Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

DeSaulnier-authored initiatives in infrastructure bill to improve access to sustainable, reliable transportation pass House

Thursday, July 1st, 2021

Source: The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

13 provisions included in the INVEST in America Act

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier.

Washington, DC – Today, July 1, 2021, 13 initiatives authored by Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D, CA-11) and aimed at promoting sustainable transportation and improving access to safe and reliable public transit were included in the INVEST in America Act (H.R. 3684), which passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 221-to-201. The INVEST in America Act is a $715 billion surface transportation reauthorization and water infrastructure bill that will create good-paying jobs to rebuild and reimagine America’s surface transportation infrastructure, with investments in roads, bridges, transit, rail, and drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. 2021 Fact Sheet for INVEST in America Act“California has long been a model for the country in the transportation space, particularly when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and investing in public transportation. The INVEST in America Act aligns with and furthers California’s goals through bold, innovative legislation that would put millions of Americans to work, speed up our economic recovery, and follow through on our commitment to reduce emissions with transformative investments in cleaner transportation,” said DeSaulnier.

DeSaulnier’s measures included in the bill would aid the transition to environmentally clean modes of transportation, improve accessibility of reliable and efficient public transit, increase road safety, and save taxpayer money. Among those provisions are:

  • Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Enhancement:Based on Congressman DeSaulnier’s Clean Corridors Act (H.R. 2012), the bill would quickly build out EV charging infrastructure nationwide to allow more Americans to shift to environmentally-friendly modes of transportation, saving gas money and our planet, while also creating jobs. The Biden Administration has signaled that this is a top priority.
  • Improved Transportation System Connectivity:Would provide grants to implement better public transportation investment allowing us to create a more interconnected, innovative, and efficient public transportation system that will in turn get more cars off the road, reduce congestion, create more equity, and help fight climate change. This language is part of Congressman DeSaulnier’s Jobs for a Carbon Free Transportation System Act and Incentivizing Value Capture for Greener Transportation Act (H.R. 2205).
  • Greater Transportation Accessibility:Originally included in Congressman DeSaulnier’s COMMUTE Act (H.R. 3581), this provision would enhance transportation planning and equity by improving access to essential services like jobs, health care and childcare facilities, and affordable housing.
  • Enhanced Trucking Safety and Oversight: The bill includes requirements that enhance motor carrier compliance with labor and workplace safety laws, ensuring that our truckers and other road users remain safe on the roads and that motor carriers are held accountable when they violate these protective laws.
  • Transportation Safety Improvement:Based on the Stop Underrides Act (H.R. 1622), co-led by Congressmen Cohen and DeSaulnier, the package directs the Department of Transportation to enhance underride guard protections to prevent deadly truck underride collisions.
  • Efficient Infrastructure Project Delivery:The bill would increase oversight of large infrastructure projects to minimize megaproject cost overruns, delays, and reduced construction quality. Based on Congressman DeSaulnier’s Megaprojects Accountability and Oversight Act (H.R. 2204), this measure would reduce waste, save taxpayer money, and ensure vital infrastructure projects are completed safely and without delay.

The bill still requires approval by the U.S. Senate.

Congressman DeSaulnier is a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. He previously served as Chair of the California State Senate Transportation and Housing Committee as well as the California Assembly Transportation Committee. He is also a former member of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and has been a longtime leader in advocating for sustainable transportation as well as safe and efficient public transportation systems.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Public workshops, hearings announced for Draft Plan Bay Area 2050

Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

Regional plan for transportation, housing, the economy, and the environment

Interested agencies, organizations and individuals are invited by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) to comment on the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050. As required by state and federal law, MTC and ABAG have jointly developed this regional plan for transportation, housing, the economy, and the environment, which will serve as the San Francisco Bay Area’s Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) upon its adoption. Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 is defined by 35 integrated strategies designed to advance the region towards a more equitable and resilient future.

A Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) prepared on the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 will be subject to public review pursuant to a separate notice.

