Archive for the ‘News’ Category

BART offers longer trains for inauguration-related events

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Trump_Inaugural_Logo.svgBART is taking steps to prepare for what are expected to be large crowds for Inauguration-related events in downtown Oakland and San Francisco. Longer trains will be available for riders all day Friday and Saturday.  BART also plans to have a few additional event trains on standby at key locations on Saturday ready to deploy if warranted by the size of the crowds.

Additional employees will be at the ready to assist BART riders during the next few days.  That includes more Station Agents at what are likely to be the busiest stations.  We will have extra technicians at the ready at those stations to make sure our ticket machines are working and to respond to any new elevator or escalator outages.  Also, additional officers and sergeants from the BART Police Department will be working through Saturday to help with crowd control.

Dozens of events are planned for the region starting Thursday night and continuing through Saturday.  We are expecting some our busiest stations to include 12th Street and Lake Merritt in downtown Oakland as well as Civic Center and Embarcadero in San Francisco.

Riders also play an important role in preparing for these busy travel days.  We strongly encourage everyone to either buy roundtrip tickets or use their Clipper cards.  Also, if you see something suspicious at a station, please tell BART police or a station agent.  If you see something say something.

The ceremonies for the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States will begin Friday morning at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time, 8:30 a.m. Paficic.

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Due to storm damage Contra Costa County issues Proclamation of Local Emergency

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Contra Costa County Administrator David Twa on Thursday, January 19, 2017, signed a proclamation of local emergency in response to winter storm damage that has occurred in a variety of locations throughout the unincorporated parts of the County. The local emergency declaration will be presented to the Board of Supervisors for ratification in a special meeting scheduled for Thursday, January 26, at 8:30 a.m. The emergency status enables the County to be eligible for disaster relief funding that might be available in the future.

The strong series of storms has led to widespread flooding, mudslides, sinkholes and damage to public buildings, flood control facilities and roadways. Notably, Alhambra Valley Road remains closed between Bear Creek and Castro Ranch Roads. Signs and message boards remain in place to alert drivers; there is no estimate yet on a date for reopening Alhambra Valley Road.

Morgan Territory Road remains open only to local traffic between Marsh Creek and Manning Roads, with the goal of reopening entirely next week.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Some county roads reopened, Morgan Territory Road anticipated to reopen next week

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Contra Costa County has reopened the following roads:

  • Marsh Creek Road between the Clayton city limits and Deer Valley Road
  • McEwen Road between Highway 4 and Carquinez Scenic Drive

The following road is open to local traffic only:

  • Morgan Territory Road between Marsh Creek Road and Manning Road is anticipated to reopen the week of January 23-30

The closures were required due to mudslides and flooding concerns. The amount of rain received has saturated the soil which makes it more difficult to remove the mudslides and clean the roadways. Alhambra Valley Road between Bear Creek Road and Castro Ranch Road is closed indefinitely. Signs and message boards will alert drivers of the closure. There is not an estimated timeframe for reopening Alhambra Valley Road at this time. Drivers are encouraged to use the routes on the map below as alternate routes for Alhambra Valley Road.

Alhambra Valley Road Closure

If you’re concerned about flooding at your home or business, it’s not too late to visit one of the free sandbag stations located throughout the county.  Please note that you’ll need to bring a shovel, but bags and sand are available for free.   Find out details regarding County sandbag sites at www.cccounty.us/sandbags.

County Public Works Maintenance road crews maintain the storm drain inlets through a program of annual inspection and cleaning. To report a clogged catch basin or drainage inlet please call the Public Works Maintenance Division at 925-313-7000 during work hours and after hours call Sheriff’s Dispatch at 925-646-2441.

