Archive for the ‘Contra Costa County’ Category

Board of Supervisors installs new leadership with Andersen as Chair, Burgis Vice Chair

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020

Contra Costa County Administrator David Twa, who will retire at the end of 2020, administered the oath of office to new Supervisors Chair Candace Andersen of Danville and Vice Chair Diane Burgis of Brentwood at the Board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. Photo by Daniel Borusk.

Martinez, CA – The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors held a swearing-in ceremony for Supervisor Candace Andersen as Board Chair and Supervisor Diane Burgis as Vice Chair at its January 7th, 2020 Board meeting.

District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen who has served Contra Costa County since she was first elected in 2012, including a previous term as Board Chair in 2016, takes the leadership role from outgoing Chair, Supervisor John Gioia of District 1.

Gioia of Richmond, who was presented with a prized Hawaiian Koa wood gavel from incoming Andersen as a gift, credited the “great work of county employees” in 2019 for salvaging a year marked by power  outages and catastrophic fires.

Andersen expressed her thanks to Gioia, as well as her readiness to tackle the County’s issues.

“I appreciate Supervisor Gioia’s leadership in maintaining our County’s strong fiscal position and ensuring that many who need County services receive them in a timely manner. As Chair, I intend to work with my colleagues to strengthen the County’s commitment to supporting our law enforcement to keep our communities safe,  expand our work addressing homelessness and the need for more housing, and do even more to help individuals, families and communities confronting mental health issues,” she said.

Andersen, who has served as a supervisor since 2012 and previously chaired the board in 2016, said there will plenty of business items the supervisors will address in 2020.  Among the issues she listed were updating the county tree and Airbnb ordinances, considering a $20 million housing grant, and the grand openings of the new county and new sheriff’s office administration buildings.

Burgis, who has served on the County’s Board of Supervisors since 2017, representing the largest geographic region of the five districts, said she will work on the 2020 census, the Delta, and public safety and fire safety issues  during the year.

Andersen is completing her second term, facing no opposition in her re-election bid, while Burgis, who represents parts of Antioch, is completing her first, facing one opponent in the March Primary election. They will lead the five-member elected body that sets the direction of county government and oversees its $4.43 billion budget to serve this large and diverse East Bay County.

For more information about Contra Costa County and its Board of Supervisors, visit the County’s website at www.contracosta.ca.gov or the webpage: https://www.contracosta.ca.gov/193/Board-of-Supervisors.

Daniel Borsuk contributed to this report.

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Supervisors’ 2020 Top Issues: New county clerk, short-term rental law, airport projects, cannabis retail permits, elections

Thursday, December 19th, 2019

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors recognized Larry Sly the retired executive director of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano Counties for his 43 years of public service on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019. The University of California at Berkeley history graduate is known for building up the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano into one of the premier provider of food to those in need in the county, The development of the Great Food Fight between Contra Costa and Solano counties raises thousands of dollars annually between the two counties. At the presentation were from left, District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood, Food Bank Communications Director Lisa Sherill, Board Chair John Gioia, District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover, Larry Sly, District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, Food Bank Programs Director Caitlin Sly and Vice Chair Candace Andersen. Sly says he has no immediate plans of what he will do during his retirement. Photo by Daniel Borsuk.

Honor former Food Bank Executive Director Larry Sly

By Daniel Borsuk

Look for 2020 to be an unusually busy year for the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

The elected officials are expected to take up complex issues like choosing a new County Clerk, adoption of a short-term rental ordinance, numerous construction projects at the county’s two airports, and decide on potentially 11 land use permits for cannabis businesses, perhaps in March, while two members run for re-election.

New County Clerk-Recorder

In the first two months of the new year, supervisors will also be busy selecting a new county clerk-recorder registrar of voters to replace Joseph Canciamilla, who was forced to resign in late October when it was disclosed that he had illegally used campaign funds for personal use. The California Fair Political Practices Commission fined Canciamilla $150,000 for the illegal action.

Short-Term Rental Ordinance

Supervisors got a glimpse of a Draft Short-term Rental Ordinance at Tuesday’s meeting and flashed the green light for Conservation and Development Department (CDD) Director John Kopchik and his staff to proceed in drafting an ordinance for potential board adoption in 2020.

