Archive for the ‘Supervisors’ Category

Contra Costa Supervisors to consider COVID-related budget issues, Measure X fund allocations during Tuesday retreat

Sunday, January 23rd, 2022

Source: CCC

Administrator to recommend delaying allocation of $59 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds; projects 6% increase in property tax revenues

To hear presentation on “The Post COVID New World Order”

By Daniel Borsuk

Citing bureaucratic red tape, Contra Costa County Administrator Monica Nino will propose the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors postpone spending $59 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds until at least January 2023 in her presentation during their retreat focused on COVID-19 era budget issues, Tuesday.

The retreat will be televised live starting at 9 a.m. on Comcast Cable 27 and WAVE Channel 32 and online.

“The challenge in lining up funds to maximize cost recovery requires constant monitoring (coordination) between departments,” County Administrator Nino stated in documents recommending the partial funding postponement.

At the same time, Nino will also recommend $53 million in American Rescue Plan funds be allocated to the Contra Costa Health Services Department to improve response to the COVID-19 pandemic during the upcoming 2022/2023 fiscal year.

Supervisors are also expected to learn that for the upcoming fiscal year, $107 million of Measure X sales tax revenues will be allocated for the budget and 15 percent of the county’s labor contracts, including the California Nurses Association contract, which will be up for renewal on June 30. The 2022/2023 fiscal year budget will mark the first time Measure X funds will be spent.

County Administrator Nino is also expected to announce property taxes are to increase six percent for fiscal year 2022/2023, 3.44 per cent for the county and 3.82 percent for the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

“County property taxes declined over 11 percent between 2009 and 2012 and then grew significantly between 2014 and 2019. Projecting an increase of 6 percent for fiscal year 2022/23,” Nino’s report states.

“The budget will be built on assumption of a 6 percent increase in assessed valuation. Fiscal year 2022/23 is projected to be significantly higher than normal,’ she wrote in the background document.

At the retreat, Dan Geiger will offer a presentation by the Contra Costa Budget Justice Coalition, consisting of 34 non-profit organizations focused on county fiscal accountability issues, that will showcase how the organization will monitor the supervisors’ budgetary process especially when in the 2022/2023 fiscal year $110 million of Measure X sales funds will be added to the general fund for the first time.

During their budget discussion, Supervisors will also receive departmental presentations from the Sheriff-Coroner, District Attorney, Public Defender, Health Services Director, Employment and Human Services Director and Animal Services Director.

Contra Costa County voters passed the Measure X countywide, half-cent sales tax increase on the November 2020 ballot.

The supervisors will also receive a report on Capital Projects, the Facilities Condition Assessment and the Facilities Master Plan.

The Post COVID New World Order presentation

Supervisors will also hear a report entitled, “The Post COVID New World Order – It’s a seller’s market for now,” delivered by Dr. Christopher Thornberg of independent economic research and consulting firm Beacon Economics. Thornberg predicts unemployment in the county should be 3.4 percent by the end of 2022, which is currently pegged at 4.6 percent.

“Labor tightness sets off an investment boom,” he will predict, but the economist will also warn, “Expect a sugar crash to come, combination of a tight federal budget and inflation.”

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.                                            

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Contra Costa Supervisors honor Humanitarians of the Year during 44th annual MLK Celebration

Wednesday, January 19th, 2022

Contra Costa County 2022 Humanitarians of the Year Gigi Crowder and Kaia Morgan speak during the annual MLK celebration on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. Video screenshots.

During Contra Costa County’s virtual, community 44th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration and Humanitarian Awards, on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, Humanitarians of the Year, Gigi Crowder and Kaia Morgan were honored. The theme of this year’s celebration was “One People, One Nation, One Dream.” (See video) (See related article)

The event featured keynote speaker, former San Ramon Mayor H. Abram Wilson, who was the City of San Ramon’s first elected African American mayor. This year’s program also featured special guest California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, a Richmond resident.

Entertainment was provided by Grown Women Dance Collective and Contra Costa School of Performing Arts with a Spoken Word performance by Samara Desmond, Seon Lettsome and Anthony Josa of “The Artist Dreams”, written by Desmond.

2022 MLK Adult Humanitarian Gigi Crowder

Congratulations to our 2022 Contra Costa County Humanitarian, Gigi Crowder, an Antioch resident. Crowder is the mother of two biological children, 30 years old twin sons, and has served as a foster mom and mentor to many more through divine interventions. Crowder served for over nine years as the Ethnic Services Manager for Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services and has worked in the Behavioral Health Care field for more than 32 years, after completing her studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

As a family member of several loved ones who have received private and public mental health services, she strongly advocates promoting culturally responsive behavioral health services for all peers and family members. She is unapologetic about addressing the needs of African Americans. Crowder became the Executive Director for NAMI Contra Costa in 2018. She is also the FaithNet Coordinator and has advanced efforts statewide to reduce mental health stigma by training Faith Leaders using the Mental Health Friendly Communities training curriculum she co-designed.

