Archive for the ‘Supervisors’ Category

Supervisor Glover wants investigation into possible radioactive materials deposited at Keller Canyon Landfill in Pittsburg

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Keller Canyon Landfill. Photo courtesy of Comanco.

Matter to be heard at next Tuesday’s Board meeting

Supervisor Federal Glover has directed Contra Costa County Staff at next Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting to provide the Board with an update concerning the allegations of malfeasance by Tetra Tech EC Inc. at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. The allegations concern possible radioactive materials being deposited at landfills across the state including possible contaminated material that might have been sent to the Keller Canyon Landfill.
“I am very concerned about these allegations and want a full report from staff on this issue,” Glover stated.  Healso said that he expects County staff to follow up with further review of the issue after the Board meeting next Tuesday.

“I want staff to thoroughly investigate these allegations and determine whether or not the Keller Landfill was sent contaminated material,” Glover continued. “I want to make sure the residents of Contra Costa County are protected and that this matter is fully addressed.”

He said that the matter will be heard in front of the Board of Supervisors during its regularly scheduled session starting at 9:30 AM on May 1, 2018 in the Board Chambers at 651 Pine St., Martinez.

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Contra Costa Supervisors examine $3.5 billion 2018-19 budget

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

In era of federal funding uncertainty

By Daniel Borsuk

Contra Costa County Supervisors are poised to approve on May 8 a $3.5 billion 2018-19 budget realizing that during the upcoming budget year there is the likelihood significant funding cuts out of Washington might especially hit human services programs.

“The current administration in Washington is likely to reduce funding to states and counties,” county administrator David Twa warned supervisors at Tuesday’s board budget hearing.

Even with that caution, supervisors did not blink an eye and proceeded to listen to six budget presentations from department chiefs about what is in store for the upcoming 2018-2019 fiscal year.  Supervisors did not comment about the prospects of federal or state cuts next fiscal year at the hearing, but neither did any of the meager number of persons who showed up to speak about the proposed 2018-19 spending plan.

The Employment & Human Services Department is subject to perhaps the most significant funding cuts from Washington, EHSD Director Kathy Gallagher told supervisors.  Since 2017, funding for the department’s CalFresh and CalWorks programs that deliver food and job training for 65,000 residents has had federal funding trimmed from $101.5 million in 2016 to $90.4 million to 2018.  More cuts are expected for the two programs in the upcoming 2018-19 fiscal year, she said.

Gallagher painted a bleak federal funding fiscal picture showing a watch list of human service programs that could potentially be hit with steep federal funding cuts.  Some of those programs include Medicaid, Community Service Block Grants, Child Welfare Services, and the Older American Act, which includes Meals on Wheels.

Federal funding uncertainty also hovers over County Health Services, but not as severely as what EHSD faces, Contra Costa County Health Director Anna M. Roth told supervisors, in presenting her department’s proposed $1.8 billion budget for 2018-19.  Next year’s budget includes $100 million in general funds.

Roth noted that expansion of the Contra Costa Health Plan with more than 200,000 members provides the county financial support, especially when there is financial uncertainty coming out of Washington.

Addressing only the $241,271,160 in general funds proposed for 2018-19, Contra Costa Undersheriff Michael Casten, who filled in for Sheriff David O. Livingston who was out of town, said a $5.6 million vacancy factor makes it “a very difficult for the Office of the Sheriff-Coroner to operate”.

Casten said the funding deficit means for 2018019 the Sheriff-Coroner will not fill 10 deputy sheriff slots worth $2.6 million, three mental health evaluation team deputies openings worth a combined $781,000, 7 patrol deputies worth $1.82 million and six sergeants worth $1.77 million.  The Sheriff-Coroner’s request for 15 recruit positions valued at $1.21 million was approved for the upcoming fiscal year.

For Diana Becton, the Interim Contra Costa County District Attorney appointed by the board of supervisors last year who is up for election June 5, budget priorities for 2018-19 include enforcement of Proposition 64 (2016 voter approval for the legalization of the sale of marijuana in California), hiring of additional clerical staff, the implementation of a case management system and pay parity.

For 2018-19, Becton wants to add 14 full-time staff worth $1 million.  Those positions include five mainline prosecution assistant district attorneys, five mainline prosecution clerks, two senior inspectors and one forensic accountant.

District attorney Becton wants to also distribute resources for bail reform, the East County Anti-Violence Coalition, the West County Anti-Violence Coalition, the Safe Streets Task Force and anti-truancy initiatives.

