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California Superior Court judges send letter to Gov. Brown asking for more money

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

By Allen Payton

In a strongly worded letter, judges from 49 of the 58 superior courts in California, including Contra Costa County, informed Governor Jerry Brown last week, of their displeasure with the amount of funding for the state’s judicial branch in his proposed budget. They believe the lack of an increase in their budget will have an impact on the communities they serve and are asking for an increase of $158.5 million to the $3.6 billion Brown has proposed in his budget. Courts Letter to Gov Brown 02-16-17

Each of the 58 counties in the state have a trial court, known as a superior court. The judges added their efforts to those by California “Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and the Judicial Council of California…and support their efforts to seek additional funding for the judicial branch.”

Brown’s proposed budget projects a $1.6 billion deficit. According to an L.A. Times article, Brown told reporters at the state Capitol…as he unveiled the state’s budget, that “The trajectory of revenue growth is declining.” As a result his “$179.5-billion plan seeks to resolve the budget shortfall by slower-than-expected growth in public school funding and through rolling back a series of one-time expenses discussed during last year’s budget negotiations.”

All the members of the State Senate and Assembly were copied on the letter from the judges, which states: “We, the undersigned courts, have had the opportunity to review your proposed budget for the judicial branch for Fiscal Year 2017-18. We are seriously concerned with the lack of additional funding proposed for trial court operations and our ability to provide adequate access to justice for those in need of California’s court system,” and “…we wish to inform you and the Legislature about the impact this proposed budget will have not only on the many trial courts throughout the state but, more importantly, on the communities that we serve.”

According to Brown’s budget summary, “the Budget includes total funding of $3.6 billion ($1.7 billion General Fund and $1.9 billion other funds) for the Judicial Branch, of which $2.8 billion is provided to support trial court operations.” That is $200 million less than the $3.8 billion Brown proposed in his budget and $100 million less than was approved for the current fiscal year, which was an increase of $300 million over the previous fiscal year.

The letter cites increases in costs and changes in laws will mean Brown’s budget will have the effect of a “net decrease” to the budget for the superior courts.

“This is due to, among other things, the rising cost of doing business in California (e.g., utility costs, rents, vendor expenses, employee salaries). It also results from governmental actions such as elimination of Proposition 47 funding, additional workload from voter-approved initiatives such as Propositions 57 and 64, legislative changes such as AB 2839 that considerably increase workload without accompanying offsetting funding,” the letter stated.

“The proposed elimination of a court’s ability to place a hold on a traffic defendant’s driver’s license for failure to pay or appear, the latter of which appears to have the unintended consequence of reducing revenues to the trial courts, counties and the state. In Solano and Contra Costa, two courts that have imposed a moratorium on driver’s license holds, both courts have seen an approximate 25% reduction in collections.”

The letter concludes with the requested increase in the proposed state budget for the superior courts.

“We respectfully request that the trial courts be treated in an equitable fashion with the Executive Branch and that the trial courts be funded with a modest annual increase.  An increase of $158.5 million—which is the amount requested by the Judicial Council to address baseline cost increases, but which was not included in the Governor’s Budget for next fiscal year—would allow us to keep pace with rising costs of doing business in California and, more importantly, allow courts to preserve the public’s access to justice.”

The budget is expected to be approved by the state legislature and sent to Brown for his signature by the end of June.

To see Gov. Brown’s proposed budget summary for the judicial branch, click here.  To learn more about California’s superior courts, click here.

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Young Antioch man shot Monday morning, police seek shooters

Monday, February 20th, 2017

By Corporal Matthew Koch, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Monday, February 20, 2017 at 11:01 am, Antioch Police officers were dispatched to the 5000 block of Lone Tree Way on a report of several gunshots heard in the area. Upon arrival, it was discovered the victim(s) and responsible(s) fled the area prior to police arrival.

A short time later a 21-year-old male Antioch resident arrived at an area hospital with a single gunshot wound. The victim underwent surgery; however, the wound did not appear to be life threatening.

This preliminary information is made available by the Field Services Bureau. There will be no further information released regarding this case at this time.

