Archive for the ‘Library’ Category

Contra Costa County offices closed Monday, Jan. 16 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Saturday, January 14th, 2023

(Martinez, CA) – Contra Costa County offices will be closed on Monday, Jan. 16, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Emergency services and law enforcement will remain available. Visit to find information about County services.

Las oficinas del condado de Contra Costa estarán cerradas el lunes 16 de Enero en conmemoración del Día de Martin Luther King Jr. Los servicios de emergencia y las fuerzas del orden seguirán disponibles. Visite para encontrar información sobre los servicios del condado.



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Contra Costa to remain in Orange Tier until June 15, won’t follow CDC’s new mask guidelines

Thursday, May 20th, 2021

Graphic by State of California from Gov. Newsom’s Wear a Mask campaign.

Following state’s guidelines instead; Antioch library reopening delayed until June 8

By Daniel Borsuk

Seventy percent of Contra Costa residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but  Contra Costa Health Services Director Anna Roth says that vaccination rate is still insufficient to convince state health officials to change the county current Orange Tier health restrictions to less stringent Blue health restrictions until at least June 15.

“We are accepting the state’s instructions to keep masking guidelines in place,” Roth said at Tuesday’s board of supervisors’ meeting.

Even though COVID-19 vaccines are being administered to children as young as 12 to 15, requirements remain in effect for persons to wear masks while indoor businesses, Roth said.

But CCHS Ambulatory Care Director Dr. Gabriela Diaz Sullivan presented a study’s gloomy findings about how COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the state’s health care delivery system.

“Since the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020, 48,000 more Californians have died,” said Dr. Sullivan, “Heart attacks was the number one cause of death followed by cancer as number two and COVID-19 as number three.”

“Thirty-three percent of Californians had an urgent care need, unrelated to COVID-19, wanted to see a physician, but did not see a physician,” Dr. Sullivan emphasize.  She said mammograms, colorectal cancer screenings, diagnostic colonoscopies, and blood pressure procedures were all down.

In summation, the COVID-19 pandemic has eroded the state’s health care system with Californians foregoing medical care when needed in preference to staying home.

On another related matter, Contra Costa Public Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano denied Supervisor Candace Andersen’s statement that she has learned 3,500 people have died from taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

“There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine has caused deaths,” Dr. Farnitano said.

Supervisors Approve Keller Canyon Permit

Over the objections of the City of Pittsburg’s Environmental Affairs Manager Laura Wright, who was the only opponent, supervisors unanimously approved a three-year land use permit for Republic Services to continue to operate the Keller Canyon Landfill on Bailey Road.

The supervisors’ action does require the county Department of Conservation and Development to conduct a one-year permit review of the landfill to determine if new or modified conditions should be considered.

Wright objected to the three-year permit renewal because the county did not adequately address the visual impacts by the inadequate number of trees that have been planted to block the view of the landfill and the inadequate measures undertaken to eradicate the dumping of litter outside the landfill.

Initially launching operations in 1995, the landfill has served as either an environmental irritant to residents living nearby the landfill or as a valuable source of money for numerous Pittsburg and Bay Point nonprofit organizations that Supervisor Federal Glover oversees the distributes thousands of dollars from Republic Services’ mitigation fund.

Two years ago, the landfill was the site of public concern when reports surfaced that radioactive waste from the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco had been transported and deposited at the Contra Costa County landfill.  A landfill radiation study last year revealed no evidence that any radioactive material had been deposited at Keller Canyon Landfill.

Antioch Library Reopening Delayed Until June 8

Citing the need for additional time to install shelving and update computers at the Antioch Library, supervisors approved County Librarian Alison McKee’s request to extend the reopening of the library to Tuesday, June 8.

In late April, supervisors had approved a request to close the library on June Tuesday, June 1 for interior paint and the installation of new carpeting and shelving, but due to additional time needed to install shelving and update computers the reopening has been delayed by a week.