Public Defender Robin Lipetzky plans to hire 8 staff members to her department next fiscal year.  She plans to hire two attorneys, one investigator, pretrial attorneys, and clerical staff.  A new juvenile office in Walnut Creek will open in the next month, she informed supervisors.  Last year the public defender handled 501 juvenile cases.  Her department last year also handled 3,545 felony cases.

For 2018-19, Contra Costa Public Works will be busy filling 15 positions, Brian Balbas, Public Works Director said.  The department will need the additional staff as Balbas needs more staff to oversee a big increase in capital improvement projects, including the construction of a new $110 million county administration building and emergency communication center.

New West County Health Center Expansion Project Approved

On a consent item, supervisors awarded a $12.45 million design-build contract to C. Overaa & Co. for the design and construction of the West County Health Center Expansion Project at 13585 San Pablo Ave., in San Pablo.

When the project is completed, the new two-story, 20,000 square foot building will house the Behavioral Health Department, which will be relocated from a leased building.  The new building will qualify for a LEED Silver rating from the Green Building Council.

Other construction firms competing for the design-build contract were Vila Construction and Boldt Co.

College District – Sheriff-Coroner Contract OK’d

Supervisors also approved the $497,250 contract between the Sheriff-Coroner and Contra Costa Community College District to provide educational course construction at the Law Enforcement Training Center at Los Medanos College for the period July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.

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Supervisors approve major Buchanan Airport mixed-use project, more airport projects planned

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Sheriff-Coroner awarded $400,000 in grants

By Daniel Borsuk

Contra Costa Supervisors flashed the green light on Tuesday for county airport officials to ink a long-term lease with a Southern California developer to build a 52,000 square foot, single story mixed-use building at 550 Sally Ride Drive near Buchanan Field Airport in Concord.

The supervisors’ 4-0 action serves as a signal that more commercial and aviation related developments are in the pipeline on county owned property adjacent to the county’s two airports – Buchanan Field Airport and Byron Airport.

District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis was not in attendance because she was at a business meeting representing the supervisors.

The supervisors’ action on the consent agenda item means that Airports Director Keith Freitas can proceed to execute a long-term lease with Montecito Commercial Group, LLC for the lease of about 3.21 acres of unimproved county-owned property at the south end of Sally Ride Drive.

As part of the supervisors’ action, the developer will receive a mitigated negative declaration attached to the project’s environmental impact report.  During the EIR procedure, the Contra Costa Water District submitted a letter about the developer’s water usage and an easement issue.  Both issues were resolved according to the CCWD.

The county can expect to cash in on the proposed single-story office-warehouse-distribution building.  During the two-year construction period, the county will be paid $1,000 per month, but once construction is completed monthly rent will increase to $4,247 and will be adjusted every year on April 1 based on the Consumer Price Index.

The Montecito lease calls the one-year period beginning April 1, 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026 any adjustment will not be greater than 75 percent of the CPI factor.  For the one period beginning on April 1, 2028, throughout the lease term, any adjustment to ground rent based on CPI may not be more than 4 percent of ground rent then in effect.

The Montecito development serves as an indication more projects near the county’s two airports are on their way for future supervisors’ review and action, Assistant Airports Director Beth Lee said.  Supervisors are expected to soon consider two large developments proposed for the Byron Airport.  One is a proposed building for aviation use and the other building is for non-aviation use, Lee said.

Lee noted the developer has yet to complete design and other procedural work before the Montecito project can get underway.

Before the Montecito -Buchanan Field development, the last development constructed on county airport property occurred in 2012 at the Byron Airport when the Patriot Jet Team building was constructed, said Lee.

When asked if real estate developers are finally recognizing how county airport projects can generate ideal real estate deals, Lee responded: “We sure hope so. This could mean a major new source of revenue for the county.”

Two State Grants Approved for Sheriff-Coroner

Supervisors approved two major state grants for the Sheriff-Coroner’s Office.

A $300,000 grant from the California Division of Boating and Waterways was awarded to the Sheriff-Coroner for the removal of abandoned vessels and the vessel turn-in program on county waterways.  The grant goes into effect beginning Oct. 1, 2018 and remains in effect when grant funding runs out.  Ninety percent of the funding comes from the state and 10 percent is an in-kind match.

