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Antioch Council majority votes down proposed police body and dash cam policies delaying implementation for another month or more

Thursday, July 15th, 2021

The type of AXON police body and car cameras purchased by the Antioch Police Department. Photos: AXON

Even though APD already has the body-cams and training was to begin next week

“a new era of transparency, accountability and safety to our community, as well as our officers” will have to wait.

Committee Chair Torres-Walker appointed to work with Chief Brooks, city attorney and city manager to revise policies

I was disappointed in the vote that the cameras are not on the street immediately. We will continue to push to get them out soon.” – District 2 Councilman and Committee Member Mike Barbanica

By Allen Payton

The Antioch City Council met as the Police Oversight Standing Committee of the whole council Tuesday night, and voted 2-3 on approving proposed policies for use and operation of the police department’s new body and car dash cameras. According to Chief T Brooks, the equipment has been received and training of officers was to begin next week. Instead, that training and implementation of the camera use has now been postponed for at least a month or two, due to the need to revise the draft policies and then meet and confer with the Antioch Police Officers Association (APOA), after the council sent the policies back for corrections.

District 3 Councilwoman and committee vice chair Lori Ogorchock made the motion to approve the Antioch Police Department Body-Worn Camera and Mobile Video Audio Recorder policies and District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica seconded the motion. But it failed when Mayor Lamar Thorpe, Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson and District 1 Councilwoman and committee chair Tamisha-Torres-Walker voted against it.

During the standing committee’s first meeting in May the only actions taken were to vote in Torres-Walker as chair of the committee and Ogorchock as vice chair on separate votes. Ogorchock was the only council member to vote against Torres-Walker as chair, and Torres-Walker was the only vote against Ogorchock as vice chair.

Neither the Herald, other local media nor most of the public were aware of this past Tuesday’s meeting, because there was no email announcing the standing committee meeting, as is usually done for council meetings. Plus, at their last regular meeting in June council members and the public were informed there would be no meetings in July. Instead, Tuesday night’s meeting agenda was merely posted on the city’s website. Furthermore, the meeting being shown on Comcast Cable Channel 24 at the same time was a repeat of a former council meeting.

However, some members of the public were aware of the meeting and offered public comment on the matter.

Cameras Approved Earlier This Year

The policies were developed in response to the unanimous votes by the city council on February 26 and on March 9 to support purchasing the body-worn and police car dash cameras for use by the department for the first time in its history. The action was part of the police reform measures the mayor and council members approved earlier this year. At the time there was a sense of urgency for implementing their use due to two incidents in which Antioch residents died following interactions with police last December and this February. (See related articles, here and here)

But the council majority refused to adopt the proposed policies, now and make corrections to them, later sending them back to the APD for revision before returning to the next meeting of the standing committee. That and all future meetings of the council committee of the whole are now scheduled to be held immediately prior to the second council meetings of the month, which are held on the fourth Tuesdays. So, the next time the council members will deal with the matter will be on July 27th. They can then vote to make a recommendation on the revised proposed policy to themselves as the city council, and the soonest the council can adopt the policy, unless a special meeting is called or the council votes to place the matter as an urgency item on the July 27th agenda, is during their first regular meeting in August.

Proposed Policies

After multiple police department staff members worked on the proposed policies during numerous meetings, gathering input from other agencies and organizations, including consulting the ACLU policies, and obtaining support for them following a meet and confer with the APOA, Chief Brooks presented them to the standing committee. (See presentation, here)

“Officers have already been assigned their individual cameras,” Brooks said. “Axon…is scheduled to conduct in-house departmental training…beginning next week. Upon completion of that training and approval of the body-worn camera policy we are prepared to immediately deploy our officers into the field equipped with this technology, bringing a new era of transparency, accountability and safety to our community, as well as our officers.”

However, the dash cams aren’t expected to arrive until next month, he shared.

According to Brooks’ written staff report for the agenda item, “During the Regular Council Meeting on March 9, 2021, the Antioch City Council approved the purchase of Axon BWC (Body-Worn Cameras) and MVAR (Mobile Video/Audio Recorder – aka police car dash cam) technology for use by the Antioch Police Department. In a subsequent Council Meeting on April 13, 2021, the City Council established the Police Reform Standing Committee (later renamed the Police Oversight Standing Committee). The standing committee’s responsibilities span several areas which include reviewing Antioch Police Department (APD) policies, providing community updates, and soliciting community input on APD policies.

