Archive for the ‘Contra Costa County’ Category

Twelve apply for vacant position of Contra Costa County District Attorney

Monday, July 24th, 2017

Board of Supervisors to review applications on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017; public forum Aug. 15

Twelve people have submitted applications to serve as the Interim District Attorney for Contra Costa County. The Board of Supervisors will begin the next phase of the process by reviewing candidate materials at the August 1, 2017, regular public Board meeting. The meeting starts at 9:00 a.m., and the agenda and supporting documents will be available online this Friday morning.

“We remain committed to an open and transparent process during the selection period of our next District Attorney,” said Supervisor Federal Glover, Chair of the Board of Supervisors. “It is unfortunate the County is faced with this situation, but it important that the public have ample opportunity to provide input as we make this very important decision.”

The June 14 resignation of Mark Peterson from the position of District Attorney created a vacancy that will extend until the current term of office expires on January 7, 2019. The next election for the District Attorney will take place in June of 2018, with a potential runoff election in November of 2018.

The twelve candidates are:

·         Diana Becton – Judge, Contra Costa Superior Court

·         David G. Brown – Retired Deputy District Attorney, Contra Costa County

·         John Delgado – Assistant District Attorney, San Francisco County

·         Danielle Douglas – Judge, Contra Costa Superior Court

·         Paul J. Graves – Senior Deputy District Attorney, Contra Costa County

·         William H. Green – Director, Criminal Conflict Program of the Contra Costa Bar Association, criminal defense attorney

·         Thomas J. Kensok – Assistant District Attorney, Contra Costa County

·         Richard A. Madsen, Jr. – Criminal defense attorney

·         Michael Martin Menesini – Assistant District Attorney, San Francisco County, former Martinez Mayor and Councilman

·         Brad J. Nix – Deputy District Attorney V, Stanislaus County, former Oakley Mayor and Councilman

·         Michael James Roemer – Retired Deputy District Attorney, Alameda County

·         Patrick Vanier – Deputy District Attorney, Santa Clara County

You can view the application materials from each candidate online. So far, only two of the applicants are declared candidates for the 2018 election, Paul J. Graves and Patrick Vanier.

During the August 1, 2017, Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board will determine which candidates will be selected to continue in the process. The County Administrator’s Office will be conducting background checks on those applicants. The finalists will be invited to participate in a public forum to be held on August 15 at 6:00 p.m. At the forum, a moderated discussion will take place, with questions solicited from the public in advance, as well as during the forum. If you would like to offer a question, you can submit it online via the recruitment section of the District Attorney’s website. On that site, you can also offer public comment to be submitted to the Board of Supervisors and entered into the public record. The forum will be open to the public, televised live and streamed live online. More details about the public forum will be available after the August 1st meeting.

Following the August 15th public forum, the Board of Supervisors will interview the final candidates at the September 12th public meeting; a decision could be made that day, or possibly at the following meeting on September 19, 2017.

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Recruitment for Interim Contra Costa DA closes Friday

Monday, July 17th, 2017

Candidate Forum set for August 15

Friday, July 21, 2017, is the deadline to submit an application for the vacant position of District Attorney for Contra Costa County.  The June 14 resignation of Mark Peterson from the position of District Attorney created a vacancy that will extend until the current term of office expires on January 7, 2019.  The next election for the District Attorney will take place in June of 2018, with a potential runoff election in November of 2018.

At the August 1, 2017, Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board will review the applications and determine which applicants will continue in the process. The finalists will be invited to participate in a public forum to be held on August 15 at 6:00 p.m., with final candidate interviews by the County Board scheduled for September 12, 2017.

At the forum, a moderated discussion will take place, with questions solicited from the public in advance, as well as during the forum.  If you would like to offer a question, you can submit it online via the District Attorney recruitment section of our website. On that site, you can also offer public comment to be submitted to the Board of Supervisors and entered into the public record.  The forum will be open to the public, televised live and streamed live online.

Completed applications and a supplemental questionnaire must be returned to the County Human Resources Department no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, July 21.   Materials can be found online at: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/contracosta. A background investigation will be conducted on all finalists. Any offer of employment will be contingent upon the successful completion of a thorough background investigation, which will include fingerprinting; county, state, and national criminal records checks; Economic Disclosure Form 700; and civil filings.

