Archive for March, 2013

Antioch’s Congressmen among Bay Area delegation to speak out against Governor’s flawed plan for the Delta

Friday, March 29th, 2013

On Thursday, March 28, several U.S. Representatives from northern California spoke out in opposition to the release of the next portion of the Governor’s proposal for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, including Congressmen Jerry McNerney and George Miller who each represent a portion of Antioch. The Governor’s flawed plan would devastate the region and has met strong opposition from the Bay Area’s Congressional delegation.

I have said time and again that the Governor’s flawed plan is reckless and stands to cost California taxpayers billions of dollars and countless jobs.  I stand firmly with our farmers, families and small business owners who rely on a clean, healthy Delta to sustain their livelihoods – and continue contributing to our local economy.  To move forward with this fundamentally flawed plan without examining all reasonable alternatives is reckless.  I will continue to fight to make sure that the interests of the people of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are represented in any plan related to our region.  These are real folks who stand to have their business doors closed and farmers who stand to lose their family land that has been in their hands for generations if the Governor has his way, and they deserve to have a seat at the table.” – Rep. Jerry McNerney (CA-9)

This week the State of California released three more chapters of a draft of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) that still continues to ignore the expressed interests of all stakeholders.  The Governor’s plan must incorporate the co-equal goals of a healthy Bay-Delta and water reliability, but without the best available science, a finance plan that is affordable for California taxpayers, comprehensive efforts to protect fish, and without sufficiently analyzing the portfolio based alternative, it is far from achieving both goals and is yet to be a sustainable policy. I hope to see improved drafts in the coming months.” – Rep. George Miller (CA-11)

This proposed Bay Delta Conservation Plan continues to be rushed and flawed. The science is not complete, has not been reviewed by an independent third party, and there remain serious concerns over whether this plan would even meet federal permitting requirements. Moving forward could cause permanent harm to wildlife and devastate farmers, fishers and small business owners who depend on the Delta for their livelihoods. Until we have a plan that is transparent, based on sound science and developed with all stake-holders at the table, then any process that moves us closer to building these tunnels will recklessly risk billions of California tax dollars and thousands of jobs.” – Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5)

Unfortunately, there is nothing in the release of these chapters of the draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to indicate that any of the concerns expressed by northern California stakeholders have been addressed. In particular, Chapter 7 outlines a governance structure that once again relegates northern California to simply giving input, rather than being part of the implementation or decision making process. The Delta counties continue to be shut out, yet we are expected to shoulder the weight of the negative impacts. To solve California’s water situation, we must find an approach that doesn’t take the problems of one half of the state and lay them at the feet of the other half.  Alternatives, including the portfolio approach, must be considered, and no more chapters of the BDCP should be released until that occurs.” – Rep. Doris Matsui (CA-6)

As currently designed, the BDCP is really a Bay Delta Destruction Plan that takes taxpayers for a ride, leaves behind a mess, and takes water from the north and delivers it to the south. This is simply an expensive plumbing system that doesn’t add a single drop to the state’s water supply,” said Congressman Garamendi. “As an alternative, we need a comprehensive water plan to meet the needs of all California residents. The only way we can do this is by stretching the supply of this most precious resource through water conservation, recycling, and storage. We need to also fix the Delta through levee improvements, use the best science throughout the process, and respect water rights.”- Rep. John Garamendi (CA-3)

The release of the second portion of the draft BDCP plan has not been reviewed by an independent third party, and continues to leave serious questions about the science and impact on fisheries unaddressed. My concern remains that a plan based on giant peripheral tunnels will devastate salmon runs that depend on freshwater flows in the Delta.” – Rep. Jackie Speier (CA-14)

Water is an essential resource to our state, and it’s vital for our health, our environment, and our wallets that we have a comprehensive, long-term plan for securing water access and storage that’s based on sound science. The most recent portions of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) released remain flawed.  Continuing with this plan, without getting input from all stakeholders, without considering other alternatives, and without specifying how the project will be paid for is a bad idea for Sacramento County families.  The potential risk to jobs and billions of California tax dollars is too big to ignore.” – Rep. Ami Bera (CA-7)

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Where do all those trillions of dollars for health care go?

