Archive for the ‘Supervisors’ Category

Supervisors hear call for public donations to fight COVID-19; county records first death

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

Screenshot of Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors virtual, online meeting on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

Hold online, virtual meeting; homeless population increases 43% in county

County staff stay six feet apart in the Board meeting room speak with members of the board during the virtual meeting. Video screenshot.

By Daniel Borsuk

Forced to meet remotely in an inaugural teleconference board meeting Tuesday, Contra Costal County Board of Supervisors learned the county is lean on supplies to combat the rising COVID-19 pandemic.

Circumstances are getting so dire, Contra Costa Health Services officials have put out the call for donations from the public for surgical protective equipment and supplies for healthcare providers as concerns emerge the county cannot deliver an adequate amount of medical gear and supplies for emergency workers to be adequately protected while treating those potentially affected by COVID-19.

As of Tuesday, Contra Costa Health Services Director Anna Roth told supervisors 71 county residents now have contracted COVID-19 and one person has died, an increase from 10 COVID-19 cases when Roth released her initial report to the Supervisors 21 days ago on March 3. Twenty-two persons are currently waiting for lab test results, reported Roth.

When Supervisors individually met via teleconference, Contra Costa Health Services along with six other Bay Area medical entities had earlier announced a unified, regional program designed to combat the spread of COVID-19 by ordering laboratories testing for COVID-19 to report comprehensive testing data to local and state authorities.

In addition, the county is stepping up the wide gap in procuring medical supplies and gear for health care workers. “We are making preparations for more people to become sick,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa County Health Officer.

County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano, speaks with Board Chair Candace Andersen during the virtual meeting. Video screenshot.

A call has gone out to the public from Contra Costa Health Services to donate protective medical supplies for health care workers. Those supplies include eye protection including goggles and face shields, antibacterial and disinfecting wipes, typically alcohol or bleach based, excluding baby wipes. The county also needs N-95 and surgical masks in unopened containers, and disposable medical gowns.

The county has designated three donation centers that will be open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The donation centers are at West County, 151 Linus Pauling Dr., Hercules; Central County, 1750 Oak Park Blvd., Pleasant Hill; and East County, 4545 Delta Fair Blvd., Antioch.

County Administrator David Twa said the County has started to buy motel rooms nearby medical work sites so tired and overworked emergency workers can get sleep and avoid having to travel home during the nationwide health emergency.

“Some people say this COVID-19 pandemic is going to dip into our reserves. Well, we have already seen COVID-19 dip into our reserves,” said Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill who was frustrated with the likely fiscal impact as well as the technical problems that flared up during the two-hour supervisors’ teleconference meeting. Mitchoff requested that a better teleconference program replace the current program.

Supervisors are expected to begin their review of the proposed 2020-2021 fiscal year budget via teleconference at next week’s board meeting.

Homeless Population Increases 43 Percent

In other business, Lavonna Martin, director of the Contra Costa County Health, Housing and Homeless Services, informed supervisors that the county’s homeless population in 2019 increased 43 percent in two years. Based on a department survey there were 2,295 homeless persons counted in 2019 in comparison to 1,607 in 2017. In 2018, there were 2,234 homeless persons.

The 2019 report indicates 1,398 persons are in the 25 to 54-year-old age bracket. The survey found that 165 persons were 62 years old or older.

Sixty-three percent of the families that are homeless can be served by available shelters with 201 beds, but only 28 percent of the single adults can be served by shelters, according to the study.

Psychiatric Emergency Service Project

Supervisors gave the go ahead for the Public Health Commission to conduct public hearings on the proposed remodel project for the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center’s over-used Psychiatric Emergency Services – PES – located in the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez.

Current conditions at the PES are deemed to be a danger to patients, to the general public.

The objectives of the PES project are to separate children, ages 7 through 12, and adolescents, ages 13 through 17 years, from adult patients, and provide a larger dedicated space more conducive to a therapeutic environment to better support youth and their families, the addition of a confidential triage space at the entrance of the PES, and expansion of treatment space for adults.

