Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark A. Peterson announced a major expansion of Contra Costa County’s ongoing efforts to combat school truancy. The Thomas J. Long Foundation has awarded a $625,000 grant to the Lincoln Child Center to allow the Center to collaborate with the county in the effort to reduce chronic absenteeism. The county’s Behavioral Health Services will provide in-kind matching funds toward that effort. Thus, the total value of the increased effort to fight chronic absenteeism is $1.25 million.
Chronic absenteeism has been identified as one of the most serious, and life long, threats to our nation’s youth. Long term studies have repeatedly shown its devastating impact on our children, and on our society.
We know that 80% of prisoners in the United States are high school dropouts, and that chronic truancy is one of the best indicators of who will later drop out. We also know that if a child does not read at grade level by the end of the third grade, the chances he/she will later drop out are four times higher than their peers. This often dooms some of our most vulnerable kids to a lifetime of poverty, or crime. District Attorney Peterson stated “It is far better to keep a child in class today, than in a jail cell in the future.”
To address this issue, in 2015 Contra Costa County’s leaders developed a system-wide plan involving schools, the Office of Education, law enforcement, the courts, and the private sector. The Contra Costa Superior Court established a Parent Truancy Program to combat absenteeism in elementary and middle-schools by requiring parents of truants to appear in court.
Contra Costa County Superior Court Judges Rebecca Hardie and John Laettner have spent countless hours coaching parents on the need to get their kids to school. Often, truancy is a symptom of a much deeper problem, and many of the families are in desperate need of social services they cannot afford.
This grant will allow us to provide personalized assistance to the truants or their families to ensure the children get to school. This fund can be used for transportation services, therapy and coaching for the kids and their families, other services, or referrals to other providers.
The Lincoln Center’s mission statement exemplifies our county’s goal “To disrupt the cycle of poverty and trauma, empowering children and families to build strong futures.”
“We are truly grateful to the Foundation and Lincoln Child Center for joining us in this cause,” Peterson added.Read More
Washington, D.C – Today, Wednesday, August 31, 2016, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) announced that $750,000 in federal funds will be awarded to the California Department of Transportation under the Federal Highway Administration’s Surface Transportation System Funding Alternative Program (STSFA). These funds were awarded to further build upon the Mileage-Based Fee Pilot Program (SB 1077) that DeSaulnier established during his time in the California State Senate. This pilot program will explore alternative funding mechanisms necessary to advance the construction and maintenance of California’s roads, bridges and transit systems. This funding was authorized in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on December 4, 2015.
“Given the inability of the Highway Trust Fund to sustain needed roadway and bridge repair across the country, states are leading the way in identifying innovative funding alternatives. I am pleased California was well positioned to take advantage of this federal funding opportunity as a result of SB 1077. Our state will be at the forefront of finding innovative ways to improve safety and reduce congestion for Bay Area commuters,” said Congressman Mark DeSaulnier.
The FAST Act established the Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives Program to provide grants to states or groups of states to demonstrate user-based alternative revenue mechanisms that utilize a user fee structure to maintain the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund.
Earlier this year, Congressman DeSaulnier was a keynote speaker at the Mileage-Based User Fee Alliance’s Annual Conference, where he encouraged transportation leaders to adopt similar state policies to replace the losses in gas tax revenue.Read More
Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) and Ted Lieu (CA-33) called on House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) to initiate an immediate investigation into the egregious overprescribing of opioid prescription painkillers and the inaction of Purdue Pharma and other pharmaceutical companies that may be aware of inappropriate opioid distribution by bad actors.
Recent reports by the Los Angeles Times exposed that Purdue Pharma, the maker of the highly addictive painkiller OxyCotin, collected extensive evidence on the overprescribing and illegal trafficking of the substance for more than a decade, yet the company failed to notify the appropriate federal and state authorities. During the course of their inaction, sales of OxyCotin at some pharmacies increased by over 1400 percent. Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999, and simultaneously so have sales of these prescription drugs.
“Despite receiving evidence from pharmacists and its own employees regarding suspected criminal trafficking of opioids, Purdue Pharma reportedly refused to take action and continued to engage in irresponsible practices that may have violated the law. In California, I was a leader in the fight to improve the state prescription drug monitoring program to prevent overprescribing by physicians and doctor shopping. Congress has a responsibility to investigate pharmaceutical companies that work around these reporting systems, ignore reports of illegal activity, disregard patient safety for the sake of profits, and endanger the public health,” said Congressman Mark DeSaulnier.
“I am troubled to learn of Purdue Pharma’s inappropriate opioid distribution practices. Reports indicating Purdue Pharma knowingly disregarded evidence of criminal drug trafficking of its drug reveals the company’s clear negligence for patient safety, medical ethics, and legal responsibilities all for the sake of profit. The fact that the United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic is cause for serious concern and we must hold those responsible accountable. As a member of the House Oversight Committee, I urge the Committee to initiate an investigation into this matter,” said Congressman Ted Lieu.
Click here to read a full copy of the letter sent to Chairman Jason Chaffetz.
