Washington, DC – On Thursday, the Committee on Armed Services in the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), H.R. 4909, which authorizes our nation’s defense spending. Included in the bill is a provision offered by Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), which would require the Navy to investigate the circumstances surrounding the treatment of sailors at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in Concord, California. The NDAA now moves to the floor of the House for consideration.
“Today marks an important milestone in the continued fight for recognition of the Port Chicago 50. A provision requiring the Navy to investigate whether racial bias was experienced by this group and to report their findings to Congress passed in the Armed Services Committee and is one step closer to becoming law,” said DeSaulnier.
While facing institutional segregation in the Navy, 435 African American sailors, who were not properly trained or supported, were killed when a cargo vessel exploded. This incident accounted for more than 15 percent of all African American Naval casualties during World War II. When 50 of these men understandably refused to return to the unsafe working conditions that killed their fellow sailors, they were discriminately charged and convicted of mutiny.
“I appreciate the support this measure received from my colleagues, and I will continue working to move this legislative effort forward until all of these sailors are completely exonerated,” DeSaulnier concluded.Read More
County Supervisors are seeking residents interested in reviewing data and discussing issues regarding disproportionate minority contact within the local criminal justice system. On April 12,
2016, the Board of Supervisors approved the 17 member Disproportionate Minority Contact Task Force composed of the following members:
- County Probation Officer
- Public Defender
- District Attorney
- Health Services Director
- Superior Court representative
- County Police Chief’s Association representative
- Mount Diablo Unified School District representative
- Antioch Unified School District representative
- West Contra Costa Unified School District representative
- (5) Community-based organization (CBO) representatives (at least 1 representative from each region of the County and at least one representative from the faith and family community)
- Mental Health representative (not a County employee)
- Public Member – At Large
Following passage of Assembly Bill 109, commonly known as Public Safety Realignment, significant program infrastructure, both within the County and in the community, were put into place to support returning citizens with successful reentry into the community following incarceration; however, there remain factors that contribute to minority residents experiencing disproportionate levels of arrest, prosecution and incarceration. Cities and counties across the nation are grappling with the same issue, but precipitating factors and solutions are unique to each jurisdiction.
In Contra Costa County, the Board of Supervisors has charged the newly established Task Force with identifying these unique factors and recommending solutions to improve the experience of minority residents across the County. The Board is seeking applications for seven (7) of the seats above; five (5) community based organization seats, one (1) Mental Health representative seat and one (1) Public member At-Large seat at this time. Applicants for community based organizations seats must be affiliated with a community based organization operating within the County. Applicants for the Mental Health representative seat must be involved in the mental health community within the County, but cannot be a County employee.
Applicants for the Public Member At-Large seat may be any individual that resides or works within the County.
Applicants will be interviewed by the Board of Supervisors’ Public Protection Committee (Supervisors Candace Andersen, District II and John Gioia, District I) with appointment recommendations being sent to the full Board of Supervisors for action. Below is a timeline for the recruitment:
- June 15th: Application Deadline (7 week application period)
- June 27th: Public Protection Committee Meeting: Interviews
- July 12th: Board consideration of PPC nominations
Application forms can be obtained from the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors by calling (925) 335-1900, or by visiting the County webpage at www.co.contra-costa.ca.us. Applications should
be returned to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, Room 106, County Administration Building, 651 Pine Street, Martinez, CA 94553. Applications can also be faxed to (925) 335-1913.Read More
Detectives from the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Investigation Division are continuing to investigate the killing of 47-year-old Kimberly Hoglund of East Richmond Heights.
On Wednesday, April 13, 2016, it was brought to the attention of the Office of the Sheriff that Hoglund was missing and that foul play may be involved. Detectives served a search warrant on a home in East Richmond Heights and discovered a possible crime scene, but did not locate Hoglund. The next morning, Detectives detained a suspect, who was later arrested and booked into the Martinez Detention Facility. 37-year-old Dylan Reese of El Sobrante is being held on homicide and assault with a deadly weapon charges; his bail is set at $1.3 million.
