Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Contra Costa County issues $97.42 million in tax-exempt bonds to fund new county facilities

Friday, February 26th, 2021

For redevelopment of former administration building site, build fire stations and fund new airport terminal; savings of $7.3 million also generated from refunding existing bonds

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

Thursday morning, Feb. 25, 2021, Contra Costa County sold $97,420,000 of lease revenue bonds with Barclay’s Capital Inc. serving as underwriter. Proceeds from the bond sale will fund infrastructure projects including redevelopment of the former County Administration Center complex in Martinez, a portion of a new Aircraft Terminal at the Buchanan Field Airport in Concord and construction of two fire stations in Pacheco and Bay Point.

In addition, the County refunded $48.4 million of outstanding bonds resulting in significant savings to the County.

The bonds funding the new construction projects have a true interest cost of 2.27% with a term of 20 years. The refunding bonds have a true interest cost of 1.80% and shortens the term of the previous bonds by two years, from 19 years to 17 years. The refunding bonds resulted in a net present value savings to the County of $7.3 million.

“The results from today’s bond sale are proof of the County’s reputation of strong financial management within the municipal market,” said Chair of the Board of Supervisors Diane Burgis. “This allows the County to secure financing for important public infrastructure projects at very attractive rates to better serve our residents.”

According to the California State Treasurer, lease revenue bonds (LRBs) are a type of revenue bond. Lease revenue bonds usually finance the construction of facilities, including government office buildings, correction facilities, courthouses, and fire facilities. However, unlike revenue bonds that use money generated by the project (a bridge toll) to repay investors, lease revenue bonds have a lessee (government agency) that pays rent to use the facility. The rent payments are used to pay back investors who purchased the bonds used to finance the construction of the facility. LRBs are secured by lease payments made by the party leasing the facility (school or office building) that was funded by the bond issue.

“Historically low interest rates and the County’s strong credit profile have allowed us to advance critical projects and refund existing debt for cost savings,” stated County Administrator Monica Nino.

Contra Costa County has been rated “AAA” by Standard and Poor’s since 2012 and, most recently, was upgraded by Moody’s Investor Service to “Aa1” from “Aa2” on February 16, 2021. Both credit rating agencies have attributed their high ratings for Contra Costa County to strong financial management, with policies and practices well-embedded in County operations. They have also pointed to a strong local economy with a large, diverse tax base.

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Rep. McNerney to host “Conversation on COVID-19 and Health Disparities in the Black Community” with Dr. Bennet Omalu, Friday

Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

Rep. Jerry McNerney (official photo) and Dr. Bennnet Omalu (from Wikipedia).

Famous football brain injury neuropathologist featured in Will Smith movie “Concussion”

As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout moves forward, it is important that we continue to reach out to our diverse communities and make sure everyone has the information and access to protect themselves and their families. Congressman Jerry McNerney (D, CA-09) will hold a conversation on Friday, February 26th from 4:00-5:00 PM to discuss COVID-19 and health disparities in the Black community and how we as a community at large can engage and support one another in the fight against this pandemic. The Congressman will be joined by special guests Dr. Bennet Omalu, Dr. Kim Rhoads, Dr. Otashe Golden, and Stockton Branch NAACP President Bobby Bivens.

Dr. Omalu is the forensic pathologist and neuropathologist who was first to discover and publish findings on brain damage caused by repeat head injuries in American football players, labeled chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). He was later appointed chief medical examiner for San Joaquin County, CA, and is a professor at U.C. Davis, department of medical pathology and laboratory medicine. Omalu was the subject of the 2015 movie Concussion, in which actor Will Smith played the role of the doctor.

To join online: 

Passcode: 875675

To join by phone:

(669) 900-6833 

Webinar ID: 881 7693 7313

Passcode: 875675

Participants can join via phone or by using the webinar link above. If you would like to submit a question in advance of the event or share your story, please submit it here.


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Rep. DeSaulnier to host Zoom Town Hall on “Solving America’s Gun Problem”

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

Source: Rep. DeSaulnier’s Facebook page.

No representatives of pro-Second Amendment or guns rights organizations included in discussion

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D, CA-11) will host a virtual town hall meeting on the state of gun violence prevention in America and Contra Costa on Thursday, February 25 at 3:00 p.m. The event will be held live on Zoom and on Congressman DeSaulnier’s Facebook page (

DeSaulnier will be joined by a panel of special guests, including Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton; Michelle Sinnott with Diablo Valley Moms Demand Action (; Amanda Wilcox of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence; Dr. Garen J. Wintemute with UC Davis Violence Prevention Program; and Sam Vaughn with the Office of Neighborhood Safety in Richmond.

However, when asked if any representatives from pro-Second Amendment and guns rights organizations will be included, DeSaulnier’s aid, Betsy Arnold Marr responded, “This event is focused on data-driven gun violence prevention efforts and we invited groups in Contra Costa working on this issue as well as the DA and an independent researcher from UC Davis. We hope this event will foster a good discussion and look forward to our constituents bringing their perspectives to the Q&A section.”

This will be DeSaulnier’s 125th town hall and mobile district office hour since coming to Congress. Contra Costa residents will have an opportunity to submit questions before the event and live during the town hall.

Solving America’s Gun Problem Virtual Town Hall
Thursday, February 25
3:00-4:30 p.m.

This event is open to the public and press. To RSVP, submit a question, or request special accommodations, visit or call (925) 933-2660.


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Reps. DeSaulnier, Lee to host a virtual Conversation on Race town hall with Special Guest Rep. Cleaver Friday

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

Representatives DeSaulnier, Lee and Cleaver. Official photos.

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D, CA-11) will host a virtual Conversation on Race town hall to discuss racial justice in America on Friday, February 19th at 4:00 p.m. with Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D, CA-13) and special guest Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D, MO-05). Internationally recognized expert on civil rights and author, John Powell will also participate in the event. The town hall will be held live on Zoom and will also be viewable through Congressman DeSaulnier’s Facebook page.

The event is the latest in the Conversation on Race series created by DeSaulnier and Lee in order to facilitate more understanding, healing, and progress to help us move forward as a nation. Congressman Cleaver is the former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and the first African American Mayor of Kansas City.

This will be DeSaulnier’s 124th town hall and mobile district office hour since coming to Congress. Contra Costa residents will have an opportunity to submit questions before the event and live during the town hall.

Conversation on Race Zoom Town Hall

Friday, February 19, 2021
4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT

To RSVP, submit a question, or request special accommodations, visit or call (925) 933-2660.

This event is open to the public and press.


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Supervisors query Contra Costa health officials queried on low vaccine locations in West County

Thursday, January 21st, 2021

Members of the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors and new County Administrator Monica Nino (top center) during their meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. Video screenshot.

Celebrate MLK day, honor Humanitarians of the Year, appoint 11 to Racial Justice Oversight Body including Antioch Council Member Torres-Walker, increase vehicle license fees

By Daniel Borsuk

During the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, under the questioning of District 1 Supervisor John Gioia, Contra Costa County Public Health Director Anna Roth was asked why West County has the fewest vaccine locations, five, while other districts in the county have more sites where citizens can get vaccinated.

Gioia brought up the issue on why there are far fewer vaccination sites in the Richmond and El Cerrito area that has the highest COVID-19 incidence rates in the county because of its high percentage of Black and Latino residents. He noted that there were 10 vaccination sites in East County, 10 sites in the South County (San Ramon Valley) and seven locations in Central County.

Roth said she would report back to the Board on why West County had fewest vaccination sites, but District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville said many of the vaccination locations in her district are drug stores or grocery stores.

