Even liberal Bill Maher says, “Enough already. Either move to impeach Trump or shut up about it”. He’s right on, it’s time the Democrats stop wasting their time and the president’s, too trying to take the president down.
It’s time for them to concentrate on things they were elected to do, important issues confronting the country, like the southern invasion of illegal aliens, China trade issues, Iran, etc. Instead they keep calling for silly investigations.
Calling for Trump’s financial and tax returns has nothing to do with running the country. Most people don’t give a whit about them either.
Pelosi is a weak leader. The real leaders in the House today are a Jew hating woman and a Congresswoman from New York whose IQ is less than her age.
The country is split, and the Democrats are fueling it. Instead they should calm down and help bring the nation together.
Walnut CreekRead More
The Contra Costa County Public Works Department will begin construction of the Marsh Creek Road Traffic Safety Improvements project. The project will consist of installing a centerline rumble strip, restriping of the centerline, and traffic sign replacement and upgrades along the 14-mile stretch of Marsh Creek Road between the Cities of Clayton and Brentwood. Improvements will also include a streetlight installation on a wooden pole, and two solar flashing beacons at the intersection of Marsh Creek Road and Deer Valley Road.
Construction will begin on Monday, May 20, 2019, with completion by July 1, 2019, barring unforeseen circumstances. Drivers can expect traffic delays up to 30 minutes. Work hours will be 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to minimize impacts to commute traffic.
Funding for this project is gas tax revenues provided by the SB1 Road Repair and Accountability Act and the Highway Safety Improvement Program funds. More information for this project can be found at http://www.cccounty.us/pwdmap.Read More
By Don Martin, II
Brent Curran won his second 25 lap All Star Series B Modified Main Event Saturday night at Antioch Speedway. The race had three yellow flags during the first four laps as Kenny Shrader set the early pace. An inside pass in Turn 4 of the fifth lap gained Curran the lead from Shrader. Curran continued to set the pace through a pair of yellow flags during the next 10 laps, and point leader Cameron Swank pitted on lap eight. As Curran pulled away to win by about a straightaway, Shrader won a good battle with Todd Gomez to finish second. Previous winner Tommy Fraser and reigning champion Trevor Clymens completed the Top 5.
Bobby Motts Jr won the 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event. Motts was driving the car that he built for his daughter Madison, who was riding passenger with him in this race. Motts raced into the lead at the start with point leader Chris Sorensen and Josh Leach running closely behind him. Second changed hands a couple of times after restarts on laps four and seven, but Motts continued to set the pace. The lead three cars ran closely until Sorensen and Leach hooked bumpers briefly in Turns 1 and 2 on the 15th lap. They broke free on their own, and Sorensen closed in on Motts on the final lap. However, Motts took the checkered flag ahead of Sorensen, Leach, Breanna Troen and Ken Johns.
David Rosa won the 20 lap Dwarf Car Main Event. This was the 60th career feature win for the two-time Street Stock champion. Chuck Conover led early, and it wasn’t long before David Michael Rosa and father David Rosa were running closely behind in a good battle for the lead. A low pass in Turn 2 of the 11th lap gained David Rosa second from his son, and he made an inside pass on the front stretch to take the lead from Conover on lap 14. Moments later, David Michael Rosa’s race came to an end with a Turn 1 crash. David Rosa continued to lead the race as 10th starter Scott Dahlgren and Devan Kammermann settled into second and third. With Dahlgren pressuring him in the remaining laps, David Rosa kept his cool and scored a well-earned victory. Dahlgren settled for second, followed by Kammermann, Chuck Conover and Toby Brown.
Richard Papenhausen won his third-straight DIRTcar Late Model Main Event. Papenhausen ran second for one lap before leader Mike Hynes spun in Turn 4. Papenhausen led Rod Oliver and Danny Malfatti on the restart and would rapidly pull away from everybody. Malfatti and Kimo Oreta had a good battle going for third until Malfatti pitted on lap 13. Papenhausen lapped second place Oliver late and won the race easily. Oreta settled for third, followed by Malfatti and Hynes.
Saturday night, the Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars will run special races during the Contra Costa County Fair. For further information, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.
Unofficial Race Results
Antioch Speedway All Star Series
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Tommy Fraser, Mark Garner. Main Event (25 Laps)-Brent Curran, Kenny Shrader, Todd Gomez, Tommy Fraser, Trevor Clymens, Mark Garner, Kevin Brown, Kelly Campanile, Dennis Gilcrease, Tommy Clymens Jr.
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-John Wacht, Josh Leach. Main Event (20 Laps)-Bobby Motts Jr, Chris Sorensen, Josh Leach, Breanna Troen, Ken Johns, Jacob Mallett Jr, John Wacht, Will Buirch, Jeff Betancourt, Dalton Jewel.
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Travis Dutra, Mario Marques, Toby Brown. Main Event (20 Laps)-David Rosa, Scott Dahlgren, Devin Kammermann, Chuck Conover, Toby Brown, Troy Stevenson, Jerry Doty, Travis Dutra, Giovanni Bertolli, Mario Marques.
DIRTcar Late Models
Heat Winner (6 Laps)-Richard Papenhausen. Main Event (20 Laps)- Richard Papenhausen, Ron Oliver, Kimo Oreta, Danny Malfatti, Mike Hynes, John Soares.Read More
By Allen Payton
On Thursday, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) terminated the 2010 grant of $928.62 million to the California High-Speed Rail Authority, due to the new governor’s plans to scale back the project and the failure of the authority to deliver the project within the timeframe originally projected.
The FRA issued the following statement regarding the matter:
“After careful consideration, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has terminated Cooperative Agreement No. FR-HSR-0118-12-01-01 (the FY10 Agreement) with the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA), and will deobligate the $928,620,000 in funding under that agreement. The decision follows FRA’s Notice of Intent to Terminate and consideration of the information provided by CHSRA on March 4, 2019. FRA finds that CHSRA has repeatedly failed to comply with the terms of the FY10 Agreement and has failed to make reasonable progress on the Project. Additionally, California has abandoned its original vision of a high-speed passenger rail service connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles, which was essential to its applications for FRA grant funding. FRA continues to consider all options regarding the return of $2.5 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds awarded to CHSRA.”
The action was in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement during his State of the State speech in February, in which he outlined his administration’s plans to scale back the project, and threats to revoke the funds from President Trump.
“[L]et’s level about High-Speed Rail. The project, as currently planned, would cost too much and take too long,” Newsom stated. “There’s been too little oversight and not enough transparency. Right now, there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to LA. I wish there were. However, we do have the capacity to complete a high-speed rail link between Merced and Bakersfield.”
In addition to the FRA’s statement, FRA Administrator Ronald Batory sent a scathing letter to Brian Kelly, CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, detailing the reasons for the revocation of the funds. CHSRA – FRA Ltr 5-16-2019
“FRA has determined that CHSRA has violated the terms of the FY 10 Agreement and consistently failed to make reasonable progress on the Project. Despite FRA’ s identification of Project issues, and the ample time provided to CHSRA to take appropriate remedial actions, CHSRA instead chose delay and inaction,” Batory wrote in conclusion. “In FRA’s view, there is nothing in FRA’ s long working relationship with CHSRA to suggest that CHSRA would likely be able to initiate and complete the necessary corrective actions, if given yet another opportunity. Finally, the dramatically reduced scope of California’ s current plan for its HSR System is simply not consistent with the Project as CHSRA proposed in its applications for Federal financial assistance on the Project. For these reasons, and those set forth in this decision, FRA has determined to terminate the FYlO Agreement, effective today, and will deobligate the associated funds.”
To see all the related documents related to the termination of the grant, click here.Read More
The following four teachers have been named as the 2019-2020 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year (TOY) Finalists: Gina Capelli, Liberty Union High School District; Shay Kornfeld, Mt. Diablo Unified School District; DarVisa R. Marshall, Antioch Unified School District; and Maureen Mattson, Pittsburg Unified School District. Two of these four finalists will be chosen in late September, and will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program. See below for the entire listing of the 22 Contra Costa County TOYs, class of 2019-2020.
With 27 years of education experience, Gina Capelli has been teaching at Liberty High School, in Brentwood, since 2002. Capelli’s courses include psychology, government, ethnic studies, and social studies. Capelli joined Liberty High School with an impressive resume of teaching experience with school districts in San Jose, Livermore, and Brentwood. “My most important contribution to my students is to model selflessness and the importance of school and community involvement,” says Capelli. “Living in a small, tight-knit community has helped me to participate in many community activities alongside my students.”
Science instructor and robotics club advisor, Shay Kornfield, has been teaching at Diablo View Middle School, in Clayton, for the past three years. Five years prior, Kornfield taught grades 4 and 5 at Fair Oaks Elementary School, in Pleasant Hill. Kornfield says that he was lucky enough to grow up in a loving household with educated parents and grandparents that fostered his sense of curiosity and adventure. “Then, I had a teacher, Glen Barker [2018 CCCOE Teacher of the Year], who made school feel like summer camp for the first time in my life,” remembers Kornfield. “Without these amazing people, perhaps I would not have chosen the career path I have – but choose it I did, and what an amazing ride thus far!”
Like so many teachers, DarVisa Marshall was influenced by a special teacher in her life. For Marshall, it was in the 11th grade, back in Cincinnati, Ohio. “No matter the circumstances, Mrs. Bryant never gave up on me,” remembers Marshall. “She saw potential that I never saw and my parents didn’t understand. Because of her, I became a teacher.” For the past five years, Marshall has been teaching English language arts (ELA) and history to grade six, at Antioch Middle School, in Antioch. Her 21 years of experience also includes teaching ELA and history in middle and elementary schools in Oakland and Cincinnati.
Maureen Mattson has been a positive fixture for the past 33 years at Pittsburg High School. The honored teacher has been teaching physical education during her entire career at the school. Along with teaching physical education, she has served many other rolls, including the school’s women’s basketball coach, assistant principal, and assistant athletic director. “My biggest influence in becoming a teacher was my father, Bob Matson,” reflects Mattson. “He was a physical education teacher, department chair, athletic director, and coach of multiple sports at Hollister High School for 38 years.”
The county’s TOY program is directed by the CCCOE, and with such a high caliber of teaching professionals to draw from (18 teachers eligible this year), the CCCOE’s TOY program uses a three-stage selection process, with a point and percentage system to determine the final candidates as follows:
I Application Screening:
On April 12, a committee of 13 judges, representing the county’s education, business, and public-sector partners carefully reviewed the TOY representative applications submitted by the school districts. This committee independently read and rated each application. After the application screening and scoring are completed, four teachers (see above) will be selected to advance to the next two phases as finalists.
II Classroom Observation and Interview:
April 22-May 17, a small committee of education specialists and business partners will observe the four finalists interacting with their students. Immediately following, the committee will interview the candidates, discussing topics such as their teaching philosophy and techniques.
III Speech Presentation:
On July 24, the four TOY finalists will each give a three- to five-minute speech to another panel of a dozen educators, business, and public-sector representatives who will judge the finalists on their speech and presentation skills.
On the evening of September 26, 2019, all 22 TOYs, accompanied by their families, friends, and co-workers (an audience of close to 500) will be honored at the annual Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration, held at the Hilton Concord. Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Lynn Mackey, who serves as the evening’s master of ceremonies, will introduce all 22 TOYs to the attendees. This will be followed by the four finalists giving their three- to five-minute speeches (same speeches given in July) to the filled banquet room. Finally, the night will come to a dramatic conclusion with the announcement of the two 2019-2020 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.
2019-2020 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representatives:
- Paul Verbanszky, Acalanes Union High School District, Campolindo High School
- DarVisa R. Marshall, Antioch Unified School District, Antioch Middle School
- Ezra Smith, Brentwood Union School District, Pioneer Elem/Loma Vista Elem
- Alicia Woodson, Byron Union School District, Discovery Bay Elementary
- Cheri Etheredge, Contra Costa Community College District, Contra Costa Community College
- Kevin McKibben, Contra Costa County Office of Education, Mt. McKinley School
- Nagia “GG” Abdu, John Swett Unified School District, John Swett High School
- Katy Bracelin, Knightsen Elementary School District, Knightsen Elementary School
- Cindy Fisher, Lafayette School District, Happy Valley Elementary School
- Gina Capelli, Liberty Union High School District, Liberty High School
- Pamuela Galletti, Martinez Unified School District, John Muir Elementary School
- Jennifer Strohmeyer, Moraga School District, Donald L. Rheem Elementary School
- Emily Andrews, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Bancroft Elementary School
- Shay Kornfeld, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Diablo View Middle School
- Maria Fernandez, Oakley Union Elementary School District, Oakley Elementary School
- Jennifer Dodd, Orinda Union School District, Del Rey Elementary School
- Maureen Mattson, Pittsburg Unified School District, Pittsburg High School
- Athena Agustin, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Dougherty Valley High School
- Nusheen Saadat, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Quail Run Elementary School
- Jana Palmquist, Walnut Creek School District, Walnut Creek Intermediate School
- Daniel O’Shea, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Pinole Valley High School
- Doug Silva, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Helms Middle School
Note regarding eligible participants:
Seventeen of the eighteen Contra Costa County school districts represented, and the CCCOE are participating in this year’s TOY program.
Each year, one instructor from Contra Costa Community College District is submitted to the TOY program for his/her outstanding body of work with their designated college. The colleges rotate each year between Diablo Valley, Los Medanos, and Contra Costa. (These instructors do not compete in the State Teacher of the Year competition.) This year is Contra Costa College’s turn.
Due to the larger number of students and teachers in their districts, West Contra Costa USD, Mt. Diablo USD, and San Ramon Valley USD are allowed to submit two TOY candidates.
Follow Contra Costa County’s Teacher of the Year program on Twitter and Instagram at: #cocotoyRead More
Contra Costa County Public Works Department will perform roadwork on Vasco Road from Camino Diablo Road to the Alameda County line. The roadwork will occur from Tuesday through Thursday, May 28-30 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
The roadwork will consist of replacing the delineators, debris removal and street sweeping. The purpose of the delineators is to increase driver awareness and safety when travelling through this commute corridor. The work may be rescheduled based on weather conditions. Electronic message boards will alert drivers of the scheduled work. There will be traffic control through the work area and drivers can expect delays.Read More
Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton issued a new policy for the DA’s Office focused on immigration. In order to comply with state and federal laws, the office has updated its immigration policy.
“It is important to have a standardized process in place to ensure we meet our obligations under the law. I am confident that with this new policy we can fairly review all options for a disposition while at the same time ensuring we meet the demands to protect the public and victims,” said DA Becton. “Moving forward, cases will be evaluated by our state legislative mandate to ‘consider the avoidance of adverse immigration consequences in the plea negotiation process as one factor in an effort to reach a just resolution.’”
Last July, for the first time ever, the entire DA’s office staff received an in-depth immigration training which focused on the role of prosecutors in considering adverse immigration consequences, i.e. deportation.
The law was changed in California in 2016 and now Penal Code Section 1016.3(b) mandates, “the prosecution … consider the avoidance of adverse immigration consequences in the plea negotiation process as one factor in an effort to reach a just resolution.”
The legislature enacted the law after finding “the immigration consequences of criminal convictions have a particularly strong impact in California. One out of every four persons living in the state is foreign-born. One out of every two children lives in a household headed by at least one foreign-born person. The majority of these children are United States citizens. It is estimated that 50,000 parents of California United States citizen children were deported in a little over two years. Once a person is deported, especially after a criminal conviction, it is extremely unlikely that he or she ever is permitted to return.” (Cal. Penal Code Section 1016.2(g)).