Supervisors also approved a $97,100 grant for the Sheriff-Coroner from the Office of the Attorney General, California Department of Justice, Division of Law Enforcement Tobacco Law Enforcement Grant Program.  The grant will be used from June 1, 2018 through June 30, 2020 to decrease juvenile access and use of tobacco products.

Both grants were approved as consent items.

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Supervisors move forward ban on second-hand smoke in apartments, hotels, motels

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

By Daniel Borsuk

With the health consequences of second-hand smoke to children and the elderly well-documented, Contra Costa County is on the verge of becoming the 42nd jurisdiction in the state to ban smoking in dwelling units of apartment buildings, hotels, and motels once supervisors approve the ordinance that’s slated for the board’s March 13th meeting.

In a lopsided meeting where supervisors did not hear any opposition against the proposed ordinance, District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond asked Contra Costa County Public Health Director Dan Peddycord whether the proposed ordinance will also apply to short-term rentals.  Short-term rents have become a hot button issue in most part of the county and have impacted the county’s housing crisis.

Peddycord answered that the proposed ordinance will not apply to short-term rental units.

The full impact of the proposed county ordinance will require apartment owners and hotel and motel operators to post no smoking signs in dwelling units and to apply measures designed to eliminate second smoke from drifting into dwelling units where children and the elderly reside and are most susceptible to the respiratory effects of tobacco smoke.

The cities of Danville, El Cerrito, Richmond and Walnut Creek and the counties of Sonoma, San Mateo and Santa Clara are some of the jurisdictions that have already adopted second hand smoke prohibition laws.

In the county Public Health Department’s research on the proposed ordinance, officials garnered the full support from the California Apartment Association.  Health department officials drew a 50 percent endorsement from four major homeowners’ associations in the county.

In the department’s research, officials learned four major hotels in the county are already in compliance with the proposed law by posting no smoking signs in guest rooms and common areas.  Those hotels are the Burlington Hotel in Port Costa, the Crowne Plaza in Concord, Embassy Suites, and the Renaissance Hotel in Walnut Creek.

In Contra Costa County there are approximately 10,000 individual dwelling units that would be affected by the new ordinance supervisors will very likely approve at the March 13 meeting.

According to the Public Health Department, a majority of the 120 second hand smoke complaints received by the department’s Tobacco Prevention Program over the last three years continue to emanate from multi-family housing residents.  During that period, 96 complaints were filed concerning unit-to-unit and outside-to-unit drifting smoke during that period.

“We are very happy to support this ordinance,” said Randy Uang of Breathe California, a San Francisco-based non-profit health organization.  “This ordinance will help in reducing chronic breathing and lung ailments, especially among children in Contra Costa County.”

Stephanie Robbins, an apartment dweller in unincorporated Walnut Creek, told supervisors the proposed ordinance will help people like her who lives in an upstairs apartment unit and has to constantly endure second-hand smoke from a downstairs neighbor.  “I’ve already spent $2,000 in hiring an attorney,” Robbins said.  “I endorse this ordinance because it will help me and my child fight against second hand smoke.”

The ordinance will go into effect July 1, 2019 after Public Health Department officials have educated and trained apartment owners.  The program will be funded by state Propositions 99 and 56.

Round Hill Police District Tax Hike Election Approved – A 150% Increase

The 1,296 registered voters in the unincorporated Round Hill area of Alamo, will have the opportunity to vote on whether the county should hike their property taxes from $330 per parcel to $812 per parcel in order to maintain two county sheriff’s deputies and a patrol car.

With no one speaking during the public speaking portion, supervisors approved on a 4-0 vote to have Round Hill residents vote in the June 5 election on whether to boost taxes on 739 parcels in order to raise $596,820 in tax revenue to cover increased patrol expenses on a yearly basis.

The measure will require two-thirds voter approval to pass during the June election.

Supervisors also approved, on a 4-0 vote, the acquisition of up to $2 million of solar panels to be installed over the 651 Pine Street parking lot for a 10-year period, Feb. 27, 2018 through Feb. 28, 2028.  The county will buy the solar panels from ENGIE Services U.S. Inc.  ENGIE Services will also install the solar panels.

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Supervisors brush off Contra Costa Budget Justice Coalition for upcoming hearings

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

Told they should focus on job training and housing in 2018 and beyond, during Tuesday retreat in Pleasant Hill

By Daniel Borsuk

The unveiling of a new citizens organization designed to inject more citizen involvement in the county’s budget development process was torpedoed by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Jan. 30.

