Archive for September, 2018

Supervisors quietly oppose Prop. 6, but publicly approve report in opposition to the measure on November ballot

Friday, September 28th, 2018

Would repeal gas tax increase

By Daniel Borsuk

Listed as a consent item, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted without comment an agenda item aimed to oppose Proposition 6, the Nov. 6 state ballot initiative to repeal Senate Bill 1, otherwise known as the Road Repair and Accountability Act or gas tax, but in public session supervisors voted 3-0 to accept a Public Works Department report describing how passage of Prop. 6 will negatively hit county road projects.

During the meeting on Tuesday, Supervisors had approved their “oppose” position on Proposition 6 without any comment from either the public or the three supervisors in attendance – board chair Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill, supervisor Candace Andersen of San Ramon, and supervisor John Gioia of Richmond – because it was posted as a consent agenda item, C-17.

County Public Works Department Chief Deputy Director Stephen Kowalewski told supervisors that, should Proposition 6 win at the polls, unincorporated Contra Costa County could lose, over the next nine years, $239.9 million or an average of $26.7 million per year.

During that nine-year period Contra Costa County could lose each fiscal year, provided Proposition 6 wins at the polls, $15.5 million in 2018/2019. $21.8 million in 2019/2020, $24.9 million in 2020/2021, $26.4 million in 2021/2022, $27.6 million in 2022/2023, $28.9 million in 2023/2024, $30,3 million 2024/2025, $31.6 million in 2025/2026 and $33.8 million in 2026/2027.

When the State Legislature enacted SB 1 in 2016, the measure raised gas taxes and Department of Motor Vehicle fees to drum up funds for the freeways and roads that were in a rapid state of deterioration.  One of the key features of SB 1 is an index tax provision that permits gas tax revenue to keep pace with inflation.

Kowalewski listed a number of county road projects that could be in jeopardy should Prop. 6 wins in November. Some of those projects include the Kirker Pass Road truck climbing lane, Vasco Road improvements, Byron Road improvements, Baily Road/State Route 4 interchange improvements, Bel Air Trail crossing safety improvements, Blackhawk Road green paint bike lanes, resurfacing of 43 miles of roadway, and the Orwood Road culvert repair that is already in progress.

Supervisors Award $1.5 million Pathologists’ Contract

Supervisors unanimously approved Sheriff-Coroner David O. Livingston’s request to award three two-year contracts totaling $1.5 million to pathologists to perform autopsy services through Sept. 20., 2020.

As a consent item, supervisors approved the sheriff’s bid to award $500,000 contracts each to Dr. Mark A. Super, Dr. Arnold R. Josselson, and to Dr. Ikechi Ogan.  Their contracts will be in effect from Oct. 1, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2020.  Dr. Ogan will serve as coroner.

The three pathologists had provided pathology services to the county sheriff under the entity of Forensic Medical Group, but as of Oct. 1 FMG will no longer provide the county pathologist services because the doctors have decided to dissolve the company.  The three doctors that made up Forensic Medical Group are able to provide services to the county under individual contracts.

There was no comment from either the public or three supervisors in attendance.

Kensington Hills Elementary School School Zone Speed Lowered

Supervisors reduced the school zone speed for three roads approaching Kensington Hilltop Elementary School from 25 miles per hour to 20 MPH over the safety concerns that there are few sidewalks in the area and the roads are narrow.   An engineering and traffic survey were conducted and found that the request by an unnamed applicant complied with Assembly Bill 321 that was passed in 2008.  AB 321 permits local jurisdictions to extend the 25 MPH speed limit in school zones or to lower the speed limit to 15 to 20 MPH up to 500 feet from school grounds under certain circumstances.

The school speed zones will be lowered on approaches 500 feet to Kensington Hilltop Elementary School.  These roads are Highland Boulevard, Arlmont Drive, and Kenyon Avenue.

