Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Eddie Lira joins BAC Community Bank executive team

Wednesday, May 5th, 2021

Eddie Lira

Stockton, Calif – Eddie Lira has been appointed to the executive team of locally-owned BAC Community Bank as Executive Vice President, Chief Business Development Officer.  Eddie is a commercial banking professional with over 15 years of experience in leadership, portfolio management, and business development.

Most recently, Eddie worked for a large national bank, overseeing a team of business professionals across the Central Valley. This team was focused on providing business lending, cash management, and deposit solutions for customers under their care.  Eddie’s past responsibilities include serving as Vice President, Commercial Banking Officer for six years at BAC Community Bank.

“We welcome Eddie back to BAC, and we are excited to see him in this new role,” said BAC’s Chief Executive Officer Dana Bockstahler. “His business banking expertise and years of delivering exceptional service and solutions will be of great value to our customers.”

As a member of the bank’s executive team, Eddie will be working directly with Dana Bockstahler, Chief Executive Officer; Janet Jenkins, Chief Credit Officer; Paul Haley, Chief Lending Officer; and Jackie Verkuyl, Chief Administrative Officer.

Committed and invested in the local community, Eddie volunteers for local non-profit organizations and currently serves as a board member of the San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Eddie can be reached at (209) 473-6827 or

About BAC Community Bank

BAC Community Bank, first headquartered in Brentwood, California, now operates 11 branch offices throughout San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and eastern Contra Costa counties including in Antioch at 3448 Deer Valley Road, and is identified as “one of the strongest financial institutions in the nation” by BauerFinancial, Inc.

The bank is now centrally headquartered in Stockton, California and is continuously recognized for banking excellence through local awards and banking industry accolades.

BAC Community Bank is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and is an Equal Housing Lender. More information available online at


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Antioch’s Markstein highlights successful women in leadership with SF Business Times rankings, 30-year work anniversary of female president

Wednesday, March 17th, 2021

Laura Markstein. Photo: LinkedIn.

Woman-owned and operated, fourth-generation company with multiple women in leadership roles, Markstein represents successful example of diversity and inclusion for other companies to follow

ANTIOCH, Calif. – March 17th, 2021 – In honor of International Women’s Day this month, Markstein Sales Company, the largest woman-owned and operated wholesale beverage distributor in Northern California, today announced that it has been ranked by San Francisco Business Times as the 8th Largest Women-Owned Business in the Bay Area and the 5th Largest in the East Bay. This significant ranking highlights the long-term efforts and success of company President, Laura Markstein, who is celebrating her 30th work anniversary this month.

Markstein began working at the company in March 1991 as the Consumer Awareness and Education manager. After spending time in nearly every position at the company, she became President in 2001 and has focused on continuing the strong legacy of her family, while also creating new opportunities for women.

“Closing the gap on gender diversity is a critical issue on a global basis and must start from the top and migrate into every part of an organization, in every industry,” said Laura Markstein, President of Markstein Sales Co. “Women-owned businesses represent a tremendous opportunity to level the playing field, particularly in male-dominated industries such as the beer distribution business, where we’ve demonstrated continued success for generations. This recognition from the San Francisco Business Times reflects not only my role as company owner, but includes the female General Manager and female leads throughout the company who help spearhead our accomplishments.”

The San Francisco Business Times rankings are based on revenue from 2019 and with the requirement that the company be at least 51 percent woman-owned, something that Markstein Sales Co. is uniquely proud of as a fourth-generation, 102-year-old company.

Women-owned businesses represent a growing trend in many industries.  According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, there were more than 11.6 million firms owned by women, employing nearly 9 million people, and generating $1.7 trillion in sales as of 2017. In addition, women-owned firms accounted for 39 percent of all privately held firms and contributed 8 percent of employment and 4.2 percent of revenues.

Recognizing Laura Markstein’s commitment to helping women achieve success at all levels, she was recently appointed to the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for Constellation Brands.

“At Constellation Brands, our commitment to diversity and inclusion is part of our culture and is strongly reinforced by our CEO and executive team who have committed $100 million in women founded and owned business, increased representation on our board and at the executive levels, and committed to our own women through leadership development programs both for senior and mid-level women,” said Sarah Bettman at Constellation Brands, a leading international producer and marketer of beer, wine and spirits. “We believe that diversity, equity and inclusion have never been more important than they are today, which is why we take deep pride in our partnership with women-owned businesses such as Markstein Sales Company. Recognizing Laura Markstein’s leadership in the beer and beverage industry, and her proven commitment to helping women achieve success at all levels, she was recently appointed to the newly formed Social Equity Committee spearheaded by Constellation Brands. Through the Social Equity Committee, Constellation is partnering with a number of distributors across beer, wine and spirits to identify ways to work together to enhance social equity within their respective companies, the beverage alcohol industry and the local communities they serve.”

