Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Police seek shooter who killed teen in Antioch Tuesday afternoon

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

By Acting Sergeant James Colley #4705, Investigations Bureau, Antioch Police Department

On Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at approximately 3:59 pm, Antioch Police Department officers were dispatched to the 100 block of E. 18th Street on the report of a shooting. Upon arrival officers located one juvenile gunshot victim. The victim was located critically wounded and died at the scene. The case is currently under investigation.

This preliminary information is made available by the Investigations Division. Any further information or additional press releases will be provided by the Investigations Bureau.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925)778-2441 or Detective Bledsoe at 925-779-6884. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Televised candidate roundtables for Local Election Preview now available online 24/7 and “On the Air”

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

Photo courtesy of Contra Costa County.

“Lights. Camera. Action!”  Contra Costa voters can now see and hear where local candidates stand on important issues through televised roundtable discussions and forums. Local “Election Preview” offers Contra Costa voters a chance to be educated on candidates and issues before casting their ballots.

Contra Costa County Elections Division partners with the County’s Contra Costa Television (CCTV), the League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley, the League of Women Voters of West Contra Costa and the Contra Costa County Library to provide candidate forum programming for Fall Elections 2018. “Election Preview” shows begin airing this week on TV and online.

“We’re happy to provide this incredible resource that gives voters the opportunity to educate themselves about important issues,” Contra Costa Registrar of Voters Joe Canciamilla said. “Decisions made at the local level have the greatest impact on our daily lives, and without this program, voters likely might not have any other chance to see and hear from these candidates.”

“With the support of the Board of Supervisors, election preview shows on Contra Costa Television continue to be a priority,” said Susan Shiu, Director of the County’s Office of Communications and Media, which oversees CCTV. “We’ve been airing voter education shows since 1996. Now through television and social media channels, voters can have more access to information ahead of the November 6th election.”

This year’s production featured well-known journalists as moderators, including KCBS radio reporters Bob Butler and Doug Sovern, ABC7 News reporter Laura Anthony, KTVU reporters Alex Savidge and Claudine Wong, and former ABC7 News reporter Alan Wang who is a public information officer for Contra Costa County’s Employment and Human Services Department.

As part of the Election Preview partnership, the Contra Costa County Library is hosting Candidate Forums at local libraries that will be streamed live on its Facebook page. For a list of upcoming public forums, go to: https://ccclib.org/pressroom/pressreleases/2018/CandidateForums.jpg

A total of 39 local races and ballot measures will be available for viewing on Contra Costa Television broadcast channels leading up to Election Day. “Election Preview” roundtables and forums can be seen 24/7 on the Contra Costa Television channel on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD1z6XC8_fqZXP3HayI-kQA.

More information about “Election Preview” in Contra Costa County is available on the Elections Division website at www.cocovote.us and the County’s website at www.contracosta.ca.gov.

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East County transient man convicted of felony vehicular manslaughter in 2017 Hwy 4 fatal crash

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

Crash in Pittsburg on Oct. 4, 2017 took life of Discovery Bay woman

On October 2, a Contra Costa County jury found defendant Frank J. Newkirk, a 26-year-old transient, guilty of gross vehicular manslaughter. The victim, Theresa Frazer, was killed on October 4, 2017 during the morning commute on Highway 4 in Pittsburg. Newkirk was driving westbound on Highway 4 in a 2004 Chevy Tahoe in the slow lane when the incident occurred.

Newkirk now faces a sentence of up to six years in state prison. According to the D.A.’s Office Public Information Officer Scott Alonso, “Newkirk was a transient and his last known address according to court documents was Discovery Bay. But he lived all over including Bay Point and may have lived in Antioch at the time of the crash.”

Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Aron DeFerrari prosecuted the case behalf of the People for this felony jury trial. Sentencing for Newkirk will occur on November 16 by the Honorable Barry Baskin in Department 7 at the Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez.

On the morning of October 4, 2017, Newkirk was driving his girlfriend’s 2004 Chevy Tahoe without a license and careened into Frazer’s Nissan Sentra. Frazer was driving her friend to work when the accident occurred. The impact of the crash spun the Nissan around and crushed the vehicle. In total, five cars were impacted by Newkirk’s crash into Frazer.

California Highway Patrol investigated the crash and found Newkirk was traveling at an unsafe speed between 54 to 61 miles per hour in traffic with cars slowed in front of him due to an unrelated accident. Evidence gathered by CHP showed the vehicle’s brakes were never activated before the crash. Newkirk also did not take his foot off the throttle. Newkirk’s collision led to the unfortunate death of Frazer, a 47-year-old mother of three children. Restitution for this case will be determined at a later date.

