Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

DeSaulnier to host 200th town hall meeting Dec. 9th 

Wednesday, November 29th, 2023

At Diablo Valley College

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier.

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10) has announced he will host his 200th Town Hall since coming to Congress on Saturday, December 9th at 1 p.m. at the Bistro at Diablo Valley College’s Pleasant Hill Campus.

“I am grateful for the continued engagement of the people of California’s 10th Congressional District and look forward to celebrating this milestone together,” said DeSaulnier.

During the town hall he will provide a recap of House Democrats’ efforts this past year to support the American people and a preview of his legislative priorities heading into the new year.

Town Hall at Diablo Valley College

Saturday, December 9th
1:00 – 2:00 PM
The Bistro

321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill

This event is open to the public and press and will be streamed live on Congressman DeSaulnier’s Facebook page.

To RSVP, submit a question, or request special accommodations, visit or call (925) 933-2660.

East Bay Regional Park District announces new Equity Officer

Monday, November 20th, 2023
New EBRPD Equity Officer José G. González. Photo: EBRPD

By Dave Mason, Public Information Supervisor, Public Affairs, East Bay Regional Park District

After a nationwide search, the East Bay Regional Park District announces the appointment of José G. González as its new Equity Officer to lead diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at the public agency. The East Bay Regional Park District’s mission is to preserve a rich heritage of natural and cultural resources and provide open space, parks, trails, safe and healthful recreation and environmental education. An environmental ethic guides the District in all of its activities. González begins in the role on December 18, 2023.

As the largest regional park district in the country, the park system spans Alameda and Contra Costa counties and serves an estimated 30 million visitors a year through park and trail access, visitor centers, and programs. Its workforce provides services that encompass 73 parks, 55 miles of shoreline, and over 1,300 miles of trails.

“We are pleased to share news of this pivotal role and welcome José González to help lead the East Bay Regional Park District to further strengthen its mission and impact and build upon successes as we continue to prioritize a strong, systemic approach to equity both in our workplace and services to the public,” said Sabrina B. Landreth, General Manager at the East Bay Regional Park District.

The new role will work to improve access to and use of the parks’ services for all community members and support inclusive programs, services, and public processes that reflect the tremendous diversity of our community. The position will also lead on programs and activities to help diversify our workforce, eliminate any systemic barriers to employment and promotion, and ensure equitable policies and best practices to make the agency an employer of choice as the District continuously seeks to build and retain a topnotch workforce.

“I am excited to join the East Bay Regional Park District as its inaugural Equity Officer. I look forward to bringing my experience from the local to the national level around equity in the conservation field and community in a way that showcases the opportunity and leadership that the Park District has been developing in this space for all of our community,” said González.

“Equity and inclusion begin from within, so I am thrilled and ready to support and lead the work that the Park District has prioritized for the agency to represent and reflect the diversity of its community,” added González.

González is a professional educator with training in the fields of education and conservation. He is the Founder of Latino Outdoors as well as a consultant at large. As a Partner at the Avarna Group and through his own consulting, his work focuses on Equity & Inclusion frameworks and practices in the environmental, outdoor, and conservation fields. He is also an illustrator and science communicator.

He received his B.A. at the University of California, Davis with teaching coursework at the Bilingual, Multicultural, Education Department at Sacramento State University. He received his M.S. at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment. He serves as a board member at Parks CA and Resource Media, and as a Commissioner for the California Boating & Waterways Commission, among other leadership volunteer roles.

According to his profile on, González is the Founder and Director Emeritus of Latino Outdoors. He is an experienced educator as a K-12 public education teacher, environmental education advisor, outdoor education instructor and coordinator, and university adjunct faculty. As a Partner in the Avarna Group and through his own consulting, his work focuses on Equity & Inclusion frameworks and practices in the environmental, outdoor, and conservation fields. He is also an illustrator and science communicator.

The East Bay Regional Park District is the largest regional park system in the nation, comprising 73 parks, 55 miles of shoreline, and over 1,300 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and environmental education. The Park District receives more than 25 million visits annually throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

Join the annual Counties Care Holiday Food Fight Challenge

Monday, November 20th, 2023

Help Contra Costa beat Solano County to win the Big Apple trophy

By Contra Costa County District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis

I would like to take a moment to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving and invite you to participate in the annual Counties Care Holiday Food Fight to raise money for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. 

Once again, in 2023 Contra Costa and Solano counties will compete to raise funds for the Food Bank. This friendly competition, spearheaded by individual county departments, has raised nearly $2.7 million since 2003. The county that raises the most funds per employee will win the Big Apple trophy. The trophy and bragging rights pass back and forth annually, but the real winners are the recipients of the funds you raise: those that go hungry in our communities. (See results from past years’ Food Fights)

Please help raise funds for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano with a donation today. Every dollar donated provides enough food to make two meals. Of every dollar donated, 97 cents go toward food programs.