Cannabis Ordinance Amended

Without any public comment, supervisors amended the county commercial cannabis ordinance on a 3-0 vote.  Supervisors added Knightsen to the list of unincorporated areas where the ordinance will not be enforced.  Along with Knightsen, Bethel Island, Alamo, Acalanes Ridge, Contra Costa Centre, Saranap and Sandamond Slough will also prohibit enforcement of the commercial cannabis ordinance.

Supervisors also amended the ordinance by adding vertically-integrated businesses that include both storefront retail and commercial cultivation.  Vertically-integrated businesses will not count toward the 10-permit limit for commercial cultivation.

The ordinance was also amended to require cannabis delivery businesses located outside of unincorporated Contra Costa County to possess a current County Health Permit.

The ordinance will become effective provided voters pass a tax ordinance measure on the ballot of the Nov. 6 general election.

September 30 Designated Gold Star Mothers’ Day

In recognition of the sacrifice and history of Gold Star Mothers in Contra Costa County and throughout the nation, supervisors approved a resolution designating Sunday, Sept. 30 as Gold Star Mother’s Day, founded during World War I.

Upon thanking the board for the resolution, Gold Star Mother Yolanda Bacon said, “We ask you don’t say ‘You’re sorry for your loss.’  Say instead “Thank you for your son’s or daughter’s service.”

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OP-ED: Antioch Police Chief explains need for Measure W sales tax increase

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

By Antioch Chief of Police, Tammany Brooks

It has been my honor to serve as Antioch’s Chief of Police for the past 16 months. Thank you to the residents who have provided me with comments, feedback, and perspectives on how we are doing and what your public safety needs and priorities are. Your support has been, and continues to be, truly appreciated.

I am extremely proud of my law enforcement family who, to a person, works diligently to keep the Antioch community safe. With the help of funds generated by a voter measure adopted in 2013, our department has made some significant progress over the last five years.

Since that time, we hired 58 police officers, working to reach our fully authorized staffing level of 104 police officers. We also hired four community service officers, freeing police officers to focus more time on enforcement related duties. The average response time for Priority 1 emergency calls for service has decreased by more than 1 minute 40 seconds. Property crime has decreased more than 27%, and violent crime has decreased by more than 40%!

Additional code enforcement officers and specialists have also been hired to fight illegal dumping, graffiti and blight.

But even with all that said, there is still a lot of work to be done to make Antioch safer and improve the quality of life for all its residents.

That is why the Antioch community needs to make an informed decision about Measure W – the proposed extension of Antioch’s previous voter-approved sales tax, at the one-cent rate.

In August, the Antioch City Council unanimously placed Measure W on the November ballot after receiving feedback from hundreds of residents on their safety and quality of life priorities.

If enacted, Measure W is intended to address, among other priorities: maintaining 911 emergency response, restoring/maintaining the number of police officers patrolling city streets, funding traffic enforcement patrols, and preparing public safety personnel for rapid, coordinated responses to natural disasters.

There are 11 state measures and numerous legislative and local candidates on your ballot. Familiarize yourself with your ballot from top to bottom, and remember to cast a vote on Measure W. 

For more information on Measure W and Antioch’s Police Department, visit www.antiochca.gov.

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County School Board Trustee Belle to host School Safety Symposium Thursday in Antioch

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

 

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Supervisors support one, split to stay neutral on another housing measure on Nov. ballot

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

By Daniel Borsuk

Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors took a “support” position on Proposition 2, a state bond ballot measure to build housing for homeless individuals with mental illness but, took a “no position” on Proposition 10, another state ballot measure that would expand residential property rent control at Tuesday’s meeting.

Supervisors voted 4-0 in favor of Proposition 2, but voted 3-1 to a remain neutral, with Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond in dissent, on the rent control measure – Proposition 10.  Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg was absent.

Both Proposition 2 and Proposition 10 will appear on the November 6, 2018 general election ballot.

Before the meeting, supervisors were initially prepared to brand an “oppose” position on Proposition 2 that “Authorizes Bonds to Fund Existing Housing Programs for Individuals with Mental Illness Legislative Statute.” But supervisors reversed that recommendation from the board’s Legislation Committee from August 13 to recommend an “oppose” vote on Prop. 2 over concerns the county could lose about $2.8 million in state funds for mental health services.

