By John Kabateck
If one takes a quick glance at the daily schedule of events happening in and around the State Capitol all on the same Monday this week, there seems to be a peculiar political paradox taking place right under our noses. Or, in laymen’s terms: an offensive double standard.
On Monday, April 4, the Governor signed SB 3, legislation increasing the California minimum wage to $15 an hour. Never mind that a mere three months ago small businesses and voters saw it rise to $10.00 an hour, making it even then (second only to the District of Columbia at $10.50) the highest in the nation. As the Governor himself stated in January, “Raise the minimum wage too much and you put a lot of people out of work. There won’t be a lot of jobs. It’s a matter of balance.”
Also on the agenda the same day this week was a hearing to evaluate the High-Speed Rail Authority, including criticism by many on both sides of the aisle about the significant cost the rail project will be to the state and California taxpayers. Too bad constituents weren’t afforded the same formal hearing process and public discourse surrounding the minimum wage measure, which the Governor’s Department of Finance has pegged at $4 billion per year. Instead, the measure moved faster than a bullet train – from a weekend discussion with labor unions, to the legislative chambers for a party-line vote, to the Governor’s desk for a swift signature – all without small businesses and voters allowed a seat at the table and open discussion. Had that taken place, we would have clearly heard stakeholders raise concerns about these enormous recurring state costs that will affect the truly vulnerable across our state – not just “mom and pops”, but persons with disabilities, students in our schools, local governments in rural and economically disadvantaged regions, and seniors on fixed incomes, to name a few.
Add to the irony a Capitol rally on this very same Monday surrounding legislation to exempt certain personal care products from the state sales tax. While some products would no doubt be exempted, most others would not and most small businesses would still be expected to continue to levy on their products a statewide sales tax that is also the highest in the nation. To add insult to injury, legislation has also been in play that seeks to extend the sales tax to service industries. So, exempt certain businesses and taxpayers from some taxes, while insisting that other, new, struggling industries pay more. And how, exactly, is a minimum wage hike not a “tax” on our number one job creators, the corner restaurant, the book store, the retailer? According to the legislature, “You win some, you lose some – we’ll make that decision for you based on our special interest support.”
Voters deserve better than this. Fortunately, in this election year, we all have an opportunity to demand voting records and explanations from the incumbents, and specific details and pledges from the new candidates. Have they stood with small business? Will they? Don’t settle for double speak – there’s too much at stake for us this November and the generations that follow.
Kabateck is President of Kabateck Strategies with nearly twenty-five years of leadership with strategic coalition development and implementation in California’s public policy and political arenas, with an emphasis on the full spectrum of business and job creator sectors. He has served as California Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Business, California’s and the nation’s leading organization serving only small businesses; Senior Legislative Director and Vice President of the California Restaurant Association; a Chief of Staff in the California Legislature; Director of Coalitions for Governor Pete Wilson’s successful re-election campaign, then Wilson’s Chief Deputy Appointments Secretary; and as Governor Schwarzenegger’s Director of External Affairs.Read More
Organization encourages local communities to be engaged in districts’ Local Control Accountability Plans
The Contra Costa County School Boards Association (CCCSBA) recently recognized more than 20 individuals in the county for outstanding service as trustees for their respective school districts and education agencies. The following governing board members were recognized by the organization for years of service:
Susie Epstein (5 years) and Cathy Coppersmith (15 years)
Acalanes Union High School District
Karen Pickett (5 years), Jefe Bernard (10 years), and Jim Smith (20 years)
Canyon School District
Art Kapoor (5 years), David Gerson (5 years) and Teresa Gerringer (15 years)
Lafayette School District
Matt Moran (5 years) and Julie Rossiter (5 years)
Orinda School District
Denise Jennison (5 years), Greg Marvel (15 years), and Ken Mintz (10 years)
San Ramon Valley Unified School District
Catherine Pena (15 years)
Walnut Creek School District
Bobbi Horack (5 years), Denise Elsken (15 years) and Kathi McLaughlin (15 years)
Martinez Unified School District
John Marquez (5 years) and John T. Nejedly, Jr. (20 years)
Contra Costa Community College Board
Pamela Mirabella (25 years) and Daniel Gomes (15 years)
Contra County County Board of Education
“School Board Members are at the heart of every community,” said Christine Deane, President of the Contra Costa County Board of Education. “School programs in Contra Costa County are outstanding, largely because our communities elect well-informed, dedicated, and student-focused trustees who oversee budgets, programs, and policies. These are oftentimes thankless jobs, but they need to be recognized for the great work they do.”
