Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Teenage boy dies in solo car accident in Antioch Friday night

Saturday, August 24th, 2019

By Sergeant Matthew Harger #3305, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Friday, August 23, 2019 at approximately 11:20 pm, Antioch Police Department Officers were dispatched to the 1100 block of James Donlon Blvd regarding a solo vehicle colliding into a tree.

Upon arriving on scene, officers located the vehicle in the center median of James Donlon Blvd with extensive damage and a solo occupant driver trapped inside. With the assistance of the Contra Costa Consolidated Fire Department the driver was extricated from the vehicle and pronounced deceased at the scene.

The cause of the collision is still under investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441 or You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Antioch High School wins award for exceptional career-focused education program

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

Antioch High School’s Career Choices Silver Medal.

Antioch High School is being recognized with a Career Choices Silver Medal for its outstanding education program promoting college and career readiness.

As a Career Choices Medal School, Antioch High School is among the top five percent of schools across the nation that have exemplified an eagerness to promote student success with the Career Choices series curriculum. The school’s Get Focused…Stay Focused! efforts, alongside My10yearPlan.com, help students plot achievable 10-year plans for their future education and career goals.

Mindy Bingham, author of the Career Choices series, said being awarded a Career Choices Medal is a great accomplishment that requires solid leadership, top-notch teachers and a lot of hard work.

“After nearly 30 years, we know what it takes to implement a program that will result in increased student success and improved college and career readiness,” Bingham said. “Many of the schools we work with are committed to that level of excellence, and that is reflected in their careful planning, intentional implementation of our materials and dedication to ongoing improvement.”

The career-focused course at Antioch High School is administered to freshmen and sophomores, and it has been able to help students from all different backgrounds plan for their future, teacher Nick Wisley said. Specifically, one student who was struggling at Antioch High School was able to improve his grades after learning what kinds of careers were attainable if he attended higher education, Wisley said.

“His grades turned around, and he decided he wanted to continue to go to school after that moment,” Wisley said. “That’s what I love about this course. It’s teaching life.”

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Antioch towing company owner to be inducted into International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame

Monday, August 19th, 2019

Perry Shusta. Photo from his Facebook page.

The International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee announced that it has selected seven recognized towing industry professionals for induction into the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame, Class of 2019.

The 2019 induction ceremony, which celebrates its 33rd year, will honor:

  • Perry Shusta, owner of Arrowhead Towing & Recovery, Antioch, California, previously president of the California Tow Truck Association, who is a heavy-duty recovery instructor.
  • Quinn Piening, head of Central Tow & Transport in Fremont, California, president of the California Tow Truck Association.
  • John Coupland of Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom, who has spent a lifetime in the towing and recovery field, earning a Britannia Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.
  • Michael Cherry, Land O’ Lakes, Florida, a towing and recovery equipment expert formerly associated with Jerr-Dan Corp.
  • Jamie Davis, Hope, British Columbia, Canada, the face of the Discovery Channel TV show Highway Thru Hell, about heavy-duty rescue along the Coquihalla Highway.
  • George Kuntz of Bismarck, North Dakota, owner of Ace 24 Hour Towing and Berg’s Towing and Crane Service, who has nearly 60 years of industry service.
  • Glenn Landau of Fryer’s Towing Service in Daytona Beach, Florida, president of the Professional Wrecker Operators of Florida.

Each inductee was nominated by members of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum for their many contributions to the towing and recovery industry, as well as service to their communities. Criteria for selection include towing equipment product innovation, exemplary dedication, industry leadership and professional achievement.

“Our Hall of Fame is not about single events but about celebrating those who have worked hard to support and grow our industry’s professionalism,” says Bill Gratzianna, president of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum. “This year’s group of inductees is no exception, as they are known for their work on behalf of the industry and their leadership inside and outside of towing and recovery.”

The Class of 2019 will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in a ceremony to be held on October 12, 2019, at the Chattanoogan Hotel in Chattanooga. A full weekend of activities is planned to celebrate the Class of 2019. For more information on the induction ceremony visit towingmuseum.com.