For a while, Board Chair Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill was concerned passage of Proposition 2 might jeopardize funding for another mental health and housing program for the homeless, the No Place Like Home Program, because a state Legislative Analyst Office report states passage of Proposition 2 would mean money would be borrowed from the 2016 enacted homeless housing program.

During the meeting, Dr. Matthew White, head of the Contra Costa County Behavioral Health Services, said the threat to the state funds, in the event Proposition 2 passes at the polls, will probably have little impact on county mental health services.  He said there is a major need for adequate housing for the homeless needing mental health services that will be integrated into new housing projects.

But some speakers were unconvinced Proposition 2 will not deteriorate county mental health services.

Retired physician Dr. Mark Cohen, who has an adult child with mental illness, urged supervisors to oppose Proposition 2 on grounds that the ballot measure’s passage would divert money away from the psychiatric care services for the severely mentally ill not housed in Proposition 2 funding developments.

County mental health commissioner Douglas Dunn opposes the measure because the county is bound to lose upfront money aimed for mental health services that would be diverted to construct housing for the homeless with mental and substance abuse issues.

In support of Proposition 2, Gloria Bruce, executive director of the East Bay Housing Coalition, said “Proposition 2 is the right way to go. Give high need people access to affordable housing.”

Danville resident Douglas Leach called for supervisors to support Proposition 2 because it would create safe housing for the homeless needing mental health and substance abuse assistance.

Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood said she would support Proposition 2 based on the fact it is “difficult to find housing for the mentally ill,”

“These dollars are needed,” supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville said.  “We won’t see a reduction in programs. It will give us an addition tool.”

On Proposition 10, the Affordable Housing Act, supervisors voted to take “no position” on a 3-1 vote.  Supervisors John Gioia of Richmond cast the dissenting vote.  He supported Proposition 10 mainly because it would eliminate the 1998-enacted Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act that permits landlords to raise rents of residential apartments and houses as much as they want constructed after 1995, but not before 1995.  Costa-Hawkins allows landlords to raise the rent in any building before 1995 to the market value when it becomes vacant.

In other business, supervisors officially adopted the $3.2 billion budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year without any public comments. The 2018-2019 budget is up from the $3 billion budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

In other action, Supervisors recognized September 16-22 as Falls Prevention Awareness Week at their meeting on Tuesday. At the presentation were Meals on Wheels Mt. Diablo Region Chief Executive Officer Elaine Clark and Communications Specialist Maricel Kinsella.

Meals on Wheels Mt. Diablo Region and the Contra Costa County Fall Prevention Coalition will hold presentations on how to prevent senior citizens from falling in their homes, a leading cause of death or injury to persons 65 years old or more.

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Contra Costa County workers demand improved health benefits

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

Contra Costa County workers mount protest at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Tues., Sept. 18, 2018. Photo by Daniel Borsuk.

By Daniel Borsuk

A number of Contra Costa County workers turned out at last week’s Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors meeting to demand that they instruct County Administrator David Twa to negotiate with nine labor unions representing county employees to produce more affordable healthcare coverage.

County workers said they pay more than any other public workers in the nine county Bay Area.  They pay more than double than their county counterparts in San Francisco and triple that of city workers in Oakland for family coverage.  Premium rates are set to rise as much as 14.74 percent in January 2019 unless the unions and county strike a better deal.

In acknowledging the county will begin negotiations with the unions starting Wednesday, Sept. 19, Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond said, “We know health care costs are high and this is why these upcoming negotiations with the nine unions will resolve this issue.”

One major reason why Contra Costa County workers pay some of the highest health care costs in the region is because the county offers more plans than other counties and cities.

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Man shot during attempted robbery in Antioch Friday night

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

By Corporal Ted Chang #4362, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Friday, Sept. 21, 2018 at 8:44 PM, Antioch Police Officers were dispatched to a report of subject shot on Cavallo Road. The 54-year-old victim had been shot in the arm and drove himself to a parking lot on East 18th Street. Officers responded and located the victim and his fiancé. The victim was treated and transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening gunshot wounds.

