Nearby middle school placed on “lockout”
On Friday, April 16, 2021 at around 10:00 a.m., Brentwood officers responded to the area in the 700 block of Rocky Creek Terrace regarding a welfare check. When officers arrived on scene, they learned a Brentwood resident in his 40’s was having a mental health crisis due to family issues. The subject threatened to use a firearm to harm himself; therefore, out of an abundance of caution Bristow Middle School, in the nearby area was placed on a “lockout” for the safety of students and staff.
Police department staff used a crisis negotiator to communicate with the subject, and after several hours determined there was no threat to the subject’s immediate family or a threat to public safety. In an effort to safely deescalate the situation, the decision was made to withdrawal law enforcement resources who continued to monitor the scene from a safe distance.
At around 4:05 p.m., officers contacted the subject in his own camper trailer parked on the street, passed out, after having reportedly ingested an unknown substance. The subject was safely taken into custody without incident and transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital for mental health treatment. A firearm was recovered, and nobody was injured as a result of this incident.
Traffic to the area was closed for several hours and we would like to extend our gratitude to our citizens who were directly impacted and remained patient with us while we worked toward a peaceful resolution.
By Concord Police Department
The Nose Knows!
Last night, Friday, April 16, 2021, our Special Enforcement Team contacted a subject who was found to be in possession of a quantity of illegal street drugs. He was subsequently arrested for possession of narcotics for sale. SET requested a K9 to sniff the subject’s vehicle.
K9 Hancock alerted to the vehicle and while the officers searched the interior, they located a Ruger Mini 14 rifle which had the stock shortened. This is a great example of the teamwork and resources we use to keep our community safe. #concord # community #k9Read More
Known as the “Legend of Mount Diablo” for his 600 rides to the top of the peak
By Lafayette Police Department
On Tuesday morning, April 13, 2021, at 6:48 a.m., Lafayette police officers were dispatched to a report of a collision between a vehicle and a bicycle at the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Pleasant Hill Road in Lafayette.
A nurse and a doctor from John Muir Medical Center and a firefighter from the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District, who happened to pass by, immediately began to render aid to the bicyclist. Officers arrived on scene along with the fire department which took over medical care for the victim. The bicyclist was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries and died overnight.
An investigation into the collision is ongoing. The driver of the vehicle has been cooperating with police. The Lafayette Police Department is asking anyone with information on this collision to contact detectives at (925) 283-3680 or (925) 299-3234. Tips could also be emailed to the Lafayette Police Department at: 94549TIP@gmail.com.
Lafayette Mayor Susan Candell’s Statement
On April 13, 2021, a collision took place involving a vehicle and a bicyclist, Joe Shami, a Lafayette resident, at the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Pleasant Hill Road in Lafayette. It was with great sadness that I learned Mr. Shami, although quickly transported to a local hospital, died yesterday (Wednesday, April 14).
While details of the collision are not fully known at this time and the investigation is ongoing, I do want to recognize that Mr. Shami, 86, was much-loved by the local bicycling community. He was an accomplished rider, particularly known for his numerous bike trips to Mt. Diablo.
The City’s thoughts are with Mr. Shami’s family and his many friends.
Any question concerning the investigation of this tragic accident should be directed to the Lafayette Police Department at (925) 283-3680.
About Joe Shami
Shami, a retired AT&T engineer, was known as the “Legend of Mount Diablo” for riding to the top of the East Bay’s tallest peak for 600 straight weeks, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. He completed his 11-year, 28-week streak in 2019 at the age of 85. Shami was a member of the Mount Diablo Cyclists. See a tribute to him on their website. (See video of his 500th ride up Mt. Diablo)
Allen Payton contributed to this report.Read More
Amounts from $500 to $10,000 available in Bay Point, Pittsburg and Antioch
The Office of Supervisor Federal Glover is pleased to announce that the 2021–22 grant cycle for the Keller Canyon Mitigation Fund is now open. Grant applications ranging from $500 to $10,000 will be accepted via the online application portal beginning April 29, 2021 at 8:00 AM. Applications for services must fall within one of the broad categories previously approved by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors:
- Code Enforcement
- Community Beautification
- Community Services
- Public Safety (Including Public Health)
- Youth Services
Additionally, services funded by the Keller Canyon Mitigation Fund must be offered in the mitigation area, which includes the unincorporated community of Bay Point, the City of Pittsburg, and the City of Antioch. The target area is divided into a primary area (Bay Point and Pittsburg from its western border to Harbor Street) and a secondary area (Pittsburg from Harbor Street east to the entire City of Antioch). Services may also be provided to organizations outside the mitigation area only when the beneficiaries reside within the mitigation area.