About Markstein Sales Company

Markstein Sales Company is a fourth-generation, woman-owned and operated wholesale beer and beverage distributor based in Antioch, Calif. Founded in 1919 with just a horse, a wagon and six cases of beer, Markstein is now in its 102nd year and distributing over four million cases annually. The company’s portfolio is composed of multiple world-class beers including those from the Anheuser-Busch InBev family, Constellation Beer Brands, Sierra Nevada as well as several high-quality craft beers and other beverages. Markstein is known for outstanding customer service, dedication to their employees and commitment to the community. The company continues to rank as best in class by retailers and is one of the top five largest Woman Owned Businesses in the Bay Area. More information can be found at


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Good Samaritan from Antioch rescues driver from crashed car in Sacramento River

Thursday, March 11th, 2021

Vehicle in river and rescue of driver (light colored shirt) by Chris Arias (in black) with assistance by an unidentified man on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Photos by Keoua Medeiros via CHP

By CHP – South Sacramento

On Thursday, March 11, 2021 at approximately 10 am, a 2008 GMC Acadia was traveling westbound on Twin Cities Road approaching River Road. As the GMC approached the T-intersection, the driver, a 67-year-old male out of Oakland, had a medical emergency and accelerated the GMC to 50 MPH. The GMC continued through the intersection and left the roadway and flew into the Sacramento River. As the GMC began to sink below the surface of the river, the driver climbed to the top of his vehicle and yelled at witnesses on shore that he did not know how to swim.

Chris Arias, a 39-year-old male out of Antioch, had witnessed the incident and was standing on the bank of the river when he heard the driver state that he could not swim. Mr. Arias immediately jumped into the river and swam to the GMC. Mr. Arias told the driver to hold onto his back and swam back to shore with the driver holding on to him, saving the drivers life.

The driver of the GMC did not sustain injuries as a result of the collision but was transported to a local hospital as a precaution. When investigating officers spoke to the driver, he stated that he would have died if it wasn’t for Mr. Arias.

The South Sacramento CHP Area would like to commend Mr. Arias on his heroic actions. Without his brave actions, the driver of the GMC would surely have perished.

Antioch Police posted on their Facebook page Thursday afternoon, “Great work by a member of our Antioch community, Chris Arias! We are proud of you and thankful you were there to help.”


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Glazer names Contra Costa County’s Lavonna Martin Woman of the Year

Friday, March 5th, 2021

Honored for her dedicated service to the homeless as Director of Health, Housing & Homeless Services for Contra Costa County

Lavonna Martin. From her LinkedIn profile.

SACRAMENTO – Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Contra Costa, announced Thursday that he has named Lavonna Martin as 2021 State Senate District 7 Woman of the Year. Martin is the Director of Health, Housing, & Homeless Services for Contra Costa County Health Services, in charge of providing services to those without a home to live in – a rising crisis during the Pandemic.

“Lavonna’s selfless leadership and passionate advocacy for those in need have been a lifeline to so many people who have suffered on the streets, especially during the Pandemic,” Senator Glazer said. “She is worthy of this award in every respect.”

Lavonna Martin has worked in homeless services for her entire career, beginning at the Homeless Prenatal Program in San Francisco and then, for the past 21 years, at Contra Costa Health Services.  She began her work with Contra Costa County as the Deputy Director of Homeless Services, eventually became the Chief and when the Health, Housing and Homeless Services Division was formed in 2016, was named Director.

As Director, Lavonna manages a homeless service delivery system that includes street outreach, respite and emergency shelters, independent living programs for transition-age youth, and permanent supportive housing for adults, youth, and families and received an annual compensation package including salary and benefits of over $244,000 in 2019, according to Transparent California.

During the last year in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Lavonna and her team procured 5 hotels (633 rooms) to provide non-congregate shelter options to persons experiencing homelessness at highest risk of COVID-19. Nearly 1702 individuals and families have been served in these hotels to date. More than half (54%) have had a positive exit to other housing or substance use disorder treatment programs.