Counties Care Holiday Food Fight Challenge!

WHO: Contra Costa and Solano County Residents

WHAT: Counties Care Holiday Food Fight 2023

WHEN: Now through December 31, 2023

The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano serves one in four residents and provides more than 3,400,000 meals monthly. While the Food Bank feeds our neighbors seven days a week, the need is felt even more around Thanksgiving, when a nourishing meal is the centerpiece of the day. 

As you plan your Thanksgiving menu, I hope you’ll consider our neighbors and donate to make the 2023 Holiday Food Fight a success.

To donate, click the link below or mail a check to our office.

Please make checks payable to: Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano

Mail to: Office of Supervisor Diane Burgis

Contra Costa County 

3361 Walnut Blvd. Ste 140, Brentwood, CA 94513

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

State Public Utilities Commission approves 12.8% PG&E rate increase

Friday, November 17th, 2023

Claims typical residential customer will pay $32.62 more for combined monthly electric and natural gas bill beginning January 1, 2024.


The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, resolved Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) General Rate Case (GRC), which covers its operational and infrastructure revenue requirement for 2023-2026. The decision marks a crucial step in fortifying the future of California’s electric grid while prioritizing customer affordability.

Based on the evidence presented, the CPUC today unanimously approved the Alternate Proposed Decision of Commissioner John Reynolds. This decision approves investments in the safety and reliability of PG&E’s energy services. Inflation and a significant investment in undergrounding electric lines ranked among the top drivers in PG&E’s request. Over the past year and a half, numerous parties reviewed PG&E’s GRC request and provided input on each cost category and related proposed expenditures.

“I am proud of today’s decision because it represents the CPUC’s commitment to finding a reasonable balance in the face of incredibly challenging circumstances and competing objectives,” said Commissioner John Reynolds, who is assigned to the proceeding. “This decision ultimately represents both an historic investment in PG&E’s electric and natural gas systems as well as an expectation that PG&E must continue to be safer and more efficient. I am grateful to the many parties, and the scores of CPUC staffers, for their help as we grappled with this decision.”

Today’s decision propels PG&E’s energy infrastructure and operations into the future, addressing critical objectives such as mitigating wildfire risk, enhancing safety and reliability, and anticipating evolving electric grid demands. This comprehensive approach not only ensures PG&E’s capacity to maintain a safe and reliable energy system with a dedicated workforce, but also positions California for a more resilient energy future in the face of climate change. Moreover, the decision reflects rigorous oversight over hundreds of programs, and reduces PG&E’s request to more accurately reflect forecasts for prudent use of ratepayer funds.

Among the key initiatives covered in the decision:

  • Wildfire System Enhancement and Undergrounding
    • Approves 1,230 miles of electric line undergrounding, as well as 778 miles of covered conductor, totaling 2,008 hardened miles. This represents an historic opportunity for PG&E to invest in safer, reliable improvements for its customers while also achieving economies of scale to drive down costs; the revised undergrounding total also provides PG&E with a bridge to a future phase of undergrounding planning, through the Senate Bill 884 program.
  • Vegetation Management
    • Approves PG&E investing approximately $1.3 billion in vegetation management to reduce wildfire ignition risk and improve reliability on PG&E’s electrical system.
  • Capacity Upgrades
    • Approves PG&E investing more than $2.5 billion in upgrading the electric distribution system from 2023-2026, which will help prepare the grid to support initiatives for enhanced building electrification and new interconnections for electric vehicle charging stations and new housing and businesses.

“Today’s decision balances a myriad of competing interests—affordability, feasibility, safety, and reliability,” said CPUC President Alice Reynolds. “And in the face of increasingly turbulent climate-driven weather events, it gives PG&E the opportunity to prove it can underground electric lines at scale.  This will allow PG&E to achieve economies of scale, drive down costs, and reduce wildfire risk.”

Setting the pathway for critical investments in PG&E’s system

For PG&E customers, this approval by the CPUC translates to a continued commitment to safe, reliable, and affordable energy services. The GRC ensures that every dollar invested contributes to more resilient energy infrastructure, offering customers lasting benefits. Moreover, stringent accountability measures are embedded within the decision, assuring customers that their investment yields tangible and accountable improvements in PG&E’s operations and services.

PG&E requested $15.4 billion for 2023; Thursday’s decision cut that amount substantially, by $1.8 billion. Today’s decision sets the 2023 revenue requirement at $13.5 billion, reflecting an 11 percent increase from the authorized 2022 revenue requirement. For the typical residential customer, their combined monthly electric and natural gas bill will increase by $32.62 or 12.8 percent, compared to PG&E’s request of $38.73 or 17.9 percent increase.

