THIS IS NOT AN EVACUATION ORDER. There are NO active evacuations in Contra Costa County at this time for the upcoming wind-driven fire weather event occurring beginning today and extending into Monday and Tuesday.
However, you may want to consider relocating ahead of this event. If you are uncomfortable in your home given this fire weather event, and you have somewhere to go that is not in a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone or area susceptible to wildland fire (see map below and at http://bit.ly/CCCVeryHighFireZoneMap for details), you should consider relocating this afternoon. Relocation could be to a hotel or the residence of a friend or family member in an area outside of the local area being affected by the forecast fire weather.
All of Contra Costa County is under an NWS Red Flag Warning from Sunday evening through Monday morning. Additional fire weather and gusty winds are expected to affect our entire area Monday through Tuesday morning.
The fire weather we are forecast to experience will be significant. Any fire that starts will likely spread quickly.
Residents living in Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones, areas of the wildland-urban interface, or areas with narrow streets and limited evacuation routes should ensure the following:
- Your cell phones are fully charged and notifications are enabled
- Your cell and home phones are all registered with the Community Warning System at www.cwsalerts.com – there is still time to do this
- Your car is parked facing out of your driveway
- You have determined alternate evacuation routes from your home to a safe area outside of the hills
- You have a plan — you are prepared and ready to go as soon as receiving an official evacuation order
During the fire season, and particularly in this time of heightened fire weather, you need to have a plan to evacuate in the event of a fire. Do not hesitate if you are instructed to evacuate by law enforcement, the fire department, or receive a CWS notification or order to evacuate.
For information on protecting your family, home and neighbors from wildfire – including how to plan for evacuation – read and download our Residents Guide to Wildfire Preparation and Evacuation at www.cccfpd.org.
Communities and hillside portions of El Sobrante and San Pablo, Kensington, East Richmond Heights, the El Cerrito Hills and the west hills of the City of Richmond:
Winds are expected to peak between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. Monday morning with gusts of approximately 47 mph and sustained winds of 31 mph. These significant gusty winds and elevated sustained winds are forecast from 5 p.m. Sunday through Monday morning. Relative humidity is expected to fall to very low levels further increasing risk in these areas.
Martinez (west of Berrellesa Street) and Lafayette (north of Highway 24)
Conditions similar to those for West County above are expected to impact other Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones.
THIS IS NOT AN EVACUATION ORDER. IF AN EVACUATION IS ORDERED NOTIFICATIONS WILL BE SENT THROUGH THE COMMUNITY WARNING SYSTEM (CWS).
We want you to be as prepared as possible given the severity of the forecast fire weather; we want all residents to have ample time to prepare.
Due to highest winds and driest conditions of season expected Sunday morning through Monday morning, with windy conditions lingering in some regions through early Tuesday
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will de-energize certain electrical lines for safety which started Sunday morning, Oct. 25 as part of a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). PG&E is calling a PSPS due to a significant, offshore wind event starting Sunday that is forecast to have the driest humidity levels and the strongest winds of the wildfire season thus far, that together create high risk of catastrophic wildfires.
The PSPS event will affect approximately 361,000 customers in targeted portions of 36 counties, including: Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Kern, Lake, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo and Yuba. Some customers in 17 tribal communities will also be affected.
Some customers previously notified about the potential PSPS will not have their power turned off during this event. This is due to a combination of favorable changes in the weather forecast. Approximately 105,000 customers will not be turned off for this reason. Additionally, another 84,000 will remain energized through the event due to islanding, temporary generation, and other methods.
Affected Customers in Contra Costa County: 17,966 customers, 883 Medical Baseline customers could potentially be affected by this PSPS event.
Timeline for Safety Shutoffs
The de-energization will begin around 10 a.m. Sunday morning, beginning with customers in the Northern Sierra region. Shutoffs will continue through Monday into late evening.
Weather is expected to subside Monday morning for the majority of customers, and by Tuesday morning for the remainder. Once it does and it is safe to do so, PG&E will patrol the de-energized lines to determine if they were damaged during the wind event and repair any damage found. PG&E will then safely restore power in stages and as quickly as possible, with the goal of restoring power to nearly all customers within 12 daylight hours after severe weather has passed.
Resource for customers
Customer notifications—via text, email and automated phone call—began Friday, Oct. 23, approximately two days prior to the potential shutoff. Additional notifications one day prior to the event took place Saturday, Oct. 24. Customers enrolled in the company’s Medical Baseline program who do not verify that they have received these important safety communications will be individually visited by a PG&E employee with a knock on their door when possible with a focus on customers who rely on electricity for critical life-sustaining equipment.