Lavonna’s division has worked hard to improve the health and hygiene conditions of those living outside during this crisis. Under her leadership, hand-washing stations and porta-potties have been mobilized and stationed to better support persons living outside in the cities of Martinez, Antioch, Concord, Walnut Creek, San Pablo, Pittsburg and Richmond.

To support the basic needs for unsheltered persons, the Division’s CORE team has remained operational and has provided food packs, cloth and non-surgical masks, hand sanitizers, and solar battery chargers so that our unsheltered community could charge cell phones during Shelter In Place.

Previous winners of the Woman of the Year award for the 7th State Senate District were:

  • 2020 – Valerie Ariosto, 2020 Olympian Softball, Pleasanton
  • 2019 –  Margaret Liang, President Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Tri Valley Chapter, Dublin
  • 2018 – Alissa Friedman, President/CEO Opportunity Junction, Antioch

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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From Wolverine to Marine to hero: Deer Valley High grad stationed at Camp Pendleton swims 250 meters, saves drowning couple

Saturday, February 20th, 2021

U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Dan Conley, commanding general, Marine Corps Installations West, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, presented a challenge coin to Cpl. Jordan Perez, a combat engineer with 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, at the 21 Area Boat Basin, Feb. 19, 2021. Conley commended Perez for saving a couple after their kayak flipped over in the basin. Perez swam nearly 250 meters to escort them safely back to the beach. (Snapshot of U.S. Marine Corps video by Sgt. Dylan Chagnon)

“That was really gutsy of you.” – U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Dan Conley, Camp Pendleton Commanding General

“It’s what Marines are expected to do.” – Cpl. Jordan Perez.

U.S. Marine Cpl. Jordan Perez, a combat engineer with 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, poses for a photo in the 21 Area of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Feb. 19, 2021. Perez was awarded a challenge coin for saving a couple after their kayak flipped over in the 21 Area Boat Basin. Perez is a native of Antioch, California. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Alison Dostie)

By Lance Cpl. Angela Wilcox

Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton  

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – A young Marine was recognized for actions taken on Feb. 15th, 2021, when he saved the lives of two civilian kayakers at the 21 Area Boat Basin.

Cpl. Jordan Perez, a combat engineer with 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, was present when a married couple was calling for help from the water. The boat basin, surrounded by large, sharp boulders, produced unforgiving waves that day that flipped their kayak. Through these waves, Perez estimated that he had to swim 250 meters to reach the kayakers and bring them to shore – a feat that may have proven impossible for some. Luckily for the couple, Perez was physically and mentally prepared due to the consistent and rigorous training of the Marine Corps.

According to Antioch Unified School District Superintendent, Stephanie Anello, the 6’1″ Perez is a 2018 graduate of Deer Valley High School, where he played varsity baseball as catcher and football as a safety and wide receiver for the Wolverines. The Antioch native was also a member of the Chess Club. His parents are Baltazar and Celestina Pérez of Antioch.

Perez received a challenge coin from U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Dan Conley, the commanding general of Marine Corps Installations West, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, on Feb. 19th, 2021. Perez credits his military training with giving him the confidence to jump into action. (See video)

At around 1 p.m. on Feb. 15th, 2021, Perez was working on a construction project at the 21 Area Del Mar Boat Basin at Camp Pendleton, when another Marine witnessed a couple in the water that had been flipped from their kayak by a strong wave. The kayakers were struggling in the water and began calling for help.

Perez played catcher for the Deer Valley Wolverines during the 2018 season. Source: MaxPreps

“That’s when I took action,” said Perez. “I took my boots off and just started swimming.”

Once Perez arrived at the scene, he immediately “…grabbed the woman’s hand and pulled her back on the kayak and began pushing the boat back to the rocks,” said Perez. He mentioned that the woman’s husband was able to swim, but halfway to the shore he began to panic. Upon noticing the husband’s struggle, Perez swam back to where the man was, placed a life vest on him, and continued pushing the woman to safety.

For his actions, Perez was paid a visit by Conley and received a challenge coin at the worksite where the event occurred.

While Perez was not the only Marine to recognize the severity of the situation, he was particularly ready for this moment. Perez is currently training with a retired reconnaissance Marine in order to prepare for assessment and selection with the Marine Raiders. Achieving this goal includes swimming for about two hours every day.

Del Mar Boat Basin. Source: Mapcarta

Perez’s hard work paid off when it mattered most. “That [training] takes away any hesitation that comes with putting your own life at risk. Since I had been training, I was confident that I could get myself out there and get those people back.”

