Archive for the ‘Supervisors’ Category

Supervisors fund illegal immigrant family aid program to monitor ICE actions in county

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Helps pay for “Rapid Response” inspectors, education workshops, legal aid sessions

By Daniel Borsuk

In response to policies and actions by President Trump and to assist illegal immigrant families “facing immediate separation due to deportation,” Contra Costa County supervisors unanimously agreed to use $500,000 of AB 109 funds to cover expenses and match funds from non-profit organizations for the launch of a Stand Together CoCo pilot project in January. Stand Together CoCo 8_16_17

The proposal by the Contra Costa Immigration Rights Alliance, originally submitted earlier this year needed a total of $1,002,750 for the program. The county will use funds from state Assembly Bill 109 automobile license fee revenues. According to their Facebook page, “CCIRA seeks to end ICE collaboration in Contra Costa and to promote immigrant rights, inclusion and a spirt of welcome in cities throughout the county.” Draft CoCoCo Immigrant Legal & Ed P-ship

The effort had already rounded up $585,000 from six non-profit organizations that will help fund Stand Together CoCo operate during its inaugural year of operations consisting of education workshops, legal aid sessions, and the hiring and oversight of 12 Rapid Response inspectors who will be dispatched around the county to observe and take notes on how United States Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents conduct themselves at arrest sites.

According to the staff report, “The proposal requests that the Board of Supervisors authorize the Office of the Public Defender to establish Stand Together CoCo as a pilot project. The requested allocation is $500,000 in FY 17/18 funding to support operations in the January-June 2018 first phase, with a further commitment that the County will provide $500,000 in annual support in each of fiscal years 2018-19 and 2019-20. Working with key local partners, Stand Together CoCo will then use this commitment to generate funding from other public and private sources.”

Presently the program has received letters of commitment from the Y & H Soda Foundation of $275,000, the San Francisco Foundation of $100,000, the East Bay Community Foundation of $50,000, and the Firedoll Foundation of $50,000, and letters of intention from the Richmond Community Foundation of $10,000 and the California Endowment of $100,000.

During the public hearing portion that drew 21 persons speaking in support of the program that Contra Costa County Deputy Public Defender Ali Saidi will oversee, District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen questioned about the functions of the Rapid Response Dispatch Inspectors and whether they would create potential legal problems with the federal government should Rapid Response Inspectors interfere with ICE agents.

“I don’t want to see ordinary citizens getting in the way of the actions of ICE agents,” Andersen said

In the early going it looked like Andersen was going to possibly cast the lone negative vote, but later on she decided to vote along with her colleagues.

“I’m going to take a leap of faith.  I am concerned about public safety,” the supervisor later said before casting a yes vote for the program.

Andersen also voiced concern that this new county-backed immigrant rights program might duplicate services already provided in the county through existing nonprofit organizations like the Contra Costa Crisis Center.

“I don’t want to spend one half million dollars on duplicating services,” said the supervisor who represents a large minority population consisting of Chinese, Indian, and Pakistani residents.

“A Google search doesn’t show what’s really being done,” District 1 Supervisor John Gioia said in response to Andersen’s concern about the potential duplication of legal aid services for immigrants.

Deborah Bernstein of the Jewish Family and Community Services in Walnut Creek said her organization has served 875 county residents seeking immigration legal assistance from January through August.

“These people are living in a high level of fear,” she said.

Since January, Catholic Charities of Contra Costa County has helped 924 people receive legal immigration aid.

“We’ve seen a big increase in people needing help,” said Christopher Martinez of Catholic Charities.

Rubicon Contract Approved

In other action, supervisors approved a $408,750 contract with Rubicon Programs, Inc., an ex-felon nonprofit assistance program, after receiving a letter from Contra Costa Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston that he is now satisfied the one-year contract extension complies with contract protocol.  Last week, supervisors had delayed action on the contract because of the sheriff’s concern that the contract did not go through adequate review by a county contract panel.

The practice of assessing $30 a day cost living charges for juveniles serving sentences at the county’s two juvenile facilities – Juvenile Hall in Martinez and Boys Ranch in Discovery Bay, is over.  Supervisors voted 5-0 to officially end the bill that parents or legal guardian had to pay the county upon the release of their child for the daily living (meals, lodging, other expenses).  Contra Costa County joins other counties like San Francisco, Alameda, Santa Cruz and Los Angeles ditching the juvenile hall daily cost of living fee because it is viewed as being financially retaliatory to parents of children in the juvenile justice system.  The county had begun to temporarily cease the billing practice in 2016.