Supervisors directed CDD officials to proceed to draft a Short-term Rental Ordinance in the aftermath of the Halloween night murder spree at an Orinda house that was rented as an Airbnb where five people died and four others were injured. In late November, federal law enforcement authorities had arrested Frederick Johnson, 29, of Vallejo and Domico Dones, 29, of Martinez in connection with the mass shooting.

Presently, unincorporated Contra Costa County does not permit short-term rentals because it has no law on the books addressing the growing rental practice.

So far, supervisors have discussed modeling a potential short-term rental ordinance with a 90-day limit involving a complete house, not a unit of a house. County planners are also reviewing capping the total number of persons at a short-term rental at no more than 20 persons, banning the posting of signs, excessive noise and traffic, and prohibiting special events such as a conference, wedding or commercial event.

Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood said enforcement of a STR ordinance will be a difficult task and CDP Director Kopchik agreed, saying “Enforcement is a challenge. We won’t get a lot of money from enforcement of this ordinance.”

Airports Draw Big Bucks

On a positive note, Supervisors heard Director of Airports Keith Freitas report at Tuesday’s meeting that the county owned and operated airports – Buchanan Field Airport in Concord and Byron Airport – generated $8.4 million in revenue for the airports, county and schools in 2017-2018. During that fiscal year Freitas, who said the airports must be financially dependent on their own revenues, distributed $2.2 million to the county, $882,801 to the schools, and $5.1 million to airport enterprises.

The airports are luring developers, Freitas said. On the drawing boards for Buchanan Field are a new Buchanan Field Airport Terminal, a Concord Airport Self Storage, a new Fire Station No. 9, and on the west side of the airport two major business parks are planned – a three-acre and a 16-acre business park.

Byron Airport is also attracting development, including a 36-acre non-aviation development and a three-acre aviation hangar development.

Freitas said the county airports are in discussions with Alaska and New Mexico Unmanned Aircraft System FAA test sites to potentially strike up a partnership with Buchanan Field and Byron Airport. Potential contracts could mean more jobs and revenue for the airports.

Freitas said the two airports provide 828 jobs in the county – 808 jobs at Buchanan Field and 20 jobs at Byron Airport.

Cannabis Land Use Permits

Possibly at the Supervisors’ March 24 meeting, supervisors will act in awarding land use permits to up to four cannabis retail and seven cannabis commercial cultivation applicants that Supervisors had selected a a Dec. 10th meeting. Supervisors set a 90-day period for the 11 successful candidates to complete and submit land use applications with the Department of Conservation & Development. That application deadline is March 9.

The four retail candidates moving ahead in the selection process are Authentic 925 for a location in South Pacheco, Artist Tree in El Sobrante, Embarc Contra Costa in North Pacheco and Garden of Eden for South Pacheco.

In the running for commercial cultivation permits are Lifted Spirit-Brentwood; 703 Chesley, LLC; Element 7 – Chestnut Street of Brentwood; Element 7 – Willow Way in Byron; Casa Resta Farms of Brentwood, Diablo Valley Farm of Brentwood and Magic Flower Gardens.

Lastly, the supervisors and county employees now working out of the old administrative building at 651 Pine Street in Martinez will be moving into a four-story, 71,000 square foot, $60 million administrative building is spring. The new building will replace the old administrative building at 651 Pine St.

Three Supervisors Up For Election, Two Face Opponents

Three members of the Board are up for re-election but only two are facing opponents in the March Primary Election. Burgis running for a second term in District 3, faces one opponent and Federal Glover, running for a sixth term in District 5, faces two opponents. If no candidate receives a majority of votes, the top two will runoff in the General Election in November. Candace Andersen will be re-elected to her third term representing District 2, since no one filed to run against her.

2020 is shaping up to be a transformative year for the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors in more ways than one.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Supervisor Glover files for re-election to sixth term

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

Supervisor Federal Glover. Herald file photo.

Incumbent Supervisor Federal Glover, representing District 5 on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, officially filed for re-election on Monday with the County Registrar of Voters Office.

“I’m so proud of our accomplishments and excited to be applying for a final term to complete the good work we started,” said Glover.

He has been one of the County’s top transportation advocates, identifying funding to improve Highway 4, I-680, and bring BART to Pittsburg and Antioch.

“We’re in the beginning of negotiations on establishing possible ferry service to San Francisco from Hercules, Martinez, Bay Point and Antioch, and I want to see that through completion for the residents I represent,” Glover added.

Other accomplishments that make Glover proud: Bringing the County into a AAA financial rating due to sound budgeting decisions, establishing three Family Justice Centers to support victims of domestic violence, increasing prosecution of human traffickers who kidnap and victimize young women, strengthening the Industrial Safety Ordinance to reduce refinery accidents, and leading the fight to protect open space, our hillsides and maintaining the County’s Urban Limit Line to control growth.

Glover says that making PG&E accountable for upgrading its service, and working with cities to create alternative forms of energy to decrease the company’s issuance of power outages is another issue he is working on that requires more work.

“Supervisor Federal Glover was there for our firefighters and our residents during the massive fires we experienced the last couple of years. We wholeheartedly support Supervisor Glover’s re-election and look forward to working closely with him for another term,” said Firefighter Vince Wells, President of Contra Costa Firefighters Local 1230.

Glover is also endorsed by the Contra Costa Deputy Sheriff’s Association, the Contra Costa Building and Construction Council, the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Association, police associations, Congressional, Senate, Assembly and local city elected officials (see partial list of endorsements, below).

“We have a great campaign team and I will raise whatever donations necessary to run a top-notch campaign to the voters of District 5,” Glover added. “This will be my last term on the Board of Supervisors, and I’m excited to complete the projects important to my District.”

Glover’s district includes Martinez, Hercules, Pinole, Alhambra Valley, Briones, Antioch, Port Costa, Clyde, Bay Point, Pittsburg, Crockett, Mt. View, Pacheco, Reliez Valley, Rodeo, Tormey & Vine Hill.

Supervisor Federal Glover Endorsements (partial list)

Congressman Mike Thompson

Congressman Jerry McNerney

State Treasurer Fiona Ma

State Senator Bill Dodd

State Senator Steve Glazer

Assemblymember Tim Grayson

Assemblymember Jim Frazier

County Auditor Bob Campbell

County Tax Collector Rusty Watts

East Bay Regional Parks Director Colin Coffey

Antioch Mayor Sean Wright

Antioch Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts

Antioch Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock

Antioch Councilwoman Monica Wilson

Antioch Councilmember Lamar Thorpe

Hercules Vice Mayor Roland Esquivias

Hercules Councilwoman Chris Kelley

Hercules Former Mayor Myrna De Vera

Hercules Former Mayor Sherri McCoy

Martinez Mayor Rob Schroder

Martinez Councilwoman Lara Delaney

Martinez Councilmember Mark Ross

Pinole Mayor Pete Murray

Pinole Vice Mayor Roy Swearingen

Pinole Councilmember Vincent Salimi

Pinole Councilmember Anthony Tave

Pittsburg Mayor Juan Benales

Pittsburg Councilwoman Merl Craft

Pittsburg Councilmember Holland White

Pittsburg Councilwoman Shanell Scales-Preston

Contra Costa County Deputy Sheriffs Assn.

Contra Costa Professional Firefighters Local 1230

Contra Costa Deputy District Attorneys Assn.

Pittsburg Police Officers Association

Contra Costa Building & Constructions

Trades Council

IBEW

Boilermakers

Teamsters

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Supervisors will appoint new County Clerk-Recorder on Feb. 4, recruitment process begins Nov. 8

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors recognized four county entities for their contributions in combatting homelessness in the county at Tuesday’s board meeting. Supervisors passed a resolution recognizing November as Homelessness Awareness Month. The county has only 28 percent shelter capacity needed for single adults. In 2018, 6,924 persons accessed homeless services in the county. At the supervisors meeting, four awards were presented by the Council on Homelessness. Ken Rickner of Shower House Ministeries was named Outstanding Volunteer. Lito Calimlin was named as Outstanding Landlord Award. Chris Celio of the Home Center was named winner of the Rapid Resolution Program and the City of Martinez was named Outstanding Jurisdiction. Photo by Daniel Borsuk.

Canciamilla retired on October 31; Ken Rickner of Shower House Ministries honored as Outstanding Volunteer by Council on Homelessness

Joe Canciamilla

By Daniel Borsuk

With the clock ticking for the June 2, 2020 California Primary Election, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday set a schedule to appoint a new County Clerk-Recorder by Feb. 4, 2020.