Conley had a conversation with Perez, commending him for his life saving actions. “I’d like to believe a lot of people would do what you did, but I know they wouldn’t. So, to hear it actually happen is just amazing. That was really gutsy of you.” said Conley.

What was extraordinary to Conley was the standard that Perez holds himself to. “It’s what Marines are expected to do.” said Perez.

Although the actions that Perez took were heroic, Perez contends that all Marines, given the opportunity, would do the same. “It’s what Marines are expected to do.” said Perez.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Contra Costa DA Becton marries minister and preaches at their Richmond church

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

Rev. Dr. Alvin Bernstine introduces his wife, Rev. Diana Becton who then preaches at their Richmond church on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. Video screenshots.

A fourth-generation preacher, Rev. Dr. Alvin C. Bernstine introduces her as his “fellow colleague in the ministry”, says she faces the “yeast of Americanism…white supremacy”; during Martin Luther King Sunday sermon Rev. Diana Becton says attack on U.S. Capitol “fueled by the hate of white supremacists”; both teach theology at Oakland institute

By Allen Payton

Following news articles on Sunday that Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton held her wedding and reception in the backyard of her El Sobrante home, last August, in violation of COVID-19 restrictions, a YouTube video revealed that her new husband is Rev. Dr. Alvin C. Bernstine, MDiv, DMin. He has been the pastor of Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church in Richmond since 2006.

According to his ministry website, he is a fourth-generation preacher, who has been preaching for over 40 years. Bernstine recently authored a book entitled, Hope Us, Lord. Among his previous publications are The Evening and The Morning Ministry, and In A Disaster Zone: The Seven Sayings of Jesus as Preached in an Urban African American Church.

He introduced Becton during a virtual service from their church on Sunday, Jan. 17 as “my incredible wife” and “my dear friend, and buddy, golf partner, book sharer reader, fellow colleague even in the ministry.”

“By the way, I have been married with her for 138 days…and I am grateful to God,” Bernstine added.

Becton can also be seen in a video on the church’s Facebook page introducing him during the service, this past Sunday, Feb. 7.

During Bernstine’s introduction of Becton on Jan. 17, which he labeled Martin Luther King Sunday, the day before the national holiday, he said, “One of the things we have to guard ourselves against is this whole notion of individualized salvation and individualized freedom. Because what is plaguing our nation, now is we got some folk, they are free, but they don’t want you to be free. And so, if I’m going to be free you need to be free, then we need to celebrate that we are free.”

“It is on that note that I want to do something special, today. The Lord laid it on my heart to invite the Rev. Diana Becton to speak to us,” Bernstine stated.

“Beware of the yeast of the Sadducees and the Pharisees…beware of their teaching,” he said. “Their teaching tends to be anthropocentric and ethnocentric. In other words, it’s so focused on who they were as people and who they were as a culture, that it literally displaced God. Whenever you do that, you’re in trouble. So, he said don’t focus, don’t give so much attention, don’t give so much of your life to their teaching.”

“Because one of the things that kind of teaching can do, because that’s what it has done in America, it can make you think you’re something you’re not. And the yeast of America is this, you all,” Bernstine continued, then getting political. “The yeast is a bad teaching because it will have you doing crazy things like storming the Capitol or have you doing crazy things by plotting to storm the capitols of fifty states. Because it got you thinking you’re something that you are not. I wish I can make it plain. Amen?”

“So, the yeast of Americanism is white supremacy, where white people, they believe they’re superior and then it makes black people inferior,” he said. “Beware of any yeast that makes you think that you are inferior. I wish I could make this plain, and that some other folk are superior.”

“So, it’s on that note that I want to introduce our preacher, for today,” said Bernstine. “She’s been experiencing the yeast, because as an attorney, she experienced the yeast. As one of the first judges in our county she experienced the yeast. And Lord knows she’s been experiencing the yeast as the first woman and the first person of color to be elected as District Attorney of Contra Costa County. The yeast is still out there, ya’ll.”

“But we are excited that in the midst of all that, as an attorney, a retired judge, District Attorney,” he shared. “But we celebrate her, here. But she wears that tag…of the First Lady of the Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church.”

“She’s my first lady, my only lady because I don’t have no firsts and seconds. Amen,” Bernstine continued. “My mama was my first, but she’s gone. So, she’s my first…my only.”