The following online public workshops have been scheduled to receive comment on the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050:

ONLINE PUBLIC WORKSHOP

East Bay Workshop
Contra Costa and Alameda Counties
Monday, June 14, 5:00 to 6:30 p.m.
https://bit.ly/33uXj0y
Passcode: 179826
Webinar ID: 862 3482 0389

ONLINE PUBLIC HEARINGS

Additionally, MTC and ABAG will hold three (3) public hearings to receive oral testimony and written comments about the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050. Copies of the draft plan are on file with the Secretary of the Board of MTC and open to public inspection at planbayarea.org/learnmore. Should you require a hard copy of the draft plan, please submit your request to info@bayareametro.gov or call 415-778-6757 and one will be mailed to you.

The first public hearing will be held during the regular meeting of the Joint MTC Planning Committee with the ABAG Administrative Committee on:

Friday, June 11, 2021 at 9:40 a.m. (Remotely)
https://bit.ly/33xhpav
Webinar ID: 874 2787 4017
Bay Area Metro Center
Board Room, 1st Floor
375 Beale Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

In light of Governor Newsom’s State of Emergency declaration regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and in accordance with Executive Order N-29-20 issued by Governor Newsom on March 17, 2020 and the Guidance for Gatherings issued by the California Department of Public Health, the meeting will be conducted via webcast, teleconference, and Zoom for all participants. Detailed instructions on participating via Zoom are available at: https://mtc.ca.gov/how-provide-public-comment-board-meeting-zoom. The meeting accessibility instructions also will be posted to: https://mtc.ca.gov/whats-happening/events/public-hearings no less than 72 hours prior to the hearing.

Two additional online public hearings have been scheduled for:

Hearing 2
Tuesday, June 22, 5:30 p.m.
https://bit.ly/3y0ZiYp
Passcode: 177176

Webinar ID: 812 0345 4209

Hearing 3
Wednesday, July 7, 1:30 p.m.
https://bit.ly/2SIduFK
Passcode: 908706

Webinar ID: 854 5833 8822

The Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 will be available for public review beginning Wednesday, May 26, 2021, online at https://mtc.ca.gov/whats-happening/events/public-hearingshttps://abag.ca.gov/meetings-events/public-hearings, and planbayarea.org. In an effort to reduce printing costs and conserve paper and in accordance with EO N-29-20 and the Guidance for Gatherings issued by the California Department of Public Health, you are urged to review the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 on the website listed above. Should you require a hard copy of the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050, please submit your request to info@bayareametro.gov or call 415-778-6757 and one will be mailed to you.

The public comment period for the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 begins on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 and ends on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 by 5:00pm. All written comments must be received no later than Tuesday, July 20, 2021 by 5:00pm. All written comments on the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 are being accepted via mail to MTC Public Information, Attn: Draft Plan Comments, 375 Beale Street, Suite 800, San Francisco, CA 94105; via e-mail to info@planbayarea.org; and online at planbayarea.org/learnmore. Comments also are being accepted by phone by leaving a voicemail at (415) 778-2292.

Public comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 will be sought pursuant to a separate notice. After considering public comment, MTC and ABAG are slated to adopt Plan Bay Area 2050 in fall 2021. For more information, call the MTC Public Information Office at (415) 778-6757.

Do you need an interpreter or any other assistance to participate? Please call 415-778-6757. We require at least three working days’ notice to accommodate assistance requests. For TDD or hearing impaired, call 711, California Relay Service, or 1-800-735-2929 (TTY), 1-800-735-2922 (voice) and ask to be relayed to 415-778-6700.

您需要口譯員或任何其他幫助才能參加嗎?請致電415-778-6757。我們要求至少提前三個工作日通知,以便滿足您的請求。對於TDD或聽障人士,請致電711,加州中繼服務,或1-800-735-2929(TTY),1-800-735-2922(語音),並要求轉接到415-778-6700。

¿Necesita un intérprete o cualquier otra ayuda para participar? Llame al 415-778-6757. Requerimos un aviso de al menos tres días hábiles para atender las solicitudes de asistencia. Para personas con discapacidad auditiva o TDD, llame al 711, California Relay Service, o al 1-800-735-2929 (TTY) o al 1-800-735-2922 (voz) y pida que lo comuniquen al 415-778-6700.

