Archive for June, 2020

Antioch Council holds first community forum on police reform, will hire facilitator for future forums

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

By Allen Payton

During their first community forum on police reform, entitled Bridging the Gap, Tuesday night, June 30, 2020, the Antioch City Council heard more comments from members of the public on both sides of the issue. Then the council decided what topics to include in future forums and agreed to hire a facilitator to moderate them.

To open the meeting, Mayor Sean Wright said, “Thank you for coming, tonight for those who are joining us. This is an opportunity for us…at the end of the last meeting we had five or ten minutes to decide where to go with this. Tonight, is an opportunity to get input from all council members and the public…to decide where we want this to go…to drive this conversation forward in a positive way for our community.”

Councilwoman Monica Wilson then said, “I am looking forward to what the community says. To make sure this is not just a one and done and that we continue the conversation.”

Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts read some prepared comments saying, “I’m happy to have lived in Antioch my entire life. I’ve watched my family grow up, here. Let’s be clear in saying I always do what is best for our community.”

She spoke of wanting an “all hands on deck meeting.”

“I am seeking to find opportunities where we can improve as a city,” Motts added.

There were video and audio challenges that caused the meeting to not be visible for most of the first half hour, so not all the opening comments from the council members could be heard.

A variety of people submitted comments or spoke through the Zoom meeting connection, mostly reiterating the over 850 comments made during the two special council meetings on whether to form a council ad hoc committee on police reform two weeks ago, that led to Tuesday night’s forum.

Council Members Respond to Public Comments

Mayor Wright was the first to respond to the public comments.

“I’ll be honest, after the last meeting…I was pushing in discussions with our city manager, having an hour with our chief of police come forward give us a report on the reforms within the department, then an hour to hear from members of the African American community,” he said.

“People have already spoken. We’ve heard. We had a lot of comments at the other meetings. I appreciate the city manager saying…let’s not jump into a discussion of what you think we’ve heard…so we can have a discussion among council members of where we want to go.”

He then provided a list of the things he heard from the public comments.

“I thought you summarized it fairly well,” said Councilman Lamar Thorpe. “I don’t think you mentioned mental health. I have a concern of stretching our police force. I don’t think they should deal with that.”

“The five areas I outlined…are overarching,” he continued. “We can populate with the things you talked about.”

The five reforms Thorpe is seeking, which he mentioned in his press release, earlier this month are 1. Demilitarize our local police, 2. Increase police accountability, 3. Improve police hiring practices, 4. Excessive use of force and 5. Budget appropriations.

“If we’re going to talk about body worn cameras, about mental health, we have to talk about the budget,” Thorpe added.

“Community programs is a huge one,” Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock also mentioned. “What does systemic racism look like in Antioch? The Police Crime Commission going into their districts finding out that information. Work together…we all need to work together. This is a priority for this council. We’re here tonight trying to work on these issues.”

“I too thought the meeting was a little vague coming into it,” Wilson. “We really owe it to the community to really have an outcome…that we really are listening. We’re all not going to agree. None of us are here to attack.”

“We’ve all said one time, or another Chief Brooks is doing a wonderful job. But we can always do better,” she continued. “We must constantly be looking at how we can improve ourselves.”

“Accountability, de-militarization, hiring practices, police oversight, body cameras…how we’re going to maintain all of that, the use of force,” Wilson continued. “We have to come to the reality that not all of us are going to agree. Like most families…we have to respect our differences. I’m hoping we’ll be able to start attacking some of these and have some good outcomes and start making our community better and let everyone in our community know they’re being heard…and they’re not being left out.”

Motts then shared her thoughts stating, “I had doubts without having the chief speak to some of the comments we’ve heard over the past few weeks. But, after hearing from the community, tonight I’m glad we went this way.”

“I heard ‘do no harm’, she continued. “I do think the APD is really getting out there…and trying to work with the community. The mental health issue…this is something that’s been going on for decades, now. East County, we do not have a (homeless) shelter. We do not have homeless services. It is incumbent upon us to do something about them.”

Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock spoke about “What we should do with Measure W money. They want to spend some on police services, but also on youth services. I’m looking forward to these conversations. I would like to have the chief come back and speak on some of the investigations going on. I want to see us all work together. We love this community…we want our community to feel embraced and feel safe. So, I’m looking forward to the conversation.”