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

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Pizza delivery man robbed, assaulted; shots fired, stolen vehicles, drugs among Antioch Police calls for Feb. 2-9, 2017

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

Chief Cantando stops fragrance thieves

Following are the Antioch Police Department calls for service highlights as published in City Manager Steve Duran’s Weekly Report dated February 10, 2017 and provided by Chief of Police Allan Cantando.

Calls for Service and Arrest Data Summary:

Time Period: 02/02/17 00:00:00 – 02/08/17 23:59:59

Number of Calls for Service: 1,654

Number of Case Reports: 323

Number of Arrests: 90

Felony: 38

Misdemeanor: 51

Infraction: 1

Arrests with DUI charge: 2

The data is based upon unaudited CAD/RMS data at time of report generation.

  • 2/9/17 at 4:35 am, San Ramon PD SWAT served a search warrant on Crestpark Cir. They requested an Antioch PD marked unit for traffic control during the warrant service. Antioch PD officers stood by while the warrant was served. Antioch PD had no further involvement in the case.
  • 2/9/17 at 1:30 am, officers were dispatched to a home in the 100 block of W. 7th St. for a report of several shots fired. Officers arrived and made contact with the residents, 26 year old Vicente Ortiz and 23 year old Carmela Guarneri. It was ultimately learned that Ortiz fired several shots from a pistol in the backyard of the residence, and the gun was still in the house. Officers found the revolver that was fired along with another handgun inside the home. The revolver was discovered to be stolen from a 2009 Antioch residential burglary. Ortiz was arrested for the weapons violations and possession of stolen property and sent to County Jail.
  • 2/8/17 at 11:42 pm, officers were dispatched to W. 7th St. for a report of shots fired. Upon officers’ arrival, no suspects or victims were located; however, one of the reporting parties described hearing an argument and fight at Lou’s Bar in the parking lot where a shot may have been fired. Officers located a small black pouch with a cell phone and a small amount of marijuana inside. Officers notified area hospitals but no victims were reported.
  • 2/8/17 at 11:10 pm, an officer was driving eastbound on E. 18th St. when he saw a motorcycle with no license plate being towed by vehicle. The motorcycle rider was holding onto the passenger side mirror of the vehicle. A traffic stop was conducted, and a records check was done on the driver, 22 year old Danny Walton. Walton had a warrant for his arrest. When the officer checked the vehicle identification number of the motorcycle, it returned as a stolen vehicle out of Walnut Creek. Walton was arrested without incident and sent to County Jail for his warrant and the stolen motorcycle.
  • 2/8/17 at 1:06 pm, officers were dispatched to the area of Sycamore Dr. for a reported stolen vehicle. They located the vehicle turning northbound onto Auto Center Dr. A high risk traffic stop was conducted in the parking lot of the Days Inn Hotel. The driver, 27 year old Shawn Ham, was taken into custody without incident. Ham was later booked into County Jail for the stolen vehicle.
  • 2/7/17 at 10:37 am, Chief Cantando observed several subjects run out of Macy’s with what appeared to be fragrances and get into a Nissan Altima and flee the scene. Chief Cantando followed the suspects away and made an enforcement stop. Chief Cantando and assisting officers contacted 30 year old Keith Tucker, 23 year old Lavaughna Manuel, 23 year old Dellvina Richard, 18 year old Ryan Arnold and a 16 year old female juvenile in the vehicle. Officers located approximately $3,800 in stolen fragrances within the vehicle. Officers made contact with Macy’s loss prevention agents, who confirmed they just had a “grab and run” grand theft. The four adults were booked at Antioch PD and later transported to County Jail on charges of grand theft and conspiracy. The female juvenile was booked at Antioch PD and later released to her parent with a citation.
  • 2/7/17 at 3:00 am, officers responded to an alarm at Buchanan Dental located on Buchanan Rd. Upon arrival, officers found an unlocked sliding door. 35 year old Michael Kyle fled on foot from the interior of the business and was taken into custody after a foot pursuit. Kyle also had a warrant for burglary and for evading the police during a vehicle pursuit. Kyle was sent to County Jail on his warrants as well as the burglary of the dental office.
  • 2/6/17 at 9:24 pm, officers were dispatched to a residence on Morning Vale Ct. A 20 year old Mountain Mike’s Pizza delivery driver was robbed by five suspects while delivering pizzas to the residence. The suspects physically assaulted and threatened to shoot him. The suspects ran off with two pizza warmer bags containing five pizzas. The suspects were seen running into a residence on Sandrose Ct. The residents were contacted and five juveniles were detained. All five suspects were positively identified and physical evidence was located at the scene. A Domino’s Pizza delivery driver was also robbed the night before. The Domino’s driver responded and positively identified three of the five suspects for that robbery. All five juvenile suspects were arrested and sent to Juvenile Hall for robbery.