Becton then preached a sermon entitled “A Maladjusted Jesus” and opened in prayer, thanking God for the life and example of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (See the 37:38 mark of the video) Her message was from Matthew 9:36-38 and she spoke of “the full-blown insurrection, that attempted coup that took place in our capitol…the violence, the crazy madness fueled by the hatred of white supremacists and even the words of the President of the United States. That stuff is not normal. What we see is a national tragedy, and in this abnormal moment, I share the words of Dr. Martin Luther King. ‘God grant that we be so maladjusted that we will never be able to go out and feel that all of this is normal.’”

Becton then quoted from a speech by Dr. King, that “he argues that there are some things in this world, in our society to which we ought to never become adjusted” including “the viciousness of a mob rule…the evils of segregation and the crippling effects of discrimination…the inequalities of an economic system that takes the necessities of the masses to give luxuries to the classes.”

“We have adjusted to what is truly abnormal,” she said.

Becton then brought her sermon back to the text, “because that’s where we find Jesus. He is seeing those who are sick, blind, stressed, grieving, with souls that are uncared for. And what Jesus saw broke his heart. Take note because you just walked into the space with a maladjusted Jesus. He’s a compassionate Jesus who demonstrates that He never intended to accept the inequalities of this world. Jesus was maladjusted.”

She then exhorted listeners to be like Jesus, to see the need, feel compassion, and be troubled by their pain.

“We are just not moved anymore. We have adjusted, accepting the things that are just not normal. Things that would have broken the heart of Jesus,” Becton said. “We have to shake off our lethargy, stop walking past human brokenness in our communities. We have to feel compassion for the people. We’ve got to stop normalizing these painful circumstances. For surely anything that broke the heart of Jesus should break our hearts, too.”

She shared a quote from Rev. Raphael Warnock, the new U.S. Senator from Georgia, and then encouraged people to help others with “basic things like food and they still need to feel safe. So, we can think about ways to fulfill those needs.”

“The hallmark of Jesus’ ministry was compassion,” Becton shared. “Jesus saw the need. Jesus felt the need and Jesus was moved to meet the need. So, if we’re going to be like Jesus, we too have to see, we have to feel and then we have to be moved by compassion to do something.”

She concluded with quotes by Dr. King.

“In the spirit of Martin Luther King, today, let us remember some of the words that were spoken by a man who changed the world. ‘I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great of a burden to bear.’” Becton said. “In the words of Martin Luther King I call upon all of you to be maladjusted, today. God grant that we will go. That we will be so maladjusted that we will be able to go out and change the world. See, feel, move and be maladjusted.”

Becton, Bernstine Also Teach Theology

As previously reported by the Herald, Becton earned a Master of Divinity degree from the Pacific School of Religion. (See related article) The school’s website includes the following description.

“Vision: Living a Radically Welcoming Gospel – Whether ministering to the local homeless community or participating in our MultiFaith Transgender Summit, PSR students embody a message of radical inclusivity. Our two centers, Ignite Institute @ PSR and Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion, share an expansive, hopeful message of spiritual and social transformation.”

The school is a member of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU), an interreligious consortium of seminaries and institutes in the Bay Area. That includes the Berkeley School of Theology affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA, of which Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland is a member.

Both Becton and Bernstine teach at the Leadership Institute at Allen Temple in Oakland. She is Professor of Theological Studies and he is Professor of Homelitics/Preaching and Christian Ministry Cohort Leader.

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Antioch Council approves master plan for Laurel Road area park and open space named for Jacuzzi family members

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020

Park Ridge Park & Open Space map. Guissepina and Valeriano Jacuzzi. Courtesy of Jason Hydrotherapy #jacuzzifamilyhistory from Pinterest.

Park Ridge subdivision park, Valeriano and Guiseppina Jacuzzi Knolls Open Space

By Allen Payton

One of the family members that helped develop the Jacuzzi name into a global recognized brand in the hot tub business, and his wife, will have their legacy of farming and land ownership in Antioch honored with the naming of a 25-acre open space inside a new home subdivision off the future extension of Laurel Road. The city council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve the Valeriano and Guiseppina Jacuzzi Knolls Open Spacee and Park Ridge subdivision park. Park Ridge park & Jacuzzi Knolls Open Space ACC11-10-20

Park Ridge Park landscape plan.

The 525-unit new home project by Davidon Homes will feature both the 8.22-acre park in the Park Ridge development. It will also have a trail to connect to the Delta de Anza Trail as well as the Jacuzzi open space.