Tougher Fireworks Ordinance Proposed

Supervisors are expected to consider at the June 8 meeting a proposed ordinance toughening the law banning the possession, manufacture, sale, use and discharge of fireworks.

“The proposed ordinance would amend Chapter 44-2 (i.e., vegetation fires, structure and exterior fires, personal injury or death, and noise or other public nuisances) and authorize the Sheriff to arrest and cite a responsible party, as defined in the ordinance, for violations for Chapter 44-1.  The proposed ordinance establishes that a responsible party is required to maintain, manage, and supervise the property or vessel for which they are responsible to prevent violations of Chapter 44-2. A responsible party is liable and violates the probation on fireworks under Chapter44-2 if any person possesses, manufactures, sells, offers to sell, uses, or discharges, any fireworks at the property, or on the vessel, for which the responsible party is responsible, regardless of whether the responsible party is present when the violation occurs.

“The proposed ordinance defines a responsible party as any of the following:

  1. A person that owns, rents, leases, or otherwise has possession of, or is in immediate control of, aa residence or other private property or a vessel.
  2. A person that organizes, supervises, sponsors, conducts, allows, controls, or controls access to, the possession, manufacture, sale, offer for sale, use, or discharge of fireworks at a residence or other private property or on a vessel.

If a residence or other private property is rented or leased for a period of more than 30 consecutive days, the landlord or lessor is not a responsible party unless the landlord or lessor: has possession of, or is in immediate control of, the residence or other private property; or has knowledge of the possession, manufacture, sale, offer for sale, use, or discharge of fireworks at the residence or other private property.

The owner of a residence that is rented for a period of 30 consecutive days or less (a short-term rental) is a responsible party and is liable for violations of Chapter 44-2 if the short-term renter, or any other person, possesses, manufactures, sells, uses, or discharges, any fireworks at the residence, regardless of whether the owner of the short-term rental is present when the violation occurs.”

The proposed tougher fireworks ordinance already has won the support from the Discovery Bay Community District which released a letter from district board president stating:

“The revisions, in essence, would hold persons in control or possession of private property responsible for fireworks violations occurring on their property,” wrote board president Byron Gutow. “The discharge of fireworks is a common problem in the district, especially during celebrations of Independence Day and New Year’s.  In many cases, the fireworks are professional grade and pose a significant risk of danger to persons and properties. We support efforts to dissuade the use of illegal fireworks.”

Promote Chief Assistant to County Counsel

Chief Assistant County Counsel Mary Ann McNett Mason was promoted to County Counsel by supervisors to fill the position that became vacant when Contra Costa County Counsel Sharon Anderson died on April 30.

Ms. Mason will earn $463,000 a year of which $105,000 is pension costs.  All the costs are budgeted in the county’s General Fund within the County Counsel’s Office operating budget.

Mason, a graduate of the University of California Hastings College of Law, started to work for the county counsel’s office in 1987 as a deputy county counsel.  In 2010 she was appointed assistant county counsel and in 2016 was promoted to chief assistant county counsel.

While serving the role of chief assistant county counsel, Mason assumed the duties of the County Counsel in her absence, supervised the attorneys in the General Government Group, and assisted in management of the County Counsel’s Office. In addition to those duties, Mason has served as the county’s retirement and employee benefit counsel, is the office specialist on open meeting and conflict of interest laws and serves as General Counsel to Delta Diablo.

Mason previously served as the counsel to the Contra Costa County Board of Education and County Superintendent of Schools, the Contra Costa Superior Court, the Grand Jury, and the Assessment Appeals Board and other clients.

“I am so happy to have this opportunity to represent the board of supervisors and the county at an important time in our history and to carry on Sharon Anderson’s legacy,” Mason told the Contra Costa Herald.  “I have some big shoes to fill.”

