A percentage of your purchases will benefit the Delta Contra Costa American Association of University Women scholarships to LMC students and Tech Trek for middle school girls. bnvoucherflyer2017
Please see related article about Eddie Hart, here.
Supervisors approve $17 million in bonds for Richmond senior housing project; $1.6 million for Walnut Creek affordable housing project
By Daniel Borsuk
Beginning next month, 6,000 and as many as 12,000 Contra Costa County residents will receive letters from the county that they could be entitled to refunds to be disbursed because the county Probation Department overcharged them fees for Juvenile Cost of Care and Cost of Electronic Surveillance of Minors. (See agenda item, here.)
County Supervisors initiated the notification process at Tuesday’s board meeting on a 4-0 vote. Letters printed in English and Spanish will be mailed to up to 6,000 individuals who may be due a refund because they may have been overcharged when they had a juvenile housed at a county juvenile hall facility from 2010 to 2016. The county ceased assessing the fees in 2016. The letters will instruct the recipients how to file for a claim.
District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville was absent for the vote.
The county estimates parents of juveniles held in county juvenile hall facilities were overcharged $8.8 million dating back to 1990.
The board’s Public Safety Committee will review whether another 6,000 residents living in the county between 1990 and 2010 might be eligible for refunds. Supervisors would also establish a procedure whereby residents could claim money that was improperly withheld when youths were detained in juvenile hall facilities. Supervisors will determine if the county improperly overcharged for electronic monitoring fees.
Assistant County Administrator Timothy Ewell told supervisors there are about 12,000 cases that the county has identified from 1990 to 2016 that might be entitled to refund checks averaging $262 per account because of the work by Contra Costa supervisors did, and support from citizen organizations like the Racial Justice Coalition, statewide to make juvenile hall housing fees illegal on racial and financial hardship grounds.
Contra Costa is the first county in the state to begin the procedure of refunding money to parents or guardians of juveniles who were held in juvenile hall facility and were overcharged.
“No one is expecting a mad rush of people to file claims,” said District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond, who was a key player at the county and state level in igniting the juvenile hall overcharge refund movement.
District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff said it should be up to the claimants to show proof in the form of canceled checks, bank statements or some other proof of payment when filing a claim.
“Family members should never have been penalized,” admonished Willie Mims of the East County Branch of the NAACP. “You should have the records and not lay that responsibility on the persons who might receive these letters.”
The fiscal impact to the General Fund is projected to be $136,000.
Supervisors OK Bonds for Multi-Family Housing Projects
On a 5-0 vote, supervisors flashed the green light for construction to get underway for a $27 million senior housing project in North Richmond fronting the east side of Fred Jackson Way between Grove Avenue and Chelsey Avenue. The 42-unit, Heritage Point Senior Apartments will be financed by the county with up to $17 million in Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds.
It is a project of the Community Housing and Development Corporation of North Richmond (CHDC). According to their website, the organization was “founded in 1990 by local leaders…to eliminate blight, improve housing opportunities for current and future residents, and create better economic conditions.” It has since “added over 200 owner-occupied homes to the Richmond area along with street improvements, public services, senior and family rental housing.”
According to the staff report, there is “No impact to the General Fund. At the closing for the Bonds, the County is reimbursed for costs incurred in the issuance process. Annual expenses for monitoring of Regulatory Agreement provisions ensuring units in the Development will be rented to low income households will be reimbursed through issuer fees established in the documents for the Bonds. The Bonds will be solely secured by and payable from revenues (e.g. Development rents, reserves, etc.) pledged under the Bond documents. No County funds are pledged to secure the Bonds.”
Supervisors were informed that financing for the Heritage Point development is secure. However, future affordable housing developments might be in jeopardy depending how the 2018 United States budget reform bill shapes up. Contra Costa County could potentially lose $3.5 million in bond financing for the North Richmond project if the budget reform bill is passed by Congress, said Maureen Toms of the Contra Costa County Conservation and Development Department. Fortunately, the county has enough money in reserves to fill in funding gaps for projects like the Heritage Point development, she added.
“This could be the tip of the iceberg on the potential elimination of public funding for future affordable housing developments,” Gioia warned.