PG&E’s 2022 Authorized Revenue Requirement Proposed 2023
Revenue Requirement
Percent IncreaseDollar Increase
$12.2 billionPG&E Request$15.4 billion26%$3.2 billion
Decision$13.5 billion11%$1.3 billion

Customers can expect any changes to their bill to go into effect on January 1, 2024.

For further information on the proceeding, including today’s decision and a fact sheet, please visit the CPUC’s website.

About the California Public Utilities Commission

The CPUC regulates services and utilities, protects consumers, safeguards the environment, and assures Californians access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services. Visit for more information.

Contra Costa County accepting applications for next Treasurer-Tax Collector

Saturday, October 28th, 2023

Russell Watts retiring Dec. 31

Nov. 22 deadline to apply

Russell Watts. Source: CCC

Contra Costa County is recruiting for the next Treasurer-Tax Collector following the announcement of Russell Watts’ retirement, effective Dec. 31, 2023.

The current term for the elected office expires on Jan. 4, 2027. Government Code section 25304 requires that the Board of Supervisors appoint someone to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term.

“We appreciate Rusty’s service over the past 21 years and wish him well in this next chapter,” said Board Chair District I Supervisor John Gioia.

The Treasurer-Tax Collector is required to be a registered voter of Contra Costa County at the time of appointment by the Board of Supervisors. To qualify for appointment to the office, a person must also meet at least one of the four criteria:

• The person has served in a senior financial management position in a county, city, or other public agency dealing with similar financial responsibilities for a continuous period of not less than three years, including, but not limited to, treasurer, tax collector, auditor, auditor-controller, or the chief deputy or an assistant in those offices.

• The person possesses a valid baccalaureate, masters, or doctoral degree from an accredited college or university in any of the following major fields of study: business administration, public administration, economics, finance, accounting, or a related field, with a minimum of 16 college semester units, or their equivalent, in accounting, auditing, or finance.

• The person possesses a valid certificate issued by the California Board of Accountancy pursuant to Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 5000) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code, showing that person to be, and a permit authorizing that person to practice as, a certified public accountant.

• The person possesses a valid charter issued by the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts showing the person to be designated a Chartered Financial Analyst, with a minimum of 16 college semester units, or their equivalent, in accounting, auditing, or finance.

Contra Costa County is committed to racial equity, inclusion, and social justice within all county operations and is dedicated to the advancement of key initiatives and efforts in support of this essential mission. The ideal candidate will also possess a value system that engenders trust and confidence and embodies a commitment to racial equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Watts, who is leaving office to spend more time with family, served as the elected-Treasurer-Tax Collector for 13 years and as the Chief Deputy Treasurer-Tax Collector eight years prior.

“It has been a privilege and an honor to serve the residents of Contra Costa County,” Watts said. “I have met and worked with many wonderful people during my tenure and am very grateful for their support and trust.”

To apply visit

Please send the completed application and supplemental questionnaire to

Contra Costa County
Summary -Treasurer-Tax Collector Appointment Timeline
10/27/2023Recruitment commences
11/22/2023Recruitment closes (4 weeks)
11/27/2023Applications Disclosed/Special Meeting Agenda Published for 11/30/23
11/30/2023Special Meeting: Board of Supervisors Consider Applicants for Interview
12/12/2023Regular Meeting: Board of Supervisors Interview Applicants and Makes Appointment
12/14/2023Special Meeting: Continuation of Interviews (if needed)

Drafts of Contra Costa County General Plan and Climate Action Plan available for public review

Wednesday, October 25th, 2023

By Contra Costa County Department of Conservation and Development

From land use and housing to climate change and environmental justice, residents are invited to explore drafts of the General Plan and Climate Action Plan to ensure they reflect the community’s collective aspirations for Contra Costa County’s future.

View the plans and provide comments on the project website at through Jan. 31, 2024. 

The Public Review Draft of the Contra Costa County 2045 General Plan is the County’s primary policy tool to guide physical changes in the unincorporated areas over the next 20 years. It serves as the basis for planning- and infrastructure-related decisions made by County staff and decision makers. It is built around the themes of environmental justice, community health, economic development, and sustainability.

“Our General Plan establishes the policies that will move us towards a more equitable, healthier, safer and stronger future,” said John Gioia, Chair of the Board of Supervisors. “Public participation and input is vital in creating sound policy and guiding our public decisions on the issues that impact every facet of our lives.”

