Archive for the ‘Politics & Elections’ Category

Watch candidate forums for June election on Contra Costa TV this week

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

Watch the candidate forums for the various election campaigns in Contra Costa County on Contra Costa TV’s (CCTV) CountyNet channel or via their website at CCTV is available to subscribers of AT&T U-verse on Channel 99 and to Comcast subscribers on Channel 27.

Wednesday, May 4

11:00 AM Election Preview 2016 Supervisorial District 5

12:00 PM Election Preview 2016 Supervisorial District 3

1:30 PM Election Preview 2016 State Senate 7

2:00 PM Election Preview 2016 US Rep. 11

Friday, May 6

2:00 PM Election Preview 2016 Supervisorial District 5

3:00 PM Election Preview 2016 Supervisorial District 3

5:00 PM Election Preview2016 US Rep. 11

Sunday, May 8

9:00 AM Election Preview 2016 Supervisorial District 3

11:00 AM Election Preview 2016 US Rep. 11

2:00 PM Election Preview 2016 Supervisorial District 5

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Pacheco casino contributes another $165,000 to pass Measure E in Antioch, over $310,000 so far

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

By Allen Payton

As of the close of the filing period on April 23, 2016, the California Grand Casino in Pacheco had contributed $165,000 more to the Antioch Coalition Against Gambling Expansion, the committee formed to support the passage of Measure E on the June ballot. The filing period covered January 1 through April 23, 2016.

That brings the casino’s total contributions to $310,100, which includes $145,100 in contributions made by the casino in October, which funded their signature gathering operation. Only $50 was contributed to the committee from any other source.

Of the funds received, the committee has spent an additional $99,791.88 with $72,470.08 of it on a consultant and another payment of $14,049 for signature gathering. That brings their total spent to date to $187,510.11 leaving an ending cash balance of $122,639.89. All the money has been spent outside of Antioch for consultants, printing, mailings, a phone bank and more.

There has been no committee formed to oppose measure E, yet. However, an ad ad in the May issue of the Antioch Herald newspaper was paid for by a group entitled Antioch Friends for Local Control and another group described as Antioch residents and businesses paid for a separate ad against Measure E in the same issue of the paper.

See the campaign finance reports for the Yes on E committee, below.

Yes on E committee Fin Rpt 7-1 to 12-31-15

Yes on E committee 1-1 to 4-23-2016

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League of Conservation Voters of the East Bay endorse Burgis for County Supervisor

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

Diane Burgis, candidate for Contra Costa County Supervisor, District III, announced she had received the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters of the East Bay.

“Diane Burgis is committed to standing up for a clean environment,” said Beth Gunston, President of the Board of Directors of the League of Conservation Voters of the East Bay.  “As executive director of the Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed and a trustee of the East Bay Regional Park District, Diane has been fighting for clean water and open space throughout her personal and professional life.”

“I believe it is critical that we protect our natural resources for future generations to enjoy,” said Burgis.  “I am pleased that the League of Conservation Voters of the East Bay has recognized my work to protect the Delta and ensure that our environment is healthy and open space is preserved.”

The mission of LCVEB is to further environmental and public health protections in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties by electing environmental leaders to local office.

Burgis has also earned the endorsement of retiring Supervisor Mary Piepho, former Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, and more than 30 locally elected officials and community leaders.  Recently, she was honored by the Contra Costa Women’s Hall of Fame with the Women Improving the Environment Award for her work with the Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed.

For more information on the organization, visit

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Hardcastle leads in campaign finances in District 3 Supervisor race, Wilson receives most in monetary contributions

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

Barr, Burgis, Wilson have large balances of unpaid bills

By Allen Payton

Campaign finance reports were due on Thursday, April 28 and all six candidates for District 3 County Supervisor submitted their reports required for any candidate who has raised or spent at least $2,000 in their campaign, this year. The reporting period was from January 1 through April 23, 2016.

Oakley Councilman Doug Hardcastle leads the pack with the most received at $37,511.16 and spent at $34,642.80. But, $15,500 was from loans he made to his campaign. The total also includes non-monetary contributions of $5,000. He had $2,868.36 cash on hand at the end of the reporting period.

Antioch Councilwoman Monica Wilson raised the most in monetary contributions at $25,589.76 with $5,179 of that amount transferred from her 2016 City Council reelection campaign committee. But, she spent $26,046.19 and had $14,587.85 in unpaid bills, with an ending cash balance of $14,249.48. Most of Wilson’s contributions were from, and most of the money was spent outside of the district, with the majority of it spent out of state. UPDATE 05-02-16: Wilson’s finance reports from her 2016 City Council re-election campaign committee have been posted, below. They show $4,700 in itemized contributions of $100 or more, all of it from outside of both the City of Antioch and the Supervisor District 3.

East Bay Regional Parks District Board Member Diane Burgis is in second place for monetary contributions with $18,857 and Brentwood Councilman Steve Barr is in a close third at $18,685. But Barr is in second for total contributions at $28,335 which include a $5,000 loan from him and his wife, and $4,650 in non-monetary contributions. Two of Burgis’ largest contributions were received from Supervisors Mary Piepho and John Gioia at the maximum of $1,675 each. She has spent the second most at $26,568.86, had $15,271.21 in unpaid bills and an ending cash balance of $7,659.90. Barr spent $26,009, had $18,585 in unpaid bills, but $20,911 in cash on hand.

NAACP East County Branch President Odessa Lefrancois raised $11,885, with her largest contribution of $5,000 coming from Public Employees Union Local #1, of which she’s a member. Her campaign spent $9,277.80 and had $2,607.20 cash on hand at the end of the reporting period. Antioch Mayor Wade Harper’s campaign received $8,050, including his largest contribution of $2,000 from Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3. He spent $5,663.54 and had $2,386.46 cash on hand.

Hardcastle and Lefrancois were the only candidates to raise or spend at least $1,000 in 2015 and submitted campaign reports for the period July 1 through December 31, 2015.

See the complete financial reports for each of the candidates, with details of who has contributed more than $100 and to whom more than $100 was paid, here:

Barr Fin Rpt 0101-042316

Burgis Fin Rpt 0101-042316

Hardcastle Fin Rpt 0701-123115

Hardcastle 0101-042316

Harper Fin Rpt 0101-042316

Lefrancois Fin Rpt 0701-123115

Lefrancois Fin Rpt 0101-042316

Wilson Fin Rpt 0101-042316

Wilson ACC2016 0101-063015

Wilson ACC2016 0701-123115

NOTE: The two additional financial reports from Monica Wilson were for her 2016 City Council campaign committee report, since she transferred funds from that committee to her Supervisor campaign committee.


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Writer has problem with Barr being endorsed by Brentwood Police Officers, supports Hardcastle for Supervisor

Friday, April 29th, 2016


Brentwood City Councilman and Supervisorial candidate Steve Barr’s endorsement by the Brentwood Police Officers’ Association is a clear example of what is wrong with California politics and government leadership.

A city councilman and/or supervisor is on the management side of the negotiation for pay, benefits, pensions, working rules, etc. with labor groups.  Having their endorsement and, in all probability financial support, during the campaign, leads to the distinct possibility of a pay back or reward for that support during contract negotiations.  The second problem with this arrangement is that the only people left out of that negotiation are the taxpayers, the people who have to pay for the results of that negotiation.  It is especially easy to give pay increases and other benefits when you are negotiating with other people’s money.

I support Doug Hardcastle for Supervisor in District 3.  Doug and his wife Linda have owned and successfully operated Hardcastle’s RV in the county since 1972.  He was on the Ironhouse Sanitary District Board of Directors from 2000 until 2012 and a member of the Oakley City Council since 2012, serving as Mayor, last year.  He is Chairman of Transplan (the East County transportation board), Chairman of the State Route 4 Bypass Authority and is Vice Chairman of the Tri Delta Transit Authority. Doug is a successful, independent leader who understands the need for private sector economic development and jobs in East County and has proven his ability to lead in the public sector.  But, most of all, he is working for all the people of East County, not just a chosen few.

Hal Bray

Discovery Bay

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Watchdog: Overview of the Candidates for Supervisor

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

Watchdog-LogoBy Barbara Zivica

There’s an old expression about politics that goes like this “All politics are based on the indifference of the majority.” (James Reston). Let me reword it this way – “all politics are local and politicians count on the ignorance of voters.” Do your own research and remember that when candidates are endorsed and elected by unions or a particular political party, they are no longer “independent” legislators.  Newspaper endorsements can also be biased.  Be sure you know the rules.  June 7th is a primary race. The top 2 vote getters will move onto the November 8th general election.

Speaking of endorsements, let’s look at the candidates for District 3, an open seat due to incumbent Mary Piepho‘s decision to retire and District 5, where Federal Glover is again running for re-election.

DISTRICT 3 – Includes most of Antioch, all of south side of Highway 4

STEVE BARR – Current Brentwood City Council member (term expires November 2018)  Endorsed as best pick for Supervisor by the Contra Costa Times.   Here are a few facts you may not know:  Barr switched parties from Democrat to Republican in 2015 in time to run for the seat held by Mary Piepho, who is a Republican.   He is one of two Brentwood councilmen who replaced non-elected directors on the East Contra Costa Fire District Board.  The Board which gave its firefighter a 5% across the board raise, hasn’t solved the lack of fire services in Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Bethel Island, Byron and Knightsen.  They tried to pass two taxes but failed both times.  My biggest beef with him is, although he was opposed to a project labor agreement the City used on its new city hall, he was seated on the council when they unanimously agreed to move forward with creating a project labor agreement to build the Brentwood library.  Should we call him a “flip flopper”?

DIANE BURGIS: Executive Director of Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed, sits on the Regional Planning Committee for ABAG.  Prior to being elected to the East Bay Regional Parks District Board in November 2014, she sat on the Oakley City Council, being elected just two years before in 2012. Burgis also served on the Delta Protection Commission, executive Board for the East Bay League of Cities and Transportation, Communications and Public Works Policy Committee for the League of California Cities representing the Woman’s Caucus.  She currently serves as Ward 7 Director of EBRPD and has Piepho’s backing.

DOUG HARDCASTLE -  Owner of Hardcastle RV Center in Oakley, for more than 40 years.  Served as Director on the Ironhouse Sanitary District Board from 2000 to 2012 and President of Board from 2010-2011.  Elected to the Oakley City Council in 2012 and just completed a year as Mayor.  Endorsed by current Mayor Kevin Romick and Bill Baker, former US Representative for California’s 10th Congressional District.  Small business owners are the backbone of the U.S. economy.  Hardcastle is especially concerned about economic development, local jobs, public safety, improved roads and transportation and protecting the Delta and open space. First candidate to  enter the race to challenge Piepho, last fall, before she decided not to run in December.

WADE HARPER – Flip flopper.  In 2008 when getting appointed to the Antioch School Board he committed to running for re-election in 2010,  instead he ran for City Council and then for the Mayor’s seat.  In an accelerated swearing in ceremony in December 2012, held in order to allow  the new mayor and council members to reverse the previously signed contract with APOA, which changed the 3% at 50 pension calculation to a 3% at 55 formula.  This was done in order to avoid having to adhere to a new voter approved law which would take effect on January 1, 2012 reducing the pension formula for new police hires from 2% at 50 to 2.7% at age 55 and freezing benefit formulas for lateral hires.

After committing to being a full-time Mayor if elected, he got a job teaching for the Antioch school district. In June 2014 he implied commitment to allow a citizens group to move forward on plans for a park and event center on the former lumber yard site, then voted to sell it to a developer.  In October 2015 he made a commitment to Senator Steve Glazer to not run for higher office when hired as a field rep.  Two months later, he quit the job to run for Supervisor.  He is endorsed by the Antioch Education Association, the professional organization and bargaining unit for all the teachers of Antioch Unified School District, Councilwoman Mary Rocha, and Councilman Tony Tiscareno, and Rocha’s son, Louie Rocha, the principal of Antioch High where Harper teaches.

ODESSA LEFRANCOIS -  Retired Navy veteran, 12th year county health services employee and civil rights activist. Says her priorities are better health care delivery, especially to vets, better regional transportation infrastructure, unfair labor practices and community issues concerning seniors.  She is 2nd Vice President of Local Union 1 and President of the NAACP East County Branch.  Entered the race last Novemberl, to challenge Piepho.