The Contra Costa County School Boards Association is also encouraging parents and community members to become engaged in their local school district’s Local Control Accountability Plan process (LCAP). The Local Control Accountability Plan is a critical part of the new Local Control Funding Formula, which defines how public schools are funded in California. Each school district and county office of education must engage parents, educators, employees, and the community to establish these plans. The plans describe each district’s overall vision for students, annual goals, and specific actions the district will take to achieve the vision and goals.
“We encourage all parents and community members to become actively engaged in their local LCAP process and affirm the job their local board members are doing to help shape the future of education in their communities,” said Deane.Read More
Council to decide how, when and if they will work with Lennar at Tuesday’s meeting
By Allen Payton
At their special meeting on Monday, March 28, after hours of questioning Guy Bjerke, the Director of Community Reuse Planning for the Naval Weapons Station project, the Concord City Council, acting as the Local Reuse Authority (LRA) voted 2-1 to deny Catellus’ demands, accepted their offer to withdraw and refund their Good Faith Deposit.
Both Councilmembers Ron Leone and Tim Grayson were not in attendance, because they had recused themselves from participating in the selection process. Mayor Laura Hoffmeister pointed out that Leone had to do so because he lives within 500 feet of the project site.
The staff presentation and answers to Council members’ questions included Bjerke demonstrating the patience of Job and admitting the staff and consultants preferred Catellus and didn’t want to have to recommend the Council approve the company’s withdrawal. But, they were “unanimous in this,” he said.
“Staff estimates a transfer of between $350,000 and $700,000 in financial risk from Catellus to the City,” he said. “It would eliminate any leverage the city has.”
He spoke of the “insurmountable trust and confidence issues between our staffs.”
Bjerke also stated that Catellus would not be participating in the meeting.
Later in the meeting he said the following:
“Our staff recommended Catellus, last September,” he said. “There is no one on city staff or on my team that likes making these recommendations, tonight. But we’re doing what we think are our professional responsibility and fiduciary responsibility to protect the city.”
The report on the investigation of Catellus’ complaints against Lennar by the outside attorney, Michael Jenkins, revealed that Catellus has wanted out of the process since at least last September.
So, their latest request, although it included a demand for the refund of deposit money, didn’t come as a surprise.
Bjerke advised the council members of their three options with Lennar, at this Tuesday’s council meeting, if they voted to reject Catellus’ demands and accept their withdrawal.
First, they can select Lennar as the Master Developer and approve their term sheet. Second, they can direct staff to meet with Lennar and renegotiate their term sheet, or third, they can reject Lennar’s term sheet, which would reopen the process.
The council members asked a few questions of Bjerke before Hoffmeister opened the public comments, which were split between supporting Catellus and Lennar.
She asked each speaker, who didn’t offer a recommendation on the agendized item, what they thought the Council should do.
Tim Lynch, Jr. stated clearly, “Please reject special favors…for Catellus.”
Dennis Costanza, President of the Community Youth Center, said he was there representing himself, “Because I care about the community of Concord.”
“I agree with staff. You should reject Catellus’ desire to change their term sheet. Refund the money and allow them to withdraw,” Constanza stated. “Make today the first day of the rest of this project.”
Another speaker was less cordial.
“I blame the incompetence of the city staff” and their “gross lack of negotiating skills,” said Greg Sandborn. He opened his comments by disclosing that he is Councilmember Edi Birsan’s campaign treasurer and that he is an elected member of the county Democratic Central Committee representing Concord and Birsan is his alternate.
He went on to ask for the resignation of the city manager, “without severance” and the political issues surrounding Grayson and his State Assembly campaign consultant. Regarding the refund of money to Catellus, Sandborn said, “That money should come from Councilman Grayson’s pocket.”
However, he asked the Council to “grant Catellus’ request. Go forward and select from the two.”