Supervisors were shown three project options. Option 1 would cost $3.7 million and add 2,101 square feet to the existing 5,370 square foot facility. Option 2, the recommended option, would cost $4,920,968 and would add 2,265 square feet to the current facility, and Option 3 would cost $8,332.471 to add 3,499 square feet to the existing facility.

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Multiple COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases in county spark Supervisors to declare state of emergency

Wednesday, March 11th, 2020

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors proclaimed March as American Red Cross Month in Contra Costa County at their meeting on Tuesday. Known as the world’s largest humanitarian organization, the Contra Costa American Red Cross volunteers last year helped 168 people affected by 110 home fires in 2019. American Red Cross volunteers in the county collected 15,491 units of lifesaving blood, taught skills that save lives to 10,747 community members and provided international humanitarian aid. Attending the presentation were from left District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover, Board Chair Candace Andersen, District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, American Red Cross Bay Area CEO Jennifer Adrio, American Red Cross Contra Costa Leadership Council Co-Chair Stan Massie, Board Vice Chair Diane Burgis, and American Red Cross Contra Costa County Vice Chair Briana Taylor. Photo by Daniel Borsuk.

By Daniel Borsuk

The rising COVID 19 or coronavirus outbreak with 10 reported cases in Contra Costa County hospitals as of Tuesday, compelled the Board of Supervisors to unanimously adopt a resolution proclaiming a state of emergency in the county with guidance on how to deal with the threatening respiratory flu.

On March 3 there were 43 COVID 19 cases in California with 26 of these cases in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The supervisors’ action will result in an undetermined amount of state aid, said Anna Roth, Contra Costa County Health Director.

The Supervisors’ declaration will help the county with the delivery of badly needed COVID 19 test kits, face masks, protective gear and other resources. The county had 1,000 kits on the day of the Supervisors’ meeting, Contra Costa Health Department Director of Public Health Dan Peddycord said, but more kits will be needed to meet demand as health officials expect more patients will come down with COVID 19 symptoms and will seek medical attention.

The supervisors’ declaration states:

“On March 10, 2020 this Board found that due to the introduction of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) conditions of disaster or extreme peril to the safety of persons and property did exist in the County of Contra Costa commencing on or about March 3, 2020, and therefore the Board proclaimed the existence of a local emergency throughout this county (Resolution No. 2020/92).

  • These conditions, by reason of their magnitude, are or are likely, to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment, and facilities of this county, and will require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to combat.
  • These conditions fit the circumstances described in Government Code section 8558.
  • Now, Therefore IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED that this Board REQUESTS the GOVERNOR of the State of California to proclaim the County to be in a state of emergency.”

“The new coronavirus or COVID-19 presents our community with a challenge,” said Board Chair Candace Andersen. “While I urge you to be prepared, it is certainly not a time to panic. Following our health officials’ guidelines will help prevent the spread of disease.

The county and the Contra Costa Health Services will continue to offer guidance and resources. Meanwhile, there is much each and everyone one of us can do to keep our families and communities well. It will take all of working together.”

Dan Peddycord, Contra Costa Health Department Director of Public Health, told Supervisors the county now has 1,000 COVID test kits. “Our ability to test is meeting the demand,” he said.

There are increasing concerns that the county’s ability to test the most vulnerable including senior citizens, the homeless, and county jail prisoners might be hampered by the shortage of trained health personnel and test kits as the number of COVID 19 cases increases.

Dr. Ori Tzieli, acting Contra Costa Health Services Health Officer, said that the county is taking other preemptive steps to stop the spread of COVID 19 including calling for the cancelation of all “mass gatherings of 50 or more.” This order means religious services drawing congregants of 50 or more for Saturday or Sunday services will be not be allowed to conduct these services  due to the epidemic. Sports, entertainment and other events will be impacted by the mass gathering edict. The regional economy will be impacted.

This topic of banning meetings or places that draw audiences of 50 or more will also apply to other entities ranging from seniors eating in the dining rooms of their senior living facilities to the Board of Supervisors conducting business in their chambers at 651 Pine St. in Martinez.

