Article & Photos By Daniel Borsuk
Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors quickly approved on a 4-0 vote a Joint Exercise Powers Agreement on Tuesday in order to become a member of the forthcoming new statewide public assistance case management system called the CalSAWS Consortium.
There was neither public comment nor statements from supervisors on this pricey project.
“This is the first step in the consolidation of three automated welfare systems into one,” Contra Costa County Employment and Human Services Director Kathy Gallagher told the Contra Costa Herald after supervisors took their action.
Gallagher said the new automated welfare system requiring approval from California’s 58 County Boards of Supervisors will go into effect on June 28, 2019.
Basically, the new system will permit welfare recipients to use technology, i.e., social media. “It’ll be updated and will be more useful for our customers or users, who use social media,” said Gallagher.
In Contra Costa County there are about 200,000 welfare recipients who could potentially access the new CalSAWS system, said Gallagher.
The Employment and Human Resources Chief said the annual cost to the county for using the CalSAWS system will likely exceed the current price tag of $5.5 million. It is expected the inaugural cost to the county to plug in and use CALSAWS will run about $5.8 million a year.
Andersen Lauds Discovery Bay’s Request for Automated License Plate Reader Cameras
While District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis continues to recuperate from heart surgery, District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of San Ramon went to bat for her in supporting Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston’s item request of $331,000 for the acquisition and installation of Automated License Plate Reader cameras in the Discovery Bay area.
The agenda item was initially a consent item until Andersen requested that it be pulled for public review and action by the supervisors.
“I have seen how Automated License Plate Reader cameras have effectively reduced crime in Danville,” Andersen said in support of the anti-crime technology.
It not only helps in the detection of stolen vehicles, but also as an investigative tool for persons and property crimes, missing persons, runaways and other crimes or circumstances where vehicles are used by suspects or persons of interest.
Supervisors voted 4-0 in approving Sheriff-Coroner Livingston’s request to have automated license plate reader cameras installed at strategic locations in Discovery Bay. This would provide “virtually 100 percent coverage of the entrances and egress of the Discovery Bay area and would prove to be an invaluable tool for law enforcement,” Livingston wrote in a background statement to the supervisors dated March 19.
Sheriff-Coroner Livingston noted that the Discovery Bay P-6 Citizen Advisory Committee “thought ALPR to be an appropriate tool for identifying suspect vehicles coming and going in their town. With its location along Hwy 4 and other country roads, criminals can easily escape from Discovery Bay in a matter of minutes after committing their crimes.”
Some of the consent items Supervisors approved included:
Public Records Act Revision
Supervisors changed the administrative bulletin concerning public access to county records under the Public Records Act. At the recommendation of County Administrator David Twa, the bulletin has been revised to “describe the increasing array of media on which public records may be found, such as flash drives, cell phones, and tablets. Similarly, recognizing the shift of most records being held in the electronic format, the updated administrative bulletin discusses format in which a record should be produced and the charge, if any, for the record in a certain format.”
Apply for California Preservation Program and State Library Assessment Program
Supervisors approved Contra Costa County Librarian Melinda Cervantes’ request to apply for and to accept a Collection Preservation Assessment Project award from the California Preservation Program and California State Library to provide services for the purpose of planning proper care of the local history collection, which consists of more than 3,050 items pertaining to the history of the county, its cities and localities.
Cervantes informed supervisors in a recommendation that the collection consists of “3,050 items pertaining to the history of the county and its cities and localities. “
The county librarian wrote, “The collection is an invaluable and unique research resource. Many of the items are rare and irreplaceable. Although there is controlled access to the material, most of the materials, due to age and fragile condition, need more extensive preservation, “wrote Cervantes in a memo to the supervisors.
The artifacts are currently housed in the Pleasant Hill Library.Read More
By Steve Padilla, Public Information Officer, CCC Public Works Department
Contra Costa County Public Works installed approximately 100 raised pavement markers at the intersection of Alhambra Valley Road and Bear Creek Road to combat illegal side shows. This is a first of its kind project to combat illegal side shows in the Bay Area.
The raised pavement markers (or domes) are six inches in diameter and 1¾ in height. While the new pavement markers will not inhibit everyday drivers, they should make it a less attractive and uncomfortable location for side show participants. Over time, Public Works will rely on local residents, CHP and the Sheriff’s Department to see if they are having their intended effect, and if they notice a decrease in illegal side show activities at that intersection.
Public Works also upgraded the shoulder lines, added new reflector markers and put up advanced warning signs of “Traffic Calming” ahead to warn motorists of the new raised pavement markers.Read More
By Pittsburg Police
Early this morning at 01:24 A.M., officers responded to a pedestrian versus vehicle collision near the intersection of West Leland Road and Bailey Road. Officers were advised that Firefighters from Station 87 were returning to their station on West Leland Road, when they encountered the collision. When officers arrived, the pedestrian was located in the westbound lanes of West Leland Road and Firefighters were performing lifesaving efforts. These efforts were unsuccessful, and the man succumbed to his injuries.