About ITRHFM

The International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, houses an array of exhibits showcasing the history of the towing and recovery industry. The rotating collection includes early equipment by Manley, Holmes, Vulcan and Weaver. The Museum includes a theater, a library and a gift shop. The Hall of Fame honors individuals who have significantly advanced the industry. The Wall of the Fallen Memorial, located on the grounds of the Museum, is dedicated to towing operators who have died in the line of service. The ITRHFM Survivor Fund assists the families of the men and women who have died in the line of service by providing a uniform financial gift at the time of their loss. ITRHFM is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and accepts donations for its programs and operations from individuals, corporations and groups.

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Antioch doctor working to reduce childhood obesity one family at a time

Friday, August 16th, 2019

Richard D Singer, M.D. Photo by Sutter Delta.

New Program Aims to Help East Contra Costa County Kids Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Weight

By Meg Walker, Sutter Health

Making sure kids eat a balanced diet and maintain a proper weight can be a difficult task. Especially if the child is overweight, obese or a picky eater.

In Contra Costa County the problem is especially acute. Kidsdata.org, a program at the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, compiled data in 2018 by grade level and found that in the county 36.1 percent of fifth graders, 35.7 percent of seventh graders and 33.4 percent of ninth graders are overweight or obese. According to the Centers for Disease Control, overweight or obese children are at high risk of becoming overweight adolescents and adults, placing them at risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes later in life. They are also more prone to develop stress, sadness, and low self-esteem.

Richard Singer, M.D., a pediatrician with Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation (SEBMF) based in Brentwood, had become increasingly concerned about the overweight children he sees in his practice and the lack of nutritional counseling services available in eastern Contra Costa County.

So, after careful planning, Dr. Singer recently started a pediatric weight management program at outpatient pediatric offices in Antioch and Brentwood. As part of the program, a registered dietician on the staff at Sutter Delta Medical Center sees patients one day a week at an SEBMF care center.

“There is an epidemic of childhood obesity and all of the complications associated with obesity,” Dr. Singer said. “Our community needs resources to help intervene and improve the quality of life of these children. The pediatric dietician will help parents and their children make better food choices as well as providing ongoing support and helping to monitor their progress.”

In June, Elika Vargas, a registered dietitian at Sutter Delta Medical Center, began meeting with parents and their children on Mondays, either in the SEBMF primary care clinic in Antioch or Brentwood. Children from 2 to 18 years of age are referred to her by primary care physicians.

Vargas reviews the child’s medical history and assesses the child’s eating patterns. Her goal is not to put the child on a diet but to guide the child and the parents on how to eat healthy meals. She also asks the parents and child about physical activity, as lack of exercise contributes significantly to being overweight or obese. Follow-up care is important to assess adherence to nutrition recommendations and weight trends.

“The idea is to promote a healthy lifestyle and gradual weight loss, and to teach families about nutrition so they can make these decisions on their own,” Vargas said. “I let them know why they should be eating more whole grains, fruits and vegetables to get the right nutrition.”

Many barriers to healthy eating exist. The availability of convenience and processed foods, larger portion sizes and lack of physical activity are some of the contributors to obesity. Families are busy and eating fast food may be easier than preparing a balanced meal.

 

It can be difficult to get children to eat fruits and vegetables. Parents have to be willing to be role models by following their own healthy lifestyle with good nutrition and plenty of exercise.

Some of her advice to parents on how to help children adopt a healthy lifestyle includes:

  • Cut out sugary desserts and juices or try fruit-infused water.
  • Avoid processed and convenience foods. Cook meals at home so children are more likely to have enough vegetables and whole grains.
  • Encourage kids to get involved in preparing meals or in helping with grocery shopping.
  • Offer a variety of fruits and vegetables with different colors, flavors and textures.

“With kids you have to offer healthy choices such as fruit and vegetables multiple times,” Vargas said. “It’s persistence and communication.”

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Former Dozier-Libbey principal, Scott Bergerhouse moves to new role at Antioch School District offices

Friday, August 16th, 2019

New AUSD Director of Student Support Services, Scott Bergerhouse in his new office. Photo courtesy of AUSD.