Phyllis Gordon said she was “Here as a citizen of the region” and that the developer chosen “will be the region’s partner.” She supported Catellus’ request to withdraw.
Louise McGuire said “I can understand Catellus wanting to put boundaries in place,” then proposed a third developer and wanted “LEED housing…be brought back in.”
“Lennar’s credibility has been tarnished in their dealings with Councilman Grayson,” she added.
Dr. Harmesh Kumar, a former Concord City Council candidate and now candidate for State Assembly against Grayson, said “I think there has been some bias” and that the “Lennar group has been tainted.”
“I have been told not to say these things,” he continued. “Objectivity we are losing in this city.”
Ralph Oliver, a resident of Sun Terrace area in north Concord said, “I am a stakeholder in the process. I don’t desire to deal with Lennar because I don’t trust them.”
“Catellus has been put in a difficult situation at no fault of their own,” he continued. “I suggest you grant Catellus’ request. Catellus is just trying to protect themselves.”
Hope Johnson was the most animated of the speakers, and continued to speak out during the meeting from her seat and was asked to be quiet by both Hoffmeister and Birsan.
“It’s Concord who broke the agreement,” she stated. “You are the ones who violated it…with Lennar. You’ve created a hostile environment.”
“Most of us don’t trust you. Your handling of this. You failed us and we’re embarrassed,” Johnson continued. “This is the biggest project in Contra Costa County. There’s three of you voting.”
She then mentioned one difference in the term sheets between the two developers.
“Lennar has only $16 million for roads. Catellus has $67 million.”
Following the close of public comments, Councilmember Dan Helix read from a prepared statement.
“We need to understand how one of the two finalists believe the deck is stacked against them,” he said. “This is not easy for me but I must continue.”
“I’m not sure how the city manager [Valerie Barone] came to her conclusion. I have not heard a persuasive reason for deleting the staff recommendation…which would have favored Catellus.”
“I do not blame Catellus for their concern,” Helix continued. “Of the 10 areas in the Term Sheets Catellus was seriously ahead in six areas.”
He also mentioned the offsite road improvements of $67 million in Catellus’ plan compared to Lennar’s $16 million.
“I would prefer this not happen,” he said. “There’s a difference in Lennar’s request [to change their term sheet, last fall] and Catellus’ request is based on the trust factor…a matter of good faith and trust.”
“I want very much for them to be here next week to compete to be Master Developer,” Helix added and then advocated that the Council members “also accept Lennar’s changes. Let them change their term sheet.”
“This is why I came back to this city council to work on this huge, huge opportunity,” he stated. “I’m also old enough to know it takes two out of three.”
Hoffmeister then asked “Is that legally possible?”
Bjerke responded, for the first of multiple times, “What staff recommends that you likewise grant those same changes to Lennar. But keep the underlying principles of their Term Sheet. You need to make identical changes to Lennar’s Term Sheet.”
Acting City Attorney Brian Libow expounded on Bjerke’s statement.
“Under the process, any changes to that contract have to be by mutual assent by the City, Catellus and Lennar,” he stated. “It is my opinion we cannot change Lennar’s Term Sheet.”
Hoffmeister then reiterated “We can only change the engagement and staff costs. But we can not accept the changes to the term sheets.”
“I just want to keep two Master Developers in the process,” he said.
Hoffmeister then attempted to appease Helix’s desire and asked should changes be allowed to the Term Sheets what would be the time frame.
“It would be at least a month,” Bjerke responded.
“Could that be done by the 5th of April,” Hoffmeister then asked.
“No,” Bjerke flatly stated.
Libbow then said “Both parties would have to concur.”
“The Term Sheets are a framework but are not the final document for the DDA [Disposition and Development Agreement] process,” he said.
That process will occur once the Council chooses the Master Developer for the project.
“The staff will work with the Master Developer to turn that Term Sheet into a DDA,” Bjerke explained, later.
The difference between Lennar’s requested changes and Catellus’ was Lennar’s were to aspects of their Term Sheet while “Catellus’ requested changes are in their Rules of Engagement,” Bjerke explained. “$350,000 more is required upon being selected as Master Developer. If they are selected as Master Developer but can’t agree on a DDA, they get their $350,000 back.”
That’s what Catellus was demanding of the City Council.
However, “If they stay in the process they’re only allowed a refund of the $71,000 [of their initial $250,000 deposit] remaining,” he added.
Birsan’s Key Question & Answer
Birsan offered a key question and scenario.
“If we grant Catellus’ request to withdraw could we renegotiate [with Lennar]?” he asked.
Libbow said that was possible “with only one developer left in the process.”
That is what the Council majority of Birsan and Hoffmeister ended up making possible. But, not before Helix made a motion to accept the request by Catellus. The motion died without one of the other council members offering a second.
“Where we are, there is no change to the Term Sheet whatsoever,” Helix then stated. “We are back to square one.”
His failed motion, which hinted at how the other two would eventually vote, was followed by another lengthy discussion and questions and answers between council members and Bjerke.
Birsan offered his argument against Catellus’ demands for a refund if no DDA could be agreed upon should they be selected as Master Developer.
“We have no hammer,” he stated. “The power is shifted to the developers. The City abdicates its power.”
Birsan then made another motion, to direct staff to provide a complete refund of fees and accept the withdrawal of Catellus.
Hoffmeister seconded the motion and offered what sounded like a contradictory statement.
“I would like to keep Catellus in…but it seems to be an indication they want to part…go their separate way,” she stated. “I would encourage them to reconsider that. In the DDA stage, these are things that could be addressed.”
“Us approving this is an option for them to consider,” Hoffmeister continued, to groans from the audience and a few verbal outbursts. “If they don’t want to sign the letter they can stay in the process.”
The Council then voted 2-1 with Helix dissenting, approving the motion.
Following the meeting, when asked if she understood the motion she voted on, Hoffmeister responded, “They don’t have to accept the refund. I’m just allowing them the option.”
When Bjerke was asked if that was correct, he stated, “They could. But they won’t.”
And they didn’t.
During the week following the Monday meeting, Catellus chose to withdraw from the process leaving just Lennar remaining as the sole, current option for the Council to choose as Master Developer.
Tuesday Meeting, Staff Recommends Council Defers Decision
The Concord City Council, acting as the Local Reuse Authority, will at their meeting, tonight, Tuesday, April 5, have the option to do just that. If they do, it will be according to the staff report “to negotiate a DDA to implement the First Phase of the Concord Reuse Project (CRP) Area Plan.”
Also in the staff report for Item 6 on the Council’s meeting agenda, staff lists five “Primary areas of concern:
- Use of binding arbitration to resolve disputes over reimbursement of City costs (Sec 8.f.iii)
- Transfer of the Remaining Development Footprint (Sec 7. B.ii and Sec 25. a.b.c.)
- Affordable Housing Gap Subsidies (Sec 3 d.e. and Exhibit H Sec 4)
- Offsite Improvements (Sec 6 and Exhibit I)
- Use of a limited liability corporation structure and the relationship to Five Point Holdings (Sec 25)”
Staff is recommending the City Council “Request staff to re-open negotiations with Lennar on the five primary areas of concern noted above as well as any others that the Council identifies at tonight’s meeting and defer the selection of Lennar to be the Master Developer until staff can return with a revised Term Sheet for Council consideration.”
The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at the Concord Senior Center, 2727 Parkside Drive.Read More
The Pittsburg Yacht Club is hosting their 69th annual Opening Day on the Delta Parade of decorated boats and Blessing of the fleet on Saturday, April 9th. All boat owners in all three marinas are invited to attend. The theme is flags and banners.
Currently, there are 21 boats are signed up including Delta Bayliners Y.C and Sea Ray Y.C.
A captains meeting will be held at the Yacht Club, located at 3 Marina Boulevard, at 10:00 a.m., the parade will start at 11:00 a.m.
The parade will start directly across from the Yacht Club at the west end of Brown’s Island and proceed to beyond the POSCO steel mill and return. Staff Chaplain, Father Robert Rien of St. Ignatius Church in Antioch, will be stationed on the Commodore’s yacht to bless the fleet as it sails past.
The best public viewing will be from the gazebo area and along the shoreline between the center basin and the George Lowey Basin.