As part of the implementation process for the new BWC and MVAR technologies, the Police Department established a BWC/MVAR Policy [and Implementation] Committee of Sworn Officers and Supervisors along with Records and Dispatch staff. This group met on a regular basis over a period several months and spent hundreds of staff hours researching existing BWC and MVAR policies from across the state. In addition, this committee examined federal and state laws which guide the use of this technology along with reports on industry best practices.

The Police Department contracts with a company called Lexipol which designs (web based) policy manuals and training for law enforcement agencies all over the United States. Lexipol further provides a full library of customizable, state-specific law enforcement policies that are updated in response to new state and federal laws and court decisions. The (attached) BWC and MVAR policies were drafted in Lexipol and are consistent with federal and state guidance as well as industry best practices.”

Public Comments

About 30 members of the public spoke on the item. (See 19:30 through 36:30 mark of meeting video)

Council Concerns

One of the sticking points with some of the council members was on policy “423.5.1 WHEN TO ACTIVATE – During their shift, officers shall make every reasonable effort to activate the BWC prior to initiating investigations and enforcement activity, whether self-initiated or in response to a dispatched call.

Officers shall make every reasonable effort to record non-enforcement contacts should they become confrontational, assaultive or enforcement oriented. In addition to the required conditions, personnel may activate the system any time they feel its use would be appropriate and/or valuable to document an incident.

Also, officers shall not be required to activate or deactivate their BWC based solely on the requests or demands of a citizen, but rather rely on their training and this policy to direct their use of the BWC.

While there may be circumstances in which the BWC cannot be activated immediately, the goal is to capture interactions with the public while providing police services. In the event an officer decides not to turn on their BWC based on the belief that their safety or the safety of the public is in jeopardy, the onus of providing evidence of such fact is the employee’s responsibility. Any failure to activate the BWC in a circumstance in which the objective facts dictate otherwise, may be cause for discipline”

Another issue policy “423.8 STORAGE AND RETENTION OF RECORDINGS – All BWC recordings will be stored via cloud storage, currently Evidence.com. The cloud storage service shall comply with Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) requirements for law enforcement digital evidence storage. Recordings of the following should be retained for a minimum of two years (Penal Code§ 832.18):

(a) Incidents involving use of force by an officer.

(b) Officer-involved shootings or any other Law Enforcement Involved Fatal Incident (LEIFI)

(c) Incidents that lead to the detention or arrest of an individual

(d) Recordings relevant to a formal or informal complaint against an officer or the Antioch Police Department Recordings containing evidence that may be relevant to a criminal prosecution should be retained for any additional period required by law for other evidence relevant to a criminal prosecution (Penal Code § 832.18).

BWC recordings relating to incidents where criminal charges are filed shall be retained for at least one year after whichever of these events occurs last:

(a) the matter is resolved; or,

(b) the defendant has been released from custody; or,

(c) the appeal is final.

(d) The BWC recording may be destroyed earlier than this if the district attorney or other prosecuting agency, all defendants and the City Attorney are notified and given time to object prior to any destruction of a BWC recording related to a criminal incident.

All other recordings should be retained for a period consistent with the requirements of the organization’s records retention schedule but, in no event, for a period less than 180 days. Records or logs of access and deletion of recordings should be retained permanently (Penal Code § 832.18).

Council Discussion

“The reality of this is, the public has asked us to create transparency and I believe by having essentially, every enforcement stop video and audio taped, as well as every time the overhead lights go on, they automatically turn on, and every time an officer gets out of the car, they automatically activate their body camera,” Barbanica said. “I think it’s pretty straight forward.”

“Also…if a police officer draws his or her firearm it automatically activates, as well and then eventually if we get to a point where we get the new tasers, if a taser is drawn from a holster it will activate, as well,” Brooks added. “But with our current tasers that technology is not available. But it is for the firearms.”

“Along those lines, Chief, if one officer forgets to activate, draws their firearm or another officer draws their firearm, will it activate the body-worn camera of everybody in proximity?” Barbanica asked.

“That is correct,” Brooks responded.

