Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Plan Bay Area 2050+ Draft Blueprint: Tell us what you think

Thursday, August 17th, 2023

Creating the Blueprint is a key step in developing Plan Bay Area 2050+.

Public engagement is a fundamental element of the plan update process.

September 6th workshop in Contra Costa; Deadline for comment: September 7, 2023

The Plan Bay Area 2050+ Blueprint will integrate strategies across the four elements of the plan — the economy, the environment, housing and transportation — to create a more equitable and resilient future for all.

Beginning in summer 2023 and wrapping up in late 2024, staff will develop the Blueprint over two phases: the Draft Blueprint and the Final Blueprint. Given Plan Bay Area 2050’s solid foundation of 35 strategies, the Draft Blueprint phase for Plan Bay Area 2050+ will focus on making targeted refinements to select plan strategies. (See Plan Bay Area 2050 Executive Summary)

Assumptions for the select Blueprint strategies will be refined to reflect ongoing implementation efforts from Plan Bay Area 2050, while also leveraging findings from previous planning efforts that may be relevant to the post-COVID environment.

Equity and performance analyses will also be conducted during the Draft Blueprint phase to evaluate how the plan’s strategies are supporting progress towards making the Bay Area more affordable, connected, diverse, healthy and vibrant for all.

Furthermore, Transit 2050+ — the comprehensive re-thinking of the six transit-related strategies in Plan Bay Area 2050’s transportation element — will develop an integrated regional transit network that will be incorporated into the Final Blueprint.

While still remaining fiscally constrained per federal planning requirements, the focused plan update approach will consider whether to pursue targeted updates to — or to reaffirm — the Regional Growth Forecast (while maintaining its forecast methodology), as well as to the External Forces, the Growth Geographies and the Needs and Revenue Forecasts.

Culminating in late 2024, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) will consider adoption of the Final Blueprint, which will then move forward in the plan update process as the preferred alternative for environmental review.

Photo: Plan Bay Area

Getting Involved

Creating the Blueprint is a key first step toward updating the plan itself, and thus the Blueprint planning phase will require iteration and deep engagement of the public, partners and elected officials.

A first step in developing the Blueprint is to better understand what has changed as the region emerges from the pandemic. This summer, MTC and ABAG staff will be traveling across the region to speak to the community to understand how life has changed for individuals as the Bay Area enters the “new normal.”

MTC and ABAG are taking input from community members and partners to help inform the development of the Draft Blueprint.

You can make your voice heard in a variety of ways! Attend a pop-up workshop near you; participate in our survey; or submit comments via email, telephone or mail.

Find an event near you and join the conversation to help staff better understand how the last three years have impacted life across the Bay Area.

Participate in Our Survey

A first step in updating the plan is to better understand what has changed for you as the region emerges from the pandemic. MTC and ABAG want to learn how the “new normal” may be impacting your life.

The survey will close on September 7, 2023.

The survey also will help inform the development of Transit 2050+, a parallel long-range planning effort that will produce a first-of-its-kind plan to re-envision the future of the public transit network in the nine-county Bay Area, and the expenditure plan for a potential transportation revenue measure. The revenue measure is key in advancing implementation of Plan Bay Area.

Join a Pop-up Workshop

This summer, MTC and ABAG staff will be traveling across the region to speak to the community to understand how life has changed for individuals as the Bay Area emerges from the pandemic. Attend a pop-up workshop near you and tell us what the “new normal” means to you.

Contra Costa County

Diablo Valley College — Pleasant Hill Campus

Wednesday, September 6, 12 to 3 p.m.

321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill, CA

About Plan Bay Area

Plan Bay Area is a long-range regional plan jointly developed and adopted by MTC and ABAG every four years.

Following oaths of office Antioch School Board elects Lewis president on split vote

Wednesday, December 14th, 2022

New AUSD Area 2 Trustee Dr. Jag Lathan takes her ceremonial oath of office administered by her aunt Antoinette Walker Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022. Lathan was officially sworn by Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe on Monday, Dec. 12 with Area 1 Trustee Antonio Hernandez in attendance (inset). Sources: Dec. 14 photo by Allen D. Payton. Video screenshot of Dec. 12 oath from Thorpe’s Twitter feed.

After giving impassioned speech of his accomplishments Board Vice President Hernandez passed over, but gets $1,200 he requested to participate in Latino water policy program on 4-1 vote

New Trustee Lathan unanimously elected board’s new vice president; given official oath on Monday by Mayor Thorpe

2023 Antioch School Board President Dr. Clyde Lewis. Herald file photo

By Allen D. Payton

Re-elected Antioch School Board Trustee Mary Rocha who now represents Area 5 and new Area 2 Trustee Dr. Jag Lathan were given their oaths of office during the board meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022. Lathan’s was ceremonial as, according to a tweet by Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe, he gave the official oath of office to her on Monday, Dec. 12 with Area 1 Trustee and then-Board Vice President Antonio Hernandez in attendance.

