Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Election costs rise as Contra Costa Supervisors OK $3.6 billion 2020-2021 budget

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

Source: CoCoCo

Gioia makes his support conditional on reviewing county jail facilities for closure

Includes funding for the Sheriff’s Office to hire 24 deputies for mental health duties at  Martinez jail

By Daniel Borsuk

On the same day Contra Costa County taxpayers were pinched with a new $3.6 billion 2020-2021 fiscal year budget, supervisors also unanimously approved on Tuesday  a County Clerk-Recorder’s request to boost 2021 election ballot printing and mailing costs an additional $1.8 million to a new payment limit of $6 million.

“This is going to be the costliest election year that I have experienced in my 25 year -career,” Assistant Registrar of Voters Scott O. Konopasek said in reference to the upcoming Presidential election and how the county’s contract extension with K&H Printers-Lithographers, Inc. to print and mail ballots and election pamphlets will alarmingly rise again by $8 million for elections held in 2021.

Konopasek said Governor Gavin Newsom’s Emergency Order instructing California counties election officials to mail ballots to every registered voter for the November election means an additional 160,000 Contra Costa voters, or 25 percent of all registered voters, will receive ballots in the mail thereby driving up costs linked to printing and mailing.   That Emergency Order applies to any and all elections conducted in 2021.


While supervisors ignored the Registrar of Voters expense item, they unanimously approved the $3.6 billion 2020-2021 budget that garnered the support of all the supervisors, including Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond, who several weeks ago had said he would vote against the budget when it was ready for formal adoption.  He said he now supports the budget provided supervisors study the closure of the Marsh Creek detention facility, and to have a study conducted on the future of the Orin Allen Youth Rehabilitation Facility in Byron and Juvenile Hall in Martinez.

When Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill questioned Gioia why he switched his initial negative vote on the budget, Gioia responded, “I support the county budget as a whole that is over $3 billion and as long as these three issues – Marsh Creek, Orin Allen Youth Rehabilitation Facility and Juvenile Hall are studied and come back to the supervisors for consideration.”

County Administrator David Twa said supervisors can expect Covid-19 related costs to continue to increase over the next 12 to 24 months.  The county spent $131 million overall in Covid-19 connected expenses because it operates a hospital, health services for the homeless, provides Covid-19 testing and numerous other public health services.

Twa said operating costs will increase $28.4 million because of the newly opened County Administration Building and the Emergency Operations Center/Public Safety Building, both located in Martinez.

Supervisors provided funding for the Sheriff’s Office request to hire 24 deputies for the Martinez jail to handle mental health duties, a budget item that met public criticism especially in the summer aftermath of the George Floyd murder case.

Because of rising expenses, the county has placed on the November ballot a half-cent sales tax measure, Proposition X, that county officials counts on to generate new revenues, some $81 million a year for 20 years to fund hospitals, health centers, childhood services, and other community services.

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Contra Costa Hazardous Materials Commission seeks applicants 

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

WHAT: The Contra Costa County Hazardous Materials Commission seeks applicants for four open seats.

The commission is a voluntary body appointed by the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors that makes policy recommendations to the board and county staff regarding hazardous materials and hazardous waste.

WHO: The commission’s 14 members and alternates serve four-year terms and include representatives of industry, labor, civic groups, environmental organizations, environmental engineers, the public and the Contra Costa Mayors Conference.

The current openings are for a representative from an environmental organization and one alternate, and the Environmental Justice seat, for a member of a county community disproportionately impacted by hazardous materials releases, and one alternate.

All candidates must live or work in Contra Costa County, have a demonstrated interest in hazardous materials issues and an understanding and commitment to the principles of environmental justice as defined in county policy. Candidates must be able to commit to one to two meetings per month, or to fill in as needed for alternates.

Candidates for the Environmental seat must be nominated by an environmental organization.

