Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Rep. DeSaulnier to host two “Conversation on Race” Town Halls with Special Guests Rep’s. Bass and Lee

Friday, April 12th, 2019

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) will host a pair of town halls to engage in a “Conversation on Race” on Tuesday, April 23rd and Saturday, April 27th. These town halls are the latest in a series of discussions on race hosted by Congressman DeSaulnier and are intended to facilitate more understanding, healing, and progress to help us move forward as a nation.

“A Conversation on Race” Town Halls
Tuesday, April 23rd

Special Guest: Congresswoman Karen Bass (CA-37), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and first African American woman Speaker of the California Assembly

6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Diablo Valley College Cafeteria

321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523


Saturday, April 27th

Hosted With: Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13)

12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Black Repertory Group Theater

3201 Adeline Street, Berkeley, CA 94703


These events are open to the public, press, and photographers.

Please RSVP at or by calling 925-933-2660. To request ADA accommodations or for more information, please contact Congressman DeSaulnier’s Walnut Creek or Richmond office.

Congressman DeSaulnier launched his first town hall of this series on February 3, 2018 and information on it can be found here.

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County Supervisor Diane Burgis schedules surgery to repair heart valve

Friday, February 22nd, 2019

Supervisor Diane Burgis. Herald file photo.

In an open letter to District 3 residents, Supervisor Diane Burgis, who has served the district since 2016, issued the following statement regarding her health.

“When I count the things I am grateful for, representing you is right up there with my family, friends and good health. I am humbled and honored for the trust that you have placed in me, and I take the responsibility that comes with that trust very seriously.

That is why I want you to know that I am having heart surgery on February 25 to replace an aortic valve due to aortic stenosis, or a narrowing of my aortic valve. What some don’t know is that when I was seven years old, I had this same procedure, and my surgeons told me then that I would likely need another surgery later in life. The good news is that due to my overall health, the operation is happening much later than they predicted.

My doctors, who have performed hundreds of these procedures, assure me that my prognosis is excellent and that I will be better than new after the surgery. I will be in the hospital for approximately one week and then at home for recovery.

In the meantime, I promise that you will receive the same high level of service, sound decision-making, and representation as always. My staff and the County staff will keep me updated on the issues, and my office will continue the vital work that we are doing, in consultation with me, and under the leadership of my Chief of Staff, Mark Goodwin.

I also want to put everyone on notice – if you think it’s hard to keep up with me now, just wait!! I look forward to continuing our work together to create opportunities and find solutions to our challenges in Contra Costa County.

I also can’t wait to ride my bike on the Marsh Creek trail, hike up Mount Diablo, kayak on the Delta, chase my beautiful grandson, and get back on the tennis courts!

I am ready for more adventures in this terrific life!

Thank you for your support, and well wishes.”

Mark Goodwin, Burgis’ Chief of Staff will be the primary point of contact during Supervisor Burgis’ surgery and recovery. Well wishes may be sent to Supervisor Burgis at her main office, 3361 Walnut Boulevard, Suite 140, Brentwood, CA 94513.

Supervisor Diane Burgis represents District 3, the largest of the five Contra Costa County Board of Supervisor districts, which includes Antioch, Bethel Island, Brentwood, Byron, Discovery Bay, Knightsen, and Oakley in East Contra Costa County and Blackhawk, Diablo and Tassajara Valley in the southern portion of the district.


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Antioch Senior at UC Davis interning for California State Senator Glazer

Friday, February 8th, 2019

His only intern from Contra Costa County

Sasha Jordan. Photo courtesy of Mark Jordan.

University of California Davis senior, Sasha Jordan is interning for State Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) this spring.  Glazer, who represents the 7th Senate District including most of Contra Costa County and portions of Alameda County in the East Bay, currently has three interns but Jordan is the only intern from Contra Costa County.

Jordan is an Antioch resident and graduated from Deer Valley High School in 2015.  She began attending UC Davis that same fall.  While at Deer Valley she was active in the Performing Arts Academy. Jordan will graduate in June this year with a degree in Political Science and minor in Communications.

She had worked as a teen and young adult for the real estate company owned by her parents Mark and Cynthia Jordan, a local Certified Public Accountant and a local Attorney.  She also had worked for the University as a resident advisor during her sophomore year at the Tecero Dorms on campus.