The park will include a dog park and is expected to be completed by first quarter of next year a representative of Davidon Homes shared.

“Exciting for Antioch exciting for the project,” Mayor Sean Wright said following the presentation.

“It looks like it’s a beautiful park with a lot of open space. So, thank you for that,” said Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock. “The only ask is that the playground structures be all access. I just want to make sure it’s put into the resolution so that it gets done.”

“It’s a beautiful park and what a great amenity to the subdivision,” added Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts who followed her comments by making a motion to adopt a resolution of approval for the park and open space.

The council then voted unanimously 5-0 approving the motion.

Valeriano and Giuseppina Jacuzzi Ranch, circa 1928. Courtesy of Jason Hydrotherapy #jacuzzifamilyhistory on Pinterest.

Valeriano and Guissepina Jacuzzi and Family History, and Ties to Antioch

According to former Antioch Mayor Joel Keller, the Jacuzzi family members started in Antioch and East County about 100 years ago. They were farmers, and then some family members left for Sonoma County and entered the vineyard and wine business.

“When they moved to Antioch is when they worked on their pump and started the Jacuzzi hot tub business,” he shared.

“The family still owns many acres of land in both Antioch and Brentwood,” Keller added.

Valeriano Jacuzzi was born on December 16, 1887 and died in 1973. Guiseppina, known as “Pina”, was also born on December 16, but in 1898. The year of her passing could not be found in a search prior to publication time.

Jacuzzi employees with Jet Pumps-c.1940 Front row from left: Candido, Gelindo, Joseph, Frank, and Valeriano Back row: Virgil Jacuzzi, first on left, engineer John Armstrong in center. Courtesy of Jason Hydrotherapy.

According to the history of the Jacuzzi family on the Jacuzzi Vineyards website, “The Jacuzzi trek to America started in 1907, when Valeriano and Francesco Jacuzzi, the second- and third-born sons of Giovanni and Teresa Jacuzzi, immigrated to Washington to work on the railroad. A warmer climate beckoned and the pair eventually made their way to southern California. Years later, they were joined by four other brothers and eventually all went to work in the aviation industry. Soon they would make American history.

In 1911 their father, Giovanni, a skilled wood worker and vineyard farmer joined them. Two weeks was enough to convince him that his sons would never go back. He then returned to Italy with Valeriano to gather up the rest of the family.”

According to the Jacuzzi Wikipedia page, “Jacuzzi Brothers was founded in 1915 by seven Italian brothers from Casarsa della Delizia in Northern Italy, led by Giocondo Jacuzzi and Candido Jacuzzi. The company made wooden propellers under military contracts” at their location on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley.

Valeriano Jacuzzi with dogs Pronto and Milecca, west view of home-1941. Photo: Pinterest #jacuzzifamilyhistory.

According to the vineyards’ website, “World War I intervened and the trip was delayed until the war’s end. During this time, Valeriano had met Giuseppina and fell in love, married and had their first child. Valeriano’s new family, parents and remaining siblings departed from Italy in 1920.

Soon after their arrival in early 1921, Valeriano started working with his brothers at their Jacuzzi Brothers factory. A tragic crash, over Modesto, of Jacuzzi’s first enclosed monoplane took several lives, including that of Valeriano’s brother, Giocondo. At this time, Giovanni asked his sons to cease making planes. Valeriano moved his family to Northern California and purchased a 161-acre farm in (Antioch) Contra Costa County.

During the depression, Valeriano, with help from his older children, planted a portion of the open farm fields with grapes and in 1936 he applied for a license to make wine for home consumption.

Valeriano and Guiseppina Jacuzzi home with vineyard in foreground – 1941. Courtesy of Jason Hydrotherapy #jacuzzifamilyhistory on Pinterest.

“In 1937, Valeriano returned to work with his brothers at Jacuzzi Brothers, Inc…where they manufactured water well pumps and eventually, the bath and spa that bears their name.”

Valeriano’s grandson, Fred Cline started Cline Family Cellars in 1982 in Oakley, making his first vintages from original plantings some of which dated back to the 1880’s. Those vineyards can still be seen, today along the north side of the city next to the railroad tracks.

“Cline opened Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in 2007 as a way of honoring his beloved grandfather Valeriano Jacuzzi. As a teenager and young man, Fred was taught by Valeriano how to tease magic from the soil” and “the fine art of old-world winemaking.” Two of the wines sold by  Jacuzzi Family Vineyards are named Valeriano and Guiseppina as tributes to his grandparents.