Settles in as Director of Student Support Services.

By Charleen Earley

Scott Bergerhouse grew up attending Antioch schools before taking a teaching position at Park Middle School following college. After 35 years serving thousands of AUSD students as a teacher, vice principal and principal, – most recently for Dozier-Libbey Medical High School – it is rare for Bergerhouse to go anywhere in the community without running into a former student, parent, or colleague.

Bergerhouse’s work has also impacted current teachers and principals in the District including John Jimno, Principal of Park Middle School. “Mr. Bergerhouse was my sixth grade teacher at Park and later my Vice Principal at Antioch High School.” Although Mr. Jimno has many fond memories of Scott, he recalls one incident in particular that impacted him. “I only got in trouble one time in school and I had to go see Mr. Bergerhouse who was then my Vice Principal. I remembered being scared about what my consequence would be. But rather than suspend me or assign me to Saturday School, Scott talked me into becoming a camp counselor for fifth grade students that summer.”

“He taught me something that day that I will never forget and that helped shape the administrator I am today,” says Jimno. “You have people learn more when they do something that makes them grow, that shows that you believe in them. That day Scott showed that he saw something different in me and I try to do the same when students are sent to my office.”

Bergerhouse says he is excited about his new position as Director of Student Support Services.

“I was fortunate enough to work in this position for two months this past year,” he saidd. “I loved it because I love finding solutions that work for students and families.”

“I also love working with health and wellness and mental health supports, because that’s what some kids certainly need,” Bergerhouse added. “The tiered interventions are what truly support students and their variety of needs.”

Born in Arkansas City, Kansas, Bergerhouse moved to California in 1965. He’s the father of Nicholas, age 34, and Carly, age 23, and the proud grandfather of Kailiana Joy, age 6.

“My parents still live in the same house in Antioch that I was raised in,” said Bergerhouse, who currently lives in Discovery Bay with his Chihuahua named Cody. “I am a product of the Antioch Unified School District.”

Education, he says, is all about supporting students.

“It’s about playing an integral role in students’ lives to help them build the confidence and commitment to survive in a challenging society,” said Bergerhouse. “Not a day goes by that I have not been rewarded in some way from a student’s story, a student’s compliment to a teacher, a handshake, etc. I would never want anything more than that.”

“Education has been the best career that I could ever have imagined,” he added. “The lasting friendships, positive relationships and the unwavering commitment to students are things that are so important to me.”

His educational career includes attending Los Medanos College for one year, followed by a baseball scholarship to the University of Nevada, Reno, then onto Southern Utah State University, graduating with a BS in education.

“I taught school for one year in Utah before returning to California,” he said. “I received my administrative degree at California State University, Hayward.”

Growing up, however, Bergerhouse had a more glamorous plan for his life.

“When I was younger, I wanted to be a professional baseball player until my father influenced me that a ‘Plan B’ was imperative,” he said. “The best thing I ever did was following that advice.”
In his new role as Director of Student Support Services, Bergerhouse said some of his duties will include responding to school emergency calls, working with administrators to help provide support for students, keeping lines of communication open with all school leaders, and visiting schools to provide support.”

“Other duties will include overseeing Strategic Threat Management’s two officers; providing support for schools; producing monthly suspension and attendance data for all schools; overseeing the District nurse and counselors, as well as working with various support programs,” he said.
When he’s not working, Bergerhouse spends his time outdoors.

“I love to play golf, even though I’m not very good! I enjoy spending time with my parents and siblings, and I love the ocean and being around water,” he said.

He also spends his time volunteering.

“I have been the President of Delta Advocacy Foundation for approximately 15 years, helping individuals and families through short-term financial difficulties throughout East Contra Costa County,” he said. “This would also include situationally impoverished situations. This has been very rewarding, and I’ve been fortunate to be a part of a wonderful board of community leaders working toward truly helping to support individuals and families.”

With 35 years working in education, Bergerhouse is no stranger to an eclectic array of jobs along the way.

