Archive for the ‘Politics & Elections’ Category

Antioch resident one of 17 appointed to Contra Costa’s Measure X sales tax advisory board

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

Two Antioch residents appointed as alternates; Supervisors approve new board’s bylaws, but has COVID-19 put a dent in county’s finances?

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors appointed 17 applicants to the Measure X Community Advisory Board on Tuesday that will oversee the disbursement of $81 million in new annual sales tax revenue county officials are counting on to fund vital operations.  NAACP East County Branch Past President Odessa Le Francois of Antioch and transitional housing agent David Cruise of Brentwood were named by District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis to serve on the advisory board.  The board chair also selected housing expert Sandro Trujillo of Antioch as an alternate.

District 5 Supervisor Glover picked work force specialist Michelle Stewart of Pittsburg and attorney Ali Saidi of Pinole to serve on the advisory panel. Antioch resident Gigi Crowder, a mental health professional, was selected by Glover as an alternate.

Passed by 58.45% of the vote of Contra Costa voters, last November, Measure X increased the county’s sales taxes from 8.25 percent to 8.75 percent on everything except food sales. The additional annual revenue aims to support county services intended for the regional hospital, community health centers, emergency response, childhood services and protective services of vulnerable populations. (See related articles here and here) CCC_2021MeasureX_FullText

There was no public comment aired for either the 17 appointments or the bylaws established for the Proposition X Community Advisory Board.

But this observer questions if the newly formed Measure X Advisory Board will be put to the test at a time the county’s economy is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.  What if the panel learns that instead of the $80 million that the county counts on to be generated from the half-cent sales tax increase, that in the first year it might be only $50 million or $60 million because people are not spending like they used to?

The $80 million figure was generated before COVID-19 popped onto the global landscape and the county’s economy was in much better shape at a 3.2 percent unemployment rate compared to a 7.7 percent unemployment rate today.

The supervisors’ Finance Committee, comprised of District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill and District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond, interviewed more than 130 applicants for the Measure X panel.

“We had a high number of high-quality people apply for this board,” said Gioia. “It wasn’t easy to choose candidates.”

District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen concurred with Gioia commenting, “We had amazing candidates!”

Each supervisor selected two Community Advisory Board members and one alternate.  Seven at-large representatives were selected as well as five at-large seat alternatives.

Housing advocates Brenda Williams and Edith Pastrano, both of Richmond were selected by Supervisor Gioia to serve on the Community Advisory Board.  El Cerrito psychotherapist Cathy Hanville was selected to serve as an alternate by Gioia.

District 2 Supervisor Andersen selected real estate expert Kathryn Chiverton of Alamo and investment banker Jim Cervantes of Lafayette to serve on the Community Advisory Board.   Supervisor Andersen picked Walnut Creek retired housing consultant Donna Colombo as an alternate.

Supervisor Mitchoff selected to represent District IV, psychologist Dr. Michelle Hernandez of Concord and Meals on Wheels executive Sharon Quesada Jenkins of Concord.  Pello Walker of Concord was named an alternate. He is owner/organizer of the annual sustainable enterprise conferences in Contra Costa County.

Selected as at-large members are founder and executive director of RYSE Kimberly Aceves-Inguez of Oakland, Dr. Ruth Fernandez of Concord who is director of First 5, senior citizen advocate Debbie Toth of Fairfield, social service expert Sandra Wall of American Canyon, executive legal assistant at UnCommon Law Susan Kim of Berkeley, and Senior Director of Ensuring Opportunity Campaign to End Poverty in Contra Costa Mariana Moore of Benicia, and Rodeo Hercules Fire Captain and Local 1230 Vice President Jerry Short of El Sobrante.

Named as at large alternates are San Pablo Mayor Genovea Colloway, First 5 Association Executive Director Melissa Stafford Jones of Walnut Creek, pediatrician Dr. Diana Hong of Orinda, East Bay Leadership Council policy director Lindy Lavender of Pacheco and physician Dr. Peter Benson of Alamo.

According to the Community Advisory Board’s by-laws that supervisors also approved in tandem with the selection of board appointments, meetings are to be conducted publicly and in compliance with the Ralph M. Brown Act and the Contra Costa County Better Governance Ordinance for Public Comment.