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Antioch Council to consider youth pilot programs, oil and gas drilling ban, micro transit system, food insecurity issue Tuesday night

Tuesday, May 11th, 2021

Glydways station rendering. Source: Advanced Mobility Group presentation

By Allen Payton

During their meeting tonight, Tuesday, May 11, 2021, the Antioch City Council will consider approving six youth-centered summer pilot programs as discussed in Mayor Lamar Thorpe’s press conference last week. The six programs include an Antioch Council of Teens, COVID-19 Social Media Youth Ambassador Program, Middle School Pop Up Park Program, a City internship program for high school students, a Youth Expression Art Program for sixth through 12th graders, and a Build Antioch Internship Program with the Architectural Foundation of San Francisco. The cost is $25,000 each for a total budget of $150,000 from Measure W funds.

Glydways proposed East County routes.

In addition, the council will consider support for the Glydways micro transit system that would serve as a connector from downtowns in East County to the BART stations. The system recently completed a feasibility study, received the support of the Tri Delta Transit board of directors and is seeking support from the four cities in East County. (See related article)

Those familiar with the CyberTran system, being developed in Richmond, will recall its leaders obtained unanimous support from the Cities of Oakley, Brentwood and Antioch in 2017 to pursue federal funding for a system from the Antioch-Hillcrest BART station to the Byron Airport. CyberTran is proposed to be the system of choice for the East County extension to BART and the Glydways system would serve as a connector, bringing passengers to the current and future BART stations. (See related article) (Note: The publisher of the Herald has a financial interest in CyberTran International, Inc.)

Finally, the council will also consider a moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the city at the request of Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson, and will have a discussion on food insecurity at the request of District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker.

Asked recently about the new Antioch Foods store opening in the former Lucky’s store on E. 18th Street and if she had anything to do with it, Torres-Walker said no, but that she was aware of it.

See the complete agenda, here.

The meeting can be viewed via livestream on the city’s website at https://www.antiochca.gov/live_stream, on Comcast Channel 24, or AT&T U-Verse Channel 99.

Public Comments

Members of the public wishing to provide public comment may do so by 5:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting in the following ways (#2 pertains to the Zoom Webinar):

  1. Fill out an online speaker card located at: https://www.antiochca.gov/speaker_card.
  2. Provide oral public comments during the meeting by clicking the following link to register by 5:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting, to access the meeting via Zoom Webinar: https://www.antiochca.gov/speakers – You will be asked to enter an email address and a name. Your email address will not be disclosed to the public. After registering, you will receive an email with instructions on how to connect to the meeting. – When the Mayor announces public comments, click the “raise hand” feature in Zoom. For instructions on using the “raise hand” feature in Zoom, visit: https://www.antiochca.gov/raise_hand. Please ensure your Zoom client is updated so staff can enable your microphone when it is your turn to speak.
  3. Email comments to cityclerk@ci.antioch.ca.us by 5:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting. The comment will be read into the record at the meeting (350 words maximum, up to 3 minutes, at the discretion of the Mayor). IMPORTANT: Identify the agenda item in the subject line of your email if the comment is for Announcement of Community Events, General Comment, or a specific Agenda Item number. All emails received by 5:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting will be entered into the record for the meeting.

Publisher’s Note:

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Amtrak San Joaquins Reinstates Cash Payments Onboard and at Staffed Stations

Saturday, May 8th, 2021

While cash sales were initially suspended in March 2020, Amtrak San Joaquins has resumed cash payments onboard and at all staffed stations. Reintroducing cash payments was the result of coordination among the San Joaquins Joint Powers Authority, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority, LOSSAN JPA, the State of California, and Amtrak.

Historically, approximately 15% of San Joaquins ticket revenue has been generated by cash payments. Reintroducing cash payments provides improved rail and Thruway bus access to the unbanked and underbanked passengers that have been disproportionately impacted by this policy.

