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Former Assemblywoman Lynne Leach endorses Hardcastle for Supervisor

Thursday, February 11th, 2016
Lynne Leach

Lynne Leach

Today, candidate for County Supervisor in District 3, Doug Hardcastle announced he has received the endorsement of former State Assemblywoman Lynne Leach.

While in the Assembly for six years, Leach represented almost all of what makes up District 3, including the East County communities of Oakley, Brentwood, Discovery Bay, Bethel Island, Knightsen, Byron and parts of Antioch, as well as Blackhawk, Diablo and Camino Tassajara, in the San Ramon Valley portion of the Supervisor district.

“What impressed me about Doug is that he has taken so many of the necessary steps, both as a member of the Ironhouse Satinary District Board and Oakley City Council, and is now well prepared to be a member of the Board of Supervisors,” said Leach. “Plus, his small business experience and community service, it just makes a lot of sense.”

“He is one of the best, well-rounded candidates you could imagine,” she added. “That’s why I’m supporting him for County Supervisor.”

A leader in the Assembly, Leach served as Vice Chair of the Assembly Education Committee in her second and third terms. She also served on a variety of committees, including Transportation, Insurance, Business and Professions, Jobs and Economic Development, Aging and Long Term Care, Joint Legislative Audit and the Master Plan for California Education (Kindergarten through Higher Education).

“I appreciate Lynne’s endorsement, and her time and counsel in my campaign,” Hardcastle said. “Plus, her great experience serving the same communities that I will be serving as Supervisor.”

Doug Hardcastle was elected to the Oakley City Council in 2012 and recently completed a year as Mayor. From 2000 to 2012 he served as a Director on the Ironhouse Sanitary District Board, for which he served as President in 2010-2011. He currently serves on both the Transplan Committee and the Tri Delta Transit Board of Directors. Doug and his wife Lyn own Hardcastle’s RV in Oakley and have for over 40 years. Doug was selected Oakley Business Person of the Year in 2006. He’s a life-long resident of Contra Costa County. For more information visit www.doughardcastle.com and follow the Hardcastle campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @doughardcastle.

Supervisor District 3 includes Oakley, Brentwood, Discovery Bay, Blackhawk, Diablo, Camino Tassajara, Bethel Island, Byron, Knightsen and a portion of Antioch. The election is on June 7, 2016.

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Brentwood Councilman Steve Barr is sixth candidate to enter race for District 3 Supervisor

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016
Steve Barr, courtesy City of Brentwood

Steve Barr, courtesy City of Brentwood

Today, Wednesday, February 10, 2016, Brentwood Councilmember Steve Barr announced his intent to run for Contra Costa County Supervisor District 3.

“After careful consideration I have decided to seek the office of Supervisor and represent the residents of Far East County and the communities of Blackhawk and Diablo,” Barr said. “I feel it is the right time for me to use the experience I have gained serving the Brentwood residents for the last five years on the city council and make a positive contribution to the Board of Supervisors on behalf of District 3 residents.”

In 2005 Steve was appointed to the Liberty Union High School District Board of directors and was elected to the board in 2006. He served as President of the Board in 2008 and completed his term on the school board in 2010.

Steve was elected to the Brentwood City Council in 2010 and served as Vice-Mayor in 2011 and 2012. In 2012 he ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of Brentwood against Bob Taylor. In 2014 Barr was re-elected to the council in an uncontested election.

While on the City Council he has served on the following city committees: Operating and Capital improvement Budgets, 10 Year Fiscal Model Plan, Downtown Specific Plan, General Plan Implementation, Sewer/Water/Solid Waste rates, School Inter-agency Council, and Land Use and Development.

He was appointed to the East Contra Costa Fire District Board of Directors in 2011 – 2014 and was recently reappointed in 2016.

Steve has been active in the Brentwood community in various roles including coaching youth sports, soccer, CYO basketball and Pony baseball, has chaired community events such as the 1996 Brentwood Cornfest, the 2014 Harvest Time Festival and co-chaired the Brentwood Art Wine and Jazz Festival for three years. He served as President of the Liberty High School Athletic Boosters and Liberty High School site council from 2002- 2005.

Steve is a third generation Contra Costan and lived in Pleasant Hill from 1956 to 1978, Martinez from 1978 to 1981 and in Brentwood since 1981. He has been a licensed contractor for 35 years specializing in structural concrete and custom pools, and currently is providing contracted construction management services for a processing plant in Ripon California.

Steve and his wife Kathy have lived in Brentwood for 35 years. They have a daughter Kristin age 32 of Yuba City and son Paul age 29 of Walnut Creek.