Load Limits Imposed on Delta-Mendota Canal Bridge

In an unusual action, supervisors approved the Contra Costa County Department of Public Works request to post 23 ton per vehicle (i.e., Type 3 Truck) load limit signs for the deteriorating Delta-Mendota Canal Bridge on Lindemann Road over the Delta-Mendota Canal because of “on-going deterioration found in multiple timber columns of the bridge.”

Supervisors did not receive any public comment pro or con on the proposal for the bridge’s load limit. “This order shall remain in effect for 90 days, or until Caltrans issues a Director’s Order establishing a permanent load restriction on the bridge, whichever occurs first,” the supervisors’ resolution states.

Alamo Architect Appointed Acting Planning Commissioner

District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville received board consent action approval on her request to appoint Alamo architect Sanjiv Bhandari to fill on an acting basis the planning commission post vacated by Rand Swenson’s resignation on April 28.

“Supervisor Andersen has been advertising the District II Commission seat since April 15, 2021 in preparation for filling the vacancy scheduled to arise at the end of Mr. Swenson’s current term on June 30, 2021.  Mr. Bhandari applied and met with Supervisor Andersen. Supervisor Andersen feels his knowledge an experience will be a positive addition to the commission,” the board agenda item report states.


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Contra Costa Library to host Women in Animation: A Conversation With Pixar Thursday

Monday, April 12th, 2021

April 15, 2021  3:30 PM – 4:30 PM  Online event

Join the Contra Costa County Library for a very special panel discussion with Pixar Animation Studios. Have you ever dreamed of working in animation or technology? Listen in as we discuss the highlights and challenges of being a woman in the business and get tips and advice from experts in their fields.

About the panelists: Jessica Tran is a Project Manager in the Tools Engineering department at Pixar. Emily Davis is a Feature Film Department Manager at Pixar. Becky Neiman Cobb is an Associate Producer at Pixar who has recently worked on the short film Bao and the feature film Onward.

Register with your email here. You will receive information on how to access the Zoom event on the day before the program. Closed captioning will be provided for this program.

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Deputy County Librarian, Alison McKee appointed new Contra Costa Librarian  

Thursday, February 4th, 2021

Alison McKee. Photo: CCC Library

By Brooke Converse, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa County Library

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors has appointed Alison McKee as the next County Librarian. Ms. McKee has been with the Contra Costa County Library since 2002 and was appointed as interim county librarian in October. She previously served as deputy county librarian and has held positions including library assistant, librarian and senior community library manager in her tenure.

“It is exciting to join my colleagues in unanimously appointing Alison McKee as our next County Librarian,” said Diane Burgis, chair of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. “As an integral member of our library team, Alison will hit the ground running. She knows our library system and is able to continue to focus her and her team’s efforts on reopening our beloved libraries.”

As county librarian, Ms. McKee will oversee the library budget as well as many big projects including an upgrade of the Library’s IT security system and moving the library to a state sponsored broadband network that will increase internet speed at the libraries ten-fold. As deputy, she tackled some difficult and important projects including, project managing the launch of the new website, helping to launch the Library’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, opening the new Brentwood Library, and the project to build the new Pleasant Hill Library.

Ms. McKee looks to build upon the Contra Costa County Library’s reputation by working to implement many new modern library services and initiatives, promote library resources, and coordinate with city and town partners to improve and upgrade library facilities.

“I am honored to serve this county and its many diverse communities,” McKee said. “I know the public misses coming into our libraries and I pledge to continue to work hard to navigate the Library through these challenging times so that we can welcome our library patrons back inside as soon as possible.”

Ms. McKee holds a master’s degree in library and information science from San Jose State University and a bachelor’s in music performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

The County contracted with Teri Black & Company, LLC to conduct the nationwide recruitment. Invitations and recruitment brochures were sent via traditional and electronic mail to 300-400 potential candidates and the recruitment garnered 29 applications. Four semi-finalists were forwarded to the County Selection Committee. After a series of interviews Ms. McKee was chosen for the position and unanimously appointed by the Board of Supervisors.