Detectives and Crime Lab personnel searched a home on Appian Way in El Sobrante in an effort to locate Hoglund. On Tuesday, the body of Hoglund was found in a shallow grave on the property. Detectives say Hoglund was last seen on March 28, 2016 and likely died shortly thereafter. Her family filed a missing persons report on her on April 12, 2016.
The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office yesterday filed formal homicide charges against Reese and a second suspect, 43-year-old Andre Villedrouin of Richmond, who remains outstanding.
Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of Villedrouin is asked to contact the Office of the Sheriff at (925) 646-2441. The Investigations Division can be reached at (925) 313-2600. For any tips, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (866) 846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.
On Monday, morning April 25 at about 4:45, Office of the Contra Costa County Sheriff dispatch received a report that an armed robbery was taking place at the California Grand Casino at the 5900 block of Pacheco Boulevard in Pacheco.
Deputies responded along with officers from nearby law enforcement agencies. A perimeter was set up and employees and customers were evacuated.
Suspect description: Male, 6′, approximately 200 pounds, wearing a full face Halloween mask, black hoodie jacket, dark pants, orange gloves, armed with a semi-automatic rifle.
Anyone with any information on this robbery is asked to contact the Office of the Sheriff Investigation Division at (925) 313-2662. (See more photos on the County Sheriff’s Facebook page).
On Saturday, April 30, 2016, from 10 AM to 2 PM, the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its 11th opportunity in six years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your pills for disposal at the following sites. The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
DROP OFF LOCATIONS:
-Office of the Sheriff Muir Station, 1980 Muir Road, Martinez (Field Operations Building)
-Office of the Sheriff Bay Station, 5555 Giant Highway, Richmond (West County Detention Facility)
-Danville Police Department, 510 La Gonda Way, Danville
-Lafayette Police Department, 3675 Mt. Diablo Way, Suite 130, Lafayette
-Oakley Police Department, 3231 Main Street, Oakley
-Orinda Police Department, 22 Orinda Way, Orinda
Last September, Americans turned in over 702,000 pounds of prescription drugs at over 5,000 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,800 of its state and local law enforcement partners. When those results are combined with what was collected in its ten previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 5.5 million pounds—more than 2,750 tons—of pills.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.
For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the April 30, 2016 Take Back Day event, go to the DEA Office of Diversion Control website at: www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov.
Antioch’s Mayor Wade Harper and Councilwoman Monica Wilson are failures. Antioch is no safer or better off since their elections. Their impacts haven’t been positive in many ways. Their visions for Antioch have allowed Antioch to be a crime plagued community under their leadership. Don’t vote for them for County Supervisor.
Some of Harper’s primary election campaign platforms was to improve Antioch’s public safety. He boasted “The City of Antioch will be a safer city on my watch” and “Stopping crime now starts with Police Lieutenant Wade Harper.” It additionally crowed “How about we elect a City Councilmember who has experience fighting crime – well beyond talking about it.”
Harper also promised “more police” and “less crime” in his overzealous support for a YES vote on tax Measure “C”. What a farce that has also turned out to be, he was one of the main proponents for its passage. Same Police, similar crime results since. Monica Wilson was right there going along and not pointing out the farce it’s been.
Antioch’s Police manpower has really not been increased, even with Harper and Wilson at the helm, with almost the same number of sworn Officers as before. But, they did give big salary and benefits increases to some employee groups instead. Antioch’s crime rate hasn’t really been reduced, it’s been a misleading dog and pony show when publicly discussed by them and others.
As an example, where are the 20 plus “more” Officers that were promised? And where is the “less crime” they promised? Not kept. Antioch’s high crime rate situation is still way too high! Antioch’s documented crime rate is higher than the California average crime rate and is higher than the National average crime rate. Antioch’s is about 46% more than California’s average and about 49% more than the National average.
Let’s face it, Antioch’s Wade Harper and Monica Wilson are failures and should not be voted for County Supervisor. We can do better without them. There are four other Candidates to chose from and should instead be considered for your votes.