In addition, the board approved converting $1.6 million in taxable bonds into tax-exempt bonds for a 58-unit, multi-family affordable housing apartment project in Walnut Creek. The Riviera Family Apartments will be located on two separate parcels, at 1515 and 1738 Rivera Avenue. The County had previously approved $19.2 million in tax-exempt bonds for the development in May 2016. The developer is Resources for Community Development in Berkeley. According to the staff report, no County funds are pledged to secure the bonds.
Honor 35-Year County Employee
In other action, the board honored Carmen Piña-Delgado who is the Supervising Real Property Agent with the Public Works Department in the Real Estate Division for her 35 years as a county employee. She started her career with the County Administrator’s Office as a Clerk-Experienced Level under the Affirmative Action Officer and due to budget cuts was let go. But, then in October, Piña-Delgado was rehired by the Health Services Department as a Clerk-Experienced Level in the Public Health Division.
In January 1992 she was promoted to the position of Real Property Technical Assistant in the Real Estate Division, where she has worked for the remainder of her career. In May 2001, Piña-Delgado graduated from Los Medanos College completing the Associate of Science Degree in Real Estate in order to qualify for advancement into the Real Property Agent Series. The resolution adopted by the Board recognizing her service states, she “has a great work ethic and has made a difference in the Public Works Department by delivering quality services in each division, County-wide, and with outside agencies/consultants.”
WHAT: Contra Costa Behavioral Health Services, a division of Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS), invites anyone interested in discussing local public mental health services to participate in a public forum Thursday, Dec. 7, in Brentwood.
The forum offers the opportunity to meet with service providers to discuss current issues relevant to providing mental health care in the community. These discussions will help inform future use of local Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funding.
WHO: All members of the public are welcome, including participants in mental health services, their family members and service providers.
RSVP to attend a forum by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org – please include “MHSA Forum” in the subject line – or by telephoning 925-957-5150.
Attendees may also mail RSVPs to MHSA, 1340 Arnold Drive, Suite 200, Martinez, CA 94553.
WHEN: Thursday, December 7: 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Brentwood Community Center, 35 Oak Street in Brentwood.
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.
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.
Feet First Foundation and Toys for Tots presents Sparring Expo, a holiday event on Saturday December 16th, 2017.
Hosted by Sean Sharkey and Christian Sharkey, the event will raise funds to help at-risk youth in Contra Costa County in the fight against human trafficking – saving lives one by one.
Sponsored by Urban Barber College, Toys for Tots by U.S. Marines, Fightkore Gym, & Feet First Foundation
Special Guests include Pro Fighters Angel Cordon and Tino Avila plus a Special Guest.
Doors Open at 5:00-7:30 pm. Live Boxing Expedition with local fighters follows a Holiday Reception 7:30-9:00 pm. The event will include small plate appetizers and drinks
at 816 Main Street in Martinez.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for youth. Bring a toy for Toys for Tots and get 1/2 off ticket, and are available here – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/feet-first-foundation-and-toys-for-tots-present-sparring-expo-tickets-39945407790
County’s collaborative program celebrates its 26th year of bringing joy to local at-risk children
By Jonathan Lance, Communications Specialist, Contra Costa County Office of Education
For the 26th straight year, a number of representatives from Contra Costa County non-profit agencies were on hand today for the annual Marsh Creek Detention Facility’s Toy Show to fulfill their at-risk children’s Christmas wish lists. The representatives were able to choose from numerous newly handcrafted toys and bicycles refurbished by the facility’s inmates. These gifts will then be given to the children who are being served by these agencies during the upcoming holidays.
All of the attendees were absolutely awestruck when walking into the Detention Center’s wood shop, which had been turned into an elaborate, colorful Santa’s Workshop. Coordinated by Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) teacher Paul Turner and with the help of some of his students, their beautiful bicycles and toys were on display among Holiday decorations. Joining the non-profit-agency representatives were Contra Costa County’s Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata and Sheriff David Livingston, as well as numerous representatives from both agencies to celebrate this longtime partnership that benefits the community.
Both Superintendent Sakata and Sheriff Livingston spoke to the large gathering about the extremely successful partnership of the Contra Costa County Office of Education’s (CCCOE) accredited shop classes being taught in a Contra Costa County Jail. “We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful agency collaboration that creates such value to our county,” said Superintendent Sakata. “With this project, these adult students will certainly bring a brighter Holiday Season to many children throughout our community.”