Jordan is currently applying for fellowships at the State Capital in Sacramento and is looking forward to a career in government.

“I think it is a good thing to help other people and government is just one way to make a difference” she said.

Asked about what she’s doing for the Senator, currently, Jordan said, “Right now, I’m working at the front desk greeting visitors. I’ve done some research projects.”

Her internship will last until March 15, which is the end of the Winter Quarter.

After Jordan graduates, her “plan is to work at the Capitol.”

As for her long-term plans, she said, “If you ask my dad, it’s to be governor of California.”

On a more serious note, Jordan stated, “My hope is to make as much change and improvement in the lives of individuals in California.”

Asked about her Communications minor, she said, “Right now, I’m learning about media messages. I’ve taken some classes on political communication, which I think is important. Because if you want to make change, you need the public to know about the issues that are going on.”

Jordan will graduate at the end of the Spring Quarter in June.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Antioch Council hires first African American as City Attorney

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

Thomas Lloyd Smith. Photo from his LinkedIn page.

Harvard Law School graduate, San Leandro Assistant City Attorney

By Allen Payton

At their meeting on Tuesday, February 5, 2019, the Antioch City Council voted unanimously to hire Thomas Lloyd Smith as the new City Attorney. He will receive an annual salary of $195,000 plus benefits. He replaces Derek Cole who has served as Antioch’s Interim City Attorney for the past six years.

As an attorney in the law firm of Meyers Nave Riback Silver & Wilson, Smith serves as Assistant City Attorney for the City of San Leandro. He also assists in the provision of general counsel services to the City of El Cerrito, City of Larkspur, and Central Contra Costa Sanitary District.

“In the spirit…in the course of our community, we’ve come a long way,” Councilman Lamar Thorpe stated. “At one point, Antioch was a sundown town where African Americans were run out of town. I think it’s an important occasion during this Black History Month, by appointing our first African American City Attorney for the City of Antioch.”

With that he made a motion to appoint Smith.

“We went through an extensive process,” said Mayor Sean Wright. “Thomas is an exciting appointment.

Smith then spoke, introducing his wife, Danielle Smith.

“This is one of the happiest days of my life, second to the marriage to my wife,” he said. “When we first came to Antioch to find a home…I truly believe this slogan ‘opportunity lives here’…I would also say ‘diversity lives here.’”

“We’ve enjoyed the food here, we’ve really enjoyed the culture, the people,” Smith continued. “We can really anticipate what’s ahead. We’re really excited to be a part of it. We really know the vision you’ve set forward.”

“This is an honor,” he stated “I look forward to working with you all…and helping create the bright future that Antioch has.”

The council then voted 5-0 to hire Smith.

“If you were worried, tonight, you didn’t need to be,” Wright added with a smile.

According to the city staff report, “while working for Garcia Hernandez & Sawhney, Mr. Smith supported a city, a special district and several community college entities.

“His earlier legal experiences were with two Boston based law firms where he supported public policy issues and provided advisory services for non-profits, star-ups and venture capitalists. Mr. Smith has extensive experience in public law, contract law, conflicts of interest, workplace investigations, employee discipline and DFEH/EEOC matters.

“He has dealt with issues of the Political Reform Act, Ralph M. Brown Act (open meeting law) and the Public Records Act. Prior to completing law school, Mr. Smith worked for three years as an administrative manager for a global law firm where he oversaw four departments with responsibility for business planning and the profit and loss statement. Mr. Smith also founded and was executive director for a Boston based charter school geared towards grades 6-8.

He started his professional career as a business analyst for McKinsey & Company in New York.”

According to his profile page on the Meyers Nave website, Smith’s current practice areas are focused on Municipal and Special District Law, Labor and Employment, and Public Contracts. His “senior management experience includes managing four departments across all offices of a global corporate law firm with more than 500 attorneys.”

He earned his law degree from Harvard Law School, a Master’s degree in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and a Bachelor of Science in Education, graduating magna cum laude from Seton Hall University.

Smith is a member of the Oakland Police Commission, currently serving as its chairperson.

He will begin his new position on March 1, 2019.

To read Smith’s complete biography, click here: ThomasSmith-Bio


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Rep. DeSaulnier to host Emergency Town Hall on partial government shutdown Saturday, Jan. 19

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Event will provide local federal workers and residents with resources and information

Today, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D, CA-11) announced that he will host an emergency town hall on the partial federal government shutdown this Saturday, January 19th at 2:00 p.m. in Lafayette.