Supervisors voted 5-0 on Tuesday to follow a schedule to select a new Clerk-Recorder to replace Joseph Canciamilla who surprisingly retired on October 31 after serving one year of his second four-year term.

Canciamilla, who is on record as the nation’s youngest elected School Board Trustee when he was elected to the Pittsburg Unified School District Board in 1973 at age 17, was one year in into his second four-year term as County Clerk-Recorder when he announced his retirement.

Prior to his serving as Clerk-Recorder, Canciamilla had served as a State Assemblyman, County Supervisor, Pittsburg City Council Member and Pittsburg School Board Member.

In March 2013, out a pool of 19 candidates Canciamilla was selected by the board of supervisors to complete the term of County Clerk-Recorder Steve Weir, who had resigned after serving as clerk-recorder for 24 uncontested years.

Supervisors were pressed to establish a selection process and agreed to open recruitment on Nov. 8, close recruitment on Nov. 16, interview selected applicants and select a finalist on Jan. 21, authorize County Administrator David Twa to conduct a social media check and a criminal background check of the finalist and to obtain fingerprints and an economic disclosure statement (Form 700) from the finalist. The finalist will be appointed on Feb. 4.

No one spoke in opposition or in favor of the supervisors’ selection schedule, but supervisors spent some time on whether they’d accept applicants from outside the county and whether the county can attract quality candidates from within Contra Costa County or if the pool of candidates should emanate from outside the county.

“We’re going to get good local people,” predicted Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood.

But District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff warned “I’m not going to vote for some who applies for this position and maintains a rental.”

Authorize Byron Airport Development Lease Negotiations

Supervisors gave county airport officials the green light to commence negotiations with Mark Scott Construction, Inc. to negotiate a long-term ground lease and development terms for three acres of vacant land at the north corner of Falcon Way and Eagle Court at the Byron Airport. The item was approved as a consent item.

The Airport Division of the Contra Costa County Public Works Department received a letter of interest from Mark Scott Construction Inc. to lease and develop the property for aviation use.

The business proposal will be presented before the Aviation Advisory Committee, the Airport Committee, and other stakeholders.

Revert 12-Year Housing Action in El Sobrante

Supervisors took the unusual action of unanimously taking a reversion of property designation that supervisors had approved nearly 12 years ago for a five-lot subdivision at Luise Lane at Hilltop Drive in unincorporated El Sobrante.

Since the developer and owner of the project site, Geoghegan Homes, Inc., has not met county requirements of installing road, drainage and other subdivision improvements as of Dec. 4, 2009 and has missed that extended deadline five times, ultimately to April 20, 2019, the county opted to exercise its reversion powers.

Now the property can only be developed into one house containing 7,000 square feet. Furthermore, the developer must go through a new county planning department review procedure, explained Slava Gospodchikov of the Contra Costa County Public Works Department.

The supervisors’ action did not please everyone especially Robert Johannessen, who lives across the street from the subject site and has seen rise of traffic accidents on Luise Lane when motorists take detours off nearby Interstate 80 when the freeway is jammed due to an accident. “It’s not a safe neighborhood anymore,” he said. Johannessen thinks any development on that site, even a 7,000 square foot house, will draw potential traffic problems to the neighborhood.

Other Board Actions

In other business, the supervisors approved five United States Department of Homeland Security Urban Area Security Initiative Grants contracts for the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District totaling $408,900. Those contracts include:

  • $295,000 for the purchase of a hook lift modular transport vehicle.
  • $10,000 for two 8,000 lbs. rated grip hoist rescue units.
  • $24,900 for Weapons of Mass Destruction rescue Personal Protective Equipment such as butyl rubber gloves, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear or Explosive filter cartridges and adapters.
  • $38,000 for search and rescue listening devices; and
  • $41,000 for the purchase of two search cameras.
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Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors ratify proclamation of local emergency

Friday, November 1st, 2019

By Susan Shiu, Director, Contra Costa County Office of Communications and Media

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution at a special Board meeting today, November 1, 2019, ratifying the County Administrator’s October 27, 2019 proclamation of existence of a local emergency when the Board of Supervisors was not in session and could not immediately be called into session.

Contra Costa County issued a proclamation of local emergency due to severe weather conditions on Sunday, October 27, 2019 at 4:37 pm when County Administrator David J. Twa, as the Administrator of Emergency Services, signed the proclamation.