Next week, supervisors will vote on permanently ending the $17 daily electronic surveillance fee of minors in the juvenile justice system.

The county can afford to eliminate the daily cost of living fee and daily electronic surveillance fee because county officials laid off two fulltime juvenile hall clerical positions.

Supervisors also instructed John Kopchik, director of the Conservation and Development Department, to present to the board by next February proposed regulations for short-term rentals in unincorporated areas of the county.  Supervisors especially representing Discovery Bay, Kensington, Alamo, and Black Hawk have seen a surge in short-term rentals that have produced parking, noise and other problems.  County planners will develop an ordinance by examining what other jurisdictions like San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Sacramento and other counties have drafted.

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BREAKING NEWS: Retired Judge Diana Becton appointed Interim Contra Costa District Attorney

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

Retired Judge Diana Becton. Courtesy of CCLawyer.cccba.org

Three County Supervisors prefered retired Judge Diana Becton as Interim Contra Costa District Attorney over Supervising Deputy DA Paul Graves. Supervisors Gioia, Burgis and Glover favored Becton, while Andersen and Mitchoff favored Graves. 

However, they then voted unanimously Tuesday afternoon to appoint Becton who starts in her new job next Monday. She will be the first woman and as an African-American, Judge Becton will be the first person of color to hold the position.
Please check back later for more details.
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Antioch Police, Contra Costa law enforcement associations issue joint endorsement of Graves for interim District Attorney

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Contra Costa Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Graves. photo courtesy of Paul Graves for DA

The Antioch Police Officers Association along with nearly all of the law enforcement associations in Contra Costa County have announced their joint endorsement of Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Graves for the position of Interim D.A. They issued the following statement, this week:

“We have either met or are very familiar with all five finalists for the interim District Attorney position. We watched yesterday’s Board of Supervisors public forum and have read the applicants’ platforms and listened to input from our members.

“The work of fighting and prosecuting crime is ongoing. An interim District Attorney must be experienced and ready to step into the position and function effectively immediately. We believe there is one clear choice ready to lead the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office at this critical moment, and that choice is Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Graves.

“County Supervisors have also expressed their desire to appoint an interim District Attorney who can hit the ground running, and Paul Graves is uniquely ready as someone who already knows how to lead other prosecutors. He has supervised both the Homicide Unit and the Family Violence units with distinction – two of the toughest units in the DA’s office.

“Paul Graves’ extensive experience also makes him the best choice for improving public safety. As law enforcement officers, we know that our ability to protect and serve our communities is greatly strengthened by the experienced, seasoned judgement that Paul Graves will bring as a prosecutor with 22 years of experience right here in Contra Costa County. He has tried over 70 jury trials and prosecuted two capital cases, and over the course of that career he has worked extensively with our colleagues in law enforcement to build strong cases and fight for justice for the victims of crime.

“We have witnessed Paul Graves’ commitment to preventative justice that reduces incarceration rates. At each step in his career, Paul Graves has taken a proactive approach to crime prevention that emphasizes youth and community engagement and other preventative measures as evidenced by his support of the Children’s Interview Center and especially his leadership in the fight against human trafficking in Contra Costa.

“We encourage everyone who hasn’t had the benefit of our years of working with Paul Graves to read his application for interim District Attorney. There you will see the thoughtful, experienced, professional that we’ve come to know and respect.

“One last important point. The law enforcement officers we represent share a ’24-7’ full-time commitment to public safety. We know Paul Graves is a prosecutor who shares that dedication. We’ve been able to count on him over the years for counsel and advice on any case at any time, day or night. We believe that character and commitment is what the people of Contra Costa will value most in Paul Graves. He’s a ‘24/7’ leader who is fully committed to serving the people with dedication and integrity at all times.

“We stand ready to fully support Paul Graves as interim District Attorney. We hope the Board of Supervisors of Contra Costa will support him as well. The events of the last few months have led us to this critical moment, and Paul Graves is the experienced, trusted prosecutor who is ready to meet that moment and move all of us forward.”