The Public Review Draft Climate Action Plan 2024 Update is the County’s strategic plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and to adapt to changing climate conditions, such as extreme heat, flooding, droughts, and wildfires, in the unincorporated areas of the County. The 2024 Climate Action Plan implements the General Plan policy guidance and addresses behaviors, regulations, and investment decisions that directly reduce GHG emissions or promote climate resilience.

Community feedback has been the driving force behind these planning efforts. County staff have held over 130 meetings with community members, advocates, stakeholders, and officials. This collaborative effort, including almost 50 community meetings and over 20 with community-based organizations, has shaped the shared vision for Contra Costa County.

BART seeks applicants for public seat on Audit Committee

Monday, October 23rd, 2023

BART is seeking applicants to serve as public members on its Audit Committee, which assists the Board of Directors in providing oversight for financial management, operational effectiveness, ethics and regulatory compliance. 

The Audit Committee is comprised of five voting members, including three Board Directors and two public members with governmental financial expertise. It meets at least four times per year, with authority to convene additional meetings as needed.

Criteria for the position include:

  • Expertise: Have expertise in governmental accounting, financial management, or Performance auditing, or conducting investigations of fraud, waste, or abuse;
  • Technical Knowledge: Have technical knowledge of accounting, financial or performance auditing, financial reporting, and internal controls, including an understanding of and ability to apply the Government Auditing Standards, accounting standards issued by the Government Accounting Standards Board, and a recognized internal control framework;
  • Professional Certification: Possess a relevant professional certification, such as Certified Public Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor, Certified Fraud Examiner, Certified Inspector General, Certified Internal Controls Auditor, Certified Information Systems Auditor, or a similar certification. Relevant experience may substitute for such certification in the Board’s discretion; 
  • No conflicts/recent affiliations: Within the past 10 years and other than in their role as a committee member, have no affiliation with the District or with a firm that has done business with the District.

Public members serving on the Audit Committee must be appointed by a majority of the full Board of Directors through this application process. Public members must possess the independence, experience, and collective technical expertise necessary to carry out the duties of the Audit Committee. Public members must be residents within the District’s boundaries and are subject to conflict-of-interest laws.

The application process has two phases. In Phase 1, all applications will be reviewed to meet all requirements and qualifications, letters of recommendations and any supplemental documents. In Phase 2, selected candidates will be invited to appear before the Board of Directors to briefly explain their interest in serving on the committee, followed by a Board vote.

Download the application formAudit Committee Public Member appointment rules, and the  Audit Committee Charter.

Please contact the Office of the District Secretary with any questions via email at

Following split vote during contentious Contra Costa Supervisors appointment of new member as vice chair, board reverses course two weeks later

Wednesday, October 18th, 2023
Supervisors Ken Carlson and Candace Andersen debate the appointment of the Board Vice Chairperson during the Oct. 3, 2023 meeting. Video screenshots.

Rotate in a current, female member or appoint a new and the first openly gay male member of the board were choices offered

Carlson requested revote not wanting “anyone to feel marginalized” and for the “rotation of the representation of our districts”

Andersen instead appointed Vice Chair for 2024

By Allen D. Payton

Identity politics were center stage during their meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023, when the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors held a contentious discussion and vote on appointing new member, District 4 Supervisor Ken Carlson as vice chair instead of District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen. Both she and District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis wanted Andersen in the position who argued it was a matter of rotation from district to district and appointing a woman versus a man. But the three men outvoted the two women and appointed Carlson, as the first openly gay member to one of the board’s two leadership positions, as pointed out repeatedly by current Board Chair and District 1 Supervisor John Gioia.

All five supported District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover to be appointed board chair for the coming year.

But then during their much Oct. 17th meeting at the request of Supervisor Carlson, the board reconsidered appointing him Vice Chairperson with a much more conciliatory discussion.

“I appreciate the opportunity to bring this back for further discussion. I want to share my appreciation and gratitude to those who reached out. I appreciate all the opinions and all the thoughts that came to me, and everyone was heard,” he stated. “Prior to our October 3rd meeting Chair Gioia called me to let me know there is this tradition of a board proving an incoming supervisor an opportunity to be the Chair in their first term and therefor he was going to move my name forward as vice chair.”

“You know, I was honored and had no reason to believe that it would become controversial,” Carlson continued. “I came to the original discussion with an open mind and goal to work collaboratively across this board. But when identity was brought up I got emotional. I got protective. I have a responsibility to represent District 4. But being the first openly LGBTQ member of this board, I feel a greater obligation as well, to respect, represent and protect the LGBTQ community, my community. So, it’s never been, it never will be my intention in any work I do but here at the board specifically, to make anyone feel marginalized. I know what that feels like. So, I don’t want our work to do that.”