First, second and third place awards will be presented during lunch at the yacht club following the parade.Read More
In April, construction crews will continue installing the large overhead signs already visible throughout the corridor. Also, electrical work for the communications network will continue on some city streets.
The overhead sign frames will support the future travel and toll information signs and the communications network will facilitate the transmission of data for the express lanes.
What to Expect
- Intermittent and alternating nightly closures will occur in the northbound and southbound directions on I-680 from Walnut Creek to San Ramon in the lanes closest to the median and in the lane closest to the shoulder. Approved construction work hours are: Monday through Thursday from 8 p.m. – 5 a.m., Friday from 8 p.m. – 7 a.m., Saturday from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m.
- To support directional boring and the installation of conduit, the following ramp closures are scheduled for (detour routes below):
- Southbound Alcosta Blvd. off-ramp is scheduled to be closed from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. each night, Monday, April 11 through Friday, April 15.
- Northbound Stone Valley Rd. on-ramp is scheduled to be closed from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. each night, from Monday, April 11 through Friday, April 15.
- To maintain a safe work zone, construction activity on San Ramon Valley Boulevard and Crow Canyon Road will require lane reductions and reduced speed limits, weekdays from April 4 through June 30, between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
- Construction crews will be present on some city streets during the day near I-680 from Martinez to Dublin with temporary and minor pedestrian detours to maintain public safety.
- Temporary k-rail, construction signage and orange plastic fencing will be present from Martinez to Dublin to maintain a safe work zone.
- Construction lighting will be present and directed away from residential areas.
Construction is a dynamic process and information is subject to change without notice. Please use caution while traveling through the construction zone.
Ramp Closure Detours
Southbound Alcosta Blvd. off-ramp closure detour: Continue on I-680 southbound past Alcosta Blvd., Exit at Dublin Blvd., Enter I-680 northbound at Dublin Blvd., Continue northbound on I-680, and Exit at Alcosta Blvd.
Northbound Stone Valley Rd. on-ramp closure detour: At Stone Valley Road, Enter I-680 southbound, Exit at El Pintado Rd., and Enter I-680 northbound at El Pintado Rd.Read More
Restore the Delta says to tell the Contra Costa Water Board “Say no to back room deals that sell out Delta water 1uality for the region”
By Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director, Restore the Delta
The Contra Costa Water District Board of Directors will soon be reviewing the settlement agreement that they recently signed with the Delta Tunnels plan effort. The settlement drops CCWD’s protest against the tunnels plan in exchange for a separate pipeline to deliver drinking water to its customers. We are urging all concerned residents to attend the meeting.
This may be your only opportunity to register a public comment on how you feel about CCWD’s self-interested approach to secure a water supply at the expense of the community it serves.
What: CCWD Public Board Meeting
When: Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 6:30 to 9:00 pm. (Come at 6:00 pm if you would like to organize with us prior to the meeting)
Where: 1331 Concord Ave., Concord, CA.
The Contra Costa Water District, is choosing to exchange its present contract for Delta water deliveries for an intake above the Delta that will remove even more fresh water from the estuary. This not only puts all other Delta communities at risk for even worse water quality, but also leaves their own customers within their own district with degraded Delta water for other uses. Additionally, their decision leaves the San Francisco Bay Estuary with degraded water quality which will negatively impact that magnificent ecosystem.
Contra Costa County residents recreate in high numbers in the Delta, live around its water ways, and have regular contact with the water. Environmental justice communities and recreational anglers fish Delta waterways for sustenance and professional tournaments, and Contra Costa County farmers depend on quality Delta water for their businesses.
Furthermore, the impacts will be exacerbated for residents in Discovery Bay for all water uses — from toxic algal blooms to waterways polluted with salt, Selenium and human carcinogens. Reducing flow through the Delta will put the estuary in a state of “permanent drought.”
CCWD’s willingness to settle is an indictment of how bad the Delta Tunnels plan really is. The Tunnels Project will have egregious water quality impacts in the Delta. CCWD should drop the settlement, and rejoin the unified opposition to the Tunnels plan launched by the entire Bay-Delta community, not cut a self-serving back room deal!