Discuss Future Agenda Items, Agree to Hire Outside Facilitator

“This can’t be done in a meeting,” Wright explained. “I need to look at how this fits in. I’m OK looking at the five headings Councilmember Thorpe put in. There might be six or seven other headings.”

“I think we all want to hear from the chief,” Thorpe stated. “The actually leading of this conversation shouldn’t be led by the chief. The chief is a participant in all of this. I think for many people I think there’s a curiosity of policing in American and the relationship with African Americans and why policing even started in this country. They can’t pinpoint why in this country that things blow up following interactions between police and African Americans.”

“I was going to suggest we hire an outside facilitator…helping us through the process,” Wright added.

Ogorchock added, “I think it’s great we have an outside moderator. Where in the budget would that come from?”

“We would have to approve the expenditure,” Wright said.

“It would come out of the General Fund,” said City Manager Ron Bernal.

“I agree someone from outside…to help moderate this conversation,” said Motts.

“I would like to hear from the council…some of the things you’re wanting this person do in the processs,” Wright said.

“Someone with a background in social justice, race relations with police,” Wilson said.

“I would say someone with experience with police reform and that may not be someone with a social justice background,” Thorpe said.

“It has to be a well-rounded person,” Ogorchock said. “We need to have someone coming in who is neutral, who is going to ask the right directions and get us in the direction this council wants to go. What is the cost of this person? I would ask the City Attorney is this part of the agenda, tonight? A moderator?”

“What you’re talking about is future agendas, so yes, your discussing a future agenda item,” City Attorney Thomas Smith responded.

Wright then said he wanted, “someone who is respected on both sides, the police department and someone trying to create police reform.”

“We’re not looking for specifics in what they think on police reform…but understanding the lay of the land when cities decide to do police reform,” Thorpe said. “I’m not pretending we’re not discussing police reform. That’s what the point of having the ad hoc is.”

“This is a bigger conversation that we will all participate in,” Wright said. “I think the next steps…is to find that person and have that person to work together with a few members of council and the chief, to categorize and move forward.”

“I would be happy to participate in that,” Thorpe said.

“So, would I,” Wright responded.

“I would, too so here we go,” said Ogorchock. Regarding the hiring of a moderator she added, “Make sure they understand Antioch. We’re a diverse city.”

“Yes, we are a majority people of color community,” Thorpe said. “You’re absolutely right.”

“That’s not what I said. I said we’re a diverse community,” Ogorchock responded.

“We are doing some things well…and I want the chief to report on that,” Wright said. “As I’ve gone out the past few weeks and talked to different people there are people in the black community who aren’t aware that there is a citizens police academy and a youth police academy. So, there’s more outreach that needs to be done.”

“I’ve been doing some research…and people of color are being killed at a higher percentage, at a higher rate,” Wright stated. “I would like to see elicit bias training for our police and the council. To be able to put ourselves in the shoes of other people. I would hope as a community…that we better understand one another…as we go through this.”

“If there are regular mental health checkups to deal with law enforcement stresses,” said Motts. “I would like to see that as part of the discussion, here.”

“I will work with you and Councilmember Thorpe in hiring someone to facilitate…someone familiar with police reform, and other areas, and familiar with police departments,” Bernal said in response to Mayor Wright.

The council then adjourned the meeting.

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AUSD congratulates the Bidwell High Class of 2020 – see list of graduates

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

 

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Governor Newsom visits Project Roomkey motel in Pittsburg to announce “Homekey,” the next phase in state’s COVID-19 response to protect homeless Californians

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

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

  • State and counties will spend upwards of $1 billion to purchase hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings and tiny homes and provide services to the homeless
  • State effort has served an estimated 14,200 individuals in three months
  • 15,679 hotel and motel rooms and 1,345 trailers for extremely vulnerable individuals experiencing homelessness to help flatten the curve & preserve hospital capacity

PITTSBURG (June 30, 2020) – Today, Governor Gavin Newsom visited a Project Roomkey motel in Pittsburg, Contra Costa County to highlight progress that the state and counties have made in providing safe isolation capacity to protect people experiencing homelessness from COVID-19 and to launch Homekey, the next phase in the state’s effort to protect vulnerable homeless Californians from the pandemic.

