Event will provide local federal workers and residents with resources and information
Today, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) announced that he will host an emergency town hall on the partial federal government shutdown this Saturday, January 19th at 2:00 p.m. in Lafayette.
The shutdown has left 37,000 hardworking California families without a paycheck, increased wait times at airports and jeopardized air safety, closed our national parks, put tax returns at risk, and put millions of families at risk of losing or seeing reduced food assistance.
This emergency town hall will serve as an opportunity to provide residents and federal workers with the latest on the Trump Shutdown. Additionally, local organizations will be on hand to assist federal workers or those who may be impacted by the shutdown. This will be Congressman DeSaulnier’s 75th town hall and mobile district office hour since coming to Congress four years ago.
Lafayette Town Hall
Special Topic: Trump Shutdown
Saturday, January 19, 2019
2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Stanley Middle School
3455 School Street
Lafayette, CA 94549
Doors Open at 1:30 p.m.
Note: This town hall was previously scheduled for Wednesday, January 23rd, but was moved to accommodate a change in the House voting schedule caused by the shutdown.
This event is open to the public, press, and photographers. Please RSVP by visiting https://desaulnier.house.gov/town-hall-rsvp or calling (925) 933-2660. To request ADA accommodations, translation services, or for more information, contact Congressman DeSaulnier’s office in either Richmond or Walnut Creek.Read More
By Daniel Borsuk
Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Joni Hramoto swore into office Contra Costa County Supervisors John Gioia of Richmond as Chair and Candace Andersen of Danville as Vice Chair of the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. Both were unanimously elected to their posts.
Gioia, who was reelected last November to his fifth four-year term, aims to reduce health care costs for county employees, reinstitute the children’s report card that before 2007 focused on children outcomes and development strategies, and to introduce an asthma medical program for disadvantaged youth. Gioia, who last year was board vice chair, replaces District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill.
Mitchoff, who said she read 67 books during a busy personally tragic year where she lost her 62-year-old brother Gerald Mitchoff in a South Lake Tahoe shooting incident in June, saw the county maintain its AAA Moody’s bond rating, began construction of a new $100 million county administration building and new $30 million emergency communications building both in Martinez , and helped usher voter passage of the cannabis sales tax measure in November.Read More
Due to the investigation by the Martinez Police Department, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office charged 50-year-old Martinez resident Richard P. Stephenson with two felonies for embezzlement and two misdemeanor charges of possessing a controlled substance.
The embezzlement charges relate to
Stephenson stealing controlled substances belonging to the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District in order to support his personal drug addiction.
An arrest warrant in the amount of $50,000 was issued on January 9, 2019. Stephenson was arraigned at the Contra Costa County Superior Courthouse on January 10, 2019, the next court date is February 26th.
The charges filed against Richard Stephenson include:
- Count 1, Embezzlement by Public or Private Officer – Felony
- Count 2, Embezzlement by Clerk, Agent or Servant – Felony
- Count 3, Possession of Fentanyl – Misdemeanor
- Count 4, Possession of Midazolam – Misdemeanor
Case information: People v. Richard Paul Stephenson, Docket Number 01-188454-3Read More
Hopes other financial institutions will follow suit during government shutdown
Washington, DC – Today, Thursday, January 10, 2019, on the eve of over 800,000 federal workers missing their regularly scheduled paychecks due to the government shutdown, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) sent a letter to the Consumer Bankers Association, the Credit Union National Association, and the Mortgage Bankers Association recognizing credit unions for offering interest-free loans to federal workers. The letter also highlights DeSaulnier’s hope that other financial institutions will follow suit.
“Several credit unions across the country have begun offering interest-free loans to impacted federal workers. I applaud these organizations for prioritizing customer well-being and am certain that this will be of great assistance to countless workers and families,” wrote DeSaulnier.
If the government shutdown continues into tomorrow, January 11th, over 800,000 federal workers will miss their scheduled paychecks, and the impact will be felt across the country. Eighty-five percent of the federal workforce resides outside of the District of Columbia. For instance, in California over 37,000 federal workers and their families will miss a paycheck.
“There are opportunities to prevent potentially catastrophic consequences for millions of Americans through cooperation and compassion. I will continue to work in Congress to re-open the government and ensure public employees and contractors are paid, and I appreciate those companies that are stepping up to help during this difficult time,” DeSaulnier continued.
