Archive for September, 2020

House passes McNerney-Latta electric grid security legislation

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020

Rep. Jerry McNerney

Washington, DC – On Tuesday, September 29, 2020,, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 359, the Enhancing Grid Security through Public-Private Partnerships Act, and H.R. 360, the Cyber Sense Act – two critical bills introduced by Congressmen Jerry McNerney (CA-09) and Bob Latta (OH-05) which would bolster America’s electric infrastructure by encouraging coordination between the Department of Energy (DOE) and electric utilities.

“It is more important than ever that Congress pursue policies to support our grid infrastructure and secure it against potential physical and cyber threats,” said Congressman McNerney. “These bills will not only strengthen the electric utility system, they will also help build partnerships between DOE and industry. I’m proud that they have passed the House and I thank my friend and co-sponsor, Congressman Latta, for his partnership on this important issue.”

“Over the last quarter century, we have seen incredible changes to the way we communicate with the rest of the world and the way we engage in commerce,” said Congressman Latta. “Along with these changes, we have also seen innovation in the technologies that power society, resulting in a more efficient and streamlined electric grid. Unfortunately, the promise of a more interconnected society also means that we must also address the challenges and vulnerabilities that arise with it. I am pleased to see the passage of two bills working to improve our nation’s grid security and resiliency, and I am proud to have led these bills with Congressman McNerney over the past two Congresses.”

H.R. 359 directs DOE to facilitate and encourage public-private partnerships in order to improve cybersecurity of electric utilities. The legislation would improve sharing of best practices and data collection, along with providing training and technical assistance to electric utilities in order to address and mitigate cybersecurity risks.

H.R. 360 would create a voluntary Department of Energy ‘Cyber Sense’ program that would identify and promote cyber-secure products for use in the bulk-power system. The bill also establishes a testing process for the products, along with a reporting process of cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and it would require the Secretary of Energy to keep a related database on the products. This would aid electric utilities that are evaluating products and their potential to cause harm to the electric grid.

Congressmen McNerney and Latta co-chair the Grid Innovation Caucus, which was founded to provide a forum for discussing solutions to the many challenges facing the grid, and to educate Members of Congress and staff about the importance of the electric grid with relation to the economy, energy security, and advanced technologies being utilized to enhance grid capabilities.

 

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Contra Costa COVID: Indoor dining, churches, theaters up to 25% capacity or 100 people whichever is less

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

Gyms up to 10%; indoor retail and malls up to 50%; thanks to improving situation; nail salons, massage services back indoors

Thanks to recent progress being made in the fight against COVID-19 in Contra Costa, indoor restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, massage parlors and places of worship may now open with restrictions in the county.

The changes come after the county qualified to move into the less restrictive red tier (“substantial”) of the state’s four-tiered, color-coded reopening system today. Contra Costa had been in the state’s purple or “widespread” tier, the most restrictive tier.

Moving into the red tier means the following sectors can reopen with modifications:

  • Places of worship, restaurants, movie theaters and museums can be operated indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less
  • Gyms can reopen indoors at 10% capacity
  • All personal care services, including massage, can move indoors
  • Indoor shopping malls can operate at 50% maximum occupancy (instead of 25%). Food courts can also open following the state’s guidelines for restaurants.
  • Indoor retail stores can now operate at 50% capacity (instead of 25%)

“The credit really belongs to the residents of Contra Costa, who have adapted to the new normal and modified their lifestyles to reduce the spread of COVID in the county,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, the county’s health officer.

Elementary and secondary schools can reopen for in-person instruction on Oct. 13 if the county remains the red tier for two more weeks. Currently, elementary schools can apply for a waiver from the health officer to reopen.

In order to move into the more permissive red tier, the county had to see average case rates drop below 7 per 100,000 people and testing positivity rates dip below 8%. For the past two weeks, Contra Costa has met those benchmarks. As of Tuesday, the case rate was 6.7 per 100,000 people and the testing positivity rate was 3.7%.

Dr. Farnitano noted that Contra Costa continued to see its COVID numbers improve or remain steady even after the Labor Day weekend, suggesting fewer people engaged in risky behaviors like large social gatherings compared to the previous holiday weekends.