Her current focus is addressing the needs of those living with mental illness who are often criminalized for living with a medical condition. Highlights of her career include being inducted into the Alameda County Women Hall of Fame; developing programs to enhance employment opportunities for individuals with psychiatric challenges; and receiving the 2013 MHAAC Mental Health Achievement Award. She also received the 2016 Multi-Cultural Outreach Award from NAMI California and the 2020 “Making a Difference Award” from the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County. Crowder is also credited for positioning NAMI Contra Costa to win the NAMI 2021 Multicultural Outreach Award.

Crowder is being recognized for her impact and work to improve the mental health and wellbeing of Contra Costa residents.

2022 MLK Student Humanitarian Kaia Morgan

Congratulations to our 2022 Contra Costa County Student Humanitarian Kaia Morgan of Pittsburg, a senior at Ygnacio Valley High School. After gaining awareness of them online, Morgan became interested in confronting social issues and quickly became passionate about addressing injustices against minorities.

In February of 2020, Morgan was inspired by a class lesson on the harm of Native mascots to use her voice to speak out against racism on a more local level, starting with the Native mascot at her high school. She started the Change the Mascot Committee at Ygnacio Valley High School that month, and as of December 2021, their mascot is now the Wolves.

She made a change.org petition and got that circulating widely in her community. Morgan spoke to the school board and she helped to organizer her peers and met with me regularly to strategize. Morgan’s efforts and those of the students and teachers she inspired along the way resulted in a new measure, passed at the School Board level, where not only did her own school’s mascot and racist imagery get the approval for the change, but a district-wide approval was granted wherein all racist and disturbing imagery and mascots throughout the entire district will now be removed and replaced with those which truly honor our students and their heritages by no longer using the oppressed as mascots or their oppressors as mascots or inspirations.

Morgan is being honored for demonstrating the determination, perseverance, and strength to create change in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She lives with her parents and two siblings. Morgan plans to attend college in the fall and study psychology.

Past Recipients of the Humanitarian of the Year Award

2021—Velma Wilson, 2020—Tamisha Torres-Walker, 2019—Reverend Donnell R. Jones, 2018—Phil Arnold, 2017—James Noe, 2016—Terri Porter, 2015—Bishop Edwina Perez-Santiago, 2014—Sister Ann Weltz, 2013—Doug Stewart, 2012—Lorrine Sain, 2011—Laura Johnson

Past Recipients of the Student Humanitarian of the Year Award

2021— Kimyatta Newby, 2020—Christina Mazzi, 2019—Yassna Ahmadi, 2018—Sienna Camille Terry, 2017—Paige Godvin, 2016—Davis Bullock, 2015—Tyler Page, 2014—Anand Kannappan, 2013—Casey Leonard, 2012—Andrew Gonzales, 2011—Mario Alvarado

Grown Women Dance Collective performs during Contra Costa County’s virtual MLK celebration on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. Video screenshot

About Grown Women Dance Collective

Grown Women Dance Collective, established in 2009, creates cross-cultural, intergenerational, and cross-class connections by encouraging dialogue, empowering thought and action, and building cross-racial alliances through concert dance and wellness programs. The group is comprised of retired dancers from world renowned companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Cleo Parker Robinson, and Dance Theatre of Harlem. The performances challenge stereotypes and create artistic work that is relevant, accessible, and inspiring to diverse and under-resourced audiences.

About Contra Costa School of Performing Arts

The Contra Costa School of Performing Arts mission provides for an outstanding, pre-professional experience in performing arts within a college and career preparatory setting. The school believes in fostering a culture of excellence with the core values of rigor, relevance, resilience, and relationships.

About The Honorable H. Abram Wilson

Former San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson speaks during the virtual MLK celebration on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. Video screenshot

Abram Wilson is married to Dr. Karen B. Wilson. They have been residents of the City of San Ramon for over thirty years. The Wilsons’ have two children, Natasha A. Wilson-Cruz, Esq., and P. Nathan Wilson, and are blessed with three grandchildren.

Wilson was instrumental in setting forth a framework to develop a disaster preparedness plan for the City of San Ramon and businesses, schools, and cities in the Tri-Valley and San Ramon Valley areas. Wilson is the 2005 recipient of the National Music Educator Association, State Legislator of the Year award for his support of music education.