Homekey, backed by $1.3 billion in newly available and eligible funding through the budget the Governor signed yesterday, will allow for the largest expansion of housing for people experiencing homelessness in recent history, while addressing the continuing health and social service needs of this vulnerable population.

Under the Homekey program, counties will partner with the state to acquire and rehabilitate a variety of housing types: hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings, residential care facilities, and other tiny homes. All these new placements will serve people experiencing homelessness.

Counties and cities across the state will identify which buildings they intend to purchase and apply to the state for $550 million in grant funding dedicated to this purpose. Once acquired, the local governments will plan for the long-term social services and subsidy needs of the Homekey buildings, with access to $50 million in dedicated Homekey support and an additional $300 million in general local homelessness support which can be used for Homekey, among other priorities.

In addition to these fund sources, counties and cities can access billions more in additional federal stimulus funding which, while available for a variety of purposes, is eligible to be used to provide safe shelter for homeless individuals during the pandemic.

The Governor also announced $45 million in philanthropic support – $25 million from Kaiser Permanente and $20 million from Blue Shield of California – for a new services subsidy fund directed at counties that are implementing Homekey. These contributions, originally announced in January as part of the Governor’s proposed Access to Housing Fund, were redirected by the companies to support the Homekey effort.

Acquisitions and conversions undertaken as part of Homekey will benefit from new legislation that the Governor signed yesterday, providing a CEQA exemption and automatic zoning compliance to new homeless housing utilizing newly available state and federal funding.

“We’ve long dreamed about scooping up thousands of motel rooms and converting them into housing for our homeless neighbors,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “The terrible pandemic we’re facing has given us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy all these vacant properties, and we’re using federal stimulus money to do it. Hand in hand with our county partners, we are on the precipice of the most meaningful expansion of homeless housing in decades.”

The Homekey initiative builds upon the state’s current COVID-19 response effort, Project Roomkey, which has directly led to 15,678 hotel and motel rooms statewide being made available for this extremely vulnerable group of Californians. Over 14,200 people have been served by Project Roomkey motels since the epidemic began, according to estimates from the California Department of Social Services.

These Project Roomkey placements are spread across 52 counties and 293 hotels. The counties are responsible for identifying which individuals need a Project Roomkey placement, and then moving those individuals into the rooms.

See below for video of the governor’s press conference, today. It begins at approximately the 4:00 minute mark.

Governor Gavin Newsom provides an update on the state’s initiative to secure hotel & motel rooms to protect homeless individuals from #COVID19.

Posted by California Governor on Tuesday, June 30, 2020

 

In April, Governor Newsom announced a reimbursement partnership with FEMA, whereby local, state, and tribal governments are eligible to 75 percent cost-share for Project Roomkey activities, including hotel and motel rooms and wraparound supports such as meals, security, and custodial services.

These emergency protective measures are protecting public health by isolating the medically-vulnerable, thinning out the shelter population for social distancing, slowing the rate of spread of COVID-19 and, in turn, flattening the curve.

Homeless policy leaders and local elected officials have long called for hotel/motel conversion as a strategy to bring housing for the homeless online quickly and cost effectively.

Nan Roman, President & CEO, National Alliance to End Homelessness: “The National Alliance to End Homelessness commends Governor Newsom and the State for their innovative and unwavering commitment to reduce homelessness via Homekey. Homekey is the logical and much-needed next step to Project Roomkey, California’s smart strategy to protect people experiencing homelessness in the COVID-19 pandemic. Homekey recognizes that homelessness is a public health AND a housing crisis and seizes the opportunity of the moment to increase the state’s affordable housing stock and target new units to those most in need.”

Philip Mangano, former Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness for Presidents Obama and Bush: “Today Governor Newsom backs up his priority on homelessness with a $600 million investment to move homeless people off the streets and beyond shelters to starter homes. In his focus on housing through hotel/motel conversions the Governor is building on an initiative that reduced exposure to the virus and now offers a statewide strategic approach to produce more units faster and cheaper. That’s good for the taxpayer and good for homeless people.”