During the reorganization of the board, Area 3 Trustee Dr. Clyde Lewis was elected board president on a 3-2 vote. Lathan and Hernandez voted no. Prior to the vote the Area 1 trustee made an impassioned speech pleading with his colleagues to elect him president but was bypassed for the position. Hernandez is the third board vice president who has been bypassed for the presidency in the past several years, including former Trustees Debra Vinson and Crystal Sawyer-White, whom the board bypassed twice.

When the item of reorganizing the board came up on the agenda, Rocha nominated Lewis to be board president saying, “since he was passed over last time under concerns of business affiliations so, at this time I feel it’s proper he continue in that position.” Last year, when then-Board Vice President Lewis declined to be nominated for the presidency citing “some family challenges” and “family caregiving that came up.” Hernandez then offered himself for the position that night, but instead, Area 4 Trustee Gary Hack was elected board president, also on a split, 3-2 vote and Hernandez was elected vice president on a 5-0 vote.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Hack seconded Rocha’s motion. During discussion Lathan said, “Considering Vice President Hernandez is currently in the position it feels like a good succession plan would be to continue with that up to presidency.”

Re-elected and now Area 5 Trustee Mary Rocha takes her oath of office administered by then-Board President Gary Hack Wednesday night, Dec. 14, 2022. Photo by Allen D. Payton

Hernandez’s Pleas for Presidency Ignored

“For the same reasons, last year I offered to be, wanted to be president and I was told I didn’t have enough experience,” Hernandez said. “So, I did exactly that…I filled in the role of vice president. I got my Masters in Governance from the California School Boards Assocation. I’ve also done a lot of work on the school board such as passing, putting forth the equity policy. I worked on the student board member policy, crafting that policy, putting forward the trauma and grief response committee. I worked on creating inclusive language in our policies. I’ve worked on putting forward actual ideas to make more inclusive LGBTQ policies and initiatives. I’ve spoken at events…I’ve worked to elevate the discourse here,  in this district as many of you have seen the way that I make sure we’re elevating and talking about data-driven initiatives, making sure that we’re doing everything that we can and working to improve as a district and building upon the work that we’re doing.”

“I was recently elected as a WELL Fellow, for a water policy fellowship, where I competed against elected officials across the state and was selected for this prestigious fellowship,” he continued. “I’ve served on boards before and I know I can do the work, here,”

“What message are we sending to our students when that was the reasoning why I was not selected as board president?” Hernandez asked. “I went out. I did the work. I’m going to be here to fight for students, plain and simple.”
“When we talk about vulnerable students, talk about families that are struggling, that was me in school, that was my family,” he stated. “My family’s here, tonight. They’ve had those experiences, so, they’ve worked those service jobs.”

“What message are we sending to students if we don’t select me as board president?” Hernandez asked, again. “Because I did the work. I put it forward and I’m ready to serve this school district and that’s a message we need to be sending out to our students.”

“Now, everyone here is happy to make whatever decisions they want to make,” he continued. “But I needed that message to be out there, and I need people to understand what the decisions we make reflect on this school district.”

Lewis Elected President on 3-2 Vote

Ignoring Hernandez’s pleas, Rocha called for action to be taken on the motion.

Hack then asked for the vote, “one by one”.

When Lathan was called upon to vote she responded, “Trustee Vice President Hernandez”.

She was corrected by district staff and Hack. “You vote on the motion.”

“Oh, no,” Lathan said.

Lewis and Rocha each voted yes, followed by Hernandez voting no, and Hack voting yes, and the motion passed on a 3-2 vote.

Hernandez has been an ally of Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe who backed Rocha’s opponent, Dominique King, in the November election.

After the meeting Lewis said, “I felt like some of the comments tonight were directed at me and that’s fine. I understand. I think to be on the board there needs to be a certain caliber of person and the members are all high caliber. I look forward to working with the entire board to serve the students, their parents, the faculty, staff and community.”

Lathan Elected Board VP on 5-0 Vote

The election for board vice president was next with Hernandez nominating Lathan saying, “I think she brings the most experience we’ve ever had on this board when it comes to the background of education. She has experience both as a teacher, principal, administrative and on the county Board of Education. I think she will make a fantastic addition to this team and will continue to elevate the discourse in this school district.”

Rocha seconded the motion and without any discussion it passed 5-0 with all trustees voting yes.

“Congratulations to the two of you,” Hack said.

After explaining the role, Hernandez was then re-elected as the district’s Liaison to the County School Boards Association on 5-0 vote following the motion by Hack and seconded by Rocha.