Lastly, Restore the Delta and collaborating environmental groups have in the past supported an expansion of Los Vaqueros Reservoir (and an intertie between Contra Costa Water District and Santa Clara Valley Water District) as ways to meet water needs for the greater Bay Area. However, we are reconsidering our support of such measures seeing that Contra Costa Water District would now become a party to depriving the Bay-Delta estuary of needed flows through the Delta tunnels project. CCWD is effectively transforming the expansion of Los Vaqueros from a solution to a tool of the Bay-Delta estuary water grab.
Read our opposition to this settlement here.
If you have questions, about this alert, please feel free to call our office at 209-475-9550. We will see you, our members, at 6 pm in order to organize before the meeting on April 6, 2016. If you cannot make the meeting, submit a public comment here.
Thank you for your continued support.
The Contra Costa Water District service area includes Antioch, Bay Point, Brentwood (portion), Clayton, Clyde, Concord, Martinez (portion), Oakley, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill (portion), Port Costa and Walnut Creek (portion). To find your Director on the Board visit http://www.ccwater.com/426/Division-Map—Find-Your-Director. If you can’t attend the meeting you can email your Director by visiting http://www.ccwater.com/416/Board-of-Directors.Read More
On Tuesday, the Contra Costa Water District announced a withdrawal of their protest petition with the State Water Resources Control Board regarding the “Change of Diversion Petition” filed by the lead state and federal agencies promoting the Delta Tunnels.
The Contra Costa Water District has settled with the Department of Water Resources claiming that the state is going to pay for their new water diversion facility, rather than CCWD customers, to mitigate impacts to drinking water quality resulting from operation of the Delta Tunnels.
Response from Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director, Restore the Delta:
“The settlement is, in itself, an indictment of the Tunnels and represents Contra Costa Water District’s self-interested approach to the Delta as a whole.
“The new CCWD intake will have an impact on water quality and quantity in the Delta and is not covered in the EIR for the Delta Tunnels. The settlement says that DWR reserves the right to override environmental needs and concerns to build/operate the Delta tunnels. They are setting up the project as beyond the law, a project by Governor Brown’s fiat.
“Meanwhile, the CCWD says they are not supporting CA Water Fix — this is simply their insurance policy for their customers. However, Contra Costa residents still need good water quality in the Delta for all the other uses. Contra Costa residents recreate in the Delta in high numbers.
“In addition, a new intake for the Contra Costa Water District will require another change in the point of diversion petition to be brought to the State Water Resources Control Board. The process will continue to unfold for years, yet water exporters still do not have money on the table to continue moving the process forward or to finance the project.
“Sadly, CCWD has sacrificed other Delta communities and Bay-Delta fisheries by agreeing to this settlement, as everyone else in the Delta would be left with degraded water quality. Clearly the Brown Administration is attempting to carve up Delta communities, in the same way Owens Valley was carved up for a water grab many years ago.
“California taxpayers are going to be on the hook to pay for this mitigation so that mega growers in the Westlands Water District and in Kern County can continue to grow almonds in the desert for export. All of this deal making is to create a system that subsidizes mega growers at the expense of California taxpayers and the environment.
“This strategy of CA Water Fix is to work around public processes and to keep the public in the dark in an attempt to push the project through no matter the impacts on the San Francisco Bay-Delta, or the people or species who live here.”
To learn more about Restore the Delta visit www.restorethedelta.org.Read More
The week of March 21 – 25 marked Meals on Wheels of America’s “March for Meals Community Champions Week,” a national campaign to raise awareness about senior needs, especially around hunger and isolation.
As a member agency, Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services (MOWSOS) participated locally and invited community leaders to take part in meal delivery ride-a-longs to homebound, frail seniors around the county.
“We’ve identified 23 Community Champions, community leaders…delivering meals,” said Elaine Clark, Chief Executive Officer of MOWSOS.