The shutdown has left 37,000 hardworking California families without a paycheck, increased wait times at airports and jeopardized air safety, closed our national parks, put tax returns at risk, and put millions of families at risk of losing or seeing reduced food assistance.

This emergency town hall will serve as an opportunity to provide residents and federal workers with the latest on the Trump Shutdown. Additionally, local organizations will be on hand to assist federal workers or those who may be impacted by the shutdown. This will be Congressman DeSaulnier’s 75th town hall and mobile district office hour since coming to Congress four years ago.

Lafayette Town Hall
Special Topic: Trump Shutdown

Saturday, January 19, 2019
2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Stanley Middle School
3455 School Street
Lafayette, CA 94549
Doors Open at 1:30 p.m.

Note: This town hall was previously scheduled for Wednesday, January 23rd, but was moved to accommodate a change in the House voting schedule caused by the shutdown.

This event is open to the public, press, and photographers. Please RSVP by visiting or calling (925) 933-2660. To request ADA accommodations, translation services, or for more information, contact Congressman DeSaulnier’s office in either Richmond or Walnut Creek.

DeSaulnier’s district includes portions of Antioch.

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DeSaulnier recognizes credit unions for offering interest-free loans to furloughed federal workers

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

Hopes other financial institutions will follow suit during government shutdown

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier

Washington, DC – Today, Thursday, January 10, 2019, on the eve of over 800,000 federal workers missing their regularly scheduled paychecks due to the government shutdown, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) sent a letter to the Consumer Bankers Association, the Credit Union National Association, and the Mortgage Bankers Association recognizing credit unions for offering interest-free loans to federal workers. The letter also highlights DeSaulnier’s hope that other financial institutions will follow suit.

“Several credit unions across the country have begun offering interest-free loans to impacted federal workers. I applaud these organizations for prioritizing customer well-being and am certain that this will be of great assistance to countless workers and families,” wrote DeSaulnier.

If the government shutdown continues into tomorrow, January 11th, over 800,000 federal workers will miss their scheduled paychecks, and the impact will be felt across the country. Eighty-five percent of the federal workforce resides outside of the District of Columbia. For instance, in California over 37,000 federal workers and their families will miss a paycheck.

“There are opportunities to prevent potentially catastrophic consequences for millions of Americans through cooperation and compassion. I will continue to work in Congress to re-open the government and ensure public employees and contractors are paid, and I appreciate those companies that are stepping up to help during this difficult time,” DeSaulnier continued.

Full text of the letters can be found here.

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Frazier reappointed as Chair of Assembly Transportation Committee

Saturday, December 29th, 2018

Also continues on Insurance and Veterans Affairs Committees

Sacramento, CA – Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D–Discovery Bay) made the following statement after Speaker Anthony Rendon (D – Paramount) reappointed him as Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee:

“I am honored that Speaker Rendon has given me the privilege to continue as Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee.  Serving as chair of this Committee has given me the opportunity to help lead California into a golden age of transportation infrastructure repair.”

“A strong economy depends on roads and highways that are safe and efficient and California is now a leader in the nation on finding transportation solutions that keep the residents of our cities, counties and state moving.  This historic infrastructure investment will put tens of thousands of Californians to work throughout the state.”

In addition to Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee, Assemblymember Frazier was also reappointed to the Committees on Insurance, and Veterans Affairs, and was newly appointed to the Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services.

Assemblymember Frazier represents the 11th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Antioch, Bethel Island, Birds Landing, Brentwood, Byron, Collinsville, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Isleton, Knightsen, Locke, Oakley, Pittsburg (partial), Rio Vista, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Walnut Grove.

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Supervisors promote solar energy development in rural areas, parking lots, freeway cloverleafs

Saturday, December 22nd, 2018

Forgive $5.8 million in library book late fees dating back to 1995; Honor Choice in Aging’s Debbie Toth who serves Antioch’s Bedford Center as Board Chair Recipient

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors flashed the green light for Contra Costa County Development and Conservation Department (DCD) officials to conduct additional studies on how solar power can be expanded, especially in the Far East environmentally sensitive Delta areas of Bethel Island and Jersey Island.