Traffic collisions can cause very serious injuries and even result in fatalities. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, traffic fatalities are increasing, totaling 3,623 in 2016 and serious traffic injuries are on the rise.

Earlier this year our office filed the following counts against Newkirk:

  • Count 1, Vehicular Manslaughter – Felony
  • Count 2, Driving Without a License – Misdemeanor

Case information: People v. Frank J. Newkirk, Docket Number 05-181281-7.

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Supervisors quietly oppose Prop. 6, but publicly approve report in opposition to the measure on November ballot

Friday, September 28th, 2018

Would repeal gas tax increase

By Daniel Borsuk

Listed as a consent item, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted without comment an agenda item aimed to oppose Proposition 6, the Nov. 6 state ballot initiative to repeal Senate Bill 1, otherwise known as the Road Repair and Accountability Act or gas tax, but in public session supervisors voted 3-0 to accept a Public Works Department report describing how passage of Prop. 6 will negatively hit county road projects.

During the meeting on Tuesday, Supervisors had approved their “oppose” position on Proposition 6 without any comment from either the public or the three supervisors in attendance – board chair Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill, supervisor Candace Andersen of San Ramon, and supervisor John Gioia of Richmond – because it was posted as a consent agenda item, C-17.

County Public Works Department Chief Deputy Director Stephen Kowalewski told supervisors that, should Proposition 6 win at the polls, unincorporated Contra Costa County could lose, over the next nine years, $239.9 million or an average of $26.7 million per year.

During that nine-year period Contra Costa County could lose each fiscal year, provided Proposition 6 wins at the polls, $15.5 million in 2018/2019. $21.8 million in 2019/2020, $24.9 million in 2020/2021, $26.4 million in 2021/2022, $27.6 million in 2022/2023, $28.9 million in 2023/2024, $30,3 million 2024/2025, $31.6 million in 2025/2026 and $33.8 million in 2026/2027.

When the State Legislature enacted SB 1 in 2016, the measure raised gas taxes and Department of Motor Vehicle fees to drum up funds for the freeways and roads that were in a rapid state of deterioration.  One of the key features of SB 1 is an index tax provision that permits gas tax revenue to keep pace with inflation.

Kowalewski listed a number of county road projects that could be in jeopardy should Prop. 6 wins in November. Some of those projects include the Kirker Pass Road truck climbing lane, Vasco Road improvements, Byron Road improvements, Baily Road/State Route 4 interchange improvements, Bel Air Trail crossing safety improvements, Blackhawk Road green paint bike lanes, resurfacing of 43 miles of roadway, and the Orwood Road culvert repair that is already in progress.

Supervisors Award $1.5 million Pathologists’ Contract

Supervisors unanimously approved Sheriff-Coroner David O. Livingston’s request to award three two-year contracts totaling $1.5 million to pathologists to perform autopsy services through Sept. 20., 2020.

As a consent item, supervisors approved the sheriff’s bid to award $500,000 contracts each to Dr. Mark A. Super, Dr. Arnold R. Josselson, and to Dr. Ikechi Ogan.  Their contracts will be in effect from Oct. 1, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2020.  Dr. Ogan will serve as coroner.

The three pathologists had provided pathology services to the county sheriff under the entity of Forensic Medical Group, but as of Oct. 1 FMG will no longer provide the county pathologist services because the doctors have decided to dissolve the company.  The three doctors that made up Forensic Medical Group are able to provide services to the county under individual contracts.

There was no comment from either the public or three supervisors in attendance.

Kensington Hills Elementary School School Zone Speed Lowered

Supervisors reduced the school zone speed for three roads approaching Kensington Hilltop Elementary School from 25 miles per hour to 20 MPH over the safety concerns that there are few sidewalks in the area and the roads are narrow.   An engineering and traffic survey were conducted and found that the request by an unnamed applicant complied with Assembly Bill 321 that was passed in 2008.  AB 321 permits local jurisdictions to extend the 25 MPH speed limit in school zones or to lower the speed limit to 15 to 20 MPH up to 500 feet from school grounds under certain circumstances.

The school speed zones will be lowered on approaches 500 feet to Kensington Hilltop Elementary School.  These roads are Highland Boulevard, Arlmont Drive, and Kenyon Avenue.

Cannabis Ordinance Amended

Without any public comment, supervisors amended the county commercial cannabis ordinance on a 3-0 vote.  Supervisors added Knightsen to the list of unincorporated areas where the ordinance will not be enforced.  Along with Knightsen, Bethel Island, Alamo, Acalanes Ridge, Contra Costa Centre, Saranap and Sandamond Slough will also prohibit enforcement of the commercial cannabis ordinance.