Wilson said “there are certain areas in the report that were kind of vague and I wanted to tighten up the verbiage.”

“I would really like to change ‘reasonable effort’ to shall or must, because reasonable effort is really subjective,” she said.

“Also, the discipline it really didn’t go into detail. Is that like a finger wagging…or sitting down with that officer, or probation or termination?” Wilson asked.

“That vagueness is necessary, just because if there’s a violation there could be a number of different varying circumstances. It could depend on the tenure of the officer, it could be if the deactivation was…accidental or if it’s malicious. It could be an officer who has had disciplinary problems it could be someone with

“That gives me the discretion to look at each situation and determine the level of discipline that should be,” he added.

“I just don’t want to leave it so open that we end up with a grey area and someone uses that grey area to not be terminated,” Wilson responded. “I really want to get this right…and don’t want to look back…and not take care of these loose ends.”

“What I’ll say to that is, if you look at any of our policies, none of them have a defined level of discipline,” Brooks stated. “I would caution us to be careful and recognize that would be unique to this policy, alone, because there could be mitigating circumstances.”

Thorpe spoke next saying,, “I tend to agree with Councilwoman Wilson on some of the vagueness. I don’t like the references to reasonable effort. You’re either doing this or you’re not. I was looking more for a shall.”

“The five of us are the policy makers and staff brings forward recommended policies and what we adopt will be our policies,” he continued. “When I hear the public say…the ACLU model, they want to know what protections are in there for them.”

“We can move forward with this initial policy and then we expand it and work in protections for the public…the accountability…and how officers will be responsible and make sure their body-cameras are activated,” Thorpe stated.

“I’m concerned about this phrase uniformed officers,” he said. “I thought we were giving a body cam to every sworn officer. There are officers doing enforcement when they’re not in their uniform.”

“The uniform could…include detectives using their…vests and duty belt,” Brooks explained. “What it’s not designed for is officers working undercover.”

“Oh, OK. Thank you for the clarity,” Thorpes responded.

“My preference is that we move forward, tonight…instead of prolonging this any longer…and if there is something we need to tighten up we can address that,” Barbanica said. “We can always amend a policy.”

“I, too would like to see us move forward on this,” Ogorchock said. “The public has been crying out for this for a long time and we haven’t done this, before.”

Torres-Walker spoke last saying, “I agree with the community that we should pass…I mean you can always go back and change policies. But it’s better to try your hardest to do it right the first time for the maximum amount of transparency and accountability. I also hear what Mayor Pro Tem Wilson is saying around these statements, as in, ‘make every reasonable effort.’”

“I could go through and wordsmith these entire both policies, tonight because I have, myself,” said Torres-Walker. “But I would like to see you, Chief to work with the city attorney and come back to this committee for a second reading and then to the council. And it’s just because there are so many questions, still. And most people talked about the body-worn camera policy but not much about the in-car camera policy.”

“I just think words, language like ‘make a reasonable effort’ should be eliminated,” she continued. “I think anywhere where it say, ‘may activate’ or ‘should activate’ should be eliminated and should be replaced by ‘shall’, ‘shall activate’.”

“I also, when I was looking at the time of storage…it says two years, but I think what I heard from the public and others is we should make it three to five years,” Torres-Walker stated. “How long it take for things to progress in the city I think we should have the storage longer. I mean like have it in the policy and then do what we need to do to make sure we can retain storage for that long from these cameras for evidence or investigational purposes.”

“I also had a lot of questions around the paragraphs for discipline which were not very direct and there was a lot was left open to interpretation,” said Torres-Walker. “I understand, Chief that we can’t put it all in there…and it would be different for everybody. But I know for sure on the mobile cameras…there was a sentence on page three at the top, that I felt like it didn’t give enough information on what do you constitute not complying with this order or with this policy? How do you assess whether there’s an intentional violation of this policy by a particular officer? A repeated pattern of non-compliance could be three-to-five times. How many times before disciplinary action is taken?”

“100 miles per hour seems a little fast for a city street and I’m sure that could be the case in a high-speed chase, but I would like that to be reduced to 80 or 85 miles per hour to trigger the cameras,” she added.

Torres-Walker then asked about Code 3 driving. Brooks responded that it means with lights and siren.

“I know that the community has been waiting a very long time, especially the department,” she then stated. “Me more than anybody want to move this forward. But I think we need to take back what we heard from the community. I don’t think I can support this policy, today as it is. That’s just my position.”

Brooks then addressed the storage issues.

“When video is tagged as related to a particular case, that is saved and can be kept permanently,” he said. “That video footage is kept and saved for as long as a criminal case or civil complaint is pending.”

“Maybe that can be added as well,” Torres-Walker said.

“I’ll take a look at it.” Brooks responded.

Motion to Adopt Policies Fails

In the vote on the motion by Ogorchock, seconded by Barbanica, Torres-Walker voted no.

Both Ogorchock and Barbanica voted in favor of their motion.

That was followed by Wilson also voting no saying, “At this time I can’t approve this going forward.”

Thorpe was at first unavailable for the vote, saying he was dealing with his child who was sick. He asked Torres-Walker, “Chair, what was your recommendation?”

“My recommendation was a no,” she responded, and then asked Assistant City Manager Rosanna Bayon Moore to repeat the votes.

Thorpe then reversed himself from what he said earlier about moving the policies forward, now and revising them, later.

“I would just, you know, strongly encourage, particularly for any policy committee, you know, the chair’s got to work with the department head and city manager on this policy. I think it’s very important that you, Chair Torres-Walker, sit down with the chief to figure out these differences,” Thorpe said. “So, I’m going to go along with your recommendation in voting no.”

“With that the motion fails,” said Bayon Moore.

Wilson then made a motion that Torres-Walker work with Chief Brooks and the city attorney and then bring it back for one more vote.

“Wouldn’t we be doing that anyway and it doesn’t need a roll-call vote?” asked Ogorchock.

Thorpe then made an amendment to the motion to bring back the final recommendation directly to the

“This would usually come back to the standing committee. You could schedule the meeting for the standing committee immediately before the next council meeting. If there is going to be substantial change…we should be giving the policy to the union for review, which will take some time. And then it can go to city council.”

“Would it be possible for the union to discuss before the next council meeting? Is it a negotiation? Do the union add input, Chief?” Torres-Walker asked.

“It would be a meet and confer issue because it would be a change in working conditions,” Brooks responded.

“Then we’re looking to the middle or end of August before we’re looking at any of this, so it’s another month to month and a half before the cameras are on the street,” Ogorchock said.

“I understand the urgency about this, but I also heard the community speak and give their input, today,” Torres-Walker said. “Before we implement in this city, how many years have we gone without these in this city. Before our officers are acting with integrity and transparency …. I am in support of Mayor Pro Tem Wilson’s motion to work with the chief. Would you be willing to add the city manager in there?”

“I would be willing to add the city manager,” Wilson responded.

“Isn’t what we’re doing right now giving direction to staff?” she then asked of Smith.

“Yes…I think we just proceed along the course,” he responded.

That motion passed on a 5-0 vote.

In a post on his official Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon, District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica wrote, “Thank you for the calls and feedback today about last night’s meeting. Yes, I was disappointed in the vote that the cameras are not on the street immediately. We will continue to push to get them out soon.”

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Supervisors approve two home developments, one outside the Urban Limit Line

Thursday, July 15th, 2021

Tassajara Parks General Plan Amendment land use maps. From presentation.

Tassajara Parks in the San Ramon Valley and Pantages in Discovery Bay will add 417 single family homes in Supervisorial District 3 with support of environmental groups

Approve Ameresco Renewable Natural Gas Processing Facility and Pipeline at Keller Canyon Landfill

Flash green light for further study moving Byron boys ranch to former Martinez Juvenile Hall

Tassajara Valley vicinity map. From presentation.

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors worked on solving the county’s complex housing shortage during their meeting on Tuesday by approving two major housing developments, the 277-single family housing unit Pantages residential project in Discovery Bay and the controversial 125-housing unit Tassajara Parks residential project near San Ramon, both in District 3, board chair Diane Burgis’ turf.

The more controversial Tassajara Parks Residential Project drew the support of major environmental groups like Green Belt Alliance, Save Mt. Diablo and East Bay Regional Parks District mainly because the developer’s moved to do a “fee simple transfer “of 727 acres of land to the East Bay Regional Park District.