The driver of the involved vehicle fled the scene and the make or model of the responsible vehicle is unknown at this time. The Pittsburg Police Department Fatal Accident Response Team responded and took over the investigation. It is believed the driver of the vehicle was traveling westbound on West Leland Road at the time of the collision. The identification of the pedestrian is being withheld pending notification to the family.
West Leland Road from Chestnut Drive and Bailey Road is expected to be closed until approximately 10:00 A.M. this morning.
This investigation remains active and officers are examining the city’s video surveillance system that may have captured the incident. The Pittsburg Police Department asks anyone with additional information to please contact the Pittsburg Police Department Tip-Line at 925-252-4040.Read More
One each from Concord, Pittsburg and Antioch
By CHP-Contra Costa
Recently, three HWY-4 shooting suspects from 2016, were found guilty in a Contra Costa County Courtroom; two suspects received 13 years and the third received 12 years and 8 months in state prison. These were the results after a long and thorough investigation process and additionally long and thorough judicial process until final adjudication.
It takes quite a while for these shooting suspects to be brought to justice and finally sentenced but the effort and long hours are worth it, for the public to know that these criminals were tried and convicted and also for the families of the victims of these freeway shootings.
This specific case occurred on Feb. 1, 2016 and involved the three suspects traveling in a Nissan sedan on westbound HWY-4 when they shot their firearm out of their moving vehicle at the victim’s vehicle, which was all witnessed by an off-duty police officer. Then the suspects’ vehicle drove at a high rate of speed off the freeway to the Port Chicago Hwy off-ramp and subsequently was involved in a major collision within the intersection and caused injuries to all parties involved.
All three suspects were charged and convicted of the following:
-246 PC – Shooting at an occupied vehicle.
-186.22(a) PC – Participation in Criminal Street Gang
-29800 PC – Possession of Firearm by a Felon. (Oscar Torres)
– 11359 H&S – Possession for Sale of Marijuana
-Zachery Paul Lopez (24 years old from Concord) was sentenced to 12 years and 8 months in State Prison.
-Oscar Osbaldo Torres (25 years old from Pittsburg) was sentenced to 13 years in State Prison.
-Antonio Ramirez Navarro (22 years old from Antioch) was also sentenced to 13 years in State Prison.
Public Safety and the preservation of life is always our #1 goal and although we cannot predict when criminals are going to commit these heinous crimes, what we can do is put together our very best investigation that will bring these criminals to justice and have them answer for their crimes.Read More
On Sunday, March 17, 2019, at about 6:13 pm, Contra Costa CHP was advised of an overturned solo vehicle collision on a private maintained road near 5499 Sobrante Avenue. Upon emergency personnel and CHP arrival, it was determined that a green Jeep was driven into an embankment and overturned. The solo male driver (75-year-old male from El Sobrante) was unresponsive, was extricated from the Jeep, and lifesaving efforts were performed but unsuccessful. The driver was pronounced deceased on scene. The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Coroner’s Office will be handling the release of his identity.
In the initial investigation, it appears that the solo male driver of the Jeep was traveling south on the private road at an undetermined speed and then for reasons unknown at this time, accelerated into the dirt embankment, causing the Jeep to overturn. Upon emergency personnel arrival, the driver was unresponsive and ultimately pronounced deceased on scene.
Alcohol and/or drugs are believed to be a factor at this time in this collision but is still under investigation. Witnesses did stay on scene and were cooperative. If anyone else witnessed this collision or the events leading up to it, please contact Contra Costa CHP in Martinez, (925) 646-4980. Thank you.Read More
On Saturday, March 16th, 2019 at approximately 2:25 PM, a 25-year-old female (Destinee Shaharisha – Jenae Hillery) from Antioch was found shot to death while driving her vehicle on eastbound Highway 4 near Willow Pass Road off-ramp. This appears to have been targeted in this shooting and Investigators believe it was gang related.
On Sunday, March 17th, 2019 at 5:49 PM CHP – Dublin Area units responded to a freeway shooting which Investigators believe occurred on I-580 eastbound at Airway Boulevard. This appears to be a targeted shooting involving road rage and the suspects are described as two black male adults in a 2019 Honda Accord. One of the victims suffered a gunshot wound that is not life-threatening.
Today, at approximately 10:00 AM, a freeway shooting occurred on I-80 westbound, east of McDonald Avenue. In this incident a suspect fired one round and fled the scene. The victim pulled off the freeway and upon discovering the bullet hole and notified Richmond Police Department. After they determined it occurred on the freeway they notified us. There were no injuries and the suspect and vehicle are unknown at this point. Golden Gate Division Investigative Services Unit is assisting the CHP – Oakland Area in their investigation.