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Jeff Belle

By Jeff Belle

In the midst of so much political turmoil and economic uncertainty, there’s one thing that is for certain- Change! The Affordable Care Act of 2010 will bring about drastic changes to our health care, as we know it today. This article sheds light on the facts regarding basic health care cost and expenditures. It is necessary to get the facts straight about our current health care system and then dive into Obama Care. Unfortunately, the purview of this article doesn’t afford me the opportunity to discuss both issues at this time.

How much does the U.S. spend each year on health care? For 2010, the U.S. spent $ 2.59 trillion dollars. If you were to spend a million dollars per day, it would take approximately 5,000 years to spend what the U.S. spends yearly on health care. Wow! That’s a lot of money spent. In fact, health care grows faster than many other sectors of the economy. Today, health care cost is about 16% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP); however, by 2018 it will be about 20.3 percent of GDP. So, let’s look at a few facts about where and how health care dollars are being spent.

1. What percent of total health care costs go to prescription drugs? Fact: 10.1% or $ 259 trillion dollars

2. What percent of total costs go to hospital care? Fact: 31.1% or $ 814 billion dollars

3. What percent of total costs go to physician /clinical services? Fact: 21.4% or $ 516 billion dollars

Now that we have an idea as to where the money for health care goes, let’s see just who pays for it?

1. What percent of total health care costs does the Federal government pay? Fact: 27% or $ 699 billion dollars.

2. What percent of total health care costs does State and Local government pay? Fact: 16% or $414 billion dollars.

3. What percent of total health care costs do households pay? Fact: 28% or $ 719 billion dollars

4. What percent of total health care costs do private businesses pay? Fact: 21% or $ 544 billion dollars

Over the next few months, I will share the facts of The Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) with you. We will look ahead to what’s changing and when? How will Medicare and Medicaid be affected by Obama Care? This information will help you better understand The Affordable Care Act and how it fits into our health care system and affects your daily lives.

Sources:

Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured/Health Management Data, 2010.

McKinsey Global Institute, Accounting for the cost of U.S. health care, December 2008.

U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, National Health Expenditure Projections 2008-2018, Feb. 2009.

Jeff Belle is a Senior Fellow in Health Policy, Institute for Public Policy and Leadership Development. Mr. Belle has a bachelor’s degree in political science, graduate work at Johns Hopkins and American Universities and completing a Master in Public Administration from Grand Canyon University. He is an advisory board member to Contra Costa County Emergency Medical Care Committee and lives in Antioch.

Antioch resident Jeff Belle is a graduate student and does extensive research and lectures in public policy and health care issues.

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Baby Boomers vs. their Parents – Which group is healthier?

Friday, March 29th, 2013

By Brandon Roberts, D.C.

Unhealthy lifestyles have caused too many members of the baby boom generation to be in worse health compared to their parents during the same stage of life. 

A recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine reported only 13% of today’s baby boomers are in excellent health while their parents’ generation was 32%. Comparatively speaking, 39% of today’s baby boomers are obese and 16% have diabetes. The previous generation’s numbers for these same conditions are 29% and 12% respectively. 

According to Dana King, a professor at the West Virginia School of Medicine and the study’s lead author, today’s baby boomers are twice as likely to use a cane or walker than the previous generation. “It’s not too late to adopt new, healthy lifestyle habits and make a difference in your health,” said King.

Don’t Wait for a Crisis

What will it take for you to make the lifestyle changes you know you need to make to improve your quality of life? Will you wait for a severe crisis that leaves you with permanent damage and a future of disability or will you make a quality of life, Lifestyle Care, choice that will ensure your quality of life for the remainder of your years. 

Easy FitNESS Acronym to Remember

The acronym FitN2ESS can get you on the right track immediately. To get and stay healthy and fit you need neurology, nutrition, endurance strength and structure. 

Neurology: Every cell tissue and organ needs innervation, nerve supply, to function properly.

Nutrition: Choose quality calories over empty calories every time you make a food choice and drink plenty of good clean water.

Endurance: Cardiovascular exercise including walking, running, riding a bike or swimming will prepare you for the marathon of your extended life.

Strength: We have all seen an older person struggle to get out of a chair. Don’t wait until you lose your strength to try and get it back. Strength train now.

Structure: The health and function of your posture, spine and nervous system will determine how active and healthy you can be as you age. 

If your posture appears to be changing don’t waste another minute and schedule a chiropractic check-up. Lifestyle Care can improve your health dramatically. It is very important that today’s baby boomers learn from our current generation of seniors and super-seniors who were blindsided by their extended lives. You cannot blame your genes for your current health condition. Adjust your lifestyle and optimize the expression of your genes so that you can enjoy the quality life you deserve. 