Gioia brought up the disparity of vaccination locations in West County after Roth had reported that the County had given about 52,000 vaccine shots since Dec. 15.  She noted persons over 65 are now eligible to receive the vaccine and the vaccine is being distributed through Kaiser, Sutter and at Safeway stories.  The vaccine is being distributed at 960 doses a day.

“The vaccine is giving us hope” said Contra Costa Public Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano.  “Almost one third of the deaths in Contra Costa County were COVID-19 related.”

Velma Wilson, Kimyatta Newby Honored at MLK Ceremony

During the county’s 43rd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration, the Board Chair Diane Burgis presented a spectacularly produced video (see 2:34:00 mark) featuring Antioch activist Velma Wilson as the Humanitarian of the Year and Howard University student Kimyatta Newby as Student Humanitarian of the Year. (See related article)

Appoint 11 to Racial Justice Oversight Body

Supervisors approved, without discussion, the appointments of 11 residents to the Racial Justice Oversight Body, a multi-agency advisory body established by the Board of Supervisors in 2018 to oversee the implementation of the recommendations made by the Racial Justice Task Force to reduce disparities in the criminal and juvenile justice systems.  The 11 new members will serve their appointment throuogh December   31, 2023.

Richmond Police Chief Bisa French will serve as the Local Law Enforcement representative.  LaShanta Smith of the West Contra Costa Unified School District will serve as the school district representative.  Also appointed are Tamisha Torres-Walker, an Antioch Council Member; Jeff Landau, a County public defender; Michael Pierson, an Antioch lawyer; Chala Bonner, a political education organizer; Stephanie Medley, an attorney; Ronell Ellis, an entertainment company owner; Cheryl Sudduth, a Goodwill Industries director; Apollo Sulse, a pastor of The Bay Church; and Noe Gudino, a coordinator at Ryse Youth Center.

Vehicle License Fee Hike OK’d

Without hearing any citizen objection, supervisors unanimously approved increasing an annual vehicle license fee of $1.00 for all motor vehicles registered in Contra Costa County and an additional $2.00 for commercial vehicles to provide additional funding for the county’s CAL-ID program.  Used by the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies in the county, the CAL-ID system provides funding for the Automated Fingerprint Identification System for persons who may be involved in driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, vehicular manslaughter, or any combination of those and other vehicle-related crimes.

The fee increase will help cover a projected deficit of $1.1 million starting August 1, 2021.

Bay Point Fire Station Construction Contract Approved

Serving as the Contra Costa Fire Protection District Board of Directors, supervisors unanimously approved a $9,579,000 contract with C. Overaa & Co. to construct a new Fire Station 86 in Bay Point at 10 Goble Dr. even though the second lowest bidder for the project, D.L. Falk Construction Inc., with a bid of $9,714,000 had submitted an objection that was rejected by county officials.

No public objections were lodged about the contract during the Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday.

“Overaa’s bid is responsive and that County Public Works Department staff has thoroughly reviewed the bid and determined that Overaa has documented an adequate good faith effort to comply with the requirements of the County’s Outreach Program, as provided in the Project specifications.  Staff recommends that the construction contract for the Project be awarded to Overaa Construction Inc., the lowest, responsible bidder, in the nearly $9,579,000, as listed in Overaa’s bid,” said the Public Works Department statement.

A third bid of $10,088,000 had been submitted by Alten Construction, Inc. of Richmond.

The new Fire Station 86 will replace the asbestos-plagued, 60-year-old fire station that is so outdated and “is too small to accommodate the needs of the modern fire service,” Contra Costa Fire Protection District Chief Lewis Broschard III wrote in a recommendation to the supervisors. “The layout consists of unconnected buildings used for various purposes. This station itself is believed to contain asbestos …This project has had several starts and stops over the decades.  This fire station will serve Bay Point and the adjacent City of Pittsburg.  The Pittsburg area south of Highway 4 has seen significant growth in recent years.  This growth is anticipated to continue.”