At this time none of these shootings appear to be related. CHP Investigators will look to see if Shot Spotter and Video Cameras along Highway 4 and on I-80 were able to provide any evidence regarding the March 16th and today’s shooting respectively.
Since November 1, 2015 there have been a total of 185 freeway shootings within CHP – Golden Gate Divisions jurisdiction, resulting in 65 injuries, 9 of which were fatal. The CHP has made 34 arrests for individuals connected to one or more of these shootings.
We want to assure the public that not only will these incidents be fully investigated using all available resources and technology, but that we will also continue to actively patrol highways from the air and on the ground in an effort to keep all motorists safe.
CHP – Golden Gate Division Special Investigations Unit is asking any witnesses with information regarding these separate incidents to contact them at their 24-hour tip line 707-917-4491 (callers must press # twice at the end of the call).”Read More
By CHP-Golden Gate Division
At approximately 2:25 PM on Saturday, March 16, 2019, CHP – Contra Costa Area was advised of a silver Honda that collided into the guard rail on Highway 4 eastbound at Port Chicago Highway. While units were in route another caller advised the vehicle ended up on the Willow Pass Road off-ramp from eastbound Highway 4.
Upon emergency personnel and CHP arrival, it was determined the vehicle drove off the roadway and collided with the guardrail. The solo 25-year-old female driver, Destinee Shaharisha – Jenae Hillery, a resident of Antioch was pronounced deceased on scene.
While units were investigating the scene, bullet holes were located on the driver side door. This investigation is ongoing, any further details will be released at a later time.
If anyone has information regarding this incident or witnessed it take place, they are encouraged to contact CHP investigators at 707-917-449.Read More
The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors revised their Meeting Rules of Procedure in a bid to comply with the state open law or Ralph M. Brown Act at a meeting on Tuesday.
But the supervisors action also paved the way for longtime Metropolitan Transportation Commission member and District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover to hook up to a new four-year MTC term of office even though there have been reports he has missed meetings and three other supervisors – Supervisor Karen Andersen of Danville, Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill and Diane Burgis of Brentwood – had reportedly jockeyed to replace him.
If not for District 1 Supervisor John Gioia, who wields clout as Board Chair this year and makes committee and commission assignments, Glover might have lost his new term of office on the powerful MTC. It’s a coveted position nowadays, especially when the regional transportation agency is gaining traction not only in doling out hefty sums of transit funding but is getting its share of the limelight in the nine-county Bay Area affordable housing arena.
But County Administrator David Twa told supervisors the recommended open meeting changes to their rules of procedures will “clean up the appointment process” of how supervisors select themselves to local, regional or state committees and commissions.
With the newly adopted Brown Act provision, each supervisor must submit to the clerk of the board on or before December 1 of each year his or her list of Boards, Committees or Commissions that he or she wants to serve on. The list of supervisors’ board-committee-commission interests will be placed on a Board Agenda for public review in December.
The Board Chair will continue to decide who will serve on local, regional, or state committees or commissions and the supervisors’ reorganization meeting, when the new chair and vice chair are selected, will continue to be held in January*.
Soon after the supervisors approved the new Meeting Rules of Procedure, supervisors without discussion reapproved Glover’s appointment to MTC, an action that they had similarly done at a January 19 meeting, but one that ran into objection.
Not everyone is pleased with the board’s action of reappointing Supervisors Glover to the MTC, especially Lafayette lawyer Jason A. Bezis, who at the supervisors’ January 19 meeting warned supervisors that their committee/commission appointment procedure was not in compliance with the Brown Act and that the supervisors should open up the appointment of a new MTC commissioner to the general public.
“I ask that (the) Board postpone the Metropolitan Transportation Commission appointment to the 2019-2023 term until the county (1) opens up the position to public applications, (2) issues a news release about the availability of the position and (3) carefully evaluates a pool of applicants, including a careful analysis of the incumbent’s twelve-year record at MTC,” wrote Bezis in a March 22 letter sent to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on March 12 and also sent to The Contra Costa Herald.
Bezis was not in attendance at Tuesday’s supervisors meeting.
Bezis has also been critical of Glover’s “severe absenteeism problem” at important MTC meetings. “The incumbent missed the January 24, 2018 Bay Area Toll Authority vote that placed the RM3 or bridge toll hike on the ballot. He missed the Dec. 19, 2018 MTC meeting at which the signing of the CASA Compact was approved. He was the only voting member absent at that important meeting,” the lawyer wrote.
“I don’t know what he (Bezis) is talking about, unless it has anything to do with my surgery recovery of several years ago,” responded Supervisor Glover to the charges of his absenteeism record at MTC meetings. “I’ve been at the MTC meetings.”