There is no compensation for serving on the Measure X Community Advisory Board. In addition, there is “no reimbursement to board members for any expenses incurred while conducting official business,” the bylaws state.

 

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State says Measure T’s growth limitations in Antioch’s Sand Creek area “cannot…be adopted, implemented or enforced”

Thursday, April 1st, 2021

The Let Antioch Voters Decide: The Sand Creek Area Protection Initiative known as Measure T on the November 2020 ballot cannot be implemented.

Violates state law known as SB330, the Housing Crisis Act of 2019

Would have devalued property by over 99%, downzoning it from 2 homes per acre to 1 home per 80 acres

Cities and counties must approve new homes or face hefty fines which will fund low-income housing

By Allen Payton

As was reported in news articles and an editorial by the Herald during the 2020 fall election campaign, the state has issued an opinion letter confirming that the residential growth limitations in Measure T on the November ballot, “cannot permissibly be adopted, implemented or enforced.” That’s due to the passage of SB330, the Housing Crisis Act of 2019, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, also as previously reported. Known as the Let Antioch Voters Decide: The Sand Creek Protection Initiative, the measure passed by almost 79% of the vote.

SB330 added Section 66300 to California Government Code preventing cities and counties from reducing zoning of residential property by either council action or citizen initiative until Jan. 1, 2025.  Also, if a city council doesn’t approve new housing within existing allowable zoning, the new law requires a court to fine the city a minimum of $10,000 per housing unit denied and force the city to approve the new homes, and require they spend the funds from the fines on additional, low-income housing.

SB330 and State Housing Law

The language of SB330 reads, “(c) It is the intent of the Legislature, in enacting the Housing Crisis Act of 2019, to do both of the following: (1) Suspend certain restrictions on the development of new housing during the period of the statewide emergency described in subdivisions (a) and (b). (2) Work with local governments to expedite the permitting of housing in regions suffering the worst housing shortages and highest rates of displacement.”

Furthermore, the act reads, “The Legislature finds and declares that the provision of adequate housing, in light of the severe shortage of housing at all income levels in this state, is a matter of statewide concern and is not a municipal affair…Therefore, the provisions of this act apply to all cities, including charter cities.”

In addition, the new law reads, “with respect to land where housing is an allowable use, an affected county or an affected city shall not enact a development policy… that would  have any of the following effects: Changing the general plan land use designation, specific plan land use designation, or zoning of a parcel or parcels of property to a less intensive use or reducing the intensity of land use within an existing general plan land use designation, specific plan land use designation, or zoning district below what was allowed under the land use designation and zoning ordinances of the affected county or affected city, as applicable, as in effect on January 1, 2018.”

Also, the new law amended Section 65589.5 of the Government Code that reads, “the court shall impose fines on a local agency… in a minimum amount of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per housing unit in the housing development project on the date the application was deemed complete.” Furthermore, the law requires, “the local agency shall commit and expend the money” from the fines “for the sole purpose of financing newly constructed housing units affordable to extremely low, very low, or low-income households.”

So, not only will the new homes in the development that was denied be built, but the city will be fined and the funds from the fines must be used to build additional, low-income housing.

Finally, According to the HCD, “Since 1969, California has required that all local governments (cities and counties) adequately plan to meet the housing needs of everyone in the community. California’s local governments meet this requirement by adopting housing plans as part of their ‘general plan’ (also required by the state). General plans serve as the local government’s ‘blueprint’ for how the city and/or county will grow and develop and include seven elements: land use, transportation, conservation, noise, open space, safety, and housing. The law mandating that housing be included as an element of each jurisdiction’s general plan is known as ‘housing-element law.’

California’s housing-element law acknowledges that, in order for the private market to adequately address the housing needs and demand of Californians, local governments must adopt plans and regulatory systems that provide opportunities for (and do not unduly constrain), housing development. As a result, housing policy in California rests largely on the effective implementation of local general plans and, in particular, local housing elements.” Each of the regions in the state must develop a plan for their Regional Housing Needs Allocation and Housing Elements.

The Bay Area’s current Regional Housing Need Allocation Plan (RHNA) projected 187,990 units needed between Jan. 31, 2015 and Jan. 31, 2023 and another 441,176 units will be needed between 2023 and 2031, according to the HCD and the Association of Bay Area Governments. In the new RHNA, it requires Antioch to add 2,481 more housing units by 2030. (See related article)

City of Antioch Letter to HCD Regarding Measure T and SB330

A letter was sent on Jan. 8, 2021 from an attorney hired by the City of Antioch to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) seeking their advice and opinion on implementing Measure T. In that letter, attorney David Mehretu of Meyers Nave asked Paul McDougall, Housing Policy Manager for HCD to review Measure T for a determination of its “validity under SB 330 as follows: Letter to HCD Re Measure T (Antioch)

  1. Whether Measure T’s housing development restrictions are proscribed under Section 66300(b)(1)(A) of the Government Code.
  2. Whether, pursuant to Sections 66300(b)(1)(B)(i) and (ii) of the Government Code, Measure T’s housing development restrictions constitute “a moratorium or similar restriction or limitation on housing development . . . within [Sand Creek] . . . to specifically protect against an imminent threat to the health and safety of persons residing in, or within the immediate vicinity of [Sand Creek] . . . ”.
  3. Whether Measure T acts as an impermissible cap on housing pursuant to Section 66300(b)(1)(D)(ii) of the Government Code; and
  4. Whether Antioch may, consistently with SB 330, enforce Measure T’s housing development restrictions.”

Response Letter from HCD Explains Why Measure T Violates State Law

In a March 9th response letter entitled “Enforceability of Measure T’s Reduction in Land Use Intensity pursuant to Housing Crisis Act of 2019 – Letter of Technical Assistance,” McDougall wrote, “the City requested the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s (HCD) opinion as to the enforceability of a reduction in the intensity of land use included in the City’s voter-approved initiative Measure T.” HCD Antioch SB 330 Letter 03.09.2021

“HCD’s opinion is based on the mandatory criteria established by the Legislature with the passage of Senate Bill 330 in 2019, known as the Housing Crisis Act of 2019,” McDougall wrote.

“HCD finds that the less intensive use provisions of Measure T are impermissible under Government Code section 66300,” and “Measure T effectively acts as a ‘…cap on the number of housing units that can be approved…’, a violation of Government Code section 66300…,” he wrote.

McDougall offered one caveat writing, “the City could enforce the reduction in intensity contemplated in Measure T, notwithstanding this opinion, if and when it concurrently changes the development standards, policies, and conditions applicable to other parcels within the jurisdiction to ensure that there is no net loss in residential capacity.” However, he further wrote, “nothing in Measure T provides for an equal increase in intensity of land use elsewhere in the jurisdiction, therefore, these provisions of Measure T cannot be permissibly adopted, implemented, or enforced consistent with Government Code section 66300.”

He concludes his letter offering the state’s opinion that Measure T is impermissible.

“Measure T appears to have been drafted to assure that housing development in the City is restricted in a manner that preserves agriculture and open spaces (Measure T, section 1). However, there is minimal analysis in Measure T to support this outcome. Measure T language more readily suggests it was passed primarily with the intent to restrict future housing development as opposed to accommodating future residential growth as intended in the City’s general plan,” the HCD Housing Policy Manager continues.

“In sum, the provisions of the voter-approved Measure T result in a lesser intensity of land use and create a development cap, resulting in a reduction in the total number of housing units that can be built within the Initiative Area than what is currently allowed in the City’s General Plan. Accordingly, HCD is of the opinion that such a reduction in the intensity of land use created by Measure T cannot permissibly be adopted, implemented, or enforced consistent with Government Code section 66300,” McDougall concluded.

Measure T is Moot, Council Must Approve New Homes

Therefore, as previously reported, the state has confirmed that Measure T, which would have devalued four privately owned parcels on the west side of Deer Valley Road by over 99% from two homes per acre to just one home per 80 acres, is moot and will have no impact on the development of new housing in Antioch. It would have affected less than 900 housing units remaining of the total 4,000 homes allowed in the City of Antioch’s Sand Creek Focus Area of the general plan. But now those housing projects will move forward in the planning process and can be expected to be approved.