Ralph A. Hernandez
former Antioch Council Member, and
Chair Citizens For DemocracyRead More
Assemblywoman Catharine Baker (R-San Ramon) honored ECOlunchbox as the Small Business of the Month for the month of April on Friday, April 22, just in time for Earth Day. ECOlunchbox was founded in 2009 by Sandra Ann Harris of Lafayette with the mission of helping people reduce their dependence on plastics by providing an ecofriendly alternative to the standard plastic lunchware.
“I am pleased to recognize ECOlunchbox as our April Small Business of the Month, and I thank ECOlunchbox founder, Sandra Ann Harris, for contributing to the vitality of our local economy,” said Baker. “Sandra is not only running a highly successful business in our community, she is also leading the way for a cleaner environment by reducing waste from our landfills and oceans one reusable container at a time, and doing so as a mom working from home.”
ECOlunchbox produces non-leaching stainless steel lunchboxes and cotton lunch bags, all of which are plastic- and waste-free. In addition to selling its products online at ecolunchboxes.com, ECOlunchbox uses its website as a resource to share information about the impact plastic has on our planet and advice for families about reducing exposure to toxins found in plastics.
“We’re a small, green, woman-owned social venture based in Lafayette,” said Harris. “What a thrill to get a call that we’re being recognized by Assemblywoman Baker as business of the month. Forward-thinking leaders, like Assemblywoman Baker, know that businesses like ECOlunchbox are good for the economy – as well as for people and planet.”
ECOlunchbox has sold more than 280,000 lunchboxes since it was founded seven years ago on Harris’ kitchen table, and is responsible for averting the use of tens of millions of pieces of plastic trash from use and disposal.
“It’s important we be good stewards of our environment,” Baker added. “Let’s treat every day like it’s Earth Day.”Read More
Each year, the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), in partnership with the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), participates in the California State Classified School Employee of the Year (CSEY) program, coordinated by the California Department of Education. Recently, the CCCOE and ACSA announced this year’s honored employees.
Contra Costa County Classified School Employee of the Year Honorees
Steve Waters, Campus Resource Assistant, Pittsburg Unified School District, Campus Resource Category
Norma Arreguin, Instructional Aide, Brentwood Union School District, Para-Educator and Instructional Assistant Category
Mark Mortenson, Maintenance Craftsman, Orinda Union School District Maintenance, Operations and Facilities Category
Vickey Corker, Secretary, Student Services, Byron Union School District, Office and Technical Category
Jeri Sutherland, Library Media Coordinator, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Support Services and Security Category
Maxine Williford, Business Office Technician, John Swett Unified School District, Transportation Category
Contra Costa County Classified School Employee of the Year Nominees
Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities Category:
Donald Howard, Welder, West Contra Costa Unified School District
Jeanette Navarro, Custodian I, Pittsburg Unified School District
Greg Wiggs, Lead Custodian, Contra Costa County Office of Education
Office and Technical Category:
Ellena Ashley, Maintenance & Operations Technician, Pittsburg Unified School District
Martha Collins, Human Resources Assistant II, Contra Costa County Office of Education
Jenny Goodspeed, District Advisor, Contra Costa County Office of Education
Lina Gramatikova, District Payroll Audit Specialist, Contra Costa County Office of Education
Lisa Gruen, Human Resources Technician, West Contra Costa Unified School District
Brenda Kozak, School Administrative Secretary, Contra Costa County Office of Education
Sylvia McClaflin, Special Education Administrative Technician, West Contra Costa Unified School District
Janice Rodriguez, Senior Accounting Assistant, Contra Costa County Office of Education
Debra Shelby, Administrative Assistant II, Contra Costa County Office of Education
Michelle Snyder, College & Career Coordinator, Liberty Union School District
June Stephens, Electronic Communications Specialist, Contra Costa County Office of Education
Jennifer Wall, Administrative Assistant III, Contra Costa County Office of Education
Heidi Wise, Office Manager, Martinez Unified School District
Para-Educator and Instructional Assistance Category:
Stone Chandler, Special Education Assistant, West Contra Costa Unified School District
Raquel Enriquez, Instructional Aide, Pittsburg Unified School District
The CSEY program, sponsored by the CCCOE/ACSA, highlights the contributions of exemplary classified school employees that support and play a key role in promoting student achievement, safety, and health in California public schools, from preschool through 12th grade.