During a board retreat at the Pleasant Hill Community Center, supervisors informed representatives of the two-month-old Contra Costa Budget Justice Coalition that since 82 percent of next year’s proposed $3.4 billion 2018-2019 fiscal budget will come from federal and state funding sources, those funds are mandated for either health services at 55 percent and the sheriff-coroner at 27 percent and there is no room for discussion from the public.

The county’s current fiscal year budget is $3.1 billion.

Supervisors are scheduled to adopt the proposed budget on May 8.  They have scheduled a public hearing on the budget on April 17 with the possibility a second hearing on April 24 if one is needed.

Supervisors told coalition representatives that it would essentially be a waste of time to make a pitch about the budget either at the public hearing or by scheduling meetings with supervisors in their district offices.

“We have a lot of restrictions on our money,” said Board Chair and District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill.  “Go ahead with holding your community meetings about the county budget, but they will be limited.”

“We have very limited money,” District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover said.  “Our health and safety funds are mandated by the federal or state government agencies.”

“I am always open to have the public engaged in public policymaking, but we have to face the fact that our budget is mostly funded through mandated categorical sources, “said Supervisor John Gioia of District 1.

“We understand that the budget is already stacked up with required mandated funding, but there is still some flexibility in the process,” Dan Geiger of the Contra Costa Budget Justice Coalition and director of Human Services Alliance of Contra Costa told the Contra Costa Herald.  “We are asking the board to give us some say.”

“We will likely do what we have initially planned to do and that includes meet individual supervisors in their district offices to discuss budget issues,” Geiger said.  “We will also attend the April 17 public hearing.”

Geiger said the objective of the organization, which began with nine non-profit organizations in December and is growing with the potential 48 new organizations, is to open up the county’s budget process.

The new coalition aims to practice its “values-based budgeting principles” that promote safety and affordable housing, stable employment with fair wages, sufficient healthy food, essential health care, access to critical social services, quality early care and education.

Geiger said formation of the Contra Costa Budget Justice coalition occurs at a time there is mounting uncertainty about the future of federal funding coming out of Washington for the upcoming 2018-2019 fiscal year and beyond.  Those budget priorities include housing, health care for low income residents, children and youth services, and mental-behavioral health.

Economic Outlook: Housing Shortage and Job Training

The economic focus in Contra Costa County in 2018 and beyond should be on job training and housing county supervisors were told by Christopher Thornberg, Director of the University of California at Riverside Center for Forecasting and Development.

The economist presented his yearly Economic Outlook Focus on the Contra Costa Economy during the board of supervisors’ retreat.

While the nation’s economy experienced “good growth in 2017” at 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter, Thornberg said California, and especially Contra Costa County is facing two economic problems, a shortage of trained workers even though since 2010 there has been a phenomenal number of job openings and a severe housing shortage.

“We are running out of trained workers,” he said.  This is due to an increasing number of trained workers retiring.  Thornberg suggested as a partial solution to the worsening employment crisis is raising the Social Security retirement age requirement age by two years from 70 to 72.

“In Contra Costa County you have the jobs.  There are a lot of job openings.  Job training and housing should be your focus,” he said.

Thornberg said it is up to the supervisors to find ways to address the housing crisis with rising housing prices.

“We’re seeing a tighter housing market in Contra Costa County with the median house price at $550,000, “he said.

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County to refund $8.8 million in excessive Juvenile Hall housing, electronic monitoring fees

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

Example of an ankle monitor. By securitycameraking.com

By Daniel Borsuk

Beginning next month, 6,000 and as many as 12,000 Contra Costa County residents will receive letters from the county that they could be entitled to refunds to be disbursed because the county Probation Department overcharged them fees for Juvenile Cost of Care and Cost of Electronic Surveillance of Minors. (See agenda item,  here.)

County Supervisors initiated the notification process at Tuesday’s board meeting on a 4-0 vote.  Letters printed in English and Spanish will be mailed to up to 6,000 individuals who may be due a refund because they may have been overcharged when they had a juvenile housed at a county juvenile hall facility from 2010 to 2016.  The county ceased assessing the fees in 2016.  The letters will instruct the recipients how to file for a claim.

District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville was absent for the vote.

The county estimates parents of juveniles held in county juvenile hall facilities were overcharged $8.8 million dating back to 1990.