In order to apply for Keller Canyon Mitigation grant funds, organizations must be designated either a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) corporation under the Internal Revenue Code.
MANDATORY BIDDER’S CONFERENCE—THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 2021
To be eligible to apply for Keller Canyon Mitigation funds, nonprofit organizations must have at least one representative attend and remain for its duration a mandatory virtual bidder’s conference on Thursday, April 29 at 9:00 AM. The bidder’s conference is expected to last for approximately 90–120 minutes and will include detailed presentations on the grant process as well as allow for questions and answers. So we may keep a record of attendees, registration for the bidder’s conference is required.
Should you have any questions, please call the District 5 office at 925-608-4200 or send an email to email@example.com.
Subject of investigation in foreign country; gets 120 days in jail, will have to register as a sex offender
By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa County Office of the District Attorney
On Thursday, April 15, 2021, 41-year-old Clayton resident Daniel Paul pleaded guilty to unlawfully communicating with a minor for the purposes of engaging in sex, in violation of California Penal Code section 288.3(a). Pursuant to the plea agreement before the Honorable John Cope, Paul was sentenced to 120 days in county jail, probation and will be required to register as a sex offender. (See related article)
In early May 2020, investigators from the County’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force learned Paul had been the subject of an investigation in a foreign country, in which Paul distributed harmful material to a person he believed to be a minor. The investigation led agents to begin talking with Paul via text message and soon after contacting him, Paul began to attempt to entice what he believed to be a 14-year-old girl into meeting with him for sex.
On May 20, 2020, Paul went to Hidden Lakes Park in Martinez with the intention of engaging in sex acts with a minor. He was taken into custody and booked at the Martinez Detention Facility. A search of his vehicle revealed he brought condoms and alcohol to the meeting. A video of the arrest is available here.
The case was prosecuted by deputy district attorneys Adam Wilks and Chris Sansoe. The investigation was conducted by the multi-agency Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which is managed by the San Jose Police Department. In Contra Costa County, detectives and investigators from the Walnut Creek, Martinez, San Ramon, Danville, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Brentwood, San Pablo and Moraga Police Departments, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, United States Secret Service, Homeland Security Investigations, the Contra Costa County Probation Department, and senior inspectors from the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office participate in the task force.
The Silicon Valley ICAC task force would like to thank the National Child Exploitation Crime Centre of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Homeland Security Investigations Office in Ottawa, Canada for their assistance with this investigation.
Since the COVID-19 Shelter in Place order went into effect, law enforcement from around the United States has noted a significant increase in the number of online child exploitation reports. Many of these cases involve adult suspects grooming minors into taking explicit images of themselves. Parents are encouraged to be on heightened alert for this behavior and to both monitor their child’s online activity and to have candid conversations with their children about the dangers of smartphone use.
Parents seeking additional resources can visit www.kidsmartz.org or the website for the Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force at www.svicac.org. Reports of illegal activity involving minor victims on the internet should be reported at once to your local police department.
Case information: People v. Daniel Stevens Paul, Docket 01-193687-1
By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff
Contra Costa County Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston announced that a Coroner’s Jury on Friday, April 16, 2021 reached a finding in the July 18, 2019 death of 21-year-old Omar Jalal Harb of Brentwood. The finding of the jury is that the death is an accident. (See related article)
The Coroner’s Jury, which heard two inquests today, also reached a finding the October 16, 2019 death of 72-year-old Enrique Camberos Pina of Walnut Creek. The finding of the jury is that the death is a suicide. (See related article)
The Coroner’s Jury reached the verdicts in both inquests after hearing the testimony of witnesses called by the hearing officer, Matthew Guichard.