WHEN: Mail completed applications to the Clerk of the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, 651 Pine St., First Floor, Martinez, CA 94553. Applications must be received by September 30.

Interviews for qualified applicants will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on October 9, by Zoom or telephone.

HOW: For an application form or more information, contact Michael Kent, the executive assistant to the commission at 925-250-3227. Applications are also available online or from the Clerk of the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, 651 Pine Street, First Floor, in Martinez.


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Antioch Council approves $435,000 small business relief package

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

$15,000 for outdoor dining in downtown Rivertown; $15,000 for Chamber of Commerce to administer

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, the Antioch City Council approved allocating $300,000 in CARES Act funds allocation of $300,000 in CARES Act funding and reprogramming of $120,000 in the Economic Development Department budget towards COVID-19 small business relief including $15,000 for the Antioch Chamber of Commerce for the purpose of administering the small business grant program.

Economic Development Director Kwame Reed provided the staff presentation.

The Business License Tax Relief will be allocated as a reduction or as a rebate (after the full cost of the renewal has been paid) of $100 on the renewal of existing Antioch businesses.

To be eligible for the relief the business must meet the qualifications below:

  • Have a current/active business license as of March 17, 2020
  • Have paid or will have paid for a renewal prior to March 16, 2021
  • Have no more than 50 employees
  • Do not have a national-brand affiliation

This is a one-time relief and only eligible to one owner per business.

Small Business Grants will be funded by the City’s CARES Act allocation. The CARES Act states that payments from the Fund may be used to cover costs associated with the provisions of grants to small businesses to reimburse the costs of business interruption caused by required closures. Businesses will be able to apply for $5,000 grants. This amount will allow 60 grants to be provided to support eligible Antioch small businesses.

To be eligible, business must:

  • Have a physical location in the Antioch city limits
  • Hold a current Antioch business license for one (1) year prior to January 1, 2020
  • No more than 25 employees
  • Demonstrate they were unable to operate due to the Shelter Orders or sales were down more than 25% from the previous quarter or the same quarter last year Priority will be given to retail, personal service businesses, restaurants, and businesses that have not received federal assistance (PPP, EIDL, etc.).

No public comments were received.

Mayor Sean Wright recused himself, since he’s both a small business owner and the COO of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce. Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts then acted in his place in overseeing discussion of the item.

Councilman Lamar Thorpe said, “I’m excited about this, and particular that the Chamber plays a role. My only question is oversight. Where does that rest? I appreciate the Chamber. But they do have some ideologues, out there. So, I want to make sure the oversight is the city and not those who have a political agenda.”

“The economic program manager and I will have oversight of the funding,” Reed said. “The funding will come from the City not the Chamber.”

“I am happy to hear this will be for all businesses that fit the criteria not just Chamber members,” Wilson said. She then asked if members of the Economic Development Commission will be involved.

The EDC was the commission to develop the program and made a presentation on what they labeled the “COVID-19 Recovery, Retention, and Thriving Plan” to the City Council on August 11, 2020.

Reed responded that he will check with the EDC Chairman to decide. “But we don’t want to slow down the process.”

Wilson then asked about the timeline.

“Ultimately it will be two weeks once the information has been established and created,” Reed said. “We are pushing for the applications to be due early October.”

Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock thanked, “Kwame and the commission for doing this.”

She asked about those businesses, such as hair salons and barber shops, that aren’t open, “can they still apply and hold on to those funds?”

“Yes,” Reed replied.

Motts said she was concerned that all businesses receive the information. “Did you say a one-week application period?”

“Yes,” Reed responded.

“I’m going to request council will consider an amendment…and that is for an establishment for outdoor dining for downtown,” Motts then asked. “It’s $15,000 from the CARES Act in emergency funds that I’m asking for…for barricades. We have a private investor investing millions of dollars in downtown…we have some significant wins. It would be great if the city could support their efforts.”

Thorpe then asked about outdoor dining in downtown. “It seems to me they’ll have to block off some parking. I don’t think that will cost $15,000 to the city.”

