Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Writer wants police to deal with Antifa, other radical groups that terrorize, injure, vandalize

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Editor:

The disguised and masked Antifa, other radical groups, and individuals must be dealt with immediately by the police when they appear to just terrorize, injure, vandalize, and overall break the existing laws.

They arrive united in purpose, similarly disguised, and with covered faces so they won’t be identified. Our California Penal Code laws clearly make it illegal to; Conspire together (PC 182), Wearing  Mask Or Disguise (PC 185), Assault (PC 240), Batter (PC 242), Assault With A Deadly Weapon (PC 245), to Terrorize/Threaten (PC 422 and/or 11411), Riot (PC 404), Incite To Riot (PC 404.6), Rout (PC 406), Unlawfully Assemble (PC 407), Participating In Rout Or Unlawful Assembly (408), Public Disturbance (PC 415), Threatening With Weapon (PC 417), Vandalize, Damage Or Destroy (PC 594), and so on.

And, it’s unlawful also for the police to willfully not suppress a Riot or Route (PC 410). In addition, any of their superiors who order them to not take action are guilty also.

So, the answer to all of their lawlessness is quite simple. Just enforce the laws immediately and shortly these things will cease considerably. There is your answer.

Ralph A. Hernandez

Antioch

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McNerney asked to oppose bill to gut restaurant menu health labeling requirements

Monday, September 11th, 2017

By Colin Schwartz, Nutrition Policy Associate, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)

On Friday, Aug. 25, Food and Drug Commissioner Scott Gottlieb made it clear that calorie labels on menus are here to stay for all Americans. As Politico put it, “In the era of President Donald Trump’s war on regulations, one Obama-era rule — menu labeling — appears to be surviving.”

Unfortunately, a bill (H.R. 772) is working its way through Congress that would gut these menu labeling requirements, and undo recent progress toward giving Californians the information they need to make healthy choices about what to eat and what to feed their families. Now that the Trump Administration has affirmed it won’t delay menu labeling any further, it’s time for Congress to abandon this misguided effort. We are asking Rep. Jerry McNerney, who represents a portion of Antioch in the House of Representatives, to take a strong stand for informed consumer choice by opposing H.R. 772.

California’s adult and childhood obesity rates have steadily increased every decade since 1990, despite having the fifth lowest adult obesity rate in our nation. The rate also varies by community – currently, 77 percent of Latino adults are obese or overweight. California’s Department of Health Care Services has recognized that despite California’s best efforts, “obesity is clearly a significant driver of health problems and healthcare costs.”

Every Californian should have the information they want and need to choose healthy food for their families. Unfortunately, Congress is intent on curbing the freedom of consumers by denying them basic information about what they are ordering in restaurants. They also seem set on undoing California’s progress by scuttling the menu labeling law through the so-called Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act (H.R. 772).Please see the comparison chart by the CSPI below. This bill ignores the reality that our nation’s top 50 restaurant chains have already committed to empowering consumers by including calorie counts at their locations across the country. Additionally, an independent economic analysis already found that the FDA’s decision to delay the enactment of the rule by one-year could already cost consumers an astounding $15 for every $1 saved by industry. Now imagine the damage H.R. 772 could have on consumers and our economy if signed into law.

This bill is contrary to Californians’ preferences. California passed the first state menu labeling law in our nation in 2008 to support and protect consumer choice. Since the signing of the legislation, California-based chains from California Pizza Kitchen to Taco Bell have shown that menu labeling can be accomplished without sacrificing customer satisfaction.

As Adam Russell of Santa Cruz, CA wrote in response to the FDA delaying implementation of the final menu labeling rule: “People deserve to be able to make informed choices.”

We all must remain vigilant not just about congressional efforts, but the FDA’s final guidance on the menu labeling rule later this year to ensure that the consumer-choice spirit of the rule remains intact. Unfortunately, anti-consumer industry groups and some corporate interests are lobbying Congress hard and against public will to deny Americans choice on a host of critical nutrition issues, including this one. It will only get worse now that the FDA didn’t decide in their favor.        

