Archive for the ‘Letters to the Editor’ Category

Piepho writes in support of Burgis for Supervisor

Friday, November 4th, 2016

Dear Editor:

When I made the difficult decision to not seek reelection to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, my choice was made easier by the fact that Diane Burgis would make an extraordinary County Supervisor. She is a smart and dedicated public servant, and I have been proud to work with her for many years.

I wanted to take a moment to cut through some of the smear tactics and tell you about the Diane Burgis that I know and trust.

I was surprised to see the recent hit pieces mailed by real estate developers and “Big Oil”/petroleum interests that support Diane’s opponent and attack Diane Burgis. These ridiculous mail pieces accuse Diane of “climbing the ladder.”

Well, – that’s what capable people do – when opportunities arise they move up to greater positions of responsibility and governance. Talented people, such as Diane Burgis, are recruited by the community, and by those leaving office, to carry on the work that must be done in the publics’ best interests.

That is why I asked Diane to run for County Supervisor. She has proven to be a thoughtful, regional leader, one who brings people together to find workable  solutions.

The campaign process is well known as “silly season”. It is to be expected. However, I believe we are beyond the point of telling one of our most respected female leaders that she should stay put and know her place.

I believe Diane will make an excellent County Supervisor. She is talented, compassionate and hardworking. She will work every day to improve our community by reducing traffic, boosting public safety and defending our precious Delta.

Please don’t fall for the dirty tricks. Join me, Sheriff Livingston, District Attorney Mark Peterson, local Firefighters, Deputy Sheriffs and many other community leaders in voting for Diane Burgis for County Supervisor.

Mary Nejedly Piepho

County Supervisor

Discovery Bay

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Writer opposes Rocketship, Antioch School Board candidates supported by charter schools

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016


Wake up Antioch voters. Our students are not for sale.

You may have noticed in the last couple of weeks in the midst of the huge amounts of campaign material in your mailbox, two very expensive campaign flyers supporting 3 candidates for Antioch School Board, Navarro, Terry and Sawyer-White.  What is important for the voters of Antioch to know is who paid for those campaign flyers.  Up in the left hand corner of these flyers you will notice these were paid for and sent out by the California Charter Schools Association, Advocates Independent Expenditure Committee, FPPC #1339522.  What is even more interesting is that there is a pending application before Antioch Unified School District for a Rocketship Charter School. You may or may not be in favor of Charter Schools. I personally am not opposed to community driven nonprofit Charter Schools, Antioch already has two very successful community driven Charter Schools, ACA I and ACA II,  that are supported by Antioch Unified. So what is the difference?

Rocketship Charter Schools are sweeping the state, infiltrating communities that have many families that are economically challenged, in an effort to expand their schools. Because of flawed laws governing Charter schools, they receive dollar for dollar what would otherwise would go for a student in our public schools. They take our hard earned tax dollars that are designated for public education, set up shop without having to meet the stringent standards of public education, and in most cases stick their students in front of a computer with as many as 50 students in a classroom without the benefit of a credentialed Teacher.

Many of the Charter School investor’s benefit from business related partnerships on track with the Charter schools for things such as their curriculum, construction projects or retrofitting Rocketships sites and more. Most of these investors are millionaires looking for a way to profit off the back of students and their families.  Two of the three candidates mentioned above have taken campaign donations from these outside millionaires as reported in their mandatory reporting 460 form.

What is also terribly troubling is that several other local residents have joined forces with this sham in what appears to be an effort to support their own personal financial gain.  John Crowder, Angel and Argentina Davila-Luevano have been disappointed in Antioch Unified Schools Districts financial support of their afterschool Math program and John Crowder has wrote disparaging letters about other School Board candidates. Could this be an effort to support the Charter School Association and Rocketship’s agenda?  Were they possibly promised a job by Rocketship?

[A] picture [was] taken over a month ago at a Rocketship School in San Jose, Ca. In the picture are current appointed School Board Trustee and School Board candidate Fernando Navarro, who is aggressively promoting the pending Rocketship application before Antioch Unified School District and John Crowder, Angel and Argentina Davila-Luevano with a Rocketship employee. This photo was taken on September 30th the same date as the submission of the Rocketship application to Antioch Unified School District.

I have always wondered why Rocketship Charters are not in wealthy communities if their “style” of education is so successful. Why do they prey on poorer communities?  This is a question you need to ask yourself before you vote next week.  Are our students in Antioch for sale to millionaires who think they can take advantage of them?  Should current sitting School Board Trustees be publically supporting schools that take away much needed public education monies for our students? Please do your research, visit and please consider voting for those candidates for School Board that have shown years of commitment to the Antioch community, Antioch schools, students and families.  This is not a game, it is serious stuff, and we need to wake up before it is too late.