Sheriff Livingston agreed about the long-standing successful partnership during his morning welcome, and thanked the many representatives with the CCCOE and the Sheriff’s Office. “This outstanding event always officially kicks off the holidays for me,” said Sheriff Livingston. During his offer of gratitude to a number of attendees, he added a special message, addressing the inmates, who were also present at the event and had recently been working on the toys and bikes, “I want to thank you gentlemen and those before you that have been working diligently on this year-long program. You’ll bring a lot of joy to our community’s kids with your woodshop skills”
Contra Costa County non-profit organizations participating in this special event included: Bay Area Housing District, Bay Area Rescue Mission, Brighter Beginnings, Contra Costa County Independent Living Skills Program, El Cerrito Rotary, Friends of Oakley, Pittsburg Police Department, Shelter Inc., The Salvation Army-Antioch Corps, Shepherd’s Gate, La Casa, and VESTIA, Inc.
This year, these organizations were able to choose from more than 1,500 handcrafted toys and 90 bicycles refurbished by inmates from the facility. These toys and bikes are being donated to children served by these organizations for the upcoming holidays. A dedicated group of Marsh Creek Detention Facility inmates have been working on this project for the past year. They have been extremely busy fixing up used bikes to look and ride like brand new, and crafting colorful and beautiful wooden toys, such as, motorcycle rocking chairs, spinning carousels, cars, doll houses, baby cradles, toy tractors, train sets, and more. All of the toy makers and/or bike mechanics are students in the Contra Costa Adult School, an accredited school directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), located within the jail facility.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
During the 2016-17 school year, over 3,000 adult inmates (throughout the three Contra Costa detention facilities) were enrolled in classes ranging from academic programs, including basic literacy and GED or HiSET high school equivalency preparation, to vocational programs, including woodshop, construction, and state-of-the-art computer training. By the end of the school year, 37 student-inmate(s) received their high school equivalency certificate (Hi SET) and 29 received a high school diploma. In addition, there were 328 students who demonstrated learning gains in reading or math, and 317 students earned a certificate of completion in computer applications. Another course directed by the CCCOE is the DEUCE Program (Deciding, Educating, Understanding, Counseling, and Evaluation). These three-part classes (90 days) focus on substance abuse prevention. Last year, 78 students completed at least one of the three phases, and 350 students graduated from DEUCE. The parenting class teaches vital parenting skills to women and men, with 140 certificates issued last school year through the COPE: Counseling Options and Parent Education or Parenting Inside/Out programs. Three years ago, the CCCOE opened a new re-entry class at the West County Detention Facility. The re-entry class offers workforce readiness, career exploration, soft skills workshops, and a nine-week cognitive-behavior-change program called Transitions. Currently, 218 inmates are enrolled in the re-entry course. These classes help to provide education and skills needed for successful transition back into the community.
By Jonathan Lance, Communications Specialist, Contra Costa County Office of Education
On Thursday, October 26, 459 student athletes hit the football field at Liberty High School for the annual Special Olympics Schools Partnership Program Soccer Events. The student athletes’ ages ranged from kindergarten to transition students (ages 18-22), with 271 males and 188 females.
Throughout the busy morning and early afternoon, the student athletes took part in soccer skills drills or tournament play, or both. The day was filled with plenty of determination, encouragement, and celebration in achievement – plus a lot of smiles.
Sherri Roberti, Contra Costa County Office of Education’s (CCCOE) Special Olympics Schools Partnership Program coordinator and special education teacher, said, “We would like to thank Liberty High School’s teacher, Summer Rodriguez, who always does a fabulous job of helping to organize her Leadership Students, who serve as event volunteers.” Roberti continues, “Summer and her students worked tirelessly throughout the entire day. She and Liberty High School graciously hosts two events per year, [soccer and track] and do a wonderful job with both!”
The event’s East County participating special education classes came from the following schools: Krey, Los Medanos, and Turner elementary schools; Hillview, Martin Luther King, Edna Hill, O’Hara Park, Park, and Rancho Medanos middle schools; Antioch, Deer Valley, Freedom, Heritage, Liberty, and Pittsburg high schools; and Deer Valley, Gateway Program, Heritage, and Liberty transition schools.
The Special Olympics Northern California Schools Partnership Program is a unique education program in K-12 schools. It unifies students with and without disabilities through sports and whole-school involvement activities that provide them with the knowledge, experience, and skills necessary to create and sustain school communities that promote inclusion, acceptance, and respect for all students.