Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Supervisors appoint nine to 2020 Census Complete Count Steering Committee

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

By Daniel Borsuk

At their meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors appointed nine persons to serve in At-Large seats on the 2020 Census County Complete Count Steering Committee, a committee designed to set goals and objectives to identify community areas or a population group that might be difficult to count.

Appointed to the committee are Fran Biderman of Kensington, Alvaro Fuentes of Richmond, Samuel Houston of Concord, Melody Howe Weintraub of Lafayette, Terry Koehne of San Ramon, Mark Orcutt of Walnut Creek, Andres Orozco of Brentwood and Ali Saidi of Pinole.

District 3 Supervisors Diane Burgis of Brentwood chairs the committee.

Formation of the 2020 Census Complete county Steering Committee will aid the county is securing up to $362,605 in state aid to support the Complete Count campaign.

Supervisors Support Creation of Statewide Commission on Recycling Markets

On a consent action, supervisors called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to create a statewide commission on recycling markets citing the severity of environmental impacts triggered by China’s National Sword, that nation’s strict mixed paper and plastic contamination policy.

Upon noting that China has recently enacted strict mixed paper and plastic contamination limits and import bans, that are commonly called “National Sword,” China has declared its intent to ban all recyclable materials by 2020.

The board’s resolution states:

“Whereas, local governments across California will soon have to comply with additional state regulations for organic waste diversion and processing, SB 1383 (Chapters 395, 2016) establishes targets to achieve a 50 percent reduction in the level of the statewide disposal of organic waste from the 2014 level by 2020 and a 75 percent reduction by 2025.  Infrastructure required to implement these regulations is expected to cost billions of dollars; and

“Whereas, these increased diversion requirements added to recent changes to international policies and a declining global market value for recyclables, has resulted in an issue of statewide concern for the resource recovery industry, local governments, and Californians;

“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Count of Contra Costa calls for the Governor to establish a statewide Commission to address these significant challenges to our recycling markets.”

Victim/Witness Program Post Approved

District Attorney Diana Becton won supervisors’ consent approval to hire a full-time Victim/Witness Assistance Program Specialist in the Human Trafficking unit.  The position will be responsible for advocacy and direct services for victims of human trafficking.  The position’s salary will be $3,992 to $4,853 per month.

Approve $149,869 Payment to Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association

Supervisors also approved the payment of $149,869 to the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA) for services provided to the Contra Costa Clean Water Program during the period July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.  Program funding is provided by the county and 19 cities and towns within Contra Costa County.  Contra Costa County’s share is about $22,500.

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Frazier supports Gov. Newsom’s announcements on high speed rail, Delta Tunnels

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

Assemblyman Jim Frazier

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay), chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, released the following statements on Tuesday after California Gov. Gavin Newsom delivered his first State of the State Address before a joint session of the Legislature.

“Governor Newsom inherited a high-speed rail project that is a mess. He showed he is ready to step up and take the reins as a leader, recognizing there needs to be wholesale changes. I appreciate his realistic and common-sense approach to this project.

The governor also has a soft spot in his heart for the intellectually and developmentally disabled and recognizes that we need to step up our game to better support the special needs community.”

The governor also announced he will appoint a new member to the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors, with the expectation the new appointee will become chair. Frazier responded with the following statement:

“I applaud the decision to appoint Lenny Mendonca to the High-Speed Rail Authority Board with the governor’s intention that Mendonca become chairman. An investigation by State Auditor Elaine Howle revealed a pattern of repeated failures at the Authority, under the direction of current Chairman Dan Richard, with hundreds of millions in cost overruns and a lack of honesty and transparency. That is just one reason I have been advocating for a change in leadership. I have high hopes for Mr. Mendonca to lead the High-Speed Rail Authority to complete the scaled down project the governor outlined in his State of the State Address today. A change of leadership at the HSRA was long overdue.”

Regarding Newsom’s announcement on scaling back the twin Delta tunnels to a single tunnel project, Frazier, whose district encompasses a large portion of the Delta, issued the following statement:

“I’m grateful Governor Newsom has been willing to listen to local stakeholders in the battle for the future of the Delta. His unequivocal denunciation of the twin tunnels project is a step in the right direction. I look forward to working with the governor to convince him there are alternative water delivery solutions that are economical and can be delivered in a timely manner, nullifying the need for even a single tunnel.”

