Archive for the ‘Contra Costa County’ Category

Contra Costa Assessor offers business, property owners chance to reduce tax due to COVID-19 impact 

Saturday, May 1st, 2021

The Contra Costa County Assessor’s Office recognizes that COVID-19 restrictions may have severely impacted many businesses and commercial property owners and may have led to a reduction in property values.  In order to provide assessment relief to those who may have been impacted, the Assessor’s Office is legally required to have qualitative evidence to support a reduction in value.

Not all businesses and commercial properties have been affected, but if you believe the value of your business or commercial property has dropped below the current assessed value due to COVID-19, Assessor, Gus Kramer, urges you to please visit our website at the link below for guidance on what information and documentation to submit to our office for a FREE review of your assessed value.

For information and forms to request a 2021-2022 value review, please visit the link to the Assessor’s webpage “Review Your Value” at: https://www.contracosta.ca.gov/6919/Review-Your-Value.

 

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Coroner’s jury rules in 2020 deaths of Pittsburg, Antioch men while county jail inmates

Saturday, May 1st, 2021

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

Contra Costa County Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston announces that a coroner’s jury on Friday, April 30, 2021 reached a finding in the September 24, 2020 death of 32-year-old Levele Lee Williams of Pittsburg. The finding of the jury is that the death is at the hands of another person, other than by accident. Williams was injured after being assaulted by inmates at the Martinez Detention Facility. He was taken to a local hospital. Williams apparently suffered from complications during surgery and was later pronounced deceased while at the hospital.

The coroner’s jury, which heard two inquests on Friday, also reached a finding in the October 17, 2020 death of 42-year-old Gregory Lane Lynds of Antioch. The finding of the jury is that the death is a suicide. Lynds had been arrested for elder abuse and other charges. (See related article)

The coroner’s jury reached the verdicts in both inquests after hearing the testimony of witnesses called by the hearing officers, Laura Pagey and Matthew Guichard.

A coroner’s inquest, which Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston convenes in fatal incidents involving peace officers, is a public hearing during which a jury rules on the manner of a person’s death. Jury members can choose from the following four options when making their finding: accident, suicide, natural causes and ast the hands of another person, other than by accident.

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Contra Costa Supervisors defer action on Assessor Kramer’s $325K legal cost claim; sets stage for new court battle

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

Approve temporary Antioch Library closure until May 31 for improvements; $233 million Regional Action Plan for unsheltered homeless; ban retractable dog leashes

Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer.

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors decided in closed session on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 to take “no action” on County Assessor Gus Kramer’s claim to pay him $325,000 in legal fees stemming from a misconduct trial that was declared a mistrial in November in Superior Court.

“This is going to cost the county much more money,” commented Kramer, who was unaware of the supervisors’ executive session decision when contacted by the Contra Costa Herald.

The supervisors’ inaction on his claim means Kramer will appeal the executive session “no decision” to Superior Court.

In his claim, Kramer says former Contra Costa County Administrator David Twa had told him on several occasions that the attorney costs for the misconduct trial would be paid by the county.

“I took him (i.e., Twa) at his word,” the 70-year-old Kramer said. “He said this to me up to 10 different times. Just how a person, who was responsible for managing the county’s money, can make promises like that and then the county does not come through with the money?”

Twa, who retired as Contra Costa County Administrator earlier this year and returned to his native Minnesota, continues to work as a consultant on the county’s redistricting that needs to be completed by the end of this year. Supervisors honored Twa by dedicating the new 3 1/2-story, 72,000 square foot administration building in Martinez in his name.

Supervisors did not comment on their executive session decision on Tuesday, especially District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg, who when contacted by the Contra Costa Herald, refrained from issuing any remarks other than informing this reporter on the board’s executive board decision on the Kramer claim.

Glover defeated Kramer in last November’s election for the supervisorial District 5 seat,  and is currently serving his sixth four-year term as a county supervisor, the longest tenure of any current member of the board.

Approve Temporary Antioch Library Closure

Supervisors approved the temporary closure of the Antioch Library to the public from April 21 through May 31 so that Public Works workers can paint the interior of the library and install new carpet and new shelving. The library is slated to reopen on Tuesday, June 1.

“Although initially planned to take place the prior fiscal year, the improvements were postponed for several months due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said County Librarian Alison McKee. “Despite the initial delay, shelving has been purchased and scheduled for installation, and work requests have been submitted for Public Works for the paint and carpet work.”

During the closure, Antioch library staff will be temporarily reassigned to other libraries to fill vacant positions.  The book drop will not be open at the Antioch library, and holds will not be available for pickup. Those needing library services during the closure should visit the nearby Prewett or Oakley libraries or any other county library.