“This fee simple conveyance to the EBRPD will ensure that the Dedication Area is protected and preserved in perpetuity for the following non-urban uses only: agriculture, open space, parks, recreation, scenic uses, wetland preservation and creation, and habitat mitigation,” the supervisors’ background information states.

Save Mt. Diablo Land Conservation Director Seth Adams called the land transfer “a great trade off” and will go a long way in the preservation of wildlife, especially raptors and eagles.

“It’s a 30-acre adjustment to the Urban Limit Line which is allowed by a four-fifths vote of the Board of Supervisors based on at least one of seven findings,” Adams shared with the Herald. “Here it was the creation of an ag preserve by two more agencies.”

The Danville city council opposed the project contending the open space trade offer was inadequate especially when California is in a drought. “The city council felt that the scope and magnitude of the project with 125 homes in exchange of open space was insufficient.  The city council did not feel it was worth the trade off, “said City of Danville Manager Joe Calabrigo.

The approved Tassajara Parks Urban Limit Line realignment. From presentation.

District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of San Ramon, who cast the lone dissenting vote, said she was concerned any action by the supervisors would require approval of the voters to adjust the urban limit line.

“I know we need the right mix of housing,” said Andersen. “If we move the urban limit line, that is up to the voters.  I have strong reservations about the environmental impact report.  Then there is no source of water for this project.”

Before supervisors approved the Tassajara Project on a 4-1 vote, District 1 Supervisor John Gioia successfully added to the board’s resolution several conditions, one that included that the developer must install solar panels and EV charging stations inside the garage or carport.  In addition, he added the installation of high efficiency appliances and insulation to zero net energy and to meet the standards to be solar-ready as defined by the California Building Standards.

The developer agreed to Gioia’s additions to the project’s resolution of approval.

Pantages Bays site map. From presentation.

The Tassajara Parks project also garnered support from parents of Tassajara Hills Elementary School parents who were pleased the developer plans to make safety corrections to the school’s parking lot. The school is immediately west of the project’s northern side.

Pantages Bays General Plan Amendment maps. From presentation.

Dave Rehnstrom, EBMUD Manager of Water Distribution Planning, said contrary to the developer’s proposed water conservation efforts, “EBMUD finds this project’s water conservation measures are insufficient.”

Mainly because developers of controversial the Tassajara Parks Residential Project have proposed to dedicate 727 acres of land to the East Bay Regional Park District, that move won the support from a few environmental organizations especially Save Mt. Diablo.

After several failed attempts to obtain state and federal regulatory permit approvals since 2013, developers of the proposed Pantages Bays Project near Discovery Bay, the new project proposed would subdivide the same site into 277 residential lots, which is 15 lots less than the original 2013 project.

With two public trail systems providing 5,200 linear feet of trails and walkways, the proposed project consists of two lakes, Lake South approximately 23 acres in size, and Lake North, about seven acres in size.

Of the 277 units planned for Pantages Bay Project, about 42 units are required to be set aside as affordable housing units. Eighty percent of the affordable units, 33 units, would be affordable to Moderate income households and 20 percent of the required affordable units, 8 units, would be affordable to low-income households. “An in-lieu fee will be paid for the remaining 0.55 units,” the county planning department document states.

“This project will help alleviate a lot of the illegal dumping that occurs in that area,” Burgis observed.

Approve Amersco Natural Gas Processing Facility and Pipeline

Without receiving any public comments either in favor or in opposition, supervisors approved on a 5-0 vote Ameresco Renewable Natural Gas’s (ARNG) proposal to construct a new 48,000 square foot renewable natural gas facility on the Keller Canyon Landfill site in Pittsburg.

The publicly traded Ameresco that has been operating on the Pittsburg landfill site a RNG operation since 2009 now proposes constructing a newer RNG processing facility of about 48,000 square feet or 1.1 acres on a level pad of about 84,000 square feet. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the operation would be overseen by two operators for 40 hours per week.

According to a press release from Republic Services, which owns the landfill, “The dedication of the Keller Canyon Landfill gas-to-electricity project marks the second time this year that Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE:RSG) and Ameresco have partnered to develop and expand renewable energy sources for California and to provide power to residents of and businesses in Palo Alto and Alameda.”