Full text of the letters can be found here.Read More
Contra Costa residents with unwanted prescription medicines can safely dispose of them at 27 CVS Pharmacy locations in the county thanks to new, secure drop boxes added through the county’s Safe Drug Disposal Ordinance.
The ordinance, passed in 2016, requires pharmaceutical drug manufacturers to provide collection services for unused drugs, to protect the environment and prevent accidental poisonings or intentional misuse of drugs such as prescription opioids.
“Safe storage and disposal of medications is one of the easiest and most important ways that each of us can help turn our county’s opioid abuse epidemic around,” said April Rovero, founder of the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse and Chair of the Contra Costa County MEDS Coalition.
The drop-box service is free, secure and confidential. The medications can be disposed of at the sites even if they weren’t purchased at CVS. Most medications are accepted in their original containers or in sealed bags. Drugs and packaging placed in drop boxes will be safely destroyed. In addition to CVS Pharmacy locations, 10 Kaiser facilities in Contra Costa also have the drop boxes.
“This new medication disposal program will help save both lives and our environment by making appropriate disposal as easy as stopping by a nearby CVS Pharmacy or Kaiser Permanente,” said Contra Costa County Supervisor Diane Burgis.
“We are pleased to work with the County to help provide access to safe medication disposal sites in Contra Costa County as part of our company’s commitment to helping prevent and address prescription opioid abuse and misuse,” said Tom Davis, R.Ph., Vice President, Professional Services, CVS Pharmacy.
Visit cchealth.org/safe-drug-disposal for more information about the ordinance and a link to a searchable database of Contra Costa locations with drop boxes.Read More
The City of Martinez is pleased to announce it will be holding a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday, January 28, 2018 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., to commemorate the official renaming of Alhambra Park to John Sparacino Park. The ceremony will be held at the corner of Marina Vista and Alhambra Avenue.
The park is named after former City of Martinez Mayor John Sparacino, who passed away on April 3, 2018. The park’s name change was approved by the City Council on September 11, 2018, honoring Mayor Sparacino for his outstanding commitment and service to the Martinez community.
Sparacino was the City’s first publicly-elected Mayor and was admired and respected by all who knew him. He graduated from Alhambra High School and lived only a few blocks away from the park. He was a proud member of various groups including (among others) the Martinez Historical Society, Aahmes Shriners, Martinez Masonic Lodge No. 41, Knights of Columbus, the Elks, Druids and Sons of Italy, and also a longstanding supporter of the Martinez Police Department.Read More
WHAT: Contra Costa Behavioral Health Services, a division of Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS), invites anyone interested in discussing local public mental health services in relation to Serving Immigrant Communities to participate in a public forum on Wednesday, January 16, in Richmond.
The forum offers the opportunity to express the needs of the community and meet with service providers to discuss current issues relevant to supporting mental health in Serving Immigrant Communities. These discussions will help inform future use of local Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funding.
WHO: All members of the public are welcome, including Immigrants, their families, people working with Immigrants and interested members of the community. RSVP to attend a forum by emailing email@example.com – please include “MHSA Forum” in the subject line – or by telephoning (925) 957-2617. Attendees may also mail RSVPs to MHSA, 1220 Morello Avenue, Suite 100, Martinez, CA 94553.
WHEN: Wednesday, January 16th at 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium, 403 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, Ca 94804. The first 30 minutes will allow for registration and networking with community-based organizations at the event.
WHY: Contra Costa County’s current MHSA budget provides $51.6 million to more than 80 mental health programs and services. Forum goals include identifying service needs, priorities and strategies to inform the county’s MHSA Three-Year Program and Expenditure Plan for fiscal years 2020-2023.
The forum will include an overview of how MHSA works and how funding is currently used in Contra Costa.
Visit www.cchealth.org/mentalhealth/mhsa to read the plan and other information about the MHSA in Contra Costa.Read More
The California Symphony kicks off 2019 with two performances of A TANGO WITH MOZART at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 8pm and Sunday, Jan. 20 at 4pm. Music Director Donato Cabrera leads a free, 30-minute pre-concert talk for ticketholders, starting an hour before each show.
In selecting the music for this program, Music Director Donato Cabrera explains that all three pieces are a nod to the past: “In the case of Le Tombeau de Couperin, each movement was written in remembrance of a friend that Ravel lost during World War I. For Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, these pieces are a reflection of not only Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (Piazzolla’s Seasons even follow the same structure of movements as Vivaldi – fast/slow/fast) but also are a reflection of the tango and its importance and relationship to the city of Buenos Aires. And the Mozart symphony is the first of his three last symphonies that are influenced by Mozart’s fascination with the music of J. S. Bach and the dance forms that were popular during the Baroque era.”