Wilson is a member of the Board for the Sentinels of Freedom Organization that has helped provide services to men and women who have been disabled in Iraq with housing, employment, and transportation. Wilson is a veteran of the U.S. Army.

Wilson worked as a federal funds trader at Wells Fargo when he returned to civilian life. He was elected to the San Ramon City Council in November 1999, appointed mayor in 2002, and became the City of San Ramon’s first elected and first African American mayor in 2003. He was re-elected in 2005. Wilson was the 2005 recipient of the National Music Educator Association, State Legislator of the Year award “for his support of music education in the schools.”

Wilson is a 2007 honoree from the California Congress of Parents, Teachers, and Students for his outstanding service to children and youth. His contribution to the Honorary Service Award Program Fund provides scholarships for students and individuals to further their education.

He also received a Certificate of Support from the East Bay Leadership Foundation for “Making a difference in the lives of Bay Area Students.”

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond speaks during the Contra Costa County virtual MLK celebration on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. Video screenshot.

About The Honorable Tony Thurmond

Tony Thurmond was sworn in as the 28th California State Superintendent of Public Instruction on January 7, 2019.

Superintendent Thurmond is an educator, social worker, and public school parent who has served the people of California for more than ten years in elected office. Previously, he served on the Richmond City Council, West Contra Costa Unified School Board, and in the California State Assembly representing District 15.

Like many of California’s public school students, Superintendent Thurmond came from humble beginnings. His mother was an immigrant from Panama who came to San Jose, California, to be a teacher. His father was a soldier who didn’t return to his family after the Vietnam War. Thurmond met his father for the first time when he was an adult. After his mother died when he was six, Thurmond and his brother were raised by a cousin who they had never met.

Superintendent Thurmond’s family relied on public assistance programs and great public schools to get out of poverty, and public school education allowed him to attend Temple University, where he became student body president. He went on to earn dual master’s degrees in Law and Social Policy and Social Work (MSW) from Bryn Mawr College and began a career dedicated to service.

Much of Superintendent Thurmond’s social service work has focused on improving the services provided to foster youth and directing programs that provide job training to at-risk youth. He also led programs to provide help for individuals with developmental disabilities. He has 12 years of direct experience in education, teaching life skills classes, after-school programs, and career training.

Over the course of Thurmond’s tenure since being sworn in as State Superintendent, he has championed and created many historic initiatives on behalf of California’s students.

Superintendent Thurmond lives in Richmond with his two daughters, who attend local public schools. They are his inspiration and a constant reminder about the promise of our neighborhood schools and the strong future that every child deserves.

2022 Committee Members

This year’s celebration committee members were Antoine Wilson, Chair; Andi Bivens, Manny Bowlby, Lissette Davis, Jennifer S. Hopkins, Gayle Israel, T’ni Jackson, James Lyons, Vincent Manuel, Savitha Sivakumar, Susan Shiu, Chris Verdugo, Derrick West, Chris Wikler, Shannon Winston and Traci Young.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Contra Costa Supervisors on 4-1 vote approve all-electric buildings ordinance banning natural gas installations

Wednesday, January 19th, 2022

Starting June 1, 2022; 200-gallon natural gas tanks still permitted for rural users

“Many of my constituents view this ordinance as an overreach ordinance and I happen to agree with them” – Supervisor Andersen

By Daniel Borsuk

Starting June 1, Contra Costa County will be the first county in the Golden State requiring all new residential, business, commercial and hospitality developments have electricity, and outlawing natural gas installation. On a 4-1 vote Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors approved the ordinance that attracted scant public opposition. District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen was the lone opposition vote.

The new ordinance applies to all new residential, commercial, office, and hospitality developments proposed for unincorporated Contra Costa County.  It does not apply to incorporated areas, except the City of Richmond that has adopted its own electricity building ordinance.

“Many of my constituents view this ordinance as an overreach ordinance and I happen to agree with them,” said Andersen of Danville, who cast the lone opposition vote.  “It is my concern this ordinance might impact commercial development nearby the Byron and Buchanan airports.”

There was no opposition to the Board’s ordinance that was up for second reading.

“This is a good environmental policy for the county,” said District 1 Supervisor John Gioia, who championed the resolution.

“I am concerned about the equity issue.  This could raise rents of low-income housing tenants,” said Board Chair Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill, who voted in favor of the ordinance anyway.

“I am supportive of this ordinance,” commented District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis after planning department staff answered her question on whether rural constituents could still own and use 200-gallon natural gas tanks for “emergency use.”  Planning officials confirmed 200-gallon natural gas tanks will be permitted for rural users.