“We are proud to participate in the Classified School Employee of the Year Program,” said Karen Sakata, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools. “These amazing individuals are instrumental in promoting student learning and ensuring that our schools, districts and county offices operate smoothly and efficiently.”
All nominees will be recognized at a reception sponsored by the CCCOE, on April 28. The California state’s awardees will be honored at a luncheon in Sacramento, during Classified School Employee Week, May 15-19, 2016.Read More
Imagine the thrill of winning a blue ribbon at the Fair for a special talent. Think you own the best pig, bake the most delicious apple pie, made a beautiful quilt, or have an uncanny knack for making crafts? Want to see who’s the best in all of Contra Costa County? Then be sure to enter the Contra Costa County Fair’s competitive exhibits. There’s something for everyone. Download our Exhibitor Handbook and find the best division for your special talent.
All entries must be entered online or postmarked by April 30th. Walk in entries must be received by April 29th by 4 pm at the fair office.
Check our website for entries instructions and more information on entry requirements.
Don’t wait, enter early, and often……..
This year’s fair will be held Thursday, June 2 through Sunday, June 5 at the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds, 1201 West 10th Street in Antioch. For further information, please visit www.contracostafair.com.
OAKLAND – Anthony Keslinke, 48, of Danville, was sentenced to four years in prison today for his leadership role in a large-scale bank fraud conspiracy and a separate money laundering conspiracy, announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge John J. Martin, and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge Michael T. Batdorf.
Keslinke pleaded guilty in May of 2015 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. In pleading guilty, Keslinke admitted that he used straw buyers to purchase real estate throughout Northern California between 2011 and 2014. Keslinke identified properties, including his own properties, that were potential candidates for a “short sale.” A “short sale” is a sale of real estate in which the sale proceeds are less than the balance owed on the mortgage loan pertaining to the property and often occurs when a borrower cannot pay the mortgage loan.
In furtherance of the scheme, Keslinke submitted offers to the financial institutions on behalf of straw buyers. In order to induce a bank to accept a short sale offer, Keslinke would draft fraudulent financial hardship letters and submit them on behalf of the seller of a property. In addition, in order to give the appearance to the financial institutions that the properties were worth significantly less than true fair market value, Keslinke often altered engineering and pest reports associated with the properties. Moreover, in furtherance of his scheme, Keslinke often altered bank account documents to create the appearance that the straw buyers had sufficient funds to purchase the properties in cash. Once a financial institution accepted a particular property for a short sale, Keslinke used his own funds to purchase the property in the name of the straw buyer. After a short sale was completed on a particular property, Keslinke maintained control of the property and often sold the property for a significant financial gain. Keslinke admitted using this mortgage fraud scheme to orchestrate the short sale of properties in Danville, Walnut Creek, and Kings Beach, California.
Keslinke also admitted that between August of 2013 and February of 2014, he met on multiple occasions with an undercover agent purporting to be a drug dealer. Keslinke accepted a total of $550,000 from the undercover agent. In an attempt to conceal the true source of the funds, Keslinke repeatedly deposited the money received from the undercover agent into business bank accounts under his control. Keslinke then attempted to launder the money by wiring it from his business bank accounts to an account controlled by the undercover agent. Keslinke routinely kept 8-10% of the money provided to him from the undercover agent as a fee for his services.
The sentence was handed down by United States District Judge Jon S. Tigar. In addition to the prison term, Judge Tigar also ordered the defendant to pay a forfeiture judgment in the amount of $2,086,405 and a fine of $50,000. Keslinke also agreed to forfeit $1,722,426 in cash seized from his residence and his bank accounts. Judge Tigar also ordered Keslinke to pay $1,427,916 in restitution to the victims of the charged crimes. Judge Tigar also sentenced Keslinke to a three-year period of supervised release.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Aaron Wegner and David Countryman are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Vanessa Vargas and Carolyn Jusay. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the DEA and IRS. The Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office and Livermore Police Department also provided assistance during the investigation. The investigation was conducted and funded by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a multi-agency task force that coordinates long-term narcotics trafficking investigations.Read More