Community Resource Centers
To support our customers during this PSPS, PG&E will open 106 Community Resource Centers (CRCs). For customers with power turning off Sunday morning, CRCs will be open from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. today. All CRCs will operate from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. throughout the event. These temporary CRCs will be open to customers when power is out at their homes and will provide ADA-accessible restrooms, hand-washing stations, medical-equipment charging, WiFi; bottled water, grab-and-go bags and non-perishable snacks.
PG&E updates its CRC locations regularly. To find CRC locations, visit pge.com/crc.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all CRCs will follow important health and safety protocols including:
- Facial coverings and maintaining a physical distance of at least six feet from those who are not part of the same household will be required at all CRCs.
- Temperature checks will be administered before entering CRCs that are located indoors.
- CRC staff will be trained in COVID-19 precautions and will regularly sanitize surfaces and use Plexiglass barriers at check-in.
- All CRCs will follow county and state requirements regarding COVID-19, including limits on the number of customers permitted indoors at any time.
Besides these health protocols, customers visiting a CRC in 2020 will experience further changes, including a different look and feel. In addition to using existing indoor facilities, PG&E is planning to open CRCs at outdoor, open-air sites in some locations and use large commercial vans as CRCs in other locations. CRC locations will depend on a number of factors, including input from local and tribal leaders.
Online Resources for Customers
- Customers can look up their address online to find out if their location is being monitored for the potential safety shutoff at www.pge.com/pspsupdates.
- PG&E’s emergency website pge.com/pspsupdates is now available in 13 languages. Currently, the website is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Russian, Vietnamese, Korean, Farsi, Arabic, Hmong, Khmer, Punjabi and Japanese. Customers will have the opportunity to choose their language of preference for viewing the information when visiting the website. In addition, PG&E’s contact center has translation services available in over 200 languages. Customers who need in-language support over the phone can contact us by calling 1-833-208-4167.
- For additional language support services including how to set language preference, select options for obtaining translated notifications, and receive other translated resources on PSPS, customers can visit pge.com/pspslanguagehelp. This website is also available in 13 languages as listed above.
- Customers are encouraged to update their contact information and indicate their preferred language for notifications by visiting pge.com/mywildfirealerts or by calling 1-800-743-5000. PG&E’s contact center has translation services available in over 200 languages.
- Tenants and non-account holders can sign up to receive PSPS ZIP Code Alerts for any area where you do not have a PG&E account by visiting pge.com/pspszipcodealerts.
- PG&E has launched a new tool at its online Safety Action Center at safetyactioncenter.pge.com to help customers prepare. By using the “Make Your Own Emergency Plan” tool and answering a few short questions, visitors to the website can compile and organize the important information needed for a personalized family emergency plan.
By Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
We are excited to let you know that Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center in partnership with the Contra Costa CDBG has started a Contra Costa County Micro-Enterprise Relief Fund. The Contra Costa County Micro-Enterprise Relief Fund offers grants to Contra Costa County micro-businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This program aims to provide relief to micro-enterprises in order to help them survive this crisis and to maintain the provision of goods and services for Contra Costa County residents.
For the purposes of this fund, we define a micro-enterprise as a for profit entity with:
- A maximum of 5 employees
- Less than $100,000 in annual revenue
- *Registered, in good standing with, and operating in Contra Costa County cities except for Walnut Creek, Concord, Pittsburg, and Antioch
If you fit these qualifications, you can now apply for the Contra Costa County Micro-Enterprise Relief Fund!
Please find the application here: https://tinyurl.com/ccc-micro-enterprise-fund
This Relief Fund will provide working capital grants of $1,000 – $10,000. Grants can be used to cover costs such as COVID-19 precaution supplies (PPE), safety remodeling (plexiglass, spacing tape, construction labor), facade improvements and signage, online platform fees and social media marketing to further online sales, commercial rents, employee salaries and other operating costs.
For more eligibility criteria please visit this page: https://www.rencenter.org/contra-costa-county-micro-enterprise-relief-fund/
The application period will end on Wednesday, November 11 at Midnight PST.Read More
What does 1940s Germany have in common with 2020 China? A religious holocaust.
When learning about the reign of Adolf Hitler, many people are automatically outraged and question, “How could the word let this happen? Why didn’t anyone stop it?”.
There is a holocaust happening in China with Uyghur Muslims right now and there is practically no media coverage.