Respectfully Submitted,

Antioch POA, Brentwood POA, Clayton POA, Concord PA, Contra Costa Co DA Investigators Assn., Contra Costa Co Deputy Sheriffs Assn. (County Probation, Orinda, Lafayette, Danville Officers), El Cerrito PA, Hercules POA, Martinez POA, Moraga POA, Oakley POA, Pinole PEA, Pleasant Hill PA, Richmond POA, San Pablo PEA, San Ramon POA, and Walnut Creek PA.

Graves is one of five finalists who have applied for the appointment by the Board of Supervisors which is expected to make their choice at either their Sept. 12 or 19 meetings.

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New County Sustainability Commission to help Supervisors make Contra Costa cleaner, healthier

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

Includes one Antioch resident; next Mmeting Monday, August 28

The Contra Costa County Sustainability Commission will hold its second meeting on Monday, August 28, 2017, 5-7 p.m., at 30 Muir Road, Martinez. The Board of Supervisors created the Sustainability Commission earlier this year to advise the Board and County staff on how to make Contra Costa County healthier and reduce pollution, important goals of the County’s Climate Action Plan.  The agenda for the meeting can be found here.

Thirty-five people applied for the 10 seats on the Sustainability Commission. Given the high level of interest and the opportunity to include more voices, the Board of Supervisors created an additional At-Large seat and allowed each Supervisor to appoint an alternate from his or her district. The 15 members and alternates of the Sustainability Commission appointed to date come from across the County and represent a range of interests and professional experience.  The members include:

Nick Despota, Member, District 1. Nick Despota, a longtime resident of Richmond, has served on numerous commissions and non-profit boards. His professional career has included video production, writing for educational media, and web design. After retiring in 2016, he began volunteering with an environmental organization to develop its online media presence. Nick currently leads the communication team for the Alameda Chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. 

Victoria Smith, Member, District 2. Victoria Smith is the former Mayor of Orinda and longtime City Council Member. Victoria served as Chair of the Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority, RecycleSmart, which provides recycling, reuse and garbage services to the cities of Orinda, Lafayette, Moraga, Walnut Creek, Danville, and central Contra Costa County.  Victoria is a graduate of UC Berkeley and UC Hastings College of the Law, and practices real estate law.

Reid Edwards, Alternate, District 2. Reid Edwards is a retired senior public affairs executive who worked for many years on all aspects of energy and environmental issues, both locally and in Washington, D.C. He resides in Lafayette and has lived in Contra Costa County, with short interruptions, since 1963. He currently volunteers with a number of local institutions including White Pony Express and the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. 

John Sierra, Member, District 3. John Sierra teaches AP Environmental Science and was the Freedom High School teacher of the year in 2013.  He is actively involved with multiple community organizations and frequently takes his students on adventures near and far including Yosemite and Nicaragua.  John is dedicated to protecting natural resources while creating a healthy living environment for all.

Gretchen Logue, Alternate, District 3. Gretchen Logue is dedicated to community civic engagement, and has a lifelong passion for environmental sustainability.  She is the co-founder of the Tassajara Valley Preservation Association, an organization dedicated to the sustainability of Contra Costa County.  In addition to serving as a board member on the Tassajara Hills Foundation, fundraising for educational programs, this mother of three is also a California Naturalist.

Wes Sullens, Member, District 4. Wes Sullens, LEED Fellow, is the Director of Codes Technical Development at the US Green Building Council.  Prior to joining USGBC, Mr. Sullens worked for a local government agency in Alameda County, California (StopWaste), where he provided green codes advocacy, building and product standards development, and green building policy support. Previous to StopWaste, he was an energy and sustainability consultant at a prominent firm in the US.

Travis Curran, Alternate, District 4. A lifelong environmentalist, Travis Curran has spent the past 11 years working in adult mental health.  The Administrator at Crestwood Healing Center in Pleasant Hill, Travis led a sustainability project that transformed facility practices, saving over 2 million gallons of water, and earning a green certification and multiple green awards in the process.  Travis is passionate about waste reduction, and the preservation and protection of our state and national parks.

Charles Davidson, Member, District 5. Charles was the lead community organizer for MoveOn East Bay during the housing crisis. He then became involved with 350BayArea and helped found the Sunflower Alliance, organizing for climate and environmental justice issues, opposing multiple planned large-scale toxic tar sands refinery expansion projects, and lobbying for Community Choice Energy and a fossil-free and inexpensive clean energy future.  Charles has studied cancer biology and medical physics at the graduate school level and holds a US patent in advanced medical imaging. 