$1,200 Request by Hernandez for Latino Water Policy Program Approved on 4-1 Vote

Later in the meeting, Hernandez was successful in receiving a $1,200 increase in his individual Board Trustee Training Allocation budget. As previously reported, the funds are to cover the costs for his participation in Water Education for Latino Leaders (WELL) UnTapped Fellowship Program, a water policy program for Latino elected officials, he mentioned earlier as one of his accomplishments. Hernandez was selected as part of the 2023 class.

“They only ever select a handful of school board trustees,” he argued. “It’s easy for people to think that water policy only belongs in the hands of the city. But we are a large organization and school districts are large organizations that use water. The health and safety of our water is something that students interact with all the time…I view education, environment and all these things as all interconnected into the health of our students.”

Hernandez asked the board for the one-time increase over and above the $3,000 they each receive, “so I can continue in serving as a role model for our students as a lifelong learner.”

Rocha challenged the additional funds for Hernandez saying, “I want to congratulate you…you’ve been selected to this…fellowship. But water policy is not an educational thing that we are dealing with and I don’t know that I can support taxpayers’ money going toward to educate you on water policy that is not school education.”

“I’m going to be voting against it,” she added.

“I can’t make it any clearer how connected water is to education than what I did before,” Hernandez responded.

With no additional questions or comments from the other trustees, on a motion by Hernandez and seconded by Lewis, the additional funds were approved on a 4-1 vote with Rocha the sole no vote.

“Thank you. I appreciate it,” Hernandez said following the vote.

After the meeting Lewis was asked why he voted for the additional training funds requested by Hernandez. The new board president said, “Because we don’t have a policy about how we use our funds. I’m going to bring to the board a discussion of how we use Trustee Training Allocation budget funds.”

 

ABAG, MTC adopt final Plan Bay Area 2050 and Environmental Impact Report

Monday, October 25th, 2021

“$1.4 trillion vision for a more equitable and resilient future for Bay Area residents” in thareas of housing, the economy, transportation and the environment

“Roadmap toward a more affordable, connected, diverse, healthy and vibrant region for all”

Includes “strategies that would produce more than 1 million new permanently affordable homes” and will “Implement a statewide universal basic income” to “provide an average $500 per month payment to all Bay Area households”

The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), during their joint meeting Thursday evening, Oct. 21, 2021, unanimously adopted Plan Bay Area 2050 and its associated Environmental Impact Report. The unanimous votes by both boards cap a nearly four-year process during which more than 20,000 Bay Area residents contributed to the development of the new plan.

All six representatives from Contra Costa County, including Supervisors Candace Andersen and Karen Mitchoff, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt and San Ramon Councilman Dave Hudson, who serve on ABAG, as well as Supervisor Federal Glover and Contra Costa City Representative Amy Worth, Mayor of Orinda, who serve on MTC, voted to adopt the plan.

Defined by 35 strategies for housing, transportation, economic vitality and the environment, Plan Bay Area 2050 lays out a $1.4 trillion vision for policies and investments to make the nine-county region more affordable, connected, diverse, healthy and economically vibrant for all its residents through 2050 and beyond. From housing strategies that would produce more than 1 million new permanently affordable homes by 2050 to transit-fare reforms that would reduce cost burdens for riders with low incomes and paths to economic mobility through job training and a universal basic income, the goal of a more equitable Bay Area is interwoven throughout the plan. With a groundbreaking focus on climate change, strategies also are crafted for resilience against future uncertainties, including protection from hazards such sea-level rise and wildfires.

It is a long-range plan charting the course for the future of the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. Plan Bay Area 2050 will focus on four key issues—the economy, the environment, housing and transportation—and will identify a path to make the Bay Area more equitable for all residents and more resilient in the face of unexpected challenges. Building on the work of the Horizon initiative, this new regional plan outlines strategies for growth and investment through the year 2050, while simultaneously striving to meet and exceed federal and state requirements. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments are expected to adopt Plan Bay Area 2050 in fall 2021.

“Plan Bay Area 2050 reflects a shared vision that can’t be implemented by any single agency,” explained ABAG Executive Board President and Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín. “To bring all these strategies to fruition will require ABAG and MTC to strengthen our existing partnerships and to form new ones — not just with our cities and counties and the state government, but also with the federal government, businesses and nonprofits.”

What will Plan Bay Area 2050 do? What won’t it do?

Plan Bay Area 2050 outlines a roadmap for the Bay Area’s future. While it pinpoints policies and investments necessary to advance the goal of a more affordable, connected, diverse, healthy and vibrant Bay Area, Plan Bay Area 2050 neither funds specific infrastructure projects nor changes local policies. Cities and counties retain all local land use authority. Plan Bay Area 2050 does identify a potential path forward for future investments – including infrastructure to improve our transportation system and to protect communities from rising sea levels – as well as the types of public policies necessary to realize a future growth pattern for housing and jobs.

Ultimately, Plan Bay Area 2050 reflects a shared vision – one that cannot be implemented by any single organization or government agency. Only through partnership with local, state and federal governments – as well as with businesses and non-profit organizations – will the Plan’s vision come to fruition. Before the Plan is adopted in 2021, MTC and ABAG, along with partner organizations, will create an implementation plan that will advance the strategies outlined in Plan Bay Area 2050.

MTC Chair and Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza acknowledged the work ahead. “Building and preserving affordable housing. Adapting to sea level rise. Getting more people closer to their jobs and more jobs closer to the people. Sharing prosperity equitably. All of these are big lifts. But the new plan can serve as a north star for the Bay Area’s journey to 2050.”

Among the features that distinguish Plan Bay Area 2050 from previous regional plans is an associated Implementation Plan that details the specific actions ABAG and MTC can take in the next five years to put the new plan into action.

“The Implementation Plan is a commitment to do hard things, not just think about them,” said ABAG-MTC Executive Director Therese W. McMillan. “Even if these steps have to be taken incrementally, they will lead us to a more equitable and resilient Bay Area.”

Housing Strategies

Costs for housing are estimated at $468 billion, with $237 billion budget to preserve existing affordable housing by acquiring “homes currently affordable to low- and middle-income residents for preservation as permanently deed-restricted affordable housing”. An additional $219 billion is budgeted for new, deed-restricted affordable housing and $2 billion to “further strengthen renter protections beyond state law” by limiting “annual rent increases to the rate of inflation, while exempting units less than 10 years old.”

Economic Strategies

The total cost for economic strategies in the plan is $234 billion. Of that amount $205 billion is budgted to “Implement a statewide universal basic income” and “provide an average $500 per month payment to all Bay Area households to improve family stability, promote economic mobility and increase consumer spending.”

Transportation Strategies

The plan projects to spend a total of $578 billion is projected to be spent on transportation over the next 20 years, with most of that, $389 billion, to “restore, operate and maintain the existing system”. An additional $81 billion will be spent to “expand and modernize the regional rail network” to “better connect communities while increasing frequencies by advancing the Link21 new transbay rail crossing, BART to Silicon Valley Phase 2, Valley Link, Caltrain Downtown Rail Extension and Caltrain/High-Speed Rail grade separations, among other projects.” The third largest budget item for transportation is $32 billion to “enhance local transit frequency, capacity and reliability. Improve the quality and availability of local bus and light rail service, with new bus rapid transit lines, South Bay light rail extensions, and frequency increases focused in lower-income communities.”

Environmental Strategies

A total of $108 billion is programmed for Environmental Strategies. The largest portion of that is $30 billion to “modernize and expand parks, trails and recreation facilities”. An additional $19 billion is budgeted to “adapt to sea level rise” by protecting affected “shoreline communities…prioritizing low-cost, high-benefit solutions and providing additional support to vulnerable populations.

In addition, the plan includes $18 billion to “fund energy upgrades to enable carbon neutrality in all existing commercial and public buildings” through “electrification and resilient power system upgrades”, and another $15 billion to “provide means-based financial support to retrofit existing residential buildings.” To “protect and manage high-value conservation lands”, an additional $15 billion is included in the plan.

The adopted final Plan Bay Area 2050, the EIR, and all the supplemental reports accompanying the new plan are available online at planbayarea.org/finalplan2050.

ABAG is the council of governments and the regional planning agency for the 101 cities and towns, and nine counties of the Bay Area. MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

Public workshops, hearings announced for Draft Plan Bay Area 2050

Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

Regional plan for transportation, housing, the economy, and the environment

Interested agencies, organizations and individuals are invited by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) to comment on the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050. As required by state and federal law, MTC and ABAG have jointly developed this regional plan for transportation, housing, the economy, and the environment, which will serve as the San Francisco Bay Area’s Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) upon its adoption. Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 is defined by 35 integrated strategies designed to advance the region towards a more equitable and resilient future.

A Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) prepared on the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 will be subject to public review pursuant to a separate notice.

The following online public workshops have been scheduled to receive comment on the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050:

ONLINE PUBLIC WORKSHOP

East Bay Workshop
Contra Costa and Alameda Counties
Monday, June 14, 5:00 to 6:30 p.m.
https://bit.ly/33uXj0y
Passcode: 179826
Webinar ID: 862 3482 0389

ONLINE PUBLIC HEARINGS

Additionally, MTC and ABAG will hold three (3) public hearings to receive oral testimony and written comments about the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050. Copies of the draft plan are on file with the Secretary of the Board of MTC and open to public inspection at planbayarea.org/learnmore. Should you require a hard copy of the draft plan, please submit your request to info@bayareametro.gov or call 415-778-6757 and one will be mailed to you.

The first public hearing will be held during the regular meeting of the Joint MTC Planning Committee with the ABAG Administrative Committee on:

Friday, June 11, 2021 at 9:40 a.m. (Remotely)
https://bit.ly/33xhpav
Webinar ID: 874 2787 4017
Bay Area Metro Center
Board Room, 1st Floor
375 Beale Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

In light of Governor Newsom’s State of Emergency declaration regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and in accordance with Executive Order N-29-20 issued by Governor Newsom on March 17, 2020 and the Guidance for Gatherings issued by the California Department of Public Health, the meeting will be conducted via webcast, teleconference, and Zoom for all participants. Detailed instructions on participating via Zoom are available at: https://mtc.ca.gov/how-provide-public-comment-board-meeting-zoom. The meeting accessibility instructions also will be posted to: https://mtc.ca.gov/whats-happening/events/public-hearings no less than 72 hours prior to the hearing.

Two additional online public hearings have been scheduled for:

Hearing 2
Tuesday, June 22, 5:30 p.m.
https://bit.ly/3y0ZiYp
Passcode: 177176

Webinar ID: 812 0345 4209

Hearing 3
Wednesday, July 7, 1:30 p.m.
https://bit.ly/2SIduFK
Passcode: 908706

Webinar ID: 854 5833 8822

The Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 will be available for public review beginning Wednesday, May 26, 2021, online at https://mtc.ca.gov/whats-happening/events/public-hearingshttps://abag.ca.gov/meetings-events/public-hearings, and planbayarea.org. In an effort to reduce printing costs and conserve paper and in accordance with EO N-29-20 and the Guidance for Gatherings issued by the California Department of Public Health, you are urged to review the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 on the website listed above. Should you require a hard copy of the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050, please submit your request to info@bayareametro.gov or call 415-778-6757 and one will be mailed to you.

The public comment period for the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 begins on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 and ends on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 by 5:00pm. All written comments must be received no later than Tuesday, July 20, 2021 by 5:00pm. All written comments on the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 are being accepted via mail to MTC Public Information, Attn: Draft Plan Comments, 375 Beale Street, Suite 800, San Francisco, CA 94105; via e-mail to info@planbayarea.org; and online at planbayarea.org/learnmore. Comments also are being accepted by phone by leaving a voicemail at (415) 778-2292.

Public comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 will be sought pursuant to a separate notice. After considering public comment, MTC and ABAG are slated to adopt Plan Bay Area 2050 in fall 2021. For more information, call the MTC Public Information Office at (415) 778-6757.

Do you need an interpreter or any other assistance to participate? Please call 415-778-6757. We require at least three working days’ notice to accommodate assistance requests. For TDD or hearing impaired, call 711, California Relay Service, or 1-800-735-2929 (TTY), 1-800-735-2922 (voice) and ask to be relayed to 415-778-6700.

您需要口譯員或任何其他幫助才能參加嗎?請致電415-778-6757。我們要求至少提前三個工作日通知,以便滿足您的請求。對於TDD或聽障人士,請致電711,加州中繼服務,或1-800-735-2929(TTY),1-800-735-2922(語音),並要求轉接到415-778-6700。

¿Necesita un intérprete o cualquier otra ayuda para participar? Llame al 415-778-6757. Requerimos un aviso de al menos tres días hábiles para atender las solicitudes de asistencia. Para personas con discapacidad auditiva o TDD, llame al 711, California Relay Service, o al 1-800-735-2929 (TTY) o al 1-800-735-2922 (voz) y pida que lo comuniquen al 415-778-6700.

Supervisors chastise DA Becton over outdoor wedding, OK demolishing old admin, county jail buildings

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

Historic photo of old Contra Costa County jail. Source: Architectural Preservation Foundation of Contra Costa

Architectural Preservation Foundation wants old jail preserved for other uses; Board hears from Budget Justice Coalition on COVID related equity issues; COVID-19 variant draws concern

By Daniel Borsuk

Contra Costa Supervisors Candace Andersen and Karen Mitchoff chastised Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton, during the Board’s meeting on Tuesday, for holding her wedding reception in the backyard of her El Sobrante home in August in violation of COVID-19 health protocols.

“I think we give up hope when our top public officials improperly conduct themselves,” District 4 Supervisor Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill said.

“What District Attorney Becton did was wrong.  There were so many events that so many of us had to give up that were important,” Mitchoff later said. “It just needs to be called out.  We cannot sweep it under the rug and act as if this did not happen.”

“I feel very frustrated about the wedding District Attorney Becton had at her home” remarked District 2 Supervisor Andersen of Danville.  “I was very surprised that she would have a party after a wedding, knowing it was in violation of county health codes.”

In her defense, Becton said: “I did everything I believe was in proper guidance with what I thought was allowed.  I realize public officials like myself are held to a higher standard as we should be.”

Becton married Rev. Dr. Alvin C. Bernstine, a fourth-generation preacher and the author of his most recently published book, Hope Us, Lord. (See related article)

Approve Demolition of Old County Administration Building, Old County Jail

Over the concerns of preservationists, supervisors flashed the green light for Contra Costa County Public Works officials to hire a design-build contractor to demolish the old 12-story county administration complex at 651 Pine Street in Martínez and the old county jail across the street from the administration complex so that either a two or three-story office building can be constructed on the site of the old administration building.

In December, the county opened a new four-story, 71,000 square foot Administration Building across the street from old the Pine Street building.

It would cost about $65 million to demolish the old building and then build a two-story building and $75 million to build a three-story office building.  The County plans to provide parking and open public space on the land cleared through demolition.

“Four years ago, we presented over 300 signatures to you for preservation,” said Architectural Preservation Foundation of Contra Costa President Cheryll Grover. “There has been no current relevant community outreach on this issue.”

According to the organization’s website, “In 1989 the entire Contra Costa County ‘Court House Block’ was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the 1903 County Jail and the present-day Finance Building.  The National Register described these as classically inspired dignified structures of Vermont granite ‘designed to represent stability and permanence.’”

County officials have shown interest in using the Pine Street site for office space for the Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office, Public Offender’s Office, Health Services and the Office of Racial Justice and Equality.

Supervisors said because of the old jails building material – concrete to keep prisoners inside along with concerns about the presence of asbestos, made it problematic to renovate the old jail.  Grover said her preservation group did propose alternative proposals to rehabilitate the old jail, but their proposals apparently fell short of the mark as far as meeting County Public Works criteria.

From slide show presentation to CCCBOS 020921.

Hear from Budget Justice Coalition on COVID Related Equity Issues

In other action, the Supervisors heard a presentation from the Contra Costa Budget Justice Coalition and the Bay Area Equity Atlas on COVID Related Equity Issues, to ensure all county residents are treated fairly during recovery from the pandemic.

According to their slide show, “The Contra Costa Budget Justice Coalition advocates for community engagement in the Contra Costa County budgeting process and for a set of values-based budgeting principles that support safe and affordable housing, stable employment with fair wages, sufficient healthy food, essential health care, access to critical social services, and quality early care and education.”

Presenters spoke on the subjects of Disparate COVID Health, Housing, and Economic Impacts, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) Community Challenges and Stabilizing Neighborhoods and Equitable Relief.

They offered proposed solutions and plans of action in response including: “Producing and Maintaining lasting affordable housing”; “Prioritize equity and those most in need – evictions, food, housing, health, essential services”; “Protect and stabilize vulnerable households and workers”; “Connect low-wage workers with economic opportunities”; and “‘Build Back Better’ through equitable investments in a stronger, fairer, more sustainable economy”; among others.

Santa Clara County COVID-19 Variant Draws County Warning

A deadly Coronavirus variant now prevalent in Santa Clara County could surface in Contra Costa County, Contra Costa County Health Department Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano informed supervisors.

“Getting a vaccine is still the most important thing one can do to protect oneself,” said Dr. Farnitano upon informing supervisors about the Santa Clara County variant.  So far, 800 patients in Santa Clara County have been stricken with this variant and “there have been a couple of cases of this variant in Contra Costa County,” he said.  “We expect to be more knowledgeable about this variant in the next couple of weeks.”

The Santa Clara County COVID-10 variant is one of a number of Coronavirus strains to have surfaced globally, particularly in Brazil, Nigeria, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Dr. Farnitano said because Contra Costa County remains in the Purple Tier, at or under 46.2 new infections as it was in late January, school grade levels K to 6 can “bring back students as soon as tomorrow (Wednesday).”  The restart of school for grade levels 7 to 12 will be determined later.

County health officials made the COVID-19 announcements at the same time United States health officials announced Tuesday that the most severe surge of the COVID-19 pandemic in the nation has weakened significantly based on major metrics.  Nationally, newly reported cases have declined 56 percent over the past 30 days.  Hospitalizations have declined 38 percent since January 6.  The seven-day average of COVID-19 tests returning positive declined to 6.93 percent over the past week, the lowest rate since October 31.

Dr. Farnitano announced religious institutions can reopen at 25 percent occupancy, but chanting, singing and the serving of food are prohibited, he said.

Contra Costa Health Services Director Anna Roth also confirmed the county will receive $40 million in stated COVID-19 vaccine distribution funding but, could not provide details.  Last week, there were initial reports the state aid the county would receive would be shared with health organizations Kaiser Permanente and Blue Shield.

County Health Equity Officer Gilbert Salinas said the county’s efforts to equitably distribute the vaccine throughout the county, especially in parts of the county where there are more people of color or economically disadvantaged is gaining traction.  He reported that about 70,000 vaccine shots had been administered to county residents and retailers like Safeway, RiteAid, and WalMart are participating in the administration of vaccine shots.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

Gov. Newsom signs exec order phasing out gas-powered cars, passenger trucks sold in state by 2035

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

To “drastically reduce demand for fossil fuel in California’s fight against climate change”

Transportation currently accounts for more than 50 percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions   

Zero-emission vehicles are a key part of California’s clean, innovation economy – already California’s second largest global export market  

Order also directs state to take more actions to tackle the dirtiest oil extraction and support workers and job retention and creation as we make a just transition away from fossil fuels  

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that he will aggressively move the state further away from its reliance on climate change-causing fossil fuels while retaining and creating jobs and spurring economic growth – he issued an executive order requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035 and additional measures to eliminate harmful emissions from the transportation sector. (The text of today’s executive order can be found here and a copy can be found here.)

The transportation sector is responsible for more than half of all of California’s carbon pollution, 80 percent of smog-forming pollution and 95 percent of toxic diesel emissions – all while communities in the Los Angeles Basin and Central Valley see some of the dirtiest and most toxic air in the country.

“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” said Governor Newsom. “For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”

Following the order, the California Air Resources Board will develop regulations to mandate that 100 percent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035 – a target which would achieve more than a 35 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and an 80 percent improvement in oxides of nitrogen emissions from cars statewide. In addition, the Air Resources Board will develop regulations to mandate that all operations of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles shall be 100 percent zero emission by 2045 where feasible, with the mandate going into effect by 2035 for drayage trucks. To ensure needed infrastructure to support zero-emission vehicles, the order requires state agencies, in partnership with the private sector, to accelerate deployment of affordable fueling and charging options. It also requires support of new and used zero-emission vehicle markets to provide broad accessibility to zero-emission vehicles for all Californians. The executive order will not prevent Californians from owning gasoline-powered cars or selling them on the used car market.

California will be leading the nation in this effort – joining 15 countries that have already committed to phase out gasoline-powered cars and using our market power to push zero-emission vehicle innovation and drive down costs for everyone.

By the time the new rule goes into effect, zero-emission vehicles will almost certainly be cheaper and better than the traditional fossil fuel powered cars. The upfront cost of electric vehicles are projected to reach parity with conventional vehicles in just a matter of years, and the cost of owning the car – both in maintenance and how much it costs to power the car mile for mile – is far less than a fossil fuel burning vehicle.

The executive order sets clear deliverables for new health and safety regulations that protect workers and communities from the impacts of oil extraction. It supports companies who transition their upstream and downstream oil production operations to cleaner alternatives. It also directs the state to make sure taxpayers are not stuck with the bill to safely close and remediate former oil fields. To protect the health and safety of our communities and workers, the Governor is also asking the Legislature to end the issuance of new hydraulic fracturing permits by 2024.

The executive order directs state agencies to develop strategies for an integrated, statewide rail and transit network, and incorporate safe and accessible infrastructure into projects to support bicycle and pedestrian options, particularly in low-income and disadvantaged communities.

This action continues the Governor’s commitment to strengthening California’s resilience while lowering carbon emissions – essential to meeting California’s air quality and climate goals. In the last six months alone, the California Air Resources Board has approved new regulations requiring truck manufacturers to transition to electric zero-emission trucks beginning in 2024 and the Governor signed an MOU with 14 other states to advance and accelerate the market for electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Last fall, California led a multi-state coalition in filing a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to revoke portions of a 2013 waiver that allows the state to implement its Advanced Clean Car Standards.

Last September, Governor Newsom took action to leverage the state’s transportation systems and purchasing power to strengthen climate mitigation and resiliency and to measure and manage climate risks across the state’s $700 billion pension investments. To mitigate climate threats to our communities and increase carbon sequestration, the Governor invested in forest health and fuel reduction and held utilities accountable for building resiliency. The Governor also directed state agencies to develop a comprehensive strategy to build a climate-resilient water system and made a historic investment to develop the workforce for California’s future carbon-neutral economy.

 

Antioch Council to consider converting former Food Maxx location into 210-apartment complex Tuesday night

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

From project presentation for Antioch City Council 09-22-20.

Possible conversion to condominiums

Delta Fair Village site map.

By Allen Payton

During their regular meeting, tonight, Sept. 22, 2020, the Antioch City Council will consider approving a a four-story, 210-apartmentproject, along with 4,000 square feet of retail in the Delta Fair Shopping Center where the Food Maxx store was located in the past. The site is located at 3000 Delta Fair Blvd. and bordered by Buchanan Road and San Jose Drive, near the Somersville Road and Highway 4 interchange. The store building has sat empty for several years, since the store relocated across town to the Deer Valley Plaza at Lone Tree Way and Deer Valley Road. Delta Fair Village ACC 092220 presentation

According to the city staff report, the plan, recommended by a vote of the Antioch Planning Commission, would result in the demolition of 73,546 square feet of retail space and be replaced with the condos and new retail building. The four stories of apartments would consist of five buildings over a ground-floor parking structure.

If approved, the project will also include renovation of the remaining existing 73,535 sf of retail space.

Some of the project documents label it a condominium project. Efforts to reach city staff for questions about it were unsuccessful, but Antioch Planning Commissioner Manny Soliz explained the discrepancy in terms in the staff report.

Document in Antioch city staff report for council meeting agenda item using the term condominiums. The project proponent has agreed to return with a conversion proposal.

“At our meeting, I had asked for it to be condos, and the project owner agrees with that. But that would require them to revise the plan,” Soliz shared. “I said, let’s go ahead and take the extra four to six weeks, but the rest of the commission said no, we need to get rid of that blight, now. I said I’m for that, too. But I’d rather get it done right the first time.”

“The proponent told the planning commission that he will come back with a conversion to condominium proposal,” he continued. “That seemed like a good compromise.”

“I think it will be a good project, but it did get approved as apartments, for now,” Soliz added.

The council meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. and can be viewed on Comcast Cable Channel 24 or via livestream on the City’s website.

Proposed project location on Delta Fair Blvd. in Antioch.

Community College Board Ward 5 candidate Sandoval endorsed by labor and civil rights leader Dolores Huerta 

Thursday, August 6th, 2020

Contra Costa Community College Board Ward 5 candidate Fernando Sandoval from his Facebook page on July 14, 2020 and Delores Huerta from DeloresHuerta.org.

By Doreen Moreno

Contra Costa County, CA — Community leader Fernando Sandoval is honored to announce the endorsement of Dolores Huerta, American labor leader and civil rights activist who, with Cesar Chavez, co-founded the United Farm Workers Union. Dolores Huerta, Founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation for Community Organizing, leads the endorsement list of elected officials, community leaders, small business owners, and college faculty, staff and students in supporting Fernando Sandoval for Trustee of the Contra Costa Community College District Board for Ward 5.

Dolores Huerta is one of the century’s most powerful and respected labor movement leader who has received numerous awards for her trailblazing leadership, including being inducted into the California Hall of Fame in 2013 and receiving the country’s highest civilian honor in the United States, the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2012.

“Fernando Sandoval’s humble beginnings in the migrant camps of Isleton along the Sacramento River to his low-income childhood in East County to his career achievements as a technology and finance advisor to prestigious banking companies worldwide is a perfect example of the perseverance and contributions individuals from labor backgrounds provide our communities and this nation everyday,” said Dolores Huerta.

Huerta adds, “His personal upbringing gives him an understanding of both the barriers and benefits of how a quality education can open doors of opportunity to good paying jobs and the economic contributions to our families and the greater economy. Fernando’s experiences position him to be a bold leader with a vision and a strong voice for all students in the community college system to be prepared as the future workforce for reigniting our post pandemic economy.”

Sandoval added “I am deeply honored to have the endorsement of international labor leader Dolores Huerta who has given tirelessly of herself for over 60 years to advocate for worker’s rights and fair wages, for equality for women and LGBQT rights and for public policies that provide fair employment standards and access to quality health and education for our diverse communities and future leaders.”

In alignment with Huerta’s legacy, Fernando has been continuously serving East County communities and the students in various roles, such as an advisory member of the Contra Costa Community College District’s committee on diversity, inclusion and equal employment opportunities.  He also Chaired the Bond Oversight Committee for modernization of schools at Pittsburg Unified School District (PUSD). Fernando has also organized mentoring, tutoring and motivational workshops for students at Los Medanos College and high schools throughout the area. This year he was recognized for his service by receiving the 2020 Cesar Chavez Award for Exemplary Community Service by Los Medanos College.

Fernando Sandoval is a published author of his memoir, “From Tortilla Chips to Computer Chips” that highlights his upbringing in a hard-working immigrant family, his experience in the U.S. Navy and Vietnam War and his career as a finance and technology management strategy advisor to top banking institutions worldwide.

For more information about Fernando Sandoval for Contra Costa Community College District Board of Trustees, Ward 5, contact fernando4collegetrustee@gmail.com. Sandoval is challenging two-term incumbent Greg Enholm for the second time. He ran in 2016 but lost with 39.75% of the vote to Enholm’s 59.82% . Ward 5 includes the communities or cities of Clyde, Bay Point, Pittsburg, Oakley, Bethel Island, Knightsen, most of Antioch and Discovery Bay, and portions of Brentwood and Concord.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.