“While this proposed ordinance has been charactered as an electrification ordinance, its purpose is to stop new buildings from burning fossil fuels,” wrote Gary Farber on behalf of the environmental group, 350 Contra Costa. “Therefore, solar thermal space heating and water heating systems ought to be allowed and encouraged.  We look forward to working with the County on additional programs to phase out fossil fuels in transportation and all buildings, new and existing.”

The move by the Board of Supervisors occurs when there is skepticism on whether the State has an adequate supply of wind and solar renewable energy in the Golden State to meet the demand for all electric homes and businesses.  The California Clean Energy Act of 2018 established a target for renewable zero-carbon resources to supply 100 percent of electrical needs throughout the state by 2045, 23 years from now.

Retain $2,500 Campaign Contribution Limit

Even though briefly considered a recommendation boost, the Election Campaign Contribution limit from $2,500 to $4,900, Supervisors voted to retain the Election Campaign limit at $2,500.

“I feel comfortable at the $2,500 limit,” commented District 2 Supervisor Andersen.

Supervisor Glover said as much as he’d preferred to go with the State-recommended $4,900 limit, he said “I’d vote for more money, but I don’t think we should.  Elections are getting more expensive.” Glover is not up for re-election this year.

44th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Ceremony Honorees

Supervisors also recognized 44th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. honorees – Gigi Crowder, an Antioch resident, who is the Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness as the Adult Humanitarian of the Year and Pittsburg resident, Kaia Morgan, a Senior at Ygnacio Valley High School as the Student Humanitarian of the Year. (See related articles here and here)

 

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Grieving Burgis hands over Contra Costa Board of Supervisors’ gavel to Mitchoff

Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

Supervisors approve Grand Jury report on animal shelter consolidation with Antioch, countywide sidewalk obstruction ordinance, two years’ worth of ammunition for Sheriff’s Office

Contra Costa County District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis

By Daniel Borsuk

A grieving, yet stoic Contra Costa County District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis conducted on Tuesday her final meeting as Board Chair a month to the day that her husband, Richard Clayton, took his own life. Showing remarkable resilience, Burgis thanked her family, fellow board members, her staff, county employees and constituents for their support.

“We accomplished so much in 2021,” said Burgis, who wore a black dress.  “The annexation of the Contra Costa County Fire District with the East Contra Costa County Fire District will make Contra Costa County so much safer.”

Burgis, whose served on the Board’s Airports’ Committee, praised how the County has developed both the Byron and Buchanan airports, especially Byron with the startup of innovative aeronautical enterprises near the airport.

“I am so proud of our health workers,” Burgis said. “The county public health services have become a model of the state.”

Contra Costa County District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff. Official photo.

For her work, fellow board members presented Burgis with a picture of Marsh Creek, one of Burgis’ favorite environmental cleanup sites.

“That was really hard for you to do,” District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond said of Burgis after handing over the gavel to newly sworn in Chair Karen Mitchoff of Ditrict 4 in Pleasant Hill. “We’re all behind you.”

Mitchoff, who will not seek re-election to the supervisorial post that she has held since January 2011, said, “In my final year as an elected official for Contra Costa County, I am excited about what lies ahead and ready to work together to keep improving the quality of life in our county.”

An avid reader, Mitchoff noted that last year she read 60 books, mostly audiobooks.  As a gift for her fellow board members, Mitchoff gave each supervisor a copy of the historical book, “The 1619 Project,” written by Nikole Hannah-Jones.

District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover, who has served on the Board since 2000, will serve as Board Vice Chair.  Glover, who was in line to become chair this year passed on accepting the post to allow Mitchoff to take on the leadership duties in recognition of her more than 40 years of public service.

Third Grand Jury Report on Consolidating County, Antioch Animal Shelters Approved

Without hearing any public comment, Supervisors approved a third Grand Jury report, this one recommending that the County hire a consultant to study the potential consolidation of the County run animal facility in Martinez and the City of Antioch animal shelter run by the Antioch Police Department.

“Public and private animal shelters are experiencing pressure from the explosive growth in the homeless animal and abandoned pet populations,” the new Grand Jury Report states. “Community outreach and education are high priorities for both Contra Costa and Antioch Animal Services, the two public animal shelters within the county.”

The grand jury report went on to state, “The Grand Jury recommends that Contra Costa Animal Services (CCAS) engage a consulting firm for guidance on the possible redistribution of animal services that could be achieved by a gradual process of cost-sharing and shelter coordination. A comparable consolidation currently underway between Monterey County and the City of Salinas Animal Shelters provides a possible model for the integration of Contra Costa and Antioch Animal Shelter services.”