This brings the number of candidates for County Supervisor in District 3 to six, including Oakley City Council Doug Hardcastle, NAACP East County Branch President Odessa Lefrancois, East Bay Regional Parks District Board Member Diane Burgis, Antioch Mayor Wade Harper and Antioch Councilwoman Monica Wilson.  The Primary Election is on June 7th and if no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the top two candidates with the most votes will face off in the General Election in November.

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Highway 4 construction lane closures, Feb. 8-12, 2016

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

State Route 4:

There will be highway lane closures in the westbound direction of State Route 4 between Railroad Avenue and Contra Loma on Monday through Friday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.

There will be highway lane closures in the westbound direction of State Route 4 between State Route 160 and Laurel Road on Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 pm to 4:00 am.

There will be highway lane closures in the westbound direction of State Route 4 between State Route 160 and Hillcrest Ave. on Wednesday and Thursday from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am and on Saturday morning from 12:00 am to 5:00 am.

There will be highway lane closures in the eastbound direction of State Route 4 between Bailey Road and Contra Loma on Monday through Friday from 4:30 am to 12:00 pm.

There will be highway lane closures in the eastbound direction of State Route 4 between Laurel Road and State Route 160 on Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am.

There will be highway lane closures in the eastbound direction of State Route 4 between A Street/Lone Tree Way and State Route 160 on Tuesday through Friday from 11:00 pm to 5:00 am.

State Route 160:

There will be lane closures in the northbound direction of State Route 160 between State Route 4/State Route 160 connector ramp and Main Street on Tuesday through Friday from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm.

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Shopping cart ordinance, card room initiative, first gated community, honor for city’s first African American resident, on Council agenda, Tuesday

Friday, February 5th, 2016

By Allen Payton

As part of February’s Black History Month, the Antioch City Council will recognize the first African American to live in Antioch, back in the 1800’s, Thomas Gaines.

Council is asked to approve a proposed resolution to declare February 9, 2016 as “Thomas Gaines Day” in Antioch

The resolution states “In the 1860’s an emancipated slave named Thomas Gaines came to Antioch and worked as a laborer on the Antioch docks; and…was the only African American resident of Antioch between 1860 and the 1940’s; and…He lived in a red brick shack on the waterfront in the back of the Antioch Lumber Company; and…On February 28, 1875, Thomas Gaines became a member of the First Congregational Church by profession of faith; and…Thomas Gaines was highly regarded around town for his noble work and his caring attention towards others – he regularly walked women and children home from church for safety…”

According to the First Congregational Church of Antioch’s 150th anniversary website page, from last year, Gaines “was the only African-American allowed to live in Antioch, and he lived in a red brick shack on the waterfront in back of the Antioch Lumber Company. The shack was formerly part of the Joost Distillery.”

City’s First Gated Community

Also on the agenda for council approval will be the Vineyards at Sand Creek, a proposed 641-home, gated community on the most southeastern side of Antioch, by Blackhawk-Nunn. The partnership is the same one that built the Apple Hill Estates development, Brentwood’s first gated community. The new homes are projected to be in the $500,000 to $600,000 range and will each pay an annual fee for more police. If approved, the project will be the first gated, single-family home community in Antioch.

Shopping Cart Ordinance

The Council will also consider a new shopping cart ordinance that “requires that all operators of business that offer shopping carts install an identification plaque that identifies the cart owner and states that it is unlawful to remove the cart from the premises…and contain the telephone number and address of cart owner.”

It also allows a City official who discovers a cart two options. They can either inform the cart owner and “notify them of the location of the shopping cart” and give “three business days to retrieve the cart.” Or, “the City official could impound the cart, contact the owner” and give them three business days to retrieve it from the City.

If they don’t retrieve it within that time, then the business “will be subject to impound and storage fees.” The fine is to be determined, later, to give businesses “an education period while the program begins.”

The ordinance further states “Repeat offenders who have three violations in a six-month period, may also be subject to a $50 fine for each occurrence.”

The proposed ordinance is modeled after one adopted by the City of Oakley.

Card Room Initiative

A privately funded initiative to limit the number of card rooms in Antioch to two and expansion of the current one, and require voter approval for any changes, has obtained the necessary votes to be placed on the ballot. The City Council can decide to either pass it, at Tuesday’s meeting, or allow it to go to the June ballot. However, if it goes to the ballot, the initiative will cost the City’s General Fund between $132,771 and $177,028, according to City Clerk Arne Simonsen.

The effort is being funded by the California Grand Casino in Pacheco to limit competition and led by Antioch residents Lamar Thorpe, a member of the Antioch Economic Development Commission and unsuccessful candidate for the Antioch City Council in 2012, and his wife Patrice Guillory.

The Council previously voted to reduce the number of allowable card rooms in Antioch from five to two, but currently there is only one operating in town.

The city staff report on the item reads as follows:

It is our understanding that the initiative is sponsored/supported by the card room industry and certainly has the intended purpose of: 1) maintaining the status quo for the existing one card room; and 2) making it difficult to allow new or enlarged card rooms. These two factors would benefit the existing local card room as well as other existing card rooms within the trade area, which includes Pacheco and Livermore.

The limitation of card rooms to the status quo may be something that a majority of voters would support. There was widespread community opposition to a proposed Indian Casino in town several years ago and the idea was dropped.

Additionally, there is no apparent organized opposition to the initiative, but the initiative supporters could be expected to campaign in support of it. Thus with expected vigorous campaigning for the measure and little or no expected opposition, the measure could easily pass (only a majority vote is required).

These factors argue in favor of having the Council simply adopt the ordinance without amendment Reconfigured Ordinance, 1 Attachment #4. State law speaks in terms of the Council “adopting” such measures, so there is no introduction with reading waived step in the process, as would be typical.

However, adopting the ordinance would eliminate the City’s option in the future of trying to attract, or acting on an application, for a new or enlarged card room. If the City Council wishes to keep open the option of entertaining a new or larger card room in the future, and believes that such option is worth the expense of the election, then the Council should reject the idea of adopting the ordinance and it should call the election.

Also, it should be noted that if Council adopts the ordinance, it cannot be amended in the future without approval of the voters. The same rule applies if the measure is submitted to the voters and passes, i.e. the City Council cannot subsequently amend it without further voter approval.

The Antioch City Council meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, located between West 2nd and 3rd Streets at H Street in downtown. It can be viewed on Comcast local cable channel 24 or AT&T Uverse channel 99, or via live stream on the Council meeting page on the City’s website.

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UPDATE: Highway 4 construction lane closures and info, for week of Jan. 30-Feb 5, 2016

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

LOCAL STREET CLOSURES:

There will be lane closures in the northbound and southbound directions of A Street/ Lone Tree Way between the State Route 4 on and off ramps on Thursday and Friday evening from 7:00 pm to 6:00 am.

HIGHWAY LANE CLOSURES:

State Route 4:

There will be highway lane closures in the westbound direction of State Route 4 between Railroad Avenue and Contra Loma on Monday through Friday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.

There will be highway lane closures in the eastbound direction of State Route 4 between Bailey Road and Contra Loma on Monday through Friday from 4:30 am to 12:00 pm.

For questions or comments please send e-mail to info@4eastcounty.org.

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County Animal Services temporarily ceases acceptance of owner surrendered animals

Monday, February 1st, 2016

County shelters experiencing overcrowding due to increased owner surrenders, department developing intervention program to support families in keeping animals in their homes

Effective Wednesday, February 3rd, Contra Costa County Animals Services Department (CCCASD) will be temporarily ceasing the acceptance of owner surrendered animals at their shelters in Martinez and Pinole due to the volume of animals at both facilities. Certain exceptions to this temporary freeze will be made for animals that are injured, unhealthy, under twelve weeks of age, or as otherwise required by law. The agency has also indefinitely closed its night deposit boxes for animals that are surrendered during hours that the department is closed to the public.

“Surrendering an animal to the shelter should be a last resort,” says Beth Ward, Contra Costa County Animal Services’ Director.  “High owner surrender rates leads to overpopulation in our shelters, which increases the possibilities that animals will get disease and/or experience behavior problems. Properly managing shelter inventory and the health of the pets in our care improves the chances of finding homes for the animals in our care.”

CCCASD expects this temporary freeze on accepting owner surrendered animals to be in effect for roughly a month, during which time the department will be developing an intervention program to help support families in keeping their animals in their homes. During this period, CCCASD will continue to receive and impound animals that are sick, injured or abandoned, as well as strays and animals that are confiscated as a result of active investigations or impounded by other law enforcement agencies in Contra Costa County.

Families in need can email asdweb@asd.cccounty.us or call (925) 335-8300 to determine if CCCASD can accept their pet. There is a fee of $50.00 for unlicensed animals surrendered by their owners. The fee for surrendering a licensed animal is $30.00.

County residents can visit www.ccasd.org to view a list of online resources to support them in keeping their pets.

To adopt a pet, call them at (925) 335-8300 or visit the shelter at 4800 Imhoff Place in Martinez.