The board’s Public Safety Committee will review whether another 6,000 residents living in the county between 1990 and 2010 might be eligible for refunds.  Supervisors would also establish a procedure whereby residents could claim money that was improperly withheld when youths were detained in juvenile hall facilities.  Supervisors will determine if the county improperly overcharged for electronic monitoring fees.

Assistant County Administrator Timothy Ewell told supervisors there are about 12,000 cases that the county has identified from 1990 to 2016 that might be entitled to refund checks averaging $262 per account because of the work by Contra Costa supervisors did, and support from citizen organizations like the Racial Justice Coalition, statewide to make juvenile hall housing fees illegal on racial and financial hardship grounds.

Contra Costa is the first county in the state to begin the procedure of refunding money to parents or guardians of juveniles who were held in juvenile hall facility and were overcharged.

“No one is expecting a mad rush of people to file claims,” said District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond, who was a key player at the county and state level in igniting the juvenile hall overcharge refund movement.

District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff said it should be up to the claimants to show proof in the form of canceled checks, bank statements or some other proof of payment when filing a claim.

“Family members should never have been penalized,” admonished Willie Mims of the East County Branch of the NAACP.  “You should have the records and not lay that responsibility on the persons who might receive these letters.”

The fiscal impact to the General Fund is projected to be $136,000.

Supervisors OK Bonds for Multi-Family Housing Projects

Site of the approved Heritage Point Senior Apartments in North Richmond.

On a 5-0 vote, supervisors flashed the green light for construction to get underway for a $27 million senior housing project in North Richmond fronting the east side of Fred Jackson Way between Grove Avenue and Chelsey Avenue.  The 42-unit, Heritage Point Senior Apartments will be financed by the county with up to $17 million in Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds.

It is a project of the Community Housing and Development Corporation of North Richmond (CHDC). According to their website, the organization was “founded in 1990 by local leaders…to eliminate blight, improve housing opportunities for current and future residents, and create better economic conditions.” It has since “added over 200 owner-occupied homes to the Richmond area along with street improvements, public services, senior and family rental housing.”

According to the staff report, there is “No impact to the General Fund. At the closing for the Bonds, the County is reimbursed for costs incurred in the issuance process. Annual expenses for monitoring of Regulatory Agreement provisions ensuring units in the Development will be rented to low income households will be reimbursed through issuer fees established in the documents for the Bonds. The Bonds will be solely secured by and payable from revenues (e.g. Development rents, reserves, etc.) pledged under the Bond documents. No County funds are pledged to secure the Bonds.”

Supervisors were informed that financing for the Heritage Point development is secure.  However, future affordable housing developments might be in jeopardy depending how the 2018 United States budget reform bill shapes up. Contra Costa County could potentially lose $3.5 million in bond financing for the North Richmond project if the budget reform bill is passed by Congress, said Maureen Toms of the Contra Costa County Conservation and Development Department.  Fortunately, the county has enough money in reserves to fill in funding gaps for projects like the Heritage Point development, she added.

“This could be the tip of the iceberg on the potential elimination of public funding for future affordable housing developments,” Gioia warned.

Riviera Family Apartments. Rendering by RCD.

In addition, the board approved converting $1.6 million in taxable bonds into tax-exempt bonds for a 58-unit, multi-family affordable housing apartment project in Walnut Creek. The Riviera Family Apartments will be located on two separate parcels, at 1515 and 1738 Rivera Avenue. The County had previously approved $19.2 million in tax-exempt bonds for the development in May 2016. The developer is Resources for Community Development in Berkeley. According to the staff report, no County funds are pledged to secure the bonds.

Honor 35-Year County Employee

In other action, the board honored Carmen Piña-Delgado who is the Supervising Real Property Agent with the Public Works Department in the Real Estate Division for her 35 years as a county employee. She started her career with the County Administrator’s Office as a Clerk-Experienced Level under the Affirmative Action Officer and due to budget cuts was let go. But, then in October, Piña-Delgado was rehired by the Health Services Department as a Clerk-Experienced Level in the Public Health Division.

In January 1992 she was promoted to the position of Real Property Technical Assistant in the Real Estate Division, where she has worked for the remainder of her career. In May 2001, Piña-Delgado graduated from Los Medanos College completing the Associate of Science Degree in Real Estate in order to qualify for advancement into the Real Property Agent Series. The resolution adopted by the Board recognizing her service states, she “has a great work ethic and has made a difference in the Public Works Department by delivering quality services in each division, County-wide, and with outside agencies/consultants.”

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

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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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