The grand jury also recommends that the two public animal shelters improve their emphasis on community outreach to comfort homeless animal overpopulation.

In addition, the report calls on both the County and City of Antioch to resolve the ongoing problem of abandoned animals left at the Antioch shelter by residents outside the City of Antioch. “Although there is an informal working relationship between CCAS and AAS personnel on this issue, a more formal agreement between AAS and CCAS would facilitate abandoned pet retrieval at both shelters.”

Animal Services Home to Home Contract Approved

In a related animal shelter issue, Supervisors passed a Home-to-Home contract that will not cost the County any funds.  Maddie’s Fund will pick up the tab to re-home pets.  The Home-to-Home Network will lessen boarding of homeless dogs and cats in County Shelter.  Home-To-Home adoptions are free.

Sidewalk Obstruction Ordinance Revised

Without hearing any public comment, Supervisors amended the County Sidewalk ordinance.  The revision permits the County Director of Public Works to “abate any sidewalk obstruction.”

“An adjacent owner shall keep the sidewalk abutting the adjacent owner’s property free and clear of all weeds, rubbish, dirt, rocks, debris, or any other obstruction that interferes with the free passage of pedestrians,” the new ordinance states

Approve Two-Year Ammo Contract for Sheriff’s Office

Supervisors approved a $450,000 contract with Dooley Enterprises, Inc. to deliver Winchester ammunition for the Sheriff-Coroner from Jan. 1, 2022 to Dec. 31 2023. The Sheriff-Coroner’s Office has used Winchester ammunitions for training and duty ammunition purposes for more than 20 years.

 

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Antioch woman is 2022 Contra Costa Humanitarian of the Year, to be honored at MLK event Jan. 18

Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

Adult Humanitarian of the Year, Gigi Crowder of Antioch

Student Humanitarian of the Year, Ygnacio Valley High senior Kaia Morgan of Pittsburg

2022 MLK Humanitarian of the Year Gigi Crowder.

Contra Costa County will commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the 44th Annual Ceremony in 2022.  The Board of Supervisors invites the public to the ceremony on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, at 11 am. This year’s theme is “One People, One Nation, One Dream.”

“Together, we will commemorate Dr. King and commit to improving the lives and future of our children and community members,” said Board Chair, Supervisor Diane Burgis. “We look forward to having you join us at the event to come together and work toward a common vision and goals of acceptance, tolerance, and respect.”

Countywide recognition will be given at the ceremony to the Adult Humanitarian of the Year, Gigi Crowder, Executive Director of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Contra Costa and a 19-year Antioch resident, and the Student Humanitarian of the Year, Pittsburg resident Kaia Morgan, a senior at Ygnacio Valley High School in Concord. Honorees will be recognized for their leadership, advocacy, and service to Contra Costa County, its residents and communities in the spirit of Dr. King’s work and achievements.

About Gigi Crowder

Gigi R. Crowder, L.E. a native of Oakland, CA. is the mother of two biological children; 30-year-old twin sons and has served as a foster mom and mentor to many more through divine interventions. Gigi served for over nine years as the Ethnic Services Manager for Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services and has worked in the Behavioral Health Care field for more than 32 years after completing her studies at the University of California, Berkeley. As a family member of several loved ones who have received private and public mental health services, she is a strong advocate for promoting culturally responsive behavioral health services for all peers and family members. She is unapologetic about focusing efforts to address the needs of African Americans who she deems as the most harmed and neglected due to systemic racism. She created, Black Minds Matter 2! which has given her opportunities to speak across the nation.

Gigi is the Executive Director for NAMI Contra Costa, having accepted this position in January 2018, after serving in a consultant role as their Fund Developer. She is also the FaithNet Coordinator and has advanced efforts statewide to reduce mental health stigma by training Faith Leaders using the Mental Health Friendly Communities training curriculum she co-designed. Gigi promotes utilizing natural resources such as those found in faith/spiritual communities and works hard to advocate for the use of community defined strategies for all, with particular focus on better addressing the needs of unserved, underserved and inappropriately served ethnic and cultural communities. Her current focus is addressing the needs of those living with mental illness who are often criminalized for living with a medical condition.

Highlights of her career are being inducted in the Alameda County Women Hall of Fame for her work in developing programs to enhance employment opportunities for individuals with psychiatric challenges, receiving the 2013 MHAAC Mental Health Achievement Award. She also received the 2016 Multi-Cultural Outreach Award from NAMI California, the 2020 “Making a Difference Award,” from the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County. Gigi is also credited for positioning NAMI CC to beat out 600 other NAMI Affiliates and win the NAMI 2021 Multicultural Outreach Award.

