Detectives from the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Investigation Division have arrested 45-year-old Richard James Wasso of Bethel Island for attempted murder and numerous counts of child molestation.
This follows an investigation that started late last month after a report about alleged acts of molestation of a minor was made to the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office. Detectives confirmed the female victim’s allegations and also discovered that Wasso had tried to kill her.
Wasso was arrested yesterday without incident. Wasso is a registered sex offender listed on the California Megan’s Law Website. He was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on an attempted murder charge and multiple counts of child molestation. He is currently being held in lieu of $7,440,000 bail.
Detectives believe there may be additional victims where Wasso previously lived or spent time in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Santa Clara Counties. The cities include Manteca, Stockton, Ceres, Modesto, Gilroy and Morgan Hill.
Anyone with any information about Wasso is asked to contact the Special Victims Unit of the Investigation Division at (925) 313-2625. For any tips, call 866-846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.Read More
The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff is seeking additional possible victims in a child molestation case. Earlier this year, Detectives arrested 26-year-old JB Yancy following a three-month long investigation.
Alleged acts of molestation against a minor victim in North Richmond were brought to the attention of the Office of the Sheriff in late 2016. Detectives launched an investigation and confirmed the allegations. An arrest warrant was issued for Yancy.
Yancy was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on multiple counts of child molestation. He is currently being held in lieu of $1,000,000 bail.
Detectives believe there may be additional victims and would like to talk to anyone with any information. Yancy has resided in Vallejo, Richmond, and Fairfield. He approached his victim in a public place.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Sexual Assault Unit of the Investigation Division at (925) 313-2625. For any tips, please email: email@example.com or call 866-846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.Read More
Uncertainty as it relies on 48% of funds from federal government
By Daniel Borsuk
Contra Costa County supervisors took a peek at a proposed $3 billion budget on Tuesday that includes $250,000 to expand a popular health care program for low income citizens, $220,000 to reopen the shuttered Knightsen fire station in the East Contra Costa Fire District, and spend $500,000 for the Northern Waterfront Study Intiative.
Supervisors are scheduled to adopt the new spending plan at its May 9 meeting to replace the current $2.6 billion budget.
During the seven-hour hearing, some supervisors seemed to play the conservative card due to fiscal events that have developed in Washington, D.C. and how federal cuts in health care, education and housing might have a ripple effect at the state and county level.
County Administrator David Twa said the county receives 48 percent of its funds from the federal government so there is concern that funding cuts from Washington will impact county operations if not in the 2017-2018 fiscal year, it could occur in the 2018-2019 fiscal year when the county needs to renegotiate labor contracts with doctors, nurses. and fire fighters.
“This is one of the most difficult budgets to assemble,” Twa told supervisors, “because there is so much uncertainty at the state and federal levels.”
The fiscal uncertainty also affected the supervisors.
Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill said she would not approve the proposal for an additional $250,000 to expand the Contra Costa Cares health care program for low income residents. The county allotment would be matched by the nonprofit organization to help access the health care program to 1,000 residents. This current fiscal year the county spent $1 million and has proposed $1.25 million for the upcoming 2017-2018 fiscal year.
“There’s a large part of the community that doesn’t understand why we see a part of the undocumented community the way we do, but in this case, I cannot support spending an extra $250,000 for the Contra Costa Cares program,” Mitchoff said.
Mitchoff also raised doubts that Contra Costa Cares has the fundraising capabilities to collect $250,000 to expand the program. “The hospital is not committed to contributing the $250,000,” she said.
“We’re seeing the rise of people awareness to their right to health care,” said Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood. She favors the extra funding for the health care program that drew about eight speakers in support of the health care program. “I’m in support of expanding it,” she said.
Initially supervisors were reluctant in setting aside $220,000 to reopen the Knightsen fire station for fiscal years 2017-2018 and 2018-2019, but eventually caved in to reality that the station needed to opened. Supervisors are frustrated over the way the ECCFD has managed its financial and business affairs. The fire district had shuttered the fire station in order to open a new station in Brentwood..
Supervisors also voted 4-0, with Supervisor Candace Andersen absent, to designate $500,000 for the Northern Water Front Study Initiative, a project of Board Chair Federal Glover. The funding would be spent on data development, parcel identification, engineering, and public outreach.