Following are aspects of Becton’s updated policy, under governing law, “consideration of immigration consequences during the plea negotiation process is mandatory” and “victim’s rights must also be included and considered in the plea negotiation process.”
The policy notes that “These internal guidelines are not intended to create any new procedural rights in favor of criminal defendants or to be enforceable in a court of law. Nor shall these guidelines be construed to create any presumptions that a previously sentenced defendant would have received any offer other than that which has already been extended and accepted.
The policy further states, “Prosecutors do not have an obligation to independently research or investigate the adverse immigration consequences that may result from a plea or criminal conviction.” But, they “shall consider adverse immigration consequences presented by the defense.”
In addition, the new policy requires that “the supervising prosecutor…determine based upon the totality of the circumstances if an appropriate disposition can be reached that neither jeopardizes public safety nor leads to disproportionate immigration consequences based on the information provided by the defense.”
According to the new policy, alternative considerations include, “Devising an alternative plea agreement that is factually honest and of a similar nature and consequence to the originally charged offense, but minimizes the defendant’s exposure to adverse immigration consequences;” and “Allowing language to be stricken from a charging document or plea colloquy while maintaining the truthfulness of the remaining charging language.”
Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Office of the Contra Costa County District Attorney contributed to this report.Read More
May is Foster Parent Recognition Month
By Daniel Borsuk
The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors approved on a 4-0 vote Tuesday a $13 million multi-faceted plan that aims to detour people with mental illness who are in county jail and to relocate them in appropriate mental health facilities. Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg was absent.
Chief Assistant County Administrator Timothy Ewell told supervisors the county has grant applications pending totaling about $13 million that will help the fund the recommendations from Policy Research Associates.
Supervisors accepted 13 recommendations drafted by Policy Research Associates, a Delmar, NY-based firm that conducted a conference last January with Contra Costa mental health, medical, law, political officials and other community stakeholders in attendance.
Policy Research Associates researchers Brian Case and Regina Hueter co-authored the study “Sequential Intercept Model Mapping Report for Contra Costa County.”
Supervisors quickly approved the Policy Research Associates report. There were no comments from the public.
Since 2015, Contra Costa County has been involved in the nationwide Stepping Up movement designed to reduce the number of persons with mental illness in county jails. The county’s inmate population’s daily mental illness rate hovers around 15 percent. That is comparable with a national average of 17 percent.
“We have more critically mentally unhealthy people in our jails than in our hospitals. The question is how do we intercept these people?” asked Board Vice Chair Candace Andersen of Danville, who attended the Policy Research Associates conference in January.
The 13 recommendations the supervisors adopted in the “Sequential Intercept Model Mapping Report for Contra Costa County,” include:
- “Establish an Uber committee and process that allows for shared leadership, responsibility, coordination, and oversight of justice system and behavioral health innovation and reform.”
- “Establish standardized metrics and data-sharing across county agencies to improve data-informed decision-making.”
- “Increase county-wide deflection and diversion strategies. Explore the need for a 24-hour crisis stabilization and triage center and a mental health first responder co-responder strategy.”
- “Further incorporate the use of peers and peer support and recovery across intercepts.”
- “Identify ‘familiar face’ high utilizer populations to help manage costs, reduce unnecessary utilization of services while increasing individual stabilization. Develop ‘higher utilizer’ strategies.”
- “Implement a comprehensive substance use disorder strategy: Population identification & treatment resources in the jail & community.”
- “Examine the need for pre-trial interventions to reduce failure to appear of individuals who are booked and released.”
- “Improve and pre-and-post-arrest diversion opportunities for the incompetent to stand trial populations.”
- “Review and address problems solving court criteria to align with national best practice
- “Increase equity and access to services regardless of AB 109 funding.”
- “Improve jail-based services and transition planning to reduce recidivism and improve health and other outcomes for detained or jailed individuals.”
- “Continue to build probation Best Practices, training, and coordination to reduce technical violations and probation revocations.”
- “Work with Center for Medicare and Medicaid services and the state of California to establish an agreement that allows parolees to access Medi-Cal and receive county services.”