2022 MLK Student Humanitarian of the Year Kaia Morgan.

About Kaia Morgan

According to a tweet by the Contra Costa County Office of Education, Morgan is being honored, “for her commitment and hard work in leading the charge to change the mascot for Ygnacio Valley High” from the Warriors to something else. Following the lead of a teacher at the school, Morgan started an online petition which gathered 750 supporters.

Kaia is a senior at Ygnacio Valley High School. She is an International Baccalaureate student and a cheerleader at her high school, as well as a dancer. She became interested in confronting social issues after gaining awareness of them online and quickly became passionate about addressing injustices against minorities. In February of 2020, she was inspired by a class lesson on the harm of Native mascots to use her voice to speak out against racism on a more local level, starting with the Native mascot at her own high school. She started the Change the Mascot Committee at Ygnacio Valley High School that month, and as of December 2021, their mascot is now the wolves. Kaia currently lives in Pittsburg, CA with her loving parents and two siblings. She plans to attend college in the fall and study psychology.

This is the third year in a row a woman from Antioch has been named the county’s Humanitarian of the Year, with Velma Wilson honored, last year, and current District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker was honored the year before. See the entire list of past honorees.

To learn more about the Dr. King Ceremony, visit www.contracosta.ca.gov/5307 on the Contra Costa County website.

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Supervisors approve spending $75 million of Measure X funds for county medical center

Thursday, December 16th, 2021

Source: Contra Costa Health Services

Will provide garage, medical clinical office, and expanded radiology lab at Contra Costa Medical Center in Martinez; following crackdown, one restaurant still violating COVID-19 health orders as cases increase; appoint new Public Defender

“If you want to send me an email and still want to call me a ‘b***’ go ahead.” – Supervisor Karen Mitchoff in response to critics of her crusade to crack down on restaurants out of compliance with county health orders

By Daniel Borsuk

On a 4-0 vote, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors paved the way for officials of the over-used Contra Costa Regional Medical Center to spend $75 million of Measure X half-cent sales tax funds to construct a parking garage, a medical office complex and a state-of-the-art public health laboratory at Tuesday’s final board meeting of the year. (See CCRMC Proposed Master Plan)

With Board Chair Diane Burgis absent because of the death of her husband Richard Clayton for whom supervisors adjourned the meeting in honor of, supervisors narrowly met the super-majority requirement to tap into 2020 vote-approved sales tax measure revenues for the purpose of enhancing facilities at the over-used medical complex in Martinez.

Contra Costa Public Health Director Anna Roth pitched the three CCRMC capital improvement projects based on the fact the publicly funded medical center in the past year has treated 142,000 patients due to COVID-19, a 540 percent increase.  The center has saved the lives of about 26,000 county residents, 70 percent of whom are on Medi-Cal. Seventy percent of the CCRMC patients do not speak English, Roth noted.

She said the medical center has been crushed with a 540 percent increase in patients seeking medical care over the past 20 years while the physical components of the medical center have been unchanged. Roth also shared there has been at least one case where a pregnant woman had safely delivered her baby in the medical center parking lot because of the unavailability of parking. According to the presentation, three babies were born in the parking lot during the last year. The proposed 325-space parking structure along with valet parking would help alleviate the parking problem, she asserted.

Marianna Moore, chair of the board of supervisors’ appointed Measure X Advisory Committee, cast concern that the supervisors’ action on the medical center capital projects might be premature and negatively hit future Measure X funding of other public services.

“This is a one-time expenditure,” responded District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill. “There will be money for other projects. The longer we delay on capital improvement projects like these the more expensive it becomes.”

Upon acknowledging Measure X chairperson Moore’s comments, District 1 Supervisor John Gioia remarked “I hear the concerns of the Measure X panel for this board to be transparent and open.” Yet, he pointed out how three major local nonprofit health providers – Kaiser Permanente, John Muir and Sutter Medical – skirt regulations that county-operated medical institutions must obey.

“They get an equity worth $25 billion in tax breaks and don’t have to encounter public scrutiny that publicly operated health care operations like Contra Costa County’s have to abide by. I am proud of the public health successes in Contra Costa County, but we need help from the nonprofit health care organizations too.”

In addition to the proposed parking garage, the supervisors’ action paves the way for the medical center to have a $30 million 40,000 square foot medical-clinical office building constructed and a $5 million 5,000 square foot state-of-the-art intervention radiology suite built.