Health officials caution that COVID is still circulating in the community and people should continue to take all the same precautions health officials have been advising for months: wear face coverings in public, maintain physical distancing, wash hands frequently and stay home if you’re sick.

In addition, health officials encourage essential workers and people with lots of close contacts outside their own household to get tested for COVID at least monthly.

Businesses and other organizations should review their applicable industry guidance for reopening safely from the state. For more information about COVID-19 in Contra Costa, visit cchealth.org/coronavirus.

 

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Glazer votes for, Newsom signs bill requiring California to house inmates based on gender identity

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

Frazier doesn’t vote, again; SB 132 requires Dep’t. of Corrections to house transgender, gender-nonconforming and intersex people based on their choice.

State Senator Steve Glazer. (D-7-Orinda)

By Allen Payton

Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday, Sept. 26 signed a package of pro-LGBTQ+ bills, including SB132 requiring the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to house transgender, gender-nonconforming and intersex (TGI) individuals in a manner that matches their gender identity while supporting health and safety.

SB 132 also requires CDCR to house people according to their own sense of where they will be safest and to record the individual’s self-reported gender identity, gender pronouns and honorifics throughout an inmate’s term.

State Senators Steve Glazer (D-7, Orinda) and Nancy Skinner (D-9, Oakland) were joined by Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-16, San Ramon), who all represent portions of Contra Costa County, in voting for the bill. Assemblymembers Jim Frazier (D-11, Discovery Bay), Tim Grayson (D-14, Concord), and Buffy Wicks (D-15, Oakland) who also represent portions of the county, did not vote.

The bill was introduced by State Senator Scott Weiner (D-11, San Francisco) who also authored the controversial SB145 regarding non-regular sexual intercourse between youth ages 14-17 and those as much as 10 years older. Glazer, Skinner, Bauer-Kahan and Wicks voted for that bill, as well. While Frazier and Grayson didn’t vote on that bill, either. (See related article)

Newsom also signed other LGBTQ+ related legislation including a measure to track the effects of COVID-19 on the community, and a bill establishing the Transgender and Wellness Equity Fund.

Included in the package of bills signed into law on Sunday is SB 932 also by Wiener, which aligns with emergency regulations announced by the California Department of Public Health in July requiring better and more timely collection and reporting of communicable disease data from providers and laboratories on a patient’s gender identity and sexual orientation. This legislation will provide public health officials with more information on patients who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, which is essential to addressing health inequities and designing public health interventions that help California’s diverse communities. Glazer, Skinner Bauer-Kahan and Grayson vote for the bill. Frazier and Wicks didn’t cast votes.

AB 2218 by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-53, Los Angeles) establishes the Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund. The Fund will assist organizations serving people that identify as transgender, gender nonconforming, or intersex (TGI), and help create or fund TGI-specific housing programs and partnerships with hospitals, health care clinics and other medical providers to provide TGI-focused health care. Glazer, Skinner, Bauer-Kahan and Grayson voted for the bill, while Frazier and Wicks didn’t cast votes.

The Governor also signed SB 1255 by Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-33, Long Beach) and the Senate Committee on Insurance requiring insurance companies not decline policies for individuals because of their HIV status. Glazer, Skinner, Bauer-Kahan and Grayson voted for the bill. Frazier and Wicks, again didn’t vote

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Op-Ed: Former Brentwood city manager supports Sandoval for Community College District Ward 5

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

By Jon Elam, Former Brentwood City Manager

An exciting face has returned and is running for election to the Contra Costa Community College Board this November 3rd.  He ran for this race in 2016 and ran a total grassroots campaign as a newcomer and fell just a little short. But he did not go away as he stayed committed to our communities and has come back with renewed energy.

Fernando Sandoval, a native of Pittsburg and a product of our schools, a Veteran, brings a deep understanding of the important role our college plays in helping our students reach their full potential. And most importantly, become a part of our region’s economic future.

Fernando brings an impressive resume of experience and knowledge in finance and information management, both critical areas as the Contra Costa Community Colleges become more and more vital for our growing workforce and also a stepping-stone for so many to a four-year college degree. He is a recent author providing lectures to K-12 and Colleges about identity, motivation, and achievement with an emphasis on education.

Fernando also brings something that has been missing from past Board members — a commitment to trust and transparency built around an understanding that every dollar spent by the College is your money and must be carefully monitored.  How many of us ever remember receiving an update or report on our colleges progress and success? That will change with Fernando’s strong voice and accountability.

His campaign has built a track record of support with over forty endorsements received from College Staff and Faculty, local union leaders, community officials and those who know the commitment Fernando will bring to this important elected position in East County. He wants to put Community back into the Community College District.

Please join your neighbors and friends in the momentum and excitement that Fernando’s candidacy has brought to our community. It’s time for real change and honesty. Vote on November 3rd for Fernando Sandoval for Ward 5 seat on the Contra Costa Community College Board of Directors.

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Candidate for Antioch School Board Area 1 George Young offers petition for student trustee signature process

Monday, September 28th, 2020

Dear Editor:

The GeorgeYoung4Change campaign team and I have recognized a universal theme being expressed by our parents and community members through our engagements and emails we receive. The vast majority of the gripes and issues coming from those who have reached out to us, especially those under the age of 25, can be summarized as they do not feel as if they are properly represented within the School Board meetings. I’ve received a plethora of feedback or messages stating they have observed the meeting discussions and listened to the comments from board members and they rarely reflect their concerns or opinions on the subject matter.

The people of Antioch are pleading for a voice that represents the way they think and has the same concerns as they do. The amount of frustration that I have heard from our parents is overwhelming but that frustration only fuels my determination to get my name out and strive to win this campaign so that together we can make the needed CHANGE in Antioch’s education system.  I want to bring the voice of the community to the board. I want to make sure that parents and students know they are heard.

The topic of having a Student Trustee appointed to the Board has been on the board agenda for the past few months.  Each time the topic is brought up it appears to be met with increasing opposition. As far as I can tell, no matter what the rebuttal, whether it be that the student did not follow the correct procedure (even though the student followed the directions that were given to her), or that the petition was not correct, or that the Board is unsure of the Bylaws pertaining to the implementation and appointment of the position, the one thing that is consistent is the board’s request that the petition meets the California Department of Education Code requirements.  Our students have demonstrated that they want this, so I have taken the needed steps to make this petition happen.  I am writing this letter today to ask that current 2020-2021 High School Students, registered in the Antioch six public high schools please consider signing the AUSD Student Trustee petition that is now available on Change.org.  

The CA Ed Code requires 500 signatures, however, I am asking for 700 signatures as a cushion to cover for any signatures that may be disqualified for reasons chosen by the AUSB Legal team.  Last spring the amazing Antioch Student Body was able to bring together 500 signatures, so I am confident that it will not take much time to collect these 700.

This petition is to open the Student Trustee position on the Antioch Unified School Board, which will then force the board to create the voting bylaws in which one student, to be chosen by their peers via an election, will sit on the Antioch Unified School Board, as a Trustee.  This student will not have the right to vote, however, they will have the right to be part of each discussion leading up to votes, therefore bringing a student voice to the board.

This is just one of many steps I am taking to bring about the changes our schools so desperately need. By giving the students their voice in decisions that directly impact them, we can revitalize the feelings of school pride within our students. Something that has been lacking for quite some time. That pride leads to greater student involvement within the School and the community. This then sparks the flame that ignites the greater community, i.e., parents, teachers, residents, business owners, etc., uplifting our community, providing more resources, and allowing additional help on campus from parents and community groups that in the past have been pushed away.  Antioch public schools should not be a place where children are sent to fail, they should be the place we send our children to succeed. Together we can bring CHANGE to Antioch Schools.  For more information on how you can be part of the CHANGE visit georgeyoung4change.com

Petition Link: https://www.change.org/AUSD_StudentBoardTrustee

Thank you,

SSG George Young

2020 AUSD Board Trustee Candidate, Area 1

 

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Community college teachers’ union endorses Sandoval for College Board Ward 5

Monday, September 28th, 2020

Fernando Sandoval, candidate for the Contra Costa Community College District in Ward 5 announced he has received the endorsement of the United Faculty of all three of the district’s colleges. Following is the letter received by his campaign: United Faculty letter-for-Fernando-Sandoval

September 22, 2020

The United Faculty of 4CD is proud to endorse Fernando Sandoval for Community College Board (Ward 5).

Fernando is an outstanding community leader who will represent students and parents with integrity and help protect the financial future of Los Medanos College, as well as Diablo Valley and Contra Costa colleges.

Electing Fernando Sandoval this year is crucial for our colleges and students. We need change to return our board to ethical, student-centered leadership. Our faculty trust Fernando to put student interests first and to work with managers, staff and professors to provide the best quality education possible with the resources we have.

Unlike the incumbent trustee, Fernando’s approach will be practical, ethical and collaborative. Fernando will help bring groups together in the community and in our district to serve students better.

Faculty support Fernando because we need trustees who will protect district finances and make good financial decisions. We need trustees like Fernando who are driven to support the mission of our colleges and who will provide oversight with integrity.

We support Fernando because of his lifelong commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.

Fernando will be a champion for students, a true community representative, and a partner in leading our colleges forward.  Fernando understands the crucial role that community colleges play in our communities. Fernando will help our colleges drive economic recovery and social mobility in Contra Costa County. He will help make sure our resources are allocated wisely and fairly, and he’ll stand up for students against the petty personal politics that have led to so many ethical violations and bad decisions from the current Board.

Jeffrey Michels, Ph.D.

Executive Director, UF of 4CD

Sandoval is challenging incumbent Greg Enholm who is seeking his third term on the board. Ward 5 includes portions of Antioch. The election is November 3.

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3rd Annual Bedford Block Party FUNdraiser Oct. 3 – virtual, this year

Monday, September 28th, 2020

Join us for our 3rd Annual Bedford Block Party, benefiting the Bedford Center for Adult Day Health Care in Antioch. The FREE event is happening on zoom from 4:30-5:30 PM. The FUNdraiser event will include appearances from local elected officials and a Bedford participant caregiver, an honoree ceremony for the late Ralph Garrow Jr., information on the Bedford Center, and live music from members of The Delta Dogs!

The event is free to attend, but if you’d like to support us, you can purchase BBQ catering to be picked up (between 1:30-3:30 PM) at the Bedford Center, 1811 C Street in Antioch, or purchase a VIP Package (which includes 30 min extra of live music by the Delta Dogs!), which we will deliver to your door! Learn more about these options here–deadlines to order these are soon!

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Antioch Cooling Center open for heat wave Noon-6 PM daily thru Wednesday

Saturday, September 26th, 2020

With a late summer heat wave upon us, the City of Antioch is committed to providing a safe, cool place for residents to spend the day. The cooling center located at the Nick Rodriguez Community Center will open Saturday, September 26th and remain open through Wednesday, September 30th for all residents. Citizens without home air conditioning, or with health conditions made worse with extreme heat and poor air quality are encouraged to seek out the cooling center. The Community Center is located at 213 F Street, Antioch. The cooling center will be open from 12:00noon to 6:00pm each day.

COVID-19 Health Orders remain in full effect and the following modifications are activated and required by all individuals coming to the cooling center:

– Everyone must wear masks and/or acceptable face coverings; one will be provided if needed

– Social distancing will be enforced; only families may sit or stand together

– All visitors must answer the COVID health questions; if you feel sick stay home, you will not be admitted into the center

– Bring your own snacks; sharing food is not allowed. Bring books and games also.

The cooling center has been an important resource for families that need some respite during this time. The change in air quality due to recent fires makes the cooling center invaluable for individuals with breathing difficulties. All residents are encouraged to visit the center as needed.

Also, the Antioch Water Park continues to offer family swimming sessions this Saturday and Sunday. Families or households up to six individuals can enjoy a refreshing dip in a specific area of the water park this weekend. Social distancing and other COVID health rules are in place. The entry fee is $5 per person payable by credit card. Reservations are required, and residents are encouraged to call the water park at (925) 776-3070 to secure a swim time for this weekend. The pools reach capacity quickly!

Residents are encouraged to stay connected with the City of Antioch by following the daily announcements posted on the website www.antiochca.gov. For more information about park use and the activities allowed at this time please call the Recreation Department at 925-776-3050.

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