Important phone numbers and webpages:

(925)313-7000 Public Works Maintenance Division- For emergencies during normal business hours

(707)551-4100 California Highway Patrol- For emergencies after hours

(925)646-2441 Contra Costa County Sheriffs Dispatch- For emergencies after hours

http://www.cccounty.us/sandbags   -  Contra Costa County Sand Bag Locations

http://www.cccounty.us/5906/Winter-Storm-Preparedness-Winter Storm Preparedness

http://www.co.contra-costa.ca.us/5895/Flooding-Information-Flood Information

http://www.cccounty.us/332/FEMA-Floodplain-Program- FEMA Floodplain Program

http://www.contracosta.ca.gov/1578/Flood-Forecast-Information-How to Flood Forecast

http://www.co.contra-costa.ca.us/5907/Flood-Preparedness-California Flood Preparedness

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Martinez man shot, crashes car into Antioch house, dies at scene Tuesday night

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017
Police and fire personnel responded to a car crashing into a house on E. 13th Street at Simmons Street, Thursday night, January 17, 2017 Photos by Bill Goldsby.

Police and fire personnel responded to a car crashing into a house at the corner of Simmons and E. 13th Streets, Thursday night, January 17, 2017 Photos by Bill Goldsby

Car crashes into house close up finalBy Allen Payton

According to a neighbor, following a shooting, a driver crashed a car into a house on Simmons Street at E. 13th Street, near Hillcrest Avenue in Antioch, Tuesday night about 10:30 p.m.

“I hear it was a possible drug deal gone bad at E. 13th and Hillcrest,” said Bill Goldsby, who lives three houses from the scene of the accident.

He believes the driver died as a result of the collision, which resulted in minor damage to the house and shrubs.

Asked if it was a police chase, Goldsby responded, “No. From what I have heard, the driver was selling drugs when someone started chasing them, shot at him, he lost control and then hit the house.”

12:15 AM Update: “Right now City of Antioch crews just brought out the auxiliary lights to light up the area,” Goldsby said via Facebook messenger. “VIPS (Volunteers In Police Service) are manning the road blocks right now.”

12:50 AM Update from Lieutenant D. Bittner #3252, of the Antioch Police Field Services Bureau: On January 17, 2017 at approximately 9:38 p.m., Antioch Police Officers were dispatched to the area of E. 13th Street near Simmons Street on the report of a vehicle collision involving a vehicle into a residence.

When officers arrived at the scene they discovered that the driver of the vehicle was suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. The victim, a 27-year-old Martinez man, died at the scene. The occupants of the residence struck by the vehicle were uninjured.

Antioch Police Investigators were called to the scene and are in the early stages of the investigation. No further information will be released at this time. Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call Detective Eric McManus with the Antioch Police Department at (925) 779-6940. You may also text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH.

This is the first homicide in Antioch of the new year.

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Supervisor Burgis announces committee, board and commission assignments

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Last Tuesday, January 10, 2017, County Supervisor Diane Burgis was officially sworn into office, representing District III on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. The district includes most of Antioch, and all of Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Bethel Island, Byron and Knightsen in East County, as well as Blackhawk, Diablo and Camino Tassajara in the San Ramon Valley.

“It’s truly an honor to have earned the trust and confidence of the voters of District Three,” said Supervisor Diane Burgis. “I’m excited to follow in the footsteps of East County’s loyal advocate, Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho, and to work hard for my constituents defending the Delta, improving public safety and strengthening our local economy.”

During last Tuesday’s meeting each board was also appointed to various county committee and regional boards and commissions. Supervisor Burgis was appointed to the following posts:

Chair:

• Transportation, Water and Infrastructure Committee

Vice Chair:

• Airport Committee

• East County Transportation Planning (TRANSPLAN)

• Internal Operations Committee

• Legislation Committee

• Open Space/Parks & East Bay Regional Parks District Liaison Committee

• State Route 4 Bypass Authority

Commissioner:

• Delta Protection Commission

Director:

• Tri Delta Transit Authority Board

Member:

• California Identification System Remote Access Network Board

• City-County Relations Committee

• Dougherty Valley Oversight Committee

• East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy Governing Board

• East Contra Costa Regional Fee & Finance Authority

• East County Water Management Association

• eBART Partnership Policy Advisory Committee

• Northern Waterfront Economic Development Ad Hoc Committee

Alternate Member:

• Association of Bay Area Counties Executive Board

• Contra Costa Transportation Authority Board

• Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO)

• Mental Health Commission

• Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy Board

In her first term, Diane’s policy priorities include:

• Transportation infrastructure improvements and expansion

• Responsible stewardship of natural resources, open space and the Delta

• Preservation and revitalization of the county’s agricultural core

• Faster police, fire and emergency response times

• Efficient and effective delivery of county services

Prior to her election as a County Supervisor, Diane was the Executive Director of Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed and also served as:

• Ward 7 Director of the East Bay Regional Park District

• Oakley City Councilmember

• Delta Protection Commission Member

• Association of Bay Area Governments Regional Planning Committee Member

Click here for additional information about the office of Supervisor Diane Burgis.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

$1M of Measure C funds spent on administration, not more police

Monday, January 16th, 2017

Antioch Council to continue spending same amount, but not from police budget

By Dave Roberts

When 68% of Antioch voters approved the Measure C half-cent sales tax hike in 2013, the ballot measure said the money would be used to hire 22 more police, plus code enforcement officers as well as help economic development and job creation. The ballot wording didn’t mention that the money would also be used for city government administration, but that’s where more than $1 million of Measure C funds is being spent.

The sales tax had raised $13.3 million as of June 30, 2016. This has provided for the hiring of nine additional police officers and filling more than a half-dozen community service officer and code enforcement positions.

But not all of that money is devoted to public safety salaries and benefits. About 8% goes to what the city budget refers to as “internal services.” Nearly half of internal services revenue goes to the city finance department to provide payroll, accounting and purchasing services. The rest is divided among other city departments, including the city manager, attorney, clerk, human resources, city council and facilities maintenance.

The share of Measure C money going to administrative overhead for the police department has increased from 7.1% two years ago to 8.5% last year and 8% in the current fiscal year. Citywide the percentage budgeted for internal services has grown from 5.6% in 2012 to 6.3% from 2013-15 to 7.8% in 2016 and to 8.1% in 2017. The percentages are based on a formula in the city’s Cost Allocation Plan, which was adopted in 2005, and the growth in the internal services departments.

The increased cost of administration, particularly paid for with Measure C funds, created concerns at last week’s City Council meeting. Sal Sbranti, a former member of the Measure C Citizens Oversight Committee, acknowledged to the council that Measure C funds can be used for administration, but he questioned whether city administrators are taking advantage of the increased sales tax funding for public safety to beef up their own departments.

“The question deserves to be asked as to why this [administrative] allocation continues to rise at such a rate,” he said. “Every year the amount going to citywide administration goes up regardless of whether it meets Measure C guidelines or not. The committee formal report stated that due to the way the city budgets the police department for Measure C, the committee has some concerns as to whether all Measure C monies are being properly utilized to meet the objective of this measure.

“We the citizens of Antioch voted for Measure C to reduce crime, increase code enforcement, reduce 911 response times and to minimize blight. What do we get? More money spent on HR, city manager’s office, city council, city attorney – just amazing. In the last six years citywide administration has gone from $1.44 million to $3.152 million. That’s you guys approving a budget. You approved them to double their budget in six years. In the same period of time the police department only went up 52%. So who’s putting the control on citywide administration, HR, all those functions?

“Measure C is to take care of the crime in the city of Antioch. If we continue to spend money on HR, finance, the attorney and other citywide administration, at the end of the Measure C sunset [in 2021] we’ll not have the money to continue with the number of police that we have. They should not be taking Measure C money to do this. That was not what the City Council told us they were going to do. That is not what we voted on.”

Sbranti’s concerns were shared by several council members.

“I understand the Cost Allocation Plan, I understand the purpose of it,” said Mayor Sean Wright. “As somebody who worked on Measure C to help get it passed, I also understand the consternation of watching Measure C money get spent on other sources that are not helping to directly improve the safety of our community.”

Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, who had asked that the issue be placed on the council agenda, shared the mayor’s understandings and suggested two budgeting options.

“I asked for Measure C just to go toward these officers,” she said, “and the other one was to just flat out remove the Measure C cost allocation of the citywide administration fee. Or to keep doing it the way we’ve been doing it. I do trust that [city administrators are] doing it correctly and that the percentage has not changed. I understand the math where if the funds go up, the amount is going to go up. It does make sense. I do understand what people are saying the [administration] funds should not come out of Measure C funds. I have agreed with that.”

Also concerned was Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe who questioned why administrative costs had risen so much when the police department only had a net increase of less than a dozen police officers.

City Finance Director Dawn Merchant responded, “The police department has the largest share of employees of any department in the city. So we spend more resources with police department payroll versus other departments. It’s not just payroll. We pay accounts payable invoices, any money they collect we do the billing. There are a wide variety of services that finance does.”

Thorpe was skeptical, asking “For 10 additional people?”

Merchant responded, “It’s not just 10 additional people. It’s in total for the entire police department.”

City Manager Steven Duran jumped in, saying, “It doesn’t matter if there’s 10 additional people or 10 less people. The pie that’s divided is the cost of internal services. And the formula is the Cost Allocation Plan. Whether Measure C ever existed or not, the formula stays the same. So it’s nothing that anybody does except apply the math that’s in the plan. It doesn’t matter how many hires we’ve had.

“I think one of the things that some of the detractors have been emphasizing is how much it went up since 2012. That’s because when there were layoffs and furloughs prior to that, it went down. So, for instance, the city attorney has been sharing half of an administrative person and gone without a legal secretary for several years. In this year we budgeted for a legal secretary, therefore the city attorney’s budget is going up. Therefore every other department that pays internal services, they are going to pay a little more for the city attorney – police department, water, sewer, everyone. The formula doesn’t change, and it doesn’t matter what the other departments are doing or how many they have added.”

Thorpe seemed mollified, but he took exception to Duran’s characterization of the people concerned about Measure C money going to escalating administration.

“I hear you and I hear the point that if they hired no police officers and I guess if they had no additional invoices to process, it would still be the same,” said Thorpe. “I was trying to figure out how the formula [came to be] and who decided the percentage. And you’re telling me that it’s a formula that already exists, so I’m understanding that.

“I just have to point out that these are not detractors, Mr. City Manager. These are residents who have concerns, and they bring those concerns to us. So we have to take those concerns seriously. So if it frustrates you that we ask these questions, I’m sorry. But we are going to ask these questions. So I want to make clear that there are people who have concerns out there. I ask these questions to be open and transparent so that folks understand what the process is.

“So now I understand that there’s a formula. Whether it should be applied to Measure C is a starting point that I would like to discuss. Because that seems to be a concern that residents have.”

To address that concern, Wright made a motion that was unanimously passed by the council to direct Merchant to not include the administrative cost charges in the Measure C budget.

Merchant told the council that the administrative overhead would instead be shown to come out of the general fund budget, but the money being spent on administration in the overall budget would remain the same. “The expenditure is going to be there,” she said. “It’s just whether we say it’s a part of the equation for Measure C.”

Councilman Tony Tiscareno echoed Merchant, saying, “I want to make it clear that the public needs to know that there isn’t going to be a difference in cost allocation. It’s going to be the same. It’s coming from one column to another column. The reason I didn’t question the Measure C cost allocation at the time is because it was transparent to me, I saw firsthand where the money was going, knowing the money was being spent like it was supposed to be spent. We wanted to use it for hiring police and code enforcement. And I think we’ve done so.

“But we need to be transparent about all our expenditures where the money goes. This just makes it a little simpler for me to view it. But for folks that believe that this may help extend Measure C, I’ll play. But it’s still money being spent that has to be spent.”

The council is scheduled to begin reviewing the 2017-19 budget in April and to adopt it by July.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Two closed roads in county reopened Friday afternoon, one closed indefinitely

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Road damage

Alhambra Valley Road between Bear Creek and Castro Ranch Roads closed indefinitely

Contra Costa County reopened Marsh Creek Road between the Clayton city limits and Deer Valley Road today. The following roads are open to local traffic only:

  • ·Morgan Territory Road between Marsh Creek Road and Manning Road (anticipated to reopen the week of January 23)
  • ·McEwen Road between Highway 4 and Carquinez Scenic Drive (anticipated to reopen this weekend on either January 21 or 22)

The closures were required due to mudslides and flooding concerns. The amount of rain received has saturated the soil which makes it more difficult to remove the mudslides and clean the roadways. Alhambra Valley Road between Bear Creek Road and Castro Ranch Road is closed indefinitely. Signs and message boards will alert drivers of the closure. There is not an estimated timeframe for reopening Alhambra Valley Road at this time. Drivers are encouraged to use the routes on the map below as alternate routes for Alhambra Valley Road.

