Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Concord carjacking suspects arrested in Antioch following police pursuit Saturday morning

Saturday, October 16th, 2021

Carjacking suspects stopped their car on Golf Course Road near the Lone Tree Way intersection, and fled the scene on foot, Saturday morning, Oct. 16, 2021. Photos by APD.

Armed with AR-15 style weapons and Glock; multi-agency effort with help from APD K9 Purcy

By Sergeant Brian Rose #4309, Antioch Police Field Services

APD K9 Purcy helped apprehend the suspects.

On Saturday, October 16, 2021, at approximately 10:45 a.m., officers from the Antioch Police Department located a vehicle that had been recently stolen during a carjacking that occurred in the City of Concord. APD officers were aware of the fact the suspects in the carjacking were armed with AR-15 style weapons, and a Glock handgun. When officers attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver failed to yield, and a vehicle pursuit ensued.

The driver recklessly drove through Antioch streets, and when they reached the intersection of Golf Course Road and Lone Tree Way, the vehicle’s occupants fled from the car on foot. Three occupants were apprehended shortly after fleeing from the car. APD K9 officer Purcy helped in their apprehension.

The Antioch Police Department would like to send a heartfelt thank you to the California Highway Patrol – Golden Gate Division air support team, as well as the Pittsburg and Brentwood Police Departments who assisted during this incident. We would also like to thank our wonderful citizens for your support and assistance as we work together to keep our community safe.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Catalytic converter thief caught in Antioch Wednesday night

Saturday, October 16th, 2021

Catalytic converter thief caught and converter found in his van Wednesday night, Oct. 13, 2021. Photos: APD

By Antioch Police Department

The suspect’s van. Photo: APD

Last evening, APD Night Shift officers received a call reporting an individual attempting to steal catalytic converters from a fleet of vehicles at a local business. When Officers Desiderio and Mullholland arrived, they located two power saws near the fleet of vehicles, but the suspect was nowhere around. The business owner showed officers a video of the suspect’s van pulling into the parking lot. Officers Desiderio and Mullholland checked the surrounding area and located the unoccupied van parked at a nearby gas station.

Officers waited around the corner and saw the suspect return to the van. During a traffic stop, they discovered he was wanted out of San Antonio, Texas, for an aggravated assault. Officers also found a catalytic converter and saw blades inside the van. The suspect was arrested on theft charges, along with his out of state warrant, and given a one-way trip to the County Jail in Martinez.

Catalytic converter theft remains a HUGE problem around the nation. Hybrid vehicles (especially the Toyota Prius), Ford F-150s, and fleet vehicles seem to be targeted the most. An experienced thief can remove a catalytic converter in less than two minutes.

There are steps you can take to help prevent yourself from becoming a victim of this expensive crime. Check out this link from the California Bureau of Automotive Repair for some tips:

https://www.bar.ca.gov/…/Smog…/Catalytic_Converter_Theft

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Thieves steal $15K of video equipment from Antioch’s Deer Valley High last Saturday morning

Friday, October 15th, 2021

Two thieves can be seen inside the Deer Valley High School video equipment room, early Saturday morning, Oct. 9, 2021. Surveillance video screenshot

Covered by insurance, some replacement equipment already ordered – Superintendent Anello

“the burglars…forced their way into the room” – Principal Oyebade

By Allen Payton

According to a KRON4 TV news report Thursday night, $15,000 of video equipment was stolen from Deer Valley High School, early last Saturday morning. It was used for the class taught by video productions teacher, Kiel Olff “to produce award-winning content for Deer Valley TV, including news, high school sports, and entertainment.” The theft was caught on surveillance video at 3:35 AM. At least two thieves were involved and can be seen and heard talking in the video.

Questions were asked of Superintendent Stephanie Anello, Principal Olubukola “Bukky” Oyebade and Interim Police Chief Tony Morefield: “Were the police contacted about it? Besides video productions teacher, Kiel Olff, how many people have access and/or keys to the room where the equipment is stored? Do they include students? Who knew that equipment was stored there? Any leads on the suspect(s)? Does the district have insurance to cover the loss, so that a GoFundMe page isn’t necessary? Is that a usual and accepted practice for a faculty member to replace stolen school equipment? Are there any other details about the incident so that we can get the information to the public to help in the apprehension of the suspect(s) and return of the equipment?”