New Airport Safety Classifications Approved
Supervisors also approved the creation for four Airport Safety Office Classifications at the Byron Airport and Buchanan Field to replace three outdated classifications that should help the county improve the retention rate among safety personnel. The county has a 60 percent retention rate among 17 personnel assigned to aircraft rescue and firefighting duties.Read More
National Winner from Gale Ranch Middle School will be honored in a ceremony, in partnership with Comcast
WASHINGTON (April 18, 2017) – C‑SPAN and Comcast will visit Gale Ranch Middle School in San Ramon, on Wednesday, April 19 to honor a local winner for C‑SPAN’s annual student video documentary competition, StudentCam. During the visit a C‑SPAN representative will present a StudentCam certificate of merit to Sanjana Ranganathan during a ceremony in front of classmates, teachers and family members to recognize her winning achievement in the national competition and an Honorable Mention prize of $250. The winning video will also be viewed during the congratulatory event.
The 8th Grade student’s topic was entitled, “Clicking Forward.”
StudentCam encourages middle and high school students to think critically about issues that affect our communities and nation. This year, students were asked to create a 5-7 minute video documentary about the topic, “Your Message to Washington: What is the most urgent issue for the new president and Congress to address in 2017?” In response, C‑SPAN received 2,903 video submissions from over 5,600 students in 46 states and Washington, D.C. 150 student and 53 teacher prizes were awarded, totaling $100,000 in prize money. Visit www.studentcam.org to watch all the winning videos for 2017.
“Comcast is honored to partner with C-SPAN on their annual documentary contest, StudentCam, and are happy to congratulate local winner, Sanjana Ranganathan . These next generation documentary filmmakers tackled an issue that was important to them, their community and our nation after a historic election year. Education is important to Comcast, and we applaud C-SPAN as they continue to offer educational opportunities to young leaders to voice their opinions,” said John Gauder, Regional Vice President of Comcast California.
In San Ramon, C‑SPAN programming is provided by Comcast on channel 22, 29; C‑SPAN2 on channel 109; and C‑SPAN3 on channel 110 as a commercial-free public service. All funding for C‑SPAN operations is provided by local TV providers.
Created by the cable TV industry and now in nearly 100 million TV households, C‑SPAN programs three public affairs television networks in both SD and HD; C‑SPAN Radio, heard in Washington, D.C, at 90.1 FM and available as an App (Android, iPhone, Blackberry); and a video-rich website offering live coverage of government events and access to the vast archive of C‑SPAN programming. Visit http://www.c‑span.org/. Visit http://www.c‑span.org for coverage and schedules; like us on Facebook/cspan and follow @cspan on Twitter.
About C‑SPAN Classroom
C‑SPAN Classroom is a free membership service dedicated to supporting educators’ use of C‑SPAN programming and websites in their classes or for research. Members of C‑SPAN Classroom may access free Timely Teachable Videos and video clips for use in the classroom, as well as lesson plans, handouts and ways to connect with other C‑SPAN Classroom members. C‑SPAN Classroom has reached more than 1 million students since its inception in 1987. For more information on C‑SPAN Classroom, visit: http://www.c‑spanclassroom.org/, or follow us on twitter: @CSPAN_Classroom.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation’s largest video, high-speed Internet and phone providers to residential customers under the XFINITY brand and also provides these services to businesses. NBCUniversal operates news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures and Universal Parks and Resorts. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.Read More
Both are expected to turn themselves in, today
By Allen Payton
The former general manager and PGA golf pro at the now closed Roddy Ranch Golf Club in Antioch, Kevin Fitzgerald, is a wanted fugitive according to the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office. According to the website www.northerncaliforniamostwanted.org, the 46-year-old is “Wanted by the Contra Costa County District Attorney” and that he “conspired to commit loan fraud, file a false police report, commit insurance fraud, divert construction funds and defraud an elder.”
Also wanted for the same charges is Mark Ellis Mattson.
The same website states, “Mark Mattson a solar contractor while working at the former Roddy Ranch Golf Course LLC conspired to commit loan fraud, commit insurance fraud, divert construction funds and defraud an elder. Mark Mattson lives in San Diego and may work at San Diego State University as an instructor.”
The “elder” referred to in the charges is Jack Roddy, the owner of the golf course.
When reached for comment, Roddy stated, “Kevin and the other guy are supposed to be turning themselves in, today.”
That other guy is “Mark Mattson, the owner of a solar company,” Roddy said, “He’s under a $750,000 bail, who colluded with Kevin on this. They both have multiple felonies they’re wanted for.”