Valeriano and Guiseppina wines from Jacuzzi Family Vineyards.

According to the Jacuzzi hot tubs company website, “the Jacuzzi brothers revolutionized the pump industry by developing a pump for orchards. Many inventions later…when a young Jacuzzi family member was stricken with rheumatoid arthritis, the brothers designed a pump that could be submerged in a bathtub to provide pain-relieving hydrotherapy treatments,” creating a hydromassage pump. “In 1968 Jacuzzi created the world’s first integrated jet whirlpool bath” and “the portable hydrotherapy pump turned any normal bathtub into a relaxing and rejuvenating hydro-therapeutic spa and changed the lives of people around the world.”

In 1979, the Jacuzzi family sold the business (and the name) to a large corporate conglomerate, and Valeriano and Guissepino’s son Remo remained president of Jacuzzi Brothers until 1982. Remo Jacuzzi started and owns Jason International, a  hydrotherapy company named from a combination of Jacuzzi and the word “son”.

Jacuzzi brothers with mother, from left: Candido, Frank, Gelindo, Teresa, Joseph, Valeriano, and Rachele-c.1935 Courtesy of Jason Hydrotherapy #jacuzzifamilyhistory on Pinterest.

Now, the 25-acre open space in Antioch will bear the Jacuzzi family name, specifically as a legacy to one of the inventive, hardworking farmer and vintner brothers, Valeriano and his bride, Guissepina, who have added to Antioch’s rich history as the county’s oldest city.

Valeriano and Giuseppina Jacuzzi family photo-c.1941 Back row: Mary, Dante, Virgil, Jaconda, and Teresa. Front row: Flora, Rachel, Valeriano, Giuseppina, and Remo. Courtesy of Jason Hydrotherapy #jacuzzifamilyhistory on Pinterest.


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Contra Costa Transportation Authority Executive Director Randy Iwasaki to retire in December

Monday, October 12th, 2020

Search begins for his replacement

Randy Iwasaki. From LinkedIn.

Randell H. Iwasaki, the Executive Director of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority announced recently, his intention to retire from the agency.  Following is a statement from the Board Chair Julie Pierce.

“It is with a range of mixed emotions that I announce Randell Iwasaki’s (Randy) retirement from his successful and accomplished career at the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA). I am sad Randy will retire as CCTA’s Executive Director effective December 26, 2020; yet, I am immensely proud of the goals, recognition and innovations CCTA achieved in the ten years Randy has been at the helm of the Authority, and extremely grateful for the leadership Randy has demonstrated while managing this agency. His vision, as well as his ability to create, guide and inspire a remarkable workforce resulted in a small but mighty team who has made significant advances to improve mobility in Contra Costa County.

Randy and his staff have delivered on our promise to the public by completing major infrastructure improvements such as Highway 4 and the Caldecott Fourth Bore projects, while simultaneously pursuing innovative ways to improve mobility in the future. During Randy’s tenure, CCTA has become a leader in advancing new technology to solve real challenges faced by our residents. Notable achievements include establishing the nation’s largest secure, connected and automated vehicle proving grounds, securing legislation to pilot the first low-speed, multi-passenger, shared autonomous vehicles that are not equipped with a steering wheel, brake pedal, accelerator or operator on public roads in California, and more recently winning two nationally competitive grants to deploy innovative transportation technology from the United States Department of Transportation.

Throughout his tenure as Executive Director, Randy has ensured CCTA remains a responsible and prudent steward of public funds. For eight years in a row the agency’s management of sales tax dollars has been recognized with the coveted “Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting” from the Government Finance Officers Association. Last year, the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association also honored CCTA with a Silver Medal Award for Good Government.

On behalf of the CCTA Board, I’d like to express our gratitude for Randy’s extraordinary role in delivering so many projects aimed to strengthen the economy, protect the environment and enhance Contra Costa County’s transportation system. In the ten years he has served as Executive Director, he has accomplished much to improve the quality of life for our residents. We thank Randy for his dedication to this agency, and wish him all the best in his new adventures.”

The CCTA Board has appointed a sub-committee of the Board to lead the search for the agency’s next Executive Director.”

Iwasaki is the former Executive Director of CalTrans, the state Department of Transportation, said he plans to work in the private sector following his retirement in December.

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