Mark Thomson, Alternate, District 5.  Long-time Martinez resident Mark Thomson is Co-President of the John Muir Association, which works closely with the National Park Service to share the legacy of John Muir.  Mark is also Co-Facilitator of Thousand Friends of Martinez, an organization dedicated to defending parks, creeks, wetlands, open space and historic elements in the Martinez area. Mark has previously volunteered with the Boy Scouts, Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center, and other organizations. His professional background is in Information Technology.

Howdy Goudey, At-Large, Community Group.  Howdy Goudey has an Engineering Physics degree from UC Berkeley and has worked for 24 years in the research and development of energy efficient buildings, particularly windows, at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He has also been a member of the City of El Cerrito Environmental Quality Committee for 9 years, as well as a volunteer with community gardens and native habitat restoration.

Harry Thurston, At-Large, Community Group.   Antioch resident Harry Thurston is committed to furthering sustainable resource usage by Contra Costa County and the municipalities within. He received formal training in sustainable resource usage from Humboldt State University, receiving a BS in Forestry. He put this knowledge into practice as a Peace Corps volunteer, followed by 10 years of Commercial Forestry practice, receiving California certification as a Registered Professional Forester.  Most recently, over the last several years, he has been leading the East Contra Costa effort to implement a Community Choice Energy program for the County’s unincorporated area and for the incorporated municipalities within the County. Harry is a member of the Contra Costa Clean Energy Alliance.

Kathy Cutting, At-Large, Business.  Kathy Cutting is a Bay Area native, settling in Oakley in 1989, where she raised her family.  Over the last 20 years she has enjoyed working as a residential landscape designer promoting sustainable land options for homeowners.  As an alumna of Cal State East Bay, Kathy now works at the University’s Concord Campus, where she is a liaison for all sustainability programs within the Concord campus community. 

Nicholas Snyder, At-Large, Business. Nicholas Snyder is a Senior Analyst at Tierra Resource Consultants, an energy and natural resource consulting firm in Walnut Creek.  Most recently, he has served as a lead on the funding and financing of energy efficiency, renewables, and energy storage.  Before joining Tierra, he interned at Contra Costa County Climate Leaders and the Energy Division of the California Public Utilities Commission, where he supported regulatory oversight of the Energy Watch, Regional Energy Network, and Community Choice Energy programs.

Doria Robinson, At-Large, Environmental Justice.  Doria is third generation resident of Richmond, California and the Executive Director of Urban Tilth, a community based organization rooted in Richmond dedicated to cultivating urban agriculture to help the community build a more sustainable, healthy, and just food system. Doria is trained as a Watershed Restoration Ecologist, and is a Certified Permaculture Designer, Certified Bay Friendly Gardener, a Certified Nutrition Educator, and a Certified Yoga Instructor and the founder of Sanctuary Yoga. She was recognized as Environmental Advocate of the Year for Contra Costa County and as Woman of the Year for Contra Costa County in 2010. In 2011, she was presented with a Community Resiliency Leadership Award from Bay Localize.

Scott Warfe, At-Large, Education.  Scott Warfe is an Assistant Professor of English and Developmental Education Lead at Los Medanos College. In addition to work in the English Department, Scott is also one of the founders of the LMC Food Pantry and volunteers with The Trinity Center, which serves homeless and working poor people in East Contra Costa County. 

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Contra Costa prosecutors endorse their colleague Paul Graves for Interim DA

Monday, August 21st, 2017

Contra Costa Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Graves. photo courtesy of Paul Graves for DA

The Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney’s Association has endorsed Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Graves for the position of Interim District Attorney of Contra Costa County. 

On Friday, August 18th, 2017, the Contra Costa County District Attorneys’ Association, made up of over 80 criminal prosecutors, voted for the endorsement.

Paul Graves distinguished himself as a leader when he stepped forward to run for election against Mr. Peterson, a sitting incumbent at the time, despite the great professional risk he was taking, because it was the right thing to do,” said Aron DeFerrari, President of the DA’s Association.

“Our prosecutors are currently working on hundreds of cases and the interim DA will immediately have immense responsibilities to manage these cases,” added Simon O’Connell, a member of the District Attorneys’ Association Board. “Paul Graves’ experience managing and leading prosecutors gives us full confidence in his ability to keep those cases on track until voters choose the next District Attorney.”