Supervisors also amended the ordinance by adding vertically-integrated businesses that include both storefront retail and commercial cultivation.  Vertically-integrated businesses will not count toward the 10-permit limit for commercial cultivation.

The ordinance was also amended to require cannabis delivery businesses located outside of unincorporated Contra Costa County to possess a current County Health Permit.

The ordinance will become effective provided voters pass a tax ordinance measure on the ballot of the Nov. 6 general election.

September 30 Designated Gold Star Mothers’ Day

In recognition of the sacrifice and history of Gold Star Mothers in Contra Costa County and throughout the nation, supervisors approved a resolution designating Sunday, Sept. 30 as Gold Star Mother’s Day, founded during World War I.

Upon thanking the board for the resolution, Gold Star Mother Yolanda Bacon said, “We ask you don’t say ‘You’re sorry for your loss.’  Say instead “Thank you for your son’s or daughter’s service.”

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Supervisors support one, split to stay neutral on another housing measure on Nov. ballot

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

By Daniel Borsuk

Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors took a “support” position on Proposition 2, a state bond ballot measure to build housing for homeless individuals with mental illness but, took a “no position” on Proposition 10, another state ballot measure that would expand residential property rent control at Tuesday’s meeting.

Supervisors voted 4-0 in favor of Proposition 2, but voted 3-1 to a remain neutral, with Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond in dissent, on the rent control measure – Proposition 10.  Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg was absent.

Both Proposition 2 and Proposition 10 will appear on the November 6, 2018 general election ballot.

Before the meeting, supervisors were initially prepared to brand an “oppose” position on Proposition 2 that “Authorizes Bonds to Fund Existing Housing Programs for Individuals with Mental Illness Legislative Statute.” But supervisors reversed that recommendation from the board’s Legislation Committee from August 13 to recommend an “oppose” vote on Prop. 2 over concerns the county could lose about $2.8 million in state funds for mental health services.

For a while, Board Chair Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill was concerned passage of Proposition 2 might jeopardize funding for another mental health and housing program for the homeless, the No Place Like Home Program, because a state Legislative Analyst Office report states passage of Proposition 2 would mean money would be borrowed from the 2016 enacted homeless housing program.

During the meeting, Dr. Matthew White, head of the Contra Costa County Behavioral Health Services, said the threat to the state funds, in the event Proposition 2 passes at the polls, will probably have little impact on county mental health services.  He said there is a major need for adequate housing for the homeless needing mental health services that will be integrated into new housing projects.

But some speakers were unconvinced Proposition 2 will not deteriorate county mental health services.

Retired physician Dr. Mark Cohen, who has an adult child with mental illness, urged supervisors to oppose Proposition 2 on grounds that the ballot measure’s passage would divert money away from the psychiatric care services for the severely mentally ill not housed in Proposition 2 funding developments.

County mental health commissioner Douglas Dunn opposes the measure because the county is bound to lose upfront money aimed for mental health services that would be diverted to construct housing for the homeless with mental and substance abuse issues.

In support of Proposition 2, Gloria Bruce, executive director of the East Bay Housing Coalition, said “Proposition 2 is the right way to go. Give high need people access to affordable housing.”

Danville resident Douglas Leach called for supervisors to support Proposition 2 because it would create safe housing for the homeless needing mental health and substance abuse assistance.

Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood said she would support Proposition 2 based on the fact it is “difficult to find housing for the mentally ill,”

“These dollars are needed,” supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville said.  “We won’t see a reduction in programs. It will give us an addition tool.”

On Proposition 10, the Affordable Housing Act, supervisors voted to take “no position” on a 3-1 vote.  Supervisors John Gioia of Richmond cast the dissenting vote.  He supported Proposition 10 mainly because it would eliminate the 1998-enacted Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act that permits landlords to raise rents of residential apartments and houses as much as they want constructed after 1995, but not before 1995.  Costa-Hawkins allows landlords to raise the rent in any building before 1995 to the market value when it becomes vacant.

In other business, supervisors officially adopted the $3.2 billion budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year without any public comments. The 2018-2019 budget is up from the $3 billion budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

In other action, Supervisors recognized September 16-22 as Falls Prevention Awareness Week at their meeting on Tuesday. At the presentation were Meals on Wheels Mt. Diablo Region Chief Executive Officer Elaine Clark and Communications Specialist Maricel Kinsella.

