Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Americans are poorly informed about basic constitutional provisions

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

Constitution Day is September 17 – Take the Preamble Challenge

PHILADELPHIA –– Many Americans are poorly informed about basic constitutional provisions, according to a new national survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

The annual Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey finds that:

  • More than half of Americans (53 percent) incorrectly think it is accurate to say that immigrants who are here illegally do not have any rights under the U.S. Constitution;
  • More than a third of those surveyed (37 percent) can’t name any of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment;
  • Only a quarter of Americans (26 percent) can name all three branches of government.

“Protecting the rights guaranteed by the Constitution presupposes that we know what they are.

The fact that many don’t is worrisome,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) of the University of Pennsylvania. “These results emphasize the need for high-quality civics education in the schools and for press reporting that underscores the existence of constitutional protections.”

Illegal immigration and constitutional rights

The APPC survey, conducted Aug. 9-13 among 1,013 adults in the United States, finds that 53 percent think that people who are here illegally do not have any rights under the Constitution. That incorrect belief is especially strong among self-identified political conservatives – 67 percent think it is accurate, compared with 48 percent of moderates and 46 percent of liberals.

In fact, immigrants who are in the United States illegally share some constitutional protections with U.S. citizens. More than a century ago, in Yick Wo v. Hopkins (1886), a case involving an undocumented Chinese immigrant, the Supreme Court ruled that non-citizens were entitled to due process rights under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. Other cases have expanded upon those rights. (For more on Yick Wo, see this video on Annenberg Classroom’s website.)

Most respondents, though not all, know that under the Constitution, U.S. citizens who are atheists or Muslim have the same rights as all other citizens. Seventy-nine percent of respondents know it is accurate to say that U.S. citizens who are atheists have the same rights as other citizens, and 76 percent know it is accurate to say that citizens who are Muslim have the same rights as other citizens.

What does the First Amendment say? 

Nearly half of those surveyed (48 percent) say that freedom of speech is a right guaranteed by the First Amendment. But, unprompted, 37 percent could not name any First Amendment rights. And far fewer people could name the other First Amendment rights: 15 percent of respondents say freedom of religion; 14 percent say freedom of the press; 10 percent say the right of assembly; and only 3 percent say the right to petition the government.

The First Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Contrary to the First Amendment, 39 percent of Americans support allowing Congress to stop the news media from reporting on any issue of national security without government approval. That was essentially unchanged from last year. But the survey, which followed a year of attacks on the news media, found less opposition to prior restraint (49 percent) than in 2016 (55 percent).

Many don’t know the branches of government 

Only 26 percent of respondents can name the three branches of government (executive, judicial, and legislative), the same as last year. People who identified themselves as conservatives were significantly more likely to name all three branches correctly than liberals and moderates. The 26 percent total was down significantly from APPC’s first survey on this question, in 2011, when 38 percent could name all three.

In the current survey, 33 percent could not name any of the three branches, the same as in 2011.

The phone survey, conducted for APPC by the research firm SSRS, has a margin of error of ±3.7 percent. For more on the methodology and questions click here.

Constitution Day and the Civics Renewal Network

APPC’s Annenberg Classroom, presented by the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics, has created a series of free, award-winning videos for educators and the public, including Yick Wo and the Equal Protection Clause, The Role of the Courts, and Freedom of the Press: New York Times v. United States.

Annenberg Classroom has joined with 30 other nonpartisan organizations to create the Civics Renewal Network, which offers free, high-quality educational materials online. Among CRN’s partners are the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the National Constitution Center, the U.S. Courts, the NEH’s EDSITEment Project and iCivics.

Constitution Day (Sept. 17) will be observed Monday, Sept. 18. To mark it, the U.S. Courts are holding naturalization ceremonies nationwide and educators will lead students in the “Preamble Challenge,” celebrating the Preamble to the Constitution.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center was established in 1994 to educate the public and policy makers about the media’s role in advancing public understanding of political, health and science issues at the local, state and federal levels. Find APPC on Facebook and Twitter: @APPCPenn. Follow the Civics Renewal Network: @CivicsRenewal.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Antioch files lawsuit challenging Delta tunnels project

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

On August 17, 2017, the City of Antioch filed an action against the California Department of Water Resources challenging the Final Environmental Impact Report for the proposed California WaterFix Project – e.g. the Delta Twin Tunnel Project. The City’s action alleges the Final Environmental Impact Report violates the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

In the action, the City describes some of the significant impacts from the Project to Antioch’s water supply and notes that such impacts remain unmitigated. Among the unmitigated project-related adverse impacts to Antioch are increased salinity levels at Antioch’s intake in the Delta.

The City’s Petition further describes how the WaterFix Project’s proposed operations remain largely undefined, making it difficult to determine the full extent of the impacts from the Project on the Delta. The City further contends that the WaterFix Project violates the dual goals of the Delta Reform Act of 2009 which required projects to reduce reliance on the Delta. Instead, the WaterFix Project, as presently proposed, will allow for the diversion of more water from the Delta including the diversion of much fresher Sacramento River water before it ever flows into the Delta.

Antioch as a city depends on the Delta for its quality of life, its drinking water supply, recreation and economic future. As one of the largest cities located entirely in the Delta, Antioch has been closely aligned with the protection of the Delta and its restoration. WaterFix is in conflict with both of these critical goals.

The City expects to work closely with other public agencies and environmental groups in opposing the Final Environment Impact Report for the WaterFix Project.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Rep. McNerney defends sanctuary cities against DOJ threats to withhold funds

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

(Washington, DC) – On Friday, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09), who represents portions of Antioch, sent a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ), responding to the agency’s threat to withhold federal dollars from the City of Stockton, and several other cities, if local law enforcement does not notify the Department of Homeland Security regarding the detainment of illegal aliens.

In response to DOJ’s initial letter, McNerney issued the following statement:

“The City of Stockton has made significant progress combatting crime, in large part due to its highly capable police department. The Stockton PD is nationally recognized for its innovative and effective approaches to reducing crime, and in order to ensure they can best serve their communities, Stockton police and other local law enforcement must be able to decide on the best strategy to combat crime without federal interference.

“The funds DOJ is threatening to withhold come from the Public Safety Partnership (PSP), which was created to help keep cities and communities safe and to improve relationships between community members and law enforcement. These grants are essential to our local law enforcement and withholding them would be counterproductive to the progress these regions have made.

“I sent a letter to the Department of Justice, underscoring the benefits of this program and its role in the agency’s mission. If the DOJ is truly committed to public safety through federal leadership, they will seek other opportunities to support their local law enforcement counterparts, rather than handicap them.”

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Congressman DeSaulnier to host Town Hall Meeting in Concord, Wednesday

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) will host a town hall meeting at Concord High School on Wednesday, August 9th at 6:30 p.m. Since assuming office in 2015, Mark has hosted 46 town halls and mobile district office hours throughout Contra Costa County.

Congressman DeSaulnier invites residents to attend the town hall to listen to a presentation and legislative update. During the town hall constituents will have an opportunity to ask questions, share their opinions on actions taken by the Administration, and discuss issues important to their communities.

Concord Town Hall 
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Concord High School, Multi-Purpose Room
4200 Concord Blvd.
Concord, CA 94521

Please RSVP online at www.desaulnier.house.gov/town-hall-rsvp or call 925-933-2660. For more information or to request ADA accommodations contact Congressman DeSaulnier’s office in Walnut Creek or Richmond.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

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.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Public meetings and input sought for Plan Bay Area 2040

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy Final Environmental Impact Report

The Final Environmental Impact Report (Final EIR) (SCH# 2016052041) for Plan Bay Area (PBA) 2040, the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP)/Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) (proposed Plan) for the San Francisco Bay Area is available for review as of July 10, 2017. Additional information and notice of public meetings is provided below.

The proposed Plan is a regional strategy for accommodating household and employment growth projected to occur in the Bay Area region through 2040, and a transportation strategy for the region based on expected revenues. The primary objective of the proposed Plan is to achieve mandated reductions of greenhouse (GHG) emissions and to provide adequate housing for the projected 2040 regional population level pursuant to The Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 (Senate Bill (SB) 375, Statutes of 2008). The proposed Plan sets forth a transportation and land use blueprint for how the Bay Area can address transportation mobility and accessibility needs, regional housing responsibilities, economic conditions and forecasts, environmental concerns, and GHG emissions reduction requirements through the year 2040.

The region includes nine counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma) totaling approximately 4.4 million acres (7,000 square miles). In 2015, the region had 4.01 million jobs, 2.76 million households, and 7.57 million people. The proposed Plan would accommodate projected growth for an additional 688,000 jobs, 666,000 households, and 2.06 million people by 2040 with a transportation investment strategy of $303 billion. MTC is required under State and Federal law to update the RTP/SCS every four years.

The Final EIR includes the Draft EIR, a copy of each comment on the Draft EIR received by MTC/ABAG during the public comment period, responses to comments on environmental issues raised in those comments, and corrections and clarifications to the Draft EIR.

The Final EIR is now available for public review online at the web link listed below or a free electronic copy may be obtained by contacting MTC at the contact information provided below.

http://2040.planbayarea.org/reports

MTC Public Information
375 Beale Street, Suite 800
San Francisco, CA, 94105
415.778.6757 office / 415.536.9800 fax
eircomments@mtc.ca.gov

The document will also be available for public review in at least one library in each of the nine member counties. A list of library locations is available at the website listed below:

http://www.planbayarea.org/2040-plan/access-plan

MTC/ABAG will be conducting two public meetings to consider certification of the Final EIR and adoption of the proposed Plan. All interested agencies, organizations, and individuals are welcome to participate in these public meetings for the Final EIR. Oral comments will be accepted during these meetings.

July 14, 2017       

Joint MTC Planning Committee with the ABAG Administrative Committee (9:30 a.m.) at the Bay Area Metro Center – Board Room, First Floor, 375 Beale Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. At this meeting, the decision-makers will make a recommendation to the MTC Commission/ABAG Executive Board regarding certification of the Final EIR and adoption of the proposed Plan.

July 26, 2017       

MTC Commission/ABAG Executive Board (7:00 p.m.) at the Bay Area Metro Center – Board Room, First Floor, 375 Beale Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. At this meeting, a final action will be taken regarding certification of the Final EIR and adoption of the proposed Plan.

The following statement is required to be included in this notice: Pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15087(c)(6), the nine county Bay Area region contains hazardous waste sites as enumerated under California Government Code Section 65962.5.

Do you need an interpreter or any other assistance in order to participate? Please call us at 415.778.6757. We require three days’ notice in order to provide reasonable accommodation.

為了便於參加,您需要口譯員或其他任何協助嗎?請致電415.778.6757聯絡我們。我們需要提前3天通知才能提供合理的輔助服務

¿Necesitas un intérprete o cualquier otra asistencia para participar? Comunícate al 415.778.6757. Necesitamos aviso con tres días de anticipación para proporcionar asistencia razonable.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

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.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

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.

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter