Archive for the ‘State of California’ Category

Kelly-Moore Paint agrees to $1.43 million settlement with 10 DA’s for illegal dumping of hazardous waste

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Violated state environmental protection laws

By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa County District Attorney

Martinez, Calif. – Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton announced Monday, a $1.43 million settlement against Kelly-Moore Paint Company (Kelly-Moore) to resolve allegations that the company violated California state laws governing hazardous waste by routinely and illegally disposing of paint colorants, paint, electronic devices, aerosol products, and other hazardous wastes into company waste bins destined for municipal landfills not authorized to accept hazardous waste. The lawsuit also resolves allegations that Kelly-Moore failed to shred customer records containing confidential information before disposal.

“My office will always strive to protect the environment and public health by holding companies accountable for violating our environmental laws. This settlement not only acts as a deterrent against other potential violators but more importantly contains injunctive provisions to ensure Kelly Moore will maintain environmental compliance into the foreseeable future.,” stated Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton.

Kelly-Moore is a retail paint company in North America. In California the company owns or operates approximately 106 retail stores, including nine stores in Contra Costa County as part of this settlement.

The investigation of Kelly-Moore was initiated by the California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC). From March 2016 through December 2018, inspectors from the DTSC, and investigators from other district attorney offices statewide, conducted a series of undercover inspections of waste bins originating at 29 separate Kelly-Moore locations. These inspections found numerous instances of unlawful disposal of hazardous waste paint colorants, paint, electronic devices, aerosol products, and other hazardous wastes. Kelly-Moore also violated laws meant to protect vulnerable confidential consumer information by unlawfully disposing of customer records without having rendered personal information unreadable.

When Kelly-Moore officials were notified by the prosecutors of the unlawful disposals, they immediately agreed to cooperate with the People and promptly implemented measures and dedicated additional resources towards environmental compliance at its stores. Stores are required to properly manage hazardous waste and to retain their waste in segregated, labeled containers to minimize the risk of exposure to employees and customers and to ensure that incompatible wastes do not combine to cause dangerous chemical reactions. Hazardous waste produced by Kelly-Moore stores through damage, spills, and returns is being collected by state-registered haulers, taken to proper disposal facilities, and properly documented and accounted for.

The settlement requires a monetary payment of $1.43 million. This consists of $825,000 for civil penalties, $178,750 for supplemental environmental projects, and $425,000 for reimbursement of investigative and enforcement costs. Kelly-Moore gets a credit of $125,000 against the penalties if it undertakes at least $250,000 in environmental enhancement work not required by law. In addition, the settlement includes provisions requiring Kelly-Moore to employ a California-based compliance employee to oversee Kelly-Moore’s hazardous waste compliance program and to undergo a trash receptacle audit to ensure hazardous wastes and confidential consumer information is properly disposed of at all stores. The results of the audit must be shared with the public. The company must also comply with 28 injunctive requirements pertaining to environmental and confidential consumer information protection laws.

Joining District Attorney Becton in this lawsuit are the District Attorneys of Alameda, Monterey, Placer, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma and Yolo Counties.

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Los Angeles church, pastor win in court Friday, can continue indoor services judge rules

Friday, August 14th, 2020

Temporary order defies L.A. County COVID-19 orders; full hearing on September 4; only applies to that church, for now

On Thursday, August 13, Thomas More Society Special Counsel Jenna Ellis and attorney Charles LiMandri filed suit in the Superior Court of the State of California County of Los Angeles on behalf of Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church against Governor Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and other California and Los Angeles County public health officials. (See complaint)

On Friday, the California Court vindicated Pastor MacArthur and the church’s stance that church is essential by recognizing the constitutionally protected right of churches to remain open and hold indoor services in their sanctuary.

Hours after Grace Community Church filed suit to invalidate Los Angeles County’s unconstitutional restrictions on churches, the County filed for a temporary restraining order to force the church to stop holding indoor services and comply with every unreasonable and over-broad demand. At hearing today (Friday, August 14, 2020) in Los Angeles Superior Court, Judge Chalfant denied almost all of the County’s requests, agreeing with Pastor MacArthur and the Church that it is the County’s burden to show why it should be permitted to infringe on the constitutionally protected rights of churches to freely exercise religion. The judge did also express concern for some safety protocols.

To address those concerns and after explaining that the County was being unreasonable in its demands, counsel for Grace Community Church offered to comply with mask wearing and social distancing indoors until the matter could be fully heard, rather than the County simply rushing to shut down the Church. The judge agreed this was reasonable, set the full hearing for September 4, 2020, and ordered the Church to have congregants wear masks and social distance between family groups indoors.

Pastor John MacArthur said of the ruling, “I am very grateful the Court has allowed us to meet inside and we are happy for a few weeks to comply and respect what the judge has asked of us because he is allowing us to meet. This vindicates our desire to stay open and serve our people. This also gives us an opportunity to show that we are not trying to be rebellious or unreasonable, but that we will stand firm to protect our church against unreasonable, unconstitutional restrictions.”

Attorney Ellis said, “This is a huge vindication for Pastor John and the Board of Elders at Grace Community Church, who have simply asked for their right to worship the Lord together in church to be acknowledged and protected. When I spoke with Pastor John after the hearing, he expressed sincere gratitude to the California Court and Judge Chalfant and said his congregation will be happy to comply with the judge’s temporary order. This is why John MacArthur is so deeply loved and respected by his congregation and all over the world. He is a gracious and firm leader, and his biblical stand for church being essential has now been rightly validated. We look forward to continuing to advocate on his behalf in asking the Court to protect the fundamental rights of churches.”

Legal counsel LiMandri said, “This result is indeed a great victory for all citizens’ constitutional right to freedom of religion. Pastor MacArthur’s love of God and country motivated him and all the GCC church elders to resist the unjust government shut-down orders targeting people of faith. Their devotion and patriotism has brought about a result that respects the legitimate interests of both the church and state. This result makes it possible for the thousands of congregants of GCC to continue to gather together in their church to worship, while at the same time honoring the court’s requirement that reasonable and temporary safety measures be observed. This court ruling should stay in effect at least until there can be a full court hearing in this case on September 4, 2020. Please continue to pray that the courts allow this enlightened judge’s decision to stand so that all Californians can soon resume the worship of God in their respective churches.”

“We are simply continuing to do today what we have done for the past 63 years, that Grace Community Church has been open to welcome the Los Angeles community and serve their spiritual needs,” the pastor said in a statement. “We will remain open and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all who decide they want to come worship with us.”

The suit seeks to prohibit California from enforcing its unconstitutional and onerous coronavirus pandemic regulations against Grace Community Church and seeks a judgment that the health orders violate the California Constitution.

“Having irreparably damaged the confidence of Americans—and Californians especially—who now realize that the pandemic restrictions are neither necessary nor good, on Sunday, July 26, 2020, Grace Community Church decided to resume worship services—joining millions of Americans in deciding that enough is enough. With deaths from the ‘COVID-19 suicide pandemic’ exceeding those from the actual coronavirus pandemic, Grace Community Church decided that it would no longer sit by and watch its congregants and their children suffer from an absence of religious worship and instruction. Perhaps unsurprisingly—perhaps not—this led the County of Los Angeles to submit a demand letter to Grace Community Church, ordering it to comply with the restrictions that Los Angeles County deems unnecessary to enforce against so many others. Grace Community Church does not intend to comply.”

According to attorneys for the church, it is time for California to recognize that Christians are not second-class citizens, and the court must step in to do its job in applying the protections that the U.S. and California State constitutions provide to every individual equally and to churches in particular.

Pastor MacArthur opened the Sunday morning service on August 9, welcoming worshippers to “the Grace Community Church peaceful protest.” He was met with a standing ovation and extended applause from the congregation. Pastor MacArthur said of the lawsuit, “We are simply continuing to do today what we have done for the past 63 years, that Grace Community Church has been open to welcome the Los Angeles community and serve their spiritual needs. We will remain open and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all who decide they want to come worship with us.”

Ellis said, “We hoped that Los Angeles County would see its error on its own, but after attempted negotiations with their counsel, California is still intent on targeting churches—specifically, Grace Community Church. Pastor MacArthur and the Board of Elders will stand firm in their leadership and resolve that church is essential, and California has no legitimate power to enforce such onerous and unconstitutional restrictions against the fundamentally protected right to freely participate in church. After Grace Community Church voluntarily complied with state orders for nearly six months, California’s edicts demanding an indefinite shut down have gone now far past rational or reasonable and are firmly in the territory of tyranny and discrimination. This isn’t about health. It’s about blatantly targeting churches.”

LiMandri stated, “It is unconstitutional for Governor Newsom and the State of California to discriminate against churches by treating them less favorably than other organizations and activities that are not protected by the First Amendment. Pastor MacArthur and his church, as well as all churches, are entitled to practice their religion without government interference. This is especially the case when the government has given free rein to protestors, and is not similarly restricting marijuana dispensaries, large retail outlets and factories, or abortion providers. The government orders are also unconstitutional because there is no compelling need for the onerous restrictions on the churches at this time. The hospitals are not overwhelmed and the percentage death rate from COVID-19 is now extremely small. It is time for Governor Newsom and Mayor Garcetti to recognize what President Trump has already proclaimed: churches are providing an ‘essential’ service to the people. Therefore, they must be allowed to serve the people in the manner in which God has called them.”

Read the Thomas More Society’s Complaint filed with the Superior Court for the State of California County of Los Angeles – in Grace Community Church and Pastor John MacArthur v. Gavin Newsome et al., on August 12, 2020, here.

Read the Demand Letter sent to Pastor John MacArthur by attorney Jason Tokoro, representing the County of Los Angeles in California, on July 29, 2020, here.

 

 

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Gov. Newsom allows public schools to reopen if county is not on state monitoring list for 14 days

Friday, July 17th, 2020

Screenshot of Gov. Newsom’s press conference from his official Facebook page.

By Allen Payton

During an announcement, today Governor Gavin Newsom said schools in counties not on the state’s monitoring list can reopen for in-person. But schools in counties on the monitor list must be off the list for 14 consecutive days before being able to reopen. According to a slide he shared, a total of 32 of the state’s 58 counties have been on the state’s monitoring list for 3+ days. Contra Costa continues to be on the state’s monitoring list of counties. The order includes both public and private schools.

Governor Gavin Newsom announces #COVID19 guidance for schools and provide an update on the state’s response to the pandemic.

Posted by California Governor on Friday, July 17, 2020

“It’s very personal to me as a father of four, 10 years of age or younger, to the 6.15 million kids who are part of the public school education system and the 625,000 adults…who are looking forward to getting back to school…and us parents getting back to work…and to so many other responsibilities as parents and caregivers,” Newsom started off.

He spoke of and provided slides explaining the specific recommendations and guidance.

“Schools must provide meaningful instruction during this pandemic whether they are open…or not,” Newsom said.

He spoke of the health of school staff. “We have to have their backs, as well,” he stated. “Safety is foundational.”

Newsom then shared his Five Principles:

  1. Safe in-person school based on local data
  2. Mask requirements
  3. Physical distancing + other adaptations
  4. Regular testing + dedicated contact tracing
  5. Rigorous distance learning

“Schools can physically open when the county they are operating in are off the state’s monitoring list for 14 consecutive days,” Newsom announced. ‘However, schools that don’t meet this requirement, they must begin the school year, this fall with distance learning.”

He then spoke of the other four principles.

“All school staff and students third grade and above must wear masks,” he stated. “Students second grade and below we encourage to wear masks or face shields.”

“On the physical distancing side, it’s incumbent upon staff to physically distance at least six feet,” Newsom said.

“The school day should start with symptom checks, temperature checks,” he continued.

Newsom spoke of requirements to test staff regularly, with the state contact tracing workforce of 10,000 people who will prioritize schools, according to one of the slides.

“Distance learning…access to devices. We have put up money for districts to purchase devices…to address this yawning gap in technology and connectivity,” he shared.

“We want to create a challenging environment where assignments are equivalent to what they would get in a classroom environment,” Newsom added.

He spoke of challenges with a breakout of the virus. If the school has cases of more than 5% positive, then we mandate that school close. If 25% of the schools in a district have 5% positive cases, the district must close all schools for 14 days, he explained.

“Learning remains non-negotiable. But neither is safety of all of our cohorts of support staff as well as our children,” Newsom said before sharing the latest statewide COVID-19 statistics.

“None of us want to see education virtualized, at least I don’t,” he said. “The one thing we have the power to do to get our kids back into school is, look at this list, again. Wear a mask, physically distance, wash your hands, minimize the mixing.”

“The more we do on this list and we do it on scale the quicker all those counties will get off the monitoring list…and those kids are back in school,” Newsom stated. “It’s incumbent upon us to practice…what we preach as individuals…to model the behavior that can actually extinguish this virus,”

“I saw one study…if every American wore a mask in just a number of weeks, we’ll have dramatically bent the curve,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s too much to ask.”

“Go to that covid19.ca.gov website…to learn more about these continuity plans, Local Continuity Attendance Plans (LCAP),” Newsom concluded before opening up for a question and answer session.

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Governor Newsom uses “dimmer switch” to shut down most of California, again

Monday, July 13th, 2020

Governor Gavin Newsom provides an update on the state’s response to #COVID19.

Posted by California Governor on Monday, July 13, 2020

“We’re turning back into a modification mode of our stay-at-home order.” – Gov. Newsom

Order affects some activities, businesses in Contra Costa County

By Allen Payton

“Looking at the conditions…based on the trend lines, based on the science…increased positivity rates…increased hospitalizations,” California Governor Gavin Newsom announced today he is using a “dimmer switch” for statewide actions.

“We are requiring all counties to close their indoor activities, including restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos and museums, card rooms and the shuttering of all bars,” he stated.

It applies to all counties, not just those on the monitoring list. However, all of those activities have already been closed in Contra Costa County, so that part of Newsom’s order doesn’t affect those in our county.

The governor called for the expansion of “opportunities for outdoor operations,” but didn’t elaborate.

He shared additional sectors that must be shuttered in the counties on the monitoring list, of which Contra Costa County is one.

“For all the counties on the monitoring list we are directing they close indoor operations in additional sectors: fitness centers, places of worship, offices for non-critical sectors, personal care services, that includes hair salons and barber shops, and indoor malls” Newsom stated.

“It’s a dynamic list. Counties come on, counties come off,” he said.

Newsome spoke of the increasing number of cases, positivity rate, hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

“As of yesterday, in the latest reporting periods, we had 8,358 cases. For the seven-day average there were 8,211 new cases per day,” he shared. “So, you see that seven-day average trending up.”

“The positivity rate has settled in and…over a 14-day period is 7.4%, over a 7-day period it’s 7.7%,” he explained. “This represents a 21% increase in positivity rate over a seven-day period.”

He also spoke of an increase in hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

“We’re seeing a modest reduction in the rate of growth…in the total number of people hospitalized,” Newsom stated.

“That represents a 20% increase over a two-week period, last week it was a 39% increase over a two-week period,” he said.

Newsom then reiterated the wearing of masks, and said, “we’ll get through this” and thanked everyone “from the bottom of my heart for your perseverance, for your patience” and called on Californians to “our need to maintain our vigilance” and “continue to do the good work we’ve done as a state…so we can work through this, get to the other side more resilient, more capable than ever.”

Newsom then held a question and answer session.

According to a County Health Services press release, California COVID-19 closures affect some Contra Costa businesses.

Due to a sharp rise in COVID-19 activity, California Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the temporary closure of several types of indoor businesses and activities.

Effective immediately, all counties must close dine-in restaurants, bars, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers such as bowling alleys and arcades, zoos and museums, and cardrooms.

None of these types of businesses had previously reopened under Contra Costa County’s social distancing ordinance and must remain closed under the state order.

Breweries, brewpubs and pubs must “close all operations indoor and outdoor statewide,” according to the state’s COVID-19 web page.

Additionally, Gov. Newsom required counties that have remained on the California Department of Public Health’s county monitoring list for three or more consecutive days to close additional businesses and activities, effective immediately.

Contra Costa does meet the criteria, so this part of the governor’s order does apply to the county. Some businesses and activities that had previously been permitted in the county are affected:

  • Offices for “non-essential” business sectors, as determined by the state – visit ca.govfor more information when it becomes available.
  • Hair salons and barber shops
  • Indoor malls

All of these businesses and activities are required by the state to close today unless their operation can be modified to be outside or by pickup.

Other businesses and activities required by the state to close in watch-list counties include indoor worship services and indoor protests, which Contra Costa also suspended with its own local order effective today.

Fitness centers and personal care services, such as nail salons and tattoo parlors, were also named in the state order but had not previously reopened in the county.

For more information about today’s order from California, visit covid19.ca.gov.

Contra Costa Health Services urges everyone to continue taking simple steps to protect themselves from COVID-19: Follow the social distancing order, and wear a face covering when you leave home or when you are near other people. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, and always stay home from work or school if you are not feeling well.

Visit cchealth.org/coronavirus for local information about Contra Costa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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Gov. Newsom launches “Wear A Mask” public awareness Campaign in response to surge in COVID-19 cases

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

It’s simple. Wear a mask.

Even without symptoms, you could expose others to #COVID19.Wear a mask and practice physical distancing to #SlowtheSpread and protect your loved ones. #YourActionsSaveLivesLearn more at covid19.ca.gov.

Posted by California Governor on Thursday, July 2, 2020

Multi-media campaign funded in part by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, others

SACRAMENTO — As COVID-19 cases rise throughout the state, Governor Gavin Newsom announced last week the “Wear A Mask” public awareness campaign encouraging Californians to use face coverings – one of the best ways people can protect themselves and others from the virus. The campaign is taking an aggressive approach to slowing the spread of COVID-19, which will save lives and allow the state to reopen the economy. The campaign, which will continue until at least the end of the year, will kick off in English and Spanish and then expand into other languages later this month.

“We all have a responsibility to slow the spread. It is imperative – and required – that Californians protect each other by wearing masks and practicing physical distancing when in public so we can fully reopen our economy,” said Governor Newsom. “We all need to stand up, be leaders, show we care and get this done.”

The campaign began with a statewide push ahead of the July 4th holiday weekend. Broadcast and radio PSAs are being distributed in English and Spanish with local ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, Univision, Telemundo, Ethnic Media Services, and iHeart Media affiliates. Billboards and outdoor advertisements are visible statewide in both English and Spanish thanks to ClearChannel, Lamar, VisCom Outdoor, iKahan Media, and LED Truck Media. The campaign includes a variety of shareable social media content with key messages on why and how to wear a mask.

See Behind the Mask video, here.

In the coming weeks, the campaign increasingly will focus on those who have been disproportionately harmed by this pandemic, particularly California’s Black and Latinx communities. Messages will be translated into seven languages and delivered by trusted messengers. In addition, the Listos California emergency preparedness campaign will be supporting paid media efforts and bolstering community engagement efforts.

See I Care video, here.

The “Wear a Mask” campaign received seed funding in partnership with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, The Skoll Foundation, Rick Caruso, Tom Steyer, the CDC Foundation, and Sierra Health Foundation. It’s a continuation of the “Your Actions Save Lives” campaign that has promoted critical public health messaging throughout the pandemic, raising more than $10.75 million in cash and $27 million in in-kind partnerships with multimedia organizations and members of the Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs recovery. Additional cash contributions and partnerships will be announced in the coming weeks.

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In spite of Gov. Newsom’s order, churchgoers will be singing while wearing masks

Saturday, July 4th, 2020

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.” Psalm 94:8

“Peter and the other apostles answered and said: ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.’” Acts 5:29

By Allen Payton

As part of his new statewide health orders issued on Wednesday, July 1, California Governor Gavin Newsom included a new requirement that “*Places of worship must therefore discontinue singing and chanting activities” during worship services. (Note: The asterisk does not refer to anything else in the document) See https://files.covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-places-of-worship.pdf

Under the section entitled Considerations for Places of Worship it reads, “Discontinue singing (in rehearsals, services, etc.), chanting, and other practices and performances where there is increased likelihood for transmission from contaminated exhaled droplets.

The state’s document, entitled COVID-19 INDUSTRY GUIDANCE: Places of Worship and Providers of Religious Services and Cultural Ceremonies refers to the practice of one’s faith as “personal” as if it’s not supposed to be done in public, like other activities such as protesting.

“Even with adherence to physical distancing, convening in a congregational setting of multiple different households to practice a personal faith carries a relatively higher risk for widespread transmission of the COVID-19 virus, and may result in increased rates of infection, hospitalization, and death, especially among more vulnerable populations. In particular, activities such as singing and chanting negate the risk reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing,” the document reads.

However, in response after contacting county officials, leaders of Golden Hills Community Church, one of the larger churches in Eastern Contra Costa County with campuses in Brentwood and Antioch which will hold their first in-person service in 17 weeks on Sunday, July 5, shared with their members that singing while wearing masks will be allowed.

In an email on Friday, June 3 Senior Pastor Phil Ward wrote, “This week both the state and the county announced a ban on ‘singing and chanting’ in houses of worship. Since we now have the ability to gather for in-person worship, and since singing is an essential aspect of Christian worship (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16), we found this prohibition unreasonable because it dictates what is permissible in worship. As a result, we reached out to the governing authorities to express our concern. In response, we were told that singing is permitted so long as masks are being worn—something we already planned to do.”

Although the sanctuary at their Brentwood campus has a capacity of 1,700 people and could easily accommodate 350 people while social distancing, the church will be following the limits of only 100 people per service. They will also utilize their former sanctuary, now used as a multipurpose room, which can also meet the state and county’s limitations of 100 people maximum or 25% of room capacity whichever is less. Finally, the church will be offering four services this Sunday and adding a fifth service, beginning next Saturday night, July 11.

Debate Over Following All Government Laws & Orders

International evangelist and San Francisco native Mario Murillo wrote this week in response to the governor’s order that Christians should not follow such laws or orders because they are evil and go against what God teaches His followers.

I can’t think of a worse idea than to stop praise and worship because Gavin Newsom told you to,” he wrote. “It’s time to wake up to the sad truth that California has declared war on the church. Doesn’t the Bible tell us to obey them no matter what? Absolutely not. And it is shocking how many believers do not know their Bible or have been given false teaching. There is no verse in the Bible that tells you to obey evil government or laws.”

Many believers often quote a section in the book of Romans, chapter 13, verses 1-7 to support following the government’s orders: “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore, you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”

However, Murillo quotes other Bible verses that offer the opposite perspective, that believers are only to follow rulers who aren’t evil and laws that aren’t evil.

“It seems to say that we are to honor government in every form, right? Wrong,” he wrote. “Lost in all the quoting of this verse on submission to government is the most important part: The description of the ruling authority.”

Murillo shares that description writing, “they are not a terror to good works” and “they praise good works.”

He also shared what Jesus said of the Pharisees in Matthew 23:3, “Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, but do not do.”

“Do what they say, but don’t partake of their hypocrisy,” Murillo explains. “Watch them for that moment when they cross the line and come between you and your God.  Just as our conscience should drive us to obey the law, we should also know when our conscience tells us not to obey an evil law.”

“Here’s when Peter reached that tipping point, speaking to those very same Pharisees,” he continues, quoting Acts 4:18-20, “So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.’”

Murillo then quoted Acts 5:29 writing, “Peter and the other apostles answered and said: ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.’”

Newsom’s Order is an Evil Law That Must Not Be Followed

“God not only does not endorse evil government: He will have no part in it,” Murillo continues. He then quotes Psalm 94:20 writing, “Can a corrupt throne be allied with you—a throne that brings on misery by its decrees? The wicked band together against the righteous and condemn the innocent to death.”

“There is your answer. A corrupt throne (government) cannot be allied with God,” he wrote. “In fact, evil laws are the worst form of sin. They provide legitimacy to evil.”

Murillo concludes by quoting German pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi dissident and Christian martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

Wearing a Mask While Singing or Chanting Works

So, ordering followers, of at least Christianity and Judaism, to discontinue singing violates what God wants practiced during worship. As it is written in Psalms 98:4, “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.” Therefore Governor Newsom’s order is an evil law that must not be followed. But, for safety’s sake the spirit of the order can be met by wearing masks while singing or chanting in church.

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Contra Costa County off state’s Watch List as of Friday evening

Friday, July 3rd, 2020

Check marks indicate a county has fallen below the monitoring level for that criteria.

County health officials evaluating local data to determine any further business reopening

By Allen Payton

As of Friday night, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) COVID-19 website, Contra Costa County is no longer on the state’s Watch List for monitoring cases.

The state monitors three criteria, which includes elevated disease transmission with a case rate of more than 100 or a case rate of greater than 25 and positivity of more than 8%; increasing hospitalization of more than 10%, and limited hospital capacity with less than 20% of ICU beds available or less than 25% of ventilators available.

Contra Costa has fallen below the criteria which flags counties for inclusion on the watch list.

Asked if there had been an announcement about this new information since our county was included in the list as of Governor Newsom’s announcement on Wednesday, July 1, Contra Costa Health Services spokesman Karl Fischer responded, “No. Counties go on and off the watch list with some regularity, including ours.”

Asked if those businesses that were supposed to reopen on Wednesday would now be allowed to reopen on Monday, Fischer responded, “No determination has been made about changing the reopening timeline. We are evaluating the local data.”

A description of the data being monitored can be found in the Understanding the Data Being Monitored section. The data chart is updated and posted daily.

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Governor allows local governments to extend renter protections through Sept. 30, marriage licenses via videoconferencing, more

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

SACRAMENTO — On Tuesday, June 30, 2020 California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order extending authorization for local governments to halt evictions for renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, through September 30. Currently Contra Costa County’s urgency ordinance preventing evictions and rent increases expires on July 15.

The order also addresses a variety of issues in response to the pandemic, by extending provisions in earlier orders which allow adults to obtain marriage licenses via videoconferencing rather than in-person during the pandemic; waive eligibility re-determinations for Californians who participate in Medi-Cal, to ensure they maintain their health coverage; suspend face-to-face visits for eligibility for foster care; and permit In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program caseworkers to continue caring for older adults and individuals with disabilities through video-conferencing assessments.

The order also extends waivers temporarily broadening the capability of counties to enroll persons into the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program, allowing for self-attestation of pregnancy and conditions of eligibility, and waiving in-person identification requirements.

In addition, the order extends provisions allowing for mail-in renewals of driver’s licenses and identification cards, to limit in-person transactions at the Department of Motor Vehicles, and extends timeframes related to the payment of real estate license application and renewal fees and continuing education requirements for licensees.

The text of the Governor’s executive order can be found here and a copy can be found here.

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