“Most of the equipment would be less than 10 feet high except for the proposed enclosed flare, and a few larger pieces of equipment that would vary in height from 25 to 35 feet,” the Conservation and Development Department background document stated. “The proposed enclosed flare would be approximately 50 feet in height, similar to the two existing flares at the Keller Canyon Landfill enclosed flare facility.”

The project also calls for a new RNG underground pipeline to a proposed PG&E metering station located near the eastern edge of the Keller Canyon Landfill.  The Ameresco project has drawn some concern from Concord-based Discovery Builders that the proposed pipeline will be near a proposed residential development in Pittsburg.

A spokesman for Ameresco would not answer how much the new RNG facility and pipeline will cost.

During the supervisors’ meeting, Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg said through his office, Ameresco has agreed to pay the county at least $50,000 a year into the Keller Canyon Land Fill Mitigation Fund to help moderate any economic or environmental impacts stemming from the RNG project.

Every year, millions of dollars collected from Republic Services, operation of the Keller Canyon Landfill, are distributed to nonprofit organizations in the Bay Point and Pittsburg area through Supervisor Federal Glover’s office.

Supervisors Seek More Information on Orin Allen Youth Rehab Center Closure

Supervisors also instructed Contra Costa County Chief Probation Officer Essa Ehmen Krause to proceed and collect additional information, including cost figures, about a proposal to potentially move juvenile inmates at Orin Allen Youth Rehabilitation Facility in Byron (Byron Boys Ranch), closing that facility and transferring the inmates to a renovated former juvenile hall on Glazier Drive in Martinez.  The former juvenile hall facility is now used or storage.

The proposal was presented to supervisors who are attempting to figure out how to best use resources and address the educational and psychological needs of juveniles at the aged Byron Boys Ranch, constructed in 1960 and is now out of compliance with the American Disability Act.

Due to state legislation and local juvenile rehabilitation efforts, there are now about 15 youths housed at the Byron Boys Ranch, which is used for youths convicted of non-capital crimes.  For youths convicted or charged for capital crimes, they are housed at the 209-bed John A. Davis Juvenile Hall constructed in 2005.  There are now about 24 inmates at juvenile hall, Krause told supervisors.

Expect Krause to give periodic updates on the potential closure of Orin Allen and the reuse of the former juvenile hall facility.

 

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Antioch, Pittsburg men arrested for illegal guns, ammunition Wednesday

Wednesday, July 14th, 2021

Illegal guns and ammunition seized on Wednesday, July 14, 2021. Photo: PPD

By Pittsburg Police Department

THE LONG ARM OF THE LAW

Back in May, we investigated two separate shootings in the West 10th Street Corridor and in the El Pueblo Housing Complex. At first, there was little to go on to identify the shooters.

But, over the past few months, our Investigations Division and members of our VICE team developed new leads and took that information to the District Attorney’s Office and obtained an arrest warrant for one of the suspects involved in the shootings.

Early this morning, (Wednesday, July 14, 2021) our officers served a search warrant at a residence in the 300 block of Snowflake Way in the city of Pittsburg. They found 23-year-old Jesus Pina and placed him under arrest.  They found a fully automatic Glock handgun in his home.

Detectives then served a search warrant at a home in the 2300 block of Sycamore Dr. in Antioch.  20-year-old Carlos Elizalde was placed under arrest as numerous firearms were found – including four AK-47 pistol variants and a fully automatic Glock pistol.  Along with the illegal firearms, over 1,000 rounds of ammunition, several high-capacity drum-style magazines, and almost two hundred conversation kits capable of making a Glock handgun fully automatic were located.
Both Elizalde and Pina were booked and transported to the Martinez Detention Facility.  Pina is being held on an outstanding warrant.  Elizalde is being charged with possession of an assault weapon, selling/converting a firearm, prohibited person in possession of ammunition, and a convicted person in possession of a firearm.

#ppd #pittsburg #allofthestreet s#protectingourcommunity

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New state budget includes funding for five Bay Area affordable housing pilot programs

Wednesday, July 14th, 2021

The fiscal 2021-22 state budget signed into law Monday by Gov. Newsom includes a $20 million appropriation for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to underwrite the work of the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority (BAHFA). BAHFA, which is jointly managed by MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), plans to use this money to seed five new pilot programs designed to ease the Bay Area’s housing affordability and homelessness crises.

