Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Gov. Newsom signs exec order phasing out gas-powered cars, passenger trucks sold in state by 2035

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

To “drastically reduce demand for fossil fuel in California’s fight against climate change”

Transportation currently accounts for more than 50 percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions   

Zero-emission vehicles are a key part of California’s clean, innovation economy – already California’s second largest global export market  

Order also directs state to take more actions to tackle the dirtiest oil extraction and support workers and job retention and creation as we make a just transition away from fossil fuels  

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that he will aggressively move the state further away from its reliance on climate change-causing fossil fuels while retaining and creating jobs and spurring economic growth – he issued an executive order requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035 and additional measures to eliminate harmful emissions from the transportation sector. (The text of today’s executive order can be found here and a copy can be found here.)

The transportation sector is responsible for more than half of all of California’s carbon pollution, 80 percent of smog-forming pollution and 95 percent of toxic diesel emissions – all while communities in the Los Angeles Basin and Central Valley see some of the dirtiest and most toxic air in the country.

“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” said Governor Newsom. “For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”

Following the order, the California Air Resources Board will develop regulations to mandate that 100 percent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035 – a target which would achieve more than a 35 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and an 80 percent improvement in oxides of nitrogen emissions from cars statewide. In addition, the Air Resources Board will develop regulations to mandate that all operations of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles shall be 100 percent zero emission by 2045 where feasible, with the mandate going into effect by 2035 for drayage trucks. To ensure needed infrastructure to support zero-emission vehicles, the order requires state agencies, in partnership with the private sector, to accelerate deployment of affordable fueling and charging options. It also requires support of new and used zero-emission vehicle markets to provide broad accessibility to zero-emission vehicles for all Californians. The executive order will not prevent Californians from owning gasoline-powered cars or selling them on the used car market.

California will be leading the nation in this effort – joining 15 countries that have already committed to phase out gasoline-powered cars and using our market power to push zero-emission vehicle innovation and drive down costs for everyone.

By the time the new rule goes into effect, zero-emission vehicles will almost certainly be cheaper and better than the traditional fossil fuel powered cars. The upfront cost of electric vehicles are projected to reach parity with conventional vehicles in just a matter of years, and the cost of owning the car – both in maintenance and how much it costs to power the car mile for mile – is far less than a fossil fuel burning vehicle.

The executive order sets clear deliverables for new health and safety regulations that protect workers and communities from the impacts of oil extraction. It supports companies who transition their upstream and downstream oil production operations to cleaner alternatives. It also directs the state to make sure taxpayers are not stuck with the bill to safely close and remediate former oil fields. To protect the health and safety of our communities and workers, the Governor is also asking the Legislature to end the issuance of new hydraulic fracturing permits by 2024.

The executive order directs state agencies to develop strategies for an integrated, statewide rail and transit network, and incorporate safe and accessible infrastructure into projects to support bicycle and pedestrian options, particularly in low-income and disadvantaged communities.

This action continues the Governor’s commitment to strengthening California’s resilience while lowering carbon emissions – essential to meeting California’s air quality and climate goals. In the last six months alone, the California Air Resources Board has approved new regulations requiring truck manufacturers to transition to electric zero-emission trucks beginning in 2024 and the Governor signed an MOU with 14 other states to advance and accelerate the market for electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Last fall, California led a multi-state coalition in filing a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to revoke portions of a 2013 waiver that allows the state to implement its Advanced Clean Car Standards.

Last September, Governor Newsom took action to leverage the state’s transportation systems and purchasing power to strengthen climate mitigation and resiliency and to measure and manage climate risks across the state’s $700 billion pension investments. To mitigate climate threats to our communities and increase carbon sequestration, the Governor invested in forest health and fuel reduction and held utilities accountable for building resiliency. The Governor also directed state agencies to develop a comprehensive strategy to build a climate-resilient water system and made a historic investment to develop the workforce for California’s future carbon-neutral economy.