Roberts is a Chiropractor at Deer Valley Chiropractic, a 100 Year Lifestyle Affiliate Office. This newsletter is reprinted with permission of The Family Practice, Inc. Deer Valley Chiropractic is located at 3381 Deer Valley Road, Antioch. Dr. Roberts can be reached at 925-757-7571. For more information visit www.drbrandonroberts.com

 

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Antioch Council discusses tax measure to fund more police

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

By James Ott

With Antioch’s crime rates out of control, city leaders are focused on creating a ballot measure to raise money for more Antioch police officers, however they still face several key issues at this stage in the process.

At the Tuesday, March 12 council meeting it was obvious from discussion by city council members, city staff and the public that there is still much to work to do before any ballot measure can be put up for vote including: what type of tax the measure will enact to raise the money, what kind of prohibitions will be placed on how it’s spent and when the tax money will stop being collected.

On top of this and other issues the council has to also deal with the fact that they can not legally advertise or support the tax measure to the public.

City Manager Jim Jakel likened putting forth the tax measure to a two lap marathon. The first lap involves the city in which they use public polls to determine what type of measure voters are likely to pass and then craft the measure and put it to a future vote.

The second lap is purely up to the voters said Jakel and the city must be hands off.

“The ‘second lap’… is a campaign that’s out in the community with the revenue measure that will pass or not based on the will of the people,” said Jakel. “And that’s something that’s a political campaign that the city cannot be a part of.”

For now, though the city is trying to zero in on what they can control.

They have in particular looked at three possible taxes for the measure: a sales tax – possibly similar to the half-cent sales tax measures recently passed by Concord and Pittsburg, a property tax on Antioch residents and a business tax that would tax landlords in Antioch for their rental properties.

The business tax on rentals seemed to be especially popular with the public at the city council’s recent crime prevention community forum, but council has said they want more info on the sales tax measure that was recently passed by Concord and Pittsburg to see if it would be valid for Antioch as well.

City council is being cautious this time around as they previously tried to pass their own half-cent sales tax, Measure P and voters shot it down with a 52 percent vote against it.

Because of Measure P there has been some argument over whether a new measure should earmark the money just for police and code enforcement or if it should be aloud to be used on other things such as bringing other Antioch employee’s back to a full 40-hour work week.

Some residents like Hanz Ho said that he and his wife agree that Measure P failed because it was unclear what the money could or would be used for and so if it is to pass it should only be for police uses.

“Measure P failed because there was no guarantee, no safeguard on how that money was to be spent,” said Ho.

Others like Matt Mason a representative for Employee’s Union Local One disagree and have argued that Antioch has many issues and that any money raised should be spent to restore the services of all types of public employee’s, not just police.

“It’s extremely important that whatever tax measure is put forth it be for general use and not just for certain sections of services,” said Mason. “So that all services can be restored because all community services are necessary and important.”

Council Member Gary Agopian said that the ballot measure will have to be simple and clear and should only focus on hiring police and code enforcement.

“There’s something to keep in mind if we’re thinking about additions,” said Agopian. “The priority for us clearly has to be … to secure the city to create a safe city for everyone. If we get sidetracked by anything else we run the risk of causing opposition and losing focus.”

Agopian and other city council members say they are committed to increasing Antioch’s Police force but critically they need the public’s support and tax revenue to do so.

Time will tell if they gain the public’s support for a tax measure. For now the council and city staff continue to research the matter and say they are committed to creating a citizen’s oversight committee to oversee the process and help insure it’s success.

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Volunteers needed for 4th Annual Keep Antioch Beautiful Cleanup

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

The Keep Antioch Beautiful Committee is seeking volunteers for the 2013 Keep Antioch Beautiful volunteer cleanup event on Saturday, April 20.

Over the past three years, over 1,500 volunteers turned out for this all-volunteer event and 30,000 pounds of trash was collected and deposited in Allied Waste dumpsters located at local schools.  The 4th annual event once again chaired by former Antioch Councilmember Martha Parsons and this year is co-chaired by Antioch Mayor Wade Harper and will be held on Saturday, April 20th from 8:30-11 AM. A free volunteer thank you lunch will be served following the event at Contra Loma Regional Park. This is your opportunity to give back to your community. To sign up for the event, you may register on line at http://art4antioch.org//Keep-Antioch-Beautiful.asp.