The bill is moving quickly. It has already passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee with Rep. McNerney voting in favor of it and is headed to the House floor (and possibly to the Senate) for a vote, possibly this or next week. 

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has been providing advice and advocacy toward a healthier food system since its founding in 1971. They publish Nutrition Action Healthletter and NutritionAction.com and lead action across the country on nutrition, food safety, and health.

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Stand Down on the Delta 2017 organizer thanks volunteers

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

Volunteers assist veterans during a visit by Assemblyman Jim Frazier (center) during the 2017 Stand Down on the Delta at the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds, Aug. 11-14. Photos by Genevieve Mann

Dear Editor:

Delta Veterans Group would like to thank all of the volunteers that served for Stand Down on the Delta, 2017.

With your help, our community was able to provide services for over 260 veterans and their families.

Over 1,150 volunteers came together over 10 days to set-up, serve and tear-down our encampment. Over 5,800 meals were served in just four days.

Veterans received much needed supportive services, medical services, dental care, vision care, and mental health services.  We also had barbers, beauticians, entertainment, spiritual guidance and much more over the four days.  Plus – their animals were cared for onsite by C.A.R.T. – the Contra Costa County Animal Rescue Team.

We were also able to take over 40 veterans fishing on our Delta Shoreline…and yes, they caught a lot of fish…The largest fish was caught by a female veteran for the second Stand Down in a row…

All of this could not have happened without you – the volunteer.

Respectfully,

Gerald JR Wilson, President/Executive Director, Delta Veterans Group – Stand Down on the Delta

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Colleague endorses Graves for Contra Costa DA

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

Dear Editor:

Colleen Gleason, a close friend and colleague of mine has written a wonderful endorsement on Facebook. I met Colleen 15 years ago and am humbled by her words. Here are a few sentences from my colleague’s social media post that I would like to share with you:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/paulgravesforda2018/endorsements/

“I’m so excited and proud that my friend and mentor has decided to run for DA of our County. Paul was my homicide supervisor and currently runs the Sexual Assault/Family Violence unit. I also worked closely with him while he was the President of our Association – not only was he amazing at negotiating on behalf of our DAs, but he was instrumental in putting on a successful fundraiser for our local Rape Crisis/Children’s Interview Center every year.

Paul is the type of leader who inspires others; there is always a line of people seeking his solid advice born of experience and common sense. He is the type of leader that people want to follow; when he is heading a unit, other people want to work there…He has handled the pressures of our job in the public eye with grace and eloquence. But, more importantly to me, he is the type of person you can watch handling the little, every-day moments with kindness and integrity… the moments when the cameras aren’t on, when no one seems to be paying attention – the way he treats his staff, victim’s families, opposing counsel, his subordinates – those are the moments when he has impressed me the most.”

Paul Graves

Martinez

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Criminal defense attorneys support Graves for Contra Costa District Attorney

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

Dear Editor:

We are some of the criminal defense attorneys who practice in Contra Costa County.  We are the individuals who defend people accused of crimes.   We have worked with the District Attorney’s Office for decades, and are in a unique position to know what qualities are most important for the District Attorney to possess.

We believe in the Constitution, in fairness and colorblind justice, and that every person accused of a crime deserves competent and zealous representation so that the police, the prosecution, and the system are held to the highest standard.

As the top law enforcement official in the County, we believe our next District Attorney should share these values. They should keep our community safe, but also do the right thing even when it’s not popular.

We need someone honest, trustworthy, fair, ethical, diligent, and compassionate.

We need Paul Graves.

Paul Graves’ energy, ideas and fresh approach to the office as outlined in his public application to the Board of Supervisors reveals the dedicated and honorable public servant that we already know him to be.

What really sets Paul Graves apart is that he has dedicated his professional life as a prosecutor to Contra Costa County, and that he has earned the respect of all partners in the criminal justice system, because he treats every defendant as an individual and is fundamentally fair.

