Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Public workshops, hearings announced for Draft Plan Bay Area 2050

Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

Two additional online public hearings have been scheduled for:

Hearing 2
Tuesday, June 22, 5:30 p.m.
Passcode: 177176

Webinar ID: 812 0345 4209

Hearing 3
Wednesday, July 7, 1:30 p.m.
Passcode: 908706

Webinar ID: 854 5833 8822

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

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

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

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


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

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California court rules in favor of churches, sets state-wide injunction against Newsom’s “discriminatory restrictions”

Monday, May 24th, 2021

Governor must pay $1.35 million to reimburse churches’ attorney’s fees and costs

Photo courtesy of Liberty Counsel

By Liberty Counsel

On Monday, May 17, 2021 a California District Court entered an order approving Liberty Counsel’s settlement of the lawsuit on behalf of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry against California Gov. Gavin Newsom. The full and final settlement was approved today the District Court and thus is the first state-wide permanent injunction in the country against COVID restrictions on churches and places of worship.

This is the first state-wide permanent injunction in the country against COVID restrictions on churches and places of worship. Under the agreed state-wide permanent injunction, all California churches may hold worship without discriminatory restrictions.

Under the settlement, California may no longer impose discriminatory restrictions upon houses of worship. The governor must also pay Liberty Counsel $1,350,000 to reimburse attorney’s fees and costs.

The settlement references several Supreme Court opinions, including Harvest Rock Church v. Newsom, that include a long list of similar nonreligious activity the High Court set forth as comparable gatherings. These include grocery stores, warehouses, big box stores, transportation, infrastructure, telecommunications, and much more. In other words, churches and places of worship may never again have discriminatory restrictions placed on them that are not equally applied to a long list of “critical infrastructure” or “essential services” as outlined in several Supreme Court precedents cited in the settlement agreement.

Pastor Ché Ahn, founder of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry, received a letter from the Pasadena Criminal Prosecutor threating him, the staff, and anyone who attends church with daily criminal charges each up to one year in prison, and daily fines of $1,000. Despite this intense opposition, Pastor Ahn stood against these unconstitutional executive orders. He risked criminal charges and fines, as did those who worked for the church and those who attended. Thanks to his leadership, every church in California is now free.

Newsom originally imposed the most severe restrictions on churches and even home Bible studies and worship in the nation. Now after multiple reprimands from the U.S. Supreme Court, including two on behalf of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry, Gov. Newsom will be the first governor in America to have a permanent injunction against him on behalf of houses of worship.

This case involved three emergency injunctions pending appeal at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, two oral arguments before a panel of three judges, two orders from the U.S. Supreme Court, including an injunction pending appeal issued by the High Court on February 5, 2021.

The timeline for actions regarding California’s worship restrictions include:

March 19, 2020 – May 25, 2020: No Worship

May 26, 2020 – July 12, 2020: 25 percent capacity but no more than 100 people

July 13, 2020 – April 8, 2021: No worship for over 90 percent of California

April 9, 2021 – April 12, 2021: Restrictions on home Bible study lifted but not on singing and chanting

April 13, 2021 – May 9, 2021: Mandatory attendance limits are lifted

May 17, 2021 – and Forever: Discriminatory restrictions on churches permanently removed

Under the settlement agreement, discriminatory restrictions on worship and religious gatherings may no longer be applied to churches and places of worship.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court granted an emergency petition for an injunction pending appeal on behalf of New York City synagogues and Roman Catholic churches in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo and Agudath Israel v. Cuomo. On December 3, 2020, the High Court granted the petition by Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry, setting aside all the lower court orders and directing them to follow its ruling in Roman Catholic Dioceses. When the lower courts refused to strike down California’s restrictions, the case returned to the Supreme Court.

On February 5, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry by enjoining California’s total ban on indoor worship. This was the second time Liberty Counsel appealed to the High Court on behalf of these churches. The ruling also included South Bay United Pentecostal Church.

On April 9, the U.S. Supreme Court granted an emergency injunction pending appeal in Tandon v. Newsom and ruled that Gov. Newsom’s restrictions on home Bible study and worship violate the First Amendment.

Pastor Ché Ahn said, “This is a momentous day for churches in America! After nearly a yearlong battle defending our religious freedoms, our lawsuit has reached a permanent settlement in our favor. I am thrilled to see the complete reversal of the last discriminatory restrictions against churches in California, knowing this case will act as a precedent, not only in our state, but also in our nation. We are incredibly grateful to our attorney Mat Staver and to Liberty Counsel for their relentless support and fierce determination. Most of all, we give all the glory to God for moving mightily in this historic season!”

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Governor Gavin Newsom’s COVID restrictions intentionally discriminated against churches while providing preferential treatment to many secular businesses and gatherings. The Supreme Court intervened multiple times to provide relief. California may never again place discriminatory restrictions on churches and places of worship. Gov. Gavin Newsom has now been permanently quarantined and may not violate the First Amendment rights of churches and places of worship again. We are grateful for Pastor Ché Ahn, Harvest Rock Church, and Harvest International Ministry. Pastor Ahn’s leadership and courage has toppled the tyranny and freed every pastor and church in California.”


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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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DeSaulnier to host Congressional Grants Workshop Friday, May 14

Tuesday, May 11th, 2021

Join me as I host a Congressional Grants Workshop on Friday, May 14th from 12:30 p.m to 2:30 p.m. I have invited federal representatives from the below agencies to attend and share their expertise:

  • Department of Justice
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • National Endowment for the Humanities
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • Small Business Administration
  • U.S. Department of Labor
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Institute of Museum and Library Services

Don’t miss this opportunity to find out what grants may be available to you from these federal agencies. I want to offer constituents who represent nonprofits, small businesses, and local community organizations a window into the content and availability of federal grants. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions concerning grants and find out what services and funding resources may be available to them.

To RSVP, email Grants Coordinator Taylor Kimber at or call (510) 620-1000.


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Applicants sought for Contra Costa Advisory Council on Equal Employment Opportunity

Thursday, May 6th, 2021

The Contra Costa County Advisory Council on Equal Employment Opportunity (ACEEO) has one (1) vacant Community seat open to applicants. The successful candidate must reside within Contra Costa County and have an interest in equal employment matters. The ACEEO meets the fourth Friday of each month from 9:30 a.m. -11:30 a.m. except for holidays.

The ACEEO assists with the implementation of the County’s Equal Employment Opportunity and Contracting Programs and serves as an advisory committee to the Board of Supervisors. The Council reviews the Equal Employment Opportunities Program and recommends actions to facilitate the attainment of the County’s goals for equal employment opportunities regardless of gender, and race/ethnicity.

The Board of Supervisors established the ACEEO on July 9, 1991. The Council has thirteen (13) seats representing the following groups:  4 Community seats; 2 Labor seats; 2 Management seats; 1 Educational seat; 1 Disability seat; 1 Business seat; 1 Veteran seat; and 1 Labor/Trade seat.

Application forms can be obtained from the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors by calling (925) 655-2000 or visiting the County webpage at  Applications should be returned to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, 1025 Escobar St., 1st Floor, Martinez, CA 94553 no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, May 31, 2021. Applications can also be emailed to

Applicants should plan to be available for public interviews on June 7, 2021. Due to COVID-19, interviews will be conducted via Zoom.  For further information about the ACEEO, please contact Antoine Wilson at or (925) 335-1455. You can also visit the web page at


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Antioch Council adopts three more police reforms, homeless resident services guidelines

Tuesday, April 27th, 2021

The Antioch City Council and city clerk included a new timer for public comments during their meeting on Tuesday, April 27, 2021. Video screenshot.

With little to no discussion council on final resolutions council approves police lateral hiring disqualifying factors, training matrix additions and notification protocol;  uses new on-screen timer for public comments.

By Allen Payton

During their meeting Tuesday night, April 27, 2021, the Antioch City Council voted to approve three additional police reforms and homeless services guidelines all on 5-0 votes. But before dealing with the major issues on the agenda, when addressing the proclamation entitled Honoring Our Elders Month, May 2021, Thorpe was severely criticized during public comments and responded with a dig at those who made them. He said, “OK. While others continue to live in the past, we will move on to the next proclamation.” Following the mayor’s comments, District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker smirked.

Although the reforms were discussed during their marathon meeting on February 26, there was little to no discussion by council members on the final resolutions they adopted during the Tuesday meeting. Nor were any findings offered by council members or staff to demonstrate the need for the reforms. (See related article)

As part of the consent calendar, the council also voted 5-0 to approve spending an additional $60,000 on homelessness consultant Focus Strategies. Asked why, when the city has already hired an Unhoused Resident Coordinator, District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock responded, “to get all the programs in place.” Unhoused Resident Consultant Contract Extension

Approve Disqualifying Factors for Lateral Police Hires

With just a few public comments and no discussion by council members, but after staff conferred with the two Antioch Police Department bargaining units, the resolution adopting disqualifying factors for lateral police hires was approved on a 5-0 vote, with a rare time that District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica moved approval and District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock seconding the motion of one of Thorpe’s police reforms. APD Disqualifying Factors for Lateral Hires

Approve Training Matrix Additions

Following a few comments by the public, mostly in support but one opposing, the council took up the issue of adding language  to the Antioch Police Department’s training matrix, which will include annual, public review by the city council. APD Officer Training Matrix topics

“Having all the good police officers I’ve ever met, they always want more training, and I support more training,” Barbanica said before making a motion to approve and Ogorchock seconding, again.

“Implicit bias, effectively is racial bias training, isn’t it?” Thorpe asked Police Chief T Brooks before the vote.

“They’re separate. Racial bias could be more of an explicit bias. They’re similar. But they can be separate,” Brooks responded.

One of the other additions that will be required in the training matrix for Antioch police officers is procedural justice. According to the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services, procedural justice is based on four pillars: fairness in the processes, transparency in actions, opportunities for voice and impartiality in decision making.

The motion passed 5-0.

Notification Protocol Approved

Following a few public comments, including members of Angelo Quinto’s family asking for public communication to be included in the protocol, Barbanica made a motion to formally approve disqualifying factors associated with the lateral hiring of officers by the Antioch Police Department. However, no public notification requirements were included in the protocol. Those will be considered later, according to Thorpe. APD Notification Protocol 

The motion was approved on a 5-0 vote.

Approve Unhoused Resident Services Policy Guidelines

After the city council set aside $531,174 for new homelessness response efforts in November 2019 – with $140,000 already allocated for mobile showers and toilets, trash and sharps disposal, laundry services, motel vouchers, and pilots for safe parking programs and warming centers – and accepting five FEMA trailers that remain unused, hiring an Unhoused Resident Coordinator and contracting with a consultant at a cost of $133,000 so far, the council finally adopted policy guidelines for unhoused resident services. Antioch Policy Guidelines for Unhoused Resident Services

“This is essentially a first step,” Barbanica said. “To identify and bring services in and get people into housing. Does this include renting a hotel for housing? It does not.”

“We are trying to put together a pathway,” he continued. “This is how do we help people, right now, today hopefully get into long-term housing.”

“I think that, my belief is we need our own CORE Team and I ask that be added to the budget,” Ogorchock stated.

With no more discussion, Barbanica moved approval of the guidelines, with Ogorchock offering the second. The motion passed on a 5-0 vote.

The council then discussed additional homeless related ideas including a human rights commission, all of which will be considered in committee.


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Contra Costa County seeks applicants for Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council

Friday, April 2nd, 2021

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors is seeking applicants interested in serving on its 20-member Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council (JJCC).  The JJCC currently has vacancies for two (2) At-Large Youth and one (1) At-Large Community-Member Representatives.

The JJCC is a multiagency advisory body that informs the development and implementation of a countywide juvenile justice plan composed of several critical parts, including, but not limited to an assessment of existing law enforcement, probation, education, mental health, health, social services, drug and alcohol and youth services resources which specifically target both at-promise as well as system-involved youth, and their families. The JJCC will also coordinate on a countywide basis the work of those governmental and non-governmental organizations engaged in activities designed to reduce the incidence of juvenile crime and delinquency in the greater community, develop information and intelligence-sharing systems to ensure that county actions are fully coordinated, and provide data and appropriate outcome measures.

The Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council is composed of the following 20 members:

Ten (10) Ex‐Officio Members:

  • Chief Probation Officer, as Chair
  • District Attorney’s Office representative
  • Public Defender’s Office representative
  • Sheriff’s Office representative
  • Board of Supervisors’ representative
  • Employment and Human Services Department representative
  • Behavioral Health Services representative
  • Alcohol and Other Drugs Division representative
  • Public Health representative
  • Juvenile Justice Commission Chair

Ten (10) Additional Members, appointed by the Board of Supervisors, as follows:

  • City Police Department representative
  • County Office of Education or a School District representative
  • Four (4) At-Large members, residing or working within Contra Costa County
  • Two (2) Community-Based Organization representatives
  • Two (2) At-Large youth, fourteen to twenty-five years old and residing or working within Contra Costa County

Appointments to the Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council will be for a term of two years ending June 30, 2023. The JJCC meets monthly October through April and bi-monthly the remainder of the year. Members have the option to serve on three (2) two subcommittees that each currently meets monthly.

The application deadline is 5 pm on May 10, 2021. All timely applicants will be invited to the public interview process conducted by the Board of Supervisors’ Public Protection Committee: Supervisors Candace Andersen, District II, and Federal Glover, District V. This committee will then recommend a selection of applicants for the Board of Supervisors to appoint to the Racial Justice Oversight Body.

Below is a complete timeline of this recruitment process to fill the three (3) vacant JJCC seats:

  • May 10: Final Day of the Application Period, due by 5 pm
  • May 24: Public Protection Committee Meeting: Interviews
  • June 8: Board of Supervisors Appointments

Application forms can be obtained from the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors by calling (925) 655-2000 or by visiting the County webpage at Completed applications should be emailed to Applications can also be mailed to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors Office at 1025 Escobar Street, 1st Floor, Martinez, CA 94553.


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Supervisors condemn xenophobia, hate crimes against Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders

Thursday, April 1st, 2021

By Daniel Borsuk

A spike in assaults and crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islander citizens has triggered the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to publicly condemn the rising number of attacks. CCCBOS Resolution Condemning Xenophobia and Hate Crimes Against Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Communities

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020 there have been about 3,700 attacks on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the San Francisco Bay Area.

On March 19, President Biden proposed $300 million to improve public safety for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

“Too many Asian Americans have been walking up and down the streets and worrying, waking up each morning the past year feeling their safety and the safety of their loved ones are at stake.” President Biden said on March 19.  “They have been attacked, blamed, scapegoated and harassed. They’ve been verbally assaulted, physically assaulted, killed.”

Supervisors approved the resolution at the request of District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff who brought the issue to the attention of Chair Diane Burgis.  Mitchoff’s chief of staff, Anne O, recommended that the board consider a resolution condemning attacks on the Asian and Pacific Islander citizens because her parents reside in Oakland’s Chinatown, a main area where assaults on Asian Americans have occurred especially to the elderly.

Supervisors did not hear any speakers either in favor or against the proclamation.

“The reality is racism and hate happen every day to Asians, Latinos and Blacks,” said District 1 Supervisor John Gioia. “We need to put it all together and to stand up against those that promote hatred against Asians. We need to do more than calling it out.”

“Racism is very widespread,” said District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover. “We know that it exists. This situation really highlights the issue we have in the United States.”

Supervisor Mitchoff Wants County to Super-Charge County’s Electric Vehicle (EV) Fleet

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors wants to jump start its sluggish Electric Vehicle fleet acquisition efforts, especially when Mitchoff inquired at Tuesday’s meeting if the county is actively applying for state and federal grants to assist the county in the purchase of electric vehicles (EVs).

The answer, was yes, from County Administrator Monica Nino, but Mitchoff, who represents the county on the San Francisco Bay Air Quality District Board which awards grants to counties to buy EV vehicles. Contra Costa faces stiff competition from counties like Santa Clara to be awarded the air board grants to acquire EVs.

Out of a fleet of 1,569 vehicles, equipment and trailers, 951 are vehicles in Contra Costa County’s Internal Service Fund, County Director of Public Services Brian Balbas wrote in a March 8 report to the supervisors’ Internal Service Committee.

Currently, 2.2 percent of the county’s fleet of vehicles are electric powered, 2.4 percent are Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) powered, 16.2 perc are Hybrid, 8.8 percent are Renewable Diesel powered, and 70.4 percent are Unleaded gasoline vehicles.

“Fleet Services continues to promote building a ‘Green Fleet’ by purchasing 8 electric and 17 hybrid vehicles as replacement vehicles in 2019-2020,” Balbas reported.  In 2019-2020, the county spent $16,311,795.

Mitchoff admitted it is difficult for the county to get grant money for Contra Costa County to purchase EVs when Santa Clara County tends to be awarded most of the air district’s grants for EVs.

“This is where we ought to be moving,” she said in reference to increasing the county’s low EV fleet.  “The President and the Green Economy direct us how we should address the budgetary process.”

In a related item, supervisors approved a letter of support for the GRID Alternatives, a nonprofit corporation, to have PG&E serve as implementer for the Empower EV Program that intends to reduce barriers to electric vehicle acquisition in low and moderate-income communities. The program was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission in 2019.

The $4 million program will provide incentives for up to 2,000 low- and- moderate income households to cover the costs of a residential EV charger, increase awareness of the benefits of EV adoption through targeted education and outreach, and provide information on other incentives and programs available to customers. PG&E has named “the Bay Point to Discovery Bay corridor area,” as a region of focus for Empower EV.

GRID Alternatives, a Bay Area non-profit that installs solar energy in low-income communities while providing job training and helps low-income persons access clean vehicles, is applying to be the implementer for Empower EV.

16-Year-Olds to Get COVID-19 Vaccines

With the Contra Costa Health Services and State of California having inked a Memorandum of Understanding on the allocation of COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer), Contra Costa Health Services Director Anna Roth reported that the county is ramping up accessibility of the vaccine to Contra Costa County residents 50 years and older and will soon open the vaccination program to anyone 16 years old and older.

Roth expected eligibility will open in the next seven days. She asked the public to be patient when attempting to make an appointment.  Soon the county will open the Richmond Center and Bay Point Clinic to accommodate citizens registering to be vaccinated.

“Forty-four percent of resident have at least one dose of the vaccine,” Roth said. “We are removing barriers and making it easier to get the vaccine.”  She expected by April 15 the county will be in full compliance with the state.

Chief Equity Officer Gilbert Salinas reported that 19 additional ambassadors have been added to help register persons in communities like Bay Point, San Pablo and Richmond, communities with high numbers of black and Latino residents.

Deputy Health Officer Dr. Ori Tzviell said with Easter almost here, he advised that persons continue to wear masks and social distance as much as possible. “Outdoors is better than being indoors,” he said.  “Outdoors is safer for grandparents. It’s always safer to wear a mask.”

Approve Density Bonus for Walnut Creek Apartment Project

Supervisors approved as a consent item a density bonus inclusionary housing development agreement for the proposed 284-unit Del Hombre Apartments planned for Del Hombre Lane between Roble Road and Honey Trail in Walnut Creek.  Under the agreement, the developer is required to set aside five percent of the total number of rental units to moderate income households for a minimum of 55 years.

The development will include 21 studio units, 174 one-bedroom units and 89 two-bed-room units all located in one building. In addition, the development will include parking, landscaping, a community building, laundry, a pool, long-term bicycle storage, and trash enclosures.

Recognize Employees Skeritt, Emigh, Waters for Years of Service

Supervisors  recognized Kevin L. Emigh for 33 years of public service with the Road Engineering Division of the Public Works Department, Election’s Divisions Warehouse Unit employee Chuck Waters for 25 years of public service, and Victoria Skerritt for her 14 years of service with the Public Works Department.

Skerrit, who started her career with the Public Works Department as an Administrative Services Assistant II in Special District was promoted to Administrative Services II in Special Districts in 2007 and to Administrative Services Assistant III in 2014. Known for training new staff, Skeritt, who helped establish the Special Districts Community Center Policy, the Alamo Summer Concert Series and the implementation of the Tree Asset Management Program for all Special Districts was part of the 2017 Special Districts team that received the J. Michael Walford Team of the Year Award for delivering eight projects to seven communities from initial planning to construction in a single construction season.

Emigh is retiring from the Public Works Department after a 33-year career. As a licensed Professional Civil Engineer in California since 1993, some of his major projects that he played a part in the design and construction during his career include the Bethel Island Bridge, Iron Horse Overcrossing Project, Orwood Road Bridge, Alhambra Valley Road Washout Repair, Morgan Territory Road Slide Repair, Three Creeks Restoration and many others. Emigh received an Award of Excellence in June 1998 for his work designing and coordinating with the community on the Hilltop Drive Pedestrian Path-Phase 2 Project. He received an Award of Excellence in January 2000 for his contributions on the Editorial Board of Public Quirks Departmental Newsletter. He received an Award of Excellence in 2004 for his planning work and communicating with the community on the Rossmoor Detention Basin Project.

Waters, known as the Elections Division “MacGyver,” who would save the day by fixing anything with a paperclip, rubber band, straw or hammer, administered 73 elections during his career, including 11 primary elections and 12 general elections, seeing five different governors and five different presidents elected during this tenure. He is a certified technician, who maintained and repaired the county’s voting equipment, and provided regular safety lectures, while wearing his neon orange vest. He ensured that every Vote-by-Mail ballot was safely transported from Post Offices and Ballot Drop Boxes across Contra Costa County. He assures the Elections Division he will return to volunteer as an essential worker for future elections., the county proclamation stated.

Sheriff’s Deputy Acquires Service Dog Anavi for $1

Supervisors approved the request by Sheriff Deputy Timothy Allen to pay the county $1 for retired Sheriff’s Service Dog “Anavi.”  Since Dec. 18, 2007, the board of supervisors had approved a resolution (No. 2207/172), which authorized the transfer of ownership of retired police canine (K9) service dogs to their respective handlers for $1.


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