In addition, Glover said it would be inappropriate to fill the MTC position that he holds with someone in the general public. “It is better to have an elected official fill that seat,” the supervisor said.
Mitchoff Wants Pittsburg-Bay Point BART Ambulance Ride Probe
During an annual performance presentation of the Alliance Emergency Ambulance Medical Services, District 4 Supervisor Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill requested that officials investigate whether there has been an increase in the number of emergency calls from the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART station after 1:30 a.m. when the train system shuts down for the day.
Emergency personnel responding to calls at the BART station usually pick up homeless individuals who have been riding the trains all day, and at the end of train service call for an ambulance. While they are frequently taken to the nearest emergency hospital, the patient has the right to request a ride to an out of area hospital of the patient’s choice. That can increase operating costs for the ambulance service.
The supervisor is concerned the county’s Emergency Medical Service that responded to 105,377 calls in 2018/2019 compared to 39,496 in 1991/1992, is being financially burdened by out-of-county hospital rides. “I want to know where these ambulances are going. Are they going out of county?” she asked.
EMS Director Pat Frost and Contra Costa Count Fire Protection Chief Jeff Carman said they would give the supervisors a report about the ambulance situation out of the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART station.
Among a number of consent items supervisors approved were:
Concord Jet Service, Inc. inks $650,000 Sheriff Contract
Approved the Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston’s request to sign a sub-lease with Concord Jet Service Inc. in the amount of $650,000 to provide an aircraft hangar, office space and helicopter fuel for the period of May 1, 2019 through April 30, 2024. Concord Jet Service Inc. will provide aircraft hangar space at Buchanan Field Airport for the Sheriff’s helicopters and office space for the staff. The Office of the Sheriff will pay the contractor $1,948 for hangar rental per month and $2,262 for office space per month for a total rent of $4,210 per month. The sublease allows for the purchase of helicopter fuel.
Juvenile Hall, Orin Allen Facility Libraries Draw $20,000 Lesher Foundation Grants
Approval of a two-year $20,000 grant — $10,00 payable in 2019 and $10,000 payable in 2020 — from the Margaret Lesher Foundation to provide library books and materials at the Juvenile Hall Library and at the Orin Allen Youth Rehabilitation Facilitation Library for the period from February 1, 2010 through June 30, 2020.
Approved Periodic Five ½-Month Closures of Pacheco Blvd. at State Route 4
Supervisors approved a resolution for the periodic closure of Pacheco Boulevard at State Route 4 for no more than 20 nights between March 13 and August 31 from 11 p.m. through 5 a.m. for the purpose of demolition and girder erection for the Caltrans bridge widening project. The bridge demolition is part of the $135.2 million State Highway 4/Interstate 680 widening project.Read More
Event features free adoptions of all bully breed dogs, $25 adoptions of all other animals.
Martinez, CA – On Saturday, March 16th, Contra Costa Animal Services (CCAS) will be hosting its 9th Annual St. Pitty’s Day event. The St. Pitty’s Day event features free adoptions of all bully breed dogs, and $25 adoptions of all other animals. Interested adopters can take advantage of this free adoption promotion by visiting CCAS’ Martinez and Pinole adoption centers to meet our animals and adopt their new family member.
This annual event is an opportunity to showcase bully breed shelter dogs, enlighten and educate the public about this amazing breed and highlight the work of our rescue/transfer groups who specialize in this breed of dog.
CCAS Adoption Locations:
Martinez Adoption Center – 4800 Imhoff Pl., Martinez, CA 94553
Pinole Adoption Center – 910 San Pablo Ave., Pinole, CA 94564
For more information, contact Contra Costa County Animal Services’ Media and Community Relations Manager Steve Burdo at 925-393-6836, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contra Costa Animal Services is the largest animal welfare organization in Contra Costa County. The department operates two shelters, in Martinez and Pinole, where they provide high-quality animal care services, shelter homeless, abandoned and lost animals, place animals in safe, caring homes, and provide education and services to enhance the lives of people and their animal companions. Additionally, the department’s Field Services Division plays a crucial role in protecting the health and safety of all people and animals in our community through enforcement of state and laws, protecting the public from animal injury and working to prevent animal cruelty, abuse and neglect.Read More
Family member also arrested for accessory to murder
By Pittsburg Police Department
On Monday, March 11, 2019, Pittsburg Police arrested Rolando Aquino who was wanted for the murder of Mark Gretler on July 27th of last year. Aquino has been on the run ever since the murder and had a $1,000,000 warrant for his arrest. (See related KPIX CBS5 TV news report)
Aquino, who was identified as the suspect shortly after the murder, was tracked down by the Pittsburg Police Investigations Division in the City of Oakland. Edna Aquino, a 60-year-old family member, was also taken into custody as an accessory to the murder.
Anyone with additional information should contact Detective Jacob Stage with the Pittsburg Police Department at 925-252-6972.Read More