Paul Graves’ judgment has always made him stand out as a fair and ethical prosecutor we can trust.  Even though we represent opposing sides in the courtroom, we know Paul Graves is everyone’s partner in fair and equal justice.

Paul Graves provides the character, experience, and integrity our community needs to move forward.  We want the Board of Supervisors to know that as defense attorneys dedicated to the Constitution, fairness and colorblind justice, Paul Graves has our highest recommendation.

Blackie Burak

Derek Ewin

Dan Horowitz

David Larkin

Thomas McKenna

Tom O’Connor

Dan O’Malley

Chris Varnell

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Unhappy with Supervisors’ appointment process, coalition sends Interim DA applicants questionnaire; will hold forum Aug. 12

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

Demand transparent, qualifications-based process to avoid conflicts of interest, secret deals

A press release issued on Friday, states “a community coalition of organizations and individual voters from Contra Costa County called on all candidates for the interim District Attorney position to complete a public questionnaire about where they stand on a variety of issues that matter to the organizations, ranging from bail practices and criminal justice reform, immigrant rights, worker and consumer protection to police accountability and the environment. The coalition issued the questionnaire after the Board of Supervisors failed to adopt a fully transparent and community-first process at their August 1 meeting. This coalition is also working with local organizations and volunteers to host a candidate forum on Saturday, August 12, in Concord.”

Of the twelve applicants, the Supervisors narrowed the field to five. (See related article, here).

The responses to the questionnaire will be made public before the forum.

View the questionnaire, here: CoCo Interim DA Community Questionnaire_FINAL

WHAT: Contra Costa Interim District Attorney Candidate Forum

WHEN: Saturday, August 12, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

WHERE: Church of the Nazarene at 1650 Ashbury Dr., Concord, CA

WHO: The forum is co-hosted by the ACLU of Northern California; Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE); Contra Costa AFL-CIO Central Labor Council; Contra Costa County Racial Justice Coalition (CCCRJC); Courage Campaign; #cut50; Democratic Party of Contra Costa County; East County NAACP; Safe Return Project; and Smart Justice California

According to their website, the ACCE “is a grassroots, member-led, statewide community organization working with more than 10,000 members across California…dedicated to raising the voices of everyday Californians, neighborhood by neighborhood, to fight for the policies and programs we need to improve our communities and create a brighter future” such as raising taxes on businesses and individuals to increase funding for education, working to preserve and expand affordable housing, and “raise the floor on wages and benefits.”

On the CCCRJC website it states that the organization is opposed to the expansion of the West County Detention Center.

The Courage Campaign states on their website that it “fights for a more progressive California and country” by focusing on three priorities of economic justice, human rights, and corporate and political accountability.

The mission of #cut50 is to “making communities safer while reducing the number of people in our prisons and jails.”

The press release also states that, “at a public hearing on August 1, the coalition pleaded with the County Board of Supervisors to adopt an open and transparent selection process for choosing the interim District Attorney that includes a community selection committee. The coalition urged the Board to avoid conflicts of interest by revealing whether they have ever received an endorsement or monetary support from any of the candidates, and pressed the supervisors to develop a system for ranking the candidates based on their qualifications and alignment with local values, over a consensus-based decision-making model that could be swayed by backroom deals. The coalition had previously sent a letter requesting similar action to the Board on July 6th, which was never acknowledged.”

A spokesperson for the coalition, Director of Contra Costa County Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) David Sharples, said, “We want a district attorney who reflects the values of Contra Costa voters. The selection process should focus on whether each candidate is qualified for the job, aligns with local values, has the highest level of ethical standards, and is ready to take on the challenges faced by our community, not the candidate who is the most well-connected. If the board won’t be transparent about this process, then we will go straight to the candidates so they have every opportunity to explain where they stand on the issues and why they are the best candidate.”

