Archive for the ‘Finance’ Category

Antioch School Board approves $30.5 million plan for federal Emergency Relief funds, Householder abstains

Wednesday, October 27th, 2021

Will be used to address students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs, as well as the opportunity gaps that existed before, and were exacerbated by, COVID-19

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, the Antioch School Board approved an expenditure plan for $30.5 million in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds on a 4-0-1 vote with Board President Ellie Householder voting to abstain. ESSER III Expenditure Plan Presentation

According to the district staff report, all school districts that receive ESSER funds under the American Rescue Plan, referred to as ESSER III funds, are required to develop an Expenditure Plan for how ESSER III funds will be used to address students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs, as well as the opportunity gaps that existed before, and were exacerbated by, the COVID-19 pandemic.

AUSD staff participated “in meaningful stakeholder engagement to solicit input in the development of the plan”. Antioch Unified is due to receive $30,531,253 in ESSER III funds. Under the terms of ESSER III, a plan must be approved by the Board of Education and presented to the County Office of Education by October 31, 2021.

It was that tight timeframe and short notice, and because the information wasn’t also provided in Spanish, which Householder gave as reasons she didn’t want to vote on the plan.

Expenditure Plan Overview

According to the details of the Expenditure Plan, $12.25 million will be used to implement strategies for continuous and safe in-person learning; almost $9 million will be spent to address the academic impact of lost instructional time; $4.5 million to recruit and retain staff; and $4.8 million for facilities improvements and repairs.

The ESSER III funds may be expended during the period of March 1, 2020, through September 30, 2024. According to staff, no funds were expended prior to the creation and approval of the plan presented at the meeting.


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Your voice is needed to support the arts in Contra Costa

Monday, October 25th, 2021

Can you please write a letter to the Board of Supervisors by Nov. 2nd?

By Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County

Measure X is Contra Costa’s new countywide half-cent sales tax. The Measure X Community Advisory Board was formed to identify unmet community needs and recommend spending priorities to the Board of Supervisors. The Measure X Community Advisory Board recommended funding for the Arts and Culture Commission to the Board of Supervisors. At the Nov. 2nd meeting, Supervisors will be making final recommendations.

The current Contra Costa County $31,000 grant match budget is only a $.06 per person investment: Napa $3.55, Solano $2.19, Santa Clara $0.92, and Alameda County $0.54.

Please support signature programs that provide services to Contra Costa County: Arts and Culture Prospectus of Contra Costa County, ABOUTFACE, Poetry Out Loud, Youth Advisor, Jump StArts California Arts Council grant, Impact Projects California Arts Council grant, Art Passages, and more!

Transformational ideas include:

  • District Public Art Program: Let’s build Contra Costa County’s first public art program following best practices of other Bay Counties.
  • Youth Advisor in each District: We want to expand equity and opportunity to every District!
  • Arts Connection: We want to connect artists and art organizations for quarterly meetings for advocacy, opportunities, and data collection.
  • Community Art Fund: Support up to 5 community art projects a year!
  • AIRS (Artist-in-Residency in the School) pilot program: Place teaching artists in CCC schools to work with students to create an art project.
  • Build Structures: Community creates policy for new and signature programs based on equity!

Ask: $625,000 at $.54 per resident!

​​District locator:

Please send email by Nov. 2nd!

Sample email: The arts are important to me and to my community. Please increase funding for the arts in Contra Costa County from $31,000 to $625,000 annually. This will help the Arts and Culture Commission demonstrate support for the arts to be competitive for national and state grants. This will support signature programs that directly impact all communities including our youth to Veterans. It will help provide public art programs in each district, a Community Art Fund, a youth advisor in each district, an Artist-In-Residency in the School pilot program, the Arts Connection and Build Structures initiative and other great programs. It will help our County stabilize arts funding and be able to plan equitably for the future. Thank you.

Let’s build an arts foundation for Contra Costa County!


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In spite of opposition Contra Costa Supervisors approve COVID-19 vaccine anti-misinformation resolution

Wednesday, October 13th, 2021

“The Board…declares that COVID-19 health misinformation is an urgent public health crisis” – from resolution

“You are spreading misinformation that the vaccine is the be all and end all…” – county resident Carolyn Stream

“We are going to be as loud as we can be and as visible as we can be to put out information that is correct…” – Supervisor John Gioia

County might enter the less health restrictive yellow ranking by the end of October, currently has less than 75 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in county hospitals. – Contra Costa Health Officer, Dr. Chris Farnitano

Discuss $110 million Measure X half-cent sales tax revenue wish list

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, on a 5-0 vote, approved a resolution aimed at turning around rising public skepticism against the COVID-19 vaccines during their regular, weekly meeting on Tuesday. It is entitled “Declaring COVID-19 Misinformation as a Public Health Crisis”. (See resolution and below)

Supervisors listened to 50 speakers, mostly opposed to the resolution that “declares COVID-19 health misinformation is an urgent public health crisis affecting our entire community and the County of Contra Costa commits to combating health misinformation is an urgent public health crisis affecting our entire community and County of Contra Costa commits to combating health misinformation and curbing the spread of falsehoods that threaten the health and safety of our residents.”

“We are going to be as loud as we can be and as visible as we can be to put out information that is correct, science-based and corrects the general misinformation that’s out there,” resolution-co-author District 1 Supervisor John Gioia said.

“We are not making any judgement against anyone,” said co-author Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill. “We’re not infringing on anyone’s free speech rights.  This is not the case.  We are calling out the misinformation that leads some to not be vaccinated.”

One message in the resolution states: “The Board of Supervisors and County of Contra Costa is troubled by and actively discourages the spread of COVID-19 misinformation as it is a dangerous threat to public health.”

“There are ae people who don’t believe in public officials,” said District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville. “I will support this resolution because it conveys prudent decisions based on scientifically based information.”

District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover went right to the point. “Get your shot and protect yourself and your loved ones.”

But supervisors got an earful of criticism from the 50 speakers who viewed the supervisors’ resolution as a move in the wrong direction, a direction towards infringements of freedom of speech, “freedom of medical choice,” and “freedom of medical information.”

One such speaker, Lucy Busto of Oakley bristled at the supervisors for considering a resolution that would “infringe on our medical freedom of choice.”  She said, “We have no idea what the long-term effects of these vaccines are.”

“You are spreading misinformation that the vaccine is the be all and end all when there are many unanswered questions about the vaccine,” said another speaker, Carolyn Stream.

But retired nurse Mary Schreiber urged supervisors to adopt the resolution saying, “This is really supported by our health care professionals.”

Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano, who also reported the county might enter the less health restrictive yellow ranking by the end of October, currently has less than 75 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in county hospitals.

“You are infringing on our rights to medical information,” said Lucy Busto of Oakley. “We have no idea what the long-term effects of these vaccines are”

“You are spreading misinformation that the vaccine is the be all end all”, said resolution opponent Carolyn Strum.  “We should have the freedom for information. No one should have the right to control information.”

Supervisors’ Measure X Wish List

With the county expect to plow in $110 million in Measure X sales tax revenues, $23 million more than initially estimated prior to vote passage last November, supervisors began to reveal their funding priorities with the additional money that the county officials expect to flow into county coffers.

During a presentation from Measure X Community Advisory Board Chair Mariana Moore, supervisors indicated what county operations should receive Measure X funding priority for the upcoming 2022-2023 fiscal year.

Initially county officials expected the Measure X tax would drive in $87 million in revenues, but higher than expected consumer retail sales has pumped up the initial projection.

Code enforcement, transit, fire services, sheriff response and patrols were top Measure X priorities Supervisor Mitchoff listed. Mitchoff will serve as board chair next year, her final year in office.

Board vice chair Glover rattled off the office of racial justice and equity, the northern waterfront planning project, animal services, youth services center, and mental got top billing.

Trails and public transit were on District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen’s Measure X list.

District 1 Supervisor John Gioia said county hospital, health clinics, transitionary housing and fire services especially in East County were on his Measure X list.

Improving fire services in East County, especially with the proposed consolidation for the Contra Costa County Fire District with the East Contra Costa County Fire District, was Chair Diane Burgis’ chief funding priority.

WHEREAS, Health misinformation has significantly undermined public health efforts and the unmitigated proliferation of health misinformation has created a culture of mistrust and has prolonged the COVID-19 pandemic, endangering the health and safety of all Contra Costa County residents and visitors; and

WHEREAS, The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in over 95,000 cases and 921 deaths in Contra Costa County as of September 25, 2021; and

WHEREAS, The spread of COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on our health and safety, our regional economy, our elder residents, our communities of color, our mental health, the educational development of our children and every aspect of our lives; and

WHEREAS, In Contra Costa County, there are significantly lower vaccination rates for residents 20-29 years old, residents who identify themselves as White, Latinx (i.e. Latino/Hispanic), African-American, and more than one race/ethnicity, men, and in certain communities across the county and particularly in East and West County; and

WHEREAS, The COVID-19 vaccines have met the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality and have been proven to be safe and effective; and WHEREAS, The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, brand name Comirnaty, has received full FDA approval and been proven to be highly effective in preventing serious disease, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 and that its benefits outweigh its risks; and

WHEREAS, The COVID-19 vaccine is available to everyone in Contra Costa County at no cost, regardless of income, residency within the county, health coverage or immigration status, and is administered by health professionals, like nurses and doctors; and

WHEREAS, misinformation has caused confusion and has led to eligible people declining COVID-19 vaccines, rejecting public health measures such as face coverings and physical distancing, and using unproven treatments; and

WHEREAS, On July 15, 2021, the United States Surgeon General issued his first advisory describing the “urgent threat” posed by the rise of false information of COVID-19 – one that continues to put “lives at risk” and prolong the pandemic; and

WHEREAS, Recent surges in infections and hospitalizations from COVID-19 in Contra Costa have highlighted the importance of clear and unequivocal communications from public officials that vaccines are the best protection against severe illness and hospitalizations; and

WHEREAS, Urgent action is needed to curb the spread of COVID-19 by combating misinformation, thereby supporting our healthcare system and saving lives; and

WHEREAS, There would be substantial detriment on Contra Costa County and its residents and visitors if not acted upon immediately; and

WHEREAS, Trusted community members, such as health professionals, faith leaders, educators, and leaders of Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other communities of color nationwide and in Contra Costa have spoken directly to their communities to address COVID-19 related questions by town halls, meetings, social media, and traditional media; and

WHEREAS, The Board of Supervisors and the County of Contra Costa is troubled by and actively discourages the spread of COVID-19 misinformation as it is a dangerous threat to public health; and

WHEREAS, Contra Costa Health Services continues to carry out its mission to care for and protect all Contra Costa County residents from COVID-19, especially our most vulnerable; and

WHEREAS, Contra Costa Health Services engages with our communities through building partnerships and trust with community organizations and residents, trusted messengers, and COVID-19 Ambassadors; and

WHEREAS, Contra Costa Health Services maintains a coronavirus website as a source of credible, up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 for Contra Costa residents at

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Supervisors of Contra Costa County declares that COVID-19 health misinformation is an urgent public health crisis affecting our entire community and the County of Contra Costa commits to combating health misinformation and curbing the spread of falsehoods that threaten the health and safety of our residents; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the Board of Supervisors and the County of Contra Costa will develop and support policies and strategies that protect the health and safety of Contra Costa County residents through the promotion of evidence-based interventions, including face coverings and vaccination; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Contra Costa Health Services will continue to share facts and scientific information about COVID-19, to correct misinformation including vaccine myths, to identify and give a platform to culturally relevant medical experts and trusted messengers, to respond to questions and requests for information on social media, and to work with our media and community partners to reach a broad audience with factual, timely information.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.


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Outside investigation demanded by Antioch councilwoman costs city almost $45,000

Monday, September 27th, 2021

120.2 hours of work to determine all her complaints against police officers during Dec. 2020 traffic stop of her sons were baseless

By Allen Payton

The cost to the City of Antioch for the outside investigation demanded by District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker into the incident between police, her sons and her last December was $44,610 the city attorney’s office revealed, Monday. In addition, they reported it consumed a total of 120.2 hours for the investigator, billed at $420 per hour, a writer/editor billed at $180 per hour, and an intern, billed at a rate of $120 per hour, to complete their work. A breakdown of their individual costs was also requested of the city attorney’s office.

The investigation, conducted by Oppenheimer Investigations Group, focused on what started as a traffic stop by two Antioch Police officers of Torres-Walker’s two sons, an adult and a 13-year-old, riding a dirt bike and ATV quad illegally on city streets, on December 29, 2020. The older son fled the scene, for which he was later charged with evading police and is still pending. He went home and returned with his mother. Things then escalated with accusations by Torres-Walker against the officers, and continued with an online, profanity-filled video rant against the officers and the department.

The investigation determined that all the councilwoman’s complaints against the two officers were either unfounded or not sustained, according to the executive summary of the report, which was released earlier this month. (See related article)

Ironically, Torres-Walker is now the chair of the city council’s Police Oversight Standing Committee which has its next meeting Tuesday afternoon. (Please see related article)

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Antioch Council to vote on budgets, adding 17 positions but no more police, another cannabis business, tonight

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

City of Antioch projected General Fund Expenditures FY 2021-22. Source: City of Antioch

General Fund revenue increases by $5.6 and $8.7 million per year

Creates new Community Resources Department

Adds 7 more Code Enforcement Officers

L Street to finally be widened to four lanes from W. 10th to W. 18th Streets

Will vote on appointing youth members to city commissions and boards

By Allen Payton

During the Antioch City Council’s regular meeting, tonight, June 22, 2021, votes will be taken on the two-year budget of $222.8 million for fiscal year 2021-22 and $179.2 million for FY 2022-23. The General Fund budget, which pays for the police department and other services, projects an increase of $5.6 million next year and $8.7 million the following year. It creates a new Community Resources Department and adds 17 more positions including seven Code Enforcement Officers, but does not include any additional funding for more sworn police officers.

In addition, the council will consider approving the city’s fifth cannabis business and appointing youth, ages 14-17, to city commissions and boards. (See complete agenda)

City of Antioch projected General Fund Revenue and Sources for FY 2021-22. Source: City of Antioch

According to the staff report on the General Fund, “Measure W…comprises over 20% of annual revenues and will generate a projected $38,000,000 over the next two years.” That’s a $1 million annual increase next year and a $2 million increase the following year over the current year’s General Fund revenue.

Antioch Five-Year Capital Improvement Program budget for Fiscal Years 2022-26. Source: City of Antioch

The council will also vote on the Five-Year Capital Improvement Program budget which includes $15 million for the widening of L Street to four lanes between W. 10th and W. 18th Street. In addition, the CIP will fund needed repairs at the Antioch Water Park, among its many projects throughout the city totaling $216.2 million. The largest expenditure is for the new Brackish Water Desalination Plant.

New Department, 17 New Positions

The budget includes formation of a new Community Resources Department to oversee existing services, including Animal Services (currently under the Police Department), Unhoused Resident Coordinator (currently under the City Manager), Youth Network Services (currently under Recreation), Code Enforcement, CDBG services and Environmental Services (all currently under Community Development).

The budget also includes “the addition of seventeen (17) new positions throughout the City to enhance City services including:

o One (1) Community Resources Director for the new department dedicated to Community Resources and Public Safety.

o One (1) Assistant City Attorney that will significantly enhance the department’s capacity.

o Seven (7) additional Code Enforcement Officers for a total of fourteen (14).

o One (1) Community Development Technician position to support the seven additional Code Enforcement Officers approved.

o One (1) additional General Laborer (for a total of 5) that will primarily address downtown needs.

o One (1) Recreation Coordinator to assist Youth Services Network Division.

o One (1) Administrative Analyst to assist the Environmental Services group.

o One (1) full-time Unhoused Resident Coordinator.

o One (1) Administrative Analyst to support CDBG and Housing activities.

o One (1) Fleet Service Technician to assist with vehicle fleet maintenance.

o One (1) Water Treatment Plant Instrument Technician to assist with the upcoming Brackish Water Desalination Plant.”

No Funding for Additional Police

However, there is no funding for additional police officers included in the budget. Although the city’s goal has been 1.2 officers per thousand population since the mid-1990’s, the proposed budget keeps the level at 1.0 officers per thousand, with 115 sworn officers and a population of 112,848 according to the city staff report.

According to the budget report, “The City Council continues to authorize one hundred fifteen (115) sworn Police Officers in FY 2022-23, as well as six ‘over-hire’ positions to address timing delays associated with attrition.”

According to Police Chief T Brooks the two new officers added to the department on Monday brings the current force to 116 sworn officers. (See related article).

The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. and can be viewed at, on Comcast Channel 24, or AT&T U-Verse Channel 99.

Annual General Fund budget comparison. Source: City of Antioch

Public Comments

If you wish to provide a written public comment, you may do so any of the following ways by 3:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting: (1) Fill out an online speaker card, located at, or (2) Email the City Clerk’s Department at

To provide oral public comments during the meeting, click the following link to register in advance to access the meeting via Zoom Webinar: You may also provide an oral public comment by dialing (925) 776-3057. Please see inside cover for detailed Speaker Rules.

The City cannot guarantee that its network and/or the site will be uninterrupted. To ensure that the City Council receives your comments, you must submit your comments in writing by 3:00 p.m. the day of the City Council Meeting.

Members of the public wishing to provide public comment may do so one of the following ways (#2 pertains to the Zoom Webinar):

  1. Fill out an online speaker card by 3:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting located at:
  2. Provide oral public comments during the meeting by clicking the following link to register in advance

to access the meeting via Zoom Webinar:

– You will be asked to enter an email address and a name. Your email address will not be disclosed to the public. After registering, you will receive an email with instructions on how to connect to the meeting.

– When the Mayor announces public comments, click the “raise hand” feature in Zoom. For instructions on using the “raise hand” feature in Zoom, visit: When calling into the meeting using the Zoom Webinar telephone number, press *9 on your telephone keypad to “raise your hand”. Please ensure your Zoom client is updated so staff can enable your microphone when it is your turn to speak.

  1. Email comments to by 3:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting. The comment will be read into the record at the meeting (350 words maximum, up to 3 minutes, at the discretion of the Mayor). IMPORTANT: Identify the agenda item in the subject line of your email if the comment is for Announcement of Community Events, Public Comment, or a specific Agenda Item number. No one may speak more than once on an agenda item or during “Public Comments”.

All emails received by 3:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting will be entered into the record for the meeting.

Speakers will be notified shortly before they are called to speak.

– When called to speak, please limit your comments to the time allotted (350 words, up to 3 minutes, at the discretion of the Mayor).


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Antioch councilwoman’s membership on Richmond task force recommending defunding police department by $6.3 million causes controversy

Monday, June 14th, 2021

RPSCTF Revised Proposed Reallocation of RPD funds as of June 9, 2021. Composite of task force meeting video screenshots.

Tamisha Torres-Walker serves on that city’s Re-imagining Public Safety Community Task Force along with one or two others from out-of-town; absent for first vote on recommendations, abstains on second without explanation

“Why the people of Antioch elected someone like that to represent them. Maybe she thinks she can get more done in Richmond than in Antioch.” – Richmond Mayor Tom Butt

By Allen Payton

The City of Richmond’s Re-imagining Public Safety Community Task Force is recommending reallocating $10 million from the police department’s budget and using it on other emergency response, prevention and homeless programs, instead.

Soto’s Facebook post on June 11, 2021.

In a Friday morning post on his Facebook page, KPFA radio personality and task force member, Andres Soto wrote, “The Re-imaging [sic] Public Safety Task Force of Richmond, California has come out with an analysis and proposal to reallocate more than $10.28 million from the Richmond Police Department and to invest those funds into a variety of emergency response and prevention programs.

This proposal has been met by fierce opposition from the Police Chief Bisa French, the Richmond Police Officers Association and conservative elements in Richmond, most notably groups of primarily older folks in the various Neighborhood Councils.

The Task Force has taken this input and revised some of the amounts as the Richmond City Council is set to adopt its annual budget. We will speak once again with Marisol Cantu, one of the leaders of the Re-imaging Public Safety Task Force about the process they have engaged in and the recent revisions to their recommendations.”

However, the latest recommendations, with Soto supported, is for reallocating $6.3 million from the police budget.

Tamisha Torres-Walker. Photo from her campaign Facebook page.

Antioch District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker also serves on the task force, having been appointed along with Soto and others, last October 6, prior to her election to the city council. According to the task force’s June 9th meeting, Torres-Walker participated as a member.

Staff Liaison Johann Fragd was asked why Richmond would allow a non-resident, who does not have a business or organization based in their city, to serve on one of their city’s task forces and if it’s appropriate, especially a council member from another city. She responded, “According to my records, Tamisha Walker remains an active member of the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force. According to the original direction of the Richmond City Council the Task Force will be ‘composed by members of the public, including community organizations, individuals who were impacted by law enforcement, and law enforcement.’ We have several members and persons from the Interdepartmental Team, who are not Richmond residents.”

Asked why she, as an Antioch resident and council member can or should serve on another city’s task force and if her non-profit organization, Safe Return Project, is based there, since the location is not provided on either their website or Facebook page. Torres-Walker was also asked if her participation on another city’s task force is taking time and attention away from representing District 1 in Antioch which she was elected to serve. She was absent for the task force’s May 12th meeting, when they approved the recommendations to reallocate $10.2 million from the Richmond Police Department to other services and programs. She was asked if she supported those recommendations.

Finally, during the June 9th meeting, Torres-Walker attempted to get the motion to approve the recommendation to reduce the police department cuts to $6.3 million, “to go line item by line item for each vote,” but didn’t and said, “we can go forward with the vote.”

She then abstained on the vote that approved the recommendations on a slim majority of 11 votes out of the 21 members on the task force. Torres-Walker was asked why she voted that way and if it was because she supported  some of the recommendations but not all of them.

The councilwoman did not respond prior to publication time.

Residency Challenged, Defended

Task force member Don Gosney, who claims to be “a truly hated and despised member for actually thinking that we need public safety officers” shared his concerns with the residency of Walker and Soto, and two others.

“Along with Ms. Walker and Mr. Soto, I see from my voter registration spreadsheet from August of 2020 that Luis Chacon is registered to vote in San Pablo,” Gosney wrote. “We also have Eddy Chacon on the task force (I believe he may be Luis’ brother…) and I cannot find him registered to vote in West County.  Voter registration is not an entirely reliable tool to use to determine residency but it’s a starting point.”

“When Councilmember Nat Bates tried to ascertain the residency of the task force members, the pushback was fierce,” Gosney continued. “By the way, almost immediately after we were appointed, the City Clerk sent us all the 80-page handbook on committees and board.  On Page 13 it reads:”

During the June 9th meeting, task force member  Randy Joseph complained about Torres-Walker and Soto being “attacked by the mayor” and others for not being a Richmond resident.

Member Randy Joseph (bottom left) speaks about Torres-Walker and Soto during the June 9, 2021. task force meeting. Video screenshot

“I wanted to bring up something that’s been bothering me over this last month that was going on in the City of Richmond, with people coming and attacking people on this task force for not living in Richmond and being part of Richmond,” he said. “I think that’s disgusting, especially with all the work and all the things that Tamisha Walker and Andrés Soto has put into this city and done for the city.”

“To be attacked by not only the mayor, but other community members that do not know half of the work that these two have done in the history of Richmond, is disgusting and it’s just flat out irritating,” Joseph continued. “It shows the divisive nature that people have made this up to be, to make this trite and just to generalize this process, to make this process illegitimate, to attack two people who have been Richmond community members and done so much for Richmond for so long.”

Member Marcus Njissang added echoed Joseph’s comments saying, “I just want to second what Randy just said. I don’t know what was said about Andrés but… What was said about Mrs. Walker…it made me kind of sick actually, some of the comments that were made by the mayor. Just dragging her through the mud. As a fellow task force member, I feel the same way. I thought it was despicable. That’s just my opinion. I thought that it was disgusting, and I just wanted to second what Randy was saying.”

“This is not the first time I’ve been attacked for this and other things,” said Soto. “When you stand up for the people, they always try to tear you down. But I don’t let that deter me.”

“Perhaps, not at this meeting, but if we ever want to consider a resolution condemning those kind of remarks, that’s something perhaps we can look at,” he continued. “But we have more work ahead of us right now that’s more important to worry about small little people like that.”

Task Force Recommendations

During the April 14th meeting, an overview of the Smart Budget & Resource Allocations “subgroup’s recommendation was provided by subgroup member A. Soto on a Richmond Police Department budget analysis and reallocation proposal. There is a recommendation to have a proposed amount of RPD funds roughly estimated at $10.2 million to be reallocated to other programs such as ONS, RichmondWORKS Summer Youth Program, SOS Street Teams, SOS Shower Power, and the SOS Transitional Village.”

According to their website, SOS! Richmond, which stands for Safe Organized Spaces,  “improves encampment and neighborhood living conditions through ​direct service, ​engagement, advocacy, and collaborations.”

During the task force’s May 12th meeting, (see minutes) for which Torres-Walker, Soto and other members were absent, they voted to approve the following recommendations: reallocate $2.5 million to the Office of Neighborhood Services which pays gang members $1,000 a month to not commit violent crimes in Richmond;  $1,930,150 for the Youth Works Proposal; $1,190,907 million on SOS Street Teams; $627,774 on the SOS Shower Power program; $1,585,658 on the SOS Transitional Village; and $2,455,600 on the Community Crisis Response Program for a total of $10,280,089 in reallocations from the police department budget.

Original proposed reallocation of RPD funds from the task force’s May 12, 2021 meeting.

The Richmond PD’s annual budget is currently $67.2 million. A $10.2 million cut would be over 15% and result in a reduction of 32 officers, according to the Richmond Police Officers Association (RPOA).

Richmond Police Officers Respond

In a May 16th post on the RPOA Facebook page, it reads, “The Richmond City Council is proposing a cut to the Richmond Police Department’s budget, which would mean 32 less officers out protecting our community. We’ve seen what defunding the police would mean for the city – our police department is already understaffed, and crime has increased in cities like Vallejo and Oakland after similar cuts were made to their police forces. Richmond deserves better.

Please visit to ask the City Councilmembers to keep us safe. Be sure to share this with your friends, family and neighbors to sign, too.”

On that website, it reads:

Tell the City Council to Vote No on Cutting the Richmond Police

The Richmond City Council is proposing a cut to the Richmond Police Department’s budget, which would mean 32 less officers out protecting our community. We’ve seen what defunding the police would mean for the city— our police department is already understaffed, and crime has increased in cities like Vallejo and Oakland after similar cuts were made to their police forces.

Richmond deserves better.

We understand the need for reform to provide the best levels and types of services to every Richmond resident. We also support additional funding for community services and intervention programs, but we have serious concerns about the current proposal to cut funding from the police department without a clear plan on how the city will make sure our friends, family and neighbors are not placed at increased risk.

We don’t need to defund our police. We need REAL reform with REAL solutions that protect the health and safety of us all.

The Richmond community and its police are working together to make Richmond safer. We need to come together now to keep it safe. Cutting 32 police officers makes no sense. There are other options to fund new services and keep our community police officers. The City Council needs to explore these options. The City Council must vote against defunding our Police Department’s budget until a more thorough plan has been proposed to make Richmond safer for everyone.

Please use this form to ask the City Councilmembers to keep us safe. Be sure to share this with your friends, family and neighbors to sign, too.

It offers a letter for residents to add their name and information which they can email through the website or print and mail it to the mayor and council members.

Subgroups Develop Recommendations in Secret

Gosney says he was not allowed to participate in any of the subgroups. “They wanted everyone to participate in two subgroups.” Everyone else was allowed to participate, “as far as I know.”

Asked why, he said, “anybody who disagrees with their positions is bullied into silence.”

“Half of the task force I think hates me,” Gosney shared. “The other half stay silent because they’re bullied into silence.”

“They were ad hoc subgroups, so they did not have to follow the Brown Act, did not have to give public notice and not have to take any public comment,” he explained. “The first time their recommendations were presented was at the task force meeting and the public had no opportunity to know what the recommendations were before the meeting.”

“The recommendations from one of the subgroups was rejected. They didn’t explain why,” Gosney shared. “That included training police on de-escalation techniques.”

Latest Recommendations Reduce Cuts to $6.3 million

“We’ve had multiple votes and made recommendations on a piecemeal basis,” Gosney explained. “In fact, they just took another vote the other night to reduce the recommended cuts down to about $6.3 million.”

Revised Proposed Reallocation sources from June 9, 2021 task force meeting.

That occurred at the task force’s June 9th meeting. Minutes of that meeting are not yet, available as of publication time. Torres-Walker

“Our new, revised proposed allocation of monies has been reduced by almost $4 million. There would be no layoffs and no additional hiring” by the Richmond Police Department, said task force member Deborah Small. She explained that the recommendations are “to better reflect our values and priorities as a city…so that the fire department and police department don’t consume as much of the resources as they do.”

Member Marisol Cantu mentioned, “using American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funds” and Soto clarified that “it’s a motion to amend the reallocation recommendation.”

Video screenshot from June 9, 2021 task force meeting recommendation from one subcommittee.

The motion was adopted on a 11-2-4-3-1 with four members abstaining, three members absent and one not voting.

Mayor Butt Explains Residency Issue, Opposes Recommendations

Asked for his thoughts on non-residents serving on his city’s task force, Mayor Tom Butt said, “The way this went down was the city council established this task force. By our charter, the mayor has the authority to make the appointments to all boards and commissions. I proposed that each of the six council members and I get three appointments. They made their recommendations and I appointed them. That’s where the 21-person task force came from. Turns out two of them were from out of town.”

Soto lives in Benicia, the mayor shared.

Regarding the task force’s recommendations Butt said, “I’m dead set against it. This whole thing has been a huge mistake. I think the vast majority of Richmond residents do not want to reduce the police force and don’t want to defund the police. But right now, the council is made up of a majority of radical progressives. It started most recently with the George Floyd’s death.”

“Nationwide it’s kind of rebounded. There were a lot of cities that went in this direction but they’ve kind of pulled back,” he continued.

“We have a police review commission and they recently voted 5-1 opposing defunding the police. And the people on that police commission are pretty progressive, yet they voted against it,” Butt stated. “There have been some social media polls run on it and it’s about 70% against and 30% for. But this is what they were elected to do and they’re probably going to do it.”

Next Door survey on task force’s proposed cuts to Richmond Police Department budget.

“As far as Tamisha goes, what they jumped on me about, I brought up the fact that there are two out-of-towners on the task force and questioned why that doesn’t make a lot of sense,” he said. “Both Tamisha and Andres have a bone to pick with police. They’ve both have had run-ins with police with Tamisha even sharing, I think on her website, that she was arrested 22 times and did time for arson.”

“They pointed out that her vast experience with law enforcement make her imminently qualified to serve on the task force and she worked in Richmond in the past,” Butt shared. “They have a re-entry facility in Richmond, and she has experience working with that. I’m not saying I agree just that’s what they said as the reason.”

“Why the people of Antioch elected someone like that to represent them,” he continued. “Maybe she thinks she can get more done in Richmond than in Antioch.”

In an online discussion, entitled “E-FORUM: City Manager Recommends Defunding Police” Butt wrote, “The biggest mistake I made, in a moment of excessive collegiality, was to agree to let each City Council member choose three members of the Reimagine Public Safety Task Force. The Richmond Charter vests the mayor with the sole power to make appointments to boards and commissions, subject to Coty Council approval. I should have paid more attention to who my colleagues were appointing.

I had hoped my colleagues would select people who represent all Richmond residents for an objective and balanced task force, but instead we got an organization dominated by anti-police radicals, including two who don’t even live in Richmond. Apparently, City Council members could not find task force members radical enough in Richmond, so they looked elsewhere. Task Force members Andres Soto and Tamisha Walker live in Benicia and Antioch, respectively, and both continue to nurse grudges against police that stem from incidents decades ago.

Soto had an unfortunate run-in with Richmond police way back in the last millennium when Isiah Turner was city manager and Joseph Samuels was police chief. that incident still defines his world view of law enforcement. Since then, the RPD world changed dramatically with Chief Chris Magnus, community policing and a precipitous drop in homicides, but Soto has never forgotten his alleged mistreatment by police, all of whom are now long gone.

Tamisha Walker lives in Antioch where she serves on the City Council, and works in Pittsburg. In her campaign pitch, Walker stated that she “… lives in District 1 and wants to make Antioch a home for her family for generations to come.” ( Walker continues to nurse a grudge that dates back over a decade when, by her own account, she was arrested 22 times and jailed for committing arson. More recently, she had another run-in with Antioch police, shown in a “tearful, profanity-laced video shortly after police stopped her 23-year-old and 13-year-old sons on Dec. 29 for riding off-road vehicles on city streets. She accused the officers of overreacting and trying to run over her 13-year-old son and later handcuffing him after her older son escaped.” (”

Council Discussion June 15th

The Richmond City Council will make their decision on the task force’s recommendations as part of their budget hearings during the June 15th meeting. The city manager is recommending cutting $2.3 million from the police budget.

According to the mayor, the Agenda Report for item H-1 on the June 15, City Council meeting provides the City Council six options for addressing the recommendations of the Reimagine Public Safety Task Force, all but one of which, Option F, defunds police by amounts ranging from $2.3 million to $10.28 million.

Option F is the best choice, but with funding coming from ARPA instead of $1.7M from “the elimination of the budgeted use for facilities improvements and $1.6M from budgeted expenditures for vehicles.”

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Frazier bill to eliminate Los Medanos Healthcare District passes Assembly on 70-0 vote

Friday, May 14th, 2021

Source: Office of Assemblymember Jim Frazier

Would transfer tax revenue to county, eliminate Antioch Mayor Thorpe’s executive director job

On Monday, May 10, 2021, Assemblymember Jim Frazier’s (D-Fairfield) bill, AB 903, to dissolve the Los Medanos Community Healthcare District, unanimously passed the Assembly floor on a 70-0 vote. The district serves Pittsburg and Bay Point.

AB 903 will require Contra Costa County to be the successor of all rights and responsibilities of the district. AB 903 will also require the county to complete a property tax transfer process to ensure the transfer of the district’s health-related ad valorem property tax revenues to the county in order to operate the Los Medanos Area Health Plan Grant Program.

The Los Medanos Hospital closed in 1994 but the district, covering Pittsburg and Bay Point, has continued to exist, collecting property taxes and using the funds to pay for staff and provide grants to local organizations, direct service programs including a community garden and district sponsored programs including REading ADvantage for early literacy. The district’s 2020-21 Fiscal Year budget projected $1.13 million in tax revenue and $1.3 million in expenses.

“This bill effectively creates hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for badly needed healthcare services in the region. A lot of this funding comes from the savings on LMCHD’s extremely high administrative expenses, which topped 60% in some years,” said Frazier.

The Contra Costa Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) has approved of the dissolution of the existing healthcare district, and Contra Costa County already serves the communities within district boundaries.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed critical shortfalls in healthcare and health services funding across the state. Communities of color have been especially impacted by the emergency,” said Frazier. “Now more than ever, we have seen the life-changing impacts of devoting every possible dollar to serving those we represent. AB 903 effectively creates hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for badly needed healthcare services in the region.”

“Comparable programs in the county average at about 15% admin cost, and rather than lose over half the funding to wasteful administrative expenses, AB 903 dedicates those dollars to the community,” Frazier added.

Part of the administrative expenses includes Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe’s executive director position which included an annual salary of $96,000 when he was hired in 2019, plus merit-based salary increases, according to the minutes of the Dec. 16, 2019 LMCHD Board meeting. He is also provided one hour of paid personal leave time for every 30 hours worked. When reached, previously about having his position eliminated if the bill is signed into law, Thorpe said he could find another job.

Previously, LMCHD Board President Patt Young challenged Frazier and his legislation, claiming he doesn’t represent but a portion of the healthcare district and that he is “taking political orders from your top political advisor in an effort to turn our district into a political slush fund for one of your top allies on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.” (See related article)

However, Assemblymember Tim Grayson, whose district includes most of the healthcare district, is the Principal couthor of the bill.

The bill requires passage by the State Senate and signing by the governor before it becomes law.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Contra Costa Supervisors approve $4.06 billion 2021-22 budget thanks to federal funds

Friday, May 14th, 2021

Source: CCC Administrator

Balance budget based on keeping 879 positions unfilled

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 on Tuesday to approve a $4.06 billion 2021-22 budget that increases staffing especially for public health, the sheriff-coroner and district attorney. It’s an increase of $80 million from the 2020-21 fiscal year budget of $3.98 billion.

During the 2021-22 fiscal year, county officials expect to spend $1.78 billion in local general funds and yet to be determined amount of Measure X sales tax funds that voters approved last November.

Supervisors learned President Biden’s American Rescue Plan will bring to Contra Costa County’s coffers $233 million over the next 24 months of which the first $116.5 million installment will be delivered later this month.

In addition, County Administrator Monica Nino said by keeping 879 positions unfilled the action will save the county $115 million and allows the county to achieve a balanced budget.  Nino cut one position from her staff, a person who was assigned to census outreach and activities, a position that is no longer needed since the census has been completed.

Among other staffing reductions or additions, three vacant positions in the Assessor’s Office will be eliminated, but the District Attorney’s Office will pick up one new position, a District Attorney Senior Inspector for Real Estate Fraud and Prosecution.

Twenty-five unfilled Employment and Human Services positions will be eliminated in Child Welfare and Community Services, but the Sheriff-Coroner can hire 10 deputies to be assigned to acute psychiatric and mental health in detention services.

Next fiscal year, 39 new mental health workers will be hired in Health Service’s to beef up the Mental Health Community Support Unit to enhance conservatorship and guardianship issues.

Source: CCC Administrator

Public Comments, Complaints

Supervisors once again got an earful of complaints from citizens that supervisors still plan to fund Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston’s request to hire 10 deputies to be assigned to mental wards at the Martinez jail and Richmond detention center.

Speakers, including the mother of Miles Hall, who was killed by a police officer in Walnut Creek, requested supervisors not approve Sheriff-Coroner Livingston’s staffing request but to consider donating the funds to the non-profit Miles Hall Foundation.

Dan Geiger of the Budget Coalition objected to the request from the Sheriff-Coroner to hire 10 deputies because Sheriff-Coroner Livingston will have hired 24 new deputies over a two-year span.  “If the Sheriff needs 10 more sheriff deputies, he needs to find the money elsewhere in the budget,” Geiger said.

District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond responded to the sheriff-coroner’s critics by saying the county is bond by the Prison Law Office settlement to spend $250 million over 5 years to improve jail conditions for prisoners requiring mental health services.

“The reason why 10 deputies are being hired is due to the settlement to improve jail conditions and to comply with the Prison Law Office settlement,” Gioia said.

During the upcoming 2021-2022 fiscal year, Supervisor Gioia requested county officials provide reports on the potential closures of the Marsh Creek Detention Facility that houses 28 inmates and is staffed with 15 sworn and five non-sworn Sheriff’s Office employees, and on the future of juvenile hall.

Countywide Curb Ramp Project Contract Awarded to Second Lowest Bidder

Instead of approving the lowest bid, supervisors approved the second lowest bid of $1,172,074 from Sposeto Engineering Inc. when the lowest bidder, Burch Engineering & Construction, Inc. had given timely written notice to the county of a “mistake made in the filing of Burch’s bid and that it be relieved of the bid.”

Supervisors unanimously approved the Sposeto Engineering bid for the countywide curb ramp project. Burch Engineering & Construction Inc. had submitted a bid of $875,954 for the curb ramp project before alerting the county about an error in its bid.

Three other bids that were submitted for the project were Kerox Engineering Inc., $1,390,408; J.J.R. Construction Inc., $1,398,702; and FBD Vanguard Construction, Inc., $1,406,522.

Pay Respects to County Counsel Anderson and former Public Works Director Shiu

Supervisors paused to pay respects to two county employees, county counsel Sharon Anderson, who passed away on April 28 and former county Public Works Department Director Maurice Shiu, 74, who passed away recently from Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer.

Shiu, who was born in Guangzhog, China on Dec. 6, 1946, but moved with his parents to Hong Kong where upon graduation from high school  moved to the United States to attend the University of California at Berkeley where he received Bachelor’s of Science and Masters of Science degrees in Civil Engineering. He met his wife Esther at UC Berkley.

During his distinguished career at Public Works, Shiu’s major accomplishments included the Willow Pass Grade Project and the State Route 4 Bypass Project. He was president of the Contra Costa County Engineers Association.

Shiu retired in 2008.  He is survived by his wife Ester, two children – Perkin and Vanessa and his four grandchildren – Jaden, Justin, Noelle and Gabriella.

“It’s a loss to our county and our department,” said current Public Works Department Director Brian Balbas. “Maurice was very tactful and active in transportation.  He was very good at preparing me for the challenges that I face as Public Works Director.”

“He worked on the Highway 4 widening,” said District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover. “He was so brilliant on that project.  He was very helpful with me and he had a great sense of humor.”

For the past 37 years Sharon Anderson, a resident of Benicia and a graduate from the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law, has been known as a dedicated and hardworking lawyer for the county. She died on April 30. The cause of death was not released.

“She was such a wonderful person,” said District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff.

Upon recognizing Anderson’s leadership and mentoring skills District 5 Supervisor Glover said the county is in great shape legally and with its successor, most likely Assistant County Counsel Mary Ann Mason.

“Sharon was so well-grounded. What I loved about Sharon was that she did not take herself so seriously,” said District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville.  “I am grateful we have Mary Ann Mason.”


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