Supervisors also approved the following consent calendar items:
Danville Blvd.-Orchard Court Roadway Project
Supervisors approved a $375,000 Public Works contract with Quincy Engineering Inc. for civil engineering services for the Danville Boulevard-Orchard Court Complete Streets Improvement Project to be completed by March 31, 2021. The road project includes the construction of a roundabout at Danville Boulevard and Orchard Court to reduce speeds and improve pedestrian crossing. The project also includes the restriping of the roadway and lane reconfiguration and storm drain modifications, landscaping, storm water treatment, signage, utility adjustments and changes to existing roadside features.
Emergency Driving Program
Gave the green light for the Sheriff-Coroner to sign a $165,000 contract with the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training to provide an emergency vehicle operations course instruction for the period July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. The course will serve 110 students at an initial cost of $1,500 per student.
Redesiginating the John Muir Medical Center as Official Trauma Center
Supervisors redesignated John Muir Medical Center as the county’s official trauma center through May 21, 2031. In approving the consent item, supervisors agreed John Muir Medical Center’s trauma center has seen its patient rate grow by 53 percent since 2011, but its trauma inpatient volume has remained relatively steady with an average of about 1,200 inpatients per year. With the supervisors’ consent action, the county will receive $350,000 a year during the duration of the agreement from John Muir Medical Center for the county to fund programs to decrease violence or prevent injuries throughout the county.Read More
By Daniel Borsuk
The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a status-quo $3.69 billion budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year at Tuesday’s meeting, but supervisors made more noise about the possibility they could be pushed to propose a countywide sales tax measure to cover rising labor and health care costs averaging about 3 percent for 2019-2020.
“We need some type of local tax revenue, but there is nothing under consideration right now,” Board Chair John Gioia of Richmond told the Contra Costa Herald after supervisors approved next fiscal year’s spending plan that attracted several critics of Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston’s $10 million budget increase request over recent charges one deputy had sexually and physically abused female inmates at the West County Detention Facility. That deputy has been dismissed by the sheriff.
When County Administrator David Twa initially presented the 2019-2020 tentative budget at an April 23 meeting, supervisors had sparingly talked around the tax issue idea, but at the May 7 meeting all five supervisors were more outspoken about the potential tax idea.
Citing how Alameda County produces $150 million in annual revenue from its sales tax, Gioia said, “We struggle with less.” In addition to Alameda County, San Mateo and San Francisco counties financially benefit from revenue coming from a sales tax.
“John is absolutely right, “said District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover. “We need another revenue source. We need to continue to grow our resources.”
District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis hinted she could possibly support a sales tax measure given the current state of the county’s inability to deliver public services while adequately fulfilling the financial and health benefit needs of employees. “We are leveraging our dollars and our employees. We can do better,” Burgis said.
Vice Chair Candace Andersen doubted a countywide sales tax measure would win voter support. “I don’t know how a sales tax measure would get passed by the voters,” the supervisor from Danville said.
Supervisors OK DA Investigators Association Labor Pact
Supervisors unanimously approved a new four-year labor contract with the District Attorney Investigators’ Association. Investigators will earn from $8,293.27 per month to $11,480.60 per month based on seniority. The contract runs from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2023.
8-Unit Pacheco Townhouse Approved
Without opposition from the public, supervisors unanimously approved developer Andy Akay’s plans to construct an eight-unit townhouse subdivision development at 214 Center Ave. in Pacheco. The three-story development will be constructed on a vacant .49-acre parcel of property. Each unit will have a two-car garage. The two bedroom and three-bedroom units will have living areas of 2,199 square feet to 2,203 square feet each.
Chaplaincy Services Contract Approved
Supervisors also approved as a consent item a Sheriff-Coroner contract with the Bay Area Chaplains, Inc. for an amount not to exceed $162,000. The Bay Area Chaplains will provide chaplaincy services in adult detention facilities from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. Services will include providing materials, counseling, bible studies, worship services and responding to crisis and emergencies involving inmates or staff.Read More