Onboard ticket sales are in place to accommodate passenger boarding at unstaffed stations. Passengers boarding at unstaffed station, including Antioch, Richmond, Lodi, Turlock, Madera, Wasco, and Corcoran can purchase their ticket directly from the conductor. Passengers boarding at staffed stations will pay a $10 surcharge in addition to the price of the ticket. The surcharge is a resumption of previous policy.

“We are pleased to begin accepting cash once again throughout our service,” said Stacey Mortensen, Executive Director of the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority. “In response to the immediate COVID-19 crisis, we took all the necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of our travelers and staff; this included requiring contactless ticketing. In coordination with state officials and Amtrak, we have determined that cash exchange is not only safe, but also improves transportation access to cash dependent riders. The resumption of cash represents a positive step towards normalcy.”

As the state begins to reopen from COVID-19 restrictions, Amtrak San Joaquins is encouraging riders to also review the Visit California “Responsible Travel Code” for additional tips on how to plan thoughtful, safe, and respectful travel.

Customers are strongly encouraged to plan ahead and book early to guarantee available tickets. Amtrak’s new standard of travel includes:

  • Face coverings: Federal law and Amtrak policy require all customers and employees to wear a mask or covering that fully covers the entire mouth and nose, fits snugly against the side of the face, and secures under the chin at all times while onboard trains and in stations, even if state or local policies are different.
  • Station arrival: Customers are encouraged to arrive 30 minutes before departure and 60 minutes if in need of ticketing and/or baggage assistance.
  • Capacity indicator: When searching for travel, the percentage of seats sold displays next to each trip and adjusts as customers make reservations. This gives customers the opportunity to book a train that is less crowded. If capacity exceeds comfort levels, customers can change their ticket without incurring a fee (a fare difference may apply).
  • Amtrak app: Customers can book, board, check train status and access information from the convenience and safety of a mobile device. Amtrak continues to encourage boarding with eTickets, which conductors scan from the Amtrak app.
  • Air quality: All Amtrak trains are equipped with onboard filtration systems with a fresh air exchange rate every 4-5 minutes.
  • Physical distancing: Signage has been displayed at our stations to indicate safe distances in high traffic areas. In addition, protective plastic barriers have been installed at customer counters at our stations.

Passengers are encouraged to purchase tickets prior to boarding at stations, online at AmtrakSanJoaquins.com, on the Amtrak app, or at a station kiosk.

About the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA)

Since July 2015, SJJPA has been responsible for the management and administration of Amtrak San Joaquins. SJJPA is governed by Board Members representing each of the ten (10) Member Agencies along the 365-mile San Joaquins Corridor. For more information on SJJPA see www.sjjpa.com.

Amtrak San Joaquins is Amtrak’s 6th busiest route with 1.1 million annual riders and 18 stations providing a safe, comfortable and reliable way to travel throughout California. Prior to service modifications due to the COVID-19 crisis, Amtrak San Joaquins ran 7 daily train round-trips and its Thruway buses provided connecting service to 135 destinations in California and Nevada including Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Napa Valley, Las Vegas and Reno. To book your next trip, visit www.AmtrakSanJoaquins.com or call 1-800-USA-RAIL.

 

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Antioch Council receives report on latest efforts to bring ferry service to city’s waterfront

Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

By Allen Payton

A type of ferry boat operated by WETA that could eventually stop in Antioch. Photo: WETA

During their meeting on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 the Antioch City Council received a report from a representative of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) on the latest information on bringing ferry service to the city’s waterfront.

Peter Engel, the Director of Programs for CCTA provided the presentation. Antioch Ferry Service presentation 041321

A financial feasibility study of Contra Costa County Ferry Service from 2015 through 2023 was completed in 2014. It sought to Create collaborative effort engaging Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA), the cities, other interested entities and CCTA. Evaluate financial feasibility of expanding WETA’s ferry services to Contra Costa County.