That’s because the council must adopt all new housing projects in the Sand Creek area and anywhere else in the city, until Jan. 1, 2025, which don’t require any zoning changes or general plan amendments, or the city will face state fines of $10,000 per unit, at a minimum, and the homes will still be approved and allowed to be built, and the fines fund additional, low-income housing in the city, according to SB330.

 

 

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Oakley resident Tim Herode launches campaign for governor to “restore California”

Friday, March 26th, 2021

Tim Herode speaks at his campaign launch in Byron on Thursday, March 18, 2021. Photos by Allen Payton

“Together we will listen and act with integrity, transparency and accountability. Three things we haven’t had for a while.” – Tim Herode, candidate for Governor of California

By Allen Payton

On Thursday, March 18, 2021, Oakley resident Tim Herode announced the launch of his campaign to be the next governor of the Golden State with the theme “Restore California”. With about 50 people in attendance at Campos Family Vineyards in Byron, the candidate gave his reasons for running and why he should replace the incumbent, Gavin Newsom who is most likely facing a recall election, later this year. Herode vowed to return integrity, transparency and accountability to state government.

He was introduced by Michelle Campos, owner of the venue.

Tim Herode, (center front) is surrounded by his youngest son Nolan (left), daughter Hannah, wife Heather (back right) and oldest son Mitchell. Photo from the campaign Facebook page.

“We’re going to have an amazing night, tonight,” she said. “He is a man of faith. He wants you to know that he is not a politician. He’s a businessman. He’s a family man. He’s a pastor. He has a huge heart for we the people. He cares about you. He cares about this great state and he cares about restoring California back to a righteous government.”

“We can tell you with 100 percent assuredness, he operates his life with integrity, transparency and accountability and I think you can agree with me that’s what we need in our state, right now,” Campos said.

Before beginning prepared remarks, the 49-year-old internet technology professional was joined on the stage by his wife, Heather and their three children, Hannah, Mitchell and Nolan.

At one point during Herode’s speech he said, “If the truth hurts it’s going to be a painful night,” and “I’m not here to be your politician and if you think that you came to the wrong party. I’m here for we the people. We are going to restore California.”

Digital signs on the wall behind the stage where Herode spoke showed messages of “Restore California” and his campaign logo with the message at the bottom of “A Hero for California.”

Digital Signs at Herode’s campaign launch show his campaign theme and slogan.

Following are the prepared and live remarks from Herode’s campaign announcement speech: (see video)

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for attending this very important and exciting official announcement to launch my campaign for Governor of the State of California. I believe in ‘We The People of the State of California, grateful to the Almighty God for our Freedom, in order to secure and perpetuate its blessings, do establish this Constitution,’ our pre-amble to this great state.

And We The People, need to take the power out of government and bring such power back into our hands.

What does that mean to me? What does that mean to us as a state of great people?  Is to encourage and protect the truth.

California citizens have been confined to their homes for over a year, their children under educated, small businesses have closed or moved, suffered loss of life and possessions from lack of forest management, the jobless have been deprived of unemployment insurance, while thousands and thousands of prisoners were released from prison in the name of COVID-19, and now our EDD has suffered a $30 billion loss.

The audience inside the Campos Family Vineyards event center for the Tim Herode for Governor campaign launch.

While the lockdowns have been mandated by our current Governor and his administration, record executive orders have been made with the absence of legislative over site and most of all without the voice of We The People.  During this dire period, the current governor and fellow health advisors were dining in at one of the most expensive restaurants of the Napa Valley without masks. Our current governor and many others from his team, while mandating school closures causing many parents to quit their jobs.

In addition, homelessness grows, taxes and fuel costs continue to increase, wildfires have destroyed homes, businesses and family memories all while politicians fatten their wallets and boost their careers by answering to the “big donors” known as lobbyists.

Let’s talk about schools. Our current governor supports being indoctrinated instead of honest education and has proposed a $6.6 billion plan.  Schools should not open with political agendas.  With our current state funding, education and where a student attends school should be a parent’s preference.

Tim Herode signaled to the audience each time he said “we the people”.

We will work to develop a plan to reform California education that educates our children for their future rather than indoctrinating them for politically driven social correctness.