“BAHFA was established to transform how the Bay Area delivers on housing affordability and stability,” explained Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza, who also serves as Chair of both MTC and BAHFA. “We appreciate the Legislature investing some of the state’s budget surplus in BAHFA so we can start working immediately on the five pilot projects that take a comprehensive approach to solving the crisis. The state’s commitment will support many of the Bay Area’s most vulnerable residents today and put us firmly on the path to long-term change.”

The five BAHFA pilot programs include an online platform known as Doorway to connect residents with affordable housing opportunities throughout the Bay Area; financing and technical assistance to support and increase the acquisition and preservation of affordable housing to help combat the displacement of low-income residents; a database to track the development or “pipeline” of affordable homes across the region to help match available funding with projects in areas with the most urgent needs; establishment of an anti-displacement services network to link service providers focused on keeping tenants housed, share best practices and ensure the efficient and equitable distribution of rent-relief dollars; and a partnership with San Francisco-based nonprofit All Home to design and implement a regional homelessness prevention system.

Berkeley mayor and ABAG Executive Board president Jesse Arreguin emphasizes BAHFA’s regional approach to solving the Bay Area’s chronic housing affordability problems through what are known as the Three Ps: producing more new housing at all income levels, protecting current residents from displacement, and preserving existing affordable housing.

“The crisis is a combination of complex and inter-related problems that has been growing for decades. But by working together at a regional scale, our nine counties and 101 cities and towns no longer have to try to solve every problem on their own,” he said.

Established in 2019 by state Assembly Bill 1487, BAHFA is the first regional housing finance authority in California. While BAHFA is comprised of the same membership as MTC, its procedures also are managed by the ABAG Executive Board; and both boards must approve any decision to put a regional housing finance measure on a future ballot. Oakland mayor and MTC Commissioner Libby Schaaf serves as Chair of MTC’s BAHFA Oversight Committee.

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

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Rep. McNerney to host virtual Town Hall on wildfire preparedness and response Thursday

Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

With reps from Cal Office of Emergency Services, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, Fede3ral Communications Commission

Devastating and deadly wildfires have blazed across our state last year. With over 4.2 million acres burned, 2020 was the largest wildfires season recorded in California’s history. With extreme hot and dry weather this year, wildfire activity may be more widespread, potentially putting even more people in danger. Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) will be hosting a virtual town hall on Thursday, July 15th from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM to discuss what you can expect this season and answer questions on how you and our community can prepare and stay safe. He will be joined by representatives from the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

What: Rep. Jerry McNerney Hosts Virtual Town Hall on Wildfire Preparedness and Response

            Featuring representatives from the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and East Contra Costa Fire Protection District and FCC.

Who: Hosted by Congressman Jerry McNerney

Featuring Special Guests:

  • Brian Marshall, Fire and Rescue Chief, Cal OES
  • Steve Aubert, Fire Marshal, ECCFPD
  • Justin Cain, Chief of the Operations and Emergency Management Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, FCC

When: Thursday, July 15th

             6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

To join online:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82594613212?pwd=V1VUblRVekNkczQ2TzF1YldjSDFDdz09

To join by phone:

(669) 900-6833  

Webinar ID: 825 9461 3212

Passcode: 543622 

Participants can join via phone or by using the webinar link above and can submit questions in advance here.

 

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Former Contra Costa Clerk-Recorder Joe Canciamilla pleads guilty to 9 counts

Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

Will serve one year in county jail

By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa County Office of the District Attorney

Joe Canciamilla

Martinez, Calif. – Yesterday, Monday, July 12, 2021, former Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder Joe Canciamilla pled guilty to perjury and grand theft, totaling nine counts, for illegal activity tied to his multiple political campaign bank accounts. The District Attorney’s Office filed criminal charges against Canciamilla last year. Canciamilla resigned in 2019.

Canciamilla will serve 365 days in county jail per his guilty plea. Per the court, the Sheriff’s Office will determine how the custody time will be served. In addition, he was sentenced to two years formal probation by the Honorable Leslie G. Landu.  Due to his felony conviction, Canciamilla will not be able to act as an attorney and he will report his criminal conviction to the California State Bar. Further, he may no longer hold public office or any other elected office.