“They were supposed to turn themselves in, last week, but didn’t do it,” he continued. “They hurt a lot of people. Hurt Donna (Jack’s wife) and me, bad. Hurt a lot of golfers. Just did a lot of damage. But they’re going to pay the price.”
Asked about Roddy’s plans for the 235-acre golf course land, after he shut down the operations last summer, he responded with a laugh, “There are a lot of cattle getting fat up there. It wasn’t working, so we shut it done. We decided to put it back to the way it was.”
Asked if he had anything else to say, Roddy said “I’m going to let the law do my talking. I’ll let the cops and the legal system do their work.”
In 2014, Fitzgerald’s company, Roddy Ranch Golf Management leased the golf course from Roddy’s company Roddy Ranch, LLC. In July, Roddy took back control of the course and brought in Touchstone Golf to operate the course. They discovered the course was financially unable to continue operations.
An email message to golf club members on August 6, 2016 stated, “we have discovered that the golf course is not financially viable as a going concern. This is due to outstanding debts of the previous operator and the high cost of irrigation water for the golf course.” The course was closed on August 11th. (See related article)
Fitzgerald and his family rented a house on Roddy’s personal property, and was a driver of one of the race cars owned by Roddy Ranch Racing, LLC, which competed at the Antioch Speedway inside the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds.
2:13 PM UPDATE – FELONY WARRANTS ISSUED FOR THE ARRESTS OF KEVIN FITZGERALD AND MARK MATTSON (RODDY RANCH FRAUD)
Earlier today, Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark A. Peterson announced that felony arrest warrants have been issued for Kevin Fitzgerald, age 45, of Brentwood, the former general manager of Roddy Ranch Golf Course, LLC, in Antioch; and for Mark Mattson, age 56, a general contractor residing in Escondido, California.
Both Fitzgerald and Mattson are charged with felony counts of Grand Theft by Embezzlement, Attempted Grand Theft, Diversion of Construction Funds, Insurance Fraud, and Elder Financial Theft. Fitzgerald is also charged with filing a false police report, a misdemeanor. The victims are the Roddy Ranch Golf Course, LLC, and Mr. Jack Roddy, a long-time resident of the county. The charges stem from the abrupt closure of the Roddy Ranch Golf Course in 2016 after it was learned that Fitzgerald had allegedly diverted $200,000 of an $800,000 loan the Roddys had obtained to build a solar project on the golf course property.
Both Fitzgerald and Mattson, the solar contractor, submitted false construction documents to the loan company claiming that solar panels had been purchased and installed on the Golf Course property. This was done so the loan proceeds totaling $699,000 would be released to Mattson. Mattson did purchase and install some solar panels, but, not the 344 panels claimed in the construction documents. Mattson then gave $200,000 to Fitzgerald who used some of the proceeds for the golf course and to continue making the monthly lease payments to the Roddys. Fitzgerald embezzled the rest of the money through large cash withdrawals and transfers to his personal accounts.
In December 2015, Fitzgerald and Mattson attempted to get the remaining $93,000 of the loan money from the lender. The lender made inquiries with PGE, the City and Antioch, and then with Mrs. Donna Roddy who told them the project wasn’t complete and, in fact, had barely been started.
When the lender refused to pay the remaining $93,000, Fitzgerald damaged the 12 solar panels that had been installed and then filed a false police report claiming the theft of 344 solar panels that were allegedly on the property awaiting installation. These panels had never been purchased.
Fitzgerald filed an insurance claim for the purported vandalism and theft. In April 2016, he received $267,000 as an insurance settlement from Liberty Mutual. Fitzgerald gave Mattson $40,000 of this money, transferred $55,000 to his (Fitzgerald’s) personal checking account. The remainder was used for golf course expenses and to pay “dividends” to five private investors. None of the insurance money was used towards the solar project.
Ultimately, after these series of crimes, the Roddys brought in a professional golf course management company to try to salvage the golf course operation. These attempts proved unsuccessful and the golf course closed in August of 2016.
Arrest Warrants have been issued with a bail set at $775,000 each for Fitzgerald and Mattson. Local law enforcement and the United States Marshal’s Service are attempting to locate and arrest both individuals.
Inquiries concerning this prosecution should be addressed to Deputy District Attorney Dodie Katague of the District Attorney’s Special Operations Unit. He can be reached at (925) 957-2208.