We will eliminate hidden agendas, the portals of evil, and stop the destructive redirection of our Delta water resources being re-routed to southern California lawns, through the process of desalination plants to not only produce water for consumption, but to also save the livelihood and lives of millions of Californians, including our first responders.

By utilizing the desalination plants as water resources for forest management, this process can contain fires before they reach our citizens.  We do not want another ‘Red Dawn’ do we?

We will begin a responsible, strategic and timely audit to end irresponsible government spending and fearlessly work to redirect those funds to offset unnecessary taxation of our citizens including our cities that are in desperate need of infrastructure upgrades.

We will implement a homelessness task force that will work with local non-profit organizations. This will help to restore the willing back to work yet, end government assisted drug use.  This will include cleaning up our homeless encampments that have turned the image of our state into that of a third world country.  In addition, we will create new and enforce effective laws to prevent panhandling and homeless citizens from infiltrating business districts.

We will create change and mandates to bring back law and order to illegal immigration, where thousands are crossing our California borders each day. And the cost, anger and despair we are paying in being a Sanctuary State.”

“Why should people be able to come into this country or this state and not live by the same laws we do?” Herode asked.

“We will have a new plan to support pro-life policies that will listen from the heart and preserve the importance of life to our future generations,” he continued. Regarding abortion and having a prolife position Herode asked, “How many amazing people are gone that we never knew?”

“And to include and with the utmost importance, to implement a ‘We The People’ committee that ensures your voices will be heard by organizing county by county, governor’s meetings to discuss the most relevant and important concerns,” he continued.

“When is the last time you got to sit down and talk with your governor?” Herode asked. “We’re going to make face to face encounters with you, from the heart. Not based on how much you donate to my campaign. I don’t care what color you are. I don’t care what your belief. I’m going to serve you.”

“Together we will listen and act with integrity, transparency and accountability. Three things we haven’t had for a while,” he added.

“In the words of our former Governor of California and eloquent President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, ‘We believe in work, family, religion and the freedom that God places in each of us.’”

“In closing, I am not here to be your politician, I am here for you, to be fully ordained by We The People. I’m not here to be a politician. I’m here to help people.” Herode said to cheers from the audience. “I’m not here to be your politician and if you think that you came to the wrong party. I’m here for we the people.”

“We are going to restore California,” he concluded. “Thank you and God bless each and every one of you for being with us, tonight.”

Herode then answered a few questions from the audience before spending the rest of the time speaking one-on-one with those who attended.

According to his LinkedIn page, Herode is a “dedicated, passionate and innovative Information Systems Strategist” and “has more than 20 years of experience in various roles in Information Technology” as a business owner, in project management, system maintenance, helpdesk management, multi-site network management, procedure implementation, and international security development [I.T.A.R].” A “methodical leader” Herode “has provided strategic consultation and IT services, successfully managed and executed IT projects; conducted system installations and configurations, and spear headed regional security policy development.” An “intrapreneurship-driven professional”. he “has built strong relationships throughout his career with the purpose of building trust and a life-giving business atmosphere.”

For more information about his campaign visit www.TimHerode.com or his campaign Facebook page.

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Petition to recall Antioch mayor begun online, not how it’s actually done

Friday, March 5th, 2021

Screenshot of petition to recall Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe on Change.org as of Friday, March 5, 2021.

By Allen Payton

Announcement of the recall petition shared on the Antioch Backs the Blue Facebook page on Wed., March 3, 2021.

In a post on the page of the Antioch Backs the Blue Facebook group on Wed., March 3, a question was asked if people had seen an online petition entitled Recall Lamar Thorpe Antioch ca city mayor. That was begun on Tuesday, March 2 on the Change.org website by an Andrew McKissick and shows a location of Pittsburg, CA. As of Friday, March 5, it shows there have been 597 people that had added their names, with a goal of reaching 1,000. The Facebook post shows that only 299 signatures were needed.

Several people offered their comments of why they’re supporting the online petition, including Roxana Routa who wrote, “In the 3 years we have lived in Antioch I have NEVER seen as many shootings in 1 week, never before, not until this guy took office!” Mindy Tanada who wrote, “The lack of support for law enforcement, increased crime, and unprofessional behaviors in our local government are issues being ignored by the current mayor.”  Retired Antioch Police Officer Mike Schneider added his reason for supporting the online petition writing, “His agenda will destroy the city.”