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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Antioch man arrested after stolen truck slams into Antioch house following police chase on Sunday night

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

By Lt. Tarra Mendes, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019 at approximately 11:33 PM, an Antioch Police Officer spotted a white Ford F250 and determined that the plates attached to it did not belong to that vehicle. The officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle. The driver fled, leading officers on a vehicle pursuit. The driver ultimately lost control of the vehicle crashed into a residence on Golden Bear Drive.

While attempting to take the suspect into custody, identified as 53-year-old Mark Dickinson of Antioch, he resisted and a police service dog assisted in taking him into custody. The vehicle was determined to be stolen out of Concord. No residents were injured as a result of the collision. The case is still currently under investigation.

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

See video by NBC Bay Area News, here.

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Antioch man found guilty of attempted murder of two Antioch Police Officers

Friday, February 8th, 2019

Mario Serrano. Herald file photo.

Shot one officer in the head

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

On February 6, a Contra Costa County jury found defendant Mario Serrano of Antioch guilty of 13 counts, including the attempted murder of two Antioch Police Department officers, Thomas Smith and Scott Duggar. Serrano used a stolen shotgun to fire at police officers after a high-speed chase on May 4, 2016. Officer Thomas Smith was shot in the head with birdshot as a result of Serrano’s actions. The jury found multiple enhancements true against Serrano, including that he was armed with a firearm and the intentional discharge of a firearm. The jury also determined that Serrano’s attempted murder of the Antioch officers was premeditated. (See related article).

Serrano now faces a possible life term in state prison. Sentencing will occur on April 12, 2019 in front of the Honorable Nancy Davis – Department 20 of the Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez. Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Kevin Bell prosecuted the case on behalf of the People. The case originated in the Office’s Community Violence Reduction Unit.

“I am thankful that defendant Serrano has been held accountable for his actions. He endangered the lives of many innocent civilians simply because he believed that his girlfriend was cheating on him. I also commend Officer Smith and Officer Duggar, whose bravery put an end to the defendant’s incredibly violent and senseless crime spree,” stated Deputy District Attorney Kevin Bell.

Serrano’s illegal activity started on May 2, 2016. He parked his car in the drive thru of a McDonald’s in Antioch to annoy his girlfriend who worked at that location. He later returned to the McDonald’s to smash the glass front doors with a lug wrench. After he left McDonald’s he went to the Mt. Diablo Landscape Center on the Pittsburg Antioch Highway where he doused his girlfriend’s car in gasoline and set the car on fire.

Between May 2 and May 4, Serrano broke into a house in Clayton off Marsh Creek Road. The residents were not home at the time. He ransacked the house and stole their shotgun and truck.

On May 4, 2016, in the early morning, Serrano drove the stolen truck and fired four shots at the same McDonald’s. One of the shot’s was fired into the Children’s Playland – no children were inside at the time of the shooting.

He fled the scene and drove to a residence in Pittsburg. He used the same shotgun to fire a shot through the window. Later that day Serrano carjacked a group of high school students and took a vehicle on Cummings Skyway and Franklin Canyon Road near Crockett.

Upon driving back to Antioch in the stolen car, police located the vehicle and began a pursuit. The pursuit continued into Pittsburg as Serrano fled from the officers. During rush hour traffic, Serrano crashed into a car at the intersection of Loveridge Road and East Leland Road in Pittsburg. After the crash, Serrano exited the vehicle with the shotgun and took a position of cover while he waited for officers to arrive. He began to shoot at the officers upon their arrival to the intersection. Serrano shot Officer Smith in the head with birdshot.

The guilty counts against Serrano found by the jury:

Count 1, Attempted Murder of a Peace Officer

Enhancement 1, Personal and Intentional Discharge of a Firearm

Count 2, Assault with a Firearm Upon a Peace Officer

Enhancement 1, Personal and Intentional Discharge of a Firearm

Count 3, Attempted Murder of a Peace Officer

Enhancement 1, Personal and Intentional Discharge of a Firearm

Count 4, Assault with a Firearm Upon a Peace Officer

Enhancement 1, Personal and Intentional Discharge of a Firearm

Count 5, Vandalism Over $400 in Damage

Count 6, Arson of Property of Another

Count 7, First Degree Residential Burglary

Count 8, Petty Theft Firearm (misdemeanor)

Count 9, Driving or Taking a Vehicle Without Consent

Count 10, Shooting at an Inhabited Dwelling

Count 11, Shooting at an Inhabited Dwelling

Count 12, Carjacking

Enhancement 1, Personal Use of a Firearm

Count 13, Fleeing a Pursuing Peace Officer’s Motor Vehicle While Driving Recklessly

Enhancement 1, Armed with Firearm

Case information: People v. Mario Guadalupe Serrano, Docket Number 05-171324-7

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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’s Cornerstone Christian School Varsity Cheerleaders win 2019 JAMZ National Cheer Competition

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

From City Manager Ron Bernal’s Weekly Update 2/4/19

Cornerstone Christian School’s Varsity Cheerleaders rocked the JAMZ National Cheer Competition on January 27th in Las Vegas, Nevada winning the National Title for their Division.