Note: For the purpose of full disclosure, Roddy and Fitzgerald have been long-time, personal friends of the writer of this article.Read More
Happy Easter! He is risen!
By Larry Adams
Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, . . .1 Corinthians 15:1-4
We receive plenty of messages throughout our lives that are of great importance, but none more important than the message of Easter.
The good news of Jesus’ death on the cross to pay for our sins and His burial in a tomb is a vital part of that message. But the best news of all is that the grave couldn’t hold Him. Jesus rose again! He conquered sin, death the grave for all of us. He is alive and is offering hope, forgiveness and eternal life to all who believe and receive Him into their lives.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is our historical proof and guarantee that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, the only way to God. His resurrection sets Christianity apart from every other religion and approach to God.
All the religions of the world except four are based in pure philosophy. They are the inventions of men.
The four religions that remain are based on the teachings of their founders, (Judaism/Abraham; Islam/Mohammad; Buddhism/Gautama and Christianity/ Jesus Christ).
All four founders died. Three are still in their graves. Only Jesus rose again and only Jesus lives to offer eternal life to all who come to Him by faith.
That’s why Easter is celebrated by millions of people worldwide. Easter is the celebration of life in Jesus Christ who died for our sins, conquered our death and rose again to give eternal life to all who believe and receive Him. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26) This is still life’s most important message.
Larry Adams is the Senior Pastor of Golden Hills Community Church, which has campuses in both Antioch and Brentwood.Read More
Contra Costa to launch texting program during state High School Voter Education Weeks
The Contra Costa County Elections Division is launching an easy and convenient way for high school students to register or pre-register to vote.
Starting Monday, all Contra Costa high school students can text their school name to “2Vote” (28683) on their smartphones and receive a reply text with a link to quick look-up tools on the Elections Division website.
The link, which anyone can use, will include a button that allows students who are 18 to register to vote and 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote. It will also include a mock election which asks students to “vote” on some topics, including some high school age specific questions.
“We’re always looking for ways to get high school students more involved and excited about civic life,” said Joe Canciamilla, Contra Costa’s Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters. “Hopefully this tool makes it easier for them to participate and familiarizes them with the voting process.”
The Contra Costa Elections Division is starting the program as part of California’s High School Voter Education Weeks program, which is held from April 17th to 28th. The program is aimed at promoting civic education on campuses and cultivating lifelong voters and active, engaged citizens.
Superintendents and principals throughout Contra Costa County have expressed enthusiasm in the texting program.
“Civic literacy is a very important aspect of a student’s high school experience. Encouraging voter registration for students through technology is something we fully support,” said Karen Sakata, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools.
The Contra Costa Elections Division worked with Georgia-based Global Mobile to develop the service. Contra Costa Election’s high school texting program will be ongoing. County staff and Global Mobile plan to update the mock election questions every few months.
For more information, call 925-335-7805.Read More
By Dave Roberts
The Antioch City Council on Tuesday joined the city councils in Oakley and Brentwood in endorsing an innovative rail transit system that could extend the East County eBART line through far East County at significantly less cost.
The ultra-light rail transit (ULRT) system by a private company, CyberTran International (whose investors include a company partially owned by Contra Costa Herald publisher Allen Payton), is seeking funding to demonstrate the viability of the system on a track in Richmond, and then to roll out the above ground line possibly in East County connecting the Hillcrest eBART Station to stations in Oakley, Brentwood, Discovery Bay and the Byron Airport.
The eBART line now under construction from the Bay Point BART Station with stations at Railroad Avenue in Pittsburg and Hillcrest in Antioch costs $56 million per mile, CyberTran President Dexter Vizinau told the council. His ULRT system would cost about $30 million per mile and have the advantages of providing more stations, perhaps at shopping centers, and provide cars that would go nonstop from any station along the line.
“The problem is that [traditional] transit is too costly to build, operate and maintain,” Vizinau said. “There is a $78 billion backlog in transit maintenance in the country. The only way to pay is to raise taxes. Something has to change and it has to be innovative. We believe we solve that problem.”
Vizinau cited the support of U.C. Berkeley, and the three national labs, in the development of the CyberTran system. He also held up a letter from the U.S. Department of Transportation stating the system was further along technologically than any other innovative transit system in the country.