“I was a custodian during the summer during my first year teaching. I was a lunchroom monitor during college. I also worked on a factory assembly line producing onion and tomato fiber drums,” he said. “I mopped floors at a sausage shop and laundry mat. I worked for $2 an hour in a print shop. I also worked on a loading dock for Sears, the tomato fields picking tomatoes, I worked at SkyWest Airlines directing planes as they were taxiing down the runway. I even worked for AVIS car rental!”

He said health, happiness and enjoying what life brings, are the top three, most important things in his life.

Confidence in oneself, he feels, is also essential.

“My mantra aligns with a quote from Henry Ford,” he said. “‘If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’re right.’”

There are two words, he says, that he uses to describe himself.

“Personable and approachable,” said Bergerhouse. “People and positive relationships are important to me.”

Republished with permission of AUSD. Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Kaiser Permanent responds to strike vote by SEIU United Healthcare Workers

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

In response to the vote to strike by the Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers (see related article), John Nelson, Vice President, Communications, Kaiser Permanente issued the following statement:

Kaiser Permanente and SEIU-UHW have been working together toward a mutually beneficial agreement as part of the national bargaining with the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions that began in April. Unfortunately, UHW leadership has decided to use the threat of a strike as a bargaining tactic, designed to divide employees and mischaracterize Kaiser Permanente’s position, even though most of the contracts don’t expire until October.

We believe the result of the strike vote reflects obviously misleading ballot questions used by the union:

  • “I vote YES to authorize our bargaining team to call for a strike to protest Kaiser’s illegal behavior and unfair labor practices and to show my support for a contract with good raises, no take-aways and a ban on subcontracting.”
  • “I vote NO and am willing to accept a contract that increases our medical costs, cuts our pensions and retiree medical benefits, offers lower pay scales and raises that are less for Oregon and Washington than California.”

To be clear, Kaiser Permanente has presented a contract proposal that would provide annual pay increases that would keep our employees compensated higher than market averages and maintain excellent benefits. Contrary to the union’s claims, there are no pay cuts and no changes to our employees’ defined pension benefit, under our proposal.

It is important to understand that a strike vote does not mean that a strike is imminent, although it does place Kaiser Permanente in the position of having to spend millions of dollars preparing for the threat of a strike event. Our first priority is always continuity of care for our patients and members.

SEIU-UHW leadership is more interested in a power play to position themselves vis a vis other Kaiser Permanente unions – rather than focusing on what is best for their membership.  At a time when we are working hard to keep our care affordable, the Coalition’s demands are not fair to our members and the communities we serve. Coalition-represented employees are already compensated 23% above market rates—we pay well and we have markets where our wage rates are challenging our ability to be affordable. The Coalition’s proposal would actually increase our wages on average 32% above the market over the next five years, adding a billion dollars to our labor costs.

Despite the union leadership’s disruptive tactics, we are hopeful that our employees will value our proposal and SEIU-UHW and the other Coalition unions will move forward with us to reach a new agreement. Our goal is to continue to make Kaiser Permanente a great place to give and receive care.

Proposed Contract Offer

Kaiser Permanente’s bargaining proposal would provide employees with the following best-in-class conditions:

  • Solid wage increases. The average salary of Coalition-represented employees is already higher than market averages. Mindful of our goal to improve the affordability of health care and engage our employees in the effort, the current proposal provides guaranteed wage increases across the board each year through 2022 of 3% each year in Northern and Southern California.
  • Opportunities for new hires. Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition are proposing a $40 million Workforce Development Fund and creation of new-hire training positions, all part of the solution to address the national shortage of health care workers and help develop the next generation of unionized workers in health care.
  • Retirement security. The proposal preserves the existing defined pension plan along with other strong retirement benefits.
  • Career mobility. The proposal includes a more robust tuition reimbursement program for employees that allows more funds to be used for travel.
  • Affordable health care. The proposal includes a pharmacy utilization approach that incents employees to take greater responsibility for their health by rewarding them for increasing their use of mail-order prescriptions.