 

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Ron Leone, former Deer Valley Vice Principal, announces run for County Schools Superintendent

Friday, July 14th, 2017

Concord Councilman Ron Leone. Photo from his council campaign website RonaldLeone.net

Concord Councilman, former teacher and A.U.S.D. Director of Student Services

By John Crowder

Concord City Councilman and one-time mayor Ron Leone, a former vice principal at Antioch’s Deer Valley High School, confirmed today that he is running for the position of Contra Costa County School Superintendent in the June 2018 election. Incumbent Karen Sakata, serving in her first term, has not yet indicated if she will seek re-election.

Leone, who is also a former Teacher of the Year and was the Director of Student Services for the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD), has been involved in education for over forty years.  In an interview with this reporter, Leone said he is running because, “education is my passion.  Everything I’ve done over my career has led me to this point, and I want to use my experience to ensure our students achieve academic success.”

According to his bio on the City of Concord’s website, “Ron Leone, a resident of Concord since 1978, was elected to the City Council in 2010, re-elected in 2014. He served as Mayor in 2012 and Vice Mayor in 2014 and 2016. Leone served 35 years in education as a high school teacher and principal. He was the teacher of the year in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District and teachers’ association president. He coached high school baseball, and several championship mock trial and constitutional academic teams.”

“I believe that I have the vision our schools need now,” he continued.  “In many ways, our schools throughout the county need help.  For example, last year the Grand Jury delivered a report on truancy that was very troubling.  Our county is one of the worst in the state for truancy, but I know first-hand that we can turn this around.  I served as the Director of Child Welfare and Attendance in Antioch some years ago, and was the first to conduct truancy sweeps, coordinating with local law enforcement.  Students who were truant were given Saturday school, and phone calls went home to parents.  In subsequent sweeps, we found that, by having real consequences for the students who skipped school, we dramatically reduced the number of repeat offenders.”

Leone also mentioned the financial challenges he plans to address.

“Another potentially serious problem is the County Office of Education’s unfunded liabilities,” he stated. “They continue to grow, and this will undoubtedly impact our ability to keep dollars in the classroom, if it continues.  We faced the same issue in Concord, but by exercising the leadership needed to tackle the matter, we were able to pay down the debt and create a $30 million reserve.”

Vocational training is strongly advocated by Leone. He described a Regional Occupation Program (ROP) his students used during his tenure in Fremont.

“The Mission Valley ROP Center that was developed was part of a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) with three school districts,” he said.  “I believe this approach would work for our County, as well.  I’m proposing a vocational training center in Central Contra Costa County.  Students from several school districts would be able to attend after school hours.”

Leone wants to work closely with the local school districts in the County. As of today, he’s already met with twelve of the County’s local school district superintendents.

“One of the things that I’m seeing is that the County Office of Education can help our local districts through expanded support of teacher training,” he said. “In addition, we want to encourage school districts to implement programs that advance academic achievement, and to help engage parents in their students’ success.”

Prior to being elected to the Concord City Council, Leone served for 16 years as an elected member of the Mt. Diablo Hospital District Board, as well as Chairman of the Board of the John Muir Hospitals, and the City’s Planning Commission.

Leone invites anyone interested in learning more to contact him at RonaldLeone@comcast.net.

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County Clerk’s Office to stay open late on Thursdays during summer, beginning July 6

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

Residents can get married, obtain documents until 7:30 pm

Summertime in Contra Costa County means two things: warmer temperatures and the Clerk-Recorder’s office being open late on Thursday nights. So, now you can get hitched without missing work!

Every Thursday between July 6th and August 31st, the Clerk Recorder Division office, located at 555 Escobar Street in Martinez, will be open from 8:00 am to 7:30 pm, a welcome three-hour extension to the usual closing time.

Summer is an important time for parents to obtain birth certificates for school and those seeking documents for traveling. It is also a popular season for weddings.

“We want to provide a courtesy for our residents, especially those who work during the day and find it difficult to make it to our office before 4:30,” said County Clerk-Recorder Joe Canciamilla. Services provided during the extended hours include the issuance of marriage licenses, copies of vital records such as birth and death certificates, copies of recorded documents, fictitious business name and other professional filings.

Marriage ceremonies will also be available by appointment and walk-ins accommodated if possible. Document costs are available on the Clerk-Recorder website at www.contracostacore.us.

The Extended Summer Hours program debuted in 2015 and proved to be even more popular in its second year.

By holding longer hours in the summer season, customers are able to take advantage of the extra daylight. 368 customers were assisted during extended hours last summer, a nearly 50 percent increase over 2015. Marriage services accounted for almost half of those transactions.

For more information or to make an appointment, call 925-335-7900 or visit www.contracostacore.us.

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County Supervisors begin recruitment for interim District Attorney

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

Board seeks input; goal to fill position in September

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors met Friday, June 23, 2017, to determine the process for filling the vacant office of the District Attorney.  When a vacancy occurs in an elective county office, the Board of Supervisors has the responsibility to appoint a successor to serve for the duration of the unexpired term.   The June 14, 2017 resignation of Mark Peterson from the position of District Attorney created a vacancy that would extend until the current term of office expires on January 7, 2019.  The next election for the District Attorney will take place in June of 2018, with a potential runoff election in November of 2018.

The Office of District Attorney is provided in the State Constitution.  The District Attorney represents the people of the County in prosecuting all public offenses in the Superior Courts, including all felonies, misdemeanors, juvenile criminal offenses, and certain civil offenses, including high-tech crimes, environmental crimes, and many instances of fraud.

Although the Board of Supervisors has discretion in how to fill the position, there are some minimum requirements for the job.   To qualify, a candidate must be at least 18 years old, a California citizen, a registered voter in Contra Costa County at the time of appointment, and admitted to practice law in the California Supreme Court.   The Board of Supervisors is seeking candidates with experience in criminal law, familiarity with criminal justice issues in California, and the ability to effectively manage a County department with an annual budget of $19.5 million and more than 200 employees.

All applicants must apply online at www.cccounty.us/hr and submit the information as indicated on the job announcement no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, July 21, 2017.  NOTE that a background investigation/fingerprint exam will be conducted on all finalists, and a permanent job offer is additionally contingent upon the successful completion of a thorough background investigation, which will include a criminal records investigation and an economic disclosure (FPPC Form 700).

The legislature does not specify a deadline for making an appointment like this, but according to the California Attorney General, the appointment should be made within a “reasonable time.”   With applications due July 21, the Board of Supervisors will select finalists in early August.  The Board of Supervisors will host a moderated candidate forum at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 15, 2017.  Members of the public will be invited to submit questions for consideration that may be asked of the finalist candidates.   The Board will interview those candidates during a public meeting on Tuesday, September 12, with the goal of making a selection in September as well.

The June 23 meeting of the Board of Supervisors is available online in the video library found on the County’s homepage at www.ContraCosta.CA.gov.   It will also be replayed in its entirety on Sunday, June 25, at 6:00 p.m., Monday, June 26, at 5:00 p.m., and Thursday, June 29, at 6:00 p.m. on Contra Costa Television (CCTV.) CCTV can be viewed on Comcast Channel 27, Wave Channel 32, and AT&T U-Verse on Channel 99.

 

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Santa Clara County Deputy DA to challenge embattled Peterson for Contra Costa District Attorney

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Patrick Vanier

By Allen Payton

On Thursday, May 4th, Patrick Vanier, Supervising Deputy District Attorney for the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office Narcotics Prosecution Team, announced his campaign for Contra Costa County District Attorney. He was was joined by supporters at the Amador Rancho Community Center in San Ramon and will take on embattled incumbent D.A. Mark Peterson.

Vanier has been a prosecutor for almost 20 years and has prosecuted hundreds of criminals; both in the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office and now in the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

“Today, prosecutors are not just trial attorneys,” said Vanier.  “They are investigators, problem solvers, innovators, and community partners in combating crime.  I have proven to be a prosecutor with fresh ideas and a willingness to institute best practices to bring the criminal justice system into the 21st Century.” 

Earlier this year, Vanier was awarded the 2017 San Jose Police Department’s Excellence in Prosecution Award and in 2015 he was named California Narcotics Officers’ Association State Prosecutor of the Year.  Vanier is an experienced prosecutor whose area of expertise is wiretap investigations, especially in major narcotic and gang crime investigations. 

Peterson has been under fire, including pressure to resign from both Contra Costa Deputy District Attorneys and more recently the Contra Costa Grand Jury, following his $45,000 fine, last year for the illegal, personal use of campaign funds totaling over $66,000 between 2011 and 2015.

“I am running for District Attorney because I believe we should expect more and deserve better from our elected District Attorney,” said Vanier.  “My priorities are to enforce and prosecute laws fairly to ensure offenders who threaten public safety are locked up, utilize the latest technologies, data analytics, and community prosecution models to address rising crime rates through crime prevention and enforcement, and hold myself and the attorney’s in the office to the highest ethical standards.”

According to Vanier’s bio on his campaign website at http://patrickvanier.ngpvanhost.com, “Patrick has spent more than half of his career working with law enforcement agencies investigating and prosecuting major narcotics cases with a particular emphasis on Mexican National drug cartels operating within California.  Patrick’s area of expertise is in the area of wiretap investigations.  He has utilized his expertise by collaborating with federal, state and local law enforcement on more than 100 wiretap applications targeting major drug traffickers, street gangs and murders.

Patrick has trained law enforcement and attorneys for the California District Attorneys’ Association, California Narcotics Officers’ Association, Northern California High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and various law enforcement agencies within Santa Clara County. Patrick has taught on the subjects of wiretap investigations, legal updates in search and seizure law, California Electronic Communications Privacy Act and most recently Proposition 64 (Adult Use of Marijuana Act).

Working a variety of jobs during the day, Patrick completed law school at night and was awarded his Juris Doctorate in 1998 by John F. Kennedy University School of Law.  He received a B.S. in Business and Accounting from San Francisco State University in 1995 and a B.A. in Political Science from University of California, Irvine in 1991.

Patrick and his wife, Anaite, live in San Ramon with their three daughters where he has coached soccer for more than a decade.”

The election is in June, 2018.

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Love is in the air at County Clerk’s office

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

Appointments now available for couples to get married on Valentine’s Day

wedding ringThe Contra Costa Clerk-Recorder Division is taking appointments for couples who wish to exchange wedding vows on Valentine’s Day.  Because of the popularity of this day, the division is also extending ceremony hours and accommodating additional appointments.

There are 47 appointment times available from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

“Valentine’s Day is the most popular day at our office for marriage ceremonies,” said Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder Joseph E. Canciamilla. “Additional appointments give more couples the opportunity to get married on what many consider is the most romantic day of the year.”

Interested couples are encouraged to make an appointment online at www.contracostacore.us  using our new appointment system.  Walk-in couples are welcome and will be accommodated based on availability of ceremony rooms.

One of the two wedding rooms at the Contra Costa County Clerk's office.

One of the two wedding rooms at the Contra Costa County Clerk’s office.

A civil marriage ceremony is $60.  Couples can obtain a public marriage license for $86 or a confidential license for $90.  To save time, marriage license applications are available for completion online at  www.contracostacore.us prior to visiting the office and may also be purchased before the ceremony date.

The Contra Costa Clerk-Recorder Division features two beautifully appointed ceremony rooms adorned with handcrafted stained glass windows.  The largest ceremony room accommodates up to 24 guests. The smaller ceremony room seats 17 guests. Learn more at www.ccclerkrec.us/clerk/marriage/wedding-ceremonies/.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Gutierrez, Clerk-Recorder Services Manager at (925) 335-7920.

 

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Coalition upset County Supervisors eliminated Community Choice Energy option

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Following is the letter submitted by a coalition of supporters of the Community Choice Energy program:

The CCE Draft Technical Study and the Need for Fuller Consideration of All Studied Options

Dear Members of the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors:

We, the undersigned, represent organizations that have been following the progress made by the cities and County of Contra Costa as they decide how to implement Community Choice Energy. We do not share a preference for any one of the three options outlined in the Draft Technical Study, but we do share the following concerns about the adequacy of that study and the public process that has unfolded in its aftermath.

1) We are highly critical of the current Draft Technical Study prepared by MRW, as well as the very cursory presentations made by the county and the consultants. Neither the study nor the presentations include enough necessary information or the specificity of detail required in order for the cities and the County to make fully informed decisions with lifelong consequences. To cite one such example, when addressing the very basic question of risks associated with the startup costs, the study actually neglects to mention that to date, all CCEs in California have paid back their loans in less than a year.

2) We are, moreover, extremely troubled by the premature decision of the Board of Supervisors on January 17, 2017, to eliminate the stand-alone Community Choice Energy option, which the draft study identified (in Table ES-5) as offering the “greatest” amount of local governance and local economic benefit. The decision to exclude the in-county (stand-alone) option unnecessarily limits the choices offered to residents and businesses in unincorporated areas of the County, and preempts input from leaders, residents, and businesses in the incorporated cities before they have had the opportunity to question and comment on the study. Seven cities contributed to the study’s cost and are entitled to one that fully addresses the impacts to their respective cities—e.g., what amount of buildout is reasonably possible in the Concord Naval Weapons Depot over a ten-year period, and what its economic impact would be. We therefore urge you to reconsider your decision to remove the in-county option from consideration.