Mayor Sean Wright noted that few Antioch residents are likely to use the system. “It doesn’t affect Antioch – we’re done and through,” he said. But it does have the potential of reducing traffic from far East County residents on Highway 4 through Antioch, which pleased Council Member Lori Ogorchock. “Anything to reduce traffic and congestion,” she said.
Vizinau said his company has been working on the project for 23 years and is ready to break ground. The main challenge is finding the funding. A 10-mile ULRT line from Hillcrest Station to Brentwood would cost about $300 million.
The company was set to receive $42.9 million from the county’s Measure X half-cent sales tax hike that fell three percentage points short of passing in November, he said. Another tax-hike attempt could be made in two years, he said.
The council unanimously voted to support the project and the company’s efforts to obtain funding, which was a bit of déjà vu as the Antioch Council passed a similar resolution of support seven years ago for the project. That effort was successful in obtaining $15 million in federal funds for innovative transit in the U.S. But, President Obama failed to release the funds before he left office in January, Vizinau said.
The Oakley City Council unanimously approved a similar resolution at their meeting on February 14, and the Brentwood Council did the same at their March 14th meeting. Previously, the Richmond and San Pablo City Councils approved similar resolutions for a CyberTran system in West County, as well.Read More
Los Medanos College (LMC) will host the annual “Celebrating the Life of César Chávez” recognition program on Friday, April 14, at its Pittsburg Campus; the reception will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the College Complex Indoor Quad, followed by the award presentations at 7:00 p.m. in the Recital Hall. The campus is located at 2700 East Leland Road in Pittsburg. The celebration is free and the public is encouraged to attend. Complimentary, easy-access parking is available in Lot C for this event.
Los Medanos College hosts this event each year to honor the life of labor leader and human rights activist, César Chávez. The celebration also recognizes members of the East Contra Costa County community who embody his great tradition of voluntary service, civic activism, and non-violent social change.
The event includes the presentation of three recognition awards. The César Chávez Award for Exemplary Community Service, established in 1995, is presented to local citizens who represent the following core values modeled by César Chávez: Service to Others, Sacrifice, Help the Most Needy, Determination, Non-Violence, Acceptance of All People, Respect for Life and the Environment, Celebrating Community, Knowledge, and Innovation. The East County Educator Award recognizes members of the educational community who demonstrate a commitment to student success and equity, particularly for students of color and those from low-income families. The Chávez Spirit Award is given to emerging leaders who have made a significant impact on the local community in the areas of advocacy and social justice.
This year’s recipient of the César Chávez Award is Peter Garcia. A resident of Pittsburg with a long history of involvement in local service organizations, Mr. Garcia has a deep commitment to engaging and supporting his hometown community and East Contra Costa County. As a long-time educator – and president emeritus of both Los Medanos College and Diablo Valley College – he has demonstrated his dedication to providing access, opportunities, equitable outcomes, and success for all students. The East County Educator Award will be presented to two outstanding educators: Sara Madrigal, counselor at Byron Union School District; and Eugenia Rodriguez, who teaches World Languages at Pittsburg High School. The Spirit Award will recognize three up-and-coming community leaders and advocates: Israel Castro, a graduate of Pittsburg High School currently serving as President of the Los Medanos College Associated Students (LMCAS); Glenda Hernandez, an Independence High School (Brentwood) graduate attending Sacramento State University; and Simon Mendez, a student at Freedom High School (Oakley) and chair of the Oakley Youth Advisory Council.
Please join us to celebrate the spirit of service and activism in our community.
For more information, visit www.losmedanos.edu/chavez/events. Questions? Contact Jennifer Adams firstname.lastname@example.org (925) 473-7302.Read More
Audience controlled by having questions submitted in writing, screened first; DeSaulnier Town Hall in Lafayette Wednesday night
By John Crowder
Just over one hundred people turned out last Saturday, April 8, for a joint Town Hall meeting held at the Nick Rodriguez Community Center in downtown Antioch by Congressmen Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) and Jerry McNerney (CA-09). Braving the rain to hear their Congressional representatives were residents, community activists, and even children from a Pittsburg church who were brought by their choir director to learn something of representative government. Attendees included residents from Antioch, Brentwood, Pittsburg, and as far as Berkeley.
The meeting opened just after 10:00 a.m. with the singing of the National Anthem by Antioch resident Velma Wilson. Following her stirring rendition, District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis introduced the Congressmen.