Just last year SEIU-UHW touted what it described as “strong wages and benefits” in the agreement it reached with Dignity Health, which included lower wage increases (13% over 5 years plus a one-time 1% bonus) than being offered by Kaiser Permanente, and only $2.5 million for workforce development, as compared to $40 million in Kaiser Permanente’s current proposal. (Source: SEIU-UHW press release, March 2018, http://www.seiu-uhw.org/archives/26114)

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Antioch School Board approves addendum to MOU with Rocketship charter school, hires consultant for possible bond measure

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

Split on renewing contracts for social media consultant for Antioch High, Middle schools; considers new flag policy

By Allen Payton

At their meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, the Antioch Unified School Board voted to approve an addendum to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the district and the Rocketship Delta Prep charter school, ending almost a year of contention between the two organizations. MOU Amendment No. 1 with Rocketship Delta Prep Charter School

The addendum requires Rocketship school’s representative to “promptly meet” with the district’s liaison if the district liaison has any questions about the “Charter School’s operations, finances, or academic program including special education, or compliance with the Charter, the MOU, or the law.” Also, the district liaison will share their questions or concerns in writing and give Rocketship the opportunity to respond.

Carolyn Davies Lynch, VP Operations for Rocketship Public Schools spoke on the issue.

“Thank you for passing the resolution back in May that created a clear path of partnership for Rocketship and AUSD,” she said. “Rocketship has met all requirements. Rocketship is in full compliance with our charter, the MOU and the law.”

“I’ve heard through multiple people, this was a really great process,” Trustee Ellie Householder said. “I think this MOU is more reflective of the actual relationship and I think that this is going to foster a more positive, I hope communications.” She thanked Superintendent Stephanie Anello “for representing us so positively”.

Anello then said, “I would also like to thank Rocketship for their continued collaboration and just working through this. I think this does, like you said, create a more, clear path as for our working relationship during the term of their probation.”

The motion to adopt the MOU was approved on a 5-0 vote.

Hires Consultant for Possible Bond Measure

Householder had a few questions about approving the services agreement in the amount of $20,000 with a consultant “for studies and/or needs assessments that analyze the District’s ability to call for a general obligation bond election.”  C. Lindh Agreement – bond study

“This about the research around the bond measure,” she said. “When I was reading the contract, it said, ‘determine the need to conduct a community survey.’ Part of me was thinking, do we need to evaluate if we need a bond? I’m thinking we do need a bond. I wanted to make sure this particular consultant can actually do a survey.”

“We want to find out from the taxpayers what are their priorities,” Superintendent Stephanie Anello said. “It is an analysis of what’s on the ballot. Who’s most likely to vote.”

“The survey itself is usually $10,000. But this sounds like it’s more services,” Householder added.

The item was approved as part of the 5-0 vote for the consent calendar items.

Splits on Funds for Social Media Contractor for Antioch High and Antioch Middle Schools

The board then held a discussion on two contracts with Trine Gallegos for social media services for Antioch High School for $17,490 and Antioch Middle School for $10,000.

The source of funds is from site-allocated supplemental and concentration grant funds. District staff recommended the board approve the services agreement with Antioch Middle School, described as follows: Services Agreement with Trine Gallegos – AMS 2019-20

“In order to provide parents and students with timely and accessible information, Ms. Gallegos will update the Antioch Middle School website on a regular basis. She will help establish a parent group and assist in communicating student programs and events with community members and leaders. Ms. Gallegos will work closely with the principal to ensure priority information is shared and student programs can develop.”

For the work at Antioch High, “Ms. Gallegos will coordinate a variety of communication and outreach activities for students, parents, staff, and the community on behalf of Antioch High School, including: Services Agreement Trine Gallegos – AHS 2019-20

  • Connecting with community members, businesses, and service groups to enhance, support, and/or donate to a variety of programs;
  • Updating the Antioch High School website to provide the parent-student community with accurate and accessible information (e.g. up-to-date bell schedules, early release information, student accomplishments, media links, meeting details, and other school-related news);
  • Publishing current news items to ensure information generated from staff and the District office is shared;
  • Sharing information via both Antioch High Facebook pages and through local media agencies;
  • Supporting a variety of events and committees, including: Friends of Antioch High School, Scholarship Night, Achievement Night, Senior Project Mentor, Back to School Night, Open House, Principal’s Graduation Team, and as a Special Student programs coordinator;
  • Rebranding outdated materials (e.g. registration information, PTSA handouts, etc.); and
  • Organizing numerous parent-student workshops

“This is the same consultant. This appears to be every year,” Trustee Crystal Sawyer-White said. “I checked with (other districts) and it seems to be Facebook. I don’t know her qualifications. I am not approving this particular vendor for this amount of money. The work is not there.”