Contra Costa Animal Services is the largest animal welfare organization in Contra Costa County. The department operates two shelters, in Martinez and Pinole, where they provide high-quality animal care services, shelter homeless, abandoned and lost animals, place animals in safe, caring homes, and provide education and services to enhance the lives of people and their animal companions. Additionally, the department’s Field Services Division plays a crucial role in protecting the health and safety of all people and animals in our community through enforcement of state and laws, protecting the public from animal injury and working to prevent animal cruelty, abuse and neglect.

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Antioch Council votes for possible new restaurant at Humphrey’s, agrees to deal with roosters, hears report of reduction in serious crime

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

By Nick Goodrich

During its regular meeting on Tuesday, January 26th, the Antioch City Council voted 5-0 to approve a letter of intent to lease the Humphrey’s restaurant location. Taking Humphrey’s place will be an Everett & Jones restaurant, the family owned barbeque place that has been a favorite in Oakland since its founding in 1973.

If the lease is approved by the Council, the former Humphrey’s site in Antioch will become Everett & Jones’ fourth location, with other restaurants in Berkeley and Hayward in addition to the original in Oakland. Dorothy King, daughter of the original founder Dorothy Everett, and Len Turner of Turner Construction Group were on hand to accept the resolution from City Council.

“It is such an honor to even have the opportunity to accept this offer,” said King, who went on to give an account of the original restaurant’s founding and the hardships it entailed.

“We think it’s a diamond in the rough. We think it’s beautiful,” Turner said.

City Manager Steve Duran was excited to announce Antioch’s intent to lease the building to Everett and Jones.

“We wanted someone that was a regional draw, with a background in the restaurant business, and a proven track record of success,” he said.

Mayor Wade Harper stated that Antioch has searched for an anchor location to draw more business and enthusiasm to the downtown area, which many residents have been less than impressed with in recent years. He believes that Everett & Jones is a great fit, and later revealed that he is a huge fan of their acclaimed barbeque sauce.

“I buy it at the store, the hot, medium, and mild, all of it,” he said with a laugh.

While the letter of intent is not an official lease to the restaurant chain, it states that the city intends to do so, and the formal lease will be presented at the next Council meeting on February 9th.

Annual Police Chief Report: Violent Crime Down

Earlier in the meeting, Police Chief Allan Cantando made another appearance before Council to present the Police Statistics for 2015. Cantando noted that from the years 2014 to 2015, Antioch experienced an increase of arrests but a 9.2% decrease in violent crime, a trend that has been observed in Antioch for the past several years.

Cantando attributed the increased effectiveness of the APD to both assistance from nearby law enforcement agencies and a surge in Antioch police staffing, and both he and the City Council commended the continued dedication and hard work of the Antioch police officers in making the city a safer place to live.

He also brought attention to the 33 hires the APD has made since November of last year, a number he was certain that not many other police agencies had been able to meet – due to retirements, terminations, and other factors, the net change in staffing resulted in nine additional sworn officers.

Council Addresses Noisy Rooster Complaints

In 2014, the City of Antioch annexed land from Contra Costa County in a bid to incorporate the industrial park on its northeast border. However, the County mandated that such an annexation would have to include the residential area around Vine Lane, Viera Avenue, Walnut Avenue, and Bown Lane—the same area in which Jaycee Lee Dugard was held captive for 18 years.

Since even before the annexation, residents in the area have been dealing with an over-population of wild roosters and hens, and complaints about the birds have been ongoing for several years. But, the County didn’t resolve the issue.

At the meeting on Tuesday, one resident said that an aggressive rooster that entered his backyard could have seriously hurt his infant grandson. Other residents are complaining about the noise and inconvenience the animals present.

Chief Cantando estimates that upwards of 60 or 70 hens and roosters are currently loose in the area, and stated that if nothing is done, they will continue to multiply.

However, no one in the area has yet taken responsibility for the birds, according to city staff. Police officers’ attempts to contact several of the residents about the situation have been met with varying degrees of frustration and hostility, many have told the police that they would not allow officers onto their properties to trap the birds. And Animal Services can’t help get rid of them, as the birds are non-vicious animals and thus don’t fall under their jurisdiction. So, while the city has allotted more than $7,000 to help trap the birds and clean up the area, the city’s hands are tied until residents cooperate with the Police Department.

“When we’ve had animal issues in the past, the community has come together to solve the problem,” said Council Member Mary Rocha, referring to Antioch’s longstanding feral cat population. “But this doesn’t seem like it’s pulling together.”