“This board has done a tremendous job over the last several years working to make our communities more inclusive and more accepting and we need to continue that work. There’s more to be done,” Carlson stated. “What I did get out of this was there’s no specific rotation. But it has been a female dominated board for the past 16 years until I came along, and I feel like I’m being very disruptive. The new guy comes and changes things and the dynamic. But it did show a disparity in the rotation of the representation of our districts. And that is really important to me.”

“Right now, across this country…we’ve seen what political polarization can do and how it impacts the work we actually can get accomplished,” he continued. “So, I think it’s very important that we are better than that. So, I apologize and want to make it very well known I want to work together, collaboratively because that’s how I think we’re going to accomplish more.”

Gioia then offered his thoughts saying, “When we all walked into our meeting two weeks ago…there were different interpretations…into how the board implemented its rotation policy. Unfortunately, the language turned into more personal…and we focused on the differences than how do we work together. Several of  us…did not agree with the framing and characterization that this was a men versus female thing. I think that is unfortunate.”

Glover spoke next saying, “I think it’s important that we recognize this board has worked collaboratively as a whole. Being someone who has been marginalized down through the years I certainly want to speak to the fact that we do need equity and we do need fairness.”

Burgis spoke next and said, “I always look at how do we prevent this from happening in the future. One of the things that Contra Costa County has a reputation for is to have a collaborative board. For me, again it was about districts. What I would like to make sure is that…I celebrate Ken. I supported him right from the bat. I’m so proud that we do have an LGBTQ leader and a really good human being and a smart person and someone that cares about the community. But I also wanted to stand up for my district. It did dissolve…sometimes we get defensive, or we get hurt feelings and anger turns into energy because we feel vulnerable and that’s what we saw. But I’m so proud of this board and appreciate that we can fix things because we can model that for the rest of the world.”

“Ken, I do want to thank you for bringing this back,” Andersen stated. “I know everyone on this board has been hearing from a lot of people…who also said there was a clear rotation. Trades took place but by assent, by agreement, by people cooperatively saying we want to make this change. It was collaborative. It was something we all agreed to. There’s certainty and there’s fairness. I was very, very surprised that my position, Diane’s position in rotation had been offered up to honor Ken. And I agree there are many, many ways we can honor Ken as the first openly gay member of this board. But I was uncomfortable that my turn in the rotation had been offered to him without any discussion to me, without any approach to me.”

“We have always worked collaboratively the majority of our votes have been 5-0 votes,” she continued. “So, I appreciate this is coming back…and to Ken, thank you for helping us right the board that was sort of spinning of our axis. I will always put the good of the county, the good of the board ahead of my feelings. Of course, I’m hopeful that we will be voting to go back to the original rotation.”

“I’m just looking at the facts of the chart,” Gioia added. “Under the Brown Act we can’t talk to each other. That’s what also creates the issue and makes it hard.”

“This was to me not a female, male, LGBTQ, straight, whatever kind of issue,” said Burgis. “This was about each district has an opportunity to be represented in the chair position and it should rotate every five years. I’m hoping that we can go back to this rotation.”

Carlson then made “the motion to nominate Supervisor Candace Andersen to be our Vice Chair in 2024.”

It was seconded by Burgis.

Following several public comments, Burgis responded to one of them saying, “It’s about equity for all the districts…so we can provide the services in all the districts.”

“When we were called misogynistic..I think that was totally out of bounds,” Gioia added. “That was a serious comment to make.”

“I’m going to try to do better, and I think all of us want to do better,” Burgis responded.

“Would you have brought this forward if we were both men?” Andersen asked. “It was the totality of the circumstances that made me, as a woman feel marginalized and feel that this was more than just a political decision which troubled me that we were even having, it be a political decision.”

“And as I said, I look forward to Ken continuing to be recognized for his status as the first openly gay member of this board,” she continued. “And I’m hoping that all we’ve been through is going to lead to much more positive ways of communicating where none of us feel marginalized. When we represent a district we know what the needs are.”

“I respect yours and everybody’s point of view on all of this,” Gioia responded.

The vote followed and the motion passed unanimously 5-0.

Board Chair John Gioia reacts as he listens to Supervisor Diane Burgis during discussion of the vice chair appointment on Tuesday, October 3, 2023. Video screenshot

October 3rd Meeting Board Discussion and Vote

“Over the last 20 years, there’s been a practice of moving the vice chair into the chair’s position. That has been done every year,” said Board Chair Gioia. “The vice chair we rotate amongst members so that the person who had it most distant past…rotates into the position of vice chair, then we insert the newly elected person into the rotation. They generally become the chair in their third or fourth year in office.”

“Actually, that’s not how it worked for me…you guys skipped me completely and I was fine with that,” District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis said.