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Supervisors hear protests over proposed $2.8 million Sheriff’s Office increase, layoff librarians, reduce library hours

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020

OK spending $10,000 on sales tax poll

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors got an earful of complaints on Tuesday from citizens upset over a proposal to award Sheriff David O. Livingston’s department a $2.8 million pay raise up and a department request to buy a $275,000 LDV Custom Specialty Vehicle at a time library hours are being slashed and librarians are getting pink slips.

At the last minute, a proposal to layoff up 16 Department of Child Support Services workers was scuttled from the agenda when county officials learned that the Governor’s Office has proposed state funding that could keep the child support services positions on the payroll. County officials were unaware of the new state funding source before Tuesday’s meeting and details were not provided at Tuesday’s meeting.

In the Black Lives Matter era, supervisors listened via teleconference how speakers objected to the county’s proposal to give Sheriff Livingston, who has been the target of numerous complaints from citizens about how his deputies abuse the rights of male and female prisoners of color, should not receive a $2.8 million increase for fiscal year 2020/2021 when many other county services like libraries are taking funding cuts.

County Administrator David Twa said because of the uncertainty of the state’s fiscal situation due to COVID-19, the supervisors will not get around to passing a 2020-2021 budget until August, not June.

Speakers also opposed Sheriff Livingston’s request to use a $275,000 2017-2018 State Homeland Security Grant Program to buy a 2019 or 2020 Ford F550 Logistics Support Vehicle.

“Now is not the time to increase the Sheriff’s budget,” protested Harry Baker of Pleasant Hill, who had demonstrated a day earlier in front of Sheriff Livingston’s Danville home. Speaking to supervisors’ telephone, Baker said. “Keep the libraries open. Police brutality is on the rise. Don’t increase the sheriff’s budget.”

“You should not increase the sheriff’s budget when you’re making cuts in the library and child support services,” complained Francisco Torrez of Pittsburg. “Libraries are part of our democratic process. Hospitals are needed in West county   Talk about militarization. We don’t have any faith in our Sheriff.”

“I oppose increasing the Sheriff’s budget,” protested Rachel Cohen of Danville. “He has proven to be a racist. Juvenile Hall should be closed. Fund social programs, public housing, libraries. Look at Minneapolis, San Francisco, Portland, Oregon, at what police should look like.”

Several speakers like Raymond Hutchins called on supervisors Diane Burgis of Brentwood, Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill and Federal Glover of Pittsburg for accepting collectively $22,500 in campaign funds from the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Association.

None of the three supervisors addressed the charge about accepting sheriff’s association campaign funds, especially Glover who faces a runoff election this November against county assessor Gus Kramer.

Neither the sheriff nor a spokesman was available to comment about the protestor’s statements at Tuesday’s meeting.

Concerning the sheriff’s request for a $275,000 LDV Custom Specialty Vehicle, speakers questioned why the Sheriff’s Office needs an armored vehicle for search and rescue purposes and other speakers thought the vehicle will be improperly used by deputies to patrol peaceful BLM demonstrations.

“This truck will used to respond to wildfires,” said Supervisor Mitchoff. “This is an armored vehicle. Its main use is for support.”

Supervisors unanimously approved the state grant for the sheriff to buy the CSV.

Libraries Reduce Hours, Cut Staff

County librarian Melinda Cervantes relayed the bad news to supervisors that because of the dwindling revenues, several cities have to cutback operating hours to the county’s mandatory 35 hours per week schedule. As a result of the reduced operating hours, the library is laying off 32 librarians, mostly library assistant -journey level employees.

The Brentwood library will cut hours per week from 56 to 35, Clayton from 56 to 35 hours, Concord from 52 to 48 hours, Danville from 60 to 56 hours, El Cerrito from 50 to 46 hours, Hercules from 43 to 39 hours, Lafayette from 58 to 54 hours, Moraga from 39 hours to 35 hours, Orinda from 60 per week to 56, San Pablo will reduce hours from 47 to 35, and San Ramon from 58 hours to 54 hours.