Selina Button, 28 year resident


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Council candidate writes to criticize new Antioch marketing video

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016


I just got through reviewing the latest marketing video for Antioch. This is getting ridiculous.

Walnut Creek for your shopping? We have many businesses here in Antioch that provide a wide selection of goods and services. In fact, is that not our plan to bring more business here? Now the City tells the public they can head to Walnut Creek to spend money. Absurd.

I am trying to bring new business here to Antioch and how is that possible? We could be saying how we have room for new business, looking for new business, want new business and support new business. I am sure this video was not free to create and produce. Did you notice Tiffany and Co. is shown? Come on folks, really? This image is just so far-fetched and removed from reality. I am disappointed that we continue to present a video of our City as just “parks, parks, parks”.

We should have included a map to Walnut Creek. Then they can bypass Antioch altogether. Wow.

Frederick Rouse


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Education research institute fellow writes letter in support of Navarro, Terry, Sawyer-White for school board

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016


Three cheers to the three school board candidates for emphasizing their commitment to parental involvement in public schools, for giving credit to private schools for what they’re doing right, and for talking about something other than STEM education.

Their letter was a refreshing change of pace from the typical campaign talking points, and I wish I lived in Antioch so I could support these three candidates with my vote. I hope, anyway, that they are successful, and their leadership inspires others to adopt similar outlooks.

Teresa Mull, Education Research Fellow

The Heartland Institute

Victor, Idaho

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College board president writes to support Burgis for Supervisor

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Dear Editor:

As an educator, I have seen Diane Burgis fight for all of Contra Costa’s students. She is a mother, a mentor and an environmental nonprofit leader who takes the time to develop young new talent. She knows the importance of a great education and how that helps create a strong local economy.

We all want our children to have a bright future. We also know a strong education is the cornerstone of our economy. Our community college system has worked diligently to partner students up with local businesses and organizations for hands on career opportunities. But to provide more of those career opportunities to our students, we need a strong local economy and a county that prioritizes career technical education and other educational opportunities.

Diane is a strong independent leader who brings different people together to find solutions. She has made it a priority to work on building our economy – creating jobs and opportunities for all county residents. As a County Supervisor, Diane will continue her work. Please join me and other educators in supporting Diane Burgis for County Supervisor in District 3.

Vicki Gordon

Contra Costa Community College District Board President

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Local magazine publisher, an LMC professor writes to support Burgis for Supervisor

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Dear Editor:

As an Oakley resident and small business owner for the last five years, I have seen Diane Burgis’ leadership on many local issues. From her time as an Oakley City councilmember to watching her get sworn in as an East Bay Regional Parks District Board member at Dunsmuir in Oakland, Diane always demonstrates a unique skill in joining different groups to solve problems and get things done.

I’ve been an East County resident for over 28 years and have known Diane Burgis for almost 10 years.

Diane knows what small businesses need to succeed, because she was a small business owner herself. She has built a business, balanced budgets and knows first-hand the tremendous struggles and rewards of being a small business owner. This experience will be essential when she takes the reign of our region’s complex economy. I’m confident she will responsibly and diligently develop our county while promoting jobs based in growing industries.

Diane’s time as a small business owner and a nonprofit director has given her the skills and talent needed to build the consensus necessary to make the economy thrive. Diane is no stranger to hard work; she’s always ready to roll up her sleeves and get work done.

I am voting for Diane Burgis for County Supervisor and I support her platform, goals and enthusiasm to make progress for all of us. Please join me in casting your vote for Diane Burgis on Nov. 8.

Charleen Earley

Publisher & Founder, Delta Living Magazine

Professor, Los Medanos College


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Martinez councilwoman writes to support Glover for Supervisor

Saturday, October 29th, 2016

Dear Editor:

As an 18-year employee of Contra Costa County and a 14-year member of the Martinez City Council, I have a unique insight into the two candidates for the District 5 Supervisor race, having worked with both for several years.  Consequently, I am supporting Supervisor Federal Glover.

Federal has demonstrated over many decades in office the ethics and temperament to be an effective leader; people trust him, unlike his opponent. He builds strong, lasting relationships and coalitions, proving that achievement takes collaboration and is built on shared goals and values—not mega-doses of ego or backroom dealings. Federal is a true public servant who believes in good governance and the causes he champions; not someone bent on using their position and influence to “feather their own nest,” climb the political ladder, or take care of their special interests. Federal also has a record of accomplishment and exciting initiatives for the future—not just campaign promises and empty slogans.