Council Member Tony Tiscareno and Mayor Pro Tem Lori Ogorchock both volunteered to speak with the homeowners and try to reach a resolution. Harper, noting that many of the area’s residents were against annexation by the City of Antioch in the first place, stated the importance of providing leadership in the community and reaching an understanding that satisfies both the city and the area’s residents.

Follow-Up List of Requested Agenda Items

At the request of Mayor Pro Tem Lori Ogorchock, the City Council reviewed its “Follow-Up List” of items that council members have requested to be placed on a council meeting agenda in the past, but either have not been agendized yet or have not been fully resolved. City policy requires that once items have been requested, the mayor and city manager have six months to include them on an agenda. Yet, several items have remained on the Follow-Up list for six months or more.

Ogorchock, who requested the inclusion of the list on Tuesday’s agenda, stated “We are listening to citizens, and we’re trying to work on these items.”

Mayor Harper noted that while many Antioch residents feel that their concerns are being ignored, the Follow-Up List includes those concerns and helps the Council and city staff, continue to work toward resolving the issues.

One of the items on the list for more than six months was a request for an ordinance to limit the number of smoke shops in the city, requested last February and another is on the donation bins and illegal dumping, requested last April.

Another item, regarding shopping carts, requested last August is expected to be on one of the Council meeting agendas in February.

Commission Appointments

The Council also voted to appoint three Antioch residents to the Planning Commission and Economic Development Commission. Reappointed to the Planning Commission for a second term was Kerry Motts, a lifelong resident of Antioch and Chairman of the commission at the time his application and new member Sedar Husary. The Council also appointed to the Economic Development Commission Robert Kilbourne, who previously served on the Antioch Police Activities League as a member and founder.

Council weighs in on trade treaty

Toward the end of the meeting, the Council discussed a resolution to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement among twelve Pacific Rim countries, including the United States. Harper added the resolution to the agenda, at the request of local unions, stating that the agreement means a loss of jobs in America and could affect Antioch as well.

“I don’t support outsourcing jobs from the community,” he said.

He was joined in his dissent by several steel mill workers and other job-holders in Antioch, who stated that the deal had far-reaching consequences regarding the loss of jobs, from the area.

The Council voted to approve the resolution in a 4-0-1 vote, with Ogorchock abstaining. While she was reluctant to oppose such a resolution, Ogorchock wanted more information on the deal and its meaning for Antioch before proceeding with an affirmative vote. Tiscareno, who worked in the steel business for more than 20 years, felt strongly about the resolution and strongly opposed the TPP trade agreement and voted in favor of the motion.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Oakley Mayor Kevin Romick endorses Hardcastle for County Supervisor

Thursday, January 28th, 2016
Kevin Romick, Mayor of Oakley

Kevin Romick, Mayor of Oakley

Today, Mayor of Oakley, Kevin Romick endorsed fellow Oakley Council Member and small business owner Doug Hardcastle for County Supervisor in District 3.

“Possessed with the values inherited from his family and those he picked up being a long time Oakley and East Contra Costa resident Doug Hardcastle will bring with him a straight talking, tell it as it is approach to the Board of Supervisors,” Romick stated. “The job requires a commitment to purpose that Doug has demonstrated in his current and previous elected positions.”

“I am sure that Doug will serve the citizens of District III with distinction,” he continued. “I am proud to endorse Doug Hardcastle for Supervisor.”

Romick is the Data Center Manager at USS Posco in Pittsburg where he has worked for nearly 28 years. He serves as a Member of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, and was Oakley Citizen of the Year in 2007.

“I appreciate the support of my colleague on the Oakley City Council, Kevin Romick,” Hardcastle shared. “I’m committed to continuing to work with him on solutions for our county, especially on transportation issues, creating local, well-paying jobs, and the safety and well being of all we represent.”

Romick’s endorsement adds to the growing list of community leaders supporting Doug Hardcastle for County Supervisor.

Doug Hardcastle was elected to the Oakley City Council in 2012 and just completed a year as Mayor. From 2000 to 2012 he served as a Director on the Ironhouse Sanitary District Board, for which he served as President in 2010-2011. He currently serves on both the Transplan Committee and the Tri Delta Transit Board of Directors. Doug and his wife Lyn own Hardcastle’s RV in Oakley. Doug was selected Oakley Business Person of the Year in 2006. He’s a life-long resident of Contra Costa County. For more information visit www.doughardcastle.com.

Supervisor District 3 includes Oakley, Brentwood, Discovery Bay, Blackhawk, Diablo, Camino Tassajara, Bethel Island, Byron, Knightsen and part of Antioch. The election is on June 7, 2016.

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