 

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Council majority postpones decision on Delta Fair Village apartments indefinitely on a split vote

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

Rendering of proposed Delta Fair Village apartment complex.

Cite applicant’s history of code enforcement violations at site, and other properties he owns in Antioch; Project can be brought back to council sooner than a year, and as a possible condo project, instead;  Construction unions attempt “greenmail” to pressure developer for PLA

By Allen Payton

During their meeting Tuesday night, the Antioch City Council on a 3-2 vote, postponed indefinitely the proposed 210-unit Delta Fair Village apartment complex, proposed by the owner of commercial property in Antioch, because he has consistently ignored code enforcement issues and been fined for it multiple times. The applicant, Gabriel Chiu, who with his family through their Chiu Family, LLC, owns the property as well as the Deer Valley Plaza, where the former AMC Deer Valley Theaters were located, didn’t participate in the Zoom meeting. Instead, his architect was available to answer questions, but the council members’ questions were for Chiu, not about any features of the project.

Two of the council members mentioned wanting a union-only hire, Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for the project.

During public comments, Kyle Jones, who said he was with an organization named Antioch Residents for Responsible Development, read a letter from the group’s attorney outlining a variety of concerns they have with the project, mainly over environmental issues. 2020-06-01-Attorney ltr from Antioch-Residents-for-Responsible-Development

They want an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the project, for impacts on air quality and health, he said.

“Impacts to air quality will be significant without mitigation,” Jones said. The greenhouse gas impacts of the project were underestimated.”

During an internet search of the group’s name, a copy of their attorney’s letter was found on the website www.phonyuniontreehuggers.com. It refers to the tactic known as greenmail, which is used by labor unions to in effect blackmail a developer using environmental issues until the developer agrees to a PLA. That’s because the construction unions don’t really oppose the project, as they want it to be built, only as long as their members are the ones who are hired to build it.

According to their attorney’s letter, under the title “Statement of Interest” identifies the group’s membership. It reads, “Antioch Residents for Responsible Development is an unincorporated association of individuals and labor organizations that may be adversely affected by the potential environmental impacts of the Project. The association includes Antioch residents Nathan Deleon, Sunshine Kinder, and Anthony Lundberg- Palacios and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 302, Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 159, Sheet Metal Workers Local 104, Sprinkler Fitters Local 483 and their members and those members’ families and other individuals that live, recreate, work and raise their families in the City of Antioch (collectively “Antioch Residents’).the Antioch Residents for Responsible Development consists of three Antioch residents.”

One additional item that was mentioned during city staff’s presentation on the project, which wasn’t included in the staff report in the council packet, the conditions of approval “obligate the project to join the pending Contra Costa Fire District’s Community Facilities District (CFD),” to pay for additional fire service needed by the future residents. Other new development projects in the area are being required to be included in the CFD.

Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts was the first council member to speak on the matter, saying the property owner has had “an extensive history” of ignoring code enforcement issues. “In other words, these are impediments to economic development. Based on the lack of maintenance, these issues can dramatically affect surrounding businesses and residents.”

“Please tell me how this…applicant is going to be different,” she asked city staff.

“Our task before you, is to evaluate the project,” responded Forrest Ebbs, Antioch Community Development Director. “We’re sensitive to the fact that there are other issues. But I can’t introduce outside elements to this process.”

“Our analysis of the project is complete, and we can speak to that,” he added.

“Until I can have an answer on this, I don’t feel comfortable. I really don’t,” Motts stated. “We have a responsibility to the residents…we have a history of approving developments haphazardly.”

Thorpe then said, “Thank you for that. I think I share the same concerns.”

He asked if the applicant, Gabriel Chiu was on the line. But only the applicant’s architect was available to answer questions.

“I think we all have the concerns about the applicant,” said Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock. “But we need to move forward. This is an infill project and we’ve been asking for infill projects. The code enforcement issues have to be addressed before the project can move forward.”

“I like this project,” she continued. “We need apartments in the area. It will be nice to see the retail have a facelift.”

She asked that some of the units be reserved for seniors, and for a PLA.

“Will there be a manager on site?” Ogorchock asked.

“There is a condition of approval that there be a 24-hour manager on site of the project,” a city staff member responded.

Councilmember Monica Wilson shared her concerns saying, “although I’d like to see something on that side, I’m with everybody else. I just need some assurances the property will be maintained.”

“It’s already a very dense population in there, with apartments on San Jose Drive,” she continued. “How far back do those code enforcement issues go?”

“I’ve been on staff for over five years,” Ebbs shared. “When I first started with the city, that was one of the stops on a code enforcement tour.”

“I’m just not feeling confident of that applicant maintaining that site,” Wilson continued. “There definitely needs to be a project labor agreement. There just needs to be a lot of things before I can move forward.”

“We have an opportunity to take an area of town and see an investment,” Mayor Sean Wright said, urging the other council members to reconsider their opposition. “If we say no to this project, five years from now, we’re still going to have the same code enforcement issues.”

“We need to bring a project into that area to spur development,” he continued. “This is a crucial opportunity for Antioch. If we say no, tonight, we’re not just saying no to this developer, but to quite a few other developers.”

“I just don’t feel comfortable. If it was any other applicant,” Motts added. “I would need a broader conversation with the applicant before we go forward.”

“If we approve this project, this evening it might give the applicant a quick kick in the rear to fix up his other properties,” said Ogorchock. “All these conditions have to be met before he moves forward. Hopefully the applicant is listening, tonight and hearing the comments.”

Ogorchock made a motion to approve the project and Wright seconded it.

However, Thorpe offered a substitute motion. “My substitute motion is to postpone indefinitely,” he said. Motts seconded it.

“Is there a goal with the postponement?” Wright asked.

“It sounds like there are concerns of our colleagues and the applicant isn’t here to answer them,” Thorpe said. “This is about trust and I don’t trust him.”

“We’ve never had a project come before us in which the applicant wasn’t with us,” Motts said.

“I really think this is a project we need in town,” Wright said.

The council then adopted the motion to postpone on a 3-2 vote with Wright and Ogorchock voting no.

Following the vote, both Motts and Thorpe were asked if they had spoken with Mr. Chiu before the council meeting. Thorpe responded simply, “Nope.” Motts responded that she had not spoken with the applicant before the meeting and that usually developers approach her and other council members with their projects before the meeting, not the other way around.

Had the council voted on Ogorchock’s motion and it failed, the applicant would have had to wait at least one year to bring it back to the council for a vote. Instead, by approving the motion to postpone indefinitely, although unnecessary and a motion to table would have been sufficient and more appropriate, it will allow the applicant to return sooner than a year, and be available to answer questions of council members. It also offers the applicant time to submit a condominium application to convert the project from rental apartments, which both Thorpe and Motts mentioned they were supportive of, following the meeting. That could take four to six weeks according to Antioch Planning Commission member Manny Soliz. (See related article)

 

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Antioch Council to consider converting former Food Maxx location into 210-apartment complex Tuesday night

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

From project presentation for Antioch City Council 09-22-20.

Possible conversion to condominiums

Delta Fair Village site map.

By Allen Payton

During their regular meeting, tonight, Sept. 22, 2020, the Antioch City Council will consider approving a a four-story, 210-apartmentproject, along with 4,000 square feet of retail in the Delta Fair Shopping Center where the Food Maxx store was located in the past. The site is located at 3000 Delta Fair Blvd. and bordered by Buchanan Road and San Jose Drive, near the Somersville Road and Highway 4 interchange. The store building has sat empty for several years, since the store relocated across town to the Deer Valley Plaza at Lone Tree Way and Deer Valley Road. Delta Fair Village ACC 092220 presentation

According to the city staff report, the plan, recommended by a vote of the Antioch Planning Commission, would result in the demolition of 73,546 square feet of retail space and be replaced with the condos and new retail building. The four stories of apartments would consist of five buildings over a ground-floor parking structure.

If approved, the project will also include renovation of the remaining existing 73,535 sf of retail space.

Some of the project documents label it a condominium project. Efforts to reach city staff for questions about it were unsuccessful, but Antioch Planning Commissioner Manny Soliz explained the discrepancy in terms in the staff report.

Document in Antioch city staff report for council meeting agenda item using the term condominiums. The project proponent has agreed to return with a conversion proposal.

“At our meeting, I had asked for it to be condos, and the project owner agrees with that. But that would require them to revise the plan,” Soliz shared. “I said, let’s go ahead and take the extra four to six weeks, but the rest of the commission said no, we need to get rid of that blight, now. I said I’m for that, too. But I’d rather get it done right the first time.”

“The proponent told the planning commission that he will come back with a conversion to condominium proposal,” he continued. “That seemed like a good compromise.”

“I think it will be a good project, but it did get approved as apartments, for now,” Soliz added.

The council meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. and can be viewed on Comcast Cable Channel 24 or via livestream on the City’s website.

Proposed project location on Delta Fair Blvd. in Antioch.

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Wright announces local Amazon Distribution Center will bring new jobs this November for Antioch residents

Saturday, September 19th, 2020

Courtesy of Wright for Mayor campaign.

By Dr. Sean Wright, Antioch Mayor

Just announced … Amazon will be the first tenant of the Oakley Logistics Center, on the border of Antioch and Oakley.  (See related article) Proud to have served on the Dupont Community Advisory Panel with Oakley Mayor Kevin Romick and others. We helped oversee the clean-up and marketing of the site with the former Dupont owners. I am excited to see more local jobs created for our residents, with the new Amazon Distribution Center planning on opening this November in preparation for the holiday season. I am already working with the new property owners on potential Antioch sites for expansion. Will keep you updated on dates for hiring in our community.

P.S. Please share with individuals you know who are looking for local jobs.

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City of Antioch launches COVID-19 small business grant program

Friday, September 18th, 2020

By Rolando A. Bonilla, Public Information Officer, City of Antioch

Today, Friday, September 18, 2020, the City of Antioch announced the launch of their COVID-19 small business grant program The program will allow up to 60 Antioch small businesses the opportunity to apply for $5,000 grants.

“As a city, we want to do everything possible to support our business community, as they are the heart of the economy,” said Kwame Reed, Economic Development Director, City of Antioch. “Although we know that COVID-19 has created much uncertainty in the economy, as a city, we will do what we can do to bring a level of stability to our businesses.”

In order to qualify for the program, businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a physical location within the City of Antioch
  • Have a current Antioch business license for one year prior to January 1, 2020
  • Have no more than 25 employees
  • Must demonstrate they were unable to operate due the Shelter in Place Orders or sales were down more than 25% from the previous quarter or the same quarter last year

Specific details about the grant are available online at antiochbusinessgrant.com. Applications will only be accepted between September 28th and October 9th. The selection process will consist of an initial screening of applicants based on criteria, followed by a lottery should the number of qualified applicants exceed the amount of funding available.

About the City of Antioch: Antioch is located on the banks of the San Joaquin River in Northern California, just off of Highway 4 in Contra Costa County. With a population of over 100,000 people, Antioch has become the heart of Eastern Contra Costa County, offering a variety of employment, shopping, and vast recreational activities. The pace of development in Antioch has spurred activity for financial and insurance institutions, contractors, and other service-oriented businesses. Increased development has increased employment in schools, hospitals, and other local service sectors. Antioch is poised to capitalize on its location, skilled workforce, and fiscal strength. For more information: www.antiochca.gov.

 

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Meet candidates for Antioch mayor and city council at The Red Caboose each Saturday Sept 19-Oct 17

Monday, September 14th, 2020

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Travis Credit Union hosting virtual Back-to-School Rally Sept. 16

Friday, September 4th, 2020

Online event to celebrate the start of 2020-2021 School Year for local youth

Travis Credit Union invites students and their families to attend a free virtual ‘Back-to-School Rally,’ scheduled for Wednesday, September 16 from 4-5 p.m. The Zoom event is also the culmination of TCU’s month-long ‘Back to School Challenge,’ where students who complete the weekly online financial education activities are entered into a drawing to win the grand prize, a new laptop.

“Starting a new school year is an exciting time. Since this year is unlike any other, we are proud to introduce a digital financial education program to compliment distance learning to help families and guardians,” said Damian Alarcon, Director of Community Relations for Travis Credit Union. “The Back-to-School rally is our way of helping to bring youth together to celebrate financial education and all the new opportunities that this school year will bring.”

The rally will feature guest speakers from across the 12 counties served by TCU, including:

  • Edgar Lampkin, Superintendent of the Williams Unified School District, will provide a welcome to students.
  • Youth leaders from the Woodland Teen Advisory Board, the San Pablo Youth Commission, RYSE Center (in Richmond) and the Fairfield Police Activities League will share teen projects they are launching to support the return to schools.
  • The grand prize winner of the Back-to-School Challenge will be announced live

Woodland Teen Advisory Board, https://woodlandpubliclibrary.com

City of San Pablo Youth Commission, https://www.sanpabloca.gov/881/Youth-Commission

Fairfield Police Activities League, https://www.fairfield.ca.gov/gov/depts/police/pal_matt_garcia_youth_center/

RYSE Center, https://rysecenter.org

Williams Unified School District, http://www.williamsusd.net

To register for this free event, click here.

Youth aged 13 to 18 have until September 9 to complete the contest requirements to be eligible for the giveaway. More information is available at traviscu.org/back-to-school.

Headquartered in Vacaville, California, Travis Credit Union is a not-for-profit cooperative financial institution serving those who live, work, worship, or attend school in Alameda, Colusa, Contra Costa, Merced, Napa, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, and Yolo Counties. Currently, Travis Credit Union is the 13th largest credit union in California with more than 214,000 members and more than $3.9 billion in assets. As one of the leading financial institutions in Solano, Contra Costa, Napa, Yolo and Merced Counties, Travis Credit Union’s strength lies in its faithful commitment to its members and the community; its solid, secure history; and its long-standing track record of dedicated service.

 

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More Contra Costa businesses open following updated state recommendations

Monday, August 31st, 2020

Includes hair salons & barber shops indoors, gyms & fitness centers outdoors, and indoor shopping malls at 25% capacity

By Contra Costa Health Services

The California Department of Public Health on Friday announced new statewide guidelines to make regulations and community re-openings more standardized throughout the state. Contra Costa and most other counties are now in the purple (most restrictive) tier.

According to these new state rules, hair salons and barber shops can now operate indoors in Contra Costa County with safety guidelines in place. Indoor shopping malls may also reopen at 25% maximum occupancy as long as public congregation points and food courts are closed and the mall has approved a COVID-19 safety plan from Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS). Gyms and fitness centers may begin operating outdoors in accordance with their own state guidelines and checklist.

These new state rules do not change the restrictions on in-person education, or the state’s school waiver process in Contra Costa.

We continue to evaluate the State’s new framework and its impact on our county, and we will provide additional information as it becomes available.

CCHS encourages businesses to adjust reopening plans as needed in response to changes in air quality in the county from Northern California wildfires. The county has issued a health advisory about smoke, encouraging all residents to stay inside when possible with doors and windows shut. For air quality updates and forecasts, visit the Bay Area Air Quality Management District website. Contra Costa Health Services urges residents to continue wearing face coverings when they go out or are near people outside their households, observe physical distancing, stay home from work or school when they do not feel well and wash their hands thoroughly and often.

 

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