No one is talking about how Muslims are put into ethnic cleansing camps called “re-education camps” that are very similar to the concentration camps of the 1940s. They are forced to drink alcohol, eat pork, forced sterilization, electrocuted, women are being forced to marry non-Muslims, families are being split apart, they have to sing songs about the Communist party, children are being brainwashed, slave labor is happening. These people are being forced to denounce their religion, are being tortured to become atheists all because someone decided that people have to be punished for something they believe in. Why should anyone get to decide how someone else should live?
In fact, the world is so ignorant about what’s happening in China, the popular live action of the movie Mulan was filmed in Xinjiang where Uyghur Muslims are being held in the “re-education campus”. A movie for entertainment purposes was more important to the world than a humanitarian crisis. Many world-renowned companies such as Nike, Gap, Adidas, Calvin Klein, and an astonishing more have been encouraging this genocide through forced labor of the Uyghurs. It’s more important to the United States to get profit than to help people who are constantly being beaten for living their life as they please.
People were appalled that the German holocaust was happening without anyone noticing. Well, a genocide it’s happening again, right under our noses. What will you do about it?
Ala Rahman is a student at Los Medanos College.Read More
“You’ll be able to get from downtown Oakley to downtown Oakland in 55 minutes ‐ you can’t do that on BART or a car and the ride is much more pleasant.” – Oakley Mayor Kevin Romick
By Amy Sylvestri, City of Oakley
Friday was another exciting day in Oakley, as Mayor Kevin Romick, Vice‐Mayor Sue Higgins and Paul Herman, Associate Planner of the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority helped announce the next step in the process of bringing an Amtrak platform to Oakley!
The new 700‐foot‐long Amtrak train station platform that will be located behind Main Street between Second Street and Norcross Lane. Once complete, Oakley commuters will be able to get from downtown Oakley to downtown Oakland in under an hour.
Amtrak is currently under design for the proposed 700‐foot long platform which will be located within the railroad right‐of‐way.
The City will design and construct the adjacent improvements that will include a bus and car drop off area between 2nd Street and O’Hara and a large parking lot will be constructed to the west of the main entrance at O’Hara Avenue to accommodate future passengers.
“The ultimate goal is to keep the small-town look as we attract new restaurants and businesses,” said Mayor Kevin Romick. “We understand that downtown is just a couple of blocks long, but we are trying to create a vibrant area. It’s so important to give the City of Oakley more transit options. You’ll be able to get from downtown Oakley to downtown Oakland in 55 minutes ‐ you can’t do that on BART or a car and the ride is much more pleasant.”
The train station platform will be a tremendous benefit to the community. Oakley has many residents that commute to the Bay Area for work every day and the new train platform will provide an alternate mode of transportation and drastically reduce their commute times.
The project, made possible with $8.6 million in state funds, is expected to begin construction soon and complete in 2022, according to Paul Herman of the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority
“This is an exciting time for the City of Oakley, said Romick. “We’re looking forward to bringing a train stop back to the East County.”Read More
Student and adult Humanitarians to be recognized at 43rd Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ceremony Jan. 19, 2021
By John Fout, Community & Media Relations Specialist, Contra Costa County Office of Communications & Media
Contra Costa County will commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the 43rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ceremony and invites the community to a virtual live-stream of the community event on Tuesday, January 19, 2021. In the spirit of Dr. King’s work and the theme, “Silence is Not an Option,” the County is now seeking nominations for a student and adult Humanitarian of the Year.
Contra Costa County’s Board of Supervisors will recognize two individuals, (1) a community member and (2) a student leader, as individuals whose dedication to others embodies the spirit and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the January event.
We encourage East Bay residents to nominate an adult or a student whose accomplishments and service impact Contra Costa County, its residents and communities, and reflect the spirit of Dr. King’s work and achievements. The nomination period is now open.
The deadline to submit candidates for consideration is Monday, November 30, 2020. To submit online nominations and learn more about the County’s celebration, including previous ceremonies and winners, visit the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ceremony website.Read More
By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) would like to invite you to take part in a national effort to keep our communities safe. The DEA and the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff hold Take Back Days aimed to provide a safe, convenient, and ecologically responsible method of prescription medication disposal while also focusing on prevention and education.
Take Back Day is this Saturday, October 24, 2020, from 10 AM to 2 PM.
Bring your pills for disposal at the following sites. The DEA cannot accept needles or sharps, only pills, patches, and liquids sealed in their original container. Vaping cartridges and devices with batteries removed can be accepted at Take Back collection sites. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Take Back Collection Sites:
-Office of the Sheriff Muir Station, 1980 Muir Road, Martinez (Field Operations Building)
-Office of the Sheriff Bay Station, 5555 Giant Highway, Richmond (West County Detention Facility)
-Office of the Sheriff Delta Station, 9100 Brentwood Blvd., Brentwood
-Danville Police Department, 510 La Gonda Way, Danville
-Orinda Police Department, 22 Orinda Way, Orinda
The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. The DEA’s Take Back Day events provide an opportunity for Americans to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths.