Near-term expansion routes identified in the WETA Implementation and Operations Plan (IOP) and Short Range Transit Plan only includes a stop in Richmond. Additional expansion routes identified in WETA’s IOP include Hercules, Martinez and Antioch. The interlined routes include Antioch to Martinez, Martinez to Hercules and Antioch to Martinez to Hercules.

Engel spoke of a pilot program for ferry service in Antioch.

However, “there’s currently not a funding source for a pilot program,” he said.

Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson said, “my first term on council we were talking about ferry service and ridership. Back then we were talking about the traditional ferry. Former Mayor Wright talked about the water taxi. Hopefully, we’ll get more information and more studies on that. I like how the routes you discussed from Antioch to Martinez, Hercules and Richmond.”

“I know this was an issue with the WETA Board…if there is a Contra Costa representative on the WETA Board, it would be good to have at least a Contra Costa, hopefully an Antioch representative on that board,” she continued. “I just wanted to know if that’s changed since then.”

“The structure on the board hasn’t changed. Sacramento basically selects the members,” Engle responded. “Three by the governor, one by the Assembly Speaker and one by the Senate Rules Committee. The only one who represents Contra Costa who is Jim Wunderman, the CEO of the Bay Area Council and a resident of Contra Costa. That would be something that would have to be taken up through the legislature. It’s something that WETA staff would support.”

“If we do this very right it could be very good for us,” Wilson continued. “I know the Larkspur Ferry has been hurting.”

“Larkspur is operated by Golden Gate Ferry…strictly to the City operation. It’s been hurt by the pandemic,” Engle responded.

“I sit on the CCTA, so I’ve had conversations about this with (City Manager) Ron Bernal,” Mayor Lamar Thorpe said. “If there’s the possibility of a pilot program, we’d need to put some money behind it. Ron would need to show up to say we’re committed to doing something.”

“That’s fair enough,” Bernal responded. “Is the council still interested in moving forward and getting information on this?”

“The council is committed to moving forward. We are certainly 100% committed,” Thorpe replied.

“I’m concerned in a post-COVID world we don’t know what the commute will look like before we are committed,” District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica said. “Where are we going to be with commuters? We don’t know.”

“That is some of the conversations that we’ve been having,” Thorpe responded. “The money tied up in the courts, right now will be coming,”

“I’ve heard of this since I first moved here, and I’ve been very excited about this,” said District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker who represents the part of Antioch where the ferry stop would be located. “I get the concerns Councilman Barbanica is lifting up, as well. But I also think as we learn to live with the virus…and go back to as normal as possible…that we have a ferry in Antioch and I’m excited about that potential.”

That was enough direction for both Bernal and Engle to move forward on bringing ferry service to Antioch.

The next steps include looking at service opportunities with routing to Pittsburg, Martinez, Hercules and Richmond; partner with other terminal cities; prepare Request for Information/Interest from private providers; and identifying funding. Potential funding could be from the Regional Measure 3 bridge toll revenue and COVID Relief funds.

 

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Glydways completes feasibility study with Eastern Contra Costa cities and Tri Delta Transit to advance micro transit system

Friday, April 9th, 2021

Glydways vehicles and station rendering. Source: Glydways

Could be feeder system to BART from downtowns

The Tri Delta Transit Board of Directors has unanimously approved a resolution to support feasibility study findings regarding a Dynamic Personal Micro Transit (DPMT) system in Eastern Contra Costa County.

As a strong community partner and forward-thinking transit agency, Tri Delta Transit’s decision sets the stage for multiple cities in Eastern Contra Costa County to partner with Glydways to bring an innovative 28-mile, personal micro transit solution to the region through a public-private partnership model.

The feasibility study was conducted by Advanced Mobility Group (AMG) at the request of the Cities of Pittsburg, Antioch, Oakley, and Brentwood, as well as Contra Costa County and the Contra Costa Transportation Authority.  Glydways Feasbility Study TDT BOD 032421

The study focused on a 28-mile DPMT system with 56 boarding locations planned between the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART Station and downtown Brentwood. The system is anticipated to complement existing transportation modes such as Tri Delta Transit bus service, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), and the Amtrak San Joaquins train line, and could deliver connectivity to more than 7 million riders annually.