However, an online petition to recall an elected official in California, no matter how many people support it, is not how the process is actually done. Plus, it allows anyone anywhere to sign the petition. Only those who live within a district and are registered to vote can gather signatures for and/or sign a recall petition. Furthermore, according to the California Secretary of State’s guide to Procedures for Recalling State and Local Officials, “If an officer of a city, county, school district, county board of education, or resident voting district is sought to be recalled, the number of signatures must be equal in number to not less than the following percent of registered voters in the electoral jurisdiction: (a) Thirty percent (30%) if the registration is less than 1,000. (b) Twenty-five percent (25%) if the registration is less than 10,000 but at least 1,000. (c) Twenty percent (20%) if the registration is less than 50,000 but at least 10,000. (d) Fifteen percent (15%) if the registration is less than 100,000 but at least 50,000. (e) Ten percent (10%) if the registration is 100,000 or above”.

According to the Contra Costa Elections Division report, as of Election Day Nov. 3, 2020, there were 62,394 registered voters in Antioch. So, petitioners would have to gather the signatures of approximately 9,400 registered voters in the City to force a recall of the mayor or any other citywide official to the ballot. Petitioners would have 160 days to gather the needed number of signatures.

For the city council members, as of Nov. 3 in District 1 there were 12,637 registered voters; in District 2 there were 14,921; in District 3 there were 18,349 and in District 4 there were 16,487 registered voters. Petitioners would need signatures from 20% of the registered voters in each of the districts to force a recall election to the ballot. Petitioners would have 120 days to gather the needed signatures in each of the council districts.

Should a recall effort be successful in gathering the necessary signatures, following the verification of signatures by the City Clerk, the city council would have 14 days to call an election and “The election shall be held not less than 88 nor more than 125 days after” that.

An effort has been made to reach McKissick to ask his reasons for starting the online petition. In addition, efforts to reach Thorpe for his response were unsuccessful prior to publication time.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Rep. McNerney explains his vote to impeach President Trump

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

Official photos.

Stockton, CA (Jan. 13, 2021) – In response to Wednesday’s vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach President Trump on claims of inciting a violent and deadly insurrection that took place at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, Congressman Jerry McNerney (D, CA-09) issued the following statement:

“Today, I voted to impeach President Trump for the second time to protect our nation and our democracy against a would-be tyrant. This is a moment that will define our nation for generations to come. One year ago, the House took up articles of impeachment against President Trump for abuse of power. The Republican-controlled Senate refused to seriously consider these charges and voted against impeaching the President. As a result, there were no repercussions for the President’s actions, which only served to further embolden him. He is a threat to our democracy, and yet Republicans in Congress have repeatedly excused and ignored his dangerous behavior and rhetoric.

“President Trump began his presidency speaking of American carnage, and as he ends his time in the White House, he has led his followers to lay siege at the seat of our government, directly inciting and provoking that carnage. In order to preserve our democracy, there must be consequences for sedition, and the rule of law must be upheld.”

McNerney represents a portion of Antioch in the U.S. House of Representatives.

 

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Rep. DeSaulnier to host Town Hall Tuesday on 25th Amendment, impeaching Pres. Trump

Monday, January 11th, 2021

Official photos.

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) will host a virtual town hall on Tuesday, January 12th at 2:00 p.m. PT to discuss the attack on the United States Capitol and provide an update on what Congress is doing to hold President Trump accountable, remove him from office and prevent him from running again. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other Members of Congress are proposing using the 25th Amendment process, in which the president’s cabinet members must vote unanimously to remove him. If not, the House will pursue impeachment, for which DeSaulnier has announced his support. (See related article)

However, should House members vote to impeach the president, which requires only a simple majority, the Senate must hold a trial before a vote to remove the president from office. That requires the approval of two-thirds of the Senators.

The Town Hall will be held live on Zoom and will also be viewable through DeSaulnier’s Facebook page. This will be DeSaulnier’s 121st town hall and mobile district office hour since coming to Congress. Contra Costa residents will have an opportunity to submit questions before the event and live during the town hall.