A Coroner’s Inquest, which Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston convenes in fatal incidents involving peace officers, is a public hearing during which a jury rules on the manner of a person’s death. Jury members can choose from the following four options when making their finding: accident; suicide; natural causes or at the hands of another person, other than by accident.Read More
Would save Pittsburg and Bay Point residents $1.1 million in taxes per year; eliminate Antioch mayor’s job; Board President challenges Frazier who doesn’t represent most of the healthcare district
By Serina Hartinger, Media & Communications, Office of Assemblymember Jim Frazier
SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, Friday, April 16, 2021, Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Fairfield) passed AB 903 the Assembly Local Government Committee on a unanimous vote of 8-0 to dissolve the Los Medanos Community Healthcare District. The bill will now be sent to the Committee on Appropriations. If it passes there it will head to the floor for a vote by the full Assembly. Should it pass there, it still needs both State Senate approval and the governor’s signature before becoming law.
The Los Medanos Hospital closed in 1994 but the district, covering Pittsburg and Bay Point, has continued to exist, collecting property tax dollars and using the funds to pay for staff and provide grants to local organizations, direct service programs including a community garden and district sponsored programs including REading ADvantage for early literacy. The district’s 2020-21 Fiscal Year budget projects $1.13 million in tax revenue and $1.3 million in expenses.
“As all of you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed critical shortfalls in healthcare and health services funding across the state. Communities of color have been especially impacted by the emergency,” said Frazier. “Now more than ever, we have seen the life-changing impacts of devoting every possible dollar to serving those we represent. AB 903 is a district bill that takes strides towards addressing this issue. The bill effectively creates hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for badly needed healthcare services in the region.”
AB 903 will dissolve the Los Medanos Community Healthcare District and require the County of Contra Costa to be the successor of all rights and responsibilities of the district. AB 903 will also require the county to complete a property tax transfer process to ensure the transfer of the district’s health-related ad valorem property tax revenues to the county in order to operate the Los Medanos Area Health Plan Grant Program.
The Contra Costa Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) has approved of the dissolution of the existing healthcare district, and Contra Costa County already serves the communities within district boundaries.
The bill was co-sponsored by Assemblymember Tim Grayson, (D-Concord).
The Los Medanos Community Healthcare District (LMCHD) was formed in 1948 to operate the Los Medanos Community Hospital. In rural communities, such districts were created to provide for hospitals that otherwise would not exist. LMCHD operated the hospital until 1994 when the hospital closed due to bankruptcy. Since then, LMCHD has not provided any hospital, physician, or emergency medical services. Instead of providing direct services, LMCHD funds third-party agencies that provide health-related programs.
“This bill effectively creates hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for badly needed healthcare services in the region. A lot of this funding comes from the savings on LMCHD’s extremely high administrative expenses, which topped 60% in some years,” said Frazier. “That is simply unconscionable.”
“Comparable programs in the county average at about 15% admin cost, and a nearby healthcare district runs at a maximum of 20% in admin costs. Rather than lose over half the funding to wasteful administrative expenses, AB 903 dedicates those dollars to the community,” he added.
Some of those administrative expenses include the salary and benefits for Executive Director Lamar Thorpe who is the mayor of Antioch, whose job would be eliminated if the bill becomes law.
UPDATE: In response to efforts to reach him and Board President Patt Young, Thorpe provided the following letter from Young to Frazier.
“Dear Assemblymember Frazier:
On behalf of the Los Medanos Community Healthcare District, I am writing to you in response to your introduction of AB 903
Given that 98 percent of our healthcare district does not fall within your assembly district, or the fact that you have never attempted to build a relationship with our board or programs, I am quite perplexed as to why you would introduce this legislation without attempting to understand how we serve eastern Contra Costa County.
This letter is not intended to be interpreted as an attempt to appeal to your reason or logic, as we are well aware of the fact that you are taking political orders from your top political advisor in an effort to turn our district into a political slush fund for one of your top allies on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.
Let me be clear in stating that, although to you this is simply a political game, to our healthcare district, you are jeopardizing a critical healthcare prevention lifeline for many in our community. From free reading glasses for children to HIV/AIDS prevention efforts, many of the community members we serve participate in our programs because they do not feel that they have their needs met via Contra Costa’s public healthcare system.