The proclamation states that “conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property have arisen within the County, caused by a severe weather event commencing at 8 p.m. on October 26, 2019. The velocity and duration of wind, coupled with low humidity, is driving wildfires in multiple locations, causing power disruptions, tree falls and infrastructure damage, and necessitating evacuations; and that these conditions are or are likely to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities of the County.”

Board Chair, Supervisor John Gioia, said, “The weather conditions were such that there were a series of fires one after another that led to evacuation orders in multiple parts of the County on that day alone. Throughout the local emergency, Con Fire and other fire district firefighters, Sheriff’s Office, County departments’ employees and other partners, including the National Weather Service, worked diligently to coordinate in the County’s Emergency Operation Center.”

The Supervisors all echoed this sentiment of pride in how the County worked together with multiple agencies and jurisdictions to keep residents safe and informed during an unprecedented local emergency affecting tens of thousands of Contra Costa residents.

“The County prepares for emergencies. Our teams did the work they were trained to do. We are grateful that there was no loss of human life,” says County Administrator David Twa. “We will continue to support residents and encourage you to stay prepared.”

To learn about and register for Contra Costa County’s Community Warning System, go to cwsalerts.com. Sign up to receive alerts, such as evacuation alerts, via voice, text and email. Follow @CoCoCWS, @CCCounty and other official sources on Twitter.

For safety and preparedness resources, go to https://www.contracosta.ca.gov/5435/Public-Safety-Emergency-Info.

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Supervisors form committee to consider half-cent sales tax measure for Nov. 2020 ballot

Thursday, October 24th, 2019

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors recognized the community service of CERT C-8 on Tuesday. Currently consisting of 70 members, supervisors recognized the organization that is known to dispatch volunteers to train senior care staff, serve as Amateur Radio Operators, Red Cross Shelter workers, traffic control and join the Contra Costa CART. C-8 has helped to get Spanish Cert out to many areas of the county. The program is called Listos. Photo by Daniel Borsuk.

Demand NuStar Energy safety probe before Crockett plant is reopened following fire

By Daniel Borsuk

At their meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, Contra Costa County Supervisors voted 4-0 to create an ad hoc committee to explore the feasibility of placing on the ballot a sales tax measure. The committee will consist mainly of union leaders, county agency heads and nonprofit organizations leaders.

On the vote, District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover was absent.

At the recommendation of District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, who serves on the Finance Committee, proposed the establishment of a citizen-based ad hoc committee to study a proposal that could wind up on a ballot for county voters to decide on perhaps by the November 2020 general election.

In California, the maximum sales, use, and transactions tax rate is 9.25 percent. That includes a statewide base sale and use tax of 7.25 percent and up to 2 percent for local district transaction and use taxes.

Current projections for annual revenues for a countywide transaction and use tax are one half cent $93 million and quarter cent $46.5 million. Current projections for annual revenues for an unincorporated area transaction and use tax are one half cent: $8.32 million and one.

So far, the ad hoc committee will study several potential tax scenarios. Current projections for annual revenues for a countywide transaction and use tax area:

. 0.50 percent (1/2 cent): $93 million

. 0.25 percent (1/4 cent): $46.5 million

Projections for annual revenues for an unincorporated area transaction and use tax are:

. 0.50 percent (1/2 cent): $8.32 million

. 0.25 percent (1/4 cent): $4.16 million

Mitchoff said she is promoting the sales tax ad hoc committee because she frequently hears from constituents why Contra Costa County does not have a sales tax while other counties like Alameda, San San Mateo, Santa Clara and others do draw additional revenues for county services from a sales tax.

The ad hoc committee will be led by stake holders, not supervisors, Mitchoff said. “We want all comers at the table,” she said. “This will be a difficult lift.”

“This is a huge opportunity,” said Sean Casey, executive director of the nonprofit organization First 5. “16,000 families could benefit from this in Contra Costa County.”

Demand NuStar Energy Plant Safety Probe

Also during their meeting, the Supervisors demanded that county officials confirm that operators of the fire damaged NuStar Energy plant in Crockett not resume operations until its fire and hazardous materials safety measures have been completely reviewed and upgraded by state and federal authorities.