One Restaurant Remains Out of Compliance With COVID-19 Health Order, Mitchoff on the Defense

In a follow up to last week’s meeting where Supervisor Mitchoff questioned the Health Department’s code enforcement capabilities in shutting down 13 restaurants willfully out of health code compliance, Roth announced there is currently only one eatery that is still not following health code requirements.

She did not identify the business. “All but one of the establishments are now in compliance,” said Roth.

Roth said her department has added four code enforcement officers since last week when Mitchoff blew the lid off the health department’s health code performance.

“I appreciate the progress the health department has made,” said Mitchoff. “There is still one restaurant to follow up on. One restaurant will probably have to close.”

Mitchoff, who will serve as board chair next year instead of vice chair Federal Glover of Pittsburg in recognition of her public service as she has announced she won’t seek reelection in 2022, attacked her critics on her crusade to shut down out-of-compliance restaurants.

“There’s recently been vitriolic and unclear language and comments lodged at me,” said Mitchoff, whose been a frequent target of hate emails. “If you want to send me an email and still want to call me a ‘b***’ go ahead. It would be much better if those who dislike me to write letters and that everyone gets vaccinated and wears masks. I hope to start the new year with much more appreciated language.”

County COVID-19 Cases Increase

In the meantime, Roth said Contra Costa County’s vaccination rate of 76.8 percent remains above the national average of 69.9 percent.

The county’s active COVID-19 case load stands at 1,463, an increase of 18.9 percent over a two-week period. Forty-three patients were in hospitals in the county because of COVID-19.

“Ninety-seven percent of the cases in Contra Costa County are of the Delta strain,” remarked Roth. She said there have been signs of the new Omicron variant appearing in wastewater in the county, but nowhere else.

Because of wintertime conditions forcing Californians to hunker down indoors, Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano informed supervisors the State was expected to announce a new indoor public face mask order. The order would be in place through Jan. 15, 2022.

In a related action, supervisors adopted an ordinance calling for the continuation of remotely conducted meetings into January 2022.  The ordinance also applies to commissions and advisory committees.

Ordinance Temporarily Halts North Richmond Fulfillment Center Openings  

In response to increasing vehicle emission air pollution and traffic-pedestrian safety concerns issues stemming from the buildup of fulfillment centers in the unincorporated North Richmond and Richmond areas, supervisors imposed a 45-day moratorium on the opening of new fulfillment centers.

“Richmond and North Richmond have become a major destination for fulfillment centers,” said Supervisor Gioia, whose District 1 cover those areas. “We don’t want North Richmond to become a wall-to-wall fulfillment center magnet.”

The purpose of the ordinance Gioia has introduced is to compel these enterprises to deliver their products with electric vehicles.   It aims to have 33 percent of a company’s fleet of vehicles electrified immediately and by 2027 100 percent of a business’s fleet of vehicles must be electrified.

At least five fulfillment centers are either under construction or planning phase, said John Kopchick, director of the Contra Costa County Conservation and Development Department.

No one from the fulfillment center sector spoke on the ordinance regulating the electrification of vehicle fleets, but Donald Gilmore of North Richmond Recreation said the ordinance does not go far enough.

“North Richmond is significantly impacted by these warehouses and the traffic coming from them. Pedestrian safety is a pressing problem. We need more time to figure out a plan,” said Gilmore.

Appoint New Public Defender

Ellen McDonnell. Source: CCPD

Supervisors promoted Deputy Public Defender Ellen McDonnell as Contra Costa Public Defender at an annual salary of $340,510 in addition to $93,131 in pension annual compensation.  She will officially take over the role of Public Defender from the retiring Robin Lipetzky effective Jan. 1, 2022.

She started with the department in 2001 and will oversee a $36 million budget and 145 employees.

McDonnell holds a Juris Doctors degree from California Hastings College of the Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree and double major in Spanish and Italian from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

She has been a member of the California State Bar since 2011. (Read more about McDonnell in a separate article.)

 

 

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Contra Costa County Supervisor Diane Burgis announces passing of husband Richard Clayton

Saturday, December 11th, 2021

Supervisor Diane Burgis and her late husband Richard Clayton in photo posted on her Facebook page on June 19, 2021.

OAKLEY, CALIF., December 11, 2021 – Supervisor Diane Burgis lost her husband Richard Clayton this morning to suicide. He is survived by his wife, his parents, John and Carol Clayton of England, his brother Barry, (Deb) and sister, Nina (Rob), daughter Kianna and son-in-law Andrew Lee, his stepsons, Jacob, Sam, and Dusty Burgis, grandsons, Arlo, Brody and Huxley, and many beloved nieces, nephews, extended family, and friends.