Many individuals and organizations are supporting this event and the event is funded fully by the following sponsors: City of Antioch, Antioch Unified School District, Allied Waste, Honeywell, Walmart, Arts & Cultural Foundation of Antioch, NRG Energy, East Bay Regional Parks, Pinky’s Klassy Kar Wash, Paintball Park, Paradise Skate, Dick Straub (In Memoriam), Jim Lanter Antioch State Farm Insurance Agent, Antioch Coin & Jewelry and Central Self Storage of Antioch.

Groups, service clubs and others are volunteering at the event. Volunteer groups include: AHS & DVHS Key Clubs, Boys Scouts Troops of Antioch, Kiwanis Club of the Delta-Antioch, Rivertown Preservation Society, and UCBN.

For more information call (925) 779-6137, option 1. You can also follow us on Facebook “Keep Antioch Beautiful” Group. Committee members are also available to speak to clubs, groups, organizations, etc.

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Get in shape at Coach Powell’s Boot Camp, Starting April 6

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Fitness Coach Dion Powell is holding his Boot Camp, every Saturday from April 6 through May 4.

The first Saturday in April, is a must attend orientation registration meeting.
– Four Weeks and if the demand is there, he will extend it another four weeks
– $50, cash, check, or major credit card.
– Space is limited; 5 spots minimum with a cap of 12 spots.
– $15 for drop ins (pre-registration, with credit card required)
– Coach Powell’s facility is located at 4525 Ohara Ave, Brentwood
– MEET 9-10 am
To reserve a spot contact coach Powell via email, coachpowell42@comcast.net or via www.Facebook.com/CoachPowell42.

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Community College Board responds to Enholm commentary on new East County college site

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Dear Editor:

This letter is written in response to an editorial written by Greg Enholm appearing in your March 2013 edition.

The CCCCD Board supports the expansion of services to East Contra Costa County.  After extensive review, the District purchased a 17 acre site in Brentwood to expand services to the area and the District fully intends to construct a campus on that 17-acre site when funding is available.  Despite what Mr. Enholm reports in his editorial, the Governing Board has not had a discussion about also purchasing a 110-acre site and constructing a campus in Brentwood.  The research we have conducted does not support such an action on the part of the District, and there is no plan for further consideration of such a project at this time.

The Board has discussed placing a District-wide facilities bond on the June 2014 ballot.  Details of what projects will be identified in that bond still need to be discussed and polling conducted to determine whether the District should place such a measure on the ballot in June or November of 2014.

Sincerely yours,

Sheila Grilli, Board President

John E. Marquez, Board Vice President

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Deer Valley Basketball’s Marcus Lee is All-American

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Marcus Lee – photo by Blue Devil Motion

By Luke Johnson

Deer Valley High School’s stand-out basketball player Marcus Lee has been selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American game on April 3.

Since this game’s foundation, many of the NBA greats have passed through; from Michael Jordan to Kobe Bryant and Lebron James. In October, Lee signed a full ride scholarship with the NCAA defending champions, the University of Kentucky Wildcats, and will be joining four of his future teammates in Chicago for the All-American scrimmage.

With these five high school athletes placing among the top 18 seniors across the nation by ESPN, many have speculated that this recruiting class could the best in history.

“I think it’s a really high statement,” said Lee. “It just gives us a barrier to break down, and we love barriers. It just makes basketball so much more fun.”

Lee calls Antioch his hometown, and his biggest mentor growing up has been his older brother Brian. A young Marcus would emulate Brian by following him around to every practice and game.

“I was pretty much his little mini-person,” said Lee.

Now standing at a staggering 6’9” Lee is averaging nearly 20 rebounds and 7 blocks a game and leading the Wolverines through the playoffs. Lee says he thrives in the loud post-season environment and is motivated when the crowd gets behind him.

He just led his team to Deer Valley’s first ever North Coast Section Championship on Friday, March 1st. The team was preparing for the California Interscholastic Federation Northern Regional playoffs at press time.

Lee says he is going to wait until he arrives at Kentucky and will “let nature take its course” before he makes any decisions about playing professionally. If he does indeed earn a spot in the NBA, he will be the first individual out of Antioch to do so.

“It means everything to me just being the big role model of Antioch,” said Lee. “It’s saying you can do what ever you want even if you come from Antioch.”

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