Virtual Town Hall on Impeachment and 25th Amendment
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. PT

This event is open to the public and press.

To RSVP, submit a question, or request special accommodations, visit: https://desaulnier.house.gov/town-hall-rsvp

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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DeSaulnier, McNerney, Thompson support immediate removal of Trump using 25th Amendment following U.S. Capitol attack

Thursday, January 7th, 2021

Reps. DeSaulnier, McNerney, and Thompson, and Pres. Trump. Official photos.

Washington, DC – Today, with 13 days remaining in President Trump’s term in office, and following the lead of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blaming him for inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D, CA-11) issued the following statement about the attack and calling for Trump to be immediately removed from office.

“Yesterday, the United States Capitol was invaded by a mob that was quite deliberately incited by the current President of the United States. It is a miracle that there was not greater carnage and loss of life. Donald Trump should not be in office for one moment longer, and should never again be allowed to hold office. He has defiled his sacred oath.

The 25th Amendment should be immediately invoked to remove the President from control. If the Vice President and Cabinet refuse to take action, Donald Trump should be impeached as rapidly as possible. What we have seen from him over the last four years and beyond is a clear disrespect for rule of law and the Constitution except as it suits him. We cannot let this go. History will not forgive him, and if we are silent it will not forgive us.”

According to an NBC Bay Area report, Rep. Jerry McNerney (D, CA-9) and Mike Thompson (D, CA-5) who also represent portions of Contra Costa County, support removing Trump immediately, as well.

The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads as follows:

Section 1 – In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Section 2 – Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Section 3 – Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

Section 4 – Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

DeSaulnier’s and McNerney’s districts include portions of Antioch.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

 

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Supervisors OK election software contract extension with controversial Scytl over citizen protests

Thursday, January 7th, 2021

Bailey Road/State Route 4 Interchange Pedestrian/Bicycle Project contract approved 

By Daniel Borsuk

With threats streaming from several citizens hanging over Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors that they would be “voted out of office” unless the elected officials either rejected or further studied a request from Contra Costa County Recorder and Registrar of Voters Debbie Cooper to award a third contract extension to Barcelona, Spain-based Scytl at an additional price tag of $200,000, supervisors moved ahead and unanimously approved the contract extension at Tuesday’s meeting.

Moments earlier supervisors, who had elevated District 3 Supervisor Dianne Burgis of Brentwood to chairperson and District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg to vice chairperson for 2021, were unmoved by the threats. Several unidentified speakers requested supervisors to either pull the consent item for further consideration or to disapprove Registrar of Voters Cooper’s request to extend the contract of Scytl, formerly called SOE Clarity Suite when it was acquired by Scytl in 2012.

The contract with Contra Costa County has been in effect since 2015. The supervisors’ action boosted the payment to Scytl by $200,00 to a new total contract payment of $590,000.

Scytle, whose SOE Software division was founded in 2002 in Tampa Bay, Florida, filed for bankruptcy, last May. According to an October 22, 2020 article on Scytle’s website, “Service Point Solutions, part of Paragon Group, announces the acquisition of Scytl, the Barcelona based company leader in digital voting and electoral modernization.” Service Point Solutions is also based in Barcelona.

The article further states, the “acquisition unveils Paragon’s group strategy to position Service Point Solutions as a pan-european platform for high-growth digital business.”

Scytle has been accused of being part of the effort to change votes in the November elections from President Trump to President-Elect Biden, in coordination with Dominion Voters Systems machines, which have also been used in Contra Costa County since 2018. (See related article)

“You are not providing proper oversight concerning this contractor,” said one disgruntled caller. “If you don’t improve, we’ll vote you out of office.”

Supervisors were not bullied by the threat or appeals from other anonymous speakers.  Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond said, “I will not let those promoting the election conspiracy line since 2015 to sway me.”

“We need to start to post these contracts,” said Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill, who is reportedly serving the last two years of her final term in office.  “The public needs to see these requests for proposals.”

Supervisor Mitchoff reacted to one unidentified speaker’s complaint that this contract lacked adequate public notice.