For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the Take Back event, go to the DEA Office of Diversion Control website at: www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov.
By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Office of the District Attorney, Contra Costa County
Earlier this week, defendant Ross Farca was held to answer on multiple felony counts, including a hate crime enhancement and threat against the primary investigating officer. Due to the public safety risks posed by Farca, Hon. Judge Nancy Stark ordered Farca’s bail forfeited and that he will remain in custody at no bail. (See related article)
The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office initially filed a criminal complaint against Farca in June 2019 for online threats he made against the Jewish on the gaming platform Steam. With notification from the FBI, the Concord Police Department executed a search warrant predicated upon Farca’s IP address. During the search of Farca’s residence, a fully automatic assault weapon was in his possession.
Two weeks ago, while the ongoing preliminary hearing was in recess, Farca allegedly threatened to kill a Concord Police Department detective during a federal probation search of Farca’s new residence. Predicated upon that threat, additional charges were subsequently filed and presented when the preliminary hearing resumed.
Overall, during the preliminary hearing, evidence presented demonstrated Farca was targeting the Jewish community with his threats, and that Farca had a strong affinity and connection to mass shootings targeting places of worship. Such evidence sufficiently established that the conduct warranted a hate crime enhancement.
Farca will be arraigned on November 10.
Case information: People v. Ross Anthony Farca, Docket Number 01-190-284-0
In addition, Farca was charged in November 2019 by the U.S. Attorney with making false statements to gain admittance into the military. (See related article)
Allen Payton contributed to this report.Read More
By Sue Pricco and Michael Arata
In reality, however, Measure X got its start in May, 2019 – long before COVID-19 was even on the horizon – when five representatives of county employee organizations demanded that county supervisors drop a plan for a new transportation tax and sponsor a new “county services” tax instead.
The transportation-tax measure went ahead anyway, eventually as Measure J on March 3rd’s Primary ballot. Itself pushing a half-percent sales-tax increase, Measure J failed. Measure X deserves the same fate now.
For starters, Measure X is regressive, disproportionately affecting those least able to afford increased costs, particularly during a time of pandemic-driven financial hardship. Thousands of small businesses have closed. Millions of Californians are unemployed. Those still working often see smaller paychecks.
Meanwhile, all must still pay (now or on a deferred basis) federal and state income taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes, auto-registration taxes, gasoline taxes, phone taxes, etc. ad nauseam. With whatever money remains, individuals and families must still provide for necessities.
Except for food purchases, essential product needs — from paper towels to kids’ shoes, sometimes to replacement automobiles — have sales taxes added.
Oh, wait on the food exception. If resources permit a sit-down restaurant dinner or a hot takeout meal, those foods ARE taxed.
Contra Costa sales-tax rates already range from 8.25% to 9.75%, tied for 7th highest among California’s 58 counties. And another round of sales-tax leapfrog is not a game which County residents likely hope to “win.”
The Measure X ballot question (the summary voters see on ballots) advertises various specific purposes, implying falsely that some are new obligations.
But hiding in the underlying County ordinance’s fine print is the fact that Measure X is actually a general tax, “solely for general governmental purposes and not for specific purposes.”
In economic terms, Measure X dollars are fungible; they can be moved around. So, for example, Measure X’s new millions could fund County-employee salary, current benefit, and large pension payments directly.
But behind a covering smokescreen of seeming legitimacy, the measure could alternatively finesse compensation boosts indirectly, by “freeing up” money budgeted for other purposes and then backfilling those budget categories with an injection of Measure X revenues.
It would not be the first time that a local government agency deployed such a maneuver.
As is, County employees have enjoyed a 20% salary/benefit increase over just the last three years, and a $166,673 average now in annual per-employee compensation cost — while many who’d pay the new sales tax would count themselves fortunate just to return to their own compensation levels of three years ago.
What about the Measure X proponent claim of spending “oversight”? An original ballot-question version characterized the measure as “requiring fiscal accountability.” But a Superior Court judge removed that phrase after finding that the County’s related ordinance omitted it. “Fiscal accountability” was apparently just an afterthought.