Mozart’s Symphony No. 39 was written with break-neck speed in June of 1788, right before No. 40 which was delivered in July, and No. 41—his final symphony—in August. After the death of his father in 1787, Mozart’s correspondence (our primary source of information) becomes sparse, and it is unknown whether the composer lived to hear the work performed before his premature death in 1791 at the age of 35.
Argentinian composer Piazzolla is famous for fusing tango and jazz influences in his compositions. His Four Seasons of Buenos Aires comprises works composed between 1965 and 1970, each evoking a different season, but it was the genius of Russian composer Desyatnikov that pulled it all together as a suite for solo violin with string orchestra and harpsichord, adding in familiar references to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. (And as the seasons are reversed in the southern hemisphere, the arranger even playfully takes elements from Vivaldi’s Winter and places them in Piazzolla’s Summer.)
For Concertmaster Jennifer Cho, the concert marks a return to center stage with the California Symphony after her solo turn playing Ravel’s Tzigane in March 2017. This is her first performance as featured artist since being appointed to the role of Concertmaster in August 2017.
Of the collaboration, Cabrera says: “The first time Jenny and I performed together as soloist and conductor was with Piazzolla’s Four Seasons. We are both very excited to be returning to this masterpiece and sharing it with our Walnut Creek audience.”Read More
The Contra Costa Human Trafficking Coalition will be working with local agencies to raise awareness about human trafficking in Contra Costa County throughout the month of January. The FBI has identified California as one of the nation’s top destination states for trafficked persons.
Contra Costa County is a natural corridor for human trafficking activities with its linkage to major metropolitan areas like Oakland and San Francisco via public transportation (BART) and its accessibility to Los Angeles and Sacramento via major highways such as 680, 80 and 5 (via Hwy 4). Though human trafficking is illegal, victims often do not know where to turn for help and community members may not know where to report suspicious situations.
This January, the Coalition, in partnership with Contra Costa County’s District Attorney’s Office, will run an awareness campaign with a focus on labor trafficking. Specifically, the campaign will target trafficking in the restaurant, hotel and cleaning service industries. Ads will run on County Connection, Tri-Delta Transit and WestCAT buses throughout the month.
As part of the County’s awareness-raising efforts, the Coalition announced several events throughout the month including a Community Awareness Day in Antioch on Wednesday, January 9, the Board of Supervisors Awareness Proclamation on Tuesday, January 22 and a documentary screening and discussion on Monday, January 28. For a complete list of events and details, visit www.contracostacoalition.org/calendar.
Contra Costa County’s Human Trafficking Coalition is a partnership working to raise awareness, build capacity, and increase access to services for victims of human trafficking. As a collaboration of agencies, their goals include; conducting public awareness activities; providing training, technical assistance and a forum to share best practices; establishing policies and protocols; and creating a coordinated system of care. The Coalition is a project of The Alliance of Abuse. For more information on The Contra Costa Human Trafficking Coalition visit www.contracostacoalition.org. Recently the Alliance to End Abuse, in partnership with the District Attorney’s Office, were awarded a Human Trafficking Task Force grant. For more information on the newly forming task force please visit http://www.co.contra-costa.ca.us/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1681.Read More
The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office has charged 34-year-old San Pablo resident Francisco Perez with three felonies, including the possession of over 600 images of child pornography.
In November 2018, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force executed a search warrant based on a tip that law enforcement received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children via Google. The tip from Google revealed that a user was storing files that contained possible images of child pornography. (See related article).
Perez was working at the San Domenico School in San Anselmo, California in Marin County. Perez gave a false name and Social Security number to obtain employment from a company contracted to make and serve food to the children at the school.
Perez was arraigned in Richmond at the Contra Costa County Superior Courthouse on January 4, 2019. The next court date for this case is scheduled for January 24, 2019. The case will be prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Bryan Tierney with the Sexual Assault Unit.
The investigation was conducted by a multi-agency 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, Concord 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 Inspectors from the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office participate in the task force.
The charges filed against Perez include:
· Count 1, Possession of Over 600 Images of Child or Youth Pornography – Felony
· Count 2, Possession of Child or Youth Pornography – Felony
· Count 3, Possession of Child or Youth Pornography – Felony
Case information: People v. Francisco Perez, Docket Number 02-329167-1.Read More