  • 2/5/17 at 12:47 am, an officer conducted a pedestrian contact with 46 year old Rhonda Wilkins at D St. at Lawton St. Dispatch confirmed a warrant for Wilkins’ arrest for DUI. Wilkins was arrested without incident, and she was sent to County Jail.
  • 2/4/17 at 10:07 pm, an officer on patrol saw 34 year old Ronald Phelps removing his dog from the bed of a Toyota pick-up in the 7-11 parking lot on E. 18th St. The officer made contact with Phelps, and the truck turned out to be stolen. Phelps was searched and was found to be in possession of a flare gun that had been painted black, as well as shaved keys that operated the ignition in the truck. Other personal items belonging to Phelps were located inside the cab of the stolen vehicle, as well. Phelps was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm, auto theft, possession of stolen property and possession of burglary tools. Phelps was sent to County Jail.
  • 2/4/17 at 7:52 pm, officers were dispatched to W. 4th St. on the report of a male and female fighting in the street. Upon arrival, officers located 26 year old Clarence Couisan and confirmed he was the male. Couisan resisted officers and was arrested. Officers were unable to locate the female in the fight as she had left prior to officers’ arrival. Couisan remained combative and was transported to County Jail for resisting officers and violating his probation.
  • 2/4/17 at 1:15 pm, an officer was on routine patrol in the area of A St. and E. 18th St. when he observed a white Nissan Versa matching the suspect vehicle description to a strong armed robbery that occurred on 1/31/17 in the parking lot of Juarez Mexican Restaurant. The officer was able to obtain suspect information and had the vehicle towed/stored. A witness was able to positively identify a 15 year old female juvenile as the responsible. The responsible was already in custody at Juvenile Hall for another strong armed robbery in Antioch. Additional robbery charges will be filed on the juvenile.
  • 2/3/17 at 1:24 pm, the 38 year old victim came to the police department lobby to report an armed robbery. Officers learned the victim arrived home in the 400 block of Grangnelli Ave. the night before at approximately 8:30 pm. He was approached from behind by the suspect who pointed a handgun at him. The suspect demanded the victim’s wallet. The victim turned over his wallet containing cash. The suspect fled the area on foot.
  • 2/3/17 at 9:42 am, the 43 year old female victim called Antioch PD to report she was just involved in an accident, and the responsible party had fled the scene but also struck her in the process. Officers met with the victim at a nearby school where she reported the suspect intentionally backed into her car on Texas St. When victim attempted to get the suspect’s personal information, the female suspect pushed her in an attempt to block her from taking photographs. The victim then tried to get a photograph of the responsible vehicle license plate. The suspect put her car in drive and intentionally hit the victim causing her to land on the hood of the vehicle. The suspect fled the scene and was not located. The victim had a complaint of pain to her legs and was transported by to an area hospital.
  • 2/3/17 at 9:41 am, officers were dispatched to Starbucks in the Blue Rock Center for a subject who stole the tip jar and was fighting with people who were attempting to make a detention. Officers arrived and located the 15 year old female suspect. She was then detained by officers. It was learned the juvenile attempted to steal approximately $20 in tip money from the store. A Starbucks employee attempted to stop the juvenile who in turn punched the employee. Witnesses assisted the employee in detaining the juvenile until officers arrived. The juvenile was arrested and booked into Juvenile Hall.
  • 2/2/17 at 9:30 pm, 43 year old Carl Day was contacted at Sutter Delta Hospital after receiving treatment. Day was found to have a warrant for vehicle theft. He was arrested and later booked into County Jail. During the investigation into Day’s injury, 33 year-old Destinie Schumacker was contacted on W 15th St. and found to have a warrant for burglary. She was also arrested and later booked into County Jail.
  • 2/2/17 at 3:31 pm, officers were dispatched to a residence in the 900 block of C St. for a homeowner detaining a subject he had caught burglarizing his shed. Officers arrived and contacted the victim along with 23 year old Jared Coombs. The victim reported he caught Coombs inside his shed. Coombs was arrested without incident and booked into County Jail for burglary.
  • 2/2/17 at 7:57 am, officers were dispatched to a suspicious vehicle in the Vista Diablo Mobile Home Park on Somersville Rd. While checking the area of the vehicle, officers located 31 year old Salvador Quintero. When Quintero saw officers, he threw suspected drugs on the ground. Quintero was a suspect from a stalking and burglary case on 2/1/17. He was arrested without incident for the previous case as well as an additional restraining order violation and drug possession charges. Quintero was booked into County Jail.
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Antioch Police Chief stops department store thieves with $3,800 of fragrances