So far, the closure of schools has not yet been put on the table, said Dr. Tzieli.

District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond and Chair Andersen of Danville discussed the possibility of canceling or postponing the supervisors annual Cesar Chavez Birthday Celebration at its March 31 Board Meeting because of potential health concerns stemming from the COVD 19 epidemic. No decision was made at Tuesday’s meeting about the fate of the Cesar Chavez Birthday Celebration.

Approve Closure of Pleasant Hill Library for Oak Park Properties Development

Over the protests of several Pleasant Hill residents wanting to keep the old Pleasant Hill Public Library with its 80,000 volumes open until the new state-of-the-art library is completed and ready for use in 2022, supervisors unanimously approved the sale of the county property at 1750 Oak Park Blvd. to the City of Pleasant Hill, thereby paving the way for the library’s demolition and commencement of construction of the mixed use development on the 15-acre site.

Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill has defended the proposal to demolish the old library because it needs $2.2 million of roof, electrical and ventilation and heating repairs and that expenditure is not worthwhile when the new modern library that will have a view of Grayson Creek and will house 72,000 volumes. The old library has about 80,000 volumes.

The new state-of-the-art library will be completed in 2022.

Developers of the Oak Park Properties project plan to construct 34 two-story homes, each 2,800 square feet to 3,400 square feet. There will be open space, bocce courts, and trails.

Jim Dexter urged supervisors to reject the project. “There is nothing about this project that’s been publicly vetted,” he claimed. “Why was this sale was not examined?”

When it came to the supervisors’ vote, Mitchoff beckoned fellow supervisors to approve closure of the old county library, Mitchoff telling her colleagues the new state-of-the-art library with a view of Grayson Creek will be “a county asset.”

In other business, supervisors:

  • Approved an agreement between the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Contra Costa County Director of Airports Keith Freitas to execute a master administrative agreement to establish a partnership where Buchanan Field and Byron airports will be included in the Pan Pacific UAS Test Range Complex. The agreement makes the two airports available for use by third parties for UAS-related testing, research and educational purposes in coordination with the University of Alaska. The university is expected to use various electronic and printed media to promote the partnership.
  • Approved a $16.3 million contract with Hensel Phelps Construction Co. for the design and construction for mental health treatment facilities and associated Americans with Disabilities Act upgrades at Module M in the Martinez Detention Facility.
  • Approved to pay up to $163,585 to the consortium of eight northern California counties to study the feasibility of developing a regional mental health correctional facility. The total cost for the first phase of the study is $603,895 that will be shared by the eight counties including Contra Costa, Sacramento, Solano, El Dorado, Nevada, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba counties.
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Contra Costa Supervisors declare state of emergency to deal with potential spread of coronavirus

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

By Susan Shiu, Director, Contra Costa County Office of Communications and Media

Martinez, CA – The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution at its Board meeting on March 10, 2020 for a proclamation of a state of emergency in the county to deal with the potential spread of novel coronavirus or COVID-19.

The proclamation states that “this Board found that due to the introduction of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), conditions of disaster or extreme peril to the safety of persons and property did exist in the County of Contra Costa commencing on or about March 3, 2020, and therefore the Board proclaimed the existence of a local emergency throughout this county. These conditions, by reason of their magnitude, are or are likely to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment, and facilities of this County, and will require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to combat.”

The proclamation states that “this Board requests the Governor of the State of California to proclaim the County of Contra Costa to be in a state of emergency.”

Board Chair, Supervisor Candace Andersen, said, “The new coronavirus or COVID-19 presents our community with a challenge. While I urge you to be prepared, it is certainly not a time to panic. Following our health officials’ guidelines will help prevent the spread of disease. The County and Contra Costa Health Services will continue to offer guidance and resources. Meanwhile, there is much each and everyone one of us can do to keep our families and communities well. It will take all of us working together.”

The Supervisors emphasized that “everyone plays an important role” as they unanimously voted for a county emergency proclamation that will allow our health department to mobilize county resources, accelerate emergency planning, streamline staffing, coordinate agencies across the county, allow for future reimbursement by the state and federal governments, and raise awareness about how everyone can prepare in the event that COVID-19 begins to spread in our community.

“The County and its health department will continue to work with multiple agencies and jurisdictions to keep residents informed during this local emergency,” said County Administrator David J. Twa. “We will continue to take appropriate steps to protect the safety and wellbeing of our employees and the public. We encourage everyone to stay prepared.”

Visit cchealth.org/coronavirus for County Health officials’ latest guidance for the community and resources. For the latest updates, follow Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) on Twitter @CoCoHealth and on CCHS Facebook. Information is also available at www.contracosta.ca.gov.

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Five new novel coronavirus Cases Confirmed in Contra Costa County, nine total

Monday, March 9th, 2020

Board of Supervisors to consider calling for state of emergency in the county at Tuesday meeting

Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) confirmed five new cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in residents of the county.

Four are being treated at hospitals in Contra Costa. They had no travel history outside the U.S. or known contact with a confirmed case. The fifth patient, who had close contact with another person who previously tested positive for COVID-19, is isolating at home under the guidance of CCHS.

Coronavirus. CDC image.

As of Sunday morning, Contra Costa has nine confirmed cases of novel coronavirus. One patient who tested positive last week remains in a local hospital, while three other previously identified patients who tested positive are also isolating at home. CCHS will not release further details about the patients to protect their medical privacy, including the names of the hospitals where they are being treated.

“The coronavirus is here in our community. As we ramp up our testing, we expect to identify more cases. But there is still a lot we can do to slow down the spread and protect our most vulnerable,” said Dr. Ori Tzvieli, acting Contra Costa Health Officer.

Last week, CCHS released recommendations for people who are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. Practicing good public health hygiene remains the best way of avoiding any respiratory disease, including novel coronavirus:

  • People who are sick should stay home from work or school until they are well
  • Older adults and people with chronic conditions should avoid large gatherings, as they are at higher risk of becoming infected
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available
  • People who are sick should cover their coughs and sneezes using a tissue or their elbow
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with your unwashed hands
  • Masks are for sick people. There is no evidence that wearing masks in public prevents healthy people from getting sick with novel coronavirus

Calls have been placed to Anna Roth, Director and Dr. Chris Farnitano, Health Officer for Contra Costa Health Services and Dr. Samir Shah, Chief Medical Officer for the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center seeking additional information. Dr. Shah was specifically asked in a voicemail when Contra Costa County will become more transparent and share the names of the hospitals where the patients are located as that doesn’t violate HIPAA law, according to other medical professionals.

“We have a presentation to the Board of Supervisors, tomorrow,” said Will Harper, Acting Communications Director for Contra Costa Public Health when reached for comment. “We’ve been asked to give an update with the latest guidance for the community. The board will consider declaring an emergency in the county.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website, “the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that required the creation of national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the HIPAA Privacy Rule to implement the requirements of HIPAA.”

Furthermore, “A major goal of the Privacy Rule is to ensure that individuals’ health information is properly protected while allowing the flow of health information needed to provide and promote high quality health care and to protect the public’s health and well-being. The Privacy Rule strikes a balance that permits important uses of information while protecting the privacy of people who seek care and healing.”

However, according to the CDC, “the Privacy Rule permits use and disclosure of protected health information, without an individual’s authorization or permission, for 12 national priority purposes.” One of those is labeled, “Serious Threat to Health or Safety. Covered entities may disclose protected health information that they believe is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to a person or the public, when such disclosure is made to someone they believe can prevent or lessen the threat (including the target of the threat).”

The question is whether or not the HIPAA privacy rule prevents the release of the names of which hospitals patients are being treated so the public can decide whether or not to go to that hospital for treatment.

“We have not announced any hospitals to protect the patient privacy and the operations of the hospital,” said Scott Pauley, Public Information Officer for the CDC. “There’s a very thin line there. That’s policy level and the decisions made are by the hospitals and county health officials.”

Visit cchealth.org/coronavirus for local information about COVID-19.

Allen Payton contributed to this report. Please check back later for updates.

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Contra Costa elections update shows District 5 race for Supervisor too close to call

Saturday, March 7th, 2020

Election Results as of Friday, March 6, 2020 at 4:33 p.m. Source: CoCoVote.us.

By Allen Payton

As of the update posted Friday, March 6, 2020 at 4:33 p.m., the results of the election for Contra Costa County Supervisor in the District 5 race between incumbent Federal Glover and two challengers is still too close to call. District 5 includes portions of Antioch north of Hwy 4 and west of Hwy 160.

Glover, seeking his sixth term on the board, is just 0.3% away from winning the race outright. If not, in the November General Election he will face either County Assessor Gus Kramer, who has 25.82% of the vote and leading Martinez Planning Commissioner Sean Trambley with 24.48% of the vote, by just 516 votes.

However, there are approximately 40,000 ballots remaining to be counted in the county. According to the Contra Costa County Elections website:

Below are the estimated number of ballots that remain to be counted as of March 6

7,500  Vote by Mail

29,200  Provisional

800  Conditional Voter Registration

2,500  Other

40,000  Total Estimate

Before the latest update was provided, Trambley commented on Thursday, “We will see what happens. Although this wasn’t the outcome I expected, I’m proud of the campaign I ran.”

“Hard to say how many of those (the remaining ballots) are in District 5,” he added.

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Burgis, Andersen re-elected Supervisor, Glover appears to be facing run-off, opponent not yet decided

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

Supervisor Federal Glover (in red shirt) checks the election results on his laptop surrounded by family and supporters as they celebrate his first place finish at his home in Pittsburg, Tuesday night. Photo courtesy of the Glover campaign.

“It’s not over.” 50,000 ballots left to be counted in the county. Next results update not until this Friday by 5 p.m.

Supervisor Diane Burgis and supporters look at the results online during her Election Night party in Brentwood, Tuesday night.

By Allen Payton

According to the unofficial election results on the Contra Costa Elections website from Tuesday night at 11:58 pm, Supervisor Diane Burgis is sailing smoothly into a second term, having garnered 66.49% of the vote against her opponent, Sanitary District Board Member Paul Seger who has 33.51% of the vote.

In a Facebook post Tuesday night, Burgis wrote, “Looking Good! The numbers will be coming in for the next couple days with all of the mail in ballots. Thank you to all those that helped make this happen. The walking & calling, the letters to the editor, Facebook posts & helping hang up signs. You all kept it positive & professional. I am blessed to have such a terrific support system! It is an incredible privilege to do this work & I look forward to another 4 1/2 years!”

Then on Wednesday afternoon, Burgis said, “I want to thank everyone for voting. It is a privilege to serve you, and I will continue to work hard every day to maintain your trust. I look forward to doing more good work for Contra Costa County.”

Supervisor Candace Andersen faced no opponent in her race for reelection in District 2, representing Lamorinda and most of the San Ramon Valley. In a Facebook post Wednesday morning, Andersen wrote, “I never take any election, even when running unopposed, for granted. Thank you to the 34,750+ (votes are still being counted) people who voted for me! I love my job and look forward to another 4 years. And congratulations to my colleague Diane Burgis who also won her election!”

Supervisor Federal Glover, running for a sixth term on the board to represent, is in a strong first place with 48.96% of the vote, just 1.05% shy of winning the election outright. He’s followed by County Assessor Gus Kramer with 27.24% who is closely trailed by Martinez Planning Commissioner Sean Trambley with 23.8% of the vote.

If Glover isn’t able to obtain 50% plus one vote, he will face one of his opponents in a run-off election in November.

The results only include votes by mail up until Monday and the votes at the polls on Tuesday, according to County Elections staff. They will know after 3:00 p.m. today, Wednesday, how many ballots are left to be counted in the county.

Glover was available for comment, Wednesday morning.

Kramer believes he’ll end up being Glover’s opponent in the General Election.

“It’s quite frankly too close for comfort,” he said. “Most likely, odds are I will be his opponent. I have some people who are telling me they’re surprised I did as well as I did with all the bad press from the Times. I have others who have said they’re not surprised.”

“It’s better to have tried and failed than to have failed to try,” he continued. “That’s my attitude about this race.”

“They have 50,000 ballots left to count, countywide, which means there’s about 10,000 ballots in this race, alone,” Kramer added. “It’s not over.”

Glover’s other challenger, Trambley, who has never held public office before and was running for office for the first time, was not available for comment Wednesday morning.

The next update to the results will not be provided until this Friday, March 6 by 5:00 p.m. The Elections Division has 28 days to certify the election.

Please check back later for updates to this report.

 

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Supervisors approve acquisition of City of Antioch property for $1 for proposed homeless center

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

Parcel map and aerial photo of Antioch land the County has agreed to purchase. 02-11-20

Recognize African American Mental Health Awareness Week

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors took a major step forward in tackling East County’s unyielding homeless problem in approving the acquisition of a 4.79-acre vacant parcel of property on Delta Fair Boulevard in Antioch for a proposed homeless navigation facility.

At their meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 11 County Supervisors voted 4-0 to buy the property adjacent to the county’s Children and Family Services Center in Antioch and Los Medanos College in Pittsburg.

The land runs along the southern line of Delta Fair Boulevard, known as Assessor’s Parcel No. 074-080-034. (See parcel map above)

Supervisors agreed to buy the future site of the homeless navigation center for $1.00 from the City of Antioch. Supervisors approved the land acquisition on a consent action. Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill was absent during the meeting.

“This is a real hot item,” commented Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg, who represents District 5 where the proposed Antioch homeless center site is located. “We have tracked this project for a number of years and now we are getting close to seeing shovels in the ground.”

“The county is working collaboratively with the city and state to develop additional resources for individuals and families experiencing homelessness,” said District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood. “I expect we’ll add significant capacity to Continuum of Care. The conveyance of this parcel provides a lot of flexibility.”

“While this is not a housing development, the plan is to place a CARE center there for people needing shelter,” explained Contra Costa County Homeless Services Director Lavonna Martin. The proposed Antioch center will be modeled after those now available for persons needing housing assistance in Concord and Richmond.

So far Martin is unaware of any public complaints about the proposed homeless navigation center in Antioch because up to now the project’s 2018 award of a $7.9 million in California Homeless Emergency AID Block Grant Fund made it exempt from public review.

As a result, it is presently unknown if there any public opposition to the CARE center at the proposed Delta Fair Boulevard site.

“The city council hasn’t voted on it, yet,” said Antioch City Manager Ron Bernal.

A shelter for women and children had been proposed for the site, in the past. But, that project never materialized due to a lack of funding. This will allow the county to move forward with a project on the same site that will serve the homeless in Antioch and East County.

Approve Donation of County Land for Rodeo YMCA

In another consent real estate item, Supervisors approved the donation of an improved parcel of county property at 200 Lake Ave. in Rodeo to the Young Men’s Christian Association of the East Bay.

Since 1990, the county has leased the property the to the YMCA of the East Bay for $100 a month for children’s services. The county has declared the property surplus property and no longer requires the property for county purposes. The property is in need for repairs and is expected to cost the county in excess of $500,000. The board action essentially gets the county off the hook in being responsible for maintaining the property and for making necessary repairs.

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors recognized African American Mental Health Awareness Week Feb. 16 through 22 and Miles Hall Remembrance Day February 15, 2020 at their meeting on Tuesday. The supervisors’ resolution recognizes the need in the African American community to support the recovery process of peers, clients, consumers and family members struggling with challenges of mental health and substance use issues through the delivery of culturally responsive services. On Feb 22, a Mental Health Black History event will be held at Solomon Temple Church. Photo by Daniel Borsuk.

CALeVIP Program Gets Green Light

In other business, the supervisors flashed the green light for the Contra Costa County Conservation and Development Department to proceed to work with the Contra Costa Transportation Authority and other partners in the California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project or CALeVIP. CALeVIP is focused on the expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure in the state.

According to state statistics, Contra Costa County currently has 151 charging stations with about 400 EV ports. By the year 2025, some 3,500 EV ports will be needed to meet the increased demand of electric vehicle owners.

Approve Public Protection Committee 2019 Report

On a consent item, supervisors approved 12 crime items that will be focused on by the Public Protection Committee that meets nine times during 2020.

Topics that the Public Protection Committee will study are:

Opportunities to Improve Coordination of Response to Disasters and Other Public Emergencies: Welfare Fraud Investigation and Prosecution; Multi-Language Capability of the Telephone Emergency Notification System; County Support and Coordination of Non-Profit Organizations to Provide Re-entry Services; Implementation of AB 109 Public Safety Realignment and Appointment Recommendations to the Community Corrections Partnership; Inmate Welfare Fund/Telecommunications/Visitation Issues; Racial Justice Task Force Project Review of Juvenile Fees Assessed by the Probation Department; County Law Enforcement Participation and Interaction with Federal Immigration Authorities; Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council; Review of Banning Gun Shows at the County Fairgrounds, Review of Adult Criminal Justice Fees; and Racial Equity Action Plan.

Discovery Bay Resident Appointed to County Planning Commission

Discovery Bay resident Bob Mankin was appointed to complete the unfinished term of Contra Costa County Planning Commissioner Duane Steele, also of Discovery Bay, who had resigned.

Mankin was recommended by Supervisor Burgis to complete former commissioner Steele’s term of office on June 20, 2021.

The commission meets regularly twice a month and pays each of the five appointed commissioners $50 per meeting plus mileage. There is a $300 a month cap stipend per commissioner.

View the complete Board of Supervisors meeting agenda, here.

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County health officials tell Supervisors they’re taking extra steps to control Coronavirus

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

Supes finalize appointment of County Clerk, approve agriculture land use policy

By Daniel Borsuk

Contra Costa County Health Department officials told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday that the county is “taking extra steps to control” the global Novel Coronavirus epidemic.

Dr. Louise McNitt, Director of the Contra Costa County Communicable Disease Unit, told supervisors, “We are still learning about it, but we are taking the extra steps to control it, who to test.”

As of Tuesday, there were no Novel Coronavirus cases reported in Contra Costa County while four cases had been reported elsewhere in the Bay Area. Overall, six Novel Coronavirus cases had been reported in California. There were 11 cases reported throughout the United States. McNitt reported there were 20,000 cases worldwide.

McNitt said the county checks daily with the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta to get the most recent information on how to medically combat Novel Coronavirus.

“The Centers for Disease Control answers a lot of our questions,” she said.

“What happens if in four months there are a large number of cases?” asked District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond. “We cannot build new hospitals overnight like how China does.”

“We have the tight network of health officials in the Bay Area to quickly respond to this virus should it get out of control,” said Contra Costa Health Services Director Anna Roth. “We are ready if we have a case that comes to us.

“The risk is low,” added Roth. “We are continuously updating our website and advice line.”

“I have every confidence any hospital is ready to treat patients with this disease” said District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill. But the supervisor said that citizens can get help by getting flu shots and frequently washing their hands.

McNitt agreed with Mitchoff about the flu shots. “Right now, there are more people who have the flu than have this virus,” she said.

Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg, who requested that the Novel Coronavirus topic be placed on the Board Agenda, requested that the county’s health department’s website be continuously updated with information about this virus.

Finalize Appointment of Deborah Cooper as County Clerk

Soon to be appointed Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder-Registrar of Voters Deborah Cooper at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. Photo by Daniel Borsuk.

The Supervisors appointed Deborah Cooper as the County Clerk-Recorder to the remaining term of the office that will expire on January 2, 2023.

“The Board held an open process over the past three months to find, interview, select and appoint a new County Clerk-Recorder,” said Board Chair, Supervisor Candace Andersen. “During this time, the Board of Supervisors has strongly affirmed the integrity and the professional work of County staff in the Clerk-Recorder-Elections Division. We have every confidence that Debi Cooper will continue to move the team forward during this important election year and beyond with the utmost integrity.”

Deborah Cooper, County Clerk-Recorder, said, “Our primary purpose is to serve the public, whether conducting elections or providing Clerk and Recorder services. Maintaining the public trust while remaining impartial and neutral is crucial. I appreciate our talented and dedicated staff. We will continue to provide great customer service to the people of Contra Costa.”

Most recently, Cooper served as the Acting County Clerk-Recorder since November 1, 2019 and, prior to that, as the Deputy County Clerk-Recorder since 2012.

County Administrator David J. Twa who announced the recruitment for selecting and appointing a Clerk-Recorder, remarked, “It was important to conduct a clear and transparent process with each step. The public was able to attend or watch Board of Supervisors meetings, make public comment, and see the timeline and other key information on the website.”

Ag Land Use Policy Gets Green Light

Supervisors flashed the green light for the county planners to proceed in the development of an Agricultural Land Use Policy that envisions the transformation of agricultural land use to various types of lodging accommodations and food services.

Funded on a $150,000 Livable Communities Trust Grant since 2016, the Department of Conservation and Development presented an update to supervisors on where the study stands.

So far, more work needs to be done since there is no consensus on the study’s recommendations about different types of lodging accommodations, including short-term rentals for 9-days or less, farm stays for up to 90 days, bed-and-breakfast, and camping, yurts or little houses on wheels.

Food service use proposals include farm dinners, farm-to-table restaurants, updating the Winery Ordinance, and allowing hosting of large events. These uses may require a zoning permit like an administerial permit or a land use permit or other permits required by other agencies.

“This is not a total road map. We are checking into with the Board to see if you accept the report,” said Contra Costa County Conservation & Development Department Director John Kopchik.

“There’s tension in the farm community,” Supervisor Mitchoff said about the preliminary land use plan. “You need to work it out.”

Where once fertile farmland once stood with real estate prices might fetch $10,000 an acre, some farmland is being snapped up by developers at $100,000 an acre or higher.

The county’s Agricultural Land Use Policy is in response to the skyrocketing real estate prices shaking up the rural areas in Brentwood, Oakley, Knightsen in East County and Danville.

The planning study occurs at a pivotal time in the county’s steadily declining agricultural economy. In 2017, county crop production from corn, berries, and other crops fell to $120.4 million, a six percent decline from 2016 due mainly to crop marketplace conditions.

The planning study also includes recommendations to promote agriculture use to include equestrian and bike trails to connect farms, consider allowing equestrian facilities within additional agricultural districts, exploring funding for signage to promote farming in the county, updating the county’s sign ordinance, and working with other agencies to promote agricultural vitality in the County.

Funds for 30-Unit Pittsburg Rental Housing Project Approved

Supervisors unanimously approved as part of the consent agenda items, the issuance of $18 million in state Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds to finance the cost of the acquisition and construction of a 30-unit rental housing development at 901 Los Medanos Street and 295 E. 10th Street in Pittsburg.

Veterans Square will provide 29 units of affordable housing and one manager’s unit. Fifteen units will be reserved for households with incomes at or below 50 percent of the area median income and 14 units will be reserved at or below 30 percent of the area median income.

The Board of Supervisors had previously allocated about $2.2 million in HOME Investment Partnerships Program funds for Veterans Square and approved the county submission of an application to the state for $3.6 million in No Place Like Home funds. On Dec. 17, 2019, the Board of Supervisors approved a Reimbursement Resolution for this prospective issuance of bonds.

When asked why it’s costing $600,000 for each of the one-bedroom apartments, county Affordable Housing Program Manager Kristen Lackey said, “That is what we are seeing in affordable housing units, and with other projects, as well. Construction costs are going up. Affordable housing is typically more expensive to develop based on the different sources of funds, which adds to the complexity and they have to pay prevailing wage, so the labor costs on it are higher, than what normal residential construction will be.”

“It’s an unfortunate reality of the housing crisis,” she added.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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