“I’ve checked with the city manager and it does require the purchase of barricades,” Motts said. “It might require the closing of one of the streets. But, for the streets that are open, we have to make sure there are barricades.

Ogorchock then asked, “that’s going to be coming up on the agenda (under Item 11), can we be discussing this, now Attorney Smith?”

“I was thinking whether this fit within the scope of the discussion, but I hadn’t come to a conclusion,” City Attorney Thomas Smith said.

“This should come under the Waterfront Committee later in the agenda,” Ogorchock said.

“That’s just about dissolving the Waterfront Committee,” Thorpe stated. “I’m not sure if this fits within the scope of this discussion.”

“To the extent that this creates barriers to accommodate outdoor dining it would be legitimate for the discussion of the CARES Act,” said City Manager Ron Bernal.

“Given that, it can fall within that scope…the talk about the expense of $15,000,” Smith said.

“It’s not my desire to take away but to add,” Motts shared.

“To spend $15,000 to block off some parking spaces…but if it does, it does,” said Thorpe.

“I just wanted to add that as City Manager Bernal mentioned, if a business wants to apply for a grant for putting out barriers for outdoor dining they can,” Reed explained. “At this time, I don’t believe there has been any additional funding allocated for this particular venture.”

“This came out of a committee, out of our Waterfront Committee,” Motts explained. “We’re already half-way through August and this won’t happen until October. There will come a time when outdoor dining won’t be feasible. I think this request is pretty reasonable.”

Thorp then asked Bernal, “assuming a restaurant in downtown came to the city and asked to set aside parking spaces in front of their business, you have a right to do that, right?”

“Yes,” Bernal responded. “The cost Mayor Pro Tem Motts came up with is to put out water filled barrels in case cars might run into them. The cost of putting out barriers of about 120 feet in length is about $10,000. I put in another $5,000 for putting them out, as a conservative estimate.”

“I didn’t think we were going to go purchase barriers,” Thorpe stated.

“I’m personally fine with Joy’s recommendation,” he added.

“I’m fine with the idea of outdoor dining,” Wilson said. “With the recommendations that the Economic Development Commission brought forward that it doesn’t take away from that. I’m concerned if we carve away it will impact their recommendations.”

“If the $15,000 is in addition to not part of this funding from the CARES Act, I’m unclear about that,” said Attorney Smith.

“So, the increase in funding from $300,000 to $315,000 does exist in the CARES Act,” Bernal said. “Director Reed brought back a budget $60,000 more than what he had originally.” So, the council can add the $15,000 to the budget.

“My recommendation would be to increase it to $315,000,” Motts said.

“Is it something that we’re going to have to come back and look at,,,which restaurants are going to get it, or will it be out of the $5,000 grant?” Ogorchock asked.

“I believe this would be a separate thing,” Motts said.

Thorpe then said, “the resolution is for $315,000, we’re not taking it from anywhere else. With that I will make a motion.”

“I’m not done with my question,” Ogorchock said.

“You can’t continue once a motion is made,” Thorpe said.

“It doesn’t matter,” Ogorchock responded.

“Yes, it does matter,” said Thorpe.

“The city would actually go out and purchase the barricades,” Reed said. “It would be coming through the CARES Act that the city could utilize.”

“Thank you,” Ogorchock responded.

“I will read the motion,” Thorpe then said. He then moved approval of allocating $315,000 for the business relief program.

Ogorchock seconded the motion and it passed on a 4-0 vote.

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Antioch Council changes homeless coordinator position from consultant to city employee

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

Position still not filled 11 months after creating it.

By Allen Payton

From the Antioch Homeless Encampment Task Force Facebook page.

After approving a resolution 11 months ago to allocate up to $120,000 to hire an Unhoused Resident Coordinator as a consultant, during their meeting Tuesday night, Aug. 25, 2020, the Antioch City Council approved changing the position to a part-time city employee, instead. The change allows City Manager Ron Bernal to hire someone to fill the position, rather than send out another request for proposal (RFP).