Supervisors Approved Regional Action Plan for Unsheltered Homeless

During their regular meeting, on a 5-0 vote, supervisors accepted an ambitious regional action plan, by All Home, that aims to shelter the homeless at a cost of about $223 million, partly covered by Measure X sales tax revenues over the next three years. If funded and properly implemented as planned it will reduce by 75 percent the unsheltered homeless population by 2024.

According to the presentation to the board, “All Home is a Bay Area organization advancing regional solutions that disrupt the cycle of poverty and homelessness, redress the disparities in outcomes as a result of race, and create more economic mobility opportunities for extremely low-income (ELI) individuals and families.”

The action plan is based on a statement by the Regional Impact Council that the Bay Area is a “Region in Crisis.”

Board Chair Burgis, who represents the county on the nonprofit’s board of directors, called the plan a “bold plan” several times in addressing the complex issue of homelessness in the county.

Supervisors Gioia of Richmond and Burgis admitted that any effort to adequately house the homeless will require spending Measure X dollars, a new source of sales tax revenue county officials is expecting to come into county coffers later this year.

“This is a great time of opportunity to get people off the streets by leveraging our tax dollars,” said Gioia. “Contra Costa County is a great leader.”

“I am really excited Contra Costa County is shining the light on this crisis (i.e., homelessness). This will be presented to the Mayors’ Council and the Measure X Committee,” added District II Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville.

$12.99 Million Buchanan Field Terminal Project Approved

Supervisors approved as a consent item the $12.99 million construction of a new Buchanan Field Terminal to replace the existing terminal at 181 John Glenn Dr. in Concord. Supervisors approved a construction contract submitted by W.E. Lyons Construction Co.

The Federal Aviation Administration will cover $6.1 million or 47 percent of the project’s cost.  CalTrans will provide $150,000 or 1 percent of the construction cost and the Airport Enterprise Fund will fund $6.74 million or 52 percent.

The new building will replace the existing terminal structure at the north end of John Glenn Drive.  The new terminal will include space for the Airports Divisions Administrative staff, Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting staff and equipment, public space to support scheduled and unscheduled air service providers, office space for aviation businesses, and general public meeting space.

The W.E. Lyons Construction Co. bid topped six other bids for the Buchanan airport project to be found to be responsive and in good faith.  The other six bids submitted for the project were:

Marcon Builders, $14,489,355; Zovich & Sons Inc., $14,559,000; Thompson Builders, $14,680,000; Patriot Contracting, $14,990,000; Rodam Builders, $15,315,000; and CWS Construction, $15,975,000.

Ordinance Bans Retractable Dog Leashes

With no public comment, supervisors approved a new Ordinance No. 2021-13, allowing community members to care for found dogs and cats and establishing new leash restrictions. Dog and cat leashes cannot be longer than six feet under the newly adopted ordinance.

Ordinance 2021-13 provides that a dog will be deemed to be “at large” if it is on a leash that is longer than six feet or that is extendable or retractable.  A long, retractable, or extendable leash allows a dog to get too far away from its handler, which does not allow for effective control of the dog.

Ensuring that a dog is walked on a leash that is six feet or less could reduce dog bites to children due to helping to ensure more effective control. According to a Consumer Reports and Consumer Union’s analysis of statistics collected in 2007, there were 16,564 hospital treated injuries associated with pet leashes, 10.5 percent of those injuries were to children less than 10 years old.

EHSD Language Line Contract

Supervisors approved a $1.1 million contract with Language Line Services, Inc. to provide interpretation and translation services for the Employment and Human Services Department from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022. Language Line Services provides telephone interpretation, on-site interpretation, and document translation services to the Employment and Human Services Department and to the clients serviced by the department.

Over One Million COVID-19 Vaccines Given in County

On the COVID-19 news front, Contra Costa Health Services Director Anna Roth announced the county has administered over one million vaccines, the second highest in the state.  That translates into 90,000 vaccines a week were administered, said Roth.

Persons 16 years old and older can now get the vaccine, said Roth.  “No appointment is necessary.”

“A million doses are amazing!” said board chair Diane Burgis of Brentwood. “I want to acknowledge the hard work.”

“I also want to acknowledge everyone in Public Health on one million vaccinations,” said District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond, a frequent critic of the department’s inability to adequately vaccinate minorities in underserved communities like Richmond, El Sobrante, Bay Point, Pittsburg, Antioch, and Oakley.

“County Equity Officer Gilbert Salinas has done a great job in closing the equity gap,” Gioia said.

Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said people will have a choice of vaccines when they report for their shots. Dr. Farnitano said last Friday the CDC and FDA had accepted the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendations to lift pausing on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for all adults.  The region’s health officers agreed that the risk of developing the rare clotting disorder in females is extremely low.

“According to the CDC, to date there have been only 15 confirmed cases of the rare clotting event among nearly 8 million total doses administered in the United States, all in females, which translates to a risk less than 2 cases per million doses overall and 7 cases per million doses among women between 18 and 49 years of age,” a joint press release of Bay Area Health Officers states.

 

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Contra Costa Supervisors presented $4.06 billion 2021-2022 budget

Thursday, April 22nd, 2021

Source: CCC Administrator

Speakers want Sheriff’s requested $7.5 million for inmate mental health services to go to Walnut Creek’s Miles Hall Foundation

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors will probably act on a proposed $4.06 billion 2021-2022 budget at a May 4 meeting and will listen to another barrage of critics of Sheriff-Coroner David O. Livingston’s proposal that a portion of $54 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) funds be diverted to an outside nonprofit mental health organization.

Contra Costa County’s proposed 2021-2022 budget surpasses the current fiscal year budget of $3.98 billion and includes $7.5 million designated for the staffing of additional sheriff deputies assigned to protect inmates requiring mental health services.

A contingent of speakers opposing Sheriff-Coroner Livingston’s request for the additional funds for inmate mental health services, argued instead for all or a portion of the $7.5 million be awarded to the Walnut Creek-based Miles Hall Foundation.  The newly established Miles Hall Foundation is named after the Las Lomas High School graduate who was slain by a Walnut Creek police officer in June 2019 while Hall was undergoing a mental health episode.

Lois Thomas of Lafayette was one of the speakers supporting the detouring some or all the $54.2 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funding designated to the Sheriff-Coroner to the non-profit Miles Hall Foundation. “Keep deputies out of mental health, “Thomas demanded.

Sheriff Livingston said the additional funding to hire 10 new deputy sheriffs arises at a time the county has a new contract with the Prison Law Office to provide improved acute mental health care while behind bars.

Even though the jails have an average daily population of 785 inmates, Sheriff Livingston said, “We have had a 43 percent decrease of inmates in our jail (about 14,000 inmates) due to COVID-19.”

County Administrator Nino prepared a chart that showed the Coroner-Sheriff’s Office, and the Contra Costa County Health Services are in line to receive over half of the county-produced general-purpose funds with health services picking up 30.5 percent of the general-purpose revenue at $162.5 million while the Coroner-Sheriff collects 19.8 percent, or $104.7 million.

Source: CCC Administrator

Supervisors were told funds from the November voter approved Measure X sales tax increase will not begin to arrive until next fall. The county has yet to hire tax auditors.  “Measure X funding is not anticipated to be received until October 2021 for the first quarter of collections starting April 2021,” Nino wrote in her budget statement.  “The amount of Measure X included in the recommended budget totals $600,000 for the new Department of Racial Equity and Social Justice and $65,000 for the sales tax auditors.”

Expenses the county will need to round up funding for the upcoming 2021-2022 fiscal year is $600,000 for the operation of the Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice, $300,000 for redistricting and $15.3 million for a new finance computer system.

With ongoing efforts to vaccinate every age-eligible county resident with the COVID-19 vaccine, Contra Costa County Health Department Director Anna Roth said one of the biggest hurdles next fiscal year will be the county’s negotiations with the California Nurses Association.  The CNA represents 812 county nurses, and the contract is set to expire on Sept. 30.

The health services are the county’s most expensive department to operate with general purpose funds at $162.5 million or 30.5 percent of overall general fund disbursements.

As for the five elected board of supervisors, the proposed budget designates $7.7 million or 1.4 percent of overall general-purpose funds to cover the salaries and expenses of themselves and support staff.

Board vice chair Federal Glover of Pittsburg said during the budget presentations one item that was missing was further analysis on the potential reuse of the Marsh Creek Detention Facility and “more discussion on the future of the Orin Allen Rehabilitation Center near Discovery Bay and juvenile hall in Martinez.”

Glover’s supervisorial colleagues and County Administrator Nino acknowledged the supervisor’s request that there will be discussion about the fate of the detention facility and juvenile hall.

 

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Coroner’s Jury rules on 2109 deaths of Brentwood man during police chase in Antioch, Walnut Creek man in West County jail

Saturday, April 17th, 2021

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

Contra Costa County Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston announced that a Coroner’s Jury on Friday, April 16, 2021 reached a finding in the July 18, 2019 death of 21-year-old Omar Jalal Harb of Brentwood. The finding of the jury is that the death is an accident.  (See related article)

The Coroner’s Jury, which heard two inquests today, also reached a finding the October 16, 2019 death of 72-year-old Enrique Camberos Pina of Walnut Creek. The finding of the jury is that the death is a suicide.  (See related article)

The Coroner’s Jury reached the verdicts in both inquests after hearing the testimony of witnesses called by the hearing officer, Matthew Guichard.

A Coroner’s Inquest, which Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston convenes in fatal incidents involving peace officers, is a public hearing during which a jury rules on the manner of a person’s death. Jury members can choose from the following four options when making their finding:  accident;  suicide; natural causes or at the hands of another person, other than by accident.

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California, Contra Costa follow FDA, CDC in pausing use of Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine

Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

Vial of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Source: CDC

SACRAMENTO – On Tuesday, April 13, 2021 the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a statement from Dr. Erica Pan, state epidemiologist, regarding the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

“Today, the CDC and FDA have recommended a temporary pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine out of an abundance of caution. Of over 6.8 million doses administered nationally, there have been six reported cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot with symptoms occurring 6 to 13 days after vaccination.

“California is following the FDA and CDC’s recommendation and has directed health care providers to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until we receive further direction from health and safety experts. Additionally, the state will convene the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup to review the information provided by the federal government on this issue. As the federal government has said, we do not expect a significant impact to our vaccination allocations. In California, less than 4% of our vaccine allocation this week is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”

For more information about the adverse effects, and what to do if you are experiencing symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider. We will provide additional details on what this means for our state efforts as they become available.

The joint CDC and FDA statement can be found here.

In addition, the Contra Costa Health Services issued the following announcement on Tuesday about the matter, also pausing use of the J&J vaccine:

To ensure that every dose of COVID-19 vaccine provided in our county is safe for patients, Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) will today temporarily pause its use of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine while federal regulatory agencies examine new information about a possible, rare side effect that can cause blood clots.

CCHS is closely following guidance issued this morning by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding this vaccine. CCHS continues to administer the other vaccines approved for emergency use in the U.S., from Pfizer and Moderna.

Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine is a very small part of Contra Costa’s vaccine allocation from the state and federal governments and CCHS does not anticipate cancelling any of its vaccination appointments at this time.

Patients with vaccination appointments through CCHS should attend at their scheduled time.

CCHS is not aware of any reported cases of adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccine in the county that were inconsistent with those documented during the extensive clinical trials conducted to ensure the safety of all vaccines used in the U.S.

The risk of an adverse reaction for people who received Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine more than a month ago is extremely low, according to the CDC.

People who received this vaccine more recently should contact a healthcare provider immediately if they develop symptoms such as severe headaches, severe abdominal pain, severe leg pain or shortness of breath – these symptoms are different than the usual, minor reactions that some people may experience in the day or two following their vaccination.

The FDA has not received any reports of similar side effects associated with the use of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

CCHS will update the public at cchealth.org/coronavirus as more information becomes available about this developing situation.

 

 

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Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County seeks applicants for District 5 seat

Monday, April 12th, 2021

Do you live in Contra Costa County District 5?

Hercules, Martinez, Pittsburg and portions of Pinole and Antioch as well the unincorporated communities of Alhambra Valley, Bay Point, Briones, Rodeo, Pacheco, Crockett, Tormey, Port Costa, Mt. View, Vine Hall, Reliez Valley, and Clyde.

We have a District 5 opening!

APPLY HERE

The Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County is dedicated to advancing the arts in a way that promotes communication, education, appreciation and collaboration throughout Contra Costa County so that we may grow creatively as a community that preserves and celebrates our diverse cultural expression.

The commission has 10 seats: five from each of the county’s Supervisorial Districts, four at-large and one alternate.

District Specific Seats:

Are recommended by the applicable District Supervisor and then approved by the Board of Supervisors.

What does a Commissioner do?

  • Support the functions of the Commission.
  • Give all meetings and other Commission activities a priority on their calendar.
  • Serve on and chair Commission committees and events.
  • Keep current with all facts and information upon which the Commission must base its collective opinions and decisions.
  • Participate in strategic planning and implementation of arts programming.
  • Be an ambassador and proponent of the arts and the Commission in Contra Costa County and engage people from all cultural and ethnic groups in the arts and in the work of the Commission.

Please apply today!

For more information visit www.ac5.org.

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Contra Costa Library to host Women in Animation: A Conversation With Pixar Thursday

Monday, April 12th, 2021

April 15, 2021  3:30 PM – 4:30 PM  Online event

Join the Contra Costa County Library for a very special panel discussion with Pixar Animation Studios. Have you ever dreamed of working in animation or technology? Listen in as we discuss the highlights and challenges of being a woman in the business and get tips and advice from experts in their fields.

About the panelists: Jessica Tran is a Project Manager in the Tools Engineering department at Pixar. Emily Davis is a Feature Film Department Manager at Pixar. Becky Neiman Cobb is an Associate Producer at Pixar who has recently worked on the short film Bao and the feature film Onward.

Register with your email here. You will receive information on how to access the Zoom event on the day before the program. Closed captioning will be provided for this program.

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