Cornerstone’s Cheerleaders worked tirelessly for months and it showed in their outstanding performance with zero deductions on their routine.

The following message was posted on the school’s Facebook page congratulating the team:

“Congratulations to the varsity cheerleaders on winning the JAMZ National Championship!!!

We are incredibly proud of all their hard work. The way they do their best and never quit, brings honor to Christ. Great job ladies.

We are so thankful for the coaches that lead this team. Our cheer team is a reflection of your commitment and dedication!

Go Cougars!”

Cornerstone Christian School is located at 1745 E. 18th Street in Antioch. For more information visit www.cornerstonechristianschool.net.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Antioch Friends of Animal Services celebrates 40th anniversary with free adoptions in February

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

Council honors organization and its Founder and President, Barbara Sobalvarro

From Antioch City Manager Ron Bernal’s Weekly Report 2/4/19

In February, Antioch Friends of Animal Services Founder and President, Barbara Sobalvarro, will be celebrating 40 years of lifesaving service to the pets and citizens of Antioch. In honor of this 40th anniversary, and the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday, Antioch Friends of Animal Services will be sponsoring the adoption fees for any animal adopted from Antioch Animal Services during the entire month of February.

In addition, Sobalvarro was honored by the Antioch City Council during their meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 5th. See the complete proclamation, below.

The sponsored fee represents a savings of $96 for dogs, $76 for cats, $15 for rabbits and $7 for hamsters/guinea pigs. All pets available for adoption can be viewed online at antioch.petfinder.com or www.petharbor.com.

Please join us, and Antioch FOAS Founder and President, Barbara Sobalvarro, for a Valentine’s Day / 40th Anniversary celebration from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 16, 2019, at the shelter, 300 L Street in Antioch. Refreshments will be served.

To learn more about Antioch Friends of Animal Services and their mission, please visit antiochfriendsofanimalservices.org.

RECOGNIZING EXTRAORDINARY DEDICATION OF ARBARA SOBALVARRO, PRESIDENT – FRIENDS OF ANIMAL SERVICES AND HONORING HER FOR 40 YEARS OF OUTSTANDING SERVICE Barbara Sobalvarro FOAS Proclamation

WHEREAS, Barbara Sobalvarro was instrumental in the creation and passage of Measure A in 1978 creating a local Animal Control Program in Antioch; and

WHEREAS, Barbara founded Friends of Animal Services (FOAS) in 1979 to ensure the citizens and animals of Antioch have a truly humane, high quality animal shelter that focuses on a “Life Ethic” promoting the placement of the shelter animals into caring and capable homes, thus ending the practice of “elective euthanasia”; and

WHEREAS, FOAS has worked tirelessly to secure outside funding specifically for the shelter animals of Antioch through tax-deductible donations from the public, and as one of four recipients of the Shirley Perry Foundation Charitable Trust; and

WHEREAS, FOAS continually promotes public awareness for the Antioch Animal Shelter, the value of animal life and the importance of spay and neuter through monthly advertisements in the newspaper, via social media, and at community events; and

WHEREAS, FOAS celebrates animal life and their commitment to reverence for life by hosting monthly hospitality days to welcome the public at the Antioch Animal Shelter in order to increase shelter pet adoptions; and

WHEREAS, FOAS sponsors adoption fees at various times throughout the year to relieve overcrowding in the shelter, prevent euthanasia, and to assist new adoptive owners with the expense of adding a new pet into the home; and

WHEREAS, FOAS, in an effort to improve the likelihood for adoption, funds specialized and emergency veterinary care, supplies and equipment that would otherwise be impossible for our shelter animals due to budgetary constraints; and

WHEREAS, FOAS believes in working together to create a better world for our precious animal friends; one in which they are treasured with tenderness and compassion. As Barbara would say, “Seldom does a heart feel better than when you save the life of one of our animal friends.”

NOW, THEREFORE, I, SEAN WRIGHT, Mayor of the City of Antioch, do hereby congratulate Barbara Sobalvarro and the Friends of Animal Services on the occasion of 40 years of outstanding service to the citizens and animals of Antioch.

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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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