Similar questions were also sent to Olff, Friday afternoon.

Anello responded, “Yes, the District has insurance so the choice to do a GoFundMe page appears to be a site or teacher decision. The equipment will be replaced (critical equipment has already been ordered).”

Principal Oyebade also responded with more details, adding, “the burglars did not use keys and forced their way into the rooms.  Access to keys is limited and only on a need basis. No students have keys. We are cooperating with the police on this matter and working with our district to replace the items. As of Wednesday afternoon, we had placed a first round order to replace equipment so the class could continue to function.”

Asked why the public is just now learning about this, she did not respond prior to publication time.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Antioch Council to hold special workshop for public input on redistricting Saturday morning

Friday, October 15th, 2021

Map of the Antioch City Council districts for the 2020 elections showing the population deviations from average based on 2010 Census data.

Boundaries for at least District 2 will have to expand to the south and east, possibly placing both Barbanica and Mayor Pro Tem and Wilson into the same district.

By Allen Payton

The Antioch City Council will hold a special meeting/workshop for public input on redistricting of the four council districts tomorrow morning, Saturday, Oct. 16 at 10:00 a.m. The meeting will be online.

The council held a study session Tuesday night, prior to their regular meeting during which the consultant, Karin Mac Donald of Q2 Data & Research stated the adjusted population total of 115,580 is only for redistricting. It includes those people who are incarcerated in the state and are included in the geographic areas where their last residence is located. The population from the Census Data is unadjusted for purposes of receiving state and federal funding.

That results in the ideal population of 28,895 residents per district with a +/-5% allowed deviation or +/-1,545 people per district, she shared during her presentation.

The consultant spoke of the federal laws and state laws with which the council districts must comply, including the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the federal Voting Rights Act (VRA), California Voting Rights Act (CVRA), and the state Fair and Inclusive Redistricting for Municipalities and Political Subdivisions (Fair Maps) Act. That law, according to the California Secretary of State’s website, “requires cities and counties to engage communities in the redistricting process by holding public hearings and/or workshops and doing public outreach, including to non-English-speaking communities.” According to the Legislative Counsel’s Digest of the bill, the CVRA “prohibits the use of an at-large election in a political subdivision if it would impair the ability of a protected class, as defined, to elect candidates of its choice or otherwise influence the outcome of an election”. The CVRA was the basis for the threatened lawsuit against the City of Antioch forcing the council into district elections in 2018, which went into effect, last year. While the council cannot intentionally split up a race or language minority population diluting their ability to elect a member of a minority, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that race cannot be the primary basis for drawing districts. Minorities include people who are Black, Hispanic, Asian or Native American, Mac Donald explained.

She also explained the other criteria the council should follow in redrawing the district lines, besides the equal population required by the U.S. Constitution, specifically the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, and the 5% deviation allowed by state law. Those include Communities of Interest (COI’s), using natural boundaries and those easily identifiable by the public, such as major streets, compactness as well as contiguity, which means districts can’t be split up in parts with gaps in between. In addition, the district boundaries cannot favor or discriminate against political parties.

Current Antioch City Council districts approved in 2018 and population deviations from average based on 2020 Census data. Source: Q2 Data & Research presentation.

Included in Mac Donald’s presentation was a map of the current council districts showing the population deviations, showing District 3s and 4, not surprisingly, have experienced the greatest population growth. District 3 has a deviation of 6.08%, greater than the 5% allowed, while District 4 is barely in compliance with a deviation of 4.63% from average. The results will be boundaries for at least District 2 will have to expand to the south and east, possibly placing both District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica and Mayor Pro Tem and District 3 Councilwoman Monica Wilson into the same district.

Antioch Council redistricting meeting schedule

Tuesday, November 9, 2021 – (Special meeting prior to City Council meeting)

Optional Additional Meeting (e.g. Antioch Community Center)

Tuesday, January 11, 2021 – (Regular City Council meeting. Introduction of Ordinance:

First Reading)

Tuesday, January 25, 2021 – (Regular City Council meeting. Second Reading: Adoption

of Ordinance)

Viewing

Members of the public can watch the meeting at https://www.antiochca.gov/live_stream, on Comcast Channel 24, or AT&T U-Verse Channel 99.