Draft Glydways Eastern Contra Costa County routing plan. Source: Glydways

With the feasibility study conclusions affirmed by Tri Delta Transit, the findings will also be presented to each city council for the above-mentioned cities in the coming months. The support of Tri Delta Transit’s board for a mobility option that complements existing transit service is significant, since it smooths the path for cities, partners, and stakeholders to consider entering into a project development agreement with Glydways to further plan and fund the potential system.

“We are looking forward to our collaboration with Glydways to deploy this new innovative mobility option in our community that we serve and increase public transportation options,” said Jeanne Krieg, CEO of Tri Delta Transit.

Founded by Mark Seeger in 2016, Glydways is a system of on-demand autonomous vehicles, right-sized to carry passengers to their personalized destinations, privately. These vehicles operate on dedicated roads that are closed off to all other forms of transport. These roads form an interconnected network optimized for mass-transit throughput. Passengers enjoy a direct-to-destination journey with a consistently premium experience.

“At Glydways, we believe that mobility is a basic human right. We believe that access to affordable housing, employment, education, commerce, and healthcare leads to social and economic prosperity—and that the key to the equitable distribution of this prosperity is access to low-cost and ubiquitous mobility for everyone, everywhere,” said Seeger, CEO of Glydways. “In a post-pandemic world where transit budgets and programs face hesitant ridership, mobility systems must be more efficient, passenger-focused, and resilient than ever. For riders, Glydways changes the concept of public transit to a premium passenger experience without the premium cost and frustration of traffic.”

Glydways is currently completing construction on its demonstration facility at GoMentum Station in Concord and anticipates being able to provide product demonstration in Spring 2021. GoMentum Station, in Contra Costa County, was chosen as the site for the first demonstration based on its reputation for advancing innovative mobility options. This initial demonstration will be the first to showcase the full potential of the Glydways system as a more sustainable and affordable mode of mass mobility for everyone.

Based in South San Francisco, Glydways has partnered with numerous Bay Area cities, transportation agencies, technology providers, employers, and experienced international infrastructure firms to bring mass micro transit into the 21st century and provide mobility that improves communities.

Those familiar with the CyberTran system, being developed in Richmond, will recall its leaders obtained unanimous support from the Cities of Oakley, Brentwood and Antioch in 2017 to pursue federal funding for a system from the Antioch-Hillcrest BART station to the Byron Airport. CyberTran is proposed to be the system of choice for the East County extension to BART and the Glydways system would serve as a connector, bringing passengers to the future BART stations. (See related article) (Note: The publisher of the Herald has a financial interest in CyberTran International, Inc.)

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Supervisors reverse Planning Commission decision on East Contra Costa cannabis micro plant farm

Thursday, March 25th, 2021

Diablo Valley Farms indoor cannabis cultivation site plan.

Bay Point Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvement Project moves forward

Honor Deer Valley High student, other winners of annual Poetry Out Loud competition

Closeup view of greenhouses.

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to permit longtime Brentwood grower Bob Nunn and land planner Lisa Borba, who also serves as a Contra Costa Water District commissioner, to proceed and develop two 10,000 square foot indoor cannabis cultivation greenhouses at 4425 Sellers Avenue over the objections of residents. DVF Business Proposal

According to the conditions of approval for the project, the use “permit is for the commercial cultivation of cannabis micro plants only” and “no mature cannabis plants are permitted on the site at any time.” DVF Findings & Modified COAs 03152021

The supervisors’ action reverses a January 27th county planning commission decision that had negated an earlier approval of the proposed cannabis development in Eastern Contra Costa County that had proposed only one 10,000 square foot greenhouse.

During the hearing, supervisors listened to six unidentified speakers oppose the proposed Diablo Valley Farms project on grounds it is nearby a youth center and it will breed crime, noise and odor problems into the environment.