Finally, Measure X passage would leave at least seven Contra Costa city and town jurisdictions above the statutory 2% cap on local sales taxes. So an underhanded legislative scheme was deployed. State Senate Bill 1349, passed and signed at the last minute, allows the County’s sales-tax cap to increase from 2% effectively to at least 3.5% (or possibly 4%), in addition to the State’s 7.25% rate.
And this change, asserts the bill itself in Orwellian doublespeak, “does not constitute a change in, but is declaratory of, existing law.”
Measure X deserves your determined “NO” vote. For more information, visit CoCoTax.org and NOonX.info.
Sue Pricco is president of the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association. Michael Arata is a co-founder of the Alliance of Contra Costa Taxpayers.
$21.6 million total for program; approved as a consent calendar item and the last item on the agenda without discussion; no appraisals included; Glover, Kramer split on issue
By Daniel Borsuk
The light will be left on for homeless, now at the Motel 6 in Pittsburg. Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors may have quietly went about unanimously approving $21.6 million for the purchase of the motel and almost two years of operations, as part of the state’s Homekey program to help the homeless find shelter, food, jobs and get social services, but the Board’s consent action on Tuesday also demonstrates how far apart two political candidates – longtime District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover and challenger Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer – are on the issue of homelessness.
The agenda item was quietly acted on as a consent item, and the last on the agenda. There was no discussion on the item, nor were copies of the two appraisals by the county’s Public Works Real Estate Division included with the agenda. Attempts to obtain the appraised value for the property from members of the Board, County Administrator David Twa, and the Public Works Real Estate Division were unsuccessful prior to publication time. However, Supervisors Federal Glover, in whose district the motel is located, as well as Candace Andersen and Diane Burgis said they would work to provide the information.
Located at 2101 Loveridge Road in Pittsburg, the County, with the state’s financial assistance decided that acquisition of the Motel 6 will increase the number of shelter beds permanently available in East County from 20 beds to 174 beds, a 770 percent increase. In addition to providing shelter, the program, funded under the state’s Home Key Program, would provide health care, behavioral health and other services to residents.
Contra Costa, along with the counties of San Francisco, Alameda and Santa Clara have now drawn state Homekey funds in the fight to solve homeless issues.
“This will be a great opportunity to get people off the street,” said Supervisor Glover who faces Kramer in a November 3rd face-off election because neither candidate drew enough votes to surpass 50 percent threshold of the total votes in the March election. In that March election, the District 5 Board Seat had three candidates competing for the District 5 seat covering the communities of Antioch, Alhambra Valley, Clyde, Crockett, Hercules, Martinez, Mountain View, Pacheco, Pittsburg, Port Costa, and Rodeo – Glover, Kramer and Martinez businessman Sean Trambley – and no candidate had mustered votes exceeding 50 percent of the votes counted. As a result, Glover and Kramer are in a run-off election on November 3.
The Contra Costa County Behavioral Department will operate the county’s Homekey program.
County Assessor Kramer, who must appear in Superior Court Judge John Cope’s court room on today, for a jury trial on civil “corrupt or willful misconduct” charges took a different view on the Board of Supervisors’ action to acquire the 174-room motel from OKC of Pittsburg for use as a homeless facility.
Kramer lashed out at his political opponent Glover and other supervisors for spending $21 million. “It’s a great program, but it is a waste of resources,” he said. “What a horrible investment. Shame on the Board and Federal.”
Kramer did offer a potential solution to the homeless problem in the county and perhaps the state by creating camps like what occurred during the Great Depression where job, health and other public services would also be provided to individuals.
Orange COVID-19 Metric Next Week?’
Supervisors were informed that by next Tuesday the county should transition into the orange COVID-19 criteria, Contra Costa County Health Services Director Anna Roth said. “We should meet the orange metric next week,” she said. A move to an orange metric would mean the removal of further restrictions on some businesses.
Since the County declared a State of Emergency because of COVID-19 in March, there have been 18,214 cases and 236 deaths, Roth reported.
The health director encouraged the public to continue to wash hands, keep their distance, and stay home from work or school if they felt ill.
Four Abatement Actions
Supervisors acted on four abatement actions at the recommendations of the Conservation and Development Department.
Properties the Supervisors took action on were:
Property at 2738 Dutch Slough Road, Oakley, owned by Elmo G. Wurts, for $8,141.20; property at 0 Stone Road, Bethel Island, owned by Thanh Ngyyen for $6,964; property at 4603 Gateway Road, Bethel Island, owned by Franks Marina for $5,591.20; and property at 3901 La Colina Road, El Sobrante, owned by Rudolph N. Webbe for $3,256.70.
Supervisors did not hear any comments from either property owners or the public on the abatement items.
Please check back later for any updates to this report.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.