Public Comments

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 8:00 a.m. the day of the Council Meeting located at:
  1. Provide oral public comments during the meeting by clicking the following link to register in advance to access the meeting via Zoom Webinar: https://www.antiochca.gov/speakers

– 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: https://www.antiochca.gov/raise_hand. 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 cityclerk@ci.antioch.ca.us by 8:00 a.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 8:00 a.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.

 

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Antioch High grad, NY Jets football player Isaiah Dunn honored with Key to the City

Friday, October 15th, 2021

Isaiah Dunn with his Key to the City (center) with local officials and their representatives, including (L to R) a Congressman Jerry McNerney’s office representative, Supervisor Federal Glover, Antioch District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson, Mayor Lamar Thorpe and Antioch School Board President Ellie Householder, at Antioch High School’s Eels Stadium on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. Photos by Allen Payton

Announces his foundation will offer “scholarship for standout leadership” to an Antioch High student

By Allen Payton

During a ceremony at Antioch High Eels Stadium, Thursday afternoon, Class of 2017 graduate and New York Jets rookie, Isaiah Dunn, was presented with a Key to the City by Mayor Lamar Thorpe. He was joined by Dunn’s mother, two council members, other officials, coaches, and staff from both the school and city for the presentation before an audience of students, friends and fans.

The 6-foot, 193-pound Dunn was signed by the New York Jets with the biggest contract ever for an undrafted rookie corner. (See related article)

Isaiah Dunn holds his Key to the City plaque with Antioch High Athletic Director Brett Dudley, Coach John Lucido and Principal Louie Rocha.

The scholar athlete also ran track at Antioch High, and played for the Oregon State Beavers on a full ride scholarship where he was honored as a two-time, PAC-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention. He graduated in the spring with a degree in human development and family sciences, in his pursuit of becoming a family therapist.

Principal Louie Rocha speaks during Thursday’s ceremony presenting Isaiah Dunn with the Key to City, while Dunn’s agent, Josh Arnold of Synergy Sports International, Dunn’s mother Jamia Dunn, Dunn, Mistress of Ceremonies Skyelar Cribbs, Mayor Thorpe and Antioch School Board President Ellie Householder look on.

“I’m a Raiders fan,” Principal Louie Rocha shared during his comments. “But now I’m also a Jets fan.”

The Antioch City Council honored Dunn with a proclamation during their meeting, Tuesday night, which Thorpe recited. (See below)

During his remarks the mayor said Dunn played for the Antioch High Panthers on the “Class of 2017 team with Najee Harris”. Thorpe shared some history about the presentation of a key to the city, and that it “comes from medieval times.”

“Isaiah Dunn represents the best that we are and a whole lot more,” he stated.

Thorpe then presented Dunn with a plaque of the Key to the City which was being held by Dallas Ranch Middle School sixth-grader, Elijah Marisett.

Antioch High Head Football Coach John Lucido spoke of Dunn’s “endless hours in the classroom. Sitting in Coach Dudley’s class until 8 or 9 o’clock studying…with his nose in the books. With a little push from Mom.”

“It’s not just on the football field,” he added, speaking to the students in the audience, consisting mainly of this year’s football team.

Isaiah Dunn with his mother, Jamia Dunn who is holding Isaiah’s niece, Jae-Lonnie Hill and Dunn’s older brother Jo-Marlon Jordan.

Lucido then presented Dunn with his own, dirty jersey from his high school years, bringing a smile to Dunn’s face.

“She was coming to class sitting with me and walking the halls” Dunn said of his mother, during his brief speech.

“I’m humbled,” he said. “I plan on giving back to the city that helped me. I’m excited to announce my foundation will be awarding a scholarship for standout leadership in three areas…academics, community service and athletics.”

“Growing up in Antioch…I know it’s a hard environment to be around,” Dunn continued. “Anything is achievable if you put your mind to it.”

Thorpe concluded the ceremony by saying, “These times are important to celebrate our success as a community. This is the true nature and character of who we are as the City of Antioch.”

Then those in the audience greeted and took photos with Dunn who signed autographed photos of himself in his Jets uniform and in action during one of their games, this year.