Meals on Wheels Mt. Diablo Region and the Contra Costa County Fall Prevention Coalition will hold presentations on how to prevent senior citizens from falling in their homes, a leading cause of death or injury to persons 65 years old or more.

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Contra Costa County workers demand improved health benefits

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

Contra Costa County workers mount protest at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Tues., Sept. 18, 2018. Photo by Daniel Borsuk.

By Daniel Borsuk

A number of Contra Costa County workers turned out at last week’s Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors meeting to demand that they instruct County Administrator David Twa to negotiate with nine labor unions representing county employees to produce more affordable healthcare coverage.

County workers said they pay more than any other public workers in the nine county Bay Area.  They pay more than double than their county counterparts in San Francisco and triple that of city workers in Oakland for family coverage.  Premium rates are set to rise as much as 14.74 percent in January 2019 unless the unions and county strike a better deal.

In acknowledging the county will begin negotiations with the unions starting Wednesday, Sept. 19, Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond said, “We know health care costs are high and this is why these upcoming negotiations with the nine unions will resolve this issue.”

One major reason why Contra Costa County workers pay some of the highest health care costs in the region is because the county offers more plans than other counties and cities.

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Man shot during attempted robbery in Antioch Friday night

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

By Corporal Ted Chang #4362, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Friday, Sept. 21, 2018 at 8:44 PM, Antioch Police Officers were dispatched to a report of subject shot on Cavallo Road. The 54-year-old victim had been shot in the arm and drove himself to a parking lot on East 18th Street. Officers responded and located the victim and his fiancé. The victim was treated and transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening gunshot wounds.

It was determined the victim was shot during an attempted robbery. A crime scene was located in the 2000 block Cavallo Road, but the suspect(s) had fled prior to police arrival. At this time, the investigation is still on going and officers are working on identifying the suspect(s).

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.

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Candidate for Antioch City Council Rodney McClelland takes stand against sales tax increase Measure W, then quits race

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

Rodney McClelland in a photo posted on his Facebook page Aug. 24, 2018.

By Allen Payton

In a statement on his Facebook page posted late Tuesday night, September 18, Rodney McClelland, one of six challengers in the Antioch City Council race, publicly stated his opposition to the city’s sales tax increase on the November ballot. But, then in a letter to the editor on Sunday afternoon, he dropped out of the race for what he claims are “personal reasons.” He and three others wre challenging incumbent Council Members Tony Tiscareno and Lori Ogorchock.

Measure W is a one-cent sales tax, which if passed, will replace and double the amount of the city’s current half-cent sales tax from Measure C that voters approved in 2013 and expires in 2021.

McClelland also took an apparent swipe at one of his fellow challengers, former Antioch School Board Member Joy Motts, whose campaign slogan is “Let’s move Beyond the BASICS.”

His statement on Measure W was as follows:

“Antioch is A Beautiful City but, we face many challenges. The city Council has Measure W on the November ballot. I do not support Measure W, unlike many of my competitors. With the failure to deliver on the promises of Measure C and knowing it does not expire until 2021 I cannot support another tax increase (Measure W). There is no transparency on exactly where funds will be used. This increase will hurt families on fixed incomes, senior citizens, retirees, and low-income families living paycheck to paycheck.

Where we should be taking care of basic needs of our city we are talking about beyond basics. You must be good or even great at something before you move above and beyond.

I am Rodney McClelland and I am running for Antioch City Council.”

The promises of Measure C that McClelland referred to are the hiring of 22 more police officers and doing so “immediately” according to the ballot argument supporting the half-cent sales tax, which Antioch voters passed in November 2013. Then-Mayor Wade Harper and all four council members at the time, including Tiscareno, signed onto the ballot argument.

So far, McClelland was the only one of the four challengers who had taken a position on the tax increase. Both Tiscareno and Ogorchock support the tax and voted to place it on the November ballot as part of a unanimous decision by the current mayor and council.

If Measure W fails to garner the support of a simple majority of voters, the council will have to either try again in 2020 or place on the ballot another half-cent sales tax to extend Measure C.

McClelland’s complete statement is as follows:

“Due to personal reasons, I am suspending my Campaign for Antioch City Council. I can no longer commit the time and energy required to run for office. I want to thank friends and family for their support. I wish the other candidates well.

God bless,

Rodney McClelland”

He is chairman of the Antioch Parks and Recreation Commission, but missed the meeting on Thursday night, Sept. 20. When asked via email what the personal reasons are, he did not respond before publication time.

The election is Tuesday, November 6. The top two vote-getters will serve through 2020 and the winners will have to run again that year, to retain their positions.

 

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