The city had put out an RFP last fall, but only received one response, which was from Focus Strategies. The council awarded them the contract on January 28, 2020 in the amount of $73,500.

But the organization’s president, Megan Kurteff-Schatz, said they don’t do the hands-on work that the city was looking for in a coordinator.

“They won’t be able to do everything in the RFP. But they’re very capable,” said Nickie Mastay, City Finance Director, during the January 28th meeting.

So, one of the tasks assigned to Focus Strategies by the City Council was to work with staff on the Unhoused Resident Coordinator class specification. The salary range and part-time annual cost of the position was reduced by $20,000 to $100,000 maximum, but at the same rate of $50-$60 per hour. The coordinator will be under the general direction of the City Manager or the City Manager’s designee.

Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts said, “as homelessness continues to be a problem in our community…I just think, I want to make a comment, how important this is to have a person on staff, even part time…helping people to transitional housing.”

Councilman Lamar Thorpe then made the motion to approve the motion.

Far too much of our city manager’s time has been spent…this position will have someone specifically focused on this…I think this is well worth the investment,” Mayor Sean Wright said.

The motion passed on a 5-0 vote.

Asked if he had someone in mind for the position or if it will be advertised, and if so when he hoped to have the person on staff, Bernal responded, “This will be advertised and go through the normal hiring process. I don’t have a time frame at this time but want to move on this as quickly as HR can facilitate.”

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Antioch welcomes Rosanna Bayon Moore as New Assistant City Manager

Tuesday, August 25th, 2020

With over 9 years of service as a City Manager, Moore is known as a seasoned and highly regarded professional who gets things done for the community. 

Rosanna Bayon Moore. Photo courtesy of City of Antioch.

By Rolando Bonilla, Public Information Officer, City of Antioch

Antioch City Manager Ron Bernal announced today that Rosanna Bayon Moore will be joining Antioch in late September to serve as Assistant City Manager.  Bayon Moore is the first Assistant City Manager the City has hired since Ron Bernal took over as City Manager in 2017.  Bayon Moore will serve as an integral part of the City team and provide critical support and leadership for City Council priority projects. She will start her new position on September 28.

“I am thrilled to have Rosanna join our team.  She will provide essential leadership and support to the City in moving community projects and the City Council’s priorities across the finish line.  She is a seasoned local government professional and will be a great addition to our leadership team and the community,” said Bernal.  “Her proven track record as a City Manager in getting things done and delivering on challenging projects with limited resources makes her a great match for the City of Antioch.”

Bayon Moore has served as City Manager for the City of Brawley in Imperial County for the past nine years.  During this time, she led the City through significant financial challenges. Bayon Moore expanded quality housing and enhanced the community infrastructure with the addition of a new Fire Station, a new Emergency Operation Center, numerous facility and transportation improvements, and a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant.  Before joining the City of Brawley, Bayon Moore focused on community development efforts in both the public and private sectors including work in New York, San Francisco and Oakland. According to her LinkedIn profile, she served as Regional Affairs Officer for the Southern California Association of Governments, Vice President for Planning and Operations for an engineering firm, and Senior Planner and Chief Operating Officer for a commercial and residential investment, construction and development company.

She describes herself as, “High performance, collaborative management style. Experienced in diverse environments in which planning, engineering and public administration intersect. Well versed in policy analysis, financial management, public affairs, intergovernmental relations, community engagement. Excellent written and verbal capabilities.”

“The City’s community values of integrity, diversity, respect and accountability are a great attraction,” Bayon Moore said.  “It is also clear that quality of life for all residents is front and center as the City works to responsibly cultivate a climate where businesses thrive.  I am honored to join the team and become part of the community of Antioch with my family.”