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Chair of the Big City Mayors Coalition: “California’s big cities feel the crisis of homelessness most acutely. On behalf of my dozen colleagues in the Big City Mayors Coalition, I express deep appreciation to Governor Gavin Newsom and Legislative leadership for creating the Homekey program, demonstrating their commitment to partner with our cities to confront the urgent needs of our unhoused residents. In unprecedented and uncertain times, we are grateful for the strong commitment of our state elected leaders to supporting cities on the front line working to end homelessness and human suffering.”

Heidi Marston, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA): “We’re grateful to Governor Newsom for his leadership and support of Project Roomkey. As a result of his quick and decisive actions, we were able to shelter more than 4,000 people most vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, providing not only a roof over their heads but a safe space to isolate. Through this endeavor, we’ve proven we can bring people indoors quickly through strong partnerships between government, business, and community leaders. We have built momentum that we will hope will help us move folks from Project Roomkey into permanent housing.”

Tomiquia Moss, Founder & Chief Executive, All Home California: “California’s homelessness crisis preceded the COVID-19 pandemic. The State was creative in its response with the Project Roomkey initiative ensuring a safe housing response during this public health crisis. Recognizing the opportunity to purchase hotels and motels and provide housing options for people experiencing homelessness, California continues to demonstrate leadership in responding to this crisis. This approach will secure thousands of units statewide working in partnership with cities and counties and community based organizations. It will take strategies like these during this economic and public health crisis to ensure our most vulnerable residents aren’t left behind.”

 

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Golden State Killer Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. pleads guilty to 13 murders, 13 kidnappings, dozens more uncharged crimes

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

Joseph James DeAngelo, Jr. pleads guilty during his hearing on Monday, June 29, 2020. Screenshot of YouTube video. Arrest photo by Sacramento County Sheriff.

Four crimes in Contra Costa County; avoids death penalty, to be sentenced to life without possibility of parole

SACRAMENTO, CA – On Monday, Joseph James DeAngelo, Jr., 74, pleaded guilty today to 13 felony counts of first-degree murder and 13 felony counts of kidnapping to commit robbery during a 13-year multicounty crime spree that terrorized much of California during the 1970s and 1980s. DeAngelo was identified through Investigative Genetic Genealogy (IGG) in 2018, more than three decades after he raped and murdered his last victim in 1986.  (Watch DeAngelo plead guilty and confess to his crimes).

Known as the Golden State Killer and East Area Rapist, DeAngelo also admitted to 161 uncharged crimes related to 61 uncharged victims, including attempted murder, kidnapping to commit robbery, rape, robbery, first-degree burglary, false imprisonment and criminal threats. The uncharged crimes occurred in Alameda, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, Tulare and Yolo counties.

DeAngelo’s hearing was held in the Sac State ballroom to accommodate the victims and their families, and reporters. YouTube video screenshot.

Monday’s hearing was relocated to the Sacramento State Ballroom to accommodate the large number of victims and their family members in attendance and to ensure social distancing in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

DeAngelo is being jointly prosecuted by the district attorneys of Contra Costa, Orange, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura counties.

“He committed multiple heinous acts in Contra Costa County. Four of those cases we were able to charge,” Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton stated. “While we were not able to file the other cases, we are very fortunate that today DeAngelo pled to all of the cases, both those that were charged and uncharged.”

The decision by prosecutors to accept DeAngelo’s offer to plead guilty to the 26 charged crimes and admit the uncharged crimes was made in consultation with the victims and their family members. The totality of the circumstances, including the age of the victims, the age of witnesses and the death of other key witnesses, and the age of the defendant, were taken into consideration.

The massive scope of this case, which involved more than 1.3 million pages of discovery, would have unduly burdened the victims with a lengthy prosecution that was anticipated to take as many as ten years.  The plea provided the victims and their families who were terrorized by DeAngelo the opportunity to hear him admit his crimes and they will have an opportunity to provide victim impact statements beginning August 17, 2020.

This six-county joint prosecution resulted in a guilty plea of: (Read the details of the charges).

  • 13 counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances allegations of multiple murders and murder during the commission of rape, robbery, and burglary.
  • 13 felony counts of kidnapping to commit robbery with sentencing enhancements for personal use of a firearm and personal use of a knife during the commission of the offenses.
  • DeAngelo admitted murdering:

o Claude Snelling – September 11, 1975 – Tulare County

o Katie and Brian Maggiore – February 2, 1978 – Sacramento County

o Debra Alexandria Manning – December 30, 1979 – Santa Barbara County

o Robert Offerman – December 30, 1979 – Santa Barbara County

o Cheri Domingo – July 27, 1981 – Santa Barbara County

o Greg Sanchez – July 27, 1981 – Santa Barbara County

o Charlene and Lyman Smith – on or about March 13, 1980– Ventura County

o Keith and Patrice Harrington – August 21, 1980 – Orange County

o Manuela Witthuhn – February 6, 1981 – Orange County

o Janelle Cruz – May 5, 1986 – Orange County

DeAngelo also admitted to the uncharged crimes of:

  • Attempted murder, kidnapping to commit robbery, rape, robbery, first-degree burglary, false imprisonment and criminal threats.

DeAngelo’s victims and their families stand during the hearing. YouTube video screenshot.

DeAngelo’s crime spree began in 1975 when he was working as a police officer with the Exeter Police Department. The crimes, which continued long after he was fired from the Auburn Police Department in 1979, escalated from peeping through windows to stalking to rape and serial murder.

His crimes earned him the nicknames of the Visalia Ransacker, the East Area Rapist, the Original Night Stalker, and the Golden State Killer. It was not until April 2018 that Sacramento authorities announced that Investigative Genetic Genealogy had identified DeAngelo as the person responsible.

Joseph DeAngelo will be sentenced to life in state prison without the possibility of parole. The sentence will run consecutive and concurrent to his sentence for the first-degree murders to which he has pled.  His sentencing hearing will commence on August 17, 2020. Victims will be given the opportunity to deliver victim impact statements prior to DeAngelo’s sentencing on August 21, 2020.  The sentencing hearing location will be announced at a later date.

The identification, arrest, and prosecution of DeAngelo is the result of decades of work by law enforcement agencies across California.

“Today’s court proceeding brings us one step closer to ending the horrific saga of Joseph DeAngelo and his decades long crime spree,” said Contra Costa DA Becton. “The crimes he committed in Contra Costa County, and throughout the state of California, have left a lifetime of scars and pain for our victims and their families. In this case justice did not move swiftly, it was a long time coming. However, our victims remained steadfast and brave throughout this entire process. Today is about remembering all of the victims in this case and finally holding DeAngelo responsible for these crimes.”

See video of District Attorneys’ press conference following the hearing. Hear from one of his victims from Contra Costa County in a KTVU FOX2 news report.

“I am an ardent supporter of the death penalty when appropriate. There are crimes that are so heinous and so depraved that death is the only appropriate punishment. This is one of those cases, and that is why all six District Attorneys prosecuting this case decided unanimously to seek the death penalty,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “The ability of victims to confront the person who terrorized them and robbed them of a lifetime of memories with their loved ones is an unequivocal right. I carefully consulted with all of the families of the Orange County victims and had the former district attorney who filed the charges fully briefed on the defendant’s offer to plead guilty. Given the totality of the circumstances including the advanced age of the victims, the advanced age and deaths of key witnesses, and the lengthy capital case process ahead, the decision in Orange County to accept the defendant’s offer was unanimous. Today’s plea will never bring the loved ones back or restore the sense of security that was shattered, but today, after 40 years of uncertainty, dozens of victims and a nation heard the person responsible for this reign of terror finally admit that he – and only he – is responsible.”

“The investigation, identification and prosecution of the East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer has been a long journey for justice – a journey marked by passion, persistence and sheer determination,” said Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert. “Through the revolutionary tool of Investigative Genetic Genealogy, this serial rapist and murderer was not only identified and brought to justice but will spend the rest of his life in prison.  It is my sincere hope that today brings healing to victims, their families and communities harmed by the atrocious crimes committed by Joseph DeAngelo.”

“Today, in the eyes of the victims, and the loved ones of those murdered by this vicious defendant, I saw the exception to the rule: justice delayed is justice denied,” said Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley. “Today I saw justice and it was brought to all of us by the tenacity of Sacramento DA Anne Marie Schubert and her extraordinary team.”

“The crimes committed by the defendant in Tulare County were never eligible for the death penalty based on the law in 1975. It is important to note that he will be sentenced to the maximum for those crimes,” said Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward. “It would be incorrect to describe today’s events as ‘closure.’  The countless victims in this case will still feel the pain of tragic loss – loss of family, loss of innocence, loss of ever feeling safe again – because of the terror inflicted by the defendant. I am proud to stand with these victims, whether they are from Tulare County or elsewhere, to see justice move forward.”

“Today’s hearing marks a tremendous moment in the lives of dozens, if not hundreds, of California citizens who were direct or collateral victims of this defendant’s crimes. This resolution, brought about by the work of six District Attorneys’ offices, demonstrates the work of law enforcement at its finest,” said Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten. “In 1980, Ventura County was rocked by the brutal murders of Lyman and Charlene Smith. Initially, evidence was thin and leads proved fruitless. However, for over forty years, law enforcement never gave up. Using the best technology and legal tools available, teams of investigators linked the Smiths’ murders to other murders and rapes around the state, and we put together a rock-solid case against this defendant. This case, to us, is not just the 26 counts we could charge, but also the myriad other crimes this defendant committed where the statute of limitations had run. We left no lead uninvestigated, and we left no victim forgotten. We wish we could have found him sooner. But we are pleased to be able to say today to our Ventura County community and to Joseph DeAngelo’s victims, you no longer have to wonder who did these horrible crimes. He has not just been arrested and charged; he has now admitted he is guilty. His plea today ensures he will spend the rest of his life in prison, and he will die a convicted rapist and murderer.”

Additional background information about People v. Joseph James DeAngelo, including the factual basis for each plea, can be found at www.peopleversusjosephdeangelopressmaterials.com.

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Antioch park picnic areas, restrooms, parking lots open July 1st, Water Park opens for family swim July 3rd

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

By Nancy Kaiser, Director, Antioch Recreation Department

Antioch parks have been open for health and fitness opportunities, and on July 1, 2020 picnic areas, park restrooms, and parking lot gates will be opened. The County Health Orders allow picnic areas and barbecues to be enjoyed by families and people in the same living unit or household.

Come Splash With Us!

Beginning July 3rd, the Antioch Water Park will be offering family swimming hours by reservation. To schedule the swim time for your family at 1:00, 2:15, 3:30 or 4:45 p.m., call (925) 776-3070. It will be a warm holiday weekend, but you and your children can keep cool!

Additional programs and activities will be scheduled later in the summer when new Orders are provided by Contra Costa County Health Department. Residents are encouraged to stay connected with the City of Antioch by following the daily announcements posted on the website www.antiochca.gov and participating in the Virtual Recreation Center at https://www.antiochca.gov/recreation/virtual-recreation-center-and-network/.

For more information about summer recreation programs and activities including summer camps for kids, sports programs, senior services and the Antioch Water Park summer season, please call the Antioch Recreation Department at 925-776-3050. Recreation staff is working each day to assist Antioch families.

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Bay Area rap legend from Antioch dies in car crash Monday morning

Monday, June 29th, 2020

Curtis “Young Curt” Denton. Photos from Twitter.

By Luke Johnson

East County rapper Young Curt has died at 27 years old. According to the Contra Costa County Coroner’s office and the Eastern Contra Costa Fire Protection District he was killed in a solo-car crash on Byron Highway, early Monday morning. (See ECCFPD BC MAJOR INCIDENT SUMMARY 062920)

When California Highway Patrol arrived to the scene at Clifton Court Road in Byron a little after 2 a.m., officers said they found Curtis Denton’s (Young Curt) body on the side of the road and his 2019 Dodge Charger flipped upside down.

According to CHP, Denton was speeding southbound when “he drove off the roadway and collided into the dirt shoulder causing the vehicle to roll over several times.” Officers believe Denton wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was subsequently ejected through the sunroof of his car.

“He suffered major injuries and was transported by ambulance to Kaiser Medical center in Antioch but was unfortunately pronounced deceased at the hospital by emergency personnel,” the CHP reported.

Denton was from Antioch and Pittsburg. He rose to fame with his song “It’s the Mobb” — which was released in 2008 while he was attending Deer Valley High School.

Young Curt during studio session. Screenshot of video posted on Twitter by The Yoc.

Another single from 2009 regained traction earlier this year on viral video-sharing app Tik Tok.

Many musicians and entertainers — such as Tyga, Kehlani and Iamsu! — took to social media to pay tribute to the fallen rapper.

“The era of music birthed from Curt, and the industry at that moment, created a pinnacle in not only the 925, but the entire Bay Area music scene,” said rapper Pok’Chop. “Curt played an integral part in my career. I recorded my first song in Curt’s studio back in 2006. We challenged each other to the point of success — it was healthy competition.”

The CHP report said it is unknown if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash, but it is being investigated. On Denton’s Instagram page Sunday night, he posted on his story of what appeared to be a video of himself holding a bottle of prescription cough syrup.

If anyone witnessed this collision or the events leading up to it, they are asked to contact Contra Costa CHP in Martinez at (925) 646-4980.

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Antioch July 4th celebration, parade and fireworks cancelled

Monday, June 29th, 2020

Photo of Antioch’s 2019 July 4th fireworks show by Allen Payton.

As a reminder, due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, during their April 28, 2020 meeting the Antioch City Council decided to cancel the annual Independence Day celebration which included the parade, day-long activities, and fireworks show planned for July 4th with community partner Celebrate Antioch Foundation. Families are encouraged to enjoy the holiday weekend close to home.

Also, Sheriff David Livingston reminds all residents that fireworks are illegal in Contra Costa County. Contra Costa County is a ‘fireworks-free zone’; the sale, possession or use of fireworks of all types and sizes (including Safe & Sane fireworks) are banned in the county (County ordinance 44-2.002). This includes the unincorporated areas as well as the cities.

Deputy Sheriffs and officers on patrol will confiscate all fireworks. Typical fireworks problems in the past have included aerial skyrockets of varying sizes, from bottle rockets to three-inch mortar launched shells. Fireworks purchased in neighboring counties, other states, or over the internet are illegal to use or possess in Contra Costa County.

Offenders could also face up to $500 in fines. Possession of dangerous fireworks, like M-80’s or cherry bombs, constitute a felony and could result in fines of up to $5,000 and imprisonment. Violators may either receive a citation in the case of a misdemeanor, or they could be booked in jail for felony use or possession of fireworks.

Photo by CCCSheriff.

Following are the minutes from the April 28, 2020 council meeting agenda item #4 regarding cancelling the July 4th celebration and other summer events:

“Councilmember Motts, President of the Celebrate Antioch Foundation, reported that they had cancelled the Mother’s Day Art and Wine Walk and Father’s Day Car Show. She stated they supported the cancellation of the 4th of July activities for this year noting that if they did so now, they could move forward with seeking reimbursement for the fees committed for the fireworks.

Councilmember Thorpe thank(ed) Director of Parks and Recreation Kaiser for the report. He stated he felt these decisions were better left up to those who had organized the events.

Councilmember Wilson stated she appreciated the work done by Celebrate Antioch Foundation and while she was disappointed that the 4th of July events may be cancelled, she understood the public health safety issues.

In response to Councilmember Wilson, Director of Parks and Recreation Kaiser responded that staff was researching creative ways to work within the parameters of the Shelter in Place guidelines.

Councilmember Wilson suggested staff consider hosting online live concerts to replace the summer concert series.

Councilmember Ogorchock stated that she appreciated the Recreation Department’s hard work. She recognized Councilmember Motts and the Celebrate Antioch Foundation for facilitating the 4th of July celebration and other community events. She supported Councilmember Motts’ suggestion to cancel the 4th of July celebration for this year.

Councilmember Thorpe stated he appreciated the Recreation staff and the Celebrate Antioch Foundation. He agreed with the recommendation from Councilmember Motts to cancel the events for this year.

Mayor Wright requested no money be expended for the events at this time. He stated he looked forward to future events that worked within the parameters of the Shelter in Place guidelines.

Director of Parks and Recreation Kaiser urged Council to send her ideas for future events. She announced that the Parks and Recreation staff had selected 50 families to receive treat bags from the City that would be distributed in accordance with social distancing guidelines.

Following discussion, Council agreed to cancel the 4th of July events.”

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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AUSD congratulates the Prospects High and Adult Education Classes of 2020 – see list of graduates

Monday, June 29th, 2020

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