Amongst a field of five candidates seeking the appointment, Paul Graves has distinguished himself in both public forums, his written applications and, perhaps most importantly, his actions and proven integrity as a veteran prosecutor for the last 22 years.

With the support of almost every police association, nonprofit and community based organizations Graves has worked with throughout the years, and the endorsement of the East Bay Times, “We are tremendously proud to endorse Paul Graves, he is a truly talented prosecutor, a proven leader in the law enforcement community and, perhaps most importantly, a person of genuine character and integrity – what we need most right now in our office” said Lauren Whalen, a DA’s Association Board Member and young prosecutor in the District Attorney’s Office.

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Interim Contra Costa DA forum draws questions on wide range of issues

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

The five semi-finalists for the interim Contra Costa County District Attorney appointment participated in a three-hour public forum at Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors hearing chambers Tuesday. Participating in the forum conducted by the League of Women Voters of Contra Costa County were from left Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Diana Becton, Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Danielle Douglas, Santa Clara County Supervising Deputy District Attorney Patrick Vanier, Contra Costa Deputy District Attorney Tom Kensok and Contra Costa Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Graves. Supervisors plan to announce their choice by either their September 12 or September 19 meeting.

Lasts for three hours

By Daniel Borsuk

In the packed Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors hearing chambers, supervisors and citizens learned a great deal about five candidates in the running for the interim District Attorney post, vacant since the mid-June resignation of Mark Peterson on charges of lying about illegally spending $66,000 from his election campaign fund for personal use.

Before responding to questions pooled from the League of Women Voters of Contra Costa County and emceed by former Contra Costa County Clerk and Register of Voters Steven Weir, supervisors conducted a one hour hearing to allow the public to vent thoughts about the supervisors selection process of the five choices:  Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Diana Becton, Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Danielle Douglas, Contra Costa Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Graves, longtime Contra Costa Deputy District Attorney Tom Kensok, and Santa Clara County Supervising Deputy District Attorney Patrick Vanier, a Contra Costa County resident.

Graves and Vanier have already announced they are running for election in 2018.

During the public hearing, Graves received oral endorsements from eight speakers.  One supporter, Laura Dean Swanson described Graves as “Competent and widely respected by people for working for victims’ rights.”

But Richmond City Councilman Melvin Willis cautioned supervisors saying, “We need a district attorney who will look at alternatives other than incarceration.  We need new leadership promoting racial justice.”

Nancy Kelly, a retired public defender, urged the supervisors to select an interim DA who would eliminate the bail system, which is racially and financially biased against minorities.  Kelly also said the county’s interim DA should be one who picks “juries that reflect the community and not that reflects the upper class or white people.”

During the forum, the five semi-finalists answered a wide variety of questions to shed light regarding their opinions about “restorative justice,” a concept that all the candidates supported.

On the question about the death penalty, the responses varied.

Judge Douglas said she would seek the death penalty for cases meriting it and “would set up a death penalty review panel.”  She noted that the cost and racial disparity associated with the death penalty has shown that it has been “abused in this country.”

Vanier said he would use the death penalty for cases that genuinely merit them like the “Ted Bundy” murder case.

Kensok said he, like most Contra Costa voters, voted to abolish the death penalty.  “It’s not a deterrent, but I will never say never.”  He said there might be murder cases meriting the death penalty.

“The death penalty is not an effective deterrent to crime,” said Judge Beckton.

On prosecuting environmental pollution crimes, candidates’ responses varied, but Kensok seemed to have the best response to that question.  “We have an environmental prosecutor,” said Kensok. “We have gone after Chevron.  But as DA my priority will be to use our resources to prosecute cases involving violence.”

When asked what his thoughts were about the DA office’s track record on victims’ rights, candidate Vanier said, “Less than one half of the crimes are prosecuted.  We need to do a better job of prosecuting crimes that occur in this county.”

On the topic of how to work with at-risk youth, Judge Becton said she would implement a successful program she developed in Richmond, “The Color of Justice.”  It teaches school children that African Americans do succeed academically and become lawyers and judges.

As a mother of three daughters, Judge Douglas said she would promote anti-gang awareness programs beginning in the elementary and middle schools.  “We need to publicize about the dangers of the Internet and how gangs are able to lure youth at very young age.”

All five candidates said they would not cooperate with United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

Supervisors plan to interview finalists for the interim post on September 12; they could announce a selection then or reveal their choice at their September 19 meeting.

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Supervisors back state funding of Los Vaqueros Reservoir expansion

Friday, August 11th, 2017

Los Vaqueros Reservoir. Photo by Aerial Photographer Dick Jones. Courtesy of CCWater.com

By Daniel Borsuk

The first shovel may not plunge into the ground for the expansion of the Los Vaqueros Reservoir until 2022, but the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors have signed on to back state financing of the Contra Costa Water District’s reservoir project.

With District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen and District 1 Supervisor John Gioia absent Tuesday, supervisors voted 3-0 as a consent item to send a letter of support for the reservoir to the California Water Commission to tap into 2014 voter approved $2.7 billion of state Proposition 1 funds so that the Contra Costa Water District can enlarge the reservoir’s capacity from 160,000-acre feet to 270,000-acre feet.

The Proposition 1 funding would pay 50 percent, or about $450 million of the estimated $900 million price tag with the CCWD and other participating water agencies and their customers picking up the construction price tag.

Although supervisors did not hear either opposition or support concerning their letter, the supervisors’ letter did acknowledge the reservoir project could present an environmental problem unless the CCWD takes action to address it.

Supervisors expect the CCWD to resolve an issue about a proposed alignment of the Transfer-Bethany Pipeline that could upset the environment to a portion of 13,000 acres to the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservation Plan, a state funded part of the Natural Community Conservation Plan.  Contra Costa County and the cities of Brentwood, Clayton, Oakley and Pittsburg adopted the ECCC habitat conservation plan in 2007.

“Nothing has been decided on the pipeline’s alignment, “said CCWD Public Affairs Director Jennifer Allen. “We still have a lot of steps to go through including the pipeline alignment.”

“With this being a big rain year, I think this is a great thing to move forward on,” said Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood, whose District 3 encompasses much of Los Vaqueros Reservoir.  “If we’re going to spend this kind of money, it’s better to build something that stores water during the rainy years.”

“This is an opportunity to invest against future droughts by adding to our water storage,” said board chair Federal Glover.

Supervisors Adopt New Cardroom License Ordinance

Supervisors also approved a cardroom ordinance that lays out a procedure to ensure that business operations are not interrupted following “an unforeseen event” including the death of the current licensee.

Under the new ordinance, the Sheriff’s Office is designated as the department responsible for licensing gambling establishments locally, is to be notified of the event within 10 days of the event occurrence and identify the appropriate party that should obtain a license. The successor party is required to obtain a license within 30 days of the event.

In Contra Costa County, the California Grand Casino at 5988 Pacheco Blvd. in Pacheco and the 19th Hole Casino and Lounge at 2746 W. Tregallas Road in Antioch are the only licensed cardrooms, according to the State Attorney General’s Office.

Automated License Plate Readers

In other business, supervisors gave the green light for the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff to 21 Lehr Automated License Plate Readers for $225,000 for use in unincorporated Alamo to help curb property crimes.

Installation of the Lehr ALPRs will begin at the end of August and should be completed in September, said Sheriff Lt. Jason Haynes of the Alamo Sheriff Office.  The ALPRs will be installed at seven intersections.

Sheriff David Livingston said while a review of crime statistics in the Alamo area does not show a significant increase in reported crime over the last several years, “there was an increase in property crime and residential burglaries specifically in the Contra Costa central 680 corridor.”

The county will not pick a dime on the acquisition of the ALRs because the funds are donated through three private sources.  One unnamed contributor donated $95,000.  Members of the Alamo Police Services Advisory Committee are providing $50,000 and P-6 Alamo-Las Trampas has contributed $80,500.

Alamo will join Danville, Orinda, Lafayette, Clayton and Pittsburg that have Lehr ALPRs installed on city street intersections, Lt. Haynes said.

Lt. Haynes said the license plate readers have proven to work effectively in solving especially property crimes.  He said the Sheriff’s Department has made 25 arrests in connection with Danville stolen vehicle heists over a 12-month period.

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

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

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

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

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

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

View the questionnaire, here: CoCo Interim DA Community Questionnaire_FINAL

WHAT: Contra Costa Interim District Attorney Candidate Forum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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