“I want updated progress reports on your investigations,” demanded Board Chair John Gioia, whose District 1 covers the Crockett refinery location where the fire erupted from a tank filled with ethanol at 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday, October 15. The fire spread, catching a nearby tank also containing ethanol. Some 250,000 gallons of ethanol were destroyed in the fire.

The blaze forced county authorities to call a Shelter in Place in the Crockett area. Interstate 80 was closed for six hours. The incident was officially over at 8:10 p.m. when I-80 was reopened to traffic by the Highway Patrol, said Contra Costa County Director of Hazardous Materials Randy Sawyer.

“At the end of the day, the incident was contained, “said Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Chief Lewis Broschard. “No other tanks were destroyed. No other materials were discharged.”

Broschard told supervisors it was through the fire fighting resources of NuStar Energy and several other refineries that were able to promptly respond to the fire site to assist CCCFPD in extinguishing fire. Those refineries – Shell, Chevon, Phillips 66, Tessoro, and Marathon – supplied foam that the county fire district did not have to adequately extinguish the blaze, said Chief Broschard.

Chief Broschard said at this time there is no known cause for the fire including whether arson may have been a factor.

Gioia made it clear to Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Chief Broschard and Contra Costa County Hazardous Materials Program Director Randy Sawyer that he wants a thorough investigation completed before “there is a reopening” of the NuStar plant.

Supervisors heard from eight speakers, all critical of NuStar and its safety track record.

NuStar spokesperson Mary Rose Brown told the Contra Costa Herald via an emailed message:

“We absolutely agree, and we are working closely and cooperatively with CalOSHA and other regulatory agencies on detailed plans to ensure that the facility is safe to operate before it is reopened. We also are continuing to work in very close cooperation with all applicable local and state regulatory agencies to investigate the root cause of the incident so that we can take whatever measures are required to ensure the continued safety of our employees, contractors, neighbors and the community. We worked over the weekend to pump liquids out of the incident area and CalOSHA and local fire investigators accessed the area today (Tuesday).”

County resident Carl Davidson suggested that the NuStar plant incident may have been triggered by a seismic event since the facility is located on the Pinole fault and the fire erupted after seismic events were reported in the Pleasant Hill area the previous day.

Twenty-five-year Crockett area resident Isabella Izzi said the board of supervisors and regulators should clamp down on NuStar for this environmental violation and future violations by requiring the refiner to provide hazmat masks to all residents of Crockett. “The Board of Supervisors should make it clear that it will deny any new expansion at that refinery,” she said.

Dan Torres, a representative of an industrial fire sprinkler installation union, questioned the quality and reliability of the fire sprinkler system installed at NuStar.

At the end, Chair Gioia asked that updates on the NuStar fire will be reported at the Public Safety Committee that he chairs.

In other business, the supervisors:

-Approved a $240,000 contract to Concord Yellow Cab, Inc. to provide non-emergency taxicab transportation services for Contra Costa Regional Medical center and Contra Costa Health Center patients for the period July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. The county pays taxicab service for patients unable to transport themselves to medical appointments due to medical conditions, including physical disabilities, patients who have verifiable seizure disorder or patients who have received medications which has or could impair their mobility.

-Approved a $1.97 million Public Works Department contract with Debri-Tech, Inc. to provide on-call assistance with trash and abandoned waste cleanup and removal for the Contra Costa County Watershed Program for the program October 15, 2019 through September 30, 2022.

-Approved the issuance of $85 million in Multifamily Housing Revenue Bond by the California Statewide Communities Development Authority for the Fairfield Hilltop LP, a California limited partnership, to provide for the financing of the acquisition and rehabilitation of a 322-unit multi-family housing development known as Hilltop Commons Apartments located at 15690l Crestwood Dr.

 

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On split vote by Supervisors county to temporarily stop collecting “discriminatory” adult criminal justice fees

Thursday, September 19th, 2019

At former Antioch Councilman’s urging, Supervisors direct DA’s office to reopen 2005 Lafayette murder case; approve new land development fees

By Daniel Borsuk

On a thin 3-2 vote, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday slapped a temporary moratorium on the County’s collection and assessment of 14 Adult Criminal Justice Fees that will cost the county $1.8 million in revenue a year should the moratorium become permanent.

During Public Safety Committee meetings, Chairperson John Gioia of Richmond and Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg agreed with citizen committee members the fees are discriminatory to persons of color and likely result in longtime economic or financial hardship for persons who had a criminal record.