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

On Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at 10:37 am, Antioch Police Chief Allan Cantando observed several subjects run out of Macy’s with what appeared to be fragrances and get into a Nissan Altima and flee the scene. Chief Cantando followed the suspects away and made an enforcement stop.

Cantando and assisting officers contacted 30-year-old Keith Tucker, 23-year-old Lavaughna Manuel, 23-year-old Dellvina Richard, 18-year-old Ryan Arnold and a 16-year-old female juvenile in the vehicle. Officers located approximately $3,800 in stolen fragrances within the vehicle.

Officers made contact with Macy’s loss prevention agents, who confirmed they just had a “grab and run” grand theft.

The four adults were booked at Antioch PD and later transported to County Jail on charges of grand theft and conspiracy. The female juvenile was booked at Antioch PD and later released to her parent with a citation.

There’s no word on what Cantando was shopping for at Macy’s, although it was assumed to be a Valentine’s Day gift for his wife.

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Antioch Economic Development Update: Auto processing company locates at 108-acre site

Friday, February 17th, 2017

CDC’s property on Wilbur Avenue in Antioch, the site of AMPCOR’s new operations. photo courtesy of CDC.

Also, Autozone to open in former Delta Fresh Foods location

According to Antioch City Manager Steve Duran’s Weekly Report dated Feb. 10, 2017, an 108-acre site in Antioch on 2101-2603 Wilbur Avenue has been leased to AMPORTS. In August of 2016 the industrial waterfront site in Antioch, California formerly known as the Gaylord Container/Forestar site with access to deep water port/wharf was purchased for $7 million by Commercial Development Company Inc. (CDC), a company out of St. Louis and a leading North American commercial real estate and brownfield redevelopment company.

AMPORTS is a leader in the global automotive service industry for over 50 years of experience. With multiple locations in the United States and Mexico, AMPORTS is one of the largest auto processors in North America. Nearby they operate at the Port of Benicia in the Benicia Industrial Park, where AMPORTS facility covers 640 acres.

AMPORTS is expanding their automotive logistics services to Antioch. The site in Antioch will be used to process vehicles, inspect, and detail before they go to various dealerships. AMPORTS anticipates creating about 50 direct local jobs for their operations and are pleased with the business friendly welcoming the City of Antioch has offered with getting their business up and running.

The paper mill was retired and demolished in 2002. Since closing, environmental impact from past operations has limited redevelopment options. CDC’s remediation plans give fresh potential to redevelop this attractive waterfront industrial site.

In addition to selling surplus real estate to CDC, this transaction enabled Forestar Group to transfer environmental obligations to Environmental Liability Transfer, Inc. (ELT), an affiliate of CDC.  ELT assumed responsibility for legacy environmental liabilities associated with the site and its former operators.