It was determined the victim was shot during an attempted robbery. A crime scene was located in the 2000 block Cavallo Road, but the suspect(s) had fled prior to police arrival. At this time, the investigation is still on going and officers are working on identifying the suspect(s).

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Candidate for Antioch City Council Rodney McClelland takes stand against sales tax increase Measure W, then quits race

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

Rodney McClelland in a photo posted on his Facebook page Aug. 24, 2018.

By Allen Payton

In a statement on his Facebook page posted late Tuesday night, September 18, Rodney McClelland, one of six challengers in the Antioch City Council race, publicly stated his opposition to the city’s sales tax increase on the November ballot. But, then in a letter to the editor on Sunday afternoon, he dropped out of the race for what he claims are “personal reasons.” He and three others wre challenging incumbent Council Members Tony Tiscareno and Lori Ogorchock.

Measure W is a one-cent sales tax, which if passed, will replace and double the amount of the city’s current half-cent sales tax from Measure C that voters approved in 2013 and expires in 2021.

McClelland also took an apparent swipe at one of his fellow challengers, former Antioch School Board Member Joy Motts, whose campaign slogan is “Let’s move Beyond the BASICS.”

His statement on Measure W was as follows:

“Antioch is A Beautiful City but, we face many challenges. The city Council has Measure W on the November ballot. I do not support Measure W, unlike many of my competitors. With the failure to deliver on the promises of Measure C and knowing it does not expire until 2021 I cannot support another tax increase (Measure W). There is no transparency on exactly where funds will be used. This increase will hurt families on fixed incomes, senior citizens, retirees, and low-income families living paycheck to paycheck.

Where we should be taking care of basic needs of our city we are talking about beyond basics. You must be good or even great at something before you move above and beyond.

I am Rodney McClelland and I am running for Antioch City Council.”

The promises of Measure C that McClelland referred to are the hiring of 22 more police officers and doing so “immediately” according to the ballot argument supporting the half-cent sales tax, which Antioch voters passed in November 2013. Then-Mayor Wade Harper and all four council members at the time, including Tiscareno, signed onto the ballot argument.

So far, McClelland was the only one of the four challengers who had taken a position on the tax increase. Both Tiscareno and Ogorchock support the tax and voted to place it on the November ballot as part of a unanimous decision by the current mayor and council.

If Measure W fails to garner the support of a simple majority of voters, the council will have to either try again in 2020 or place on the ballot another half-cent sales tax to extend Measure C.

McClelland’s complete statement is as follows:

“Due to personal reasons, I am suspending my Campaign for Antioch City Council. I can no longer commit the time and energy required to run for office. I want to thank friends and family for their support. I wish the other candidates well.

God bless,

Rodney McClelland”

He is chairman of the Antioch Parks and Recreation Commission, but missed the meeting on Thursday night, Sept. 20. When asked via email what the personal reasons are, he did not respond before publication time.

The election is Tuesday, November 6. The top two vote-getters will serve through 2020 and the winners will have to run again that year, to retain their positions.

 

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Teenage boy shot multiple times during attempted robbery in Antioch Tuesday afternoon, police seek shooter

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

By Sergeant Matthew Koch, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Tuesday, September 18, 2018 at 4:22 pm, Antioch Police officers were dispatched to the railroad tracks near G Street and W. 20th Street on a report of a shooting that had just occurred. Upon the officers’ arrival, they located a 15-year-old male juvenile suffering from several gunshot wounds in the 2100 block of D Street. It was discovered the responsible fled the area prior to police arrival. It was reported the male responsible attempted to rob the victim during the shooting.

The victim was transported to an area hospital for treatment where he was listed in stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery. At this time, officers are working on leads to develop suspect information.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH

This preliminary information is made available by the Field Services Bureau. There will be no further information released regarding this case at this time.

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