An “aye” vote from District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood meant the county will temporarily stop the collection of fees, including the Sheriff Central Administration’s Booking Fee that will generate about $40,000 in 2019/2020, and the Adult Probation Supervision Fee that potentially could have generated nearly $1.8 million in 2019/2020 revenue.

The temporary moratorium will be effective immediately with the Board expecting to reevaluate the moratorium’s progress no later than Dec. 31, 2019. Supervisors will reassess the value of the moratorium at a December meeting.

Even though the county’s coffers are plentiful, with supervisors also officially adopting on a 5-0 vote the county’s $3.6 billion 2019-2020 final budget, the county is spending funds at a rapid pace through newly inked employee-union labor agreements like a 3.44 percent pay hike for social workers, an 8 percent salary raise for county supervisors that went into effect in July, and tacking on an additional $7.5 million in costs to the new Administration Building and new Emergency Operations Center/Public Safety Building to improve the security and communication capabilities during emergencies.

During a three-hour discussion on the item, Board Vice Chair Candace Andersen consistently opposed the moratorium on grounds that by dropping the fees for all persons, individual with the financial resources will benefit the most. “There are a lot of people who are committing these crimes who have the ability to pay these fees,” said the supervisor from Danville. “There is no reason why we shouldn’t be assessing these fees.”

In arguing against the proposal, District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff said the elimination of $1.8 million of criminal justice fees could financially impact social and health programs such as drug diversion programs that assist persons with criminal records. “I cannot support the moratorium at this time,” the supervisor from Pleasant Hill declared.

But there were a number of citizens in support of the proposal to eliminate the fees.

“There are many people I have represented who 15 to 20 years later did not know that they’d have their wages garnished or face the ongoing inability to pay even though they have jobs and families,” said Mary Sylla, an attorney at Rubicon Programs.

“We urge you to do the right thing,” pleaded Ali Saidi, head of the Contra Costa Public Defenders Association, “These fees impact people of color.”

Request to Reopen Lafayette Murder Case Referred to DA’s Unit

Antioch private investigator and former Antioch Councilman Ralph Hernandez’s pitch, to have the 2005 murder case of Pamela Vitale of Lafayette reopened, got the thumbs up from the board of supervisors. The case was referred to Contra Costa District Attorney’s newly created conviction integrity unit. In this instance, Scott Dyleski, who Hernandez represents, was convicted for the October 2005 murder of Vitale.

“Your assistance in directing such from your two agencies (D.A.’s Office and Public Defender’s Office) is more than warranted,” Hernandez said. “Fourteen years of Scott’s youth has already been denied him and he still faces many more if this very serious matter is just ignored by all. Pamela Vitale’s memory deserves that the truth be determined, not ignored.”

Supervisors did not comment openly about the case, but Gioia consented that at least the DA’s new conviction integrity unit review the case.

New Land Development Fees Approved

Without opposition from either supervisors or the public, supervisors unanimously approved new land development fees charged for services performed by the Department of Conservation and Development and the Public Works Department starting March 1, 2020.

Some fees like encroachment fees have not been adjusted since 1995 and in many instances, rates are decreasing “due to economy of scale,” John Kopchik, director of the Contra Costa County Department of Conservation and Development told the Contra Costa Herald.

Supervisors withheld action on a proposal to charge a $1,000 fee for the time and materials needed to submit and process applications for nomination of a building or cultural resource for consideration before the Historical Landmarks Advisory Committee.

“The Historical Landmarks Advisory Committee believes that the current and proposed fees of $1,000 deposit and time and materials required to submit and process applications to nominate historical and cultural resources to the County’s Historic Resources Inventory (HRI) are a deterrent to public participation in the program.

“The HLAC voted at their meeting held on August 8, 2019 to make a formal recommendation to the Board of Supervisors to reduce these fees to encourage organizations or individuals to nominate potential resources to be designated to the HRI,” Historic Landmark Advisory Committee staff member Dominique Vogelpohl wrote on August 26.

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Supervisors boost fire district development fees, choose chair pro tem to conduct business

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

By Daniel Borsuk

In order to conduct business, including the approval of higher fire district development fees, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday had to take the rare step of selecting a chair pro tempore because neither chairperson John Gioia of Richmond nor vice chair Candace Andersen of Danville were in attendance.

Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill was elected chair pro tempore by fellow supervisors Diane Burgis of Brentwood and Federal Glover of Pittsburg who were present.

Board chair Gioia was out of the area attending a meeting of the California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance at Lake Tahoe. He said he was scheduled to attend that conference because he also serves on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the California Air Resources Board.

Vice chair Andersen was absent because her mother had passed away in Hawaii, a representative for the supervisor said.

“I am in charge,” declared Mitchoff upon getting the 3-0 vote to serve as chair pro tempore. In the 8.5 years that Mitchoff has served on the board, the supervisor said she has never seen where the board had to resort to selecting a chair pro tempore. Mitchoff served as board chair person last year.

Meanwhile, with fire season already here, supervisors voted 3-0 to have increased Contra Costa County Fire Protection District development impact fees go into effect in November.

In reporting findings from a Willdan Financial Services study, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Chief Lewis T. Broschard III informed supervisors the fire district service population is projected to increase by 162,100 to 892,200 by 2040 in the cities of Antioch, Clayton, Concord, Lafayette, Martinez, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, San Pablo Walnut Creek and the unincorporated areas of Contra Costa County.

The last time the fire district increased development fees was in 2006.

The fire district, as of August 1, 2019, will have 26 staffed stations to accommodate the current service population of about 730,000. “This situation makes for a ratio of one fire station per 28,000 persons in the service population. To maintain the existing station-to-population ratio, the projected growth would require the construction of more than five stations by the year 2040.” the Willdan Study states.

The estimated cost for a new fire station is $7,923,750 based on a $720 per square foot construction rate. Adding the cost of new fire apparatus can add $750,000 to $1.5 million per station or the cost of the station parcel which can be $500,000 to $1 million per site.

Based on cost factors, the Willdan study proposed total Fire Protection Facilities fees, including administration fees, will be $970 per dwelling unit for Residential single family, $460 per dwelling unit for Residential multi-family, $662 per 1,000 square feet Commercial, $579 per 1,000 square feet Office, and $387 per 1,000 square feet for Industrial.

Supervisors did not hear either public opposition or support for the proposed fire protection district facilities fees increases.

 

 

 

Three Fire Station Design Extensions Approved

In a related consent action, supervisors extended architectural services with Loving Campos Associates Architects, Inc. by increasing the payment limit by $75,000 to a new payment limit of $595,000 and to extend the term from June 14, 2019 to June 14, 2020 to provide architectural services for Fire Station 16 located at 4007 Los Arabis Road in Lafayette, a fire station constructed in the late 1950’s that was abandoned shortly after the Loma Prieta Earthquake. Subsequent to the station’s closure, a double-wide mobile home was used as the crew living quarters.

Supervisors also approved as a consent item an additional $300,000 payment to the architectural firm of Kimley-Horn Associates, Inc. to provide design services for new Fire Station No. 9 in Pacheco and a new Fire Station No. 86 in Bay Point. This increase raises the contract with Kimley-Horn to $1,240,000 and extends the term limit from Dec. 12, 2020 to Dec. 12, 2021.

The two new stations in Pacheco and Bay Point will include modern seismic standards, meet current ADA requirements, and have the ability to support modern equipment and apparatus. The stations will be built to provide protection for the community or the next 50 years.

Catholic Charities Wins $905,414 Contract

Supervisors approved as a consent item, Public Defender Robin Lipetzky’s $905,414 contract request with the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Oakland DBA Catholic Charities of the East Bay to provide civil legal deportation defense and community services for Stand Together Contra Costa. The contract will be in effect from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Oakland has provided civil legal deportation defense services for the county supported Stand Together Contra Costa since July 24, 2018.

Approve $1.4 Million Inmate Communications System

Supervisors also permitted Sheriff-Coroner David O. Livingston’s $1.4 million request to sign a contract with Global Tel Link (GTL) Corporation to install and operate Inmate communication services including a jail management system, inmate telephones, video visitation, and inmate tablets in the adult facilities for the period of July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2024. There are no net county costs associated with this contract. Under the contract GTL will pay the county $200,000 at contract start to defer the Office of the Sheriff’s expenses related to facility technology and program expenses and will pay the county $20,000 a month for county cost reimbursement which will be place in the Inmate Welfare Fund.

 

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