EnviroAnalytics Group (EAG), another CDC affiliate, will work with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to oversee ongoing remedial activities, including environmental monitoring, to bring the site to regulatory closure. Successful environmental clean-up will reposition this site for port and industrial re-use and stimulate new construction and jobs.

Throughout the remediation process, CDC will be performing land studies, market assessments, and meeting with community stakeholders to determine the highest and best use for this site going forward.

This site is zoned heavy industrial and has a pier on the San Joaquin River to support international shipping, as well as nearby rail. With excellent access to Hwy 4 and the San Joaquin River, this 108 acre site is among the largest deep water sites in the East Bay region and can support logistical and industrial users. The site also has 2000 feet of Wilbur Avenue frontage and is near the new Antioch BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station scheduled to open this year.

“We are excited to expand our redevelopment efforts into the East Bay region” said Steve Collins, Executive Vice President at Commercial Development Company, Inc., “Our acquisition of this deep-water industrial port is the first step to repurposing this strategic property. The Antioch market is poised for economic rebirth and CDC is pleased to bring this site to market.”

To learn more about Amports visit To learn more about CDC visit


In addition, Duran reports that AutoZone anticipates taking over a 13,860 square foot store, formerly Delta Fresh Foods, located at 4036 Lone Tree Way. Renovations and permitting are in progress.

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Antioch sex offender receives four years in state prison for possession of child porn

Friday, February 17th, 2017

On Tuesday February 14th, 2017, Jason Judkins was convicted of possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to four years in state prison.

The conviction stems from an investigation by the Contra Costa County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Antioch Police Department. On January 6th, 2016, Judkins created an internet posting that he was willing to trade his son for sex.  The posting was reported to law enforcement and an immediate search for Judkins was started.  He was arrested later that day in Antioch, and it was determined he did not have a child, nor did he have access to children.  A search of his cell revealed images of child pornography, as well as e-mails in which Judkins distributed the images to others. The evidence indicated Judkins made the online posting to reach others who would exchange child pornography with him.

Prior to this offense Judkins had sustained two prior convictions for possession and distribution of child pornography. Judkins has been a registered sex offender since 2012 and was living as a transient in Antioch at the time of his arrest. The sentence was handed down by the Honorable John T. Laettner, after Judkins entered into a plea agreement with the District Attorney’s Office. Judkins will begin serving his sentence immediately.

“This office will hold accountable those individuals who possess and distribute these types of images over the internet,” said District Attorney Mark Peterson. “With National Victims’ Rights Week coming up in April, it is important to remember that when images of a child being sexually assaulted are distributed across the internet, the child is re-victimized each time.”

The prosecution is a result of an investigation by a multi-agency Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which is managed by the San Jose Police Department.  In Contra Costa County, detectives and investigators from the Walnut Creek, Antioch, Martinez, San Ramon, Concord and Moraga Police Departments, the Sheriff’s Office, Probation Department and District Attorney’s Office participate in the task force. 

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Glazer introduces $2 billion bond bill to improve facilities at CSU, UC campuses

Friday, February 17th, 2017

Sacramento, CA – For the first time in more than a decade, California voters would have the opportunity to approve higher education bonds to improve facilities on California State University and University of California campuses under legislation introduced Thursday by joint authors Sens. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, and Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica.

The bill, SB 483, would authorize the statewide sale of $2 billion in general obligation bonds earmarked for higher education facilities at CSU and UC campuses. The bonds would go before voters in the 2018 general election.

“For many generations, California taxpayers have been proud supporters of the greatest higher education system in America,” Glazer said. “Unfortunately, we have allowed classrooms and libraries to deteriorate, affecting our ability to educate our students. Without public support, the burden of financing facilities will be borne by students and their families through higher tuition and fees.

The most recent such bond, which provided $1.6 billion to improve higher education facilities at CSU and UC, was approved by voters in 2006. All those funds have since been depleted. The last higher education-specific bond was passed in 1994.