The coalition’s press release concluded with the following: “Contra Costa voters have bucked the position of their District Attorney and repeatedly voted for meaningful criminal justice reform over the last several elections. In 2012, 72 percent of county residents voted in favor of Proposition 36, which reformed California’s Three Strikes Law; in 2014, 66 percent of voters supported Proposition 47, which substantially reduced the penalties for several crimes; in 2016, 69 percent voted in favor of Proposition 57, which significantly expanded early parole opportunities for people serving time in California prisons; and 61 percent voted in favor of Proposition 64, which legalized marijuana and retroactively invalidated several types of prior marijuana-related criminal convictions.”

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Groups recommend process for appointing Interim Contra Costa District Attorney

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

Following is a letter from six groups in the county to the members of the Board of Supervisors:

Dear Chairman Glover and Supervisors Andersen, Burgis, Gioia and Mitchoff,

Our community was shocked and angered last week to hear that former District Attorney Mark Peterson pled guilty to felony charges related to the illegal use of campaign funds, leading to his resignation. This unethical and dangerous abuse of power by the elected District Attorney is deeply concerning to us and we write today in the spirit of working to rebuild trust between local government in Contra Costa, including law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office, and the community they are meant to serve.

We believe a critical first step to rebuilding trust is for the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors to engage in a fully transparent and community-centered process for appointing an interim District Attorney.

On behalf of Contra Costa County voters, we urge our Board to commit to a transparent, community-first process in making its selection of an interim District Attorney. In addition, we believe it is important for the Board to only consider applicants who have not filed to run in the June 2018 primary.

The District Attorney is one of the most powerful elected officials in county government and is the most powerful actor in our criminal justice system. The decisions made by the District Attorney impact every county resident, not just those who are directly involved in the criminal justice system. From determining when and what charges to file in individual cases; to making policy decisions that affect local communities as well as county and state budgets; to holding law enforcement accountable for unfair policies and practices, the Contra Costa District Attorney holds significant power and responsibility for the protection of our civil rights and freedoms.

For these reasons and more, it is critically important that our Board protect and uphold the right of the people of Contra Costa County to an inclusive and transparent process for appointment of an interim District Attorney.

In a transparent, community-first process, the Board of Supervisors should consider the following:

  1. Publicly post a proposed process and timeline for appointment of an interim District Attorney;
  2. Allow for public comment on the proposed process for appointment, consider comments, and post final process;
  3. Only consider applications for interim appointment from individuals who are not currently running for District Attorney of Contra Costa County in 2018;
  4. Solicit applications from lawyers in the community to apply for interim appointment and make submitted applications available for review by the public;
  5. Hold public hearings at times convenient to working people with commute schedules, to receive input about nominees and other recommendations; and
  6. Hold a final public hearing to vote for the interim District Attorney.

Due to the recent resignation and guilty plea by former District Attorney Mark Peterson, the people of Contra Costa County deserve transparency and fairness in the appointment of the interim District Attorney. It is incumbent upon the Board to begin to remedy the breakdown of trust between the community and government by taking the lead to ensure a fair and community-first process. We welcome the opportunity to support the efforts of our Board of Supervisors to achieve these very important goals.

Thank you,

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Writer challenges previous letter writer to provide proof for his accusations

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

Editor:

It seems to me that if Steven Payne has information that leads to a discovery of wrongdoing on the part of city officials, then that information needs to be made public. Implied knowledge of wrongdoing or conspiracy is just BS.

Steven, in an earlier post to the editor, implied that he knows information and inside dealings. It is just silly to yell fire in a crowded place without proof. I am not one to normally defend those who I may not agree with, however I am also not one to defend implied blackmail.

Our city is a good city, full of many citizens who care about making it better. Yes, there is so much to do, so much to fix, so much to mend. Let’s us stay focused on that and not an attempt to sling mud.

If the proof is there, I challenge you, Steven Payne to publish each, and every substantiated fact and not just innuendo. There have been too many years of rumors and not nearly enough years of trust. Your opinion, without facts, just creates more mistrust among our citizens. Let’s see your facts.

Frederick Rouse

Antioch

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