Canciamilla committed felony perjury for his misstatements on campaign disclosure statements (Form 460s). Canciamilla signed these campaign finance statements under the penalty of perjury. The illegal activity was conducted from 2010 to 2016. The grand theft counts against Canciamilla related to the use of campaign funds for his personal use.

The personal expenditures made by Canciamilla’s campaign committees for his own personal use were:

  • Personal vacation to Asia
  • Restaurants
  • Airfare via Southwest Airlines and American Airlines
  • Repayment of a Personal Loan
  • Transfers from his Campaign Bank Accounts to his Personal Accounts

In 2019, Canciamilla was fined $150,000 by the California Fair Political Practices Commission in a civil stipulation for his inaccurate campaign finance statements, which concealed the personal use of campaign funds for his own benefit.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Steven Bolen. DDA Bolen is assigned to our Office’s Public Corruption Unit.

Case information: People v. Joseph Canciamilla, Docket Number 01-193934-7.

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Flex Alert issued for electricity use Monday, July 12 due to wildfires, heat

Monday, July 12th, 2021

Consumers asked to conserve energy from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

With electric transmission lines from Oregon still unreliable due to the explosive Bootleg Fire and continued high temperatures across the West resulting in increased demand for electricity, the California Independent System Operator (ISO) issued a statewide Flex Alert for Monday, July 12 to help stabilize the state’s electric grid and deal with uncertainty created by the extraordinary conditions.

Consumers are strongly encouraged to continue to conserve as much electricity as possible between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. Monday. Conservation is key to reducing stress on the grid during these peak hours.

In addition, the ISO issued a Restricted Maintenance Operations (RMO) for Monday that requires generators to postpone any planned outages for routine equipment maintenance, ensuring that all available resources can be dispatched to the grid.

The fast-moving Bootleg Fire tripped off transmission lines on Friday and again Saturday, limiting electricity flow from the Pacific Northwest to California and other states. Power supplies to the California ISO service territory, which covers about 80 percent of the state, have been reduced by as much as 3,500 megawatts because of the fire.

Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to quickly secure additional power that has helped maintain grid stability through the weekend. The executive order remains in place.

When a Flex Alert is in effect, consumers are strongly encouraged to take these specific actions from 4-9 pm:

  • Set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, if your health permits
  • Avoid using major appliances, like dish washers and clothes washers and dryers
  • Turn off all unnecessary lights

Earlier in the day, before the Flex Alert takes effect and when solar energy is abundant, consumers are encouraged to take these steps to be comfortable and help grid operators balance electricity supply and demand:

  • Pre-cool your home by lowering the thermostat
  • If you need to use your major appliances, do it before the Flex Alert is in effect, when solar energy is plentiful
  • Close window coverings to keep your home or apartment cool
  • Charge electronic devices and electric vehicles so there’s no need to do it later, when solar generation is down

If demand still outstrip supply after a Flex Alert is in effect, the ISO could take the infrequent step of ordering California utilities to spread power outages of relatively short duration to effectively extend available electricity as much as possible.

As California’s ability to store solar and wind energy with batteries or other technology continues to improve, those crucial evening hours will be less of a challenge and similar emergencies rarer. But for now, collective action to conserve is our most effective way to keep the grid stable.

For information on Flex Alerts, and to get more electricity conservation tips, visit the ISO’s Flex Alert website.

Flex Alerts

A Flex Alert is issued by the ISO when the electricity grid is under stress because of generation or transmission outages, or from persistent hot temperatures. Glossary of terms and acronyms

Click here to learn more about System Alerts, Warnings and Emergencies. Follow grid conditions in real time at ISO’s Today’s Outlook, or download the free ISO Today mobile app.

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Business networking event in Antioch Saturday evening July 10th

Thursday, July 8th, 2021

M.I.S.C. Enterprises LLC was founded in 2020 by Amanda Doss, Eva P. Dangerfield and Michelle Mayers in the East Contra Costa County (Bay Area, California.)

M.I.S.C.’s mission is to motivate, inspire and service communities by providing event spaces to support community networking and recreational activities as well as by collaborating with various professionals to provide educational workshops to youth and adults.

M.I.S.C.’s is a 100% women-run and black & brown owned business in which it’s founders are three creative and professional women whom collectively have extensive experience in finance, behavioral health, education, and community service.

For more information visit www.miscenterprisesllc.com.

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