In a Feb. 8th letter from attorney Shawn J. Zovod, the developers Robert Nunn and Borba, and addressed to Contra Costa County Planner Joseph Lawlor, Zovod wrote: DVF SZovod Appeal Letter 02082021 SZovod 030521 Letter to JLawlor Project Planner

“The owner of DVF, Robert Nunn, and the applicant, Lisa Borba (collectively “Applicant”) appeals the CPC decision on the following grounds:

  1. The CPC decision to deny the Permit was based on an erroneous finding that Sunset Park is a “youth center.” This finding is not supported by the evidence and provides grounds for appeal under Code Section 26-2.2404c (3) Sunset Park is a park and is not a youth center within the meaning of the Cannabis Regulation and Section 11353.1 of the California Health and Safety Code…The CPC’s finding that Sunset Park is a “youth center” and thereby a Protected Use is not satisfied by evidence and is a gross misinterpretation of the Cannabis Regulation.
  2. “…. Denial of the permit based on an inaccurate and inconsistently applied reading of the requirements of the Cannabis Regulation is denial of equal protection. The CBO cannot turn its back on the laws that it adopted after years of careful consideration. Appellant has invested significant time and tens of thousands of dollars in reliance on the county’s application of its standards on a fair and equitable basis.

Appellant requests the Board of Supervisors uphold this appeal of the CPS, reinstate the Permit as approved by the Zoning Administrator, and decline to add any additional conditions requested by the City of Brentwood to the Permit.”

While supervisors heard from six unidentified Brentwood residents about concerns that the proposed Diablo Valley Farms project will produce crime, odor and noise, Brentwood Police Chief Tom Hansen said the proposed development will bring more “serious crime” to the city and his “officers will be in grave danger.” The police chief recommended that supervisors keep the county planning commission’s January decision intact.

Board Chair Diane Burgis of Brentwood turned the table when she recommended that supervisors reverse the county planning commission’s January action and to approve the Nunn/Borba project.

“They have made it clear there will be no plants of value,” said Burgis. “There will be security. There will be no cash on site. The permit will be valid for five years.”

Supervisors approved the permit on a 5-0 vote.

Approve Engineering Contract for Bay Point Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvement Project

Supervisors approved a $590,000 contract with MNS Engineers, Inc. to provide consulting services with the county Public Works Department for construction management services for the Bailey Road/State Route 4 Interchange Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvement Project for the period March 23, 2021 to June 30, 2022 in the Bay Point area.

The project consists of constructing a retaining wall, widening the State Route 4 westbound diagonal off-ramp, installation and modification of traffic signals, removal of the SR4 westbound loop off-ramp, storm drain modifications, and installation of sidewalk along Bailey Road.

Funding for the project is from the Active Transportation Program (ATP), Bay Point Area of Benefit, Navy Mitigation Funds, Contra Costa County Measure J transportation half-cent sales tax, and the state gas tax.

Recognize 2021 Poetry Out Loud Winners

Supervisors passed a resolution honoring Pinole Valley High School Senior Jermaine Gitana who won first place honors in the Contra Costa County Poetry Out Loud 2021 Competition. Gitana topped second place winner Esmeralda Noyola, a junior at Antioch’s Deer Valley High School, and third place winner Tessa Brubaker, a junior at San Ramon High School in Danville. (See related article)

Initiated by the National Endowment for the Arts and run by the California Arts Council in the state and locally by the Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County, the program, now in its 14th year, engages high school students in the presentation of poetry through memorization and performance.

Almost 1,000 viewers watched the students’ recitations that were viewed at the Virtual Screening and Awards Ceremony Facebook Live event.

Recognize Melody Hung-Fan and Eric Moe for Years of County Service

Supervisors passed two resolutions recognizing the years of service for Melody Hung-Fan, director of the Contra Costa County Public Health Laboratory, and Eric H. Moe, a 35-year Contra Costa County Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office expert in automation and streamlining workflow of default-tax procedures.