“Burgis became chair in her fifth year in office,” Gioia confirmed. “Of the seven new vice chairs one became chair in her fifth year and the other six became chair in their third or fourth year.”

“Can I also point out that in the last 10 years District 3 has been chair one time?” Burgis pointed out.

“District 1 has been Chair three times, District 2 two times, District 3 one time, District 4 three times and District 5 two times,” she added. “In the last 10 years.”

Burgis then moved to have District 2 be the vice chair.

“And I would make Federal chair. He has been vice chair, now three years,” said District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen.

“Yes,” Burgis responded.

“And I would second that motion,” Andersen added.

“One of the hallmarks of this board is that we have sort of followed a rotation and one of respect…that we act with decorum, and we’ve been respectful of each other,” she continued. “I think it’s important we not come up with sort of a new system, or what someone might perceive as gamesmanship to alter that order.”

“I’ll say it…I think there are two practices that have gone on…that we rotate among existing board members based on who had it least…longest who would be Supervisor Andersen who is next up,” Gioia responded. “But we also have a practice over 20 years of incorporating new members. So, it is an uncontroverted fact that over 20 years new board members come into the rotation and that causes the individual who would normally get it of existing board members to wait an extra year.”

“Why didn’t you advocate for that for me when I was new on the board if that was an important thing?” Burgis asked.

“I don’t recall the discussion why that happened,” Gioia said.

“I do,” Andersen interjected. “It was agreed that a new member, there is a firehose of information, there is a learning curve, and it makes most sense to have a new member to have that person to rotate to the end of the progression so that by the time they reach that chair position they will have a much better understanding of the issues in the county.”

Andersen then made an emphatic plea to be appointed vice chair for the next 12 months.

“Since I’ve been on this board for the last…11 years never once have we suggested that we bring someone in new,” she continued.

Speaking to Carlson, Andersen stated, “I like Ken. Ken, you’re wonderful, I’m delighted you’re on the Board. But to sort of say to these women on this board, ‘we’re going to push you back a little further’ to me is a little disingenuous in this current climate that we’re in. As I look at the strides women make to have men on the board say, ‘nope. You know what? It’s really your turn but we’re not going to let you have your turn.’ And one of the policies that is articulated in this is that while we’re in a four-year term we have the opportunity to have a leadership opportunity. I will be missing that if you skip over me and tell me I do not get my term as vice chair and my term as chair the following year in this four-year term I will not have that opportunity and I will be very concerned if we move in that direction.”

Burgis then said, “I just thought we would continue the process based on the rotation. I do feel that each district, whoever is representing them, that they do have the benefit of having a chair. To me the rotation is not only the person but it’s also the district. So, my expectation was that District 2 would be the vice chair next year…and that would put us back into the rotation.”

Gioia then reiterated his early comments about the practices over the past 20 years saying, “The new Supervisor has been inserted into the rotation in their third or fourth year in office.”

Carlson was elected last year and will be in his second year in office, next year.

At Gioia’s request Burgis restated her motion to appoint Glover chair and Andersen vice chair.

“If you look at that, while a new supervisor may have been brought in, the districts were fairly consistent,” Andersen stated reading off the order, “5, 4, 1, 2, 3, then 5, 3, 1, 2, 4. That is my concern.”

“There will be some that say, and I agree, that we have our first, also gay supervisor, out openly gay LGBT member,” Gioia stated. “There will be some that would say that ‘it is time an LGBT member is chair of our board’. And I believe that either approach is consistent with practice. There’s not some hard, fast rule and anyone that says there’s a hard fast rule, they’re wrong.”

“In the last 20 years you have served six times,” Burgis pointed out.

“Well, I’m also the longest serving member of the board,” Gioia responded.

Referring to a list of chairs and vice chairs over the last 23 years Gioia said she requested, Burgis reiterated, “No, no, no. I’m saying District 1 has been the chair six times, District 2 five times, District 3 four times, District 4 five times and District 5 four times. District 1 has definitely benefited.”

“Diane, let me be really clear. Let’s do the math,” Gioia responded while raising his voice. “All of us, generally have become chair every four years or so. I’m in my 25th year. If you divide that by four that comes out to about…six times. I’m not getting it more than…you’re characterizing it that I’m getting it more than I should be getting it. That is untrue.”

“My point, one of them has been, each district gets an opportunity. Not each person. Each district, not each person, is usually what it is,” Burgis responded. “I didn’t want to turn this into a fight. I just thought…”

“The rotation,” Andersen interjected. “I think we have all, since I’ve been on the board, there’s been a rotation. Here, on a county board of supervisors, where we each represent over 200,000 people…we each deserve an opportunity, in our right time, to be chair,” she continued. “And by skipping over someone I think you do lose…the opportunity for that district to have their voice heard in a different way.”