“Like many of us, Richard’s mental health was severely impacted by the pandemic. I would ask anyone who is suffering from a mental health crisis to reach out for help, and I’m respectfully requesting that you respect my privacy and the privacy of Richard’s family at this difficult time,” said Supervisor Burgis.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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Contra Costa Supervisors put Health Services Chief on hot seat over 13 COVID rule violating restaurants

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

“The time has come to shut down those establishments that don’t obey the code.” – District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff

“There are no Omicron variant cases yet in our county.” – CC Health Services Director Anna Roth

Approve East County Groundwater Plan; approve $95.5 million for new West County Reentry Treatment & Housing Facility

By Daniel Borsuk

A defensive Contra Costa Health Services Director Anna Roth faced criticism from county Supervisors, especially emanating from District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff on why 13 restaurants remain open in defiance of county COVID-19 health orders. As of Sept. 22, by order of the county’s Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano, restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and other entertainment venues must require patrons show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test in order to enter. (See related article)

“There is no change in enforcement,” Roth said at Tuesday’s supervisors meeting. As of November, 99 percent of restaurants in the county are compliant. We have 13 outstanding cases.”

But Roth’s statement did not satisfy Mitchoff, the supervisor who initially unveiled the code enforcement issue with the county health services.

“The time has come to shut down those establishments that don’t obey the code,” Mitchoff said. “We have done the education. We’ve done the warning.”

None of the owners of the 13 restaurants spoke at Tuesday’s supervisors meeting. Lumpy’s Diner in Antioch, and MJ’s Downtown Café are among eating establishments that the county has tagged as out of compliance of COVID-19 health code.

One of the 13 restaurants on the county’s red tag list, the In-n-Out in Pleasant Hill has been closed for indoor dining health code violations.

District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg came to the defense of Roth and her department’s code enforcement division commenting, “I think you’re doing an outstanding job out there. The volume of people out there who are out of compliance is small. I enjoy eating inside a restaurant. I understand the stress,”

In the meantime, Roth reported that while 75.6 percent of Contra Costa County residents are fully vaccinated, twenty-seven persons are hospitalized in county hospitals with COVID-19 symptoms One patient dies daily on average from COVID-19 symptoms, she noted.

“There are no Omicron variant cases yet in our county,” said Roth.

In an interview for a KRON4 news report, County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said, “We don’t just jump right in there with a fine at the get go. We give the businesses the opportunity. Because our goal is to get to compliance for people to follow the order. Our goal isn’t to issue a bunch of fines.” The report also shared that Farnitano said only four restaurants in the county have been fined.

East County Groundwater Sustainability Plan Approved

Supervisors also approved the East Contra Costa Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan on a 5-0 vote. The $1.4 million groundwater study applies to the cities of Antioch and Brentwood, Byron-Bethany Irrigation District, Diablo Water District, Discovery Bay Community Services and East Contra Costa Irrigation District.

Even under drought like conditions, the plan found, “Groundwater conditions in the ECC Subbasin are favorable and reflect stability over the past 30 years or more. Using various analogies, the Subbasin can be described as generally full through various water-year types, including drought and is in good “health.” The favorable conditions are in part due to surface water availability that represents the largest sources of supply for municipal and agricultural uses in the Subbasin.”

Ryan Hernandez of the Department of Conservation and Planning said if the board of supervisors did not adopt the ECC-GSP, the county would be in violation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which would result in the State Water Resources Board intervening in local groundwater management.

Rendering of the entrance of the West County Re-entry Treatment and Housing Facility. Source: Contra Costa County

$95.5 Million West County Detention Facility Expansion Plan Approved

Supervisors unanimously approved a $95.5 million design-build contract with Montana-based contractor Sletten Construction Company to design and build five secure housing units, a medical treatment center, reentry program space and building, and visitation facilities at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond. It will be known as the West County Re-entry Treatment and Housing Facility. WRTH presentation CCCBOS120721

One of the objectives of the project is to reduce overcrowding by 128 inmate beds to 288 high-security inmate beds in five housing units. Ninety-six beds will still be mental health treatment beds.

Possible Relocation of Marsh Creek Shooting Range

In a related matter, supervisors approved as a consent item a report on the future use and potential relocation of the shooting range at the Marsh Creek Detention Facility possibly to the Concord Naval Weapon Station. At the low-security detention facility inmates learn wood making skills and other basic education skills.

Used also as a training facility for the Office of the Sheriff and law enforcement agencies from Contra Costa County and surrounding counties, the Marsh Creek Range Facility generates revenue for the county. The range will bring about $113,000 for fiscal year 2021-2022, wrote County Administrator Monica Nino in her report to the supervisors.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

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