On the Board of Supervisors, Federal made tough decisions during the Great Recession, resulting in the County’s “AAA” financial rating, which should not be entrusted to someone with a record of bouncing checks and filing bankruptcies. Federal has demonstrated leadership on public safety issues including gang violence reduction. And I am inspired by the infrastructure projects Federal has advanced that will have a profound impact on our City, as well as the Northern Waterfront Initiative.

For these reasons and many more, please join me in voting for Federal Glover for District 5 Supervisor.

Lara DeLaney

Martinez City Councilmember 2002-present

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Letter writer explains why she supports Sandoval for community college board

Friday, October 28th, 2016


We need to do a better job in creating career pathways for our students.

In 2014 our county taxpayers narrowly passed Measure E authorizing the district to increase its debt by $450 million through issuing general obligation bonds in that amount. This money was designed to be used to work towards the expansion and modernization of school facilities urged by the district’s Master Plan. Specifically, the proposed bond money was earmarked for increasing facility access to those with disabilities, improving campus grounds and updating classroom and lab technology.

The new 17-acre Brentwood Center as an extension of Los Medanos College (LMC) will add more capacity to the Contra Costa County Community College District and is planned to open in 2020. Enrollment trends and the use of on-line facilities indicate that having a smaller center is the best use of tax dollars. A feasibility study was conducted which looked at alternative sites and size of the future center.

However, new buildings alone will not prepare out existing and future students.

AB288  which was passed by the legislature late in 2015 and signed into law by the Governor  established the College and Career Access Pathway partnership and expanded student eligibility and offers high school students the opportunity for concurrent enrollment for college courses.

However, many core issues still need to be addressed.

It takes on average a little over seven years for students to graduate/complete community college due to a variety of reasons which impacts their ability to transfer to a 4 year institution in a timely fashion or have marketable skills in the local community for earning a decent wage. Students cannot get the courses they need at LMC in some cases. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is the future however LMC students need to take required classes at Diablo Valle College (DVC) for the transfer requirement. There are not enough internships for all students who need them available.

The local labor force in Contra Costa County has an approximate  28% non-participation rate for those aged 18-28. This severely impacts those students who attend community college as a means to a better life with decent wages and indirectly the community in which they live.

Greg Enholm, the current incumbent governing board trustee for our community voted to approve the Bond for the construction of the new 17 acre Brentwood center; however, he continues to advocate for a 110 acre campus which would increase taxes on working families.

Mr Enholm pits Antioch, Oakley and Brentwood against each other for the new Super-campus. He has also advised some citizens to seek legal action to block the building of the Brentwood center. He indicated that the reason he won his first election was in part because he advocated for the building of the larger campus to those cities. He continues to promote the larger campus, knowing that the State College Board only approved the smaller 17 acre campus, just to get obtain votes.

Fernando Sandoval has a much broader focus than just administratively advocating Governing Board policies. He has listened to the community and understands that we need to do more to help our students. His background in business, finance, technology and education can provide new insights for preparing the students of today and the future. His expertise in consulting and successfully driving change will be a positive for the community.  As a Vietnam Veteran he has been at the forefront of ensuring that what needs to be done, gets done.

Fernando understands that the students need to engaged with the faculty and is promoting inclusion and diversity as an enabler for new ideas and improved graduation rates.

Fernando has talked to many community business leaders and understands that new skills need to be in place in order for students to have the opportunity for local jobs quickly.

Fernando is an advocate for the inclusion of Innovative and Emerging Technologies for the jobs of tomorrow today. He will be working with information technology recruiters and major technology companies to look to the East Bay sourcing future jobs. Many of these jobs can be done here.

Fernando understands that having a diverse and well educated work force can be a catalyst for driving well paying jobs locally and improve the value of community assets.

Fernando is bilingual with English being his second language. This will allow him to connect more easily with the growing Hispanic community to hear their concerns and promote education as a priority.

Fernando has a wide base supporters include John Marquez; existing Board member, Enrique Palacios; Pittsburg USD Deputy Superintendent of Schools, Mary Rocha; Antioch City Council, Kevin Romick, Mayor of Oakley.

Fernando is a fiscal conservative and serves on the Contra Costa County Taxpayers Association, and is member of the Pittsburg USD Citizens Bond Oversight Committee

Valerie Lopez


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