“Like I said, I love that Ken is on this board, I appreciate that he represents so well the LBGTQ community,” Andersen stated. “But to me, it’s the representation of our districts and given that District 4 was represented I’d like to suggest Ken rotate in at the appropriate time.”

Gioia then made a substitute motion, “that Supervisor Glover become chair and Supervisor Carlson become vice chair.”

“I’ll second that,” Carlson said.

“Let me say why I made that motion,” Gioia shared. “The person who had it the farthest back is top on the last and that would be Supervisor Andersen. Over the history on this chart, new members occasionally push down an existing member for a year. I respectfully disagree that you’re saying that this is out of rotation. The bottom line is it’s up to three members of this board. And I do think it’s about time that an LGBT member become chair of our board. We’ve never had one.”

“Appointing Ken as vice chair gets him into the rotation, the same year that Supervisor Bonilla and Supervisor Piepho became chair which was their third year in office,” he argued. “So, it’s not out of practice.”

“It’s out of district and that is the big difference,” Andersen reiterated. “There was some significant changes. Mark DeSaulnier was elected to the Assembly. That’s when Susan Bonilla came in.”

Gioia cut her off saying, “there’s a motion let’s go to public comments.”

Burgis then asked for clarification about the process for making motions and substitute motions.

County staff responded, “generally, the board’s practice is you vote on the second motion, first.”

Carlson then said, “Little did I know I would be the topic, when I came in this morning.”

Gioia then interjected, “I’m trying to show…respect within this rotation.

“John, you speak on behalf of women, often,” Burgis stated. “So, I would have thought you would have spoken up on behalf of me if that was such an important…” referring to her waiting until her fifth year on the board before being appointed chair.

“I don’t recall the disagreement,” Gioia shared.

“I don’t think it was ever discussed,” Burgis responded.

“Another woman got it instead of you, Diane,” Gioia stated. “That was Supervisor Andersen. So, I don’t understand. Supervisor Andersen was the chair the year before you. So, I’m not sure of the argument.”

“As we’ve had these discussions, John, ever since I’ve been in office it has been with a rotation,” Andersen reiterated. “It has never been an equity. It has been the camaraderie of this board and it is breaking rotation and there is no other way to say it. What you’re essentially saying to Diane and myself, ‘you have to go behind the men on this board’ and I will that because that is exactly what is happening.”

“You’re welcome to say that. That’s not what we did last time. In the year Supervisor Burgis said she would have been chair in 2020 it was Supervisor Andersen,” Gioia responded. “There wasn’t a favor of a man over a woman.”

“It was because she was newly elected,” Andersen responded. “Similarly, it was assumed Ken would come into the rotation particularly in the case, since District 4 had just been chair. It was a natural coming to the end of the rotation. Not because Ken is Ken or any other factor. That’s just how we did it.”

Carlson Weighs In

Carlson, a former member of the Pleasant Hill City Council which usually rotates their mayor and vice mayor each year, then said, “I appreciate the conversation and I did not personally, see a pattern. And if we’re locked into a pattern then we take away the opportunity and the flexibility to do other things. Would it be to not recognize Federal or Karen or the newly elected as they come onto or leave the Board of Supervisors? Because we’re strictly locked into a rotation. Because I don’t understand, Candace, your comment about your time. When is your time? Is it strictly based on your district number and the rotation? Or is it based on we want to give everybody the opportunity to be in the chair’s seat at some point during their term? And it’s hard because we’re a body of five and there’s only four years in your term. But if we’re locked into a rotation then we take ourselves out of the flexibility be of, one…someone who might not be the appropriate individual to represent us based on behavior or other aspects.”

“We modified the rotation,” Andersen responded.

“But how do you do that when you don’t make an exception for the new person or the LGBTQ person or you make it all about gender?” Carlson asked.

Gioia then opened up to public comment and only two call-in speakers shared their thoughts. There was no members of the public in the chambers who spoke on the matter.

Glover Disappointed With Discussion

Before the board vote, Glover offered his thoughts saying, “Let me just say that the gratitude I offered last year has led to a greater discussion that I’ve ever seen in terms of how we get to chair and vice chair. I don’t remember ever having these type of discussions and it’s somewhat saddening that we are having one. I think that this group has acted as a team for all the years that I’ve sit here and I want to remain that way. There’s too much work to get done to have this ceremonial position would get in the way of it.”