To read complete coverage of Purdue Pharma by the Los Angeles Times click here.Read More
Thank you to the Herald for its recent coverage of the Frazier-Beall transportation plan, a smart, sensible bill that addresses our state’s transportation issues and provides a fair approach to funding provisions that will fix our roads and strengthen California’s economy. It is inarguable that our transportation infrastructure is rapidly deteriorating under the pressure of population growth that puts more vehicles on the road than the system was designed to manage safely.
The transportation funding plan put forth by Assemblyman Jim Frazier and Sen. Jim Beall offers a practical solution. It calls for an equitable distribution of funding responsibility among multiple sources, including gas and diesel tax increases and an annual fee for zero-emission vehicles. The bill encourages the use of public transit and other transportation alternatives. Frazier and Beall exhibit a commendable vision by balancing modes, understanding their net positive impact on relieving congestion and carbon emissions while off setting their impact on a corresponding net loss of gas tax receipts under the current program.
California’s transportation network serves as the lifeline for our personal mobility as well as an economic engine that makes the state the preferred originating point to move goods throughout the U.S. We must fund consistent, long-term maintenance and expansion now to keep our lifeline open and ensure a safe, reliable transportation system that we can count on.
President, West Division at HNTB Corporation
San FranciscoRead More
Following an investigation, members of the CASE (Contra Costa County Anti-Violence Support Effort) Team executed a search warrant on Wednesday, August 25, 2016 in the 3600 block of Olympia Circle in Pittsburg. Inside the residence, CASE found nearly a pound of methamphetamine (worth approximately $10,000), four firearms, approximately 150 rounds of various calibers of ammunition, digital scales, hundreds of small plastic bags used in the sales of controlled substances, and over $5,000 in U.S. currency.
The CASE Team arrested 41-year-old Leopoldo Fernandez and 41-year-old Jeanna Gomez, both of Pittsburg. They were booked into county jail on numerous drug and firearms related violations, including felon in possession of a firearm. Fernandez is being held in lieu of $615,000 bail: Gomez’s bail is set at $165,000.
The CASE Team is a joint effort by the Office of the Sheriff, California Department of Justice, California Highway Patrol, Pittsburg Police Department, and Walnut Creek Police Department. CASE was created in November 2011 as a collaborative effort to reduce violent crimes in Contra Costa, especially those related to illegal firearms.
Lafayette police are requesting the public’s assistance in trying to identify the suspect who robbed a branch of U.S. Bank on the 3400 block of Mt. Diablo Boulevard on Tuesday, August 23, 2016 at about 3:35 PM.
The suspect entered the bank, announced that a robbery was taking place, and demanded money from one of the tellers. After receiving some money, the suspect fled. Police quickly set up a perimeter and searched for the suspect, who is believed to have fled in a vehicle. He was not located. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, 5’8″ tall, medium build, and “salt and pepper” goatee. He was wearing a cap with the “Fox” logo on it.
Detectives from the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff have recovered most items that were taken during two burglaries that occurred at a home on Alhambra Valley Road in unincorporated Martinez, last month.
Following the burglaries, the Investigation Division received several anonymous email tips and voice messages on the tip line indicating the location of the stolen property. Detectives went to the location finding numerous bronze statues, whiskey decanters, and other items that were stolen from the residence. Several photos of the recovered items are attached.
Detectives subsequently executed three search warrants at locations in the El Sobrante area finding more stolen items.
Detectives arrested 49-year-old Charles Somers of San Pablo for possession of stolen property in connection with the burglaries. In addition, Somers, a parolee, is being held on a parole violation. Somers is currently in custody at the county jail without bail.
The investigation into the burglaries is continuing. Anyone with any information on this case is asked to contact the Investigation Division at (925) 313-2661.
For any tips, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866-846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.Read More
On Thursday, August 25, 2016, Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D – Oakley) and Senator Jim Beall (D – San Jose) introduced companion bills – ABX1 26 and SBX1 1 – in the 1st Extraordinary Session to address California’s transportation funding crisis. As mentioned in a recent article, the plan includes increases to the tax on gas by 17 cents per gallon and on diesel by 30 cents per gallon, as well as a $165 annual fee on electric vehicles.
“Over the past year, I’ve worked with my colleagues, local communities and industry experts to develop an all-inclusive plan that makes necessary improvements to our transportation system. These conversations resulted in ABX1 26,” stated Frazier. “The package that Senator Jim Beall and I put forth provides vital tools to ensure California remains economically competitive. By strengthening our trade corridors and accelerating the movement of goods, this proposal keeps business in California while simultaneously creating jobs through the advancement of crucial road maintenance and enhancement projects.”
The joint proposal provides an additional $7.4 billion annually across California’s transportation system: highways, local streets, transit, bikes and pedestrians. The plan utilizes a portfolio approach in addressing a multitude of funding needs, ensuring that everyone benefitting from California’s transportation infrastructure contributes to its continual maintenance and improvement. Additionally, important systemic reforms are included to ensure transparency and accountability in the use of funds.