MONICA WILSON – Elected to the Antioch City Council in 2012. Her press release states her successes include helping grow local businesses and making public safety a top priority, securing local measures to hire and support more police officers.  Frankly, she’s overstating her qualifications and accomplishments.  Residents are now paying for two tax measures and experiencing a continuing understaffed police, code enforcement and animal control department.  She has been endorsed by SEIU (Service Employees International Union and the Democrat leadership machine in the county.

DISTRICT 5 – Includes most of the portion of Antioch north of Highway 4

ANAMARIE AVILA FARIAS – current Martinez City Councilmember, elected in 2012, and current Board Member for the Juvenile Hall Auxiliary of Contra Costa County.  Was a member of the Martinez Planning Commission for 8 years and served on the Parks and Recreation and Marina Commission.  Employed for nearly 10 years with the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing & Community development and in 2015 was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown Jr. to serve as a Board Director for the California Housing Finance Agency.  She is currently a Board Member for the Latino Caucus and has numerous union endorsements.

CONRAD DANDRIDGE -  Former member of the Pacheco Municipal Advisory Council, This is 2nd time Dandridge, ran for the Board.  In 2006 he ran for District 4 Supervisor seat in unincorporated Martinez.   Susan Bonilla won that race.  Dandridge is a program analyst for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in Oakland.  Claims to know District 5 well due to having worked s a Census Bureau field operations supervisor all over Contra Costa.  Doesn’t believe Glover is an effective advocate for District 5, especially the unincorporated areas.

FEDERAL GLOVER -  Former Pittsburg City Council Member, Served as Mayor from 1998 to 1999 and has been on the Board of Supervisors since 2000.  He’s now running for his fifth term in office (no term limits in local government but there should be). His campaign manager is Mary Jo Rossi, whose name has come up in regard to backroom deals concerning the Navy land plan.   Glover is another “flip flopper”.  In the past he promised voters he’d  “hold the line” on growth. However, campaign finance reports show he received at least $38,000+ from groups often seen to be in opposition to environmental concerns i.e. $$20,000 from Chevron and Tosco, $56,000+  from developers (the largest $15,000 from Homebuilders Assoc, $6,830 from Alves/Paramount, $5,000 from PROPAC and from Seeno $3,175.   He’s voted for over 6,700 homes – 1,500 in Alamo Creek, 200 in Discovery Bay, Oakley -  sphere of influence addition for homes (2,000 acres) in addition to over 5,000 homes he approved in Pittsburg.  He also told residents (Contra Costa Times 1/14/2000 ) “It’s time to stand up and own up to the fact that our ability to bring BART further east is not going to happen.”   Voted to give himself a 60% raise in 2006 then another 33% in 2014. But, after county staff and residents gathered enough signatures to force a referendum in 2015, Glover voted to reverse his vote on the 33% raise. Instead, he voted for a 14% pay raise, last year although the county employees only received a 4% raise. He’s endorsed by the Democratic Party of Contra Costa.

MIKE MENESINI – Former Martinez Mayor for 18 years and Councilman for eight years. He works in San Francisco as an Assistant District Attorney. Unsuccessfully ran for County Supervisor in 1992, Superior Court judge in 1994 and Contra Costa District Attorney in 2002. Left the city with a $30 million shortfall in pension and retiree health plans and only 64 percent of the funds they should have. Also allowed for pension spiking by the city’s police force and expensive, lifetime retiree health insurance benefits from their first day on the job, for themselves, spouses and children up to age 26.

DAN ROMERO – Mayor of Hercules. Joined the Hercules City Council in 2011 following the recall of previous members.  Reelected in 2012. Had to deal with the $38 million mess from redevelopment spending by previous councils. Weathered controversy and attacks by fellow council member over who should be Mayor. Supported 2004 Franklin Canyon Measure M, which down zoned the area to one home for every 40 acres. Side note for Antioch residents – Romero voted to hire Steve Duran, as City Manager, who later left to become Antioch’s City Manager. He owns an insurance agency in Pinole.

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Frazier, Torlakson endorse Wilson for Supervisor

Monday, April 11th, 2016


Antioch City Councilmember Monica Wilson announced she has earned the endorsement of Assemblymember Jim Frazier (AD-11) and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson for her supervisorial campaign.

“In my time working with Monica Wilson, I have seen how she always prioritizes our community’s best interests,” said Frazier. “Whether it is making sure our families stay safe or bringing financial stability to our government, Monica is known for implementing real and lasting change. Antioch is better for her time on council, and the Board of Supervisors will greatly benefit from her experience. Monica Wilson is the clear choice for this position.”

Jim Frazier was elected to the California State Assembly to represent the 11th Assembly District in November 2012, where he now serves as Chairman of the Transportation Committee and sits on the Veteran Affairs Committee. A local small business owner, Frazier got involved in the community after a traumatizing car accident. Jim worked tirelessly for transportation infrastructure improvements to fix the road that has claimed so many lives. This work inspired him to continue serving the public, including serving as Mayor of Oakley

“I am honored to earn the support from Jim.” said Monica Wilson. “He and I believe in making our community a place that offers better opportunities to residents. I know Jim cares about being accessible to his constituents in order to hear their concerns, and this is a value that we share.”

Assembly District 11 overlaps East Contra Costa County’s Supervisorial District 3 with Antioch, Oakley, Brentwood, and Discovery Bay. In November 2014, Frazier was reelected with 59.7% of the vote.



According to a March 31st post on Wilson’s campaign Facebook page –  “Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has endorsed my campaign!

Here’s what he said: ‘I’m supportive of Monica Wilson because she’s worked hard in partnering with the community to improve job training for our youth. We need more public servants like Monica. She has my full endorsement and support.’ ”

Torlakson is a former member of the State Senate, State Assembly and County Board of Supervisors all representing Antioch, as well as the Antioch City Council. He was a teacher and cross country coach at Antioch High School.

Wilson lives in Antioch and received her M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix and her B.A. from Howard University. The seat is being vacated by outgoing Supervisor Mary Piepho. Contra Costa County’s Third Supervisorial District includes, Antioch, Oakley, Brentwood, and Discovery Bay. The primary election is June 7, 2016. For more information visit

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Antioch teachers union, Antioch High Principal Rocha endorse Harper for Supervisor

Thursday, April 7th, 2016
Antioch High School Principal Louie Rocha

Antioch High School Principal Louie Rocha

The Antioch Education Association, the union representing teachers in the Antioch Unified School District, and Antioch High School principal Louie Rocha, today endorsed Antioch Mayor Wade Harper in his campaign for Contra Costa County Supervisor in District 3.

“Nothing is more important to our community than our schools.  Mayor Harper has shown a special dedication to our students, teachers and parents.  His priority is to ensure the safety and success of our students,” said Principal Louie Rocha.  “As a civic leader who has committed his time to serving our youth as a role model and mentor, I believe he is uniquely qualified, and the best candidate – the only choice – to represent us on the Board of Supervisors.  His experience as Mayor, school board member, teacher and police lieutenant makes him uniquely qualified.”

“I think teachers have one of the most important jobs that a person can have, that is, shaping the young minds of our children, ”said Harper. “I am excited and honored to have the support of the Antioch Education Association and Principal Louie Rocha.”

Harper is a former Antioch School Board trustee.  While serving on the board, he started the Healthy Community and School Climate Committee to address safety problems in the schools.

Harper currently serves as a teacher in the Leadership and Public Services Academy teaching law enforcement careers at Antioch High. Having served as a sworn officer, he is able to share his experience and training that led to his career in law enforcement.

“I was excited to have our mayor join our staff,” said Rocha,  “He is making a positive impact on our students.  I have visited his classroom and the students are engaged.”

Harper is the only directly-elected mayor in the race for District 3 Supervisor.  Harper received his MBA in Leadership from John F. Kennedy University and was honored as alumni of the year for the school of management.  Harper received his BA degree in Pastoral Studies from Patten University and was honored as student of the year. For more information about his campaign visit For more information on the Antioch Education Association, visit

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