Each Congressman provided a brief update on current issues before they took turns answering questions from the audience. Congressman McNerney began his remarks with a discussion of health care. He said that, while the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was not perfect, and needed improvement, it provided needed health coverage to many Americans and should not be repealed and replaced with nothing, or something that would make it worse. He went on to say that he likes the idea of a single-payer system.
McNerney then addressed the water situation, saying we need a long-term, rational, water policy to help get through times of drought. He said he would be introducing legislation for water recycling, and stressed the importance of capturing and saving storm water and eliminating leaks in the system. He advocated for what he called a more progressive water policy for regional self-sufficiency.
With respect to Syria, McNerney said that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable. He added, however, that the President should comply with the War Powers Act when taking military action.
Finally, McNerney said, “We can’t allow the President to do whatever he wants,” such as scale back the EPA and other important programs. “We have three branches of government,” he noted.
DeSaulnier began his remarks by saying that, “Sometimes we don’t want to mention names, including the current President of the United States.” This statement brought a round of laughter from a large segment of those who had turned out, and DeSaulnier for the remainder of the meeting never referred to President Trump by name.
DeSaulnier then addressed health care. He decried the health care bill, “that Paul Ryan came up with.” He said that the Republicans had seven years to come up with something, and the result would have eliminated health coverage for millions of Americans, caused many to lose behavioral health care, would have caused the loss of millions of jobs, and would have shifted the cost of health care back to the states. He said he would prefer to see single payer, universal health care, and said that health care should be a right.
“The President’s budget is equally disgusting,” he continued. He decried the elimination of programs such as Meals on Wheels while increasing military spending.
DeSaulnier also said that, with billions of dollars spent on the last election, the system is rigged against the average American. He said it was important that the President reveal his past tax returns, and that it was time to elect the president by popular vote.
Following their opening remarks, one of Congressman McNerney’s staff members read questions from cards that had been submitted by audience members. The first question came from Antioch resident Harry Thurston, who asked whether President Trump’s bombing of Syria without seeking Congressional approval was an impeachable act, and what they were going to do about it.
McNerney responded that he would demand that the President follow the War Powers Act.
DeSaulnier stated that, “Impeachment comes up a lot.” He discussed the history of impeachment, and talked about building a case for it, both legally and politically. He said this was one of the reasons that it was important to obtain the President’s tax returns.
McNerney noted that his caucus brings up Russian involvement in the election and the President’s tax returns regularly, and in part to “get the American people used to the idea that this [impeachment] is going to happen.”
The next question, submitted by another Antioch resident, asked about the likelihood of a Russia probe. Both Congressmen expressed concern about the House of Representatives, with McNerney stating that he didn’t believe that leaders in the House understood the concept of Separation of Powers.
“I think it needs to go to a Special Prosecutor,” McNerney said.
A representative of the People Power Group asked about keeping local police from working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Both Congressmen noted the move toward sanctuary status of many jurisdictions in California. DeSaulnier added, “We need to fix immigration, we don’t need to build a wall.” He expressed that it was important that police departments build relationships with immigrants, and stated that the idea that the United States was going to deport 11 million people was not possible.
A Pittsburg resident asked about infrastructure. DeSaulnier said there was some good news in that California had just passed legislation addressing this issue. He also noted that passing legislation on infrastructure was usually bipartisan. McNerney emphasized the need to immediately begin, “investing in our country.”
A questioner stating she was, “disgusted but not surprised” about “the Republicans invoking the nuclear option” [a procedural rule change in the Senate that allowed for the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court on a simple majority] led to a discussion by the Congressmen about the need for election reform.
A question from a professor at U.C. Berkeley, expressing horror at cuts being proposed to the National Institute of Health (NIH) and other agencies, led McNerney, himself a scientist, to discuss the importance of scientists speaking up on public matters, and to become more active in the political process.
The final question came from a young girl in the audience, Zenzi Osekua Asiedu, who was attending the meeting with a group from Pittsburg United Methodist Church to learn more about citizenship. She asked the Congressmen if their job was hard. Both men emphasized the rewards inherent in serving their fellow citizens by working to pass legislation that helps people.
The town hall ended with the two Congressmen noting the important challenges facing our nation, and a request by them that those attending stay engaged. “We have it within our power to take our country back,” said DeSaulnier.
DeSaulnier will hold another Town Hall meeting in Lafayette, tonight, Wednesday, April 12th from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Stanley Middle School, Multipurpose Room, 3455 School Street.Read More