Supervisors also allowed county planners to study the feasibility of identifying underutilized parking lots countywide that could be used as solar farms in partnership with MCE, the main electricity provider for unincorporated Contra Costa County and the cities of Concord, Danville, Martinez, Oakley, Pinole, Pittsburg, and San Ramon.

Freeway cloverleafs are also on the DCD’s list of potential new sites for renewable energy.

“Fifty to eighty percent of the county could be used for renewable energy,” Jody London, a DCD official, told supervisors.  London said solar energy represents 85 percent of the renewable energy that could be developed on rural land.  The remaining 15 percent would be energy generated from wind power or biomass.

London said the county could also expand solar energy by issuing more permits to homeowners to install solar panels on roofs.

The house rooftop option drew the support of District 3 Supervisor Dianne Burgis of Brentwood, whose district also covers Bethel Island and Jersey Island.  “I’d be open to option one,” she said.  “We have so many rooftops in Contra Costa County.  I’d like to work with MCE.”

Board chair Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill cautioned DCD staff that she was uncertain the DCD recommendation concerning 450-acre Jersey Island as a potential solar power farm might run into opposition from the island’s owner, the Ironhouse Sanitary District.

London said she would look into that issue.

“We support development of solar energy on brownfield sites, parking lots and infill areas such as freeway cloverleafs,” Bill Chilson of the Mount Diablo Audubon Society wrote in a letter to the supervisors.  The environmental organization opposes wind and solar development in the Delta agricultural and wildlife areas, Chilson wrote.

Juan Pablo Galwan, Save Mt. Diablo Land Use Manager, criticized the plan, writing:

“Advances in solar technology may increase the frequency of collocation or allow an area of land to concurrently be farmed and produce solar energy without negatively impacting or perhaps even increasing crop productivity.  However, currently the most likely scenario is that solar development removes land from most or all ties of agricultural production for the duration of lease which may last several decades.  Therefore, the county renewable energy policies should not encourage solar development on viable agricultural land.”

A $47,000 grant from the California Strategic Growth Council developed the energy study for the County.

Supervisors Approve $362,505 State Grant for 2020 Census

The county is getting ready for the 2020 census and took its first step when supervisors unanimously accepted a $362,505 County-Option Outreach Agreement grant from the state.

The grant will aid the county in developing communications and outreach strategies that will target both geographic and demographic populations who are least likely to respond to the 2020 census.

Barbara Rivera of the Contra Costa County Administrators Office said the upcoming census will be the first one where Californians can respond by going online, but this raised cyber security issues from Julia Marks of the Asian Law Caucus.  “There is a lot fear over confidentiality,” said Marks.

Choice in Aging’s Debbie Toth Honored as Board Chair Recipient

Debbie Toth, the Chief Executive Officer of Choice in Aging, was honored by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors Chair Karen Mitchoff, as Board Chair Recipient for 2018.

Mitchoff, of Pleasant Hill, selected Toth, who was named CEO of Choice in Aging in 2012 that serves 600 senior citizens in residential facilities at the Bedford Center in Antioch and the Mt. Diablo Center in Pleasant Hill, for being an advocate for senior access to housing, health and transit.

Mitchoff, who was re-elected to the District 3 supervisorial seat in June, cited her personal experience with her mother as a key factor in nominating the CIA’s Chief Executive Officer for the award.

After Tuesday’s meeting, it is expected District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond will be elected as Chair of the Board   when supervisors reconvene at their next regular meeting slated for January 15, 2019.

Supervisors Forgive $5.8 Million in Library Book Late Fees Dating Back to 1995

A week after the Board of Supervisors made the historic move to eliminate the practice of collecting overdue book and material fees, they approved on a 5-0 vote to discharge about $5,800,100 from public library patron accounts.

The agenda consent item did not attract public comment.

The bookkeeping item covers uncollected fees dating back to 1995 to the present, County Librarian Melinda Cervantes wrote in a report to the Board.  “Of this amount, 73 percent is the value of materials, not cash outstanding.”  There is no financial impact on the county general fund.

Last week supervisors adopted the library commission’s recommendation to cease the collection of overdue book fines beginning Jan. 1, 2019 based on the recommendations in a policy titled Project Equitable Access with the goal of ensuring everyone has access to library materials.

To view the entire meeting agenda, click here.

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