Archive for the ‘Supervisors’ Category

Contra Costa Supervisors extend moratorium for renters, landlords, small business owners due to COVID-19 restrictions

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

Clash over $80,000 marketing outreach budget

By Daniel Borsuk

In response to the state moving Contra Costa County back into the most restrictive COVID-19 Purple Tier, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday acted to deliver financial assistance in the struggling tenant, landlord and small business sectors.

Earlier Supervisors had learned that Contra Costa’s new daily COVID-19 case rate had risen to 11.4 per 100,000 with a 3.7 percent positivity rate.  As of Tuesday, 41 counties, including Contra Costa, were in the Purple tier.

Supervisors approved an amendment to the County’s Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Community Development Block Grant Action Plan to spend  an additional $4.29 million in CDBG-Coronavirus or CV3 funds under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 to provide emergency rental assistance and tenant/landlord counseling and related legal services.

Supervisors allotted $3.2 million from a Federal CARES Grant for an emergency rental assistance program to Hayward-based ECHO Housing that would provide tenant-landlord counseling and related legal services to persons meeting eligible income requirements for the program.

Concord-based Shelter, Inc. will work with ECHO in providing rental assistance services in Antioch, Pittsburg, Concord, and Walnut Creek.

At one point, Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg and Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood clashed over the program’s $80,000 marketing/outreach budget that Glover supported, but Burgis preferred to cut by 50 percent. “I like to do outreach,” said Burgis, “but there is so much need and urgency out there right now.”

Despite the disagreement over the outreach money, supervisors kept intact the $80,000 for outreach.

One of the conditions to the federal program is that the county needs to spend the CARES funds by Jan. 31, 2021.

“Obviously, families are struggling to make ends meet, and some of my students have found themselves having to take some economic responsibility to make families’ ends meet,” said Luis Chacon, a West Contra Costa Unified School District teacher.

In other action, supervisors voted 5-0 to pass an urgency ordinance to continue the temporary prohibition on evictions of certain small business commercial tenants financially impacted by COVID-19.  The protection continues through Jan. 31.

“The county must act quickly to assist residents, both tenants and landlords, who are or will be in the crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Board Chair Candace Andersen of Danville.  “Providing direct rental payments to landlords on behalf of tenants is critical, and staff will work with community organizations to reach out to those in need, particularly low-income households and neighborhoods severely impacted by economic and housing instability at this difficult time.”

Contra Costa County’s Urgency Ordinance 2020-29 provides protections pursuant to Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-80-20, which extends, through March 31, 2021, the authority of local jurisdictions to suspend the evictions of commercial tenants for the non-payment of rent if the non-payment was a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Board of Supervisors recognizes that the already struggling business environment has become even more challenging with the recent rise of COVID-19 cases,” said Board Chair Andersen. “As we follow public health orders and guidance intended to protect lives, we have to support businesses however we can.”

Supervisors voted 5-0 to impose a 45-day moratorium ordinance on industrial hemp cultivation so that the county Agriculture Commission can establish cultivation and location regulations on the crop harvested in East county.

East County resident John Cisneros, who lives nearby a hemp operation with armed guards, urged supervisors to adopt an ordinance.  “How would you like to live near a hep farm with a security force, that might turn into a cannabis operation?  Not a safe thing,” he said.  “I am not against hemp, but this is not a suitable place.”

Pittsburg Motel 6 Homeless Program Action

In a consent action, supervisors approved a lease with Azad Rahman, Riffat Rahman an Zahin Rahman, who had managed the Motel 6 at 2101 Loveridge Road, Pittsburg  that the county has agreed to buy through the state’s Homekey Program to provide housing for the homeless and social services.

The county agreed to purchase the motel for $17.4 million even though there is a question whether the county properly appraised the property that may have been over appraised by $5 million. (See related article) The county approved a lease with the Rahmans at $600 a month.

 

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Contra Costa Supervisors approve creation of Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice

Friday, November 13th, 2020

“Racism exists in our county and in our county department” – Supervisor Federal Glover

“Racism is a public health crisis” – Contra Costa Health Department Director Anna Roth

County COVID-19 ranking lowered to Red Tier as health officials warn about holiday season upsurge

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020 unanimously passed a proposal to create a county funded Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice to address increasing concerns about rising issues of racial inequality and social injustice especially in how the county delivers health services to people of color.

The nonprofit San Francisco Foundation will provide the biggest donation of $75,000 to help launch the formation of the new office.  Other organizations providing funding are the Contra Costa Regional Health Foundation, $20,000; East Bay Community Foundation, $10,000; John Muir Community Benefits, $10,000; Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation, $25,000; Public Health Advocates, $25,000; Republic Services, $25,000; Richmond Community Foundation, $5,000: The California Endowment, $25,000 and Y&H Soda Foundation, $25,000.

Before supervisors voted to start the planning process to potentially launch a county Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice, supervisors had unanimously approved a resolution Declaring Racism as a Public Health Crisis.  Some of the resolution’s 12 clauses were:

“WHEREAS, disproportionately higher rates of chronic disease, shorter life expectancy, maternal and infant mortality, and health inequities for Black/African Americans and other racial groups are widely recognized and documented, yet continue in particular as well as other communities of color; and

“WHEREAS the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated racial and social inequities by disproportionately impacting the Latinx community as well as other communities of color; and

“WHEREAS Contra Costa Health Services cares for and improves the health of all people in Contra Costa County, and yet as a system has perpetuated racism and anti-black racism; and

“WHEREAS the Contra Costa Health Services cares for and improves the health of all people in Contra Costa County, and yet as a system has perpetuated racism and anti-black racism.”

If Contra Costa County moves ahead in to create in the 2021-2022 fiscal year an Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice, the county will join San Francisco and Oakland that had both established similar offices in 2019.

“Racism exists in our county and in our county department,” said Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg, who along with Gioia pushed for the formation of the new county office.

“I have always attacked the health disparities, particularly when it impacts our low income communities,” said the supervisor who was reelected last week to a seventh  four-year term in a runoff election last week against Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer.

“Racism is a public health crisis,” concurred Contra Costa Health Department Director Anna Roth. Roth said there exist ethnic-economic-racial-social inequities in health care throughout Contra Costa County.

“This is a major issue no matter if it is intentional or unintentional,” said District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond. “We have seen it all in our own county.”

“I support the eventuality of a Contra Costa County Office of Racial Equity,” said Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill, who at one point disputed with Gioia over how to fund the operation of the proposed new office if it reaches that point by next May. Both supervisors agreed to not bring up the funding issue until May when supervisors will review the 2021—2022 budget.

County Returns to COVID-19 Red Tier With More Restrictions 

The 2020 holiday season is around the corner and Contra Costa County Public Health officials are sparing no time in ramping up efforts to advise residents to wear face coverings, maintain social distances, use disposable dining ware and stay outdoors instead of indoors during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors were informed Tuesday. County health officials announced the public safety measure as the county’s COVID-19 tier ranking was lowered Tuesday from purple tier to red tier.

County health officials saw a 200 percent boost in the number of COVID-19 cases during the past two weeks, Contra Costa Health Department Director Anna Roth said. Even with news on Monday that Pfizer Inc. has developed a vaccine that has notched a 90 percent safety record, Roth said the county reported an increase in COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks, 20,166 cases and 46 deaths.

“With the holiday season approaching, we recommend, keep it small, keep it outside with no more than 13 persons and lasting no more than three hours,” Roth said. In addition, Roth said persons should wash hands and faces frequently, remain outside as much as possible, wear face coverings, and maintain six-feet separations.

Roth reported that a county sponsored COVID-19 test event held in San Pablo on Saturday, Nov. 7 was a success because 673 persons were tested. Eighty-five percent of the test takers were first-time participants. A majority of those participating in the free tests were residents of Latinx descent.

Count health officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said the county is prepared to store the Pfizer vaccine that has been reported to be 90 percent effective but requires extreme cold refrigeration. “The county has purchased the ultra-cold storage capability to story up to 70,000 doses,” Dr. Farnitano informed supervisors. The storage unit can keep the vaccine cold at 70 degrees below zero.

 

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Glover defeats Kramer handily for Supervisor, incumbents losing in college district races, Board of Education Area 3 race

Thursday, November 5th, 2020

Supervisor Federal Glover won re-election to a sixth term in District 5. Unofficial results as of Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 at 11:44 pm. Screenshot from CoCoVote.us.

Sandoval beating Enholm in college board Ward 5 seat; incumbent Gordon trailing former community college president Walters in Ward 2 seat;

Avila Farias leading incumbent in county Board of Education Area 3 race; incumbent Alleynne won’t claim victory yet in close race for Area 1

By Daniel Borsuk

Five-term Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors member Federal Glover won a sixth term of office on Tuesday, trouncing Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer by almost two-to-one with 34,649 votes to 17,861 votes for Kramer, according to the latest update from the Contra Costa Elections Division.

Glover told the Herald: “I want to thank the people for this opportunity to serve. I have to recognize the hard work that the people on the ground put into my campaign.  I want to thank the people for their support for me over the years.”

Glover said he will work to provide the resources to “keep people safe from COVID-19.”

Over the upcoming four years Glover, a retired Dow Chemical worker who had served five years on the Pittsburg city council before starting his Board of Supervisors career, said he envisions the rollout of the Northern Waterfront Plan that will help ignite economic development along the county’s waterfront from Pinole to Oakley.

The supervisor said the recent announcement that Amazon will operate a 150,000 square foot operation at the Contra Costa Logistics Center in Oakley is a prime example of what the waterfront plan aims to create.  The Amazon Fulfillment Center will create more than 2,000 jobs.

Kramer, who is currently involved in a Superior Court case for “willful or corrupt misconduct for making unwelcome sexual comments to people in his office” told the Contra Costa Herald about his election defeat. “I wish Federal well.  I thought that the citizens of Contra Costa County deserved a choice and that I made that choice for them.”

The runoff election pitting Glover and Kramer was called when neither candidate mustered more than 50 percent of the vote in the March election when a third candidate, Martinez businessman and Planning Commissioner Sean Trambley also ran splitting the vote.

Unofficial election results for Community College Board Wards 2 and 5 as of Tues., Nov. 3, 2020 at 11:44 pm. From CoCoVote.us.

Sandoval Beating Enholm for Community College Board Seat Ward 5

In another election race, Fernando Sandoval in his second attempt is defeating two-term Contra Costa Community College District Board Ward 5 Commissioner Greg Enholm drawing 26,836 of the votes to 22,279 votes for Enholm.  Ward 5 includes Pittsburg, Oakley, and portions of Antioch, Brentwood, Byron, and Discovery Bay.

Sandoval, who campaigned for educational excellence and fiscal accountability, defeated the retired college professor Enholm. Sandoval said in a statement, “I’d like to acknowledge Greg Enholm for his service to the District.  I am grateful to all the voters and my supporters for helping me to achieve this victory!  I am excited to turn my policy platform of education equity, fiscal transparency, expansion of innovative online learning approaches and strengthening private/public partnerships into action. I plan to hold myself accountable to further these goals and to bring ‘Community’ back into the Community College District.  Our students, faculty, staff and residents deserve this type of leadership and I look forward to working with my fellow trustees to take our district to the next level of excellence.”

An enthusiastic Sandoval told the Herald he was happy with the results and thinks the gap in votes will be too much for Enholm to overtake him.

UPDATE: When reached for comment Enholm responded, “It is very clear to me that voters are expressing their frustration and even anger about colleges and schools not having in-person classes for students. Both College Board incumbents, both County Board of Education incumbents, and many school district (K-5, K-12, and high school) incumbents could lose when the final vote totals are released. None of us incumbents caused the pandemic and we all made difficult decisions to assure safety of our students, staffs, and visitors by minimizing the risk of illness or death from the coronavirus. The voters have the right to remove incumbents from office for any reasons they choose.”

Walters Beating Gordon for College Board Ward 2 Seat

Career community college professional Judy Walters of Martinez, won the Ward 5 seat to the Contra Costa Community College District, with 37,776 votes or 49.6 percent of the total votes cast for the seat held by incumbent Vicki Gordon of Martinez who has been on the College Board since 2012. She garnered 28,095 votes or 36.9%, so far.  John Michaelson also ran, collecting 10,270 votes for third place.

UPDATE: When reached for comment Walters responded Thursday night Nov. 5, “I am honored by the trust voters have placed in me to be their representative on the Contra Costa Community College Board.  As promised, I will lead with integrity and use my experience to ensure the educational excellence of our colleges while keeping student success at the core of my decision-making.”

Ward 2 encompasses Lafayette, Orinda, Walnut Creek, Martinez, Rodeo, Crockett, and parts of Alamo and Pleasant Hill.

Unofficial election results for county Board of Education Areas 1 and 3 as of Tues., Nov. 3, 2020 at 11:44 pm. From CoCoVote.us.

County Board of Education Area 1 Race Too Close to Call

In the tight race for the Contra Costa County Board of Education Area 1 seat, incumbent Dr. Fatima Alleynne, had a narrow lead over challenger retired West Contra Costa Unified School District teacher Consuelo Lara, collecting 26,024 votes versus 25,586. “I do not feel comfortable claiming victory, as of yet,” she wrote in an email sent to the Herald. “Given the number of uncounted votes and how close the race is…I would prefer to wait for the process to conclude.”

The CCC Board of Education Area 1 includes Richmond, El Cerrito, Pinole, Crockett, and Hercules.

Farias Leading Incumbent Chavez for County Board of Education Area 3 Seat

In another County Board of Education race, AnaMarie Avila Farias was leading with 30,257 votes or 52.9 percent of the votes over incumbent Vicki Chavez with 26,871 votes for the Area 3 seat.  The Area 3 trustee represents Pacheco and parts of Clayton, Concord, Martinez, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, and Walnut Creek. The former Martinez councilwoman, Farias had previously run unsuccessfully for Supervisor against Federal Glover in 2016.

Next Election Results Update Friday at 5:00 PM

The Contra Costa Elections Division is continuing to count the ballots that arrived by yesterday and will continue to arrive for as long as 17 more days including today. They have 28 days to finish the count and certify the election. So, final results may be as much as four weeks away. The next update of results is expected this Friday at 5:00 p.m.

 

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Contra Costa County appears to be overpaying for Pittsburg motel for homeless by more than $5 million, releases appraisal

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020

Assessor’s Parcel information for Motel 6. From ParcelQuest Lite website.

“In the interests of transparency” – Chief Assistant County Administrator Eric Angstadt

The difference is primarily due to the below market purchase price” – from the appraisal

“This is a classic example of a gift of public funds” – County Assessor Gus Kramer

By Allen Payton

After learning that the county’s outside appraisal for the Motel 6 in Pittsburg was $16.7 million, and the purchase price offered by the Board of Supervisors of $17.4 million, was only 4.2% higher, it was learned today that the same motel sold for just $12 million in February 2019. In addition, it was assessed on January 1st, this year slightly higher at $12,226,480. After requesting a copy of the appraisal since last week, the County Counsel’s office released it, today “in the interests of transparency.” The appraisal states last year’s “purchase price was modified to $13,200,000.” (See related article)

Asked for copies of what was believed to be both internal and outside contract appraisals from the Public Works Department Real Estate Division, Chief Assistant County Administrator Eric Angstadt responded, “I’m only aware of one appraisal. It was contracted out. I can give you what the topline is, but the appraisal is not available until after escrow closes.”

“The appraised value is $16.7 million at $96,000 per room,” he stated. “It’s 4.2% above the appraised value.”

Asked if the appraisal was done internally or contracted out, Angstadt said, “We always contract out appraisals. We have staff with real estate licenses. But I don’t believe we have any licensed appraisers on staff.”

“The state was very public about how much they were willing to pay, at $100,000 per room,” he continued. “So, it didn’t leave us with much room to negotiate.”

“We have not signed the purchase and sale agreement, yet. That will happen once we finish the due diligence. We are working our way through all of it. It’s scheduled to close escrow on November 10th,” Angstadt added.

However, Angstadt released the appraisal to the Herald, today after obtaining permission from the County Counsel’s office. It was done by West Hollywood-based HVS Consulting & Valuation, a Division of TS Worldwide, LLC which, according to their website, provides highly credible hotel valuations and appraisals.”  (See page 13) HVS Appraisal – FINAL – Motel 6 – Pittsburg CA – 09

The sale price for the 41-year-old motel was $68,000 per room, last year.

In a search of the Assessor’s Parcel number for the property, which is 088-152-039 on the ParcelQuest Lite website, a link to which can be found on the Contra Costa County Treasurer-Tax Collector’s webpage and which any member of the public, county staff, Board of Supervisors and any appraiser can do, it provides the details of last year’s sale and this year’s valuation.

The closest comparable sale was the Ramada Inn, now Comfort Inn, in Antioch which sold in March 2017 for $50,000 per room. That’s a much higher end hotel than the Motel 6. Another comparable property, the Marina Bay Inn & Suites on Cutting Blvd. in Richmond near Pt. Richmond sold in August 2017 for $80,000 per room, and that’s in an area considered nicer than where the Motel 6 is located in Pittsburg.

“The real comparable sale is the property itself,” said County Assessor Gus Kramer, who has been an outspoken critic of the county’s purchase of the motel. (See related article)

“Did the appraiser back into the state’s and county’s number?” he asked. “How can the appraiser say the value of the motel increased in the last year by 45%? No property in the county has increased in value that much during that time.”

Asked when the property was assessed this year, Kramer said his staff did that on January 1st.

“This is a classic example of a gift of public funds,” he stated. “Just because the state is giving us this amount of money doesn’t mean we need to spend that much.”

“This is why local government is in trouble,” Kramer continued. “It’s not that they don’t have enough money it’s that they don’t manage what they have, well.”

An email was sent to all members of the Board of Supervisors, County Administrator David Twa and Angstadt asking them why there is such a difference in the value arrived at by the county’s contract appraiser as well as the offer price, and last year’s sale price and this year’s assessed valuation. They were also asked to confirm that the property in the online search was in fact the Motel 6, since it has the same address and the photo of it appears to be the motel. In addition, they were asked why the appraiser didn’t take into account the sale and assessed value for the motel and if they will now seek a second appraisal.

Text messages were also sent to Supervisors Federal Glover, in whose district the motel is located, Diane Burgis and Board Chair Candace Andersen informing them of the difference in appraised value and assessed valuation and to please check their emails.

The Board was holding a special closed session meeting, today beginning at 9 a.m. to discuss both Kramer’s lawsuit against the Board over allegations of violations of the state’s Brown Act open meeting law, as well as potential candidates to replace Twa who is retiring, this year.

Angstadt responded with, “The appraisal does include a discussion and analysis of the past sale of the property and the reasoning, changes and circumstances that led to the appraiser assigning the valuation they did.  As I said in our earlier discussion Government Code Section 6254(H) exempts release of the contents of an appraisal before the acquisition of the property is complete.  Therefore I can’t directly answer your question about how they justified the higher value, but I can assure you they did discuss the issues you raised and their methods of determining the higher value they assigned to the property.

However, California Government Code § 6254 (2017) reads “Except as provided in Sections 6254.7 and 6254.13, this chapter does not require the disclosure of any of the following records:

(h) The contents of real estate appraisals or engineering or feasibility estimates and evaluations made for or by the state or local agency relative to the acquisition of property, or to prospective public supply and construction contracts, until all of the property has been acquired or all of the contract agreement obtained.”

A further question was asked if the county is prohibited from releasing the appraisal or just not required to and if they can release it to please provide it, as has been requested since last week.

In response Angstadt wrote, “I spoke with County Counsel and they said they we could disclose the appraisal at this time in the interests of transparency.  A number of the issues you raised are discussed starting on page 13.”

Appraisal Explanation for Higher Value Than 2019 Sale Price

On that page, the appraisal provides the reason for part of the higher price. It reads, “The ‘as is’ market value opinion in this appraisal is approximately 27% higher than the February 2019 purchase price. The difference is primarily due to the below market purchase price, as described throughout this report.”

In addition, the appraisal states the actual “purchase price was modified to $13,200,000”.

Please check back later for any responses from the Supervisors and any other updates.

Below is the information from the ParcelQuest Lite property search of the Motel 6 property located at 2101 Loveridge Road in Pittsburg.

Russell V. Watts , County Treasurer-Tax Collector

Property Address: 2101 LOVERIDGE RD PITTSBURG CA 94565-5019

Google Map of Motel 6 site. From ParcelQuest Lite.

Full Detail $14.95  The Full Property Detail includes everything displayed here plus completed information for those fields where “See Full Detail” is shown. If a field is empty on this page, no data is available, and the field will also be empty on the Full Property Detail.

Property Address: 2101 LOVERIDGE RD PITTSBURG CA 94565-5019

General Information

Parcel # (APN): 088-152-039-9 
Owner: See Full Detail
Mailing Address: 25920 VIA MARGARITA CARMEL CA 93923-8313
Legal Description: PCL MAP 78 PG 36 POR PCL A
Use Type: COMMERCIAL
Tax Rate Area: 007-004

Assessment

Total Value: $12,226,480 Year Assd: 2020
Land: $2,550,000 Zoning:
Structures: $9,424,800 Use Code: See Full Detail
Other: $251,680 Census Tract: See Full Detail
% Improved: See Full Detail Price/SqFt: See Full Detail
Exempt Amt:
HO Exempt: N

Sale History

Sale 1 Sale 2 Sale 3 Transfer
Document Date: 02/12/2019 See Full Detail See Full Detail
Document Number: 19052 See Full Detail See Full Detail
Document Type:
Transfer Amount: $12,000,000 See Full Detail
Seller (Grantor):

Property Characteristics

Bedrooms: Fireplace: Units: See Full Detail
Baths (Full): A/C: Stories:
Baths (Half): Heating: Quality:
Total Rooms: Pool: Building Class:
Bldg/Liv Area: 43,352 Park Type: Condition:
Lot Acres: 2.905 Spaces: Site Influence:
Lot SqFt: 126,542 Garage SqFt: Timber Preserve:
Year Built: 1979 Ag Preserve:
Effective Year: See Full Detail
**The information provided here is deemed reliable, but is not guaranteed.

 

 

 

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Contra Costa Supervisors approve $17.4 million purchase of Motel 6 in Pittsburg as transitional housing for homeless

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020

Gov Newsom speaks at Motel 6 in Pittsburg to announce the state’s new Homekey program on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Screenshot from press conference video.

$21.6 million total for program; approved as a consent calendar item and the last item on the agenda without discussion; no appraisals included; Glover, Kramer split on issue; appraises at $16.7 million

Motel 6 Pittsburg. Photo by Motel 6.

By Daniel Borsuk

The light will be left on for homeless, now at the Motel 6 in Pittsburg. Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors may have quietly went about unanimously approving $21.6 million for the purchase of the motel and almost two years of operations, as part of the state’s Homekey program to help the homeless find shelter, food, jobs and get social services, but the Board’s consent action on Tuesday also demonstrates how far apart two political candidates – longtime District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover and challenger Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer – are on the issue of homelessness.

The agenda item was quietly acted on as a consent item, and the last on the agenda. There was no discussion on the item, nor were copies of the two appraisals by the county’s Public Works Real Estate Division included with the agenda. Attempts to obtain the appraised value for the property from members of the Board, County Administrator David Twa, and the Public Works Real Estate Division were unsuccessful prior to publication time. However, Supervisors Federal Glover, in whose district the motel is located, as well as Candace Andersen and Diane Burgis said they would work to provide the information. The only documents included with the agenda item were the purchase and sale agreement and deed of sale. Motel 6 Pittsburg – Purchase & Sale Agrmt final 10.12.20

Located at 2101 Loveridge Road in Pittsburg, the County, with the state’s financial assistance decided that acquisition of the Motel 6 will increase the number of shelter beds permanently available in East County from 20 beds to 174 beds, a 770 percent increase.  In addition to providing shelter, the program, funded under the state’s Home Key Program, would provide health care, behavioral health and other services to residents.

Contra Costa, along with the counties of San Francisco, Alameda and Santa Clara have now drawn state Homekey funds in the fight to solve homeless issues.

“This will be a great opportunity to get people off the street,” said Supervisor Glover who faces Kramer in a November 3rd face-off election because neither candidate drew enough votes to surpass 50 percent threshold of the total votes in the March election.  In that March election, the District 5 Board Seat had three candidates competing for the District 5 seat covering the communities of Antioch, Alhambra Valley, Clyde, Crockett, Hercules, Martinez, Mountain View, Pacheco, Pittsburg, Port Costa, and Rodeo – Glover, Kramer and Martinez businessman Sean Trambley – and no candidate had mustered votes exceeding 50 percent of the votes counted.  As a result, Glover and Kramer are in a run-off election on November 3.

The Contra Costa County Behavioral Department will operate the county’s Homekey program.

County Assessor Kramer, who must appear in Superior Court Judge John Cope’s court room on today, for a jury trial on civil “corrupt or willful misconduct” charges took a different view on the Board of Supervisors’ action to acquire the 174-room motel from OKC of Pittsburg for use as a homeless  facility.

Kramer lashed out at his political opponent Glover and other supervisors for spending $21 million.  “It’s a great program, but it is a waste of resources,” he said. “What a horrible investment.  Shame on the Board and Federal.”

Kramer did offer a potential solution to the homeless problem in the county and perhaps the state by creating camps like what occurred during the Great Depression where job, health and other public services would also be provided to individuals.

10/27/20 UPDATE: Asked for copies of the appraisal, Chief Assistant County Administrator Eric Angstadt responded, “I’m only aware of one appraisal. It was contracted out. I can give you what the topline is, but the appraisal is not available until after escrow closes.”

“The appraised value is $16.7 million at $96,000 per room,” he stated. “It’s 4.2% above the appraised value.”

Asked if the appraisal was done internally or contracted out, Angstadt said, “We always contract out appraisals. We have staff with real estate licenses. But I don’t believe we have any licensed appraisers on staff.”

“The state was very public about how much they were willing to pay at $100,000 per room,” he continued. “So, it didn’t leave us with much room to negotiate.”

“We have not signed the purchase and sale agreement, yet. That will happen once we finish the due diligence. We are working our way through all of it. It’s scheduled to close escrow on November 10th,” Angstadt added.

Orange COVID-19 Metric Next Week?’ 

Supervisors were informed that by next Tuesday the county should transition into the orange COVID-19 criteria, Contra Costa County Health Services Director Anna Roth said.  “We should meet the orange metric next week,” she said.  A move to an orange metric would mean the removal of further restrictions on some businesses.

Since the County declared a State of Emergency because of COVID-19 in March, there have been 18,214 cases and 236 deaths, Roth reported.

The health director encouraged the public to continue to wash hands, keep their distance, and stay home from work or school if they felt ill.

Four Abatement Actions

Supervisors acted on four abatement actions at the recommendations of the Conservation and Development Department.

Properties the Supervisors took action on were:

Property at 2738 Dutch Slough Road, Oakley, owned by Elmo G. Wurts, for $8,141.20; property at 0 Stone Road, Bethel Island, owned by Thanh Ngyyen for $6,964;  property at 4603 Gateway Road, Bethel Island, owned by Franks Marina for $5,591.20; and property at 3901 La Colina Road, El Sobrante, owned by Rudolph N. Webbe for $3,256.70.

Supervisors did not hear any comments from either property owners or the public on the abatement items.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

 

 

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Supervisors pass third COVID-19 era ordinance prohibiting residential and small business evictions, rent hikes over landlords’ protests

Thursday, October 1st, 2020

Approve consent decree for enhanced psychiatric and medical services for county jail inmates

By Daniel Borsuk

With the COVID-19 pandemic having caused 16,896 cases and 209 deaths in Contra Costa County since March, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed its third temporary ordinance banning evictions of commercial and residential tenants on Tuesday, the same day the county’s Public Health Department quietly announced its promotion from Purple ranking to Red, allowing more businesses to open.

According to the staff report on the agenda item, the urgency ordinance authorizes a temporary prohibition on certain “at-fault” evictions of residential tenants in the county and continues a temporary prohibition on certain evictions of small-business commercial tenants in Contra Costa County impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supervisors had previously approved similar temporary ordinances on April 21 and July 14 and voted unanimously to enact a new ordinance that would stay in effect through January 31, 2021.  On a separate vote, 4-1, supervisors rejected inserting additional protections to tenants that Supervisor John Gioia wanted to be included in the ordinance.

“I wanted broader protections,” said Supervisor Gioia of Richmond who cast the one dissenting vote.  “I wanted to limit evictions to health and safety.  There are landlords who don’t exercise good faith behavior.”

But Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, speaking on behalf of both landlords and tenants. wanted to monitor properties that have tenants who don’t put out trash for collection or keep unsafe rental property.

“I am willing to go through January 31, but I am tired of accommodating the bad actors. I won’t support an ordinance that bars landlords from entering property for any reason,” said Mitchoff.

At the same time, the supervisor from Pleasant Hill scolded landlords who do not accept a tenant’s payment for rent. “That is not OK,” she said.

While supervisors listened to a number of renters encouraging the supervisors to provide necessary protections during the ongoing pandemic, the elected officials for the first time heard more landlords loudly object to the residential and commercial ordinance under review.

“You’re taking away property owners’ rights,” Concord property owner Blaine Carter protested. “The sky is not falling.  We don’t need to strip away individual property owner rights.”

Concord homeowner Ed White said he could live with the ordinance.  “I work with my tenant,” said White, whose long-term tenant of his three-bedroom house, has been a good occupant even though the tenant had lost their job due to the pandemic.  The tenant has recently been reemployed and is back making monthly rental payments, White said.

“For someone who has been on both sides of this issue, I can support the proposed ordinance,” said District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg, who is up for re-election Nov. 3 against Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer.

“This is another way to get property into the hands of government,” said landlord Marilyn Blander.  The long-term economic effects will be terrible because government is a terrible way to provide housing.”

PLO Consent Decree for County Jail Inmates OK’d

In another action, supervisors unanimously approved an agreement with the Prison Law Office that will enhance psychiatric and medical services for inmates held at the Martinez Detention Facility and the West County Detention Facility in Richmond.  Four years in negotiations, the PLO-Contra Costa County consent decree will be in effect for five years.  The consent decree can be mutually ended.

It will cost the county $43.7 million a year to provide improved mental and medical care and pharmaceutical services to prisoners housed in the two county detention facilities.  Those costs reflect the addition of the eventual hiring of 125 fulltime Health Services Department employees and 63 fulltime equivalent Sheriff’s Department employees.

So far, the county has hired 42 fulltime equivalent Health Department and 41 fulltime Sheriff’s Department employees.

“This is a roadmap for positive change, one that moves the county forward in further improving the physical space and services provided” said Board Chair Candace Andersen.  “We want to stop those with mental illness from repeatedly cycling through our jails.  If we can provide them with much needed treatment while incarcerated and ensure that they have supportive services upon re-entry to the community, their lives will substantially improve.”

Prison Law Office Executive Director Donald Spector called and thanked the supervisors for approving the five-year consent decree.

 

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Supervisors declare climate emergency on 5-0 vote, county’s COVID-19 status improving

Thursday, September 24th, 2020

County COVID-19 Ranking Expected to Improve to Red Next Week

County to Mail More than 700,000 Ballots for Nov. 3 Election

By Daniel Borsuk

For a county with five major petroleum refineries, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors took a major step in addressing climate change by adopting a three-page climate emergency declaration. 43116_BO_ADOPT Climate Emergency Resolution

About 30 people supported the resolution’s nine items dealing with the global environmental issue during the supervisors’ tele-conferenced Board meeting on Tuesday.  Supervisors also received a positive COVID-19 report from Contra Costa County Public Health Department officials and a report on the Nov. 3 California General and National Election from Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder Deborah Cooper.

Upon adopting the climate change resolution, supervisors positioned the county in support of the State of California’s goals to cut greenhouse gases by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, achieve net carbon neutrality by 2045, and provide 100 percent of the State’s electricity from clean energy sources by 2045.

The Board’s action also forms an interdepartmental task force of all county department heads or senior deputies that will focus on “urgently implementing the County’s Climate Action Plan – as currently adopted ….and identifying additional actions, policies, and programs the county will undertakes to reduce and adapt to the impacts of a changing climate.  This task force should report to the Board of Supervisors through the County Sustainability Commission and the Board’s Sustainability Committee on a semi-annual basis starting in March 2021.  Reports to the Board of Supervisors shall be discussion items for the Board.”

The resolution states that “Contra Costa County should develop policies to require all new construction to be fully electric through the adoption of Reach Building Codes.”

“Contra Costa County will prioritize the implementation of its Climate Action Plan in order to achieve greenhouse gas reductions as soon as possible and will consider equity and social justice issues in the implementation of the plan,” the Board’s resolution states.

In addition, the resolution states: “that health, socio-economic, and racial equity considerations should be included in policymaking and climate solutions at all levels and across all sectors as the consequences of climate change have significant impacts on all County residents, especially the young, the elderly, low-income, or communities of color and other vulnerable populations.”

Initially it appeared Board Chair Candace Andersen, who says she drives a hybrid car, was leaning to cast a “no” vote on the resolution, but after listening to about 30 speakers mostly in support of the resolution, the  Danville-based Supervisor voted in support of the resolution.  The Supervisor said she had an issue about the urgency of the state shifting from a fossil fueled based economy to an electric powered based economy that would potentially be more energy efficient and less environmentally harmful.

Jackie Garcia, a Lafayette-based builder, asked Supervisors to pass the resolution because “People want energy-efficient houses. People don’t use gas stoves anymore.  They use energy efficient electric stoves.”

“This resolution requires immediate action,” said Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill who also serves on the commission of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. “I will support this resolution.”

Incoming Board Chair for 2021 Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood, who said she has worked on environmental issues, especially related to water, said “I will support this resolution because it will directly affect our future way of life in Contra Costa County.”

Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg, who was elected to serve as Vice Chair for 2021 by his colleagues provided he is reelected in November’s election against County Assessor Gus Kramer, said “This is a good first step. It gives people notice.”

In passing the resolution that more than 1,000 other California cities, counties and regional governmental agencies have done before Tuesday’s supervisors’ meeting, the Contra Costa resolution “declares a climate emergency that threatens the long-term economic and social well-being, health, safety,  and security of the County, and that urgent action by all levels of government is needed to immediately address this climate emergency.”

“Real Good News” on the COVID-19 Front

Contra Costa County Public Health Department Director Anna Roth informed supervisors there is “real good news” concerning COVID-19.  She expects the state to announce perhaps on Sept. 29 that the county’s COVID-19 status will be upgraded from purple to red.

The color change will mean the county will probably be allowed to open more businesses that have been shuttered since the public health shutdown order went into effect in March.

Roth expects some K-12 schools, as many as 35, could reopen for students with proper health protocols in place.  Roth said Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Lynn Mackey will oversee the reopening of the schools.

Roth reported there have been 15,156 COVID-19 patients in the County since the outbreak of the flu in March.  There have been 202 deaths in the county since March.  In the past 24 hours there were 52 COVID-19 patients reported in the county hospital and no deaths have been reported, she said. “Our County death rate is less than the national average,” she said.

In a push to increase the number of people who are tested for COVID-19, Contra Costa County Public Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said about 330,000 residents have been tested.  “That’s still not enough,” said Dr. Farnitano, who said the County will open a drive-up test site at the Bay Point Health Center in October.

Dr. Farnitano said the county will start to give free flu shots at the County’s Antioch, Concord, Richmond and San Ramon drive up sites. “Vaccination is important because it is difficult to tell the difference between the flu and COVID,” he said.

More Than 700,000 Ballots Expected for Nov. 2 Election

The Contra Costa County Office of Elections expects to mail more than 700,000 ballots to registered voters for the Nov. 3 election, up from 687,000 ballots mailed last November to registered voters, said Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters Deborah Cooper.

“We encourage people to stay safe and vote by mail,” said Cooper.  There will also be 37 ballot drop boxes around the County so voters can drop off ballots 24/7 from Oct. 5 through Nov. 3.  Official ballots will be mailed to voters on Oct. 5, but if a registered voter has not received a ballot by Oct.  19 they should contact the Elections Office, (925) 335-7800.

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Supervisors extend ban on evictions, rent increases through January 31

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

Provide additional protections, retroactive to Sept. 1

By John Fout, Community & Media Relations Specialist, Contra Costa County Office of Communications & Media

At their meeting on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an urgency ordinance that continues a moratorium on certain evictions for residential tenants in the County through January 31, 2021. Urgency Ordinance No. 2020-25 also continues a moratorium on certain residential rent increases through January 31, 2021. The Ordinance is retroactive to September 1, 2020.

Contra Costa County’s urgency ordinance provides additional protections to the state’s COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 (the Act), which passed and took effect immediately on August 31, 2020. The Act extends eviction protections for residential tenants experiencing financial hardship related to COVID-19.

“The urgency ordinance demonstrates the Board’s continued commitment to protect residents struggling with the unexpected economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Supervisor Candace Andersen, Board Chair. “We continue to seek ways to support renters and landlords, and hope that all parties will resolve to work together during this challenging time.”

This law applies to properties in all 19 cities in the County and in all unincorporated areas. To the extent that a city has adopted a law on the same subject matter, then the city’s provisions would apply in that city.

Protections granted to residential renters:

  • Ban on No-Fault Evictions – A property owner cannot evict a residential tenant for any “no-fault” reason except to protect the health and safety of the owner or another tenant, to allow the owner or their immediate family to move into the residential unit or to remove the unit from the rental market.
  • Prohibits a landlord from terminating a residential tenancy on the basis that a tenant allowed an unauthorized occupant to live in the dwelling unit, if the occupant is the tenant’s immediate family member living in the dwelling unit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Moratorium on Residential Rent Increases – A property owner may not increase rent on a residential property through January 31, 2021. State law prevents this freeze from applying to commercial tenancies and to certain residential properties, including residences built within the last 15 years and single family
  • These prohibitions and the specified exceptions last through January 31, 2021.

Read the full document Ordinance No. 2020-25 (PDF). Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding this ordinance will be available and updated on the County website soon.

For information and resources, visit Contra Costa County at www.contracosta.ca.gov. For COVID-19 updates, visit Contra Costa Health Services at https://cchealth.org/coronavirus. If you have questions about the coronavirus, contact the multilingual Call Center at 1-844-729-8410, open daily from 8 am to 5 pm. For assistance after hours in multiple languages, please call 211 or 800-833-2900 or text HOPE to 20121.

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