Lastly, I have to state for the record that the manner by which you introduced this legislation has been interpreted to be highly disrespectful by both my board and community. I suspect that, if the makeup of our board were more in line with the makeup of the Oakley City Council, you would not have been as disrespectful as you have been to date.
Neither my board, nor my community will stand idly and accept to be treated in any manner less than the respect we deserve.
Los Medanos Community Healthcare District”
Allen Payton contributed to this report.
For supporting non-Democrat candidates; first time organization has disciplined one of its members
By Daniel Borsuk
Outspoken Democratic Party Contra Costa County Committee (DPCCC) member Jason Bezis, a Lafayette attorney, was handed a one-year suspension Thursday evening from serving on the political party panel for violating DPCC bylaws and for allegedly assisting and providing support to non-Democrat candidates.
This marks the first time the Democratic Party of Contra Costa County (DPCCC) consisting of 26 elected officials, has ever disciplined one of its members, albeit an outspoken party member, Bezis, who has served on the political panel for six years.
The vote was 35 in favor to 3 in opposition with one abstention on a motion that that the Richmond Democrat had willfully violated the county party’s bylaws. On a second motion, members voted 32 for and 7 in opposition that the attorney had supported a non-Democratic candidate. For the third motion, members voted 32 to 7 that Bezis had supported a nonpartisan candidate.
Details on the three charges were not provided by DPCCC officials.
Before DPCCC Chair Katie Ricklefs announced the results of the closed-door session, she briefly remarked, “This is the first time we’ve done this. We’re trying to be as transparent and open as possible concerning the case involving Jason Bezis while being confidential and congenial, and respectful.”
During the one year, Bezis is under suspension he can attend future DPCCC meetings but cannot vote on agenda items.
Before Thursday evening’s DPCCC meeting, Bezis leveled a charge that the organization, especially current Chair Ricklefs and past DPCCC Chair Maria Alegria had violated DPCCC Complaint & Due Process Policy and Procedure while seeking removal of his committee membership.
“All of you have violated the so-called ‘Due Process Policy & Procedure’ in your authorized, coordinated effort to oust me,” he wrote in an April 10 email to Chair Ricklefs. “You and other DPCCC actors have conspired to corrupt the disciplinary process and abused ‘closed meetings’ in violation of the California Democratic Party Open Meeting Rule. The suggested remedy is retraction and/or reversal of the CDRC and Executive Committee action.”
Bezis prides himself on being an independent thinker, who is unafraid to question tough issues when he confronts them. Those traits were demonstrated early Thursday evening before Chair Ricklefs called for the executive session that would suspend Bezis’ ability to serve on the committee for one year.
Bezis’ inquisitiveness and ability to ask questions was put to the test when he was the only committee member to ask questions about a piece of state legislation, Assembly Bill 1099 authored by Democrat Assemblymember Mike Gipson of Compton. If enacted into law, AB 1099 would impose a new annual excise tax on owners of rental or leased property to develop a new funding source for rental assistance, aid for the homeless, affordable housing and housing counseling services.
Former DPCCC Chair and current member Maria Alegria, a former Pinole City Council member, interrupted Bezis’s statement about AB 1099, saying the reason he opposes AB 1099 is probably because the conservative-oriented Contra Costa Taxpayers Association does not endorse the measure.
That comment froze further discussion on the pros or cons of AB 1099, especially from Bezis.
“I was deemed guilty of a jumbled of three charges,” Bezis wrote in an email sent to the Contra Costa Herald after the vote. “There was no separate vote on the three charges. I am suspended from the Contra Costa Democratic Party for one year. The closed session was a torture chamber. This is ‘Contra Costa cancel culture’ at its worst. I was deemed a terrorist to ‘transgender people’ among other irrelevant and untrue accusations.”
Bezis had earlier written in an email that was dispatched to this reporter: “I have nothing to hide about my alleged transgressions. Everything that I have done in my past six years on the County Committee has been to advance openness, transparency, fairness and inclusion.”Read More
East Contra Costa Fire Protection District ins appeals hearing for citation issued for illegal fireworks show on July 4, 2020
By Steve Aubert, Fire Marshal, Public Information Officer, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District
The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD) Fire Prevention Division was advised of an illegal fireworks show that had taken place on the July 4, 2020 holiday in Discovery Bay. An investigation pursued and revealed a large-scale show of a little over 500 fireworks had been fired the night of the 4th of July resulting in one Discovery Bay resident receiving a citation of $26,325.00.
