the city work with the motel to provide transitional or bridge housing to homeless. There are 32 rooms plus places to put the five trailers. The project would happen only with wraparound services such as meals, security, custodial, as well as essential behavioral health and health care services through other agencies and non-profits including COC, Sutter Health, Love Never Fails, Shelter Inc, similar to what the county is doing with Motel 6 in Pittsburg. These services help to incur a positive outcome. It is not permanent housing. It is a step towards permanent housing. Residents receive any needed mental health and/or addiction services as they recover from life on the streets, find employment, and move on to permanent housing elsewhere. The lease cost is approximately one million per year, about what the city spends now breaking up homeless encampments. Committing to and proceeding with the project means Antioch would likely attract financial support from other sources including the state. The council has voted to pursue a feasibility study. Cities such as Livermore and Santa Clara are going forward with similar proposals.
  8. The only school within a quarter mile of the Executive Inn, Rocketship Charter School on Cavallo Rd., has welcomed any children from families that would move in there.
  9. Some in the city say we should rely on the county and the state for homeless services. We have, but that has not got us very far. Rather we need to work with the county and the state. Those opposing the proposal have offered nothing in its place.
  10. Both the Antioch Police Officers Association and Mayor Sean Wright have claimed the Executive Inn is one quarter mile from four Antioch schools and the Antioch Youth Sports Complex. This is not true. There is only the one I named above, Rocketship. The next nearest school, Kimball Elementary, is one half mile away. The sports complex is over a mile and a half away. Antioch Middle School is seven tenths of a mile away, and the high school is a full mile away. Children of the newly housed families would not have too far to go. Also, the APOA said it was permanent housing. It is not.
  11. The motel would not be housing homeless, because with a place to live, the people are no longer homeless.

Homelessness is Antioch’s most pressing issue right now. We need to elect leaders who are actually addressing the issue with very doable solutions. Lamar Thorpe for Mayor, Joy Motts in District One are obvious choices, though other candidates may support the transitional housing plan. Nichole Gardner of the non-profit Fighting for the Homeless in Antioch is the best candidate in District Three, as Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock voted against the proposal. Councilwoman Monica Wilson in District Four supports the proposal.

Lucy Meinhardt

Antioch

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Publisher @ October 20, 2020

2021 Medicare Open Enrollment in a virtual world

Posted in: News, Health | Comments (0)

Tips for navigating plan options during the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Rick Beavin, Desert Pacific Medicare President, Humana

The annual Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plan open enrollment period is traditionally a time for educational events, classes and one on one meetings, but this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some new and different ways to learn about Medicare. October 15 to December 7 is the time when millions of people eligible for Medicare can access the latest information about available health plans for 2021. In California alone, more than 6.4 million people are enrolled in Medicare including more than 2.9 million with Medicare Advantage

There are resources to help you choose the plan that’s right for you without having to leave home, including informational websites, virtual educational events and one-on-one virtual meetings with sales agents. At the same time, it’s important to safely access Medicare information online while protecting your personal information and avoiding fake offers and other scams.

Here are some tips for how to prepare for the Medicare fall open enrollment period:

  1. Use an online tool

Go to the Medicare Plan Finder on Medicare.gov to compare plans, benefits and an estimated cost for each plan based on an average member.

If you are interested in Medicare Part D, which helps cover the cost of prescription medications, you can also enter the names of prescription medications you take to ensure those medications are covered by the plan you are considering. You can enroll directly on Medicare.gov.

On Medicare.gov, you can also learn about and enroll in Medicare Advantage plans, sometimes called Part C or MA Plans, and you can also visit an insurance company’s website to learn more about what they offer. Insurance companies that offer Medicare Advantage plans can provide you with detailed information about their plans and services, plus prescription pricing information and other benefits. You can also check to see if your primary care physician or other providers are in-network with the Medicare Advantage plan.

  1. Sign up for a virtual education workshop

Many insurance companies are offering online workshops to review 2021 Medicare Advantage plan options. Also, check to see if you can set up a virtual one-on-one meeting with an insurance company sales agent – meaning, by phone or video chat. Before you attend a virtual event or meeting, find out in advance how to log on to the meeting to avoid technical issues.  It’s a good idea to also prepare a list of questions so that you can ensure you get the information you need. Does the plan include vision, hearing and dental coverage? Will telehealth services be covered? Is transportation to your medical appointments included?

  1. Protect yourself against Medicare scams

The federal Medicare agency has warned that scammers may try to use the pandemic to steal Medicare beneficiaries’ Medicare numbers, banking information or other personal data. Scammers may try to reach out to you by phone, email, text message, social media or by visiting your home. Only give your Medicare number to your doctor, pharmacist, hospital, health insurer or other trusted health care provider. Do not click links in text messages and emails about COVID-19 from unknown sources, and hang up on unsolicited phone calls offering COVID-19 tests or supplies.

If you are not comfortable accessing plan information online, Medicare.gov has an option for setting up a phone call

For more information, go to Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227).

For more information about Humana plans, you can visit www.Humana.com/Medicare or speak with a licensed Humana sales agent by calling 1-800-213-5286 (TTY: 711) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.

Rick Beavin is Desert Pacific Medicare President at Humana in California.

 

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Publisher @ October 20, 2020

Candidate Profile: Sandra White for Antioch City Council District 4

Posted in: News, Politics & Elections, City Council | Comments (0)

Sandra White

My name is Sandra White; I am running for City Council District 4 in Antioch. I currently work for an Autism services company as the Vice President of Human Resources. During my time away from the office, I serve as Chair on the Antioch Police Crime Prevention Commission. My volunteer endeavors extend to the Antioch Unified School District Advisory Board member and previously the Contra Costa County Advisory Board (CAB). As the next City Council, my goals are to decrease the blight, increase law enforcement personnel, and work with business owners on business revitalization and economic development. And implement sustainable solutions for homelessness.

If you are interested in supporting me to bring change to Antioch, please contact me:

Email: sandrawhitecitycouncil@gmail.com

Website: www.sandrawhiteforcitycouncil.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sandra-White-For-Antioch-City-Council-District-4-105468514558651

Mobile: 925-437-9361

 

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Publisher @ October 19, 2020

Antioch Police Officers claim homeless motel supported by Thorpe, Wilson and Motts will increase crime

Posted in: News, Police & Crime, Opinion, Politics & Elections | Comments (0)

It’s one reason the APOA offers for not supporting them in the November election

In an email message sent out by the Antioch Police Officers Association on Monday afternoon, they wrote the following, based on the 3-2 vote by the Antioch City Council on July 28, although all five council members supported a feasibility study on the proposal. (See related article)

“… and it’s being supported by

Councilmembers Monica Wilson and Joy

Motts.

Mayor candidate Lamar Thorpe has a proposal to permanently house homeless individuals at the Executive Inn on E. 18th and Cavallo – an area that is already a crime challenge for the Antioch Police. But the problems only begin there.

The location is CLOSE TO HOMES, only 1/4 MILE FROM FOUR ANTIOCH SCHOOLS and the Antioch Youth Sports Center. And the cost to Antioch taxpayers could reach one million dollars or more per year.

The Antioch Police Officers’ Association believes this proposal could put citizens’ lives in danger and sets a precedent for Antioch becoming the magnet for the County’s homeless.

This proposal is but one reason we are NOT supporting the re-election of Councilmembers Monica Wilson and Joy Motts on November 3rd.

Thank you for reading this message.

Antioch Police Officers’ Association

Working to Protect the Citizens of Antioch”

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Publisher @ October 19, 2020