In response to questions about Scytle software, Supervisor Candace Andersen wrote that she had her staff research it and that “It appears to be a non-issue. We’re not purchasing equipment – it is renewing contract for website software. European company bought an American company that we have been doing business with them from 2007. Web hosting and election night reporting. Software where we upload our results and changes to pretty graphics seen on the website.  It does not have any impact on election integrity.”

Contra Costa County Clerk/Recorder and Registrar of Voters Debi Cooper also responded, “SOE (Scytl) does not provide any direct election services and is not connected to systems involved with tallying our election results. SOE provides our web hosting and election night reporting graphical support. Our election tally process is done separately on a system that is not connected to the internet. We take information from our tally system to upload information to the website. We originally contracted with SOE in 2007 after conducting an RFP process. SOE was the only respondent that met our needs for election night reporting. SOE was acquired by Scytl in 2014 while we were under contract with SOE. They continue to provide services to many state and local jurisdictions across this country.”

Some speakers charged the county is illegally doing business with a foreign-based company, allegedly operating out of Frankfurt, Germany, although according to Scytl’s website, “Scytl has no presence in Frankfurt, Germany.”

In response to the allegations against the company during the 2020 elections, Scytl posted information on their website stating the following: “The technologies implemented by Scytl in the US are both hosted and managed within the US, by a local subsidiary, SOE Software, based in Tampa, Florida.”

In addition, the Scytl website explains that the election data reporting company has “no political affiliations of any kind.”  The statement further rebukes statements that it provides any electronic voting machines in the U.S. and “does not tabulate, tally or count votes in U.S public elections.”

Burgis Becomes Chair, Glover Vice Chair

Earlier Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D.- Concord) remotely administered the oath of office to District 3 Supervisor Burgis, who was sworn into office as Chair of the Board for 2021, and District 5 Supervisor Glover, who was re-elected to his sixth four-year term and will serve as vice chair.

Burgis and Glover, who commences his sixth four-year term of office, along with three other supervisors will oversee the disbursement of the county’s $3.98 billion budget in 2021.

Upon succeeding District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville as Chair, Burgis said, “I want to bring the Northern Waterfront Plan home.

I want to see the benefits coming from it,” Burgis said as one of her key platform issues along with development of the Byron and Buchanan airports, fire department consolidation, and countywide economic recovery during the upcoming post COVID-19 era.

In a prepared statement, Burgis said:

“I appreciate Supervisor Andersen’s unwavering commitment to keeping our residents safe and keeping the county moving forward while addressing the impacts of COVID-19.  As chair, I intend to work with my colleagues to support our county health officer to get the coronavirus under control, move the county toward economic recovery for all residents and businesses, enhance mental health crisis response, reform our juvenile justice system, address racial injustice and inequality, protect the Delta, and proactively fight climate change, and, at long last, provide sustainable fire protection services to all areas of the county.  I’m excited about our year ahead and ready to get to work.”

Glover said, “Dianne, I appreciate being your wingman, even though my chief boss is Janice Glover (Glover’s wife).”  The veteran office holder said 2020 was a year where county workers, especially those in public health and first responders, had to learn on the go.  “None of this is written in a book,” said Glover.

Outgoing chair Andersen, who was given a photography book by the Mt. Diablo photographer Steven Joseph, said 2020 was “a year unlike any other” marked by citizens sickened or killed during COVID-19 pandemic, left homeless, having to shutter small businesses, and a host of economic medical and social issues fanned by COVID-19.

Bailey Road/State Route 4 Interchange Pedestrian/Bicycle Project Contract Approved 

In a consent action, Supervisors approved a $3.7 million contract with Bay Cities Paving and Grading Inc. to construct the Bailey Road/State Route 4 Interchange Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvement Project.  Bay Cities Paving and Grading submitted the lowest and most responsible bid from a field of six other construction companies competing for the federally funded project.

The Bay Cities Paving and Grading submission beat submissions from Granite Rock Co, $3,859,608; Ghilotti Construction Co., Inc., $3,930,295.50; Ghilotti Bros. Inc., $3,972,887; O.C. Jones & Sons Inc., $3,996,733; Gordon N. Ball, Inc., $4,123,732; and Granite Construction Co., $4,864,644.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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