Retiring EBRPD Director Doyle Recognized

Supervisors also recognized Robert Doyle for his 25 years of service at the East Bay Regional Park District, the past 10 years where he served as General Manager of the park district.  Among his numerous achievements at EBRPD, Doyle was instrumental in managing the parks during the current COVID-19 crisis in which park use increased dramatically.


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Antioch School Board to hold special “Governance Workshop” meeting Jan. 20

Monday, January 18th, 2021

By Allen Payton

The Antioch School Board will hold a special Work Study Session, labeled a “Governance Workshop” next Wednesday, Jan. 20.

The board members will have a discussion and obtain information on the following topics:

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Board of Education and Board Members
  • Board’s work: vision/direction, superintendent, accountability, policy, and advocacy/community voice
  • Process for setting direction
  • Accountability calendar
  • Process for studying and setting policy
  • Community Voice – being accessible; building confidence in process

Working Together/Communication Protocols

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and can be viewed on the district’s YouTube Channel.

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Rep. McNerney explains his vote to impeach President Trump

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

Official photos.

Stockton, CA (Jan. 13, 2021) – In response to Wednesday’s vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach President Trump on claims of inciting a violent and deadly insurrection that took place at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, Congressman Jerry McNerney (D, CA-09) issued the following statement:

“Today, I voted to impeach President Trump for the second time to protect our nation and our democracy against a would-be tyrant. This is a moment that will define our nation for generations to come. One year ago, the House took up articles of impeachment against President Trump for abuse of power. The Republican-controlled Senate refused to seriously consider these charges and voted against impeaching the President. As a result, there were no repercussions for the President’s actions, which only served to further embolden him. He is a threat to our democracy, and yet Republicans in Congress have repeatedly excused and ignored his dangerous behavior and rhetoric.

“President Trump began his presidency speaking of American carnage, and as he ends his time in the White House, he has led his followers to lay siege at the seat of our government, directly inciting and provoking that carnage. In order to preserve our democracy, there must be consequences for sedition, and the rule of law must be upheld.”

McNerney represents a portion of Antioch in the U.S. House of Representatives.


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Householder challenged over alleged open meeting law violation for only allowing 3 of 200+ public comments to be read

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

Former school board president also threatens complaint with Fair Political Practices Commission

The following public comment was submitted to the Antioch School Board for the meeting on Jan. 13, 2021 and shared with the Herald:

Public Comment – Item # 2, Closed Session, #A. Superintendent Evaluation

This public comment also serves as a notice that unless the president of the board corrects the Brown Act Violation that occurred at the December 21, 2020 meeting regarding the same item, I will be filing a Fair Political Practices Complaint. I encourage anyone who did not have their comment read or are as outraged as I am that this has occurred, the complaint form is online at

Only three of over 200+ submitted comments regarding the superintendent evaluation were read and nearly 2,000 comments were not acknowledged. The situation was summarized in a Weekly Update (available on line at and I hope that the president follows advice of the attorney and the urging of the employees to “cure and correct” the Brown Act Violation.

Friday Weekly Update, January 8, 2021,

It appears that a Brown Act violation occurred that must be corrected. While the Board can limit public comment from time-to time, it is problematic to limit public comment as drastically as occurred at the December 21, 2020 meeting. Additionally, according to legal counsel, limiting public comment prior to closed session is especially problematic as the public’s only way to meaningfully participate in a closed session item is to make public comment unlike an open session item wherein the public can meaningfully participate via public comment and observing the Board’s deliberation. In an attempt to cure and correct the violation, all comments will be read at the next Board Meeting, January 13, 2021. AEA, AMA, CSBA Petition At the request of Trustee Hack, attached is a copy of the signatures from the online petition posted by AEA, AMA, and CSBA regarding the evaluation of the Superintendent

This was the first meeting with a new president, let’s hope she acknowledges and corrects this basic understanding of how the Brown Act applies and how important it is to listen to constituents. I also hope that union leaders, staff members and community pay attention to the actions of the new board president.

Diane Gibson-Gray



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