“Is this done by each school site?” Trustee Mary Rocha asked.

Anello responded, “This has already been approved by their school site council. So, you would have to let them know in writing and they could appeal. The authority of the governing board…they’re certifying that the school is not supplanting those funds. But, it’s up to the school to decide those funds. The more the school board overrules the local control there has to be significant reasons to do so.”

“I had a couple concerns with these contracts, as well,” Householder stated. “It’s coming out of supplemental and concentration (S and C) grant funds. How does this $27,490 directly impact our socially economically disadvantaged, our foster youth and our English learners?”

“When I look at these two contracts in particular, they’re so broad,” she continued. “I looked at this contract from last year, they’re the same exact services as last year. There were some Facebook analytics given and a list of activities. There’s no update to the services or accomplishments. When we’re looking at cutting music teachers…and librarians and career counselors…I look at this $17,490 and I wonder how much of that could go to keeping that career counselor on.”

“In the spirit of making schools accountable…this particular vendor is on the school site council…did they vote to go forward with this?” Householder said. “There is not as much transparency as we want. I think we should have an intern program…for our students. I think these monies could be better invested somewhere else.”

Sawyer-White then asked, “Why is it the same vendors? I don’t know her background. I’m told ‘don’t say it’s nepotism’. Why is it the same vendors all the time? We don’t have any background. Does she have a degree?”

Rocha responded, “we’re trying to meet our families in different ways. I understand the contracts we have with those schools are the same. It takes a person inside that school site to do outreach. I don’t see how we can go back and say, ‘you can’t do it, because we don’t want you to.’”

“This individual has brought in about $60,000 in donations,” Anello said. “She’s not on the Antioch Middle School’s site council. I don’t know about the Antioch High council. It was a unanimous vote of the council.”

Householder then reiterated her concerns, saying, “When I look at the documentation to verify the work this vendor had done…four hours, two times a week, then three times a week. When we are using S and C funds…we have to be able to reasonably say those funds are directly benefitting low-income, foster youth and English learners. I don’t know if that brought in those dollars…if there’s no documentation.”

“We want to say ‘schools, you’re able to do what you want,’ she continued. “But, let’s just look it over and make sure we’re crossing our T’s and dotting our I’s. This is a $7,400 increase for this vendor for the contract with Antioch High School over last year. I’m not sure we’re getting 100% more services. Looking at this contract over the years, there has been a steady increase in the amount. If Antioch High School wants to put out an RFP for these services and this person is seen as the best person, then go forward with that. But, right now the waters are too muddied and there’s not enough transparency with this particular vendor.”

Rocha then moved approval of both contracts and they passed 3-2 with Sawyer-White and Householder voting against.

Flag Policy

In response to the district approving the flying the LGBTQ flag in June, a proposed policy for flying flags at the district offices and at school sites was discussed during the board meeting. Board Policy 6115 Ceremonies and Observances – with revision options

The board was given three options, and in general settled on Option C, which reads as follows:

“Option C: 1. Commemorative flags may be displayed only as authorized by resolution of the Board of Education and as an expression of the Boards’ official sentiments. 2. Commemorative flags shall be displayed for a period of time that is reasonable or customary for the subject that is to be commemorated, but no longer than ____ days. 3. The District will not display a commemorative flag based on a request from a third party, nor will the District use its flagpoles to sponsor the expression of a third party.”

“I would recommend a commemorative pole, so we have our pole for local and state, and then a separate pole for ceremony flags,” Rocha shared. She was supportive of option C.

“I think that C makes more sense to me,” Householder said.

Sawyer-White then added, “I’m agreeing with option C. I think Trustee Rocha has a valid point of a separate pole.”

“That would be an option, if you give us additional information,” Board President Gary Hack said.

Gibson-Gray suggested the creation of a district flag, and having students help design it.

The item will return with Rocha’s suggestion of a separate pole to fly commemorative flags.

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Kaiser Permanente workers in Antioch, state vote to support strike beginning in October

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

Strike would affect more than 24,000 Kaiser Permanente workers in the Bay Area, including more than 1,200 in Antioch. Voting results in five other states, D.C. expected by September; would be nation’s largest walkout since 1997

OAKLAND, CA  Kaiser Permanente workers in California poured out in large numbers to overwhelmingly authorize a strike in early October that would be the biggest in the United States in more than two decades.

Becoming the first of more than 80,000 Kaiser workers to vote, members of the Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) across the state voted between July 29 and Aug. 11 whether to approve the unfair labor practices strike at Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics. More than 37,000 cast ballots in support of a strike (98 percent) while only 867 voted to oppose (2 percent). The turnout was uncommonly high for a strike vote in any industry, with two-thirds of workers casting ballots.

Strike authorization votes among other groups of Kaiser workers in California, and Kaiser Permanente employees in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia run through mid-September. The strike would start in early October and be the nation’s largest since the Teamsters’ walkout at United Parcel Service in 1997.

“Kaiser workers all over California are putting a stake in the ground that it’s time for this corporation to get back on track and live up to its mission to help patients, workers and communities thrive, said Heather Wright, a women’s health clerk at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Clara, Calif. “This strike vote is about stopping Kaiser’s unfair labor practices. This company should be all about providing the best possible patient care, but unfortunately its focus in recent years has been on making billions of dollars in profits and millions of dollars for Kaiser executives.”

Workers want Kaiser Permanente to bargain in good faith and stop committing unfair labor practices, and are fighting for a new contract that would:

  1. Restore a true worker-management partnership, and have Kaiser bargain in good faith;
  2. Ensure safe staffing and compassionate use of technology;
  3. Build the workforce of the future to deal with major projected shortages of licensed and accredited staff in the coming years; and
  4. Protect middle-class jobs with wages and benefits that can support families.

As a non-profit entity, Kaiser Permanente is supposed to serve the public interest in exchange for billions of dollars in tax breaks. But in recent years, the corporation has departed from its mission:

  • Profits: Kaiser made more than $5.2 billion in profits during the first half of 2019, bringing its profits to more than $11 billion since Jan. 1, 2017. The company also sits on $35 billion in reserves.
  • Executive pay: Kaiser gave its CEO a $6 million raise to $16 million a year and pays at least 36 executives a million dollars or more a year.
  • Care for low-income patients: Kaiser provides very little care to Medicaid patients, far less than other non-profit health systems, even though it gets massive tax breaks in exchange for supposedly working in the public interest.
  • Financial transparency: Kaiser lacks transparency and operates in the shadows. It is exempt from many of the financial reporting requirements of other hospitals and health systems. Operating secretly allows Kaiser to avoid the kind of scrutiny consumers, employers, unions and regulators need to protect themselves and the public.
  • Turning its back on workers: Kaiser has worked to destroy what had been the most successful and largest worker-management partnership in the country that was a source of innovation and problem-solving for many years; it has committed numerous unfair labor practices, including refusing to bargain in good faith.
  • Destroying good jobs. Kaiser is actively destroying good jobs by outsourcing them to companies that pay low wages with few benefits, and wants to limit the wages and cut the benefits of its frontline healthcare employees.

The workers’ national contract expired Sept. 30, 2018, and in December 2018 the National Labor Relations Board charged Kaiser Permanente with failing to bargain in good faith. Since then, Kaiser has continued to commit unfair labor practices.

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions comprises labor unions in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, representing more than 80,000 Kaiser caregivers. To learn more, visit www.KaiserKeepThriveAlive.com.     

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