Fire Marshal Steve Aubert stated, “With the District’s limited resources of only three stations available to respond to fires, our Prevention Division works to eliminate all potential fires within the District.”
District Board President Brian Oftedal stated, “On June 25, 2020 the Fire District put out a press release urging everyone to avoid the temptation of putting yourself and your neighbors at risk and reminded the public that Contra Costa County is a firework free zone.”
“It is unfortunate that these warnings were blatantly ignored and that our community was placed at increased risk,” he continued. “I am hopeful that this incident will serve as an eye opener to our communities and discourages individuals from violating local and county ordinances in the future.”
All fireworks are illegal in Contra Costa County, and violators may be subject to criminal charges or citations if found to possess, manufacture, sell, use or discharge, or offer to do so, any fireworks (including “dangerous,” “safe and sane,” and other fireworks) as defined in or pursuant to Health and Safety Code Sections 12502 through 12504.
Smoke from a small fire could be seen in Discovery Bay during the private, illegal fireworks displays. Asked if that was caused by the person who was fined Aubert responded, “Hard to say. We ran so many calls that night and there were less than a handful of us patrolling for illegal fireworks. This one was brought to our attention later.”
The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District is a rural-funded fire district that currently operates 3 fire stations and has a 3-station deficit. The District protects a population of more than 128,000 across its 249 square-mile service area. ECCFPD provides firefighting personnel, emergency medical services (basic life support) and fire prevention to the residents and businesses of the cities of Brentwood and Oakley, and unincorporated communities of Discovery Bay, Bethel Island, Knightsen, Byron, Marsh Creek, and Morgan Territory. Learn more at www.eccfpd.org or social media via Facebook (East Contra Costa Fire Protection District), Instagram(@east_contra_costa_fire), Twitter (@ECCFPD) or our YouTube channel (East Contra Costa Fire Protection District).
Allen Payton contributed to this report.Read More
Due to “six reported cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot” after vaccination
SACRAMENTO – On Tuesday, April 13, 2021 the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a statement from Dr. Erica Pan, state epidemiologist, regarding the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.
“Today, the CDC and FDA have recommended a temporary pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine out of an abundance of caution. Of over 6.8 million doses administered nationally, there have been six reported cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot with symptoms occurring 6 to 13 days after vaccination.
“California is following the FDA and CDC’s recommendation and has directed health care providers to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until we receive further direction from health and safety experts. Additionally, the state will convene the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup to review the information provided by the federal government on this issue. As the federal government has said, we do not expect a significant impact to our vaccination allocations. In California, less than 4% of our vaccine allocation this week is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”
For more information about the adverse effects, and what to do if you are experiencing symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider. We will provide additional details on what this means for our state efforts as they become available.
In addition, the Contra Costa Health Services issued the following announcement on Tuesday about the matter, also pausing use of the J&J vaccine:
To ensure that every dose of COVID-19 vaccine provided in our county is safe for patients, Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) will today temporarily pause its use of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine while federal regulatory agencies examine new information about a possible, rare side effect that can cause blood clots.
CCHS is closely following guidance issued this morning by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding this vaccine. CCHS continues to administer the other vaccines approved for emergency use in the U.S., from Pfizer and Moderna.
Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine is a very small part of Contra Costa’s vaccine allocation from the state and federal governments and CCHS does not anticipate cancelling any of its vaccination appointments at this time.
Patients with vaccination appointments through CCHS should attend at their scheduled time.
CCHS is not aware of any reported cases of adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccine in the county that were inconsistent with those documented during the extensive clinical trials conducted to ensure the safety of all vaccines used in the U.S.
The risk of an adverse reaction for people who received Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine more than a month ago is extremely low, according to the CDC.
People who received this vaccine more recently should contact a healthcare provider immediately if they develop symptoms such as severe headaches, severe abdominal pain, severe leg pain or shortness of breath – these symptoms are different than the usual, minor reactions that some people may experience in the day or two following their vaccination.
The FDA has not received any reports of similar side effects associated with the use of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
CCHS will update the public at cchealth.org/coronavirus as more information becomes available about this developing situation.