“Assemblymember Jim Frazier and I have met with scores of legislators and stakeholders to craft an equitable solution that calls for everyone who drives to pay their fair share toward repairing California’s crumbling roads, bridges and trade corridors,” said Senator Jim Beall, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. “Our plan includes bipartisan recommendations to increase efficiency and accountability to taxpayers. By choosing to repair our transportation system now, we will have smoother and safer roads, generate jobs, and also save billions of dollars in future maintenance and construction costs.’’
The breakdown of new annual funding includes $2.9 billion for state highway maintenance, $2.5 billion for the upkeep of local streets and roads, $534 million to help regions restore cuts to the State Transportation Improvement Program, $516 million for transit capital projects and operations, $900 million to enhance goods movement, $80 million for active transportation projects and up to $150 million possible through Caltrans efficiencies for bicycle and pedestrian projects.
“This new proposal demonstrates real progress in the fight to secure needed transportation funding,” stated Bob Alvarado, Executive Officer of the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council. “Many in the labor community are already supportive of these efforts and look forward to helping secure the success of a funding package so we can put people to work.”
Asked if he and Beall had considered reallocating current spending to pay for their plan instead of the tax increases, Frazier responded with the following:
“In most circumstances, transportation funding has always come from a user-pay system. The General Fund is an unsteady and unpredictable source of revenue with regular fluctuations, resulting in constant funding and defunding of state-run programs. Therefore, this is not an ideal candidate for transportation projects, which can take years to plan and complete. Imagine the disappointment of developing a project only to have it cancelled last minute and without warning because state revenues are down and other programs were considered more important.”
“The proposal I laid out in ABX1-26 fixes the current transportation funding structure while still following the guiding principle of a user-pay system. This new plan utilizes a portfolio approach to diversify the collection of funds, ensuring that everyone benefitting from California’s transportation system is contributing to its maintenance and overall improvement. Additionally, the plan fixes the gas tax’s current structure, ending the instability and uncertainty of available revenues. It does this by resetting the revenue source to where it was before being altered in 2010. It then indexes it to keep pace with inflation so we can be confident that its buying power will remain strong into the future.”
The 1st Extraordinary Session was called by the Governor in June of 2015. The bills have until November 30th to be taken up for a vote before the session expires. To see the complete text of the bill, please click here.
Assemblymember Frazier represents the 11th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Antioch, Bethel Island, Birds Landing, Brentwood, Byron, Collinsville, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Isleton, Knightsen, Locke, Oakley, Pittsburg (partial), Rio Vista, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Walnut Grove.Read More
By Allen Payton
If you’ve ever wanted to be in a movie, this may be your chance. Antioch’s own Anthony Ferrante, the director of the Sharknado films, is back in town with his crew filming a new movie entitled Forgotten Evil. And they need extras, starting tonight, Monday, August 22nd.
More about Ferrante and the movie, later. But, for now, according to Kris Wynne, Line Producer for the movie, following is the schedule for extras needed for the film:
(Please don’t wear black, white or stripes and NO logos)
MONDAY 8/22 – El Campanil Theatre 6PM-10PM
TUESDAY 8/23 – Riverview Lodge 6PM
WEDNESDAY 8/24 – Southern Cafe 8PM
THURSDAY 8/25 – Los Medanos College (Time to be announced)
FRIDAY 8/26 – Antioch Convalescent Home 3PM
If interested, please email email@example.comRead More
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office began a long term investigation regarding an enormous outdoor illegal marijuana cultivation near mile marker 18.6 on Mines Road in rural Livermore. ACSO obtained a search warrant for the 200 acre property, as well as a residence of the primary suspect in Antioch.
On Thursday, August 11, 2016, the search warrant was conducted on Mines Road with the assistance of Hayward, Fremont and East Bay Regional Parks Police. CHP Air ops and our UAV team provided aerial support. The Antioch residence search warrant was done by the Alameda County Narcotics Task. A small, illegal marijuana grow, approximately two pounds of dried and processed marijuana and $10,000 cash were located in Antioch. Two suspects were arrested at that location on Barbano Court.
The Mines Road location consisted of three separate parcels which were spread out on the 200 acres of land. Over 4,600 Marijuana plants were eradicated. Some of these plants were over nine feet tall and six feet wide. 100 lbs of processed marijuana, two firearms, and over $15,000 in cash were recovered. Eight people were detained and ultimately arrested for Cultivation and distribution of illegal marijuana at this location. A marijuana oil extraction lab was also located.
The land, gardens, and dozens of outbuildings were inspected by California Fish and Game, Zone 7 Water District, and Alameda County Code Enforcement. The Game Wardens located over 20 violations of environmental crimes. Some of the major violations were diverting natural water runoff, drilling illegal wells, and crimes of pollution which all severely impacted the environment in a negative way. Fish and Game reported there is likely over a million dollars’ worth of civil penalties for the damage caused by this marijuana grow. Cal Fire additionally evaluated the area and noted several violations regarding fire safety and endangerment to the environment.
The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office will be moving forward with the prosecution of this case.Read More