Ms. Hung started her career at CCCPH in 1988 as a public health microbiologist and rose through the ranks to become director of the Public Health Laboratory in January 2013 where she has spent the last eight years planning, evaluating, organizing, and directing all activities and staff of the CCCPH.

She became a licensed Public Health Microbiologist (PHM) through the California Department of Public Health in July of 1988 after receiving a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Services and a Master of Public Health, both from the University of California at Berkeley.

Ms. Hung has been recognized for her background in research through the publication of various abstracts and journal articles, the most recent including articles published by the American Society for Microbiology, entitled: “A Population-Based Surveillance Study of Shared Genotypes of Escherichia coli Isolates from Retail Meat and Suspected Cases of Urinary Tract Infections.”

Her work has been credited in all phases of creating, running, and evaluating testing procedures for a variety of public health issues including HIV, West Nile virus, Zika virus, Influenza, SARS-CoV-2 and other diseases.

Moe is retiring from a long career in the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Officer where he became an expert in defaulted=tax collections, bankruptcy claims, and the annual sale of properties subject to the Tax Collectors Power to Sell. He began his career with the county in 1986 as a Clerk-Beginner. He rose up the ranks and his major accomplishment include automating and streamlining workflow of default-tax procedures to more accurately and expeditiously address and manage the many accounts that transfer to the Redemption or delinquent Secured tax roll annually, and the documenting and re-organizing of standard operating procedures of the tax-default program into a comprehensive electronic manual.  Moe has also been helpful in assisting the California State Controller’s Office with review and feedback to the “Annual Pre-Notice Guide”, the “Review and Taxation Code,” and “The County Tax Collectors’ Reference Manual.”

County Awards Contract to Labor Attorney Kramer

Supervisors awarded a contract with labor attorney Karen Kramer, who is not related to Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer, for workplace investigation and workplace legal advice.  Ms. Kramer specializes in employment law and litigation. She will be of assistance to the County Counsel in the county’s workplace investigations.

Kramer Workplace Investigations will bill the county at an hourly rate of $325 for legal and investigatory services and $400 per hour for testimony.

She is not related to Assessor Kramer, who last November had misconduct charges dropped against him by Superior Court Judge John Cope for accusations of making sexual comments to employees and at least one ethnic slur to a co-worker.

Approve Property Cleanup Cases in Oakley, Martinez and El Sobrante

Supervisors approved three abatement cases. No public speakers were heard on the cases.

The biggest case totaling $38,056.20 was charged to the owners of 2600 Dutch Slough Road in Oakley. The residential property is jointly owned by Darlene Joy Gargulia, Nguyen Ha and Long Hoang Le.

Another residential abatement action costing $4,306.70 occurred at 5321 Alhambra Valley Road in Martinez.  The property is owned by Carol M. Gainey.

Supervisors approved abatement action totaling $4,296.70 at 3870 Valley Lane in El Sobrante. Greg Fremont Livermore is owner of the property.

 

 

 

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Antioch Police asking for public’s input on City’s first Local Roadway Safety Plan

Saturday, March 6th, 2021

Screenshot of AntiochSafeStreets.com interactive map.

By Antioch Police Department

ATTENTION Citizens of Antioch!!

The Antioch Police Department is participating in the City of Antioch’s first Local Roadway Safety Plan to identify potential traffic safety projects. The consultant running the project created a website that provides an overview of the project including updates as the project moves forward.

As part of that process, we are asking YOU to visit the project’s website and submit any suggestions you have regarding problem locations. The consultant is seeking ANY and ALL ideas as they relate to:

Roadway design

Engineering

Lighting and signage issues

Observed traffic violations

Suggestions for enforcement efforts

Drumroll please….

The project website link is: www.antiochsafestreets.com.

From here, continue to the link titled “Report Concern.”

We at the Antioch Police Department are hoping to solicit a LARGE amount of participation from our community in this reporting effort, so the consultant will have a significant amount of information to work from in drafting a comprehensive roadway safety plan.

Thank you in advance to our citizens…we hear you!!

 

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