“California’s public colleges and universities are a source of great pride to our state, but unfortunately we’ve allowed their physical facilities to fall into disrepair,” said Allen, who chairs the Senate Education Committee. “This bond measure will provide a much-needed and overdue investment in our higher education infrastructure.”

According to CSU and UC, the two systems have capital needs of $7 billion and $10 billion, respectively, for short-term and long-term projects. The CSU and UC are able to provide their own funding for some construction programs through system-wide revenue bonds, though only half of their capital needs are met.

“We appreciate Senator Glazer’s work to secure funding for necessary repair and replacement of aging higher education buildings and infrastructure,” said CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White. “More than $2 billion in deferred maintenance – due to lack of investment during the previous recession – left our campuses vulnerable to potential failures of critical systems. Safe and up-to-date classrooms, research labs and work spaces are essential to the success of our students, faculty and staff.”

SB 483 would require universities or colleges to submit five-year capital outlay plans that prioritize seismic retrofitting needed to reduce seismic hazards in buildings identified as high priority.

David Lopez, president of the California State Student Association, said the legislation addresses the issues about needed classroom repairs that students have been talking about for years.

“We keep hearing stories of students in classrooms that need major repair,” Lopez said. “Buildings that need to be closed for safety reasons. Our campus infrastructure needs have never been greater than they are today.”

Spending choices will emerge through recommendations from governing boards for both CSU and UC systems and will be reviewed in public hearings during the legislative process, Glazer said.

“The state has failed to provide the funds needed for public higher education faculty, student services and infrastructure,” said Mel Levine, Co-chair of the California Coalition for Public Higher Education. “We can’t take in more California students without restoring and improving our classrooms and labs.”

Last November, voters approved Proposition 51, a $9 billion education facilities bond, but did not include any money for the CSU or UC.

“This measure provides important financial backing for critical upgrades to our libraries and classrooms on college campuses,” Glazer added. “And I believe voters should be given a chance to continue the proud legacy of supporting our universities and colleges.”

A December 2016 survey on higher education by Public Policy Institute of California showed broad support – 65 percent – for higher education construction projects. It represented an 11 percentage point increase in support since December, 2014 and was the highest level of support since PPIC first began asking the question in 2007.

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New bill to combat understaffing in California dialysis clinics, including 15 in Contra Costa, three in Antioch

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

By Sean Wherley

State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) introduced legislation, on Wednesday, to improve staffing at more than 550 dialysis clinics in California.

SB 349, the Dialysis Patient Safety Act, would mandate annual inspections of dialysis clinics and safer staffing levels. Current law requires inspections of dialysis clinics every six years, while nursing homes in California must be inspected every year, and hospitals every two years.

This legislation would affect 15 dialysis clinics in Contra Costa County: three each in Antioch and Walnut Creek; two each in Pittsburg and San Pablo; and one each in Brentwood, Concord, El Cerrito, Pleasant Hill and Richmond.

“Dialysis patients are grandparents, children and siblings not numbers on a balance sheet,” said Lara. “It’s time to fix the dialysis industry and improve patient care for the more than 63,000 Californians who rely on this life-saving treatment in clinics daily.”

Dialysis is necessary for people with kidney failure, who must have their blood removed, cleaned, and put back into their bodies. A typical treatment lasts three hours, and must be conducted three days a week for the rest of the patient’s life.

The two largest dialysis corporations – DaVita and Fresenius – make $2.9 billion a year in profits from their dialysis operations in the United States, but workers say the companies pocket the money rather than improve patient care or provide adequate staffing in their clinics.

Dialysis workers regularly report staffing levels so low that it threatens patient care. One worker cited an incident last March at a dialysis clinic in Anaheim, Calif. in which a patient collapsed in the parking lot. The worker said it could have been prevented if more staff were onsite at the time. Seven states already have minimum staffing levels in dialysis clinics: Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

Dialysis workers in California have been organizing into a union, SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), for safer working conditions and stronger worker and patient protections. To learn more about the campaign, visit

Wherley is the Media Relations Specialist with SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West.

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