Rocha mentioned an effort to also present Harris with a Key to the City, as well, but it would have to wait until next spring during the off-season or during the Pittsburg Steelers bye week, this season. But that occurs next week. Dunn was able to be in Antioch because this is the Jets’ bye week, meaning they don’t have a game. Asked if Harris would also be presented with a Key to the City, Thorpe said, “we will see what happens.”

PROCLAMATION PRESENTING

ANTIOCH HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE AND NEW YORK JETS CORNERBACK

ISAIAH DUNN

WITH A KEY TO THE CITY OF ANTIOCH

OCTOBER 12, 2021

WHEREAS, Isaiah Dunn is a 2017 Antioch High School graduate, and former Panthers football player who made an indelible impression on Antioch’s local landscape, its institutions and the entire community, and continues to inspire audiences with his limitless potential;

WHEREAS, Isaiah Dunn’s primary position was cornerback at Antioch High School, but he also showed signs of versatility and strength as a wide receiver, averaging 18.9 yards per reception during his high school career;

WHEREAS, in his final year at Antioch High School, Isaiah Dunn made eight touchdowns, seven as a receiver, and a 96-yard return as a kick returner for a touchdown against De La Salle on a nationally televised game;

WHEREAS, Isaiah Dunn also made his mark as a sprinter during the off-season on the Antioch High School track and field team in the 100-meter, 200-meter and 400-meter sprints;

WHEREAS, Isaiah Dunn received 10 football scholarship offers before choosing Oregon State University and is proudly celebrated as the first member of his family to be accepted and attend a university, pursuing studies in human development and family sciences as an aspiring family therapist;

WHEREAS, Isaiah Dunn’s career as a defensive back for the Oregon State University Beavers includes starting in 26 of 33 games played with a total of 115 career tackles, 16 pass deflections, 31 forced fumbles and the honor of earning the title of two-time, PAC-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention; and

WHEREAS, Isaiah Dunn recently earned the national distinction of signing the largest ever undrafted free agent contract with the New York Jets shortly after the conclusion of the 2021 NFL Draft.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, LAMAR A. THORPE, Mayor of the City of Antioch, do hereby honor and celebrate the City of Antioch’s son, ISAIAH DUNN, with a

Key to the City, as a true inspiration on and off the field.

OCTOBER 12, 2021

 

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Contra Costa to lift masking requirements in some indoor settings on Nov. 1 

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

Won’t lift all mask requirements until county reaches 80% fully vaccinated which includes kids ages 5-11 who aren’t yet eligible for vaccinations; figure also includes those under age 5

“This will allow vaccinated people to FEEL safe removing their masks” – Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano (emphasis added)

By Contra Costa County Health Services

With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations declining, Contra Costa County will lift masking requirements on Nov. 1 in certain indoor settings where everyone is fully vaccinated

Eligible settings are in controlled spaces not open to the general public, including offices, gyms and fitness centers, employee commuter vehicles, indoor college classes and organized gatherings in any other indoor setting, such as a religious gathering.

Under the order, participating businesses, organizations and hosts must verify that all patrons, employees and attendees are fully vaccinated before allowing people inside their facilities not to wear face coverings. There can be no more than 100 persons present at these facilities, and the group of those present must gather on a regular basis. Those present should also not have COVID-19 symptoms.

“This will allow vaccinated people to feel safe removing their masks at the office and when they’re working out at the gym,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, health officer for Contra Costa County. “Of course, people in these places can keep wearing masks if that makes them feel more comfortable.”

Indoor-masking requirements would remain in effect for the time-being in public settings, such as bars, restaurants and retail stores until other targets are met. Masking would also still be required in indoor K-12 school settings.

San Francisco and Marin County recently issued similar orders easing masking requirements as COVID cases and hospitalizations have steadily declined since their peaks in the summer. In Contra Costa County, COVID-related hospitalizations are down to 69 from a summer high of 227 in August. Case rates in the county have seen a similar decline over the past two months.

Cases and hospitalizations spiked in the summer after the state relaxed restrictions and the highly contagious Delta variant swept through the country.

Dr. Farnitano said masking requirements had to be reinstated in the summer to blunt the impact of the Delta surge and keep hospitals from being overwhelmed. With the surge receding, Dr. Farnitano said it makes sense now to lift mask requirements in non-public places like offices and gyms for vaccinated people, who are less likely to get infected with COVID or transmit the virus.

“We’re in a safer place than we were two months ago,” Dr. Farnitano said. “My hope is that two months from now vaccinated people won’t have to wear masks in other places like restaurants, bars and retail stores. The way we get there is for those who remain unvaccinated to get immunized.”

The County will lift its indoor masking requirements for restaurants, bars and retails stores when certain criteria are met, including when 80% of residents are fully vaccinated. As of Thursday, 71.6% of all county residents were fully vaccinated.

CCC Vaccination Percentage as of 10:30 AM on Oct. 14, 2021. Source: Contra Costa Health Services COVID Vaccine Dashboard

Discrepancy in Fully Vaccinated Percentages Clarified

That 71.6% figure differs significantly from what is on the county’s COVID Vaccine Dashboard, which shows 82.5% of residents over age 12 are fully vaccinated, as of today, Oct. 14, 2021 at 11:30 a.m.

Health Services staff was asked, “which is the correct figure, the 82.5% as it shows on your Vaccine Dashboard, or 71.6%? Why the difference?”

Health Services spokesman Karl Fischer responded, “Both are actually correct. The higher percentage, found on our vaccination dashboard, refers to county residents who are vaccinated, and who are also 12 and older. (Younger people are not yet able to get vaccinate).

The other percentage, which we display on the front page, is our percentage of all county residents who are vaccinated, including those younger children who are not yet eligible for vaccine. We began displaying this metric last week, after we announced the criteria for lifting the county’s face covering requirement, because the percentage of the total population that is vaccinated is part of that criteria.”

The 80% requirement applies to the county’s total population, including all of those under age 12, both those ages 5-11 not yet eligible for vaccination as well as those under age 5. According to Fischer, the county uses California Department of Finance projections rather than the 2020 Census Data. Asked why, Fischer said he had to research that.

The statistic showing the percentage of total population fully vaccinated is not currently included on the county’s COVID Vaccine Dashboard. Fischer said he’d look into it and that it might already be in the works to add it.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

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Antioch transient arrested for assault with deadly weapon, arson for starting fire off Hillcrest Ave. Wednesday evening

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

Firefighters clean up after the fire on the hill above Hillcrest Avenue near Wildhorse Road and the suspect arrested by Antioch Police, Wednesday evening, Oct. 13, 2021. Top photo by Allen Payton, Bottom two by APD

Several homes threatened

By Sergeant Michael Mellone, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

Arson fire on Hillcrest Ave. hillside Oct. 13, 2021. Photo: APD

On October 13, 2021, at approximately 6:05 pm, APD patrol officers were dispatched to a homeless encampment located near the intersection of Hillcrest Avenue and Wild Horse Drive on report of an assault with a deadly weapon. While responding to the incident, officers learned the suspect (later identified as Brian Dean, age 40) struck the victim in the head with a metal pipe and then lit a rag on fire, tossing it into the victim’s encampment. The lit rag fully engulfed the encampment and spread to the adjacent hillside, threatening several homes on Spaulding Street. Firefighters from the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District responded and quickly extinguished the fire before it spread to the adjacent homes. An alert resident took a photograph of the suspect as he was fleeing on a distinctive bicycle and provided it to officers at the scene.

Con Fire trucks and crews responded to the scene. Photo: APD

At about 8:15 pm, Antioch Police Corporal James Colley spotted a matching individual on the distinctive bicycle crossing Hillcrest Avenue at Larkspur Drive. He was detained without incident and found to be in possession of an incendiary device. Officers placed Dean under arrest for three felonies, including assault with a deadly weapon, arson, and possession of an incendiary device – he was booked at the Contra Costa County Jail in Martinez. This fire was the second one at the same location in the last two days. The victim sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene by paramedics.

Photo: Allen Payton

Photo: APD

The Antioch Police Department would like to thank the residents of Spaulding Street who assisted officers and firefighters with access to the scene, along with the alert resident who came forward with photographic evidence allowing us to locate the suspect. This incident is being jointly investigated by the Antioch Police Department and the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Arson Investigator.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

 

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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 cchealth.org.

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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