“We made history today with our appointment of the co-directors of Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice. And I think it’s history to also appoint as vice chair, for the first time, our first LGBTQ+ member of the board,” Gioia stated. “There’s been a lot of hate going around in all areas, with anti-semitic, racist and also anti-LGBTQ and I think it is important. I think this is historic, as well and I think we should celebrate it. And I look forward to serving with Supervisor Andersen as the vice chair the following year. I’m optimistic you’re going to be re-elected. We’re going to get to serve with you as vice chair and chair. It’s not taking away the opportunity for Supervisor Andersen to serve again as vice chair and chair. It just changes that timing by that one year. And I think we should just celebrate the history of having the first gay member be an officer of this board.”

“And I would respectfully disagree,” Andersen stated. “And I do feel that Diane and I are being marginalized. I will be voting no on this item.”

“I am abstaining,” Burgis shared. “My goal is to try and have a team that is all unanimous. I think I have been a team player. I’m very disappointed that my colleagues didn’t advocate for me to have that opportunity. Everybody should be treated that way. So, I do feel slighted because you didn’t take on this as something important in the past. So, I’m abstaining.”

“So, because I voted for Supervisor Andersen instead of you, that you’re criticizing me?” Gioia asked.

“You didn’t advocate for me to be able to be a vice chair in my…” Burgis responded before Gioia cut in.

“Neither did Supervisor Andersen,” he said.

“It was important to you,” Burgis shot back.

“Let me be honest. It was a unanimous vote in 2019 to appoint Supervisor Andersen as the vice chair,” Gioia explained. “She didn’t vote for you.”

“No. Because we had a rotation,” Andersen responded.

“Let me be clear. She didn’t advocate for you. So, why are you criticizing me?” Gioia asked Burgis.

Andersen again explained the discussion about giving new members, “the opportunity to learn more, to be on the board, to be on all the committees. Just as we do on CCTA (Contra Costa Transportation Authority)…where you don’t just jump into the leadership role until you’ve had that experience.”

“So, I do find it disingenuous to say we’d never had a rotation that we’ve never discussed this,” she continued.

“I do take it personally. So, let’s just move along,” Burgis added.

“I apologize. It’s not intended to be personal,” Gioia responded. “In fact, when we voted for two others to enter their third year, they were both women. Supervisor Piepho and Supervisor Bonilla.”

“And there were extenuating circumstances,” Andersen interjected.

“And I voted for both of them,” Gioia added. “So, I think it is really unfortunate for you to criticize based on gender. I voted for two women to come in in their third year.”

“Now, you’re voting to go over two women,” Burgis stated.

“Yep. So, you’ve changed,” Andersen added.

“There’s an honest difference of opinion,” Gioia responded.

“I think that in point of leadership some of the regional committees Ken was appointed to…he has displayed leadership,” Glover shared. “I wish this conversation was a little bit different. But if we talk about leadership and coming up to speed, those are positions that’s normally gone to individuals that have…”

Andersen spoke over him saying, “And I will point out that John made those appointments even though some of us requested to sit on those boards.”

Burgis said, “I hold Ken very highly.”

“People are starting to change history,” Gioia shot back. “Supervisor Andersen…I did not pick someone over you.”

“The discussion we had several times, John is I would much rather serve on the transportation board…and that’s the appointment you did not make,” Andersen responded.

“That’s correct,” Gioia stated.

“So, with the role as chair comes the opportunity to make very important appointments,” said Andersen. “And I think that’s one of the things that by bypassing my turn in the rotation then I will be losing that opportunity. I don’t know if that is behind this.”

“No,” Gioia interjected.

“So, I do feel it’s a little bit contrived, John and I don’t appreciate the process that you’ve orchestrated,” Andersen stated.

“Well, let me just say, I’ve said this, I think we’re making history by appointing an LGBT member of our board for the first time as an officer and I would hope you would recognize that, as well,” Gioia responded. “And I appreciate there’s different points of view, here. There’s not hard feelings. But I do feel the characterization which I think is inaccurate is that we’re breaking some practice.”

“Not the case the last 12 years,” Andersen reiterated. “The two times we considered Federal remaining vice chair we made it very clear it is out of rotation but we’re going to allow him to go ahead.”

The last time was done to allow former District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff to serve as Chair in 2022 during her final year on the board.

“That really was the practice, John,” Andersen continued. “And so, calling it something else is, certainly you can try and justify it but you really, it’s disingenuous to say you’re doing anything other than skipping over Diane and me and that’s what it is.”

“Each of you will be in the rotation, just one year later,” Gioia reiterated. “No one is skipping over your turn.”

“Let’s just finish,” Burgis stated.

The two ladies’ arguments were of no avail as the board then voted on the substitute motion, and it passed 3-1-1 with Andersen voting against and Burgis voting to abstain. But as mentioned above, they prevailed as their efforts were successful two weeks later.