3) We would like to know why neither the Contra Costa study nor the presentations have answered this fairly simple question: Why did the study for Alameda County done by the same MRW Consulting firm give a much more robust analysis of the economic benefits of local buildout?

4) We would also like to know why, if the technical studies of six other Bay Area counties (Sonoma, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, and Yolo) show the stand-alone option to be superior, this would not also be the case in Contra Costa.

5) Unfortunately, the Draft Feasibility Study does not enable the reader to determine which option, in the choice between MCE and EBCE, might result in the greater buildout and job development within Contra Costa. In fact, the study does not indicate that any such buildout or job development will occur by joining either MCE or EBCE. We strongly encourage the county to communicate with both MCE and EBCE about these issues.

Attached is a letter from Scott Rafferty addressing in much more detail some additional concerns about missing or misrepresented facts in the current Contra Costa Draft Technical Study, including the paucity of current information about MCE. This is not an attempt to indicate that MCE is a bad choice, but rather to point out that relevant information about MCE that is available to the public is not included in the draft study. We understand that information about both a stand-alone option and EBCE is necessarily limited because neither yet exists.

Here are some of the points that Scott Rafferty makes:

a) He agrees with MCE’s criticisms that the analyst provides “scant analysis of MCE’s operational program,” and “no analysis” of MCE’s local renewable program, customer-sited solar, job creation, and other benefits. But despite some impressive claims about past performance, MCE doesn’t really provide much insight into its forward-looking plan. He suggests that MCE may bring more legacy costs than synergies to our county.

b) MCE wants credit for $4.6m in subsidies from the CPUC for energy development (that have already been fully committed to programs in Richmond or outside CCC). An independent CC-CCE program would probably be better positioned to seek equivalent subsidies from CPUC than MCE would be in getting them increased proportionally, which MCE does not suggest is likely.

c) He argues that the Supervisors have relied too heavily on the consultant’s analysis of the more obvious “first order” effects of piggybacking on MCE—less “effort” and greater risk on “start-up costs,” which the consultant concedes are small. The risk to which the BOS is averse, therefore, might be political. If things go awry, they can share responsibility with the existing local bodies.

d) He also rejects MCE’s notion that El Cerrito and Richmond have an identity of interests with the rest of CCC or that there will be brand confusion. On the contrary, they share the climate and rate structure of Marin and Oakland, which is very different from the rest of Contra Costa County and Alameda east of the I-680.

e) Neither MCE nor, at this stage, our BOS has clear direction on how to weigh competing objectives—low electric rates, GHG mitigation, progressive rate design (including low-income and residential preferences), job creation and economic benefits, worker and public safety and service reliability. MCE is self-regulating and subject to very significant shifts in voting power.

f) The jury is still out on MCE’s effectiveness in dealing with regulators. It settled very quickly with PG&E in a pending rate case, with limited concessions for clean energy or consumer rate relief. At the state level, two voices will likely have more clout than one—a statement MCE itself has made.

g) As the Governor’s attempts at CAISO regionalization have made clear, larger geographic scale does not always increase the GHG benefits. Neither MCE nor the consultants have yet developed a measure of environmental benefit that accurately accommodates displacement to PG&E and other utilities.

For all the above reasons, we strongly urge the Board of Supervisors to reconsider what we believe was a premature narrowing of the choices. We request that more complete information be shared in future presentations, especially as regards the potential for local buildout and the economic benefits of each of the three proposed CCE choices, and that the final technical study include far more concrete information which the cities will need to make a truly informed choice.

Very sincerely yours,
Peter Ericson
Contra Costa Clean Energy Alliance
Lynda Deschambault
Generation Green / Contra Costa County Climate Leaders (4CL)
Peter Dragovich
Contra Costa Progressives
Bill Pinkham
350 Bay Area
Shoshana Wechsler
Sunflower Alliance
Péllo Walker
Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce Green Group
Carol Weed
Contra Costa Chapter Organizing for Action
Jan Warren
Interfaith Climate Action Network of Contra Costa County

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