Bayon Moore is excited about the move to Antioch and will be joined by her husband Dean Syrengelas, a resource teacher, and her younger son Demetrios “Jimmy” who will be a high school sophomore.  Her older son Vasilios is a college freshman at Marshall University in West Virginia, where he will be playing soccer in addition to his studies.

Bayon Moore holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English from the U.C. Berkeley, a Master of Public Administration degree from Columbia University and is an alum of the Northern California Coro Fellows Program.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Contra Costa Supervisors seek applicants for two seats on Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council

Friday, August 7th, 2020

Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton (center) with the Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council. Photo by CCC.

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors is seeking applicants who may be interested in serving on its 19-member Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council (JJCC).

The JJCC is a multi-agency advisory body charged with creating and maintaining the County’s comprehensive Juvenile Probation Consolidated Annual Plan and coordinating county-based juvenile delinquency prevention initiatives. The state-mandated Juvenile Probation Consolidated Annual Plan is designed to improve services for Contra Costa County’s juvenile justice population by assessing existing practices and resources, identifying system needs and gaps, and prioritizing and recommending solutions.

The Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council is composed of the following 19 members:

Nine (9) ex-officio voting members:
1. Chief Probation Officer, as Chair
2. District Attorney’s Office representative
3. Public Defender’s Office representative
4. Sheriff’s Office representative
5. Board of Supervisors’ representative
6. Employment and Human Services Department representative
7. Alcohol and Other Drugs Division representative
8. Behavioral Health Division representative
9. Public Health Division representative

Ten (10) additional voting members selected and appointed by the Board of Supervisors:
10. City Police Department representative
11. County Office of Education representative
12–15. Four (4) At-Large Members, residing or working within Contra Costa County;
16–17. Two (2) Community-Based Organization representatives;
18–19. Two (2) At-Large Youth, age 14 to 21 years old, residing or working in Contra Costa County

The Board is now seeking applications for two (2) of the seats identified above:

–Two (2) Community-Based Organization representatives

This recruitment effort is for mid-term appointments to JJCC seats #16 and #17. The Board of Supervisors is looking to appoint individuals to these seats to complete the remainder of their two-year term that is set to expire on June 30, 2021.

The JJCC is expected to meet on a regular basis, at intervals to be established by the JJCC. Members will serve without compensation, stipends, or reimbursement of expenses. The community-based organization representatives should reflect the geographic, ethnic, and racial diversity of the County and should include those providing restorative justice, faith-based, or mentoring services, to justice-involved, homeless, or foster-care involved youth.

Applicants will be interviewed by the Board of Supervisors’ Public Protection Committee: Supervisors Candace Andersen, District II, and Federal Glover, District V. The nominations for the Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council will then be forwarded to the full Board of Supervisors for action.

Below is a timeline of the recruitment process for the two vacancies:

  • September 18, 2020: Final Day of the Application Period, due by 5:00 p.m.
  • September 28, 2020: Public Protection Committee Meeting Interviews
  • October 6, 2020: Board of Supervisors’ Consideration of Nominees

Application forms can be obtained from the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors by calling (925) 335-1900 or by visiting the County’s webpage at Completed applications should be emailed to Applications can also be mailed to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, Room 106, County Administration Building, 651 Pine Street, Martinez, CA 94553.


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DA Becton supports closing Contra Costa Juvenile Hall, establishes Reimagine Youth Justice Task Force

Friday, August 7th, 2020

Supervisors Glover, Gioia support her efforts

By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Office of the District Attorney, Contra Costa County 

Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton. From CCC website.

On Tuesday, Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton issued the following statement regarding the status of Contra Costa County’s Juvenile Hall and the Orin Allen Youth Rehabilitation Facility.

“These are historic times and we have an opportunity and a responsibility to re-imagine our justice system so that our youth have a greater chance to lead successful and enriching lives.