County Administrator Twa said the librarians will be offered positions elsewhere in the county, most likely clerical positions.

Supervisors voted 5-0 in approving the reduction in library operations and staffing.

Agree to Spend $10,000 on Sales Tax Poll

In the county’s quest to draw additional funds to support public services, the supervisors agreed on a 4-1 vote to spend $10,000 for a polling firm to test prospective voters whether a tax increase could muster voter approval this November.

Board chair Candace Andersen of Danville cast the lone dissenting vote on the proposal suggested by District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond. Some $21,000 has already been raised to conduct a poll from labor unions and other organizations.

Certain features of the 75-word poll would test the public’s opinion about the pandemic, willingness to pay more in taxes in the areas of hospitals, sheriff services, abuse, senior services, mental health, youth services, and criticism in the community.

Hair Salons, Barber Shops Allowed to Open

Supervisors were informed from Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Warren that the county is taking another step toward alignment with the state’s guidance on opening businesses and activities, while recommending that residents stay home as much as possible and take steps to protect themselves and each other when leaving the house.

Dr. Warren told supervisors the county’s health order now allows hair salons and barber shops to reopen for business beginning Wednesday morning. They must follow state health guidance to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

The new order also increases the number of swimmers who may share a pool to 1 person per 75 square feet, as allowed by the state. The social distancing order also allows as many as 100 persons to attend a funeral or other religious service at an indoor place of worship, in line with the state health guidance.

Planning Review to Begin on Walnut Creek Area Senior Development

The Contra Costa County Conservation & Development Department got the green light to begin general plan amendment study of Spieker Senior Development Partner’s congregate care/senior housing development (CCSHD) in unincorporated Walnut Creek, at the end of Seven Hills Ranch Road.

The project is regulated by the State of California Department of Social Services to provide lifetime occupancy and support services, instead of ownership interests.

The development consists of two independent living units providing about 351 total units and a health care center with 100 total units – 50 units for skilled nursing, 20 units for memory care and 30 units for assisted living.

The proposed development would provide a clubhouse, recreation building, parking, and maintenance buildings.

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Contra Costa County Library launching Front Door Service beginning Monday

Friday, June 12th, 2020

Beginning Monday, June 15, the Library will offer Front Door Service at 23 community libraries. The service will allow patrons to pick-up books, DVDs and audiobooks placed on hold through the Library’s website at

Those patrons with holds on the shelf from early March, before the Health Order began, will have the opportunity to make appointments first. This is necessary to clear the thousands of holds currently on library shelves and make room for new holds. Those patrons will be contacted with instructions explaining how to make an appointment to pick up their materials. Appointments are encouraged, but not required. Those coming to the library without appointments may experience a wait.

New holds can be placed beginning on Thursday, June 18, and appointments will be open to any patron who wishes to pick up available holds. Patrons will be notified when their holds are ready. They will make an appointment at the appropriate location and schedule a pick-up time. Once at the library location, the patron will call or text the number on the sign at the front of the building. Staff will confirm the library card number and collect the items. Materials will be placed in a bag with the patron’s name on it and put on a table at the front door. It is a safe, contactless process.

“We are eager to reconnect with library users and take this important step toward reopening,” said County Librarian Melinda Cervantes. “Staff are taking every precaution to provide visitors with a safe, library experience.”

Front Door Service is available during regularly scheduled hours at 23 locations. See the full list of locations and hours here. All libraries will be closed on Sundays. Front Door Service will not be available at the Pinole, Pleasant Hill or Prewett locations until further notice.

For the safety of our patrons and staff, Library items will be quarantined for a minimum of 72 hours in between each use. Staff will wash their hands frequently, wear masks and observe social distancing protocols. Patrons approaching the front door should also wear a mask and observe social distancing guidelines. All returns should be placed in the book drop.

Stay tuned to for more information about how to use Front Door Service.

For questions about library services, contact staff via Chat, Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or text questions to (925) 290-7627.

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