They included District V Supervisor Federal Glover; Antioch Mayor Pro-Tem, Lori Ogorchock; Clayton Mayor Howard Geller; Martinez Mayor Rob Schroder; Pleasant Hill Mayor Sue Noack; Oakley Mayor Kevin Romick; Orinda Mayor Victoria Smith; Walnut Creek Mayor Pro-Tem Rich Carlston; Pleasant Hill Councilmember, Tim Flaherty; Concord Councilmember Dan Helix; Walnut Creek Councilmember Bob Simmons; Bay Point All in One President, Delano Johnson; Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff, Lt. Paul O’Mary, and Deputies Katie Rhoe and Matt Buckley; Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County Executive Director, Will McGarvey; Bay Point Municipal Advisory Council Member Debra Mason; American Medical Response (AMR), Public Information Officer, Alicia Moore and EMT’s Sarah Dotson and Jason Kalan; Dayna Wilson, Keller Williams Realtor.
“The services provided by Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services is critical,” said Glover. “I was very happy to help spread the word along-side these incredible volunteers.”
If you or your civic or community group, are available to help, please contact Carol Louisell, Director of Community Engagement at email@example.com or 925-954-8736. An on-line application, an orientation, and background check are required.Read More
Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Human Services, will be joining the Assistance League of Diablo Valley, a non-profit, member volunteer organization dedicated to improving lives in the community through hands-on programs, on Saturday, April 23rd to celebrate their most amazing achievement to date. One of ten philanthropic programs, Assistance League® of Diablo Valley’s nationally acclaimed Operation School Bell® has reached a milestone this year by clothing 50,000 children since 1994.
The free festivities open to the public include special guest speakers, refreshments, gift certificate drawings and discount coupons for the thrift shop. Help us celebrate how providing clothes for school children results in improved school attendance, campus citizenship, and academic performance.
WHEN: Saturday, April 23, 2016 at 11:00AM
WHERE: Assistance League Way Side Inn Thrift Shop, 3521 Golden Gate Way, Lafayette
To learn more about Assistance League of Diablo Valley and the Way Side Inn Thrift Shop, please visit their website: diablovalley.assistanceleague.org.
By East Bay Leadership Council
Arousing fear and outrage has proven to be an effective strategy, especially during this political season.
The past few weeks have seen a great deal of hand-wringing and outrage in the media over BART’s woes. The service disruption between North Concord and Bay Point has brought back traumatic memories of the 2013 strike, and old animosities have resurfaced.
The East Bay Leadership Council (EBLC) hopes to put that animosity aside and focus on keeping BART running. But just as we get the government we deserve, we also get the infrastructure we deserve. Let us be worthy of the inheritance left to us by past generations and not squander it for the sake of pithy tweets or political posturing.
The system’s age is contributing to the current problems. Suggesting that this claim only serves some ulterior motive is false and is a distraction from the real issues.
The core BART system will soon be half a century old. The system suffers $9.6 billion dollars’ worth of deferred maintenance and critical components now require replacement. This work has to be paid for, and neither the State of California nor the federal government is likely to bail us out any time soon.
Whether you believe the system has been mismanaged or not; whether you ride along the screeching decades-old tracks or not; whether you personally suffer through overcrowded cars and service interruptions or not, we all benefit from a system that eases commutes, connects people to jobs, provides mobility to those with limited means, and helps keep our air clean.
The alternative is longer commutes, more polluted air, a weaker economy, and a diminished quality of life. This is our reality.
The EBLC believes it is reasonable to question labor practices and compensation at BART. We encourage the Board of Directors and senior management to work diligently to address these issues, and we call on the California legislature to contribute to a solution. It is our collective civic duty to hold our leaders accountable.
Broken infrastructure is just as bad for riders as a BART strike. We hope that BART and our region’s leaders get the message: come together and keep BART running.
We also hope that the region’s citizens recognize that investing in our infrastructure is responsible civic engagement when the system is in need of public investment. The Bay Area is among the world’s largest economies and requires a reliable world-class transit system befitting its status.
Ultimately, vilifying public servants is no more productive than vilifying elected leaders. Both result in a race to the bottom where the only participants left are those comfortable with a good public shaming.
It is ridiculous to think that choking off BART’s resources will lead to a better BART.
ABOUT THE EAST BAY LEADERSHIP COUNCIL
The East Bay Leadership Council (EBLC) is a private-sector, public-policy organization that advocates on issues affecting economic vitality and quality of life and represents leaders of business, industry, education, government and the nonprofit community. www.eastbayleadershipcouncil.comRead More