I am forming a Reimagine Youth Justice Task Force, which will include county departmental and community representatives, that will study and make recommendations on the most effective ways to invest in our justice involved youth through restorative, community-based solutions, with an initial focus on developing an effective process for closing Juvenile Hall.

Youth crime has been on a steady decline over the last twenty years, reinforcing the conclusion that moving away from youth incarceration is in the best interest of rehabilitation, public safety, and fiscal responsibility. Research has shown that youth can be better treated and rehabilitated in community contexts where they can retain ties to family, school, and their community. Programming and services which are based in the home or in the community are more successful at holding youth accountable and positively changing behavior than institutional settings.

Despite the steep decline in youth crime and consequent reduction in numbers of incarcerated youth, the money invested into the operation of youth prisons has not been reduced accordingly. Data shows that the average cost per incarcerated child in Contra Costa Juvenile Hall skyrocketing to over $473,000 per year.

The Reimagine Youth Justice Task Force will make explicit recommendations for financial investments in community-based services for youth instead of investing in youth prisons which have proven to result in worse outcomes for our children and families. Such an approach will allow for critical re-investments in basic needs such as housing, mental health services, and workforce development as well as support the creation of alternatives to incarcerating children in locked facilities.

In the meantime, we should pause and not take any actions to close the Orin Allen Youth Rehabilitation Facility until the Task Force has made its recommendations to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

This transition is urgent. The Task Force should finish its efforts by the end of this year and make evidence-based recommendations for the process to close Juvenile Hall to the Board of Supervisors in January 2021. The Task Force will present a proposed timeline and transition process for closing Juvenile Hall and will identify alternative investments for our public dollars into community-based services and programming for youth. Implementing these recommendations will create a safer community and help youth get on the right track in their lives.”

“I support District Attorney Becton’s efforts to reimagine youth justice in our County,” said District 1 Supervisor John Gioia. “We need to move away from institutionalization of young people and instead invest in community based restorative justice solutions which make us safer and are more fiscally responsible.”

“I applaud District Attorney Diana Becton’s effort to examine restorative justice alternatives to simply incarcerating our county’s youth,” District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover said. “The factors that lead young people to run afoul of the law are as varied as the youth themselves. In many cases a service-oriented approach will achieve much more in rehabilitating and helping them to become productive members of our community.”


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Census 2020 Caravan to make stop at Antioch Water Park Sunday, August 9

Friday, August 7th, 2020

Will offer music, videos and giveaways

The Census 2020 Caravan will make stops in Antioch and Pittsburg this Sunday to help residents complete the census questionnaire to be counted and will offer music, videos and giveaways.

The decennial census determines how many Members of Congress in the U.S. House of Representatives each state is allocated, which will occur during reapportionment next year, and determines the redrawing of all other elected office district lines, as well. In addition, the population figures from the Census determines the allocation of government funds for various programs. All of them are affected for the following 10 years.

If you’re unable to attend one of the events you can complete the survey online at U.S. Census Bureau.

Date: Sunday, August 9th, 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Meet at: 11 a.m. at Antioch Water Park, 4701 Lone Tree Way, Antioch

12 p.m. at Pittsburg Century Plaza Shopping Center, 4405 Somersville Road & Highway 4, Pittsburg

Officials available on site: Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, Contra Costa County Supervisors Diane Burgis and Federal D. Glover, Pittsburg Mayor Jelani Killings, Pittsburg City Council Members Holland Barrett White and Shanelle Scales-Preston, Antioch Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts, Antioch City Council Member Lori Ogorchock, Antioch School Board Trustee Mary Rocha

Activities: Festively decorated cars, driving through hard-to-count communities to promote a complete count. The CA Census 2020 mobile truck will be on hand with music, videos and giveaways.

More information: Matthew Lardner,   Mona Zarrinkelk, Velma Wilson

Sponsors and partners: Contra Costa County Complete Count Committee, City of Pittsburg, City of Antioch, Kaanur Mehr, EAH Housing


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