Alhambra Valley Road Closure

If you’re concerned about flooding at your home or business, it’s not too late to visit one of the free sandbag stations located throughout the county. Please note that you’ll need to bring a shovel, but bags and sand are available for free. Find out details regarding County sandbag sites at www.cccounty.us/sandbags.

County Public Works Maintenance road crews maintain the storm drain inlets through a program of annual inspection and cleaning. To report a clogged catch basin or drainage inlet please call the Public Works Maintenance Division at 925‐313‐7000 during work hours and after hours call Sheriff’s Dispatch at 925‐646‐2441.

Important phone numbers and webpages:

(925) 313-7000 Public Works Maintenance Division- For emergencies during normal business hours

(707) 551-4100 California Highway Patrol- For emergencies after hours

(925) 646-2441 Contra Costa County Sheriffs Dispatch- For emergencies after hours

http://www.cccounty.us/sandbags   -  Contra Costa County Sand Bag Locations

http://www.cccounty.us/5906/Winter-Storm-Preparedness-Winter Storm Preparedness

http://www.co.contra-costa.ca.us/5895/Flooding-Information-Flood Information

http://www.cccounty.us/332/FEMA-Floodplain-Program- FEMA Floodplain Program

http://www.contracosta.ca.gov/1578/Flood-Forecast-Information-How to Flood Forecast

http://www.co.contra-costa.ca.us/5907/Flood-Preparedness-California Flood Preparedness

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Rep. DeSaulnier to boycott Trump’s Inauguration

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Mark_DeSaulnier.jpegWashington, DC – On Friday, January 13, 2017, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA11) announced that he will not attend the Inauguration of President-elect Donald J. Trump, one week from today.

“The peaceful transition of power from one administration to the next is a uniquely American tradition that defines our democracy. Inaugurations are a time for our Presidents to ignite hope, demonstrate humility, and espouse faithfulness to the principles enumerated in the Constitution. The President-elect has yet to demonstrate these traits, and it is with a heavy heart and deep personal conviction that I have decided not to attend the Inauguration on January 20, 2017,” said DeSaulnier.

“Having watched, listened, and waited during this transition period, I was hopeful the President-elect would turn away from the divisive and contentious behavior exhibited during the campaign and embrace a message to unify all Americans. Sadly, we have witnessed one polarizing action after another. Since being elected, he has demonstrated hostility toward our free and open press, committed to gutting health insurance for millions of hardworking families, and is filling his cabinet with nominees more closely aligned with Wall Street than Main Street.

“Earlier this week, the President-elect acknowledged, but took no meaningful steps to mitigate his many personal conflicts of interest. The plan he outlined is wholly inadequate and leaves the American public with more questions than answers. It is the duty of the President of the United States to meet the minimum legal and ethical standards outlined in the Constitution. This makes his refusal to follow the precedent set by the last four generations of presidents from both parties gravely concerning.

“As President, the nation will look to him for guidance in times of turmoil and times of plenty. In these moments, the country must have full confidence that his sole focus is on protecting America’s interest – not his own. I believe when he places his hand on the Bible and takes the sacred oath that Presidents Washington and Lincoln did before him, he will in that very moment, be in violation of that oath and the Constitution.

“As a student of American history, I cannot sit idly by and normalize a President who has displayed disregard for our past traditions and Constitution. In this critical period of transition, I am reminded of when Benjamin Franklin exited the Constitutional Convention at its completion and approached a group of citizens, one of whom asked ‘Mr. Franklin, what have you given us?’ to which he replied ‘A republic, if you can keep it.’ On Inauguration Day, I will not be in attendance, but instead preparing to do all I can to keep our republic.”

DeSaulnier represents most of Contra Costa County, including portions of Antioch, in the U.S. House of Representatives. To communicate with the Congressman, contact him through his website at https://desaulnier.house.gov/contact, call his Washington, D.C. office at (202) 225-2095 or District office in Richmond at (510) 620-1000 or his office in Walnut Creek at (925) 933-2660.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter