SACRAMENTO – Assemblywoman Bonilla’s groundbreaking AB 1592, which was signed on Thursday, September 29th by Governor Brown, will authorize the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) to test the first fully autonomous vehicle, not equipped with a steering wheel, brake pedal, accelerator or operator, on a California public road. This bill, which expands CCTA’s existing transportation technology testing program, will help advance the development of connected vehicle and autonomous vehicle technologies.
“California has always been a global leader in innovation and as transportation technologies evolve, so must our laws and regulations,” said Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord). “With the passage of AB 1592 our state will prove to the federal government and the rest of the nation that California remains the leader, and that the deployment of autonomous vehicles without the presence of a driver can be done safely and successfully.”
CCTA is currently testing autonomous vehicles at GoMentum Station, one of the world’s largest secure transportation proving grounds, located within the former United States Navy weapons station in Concord. AB 1592 authorizes CCTA, to conduct a pilot project to test fully electric and autonomous, low-speed, multi-passenger, vehicles at GoMentum Station and a private business park in Contra Costa County. The shared autonomous vehicles, referred to as people movers, have the potential to transform mobility as the first-and-last mile connectors to larger mass transit platforms. Upon completion of the pilot project, the vehicles will be utilized to increase transit ridership, eliminate the need for expensive and space-consuming parking structures, reduce the use of single occupancy vehicles on the state’s congested roads and highways, while improving the safety, convenience, and efficiency of transportation.
“Our state has been in a transportation infrastructure crisis with a severe shortfall in funding for repair and improvements to our roads and highways,” said Bonilla. “In addition, we have set necessary, but stringent statewide greenhouse gas reduction goals, which driving our cars and sitting in traffic accounts for a large portion of the pollutants. AB 1592 will move us one step closer towards implementing safe, low-cost, low-emission, and flexible transportation modes, which will help us address both of these pressing issues.”
Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord) was elected in November 2010 and represents California’s 14th Assembly District, which includes Contra Costa County and Solano County.Read More
For Hispanic and low-income residents in STEM fields
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) and Mike Thompson (CA-5) today announced that Contra Costa College (CCC) will receive a $1,199,013 grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). The grant will be used for the College’s Caminos al Exito Project, which aims to improve access and opportunity in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields for Hispanic and low-income residents.
“Having a high school diploma no longer guarantees a good job. Improving access to and participation in STEM education will help today’s students be better prepared for tomorrow’s careers,” said Representative Mark DeSaulnier. “Through this grant, Contra Costa College is not only investing in its student body, but is also helping to better our communities and create a strong economy.”
“These federal dollars will strengthen our community by helping make sure someone’s first language or family income isn’t a barrier to fully achieving his or her educational goals,” said Representative Mike Thompson. “A quality STEM education can open doors for our students as they look to secure well-paying jobs after graduation. And we know that demand for qualified employees will only continue to grow in the STEM field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the number of science and engineering jobs will grow at a faster rate than that of the overall projected workforce in the years ahead. As we work to close opportunity gaps for our Hispanic and low-income students, we must make sure that a STEM education is a real option in our schools.”
“We are so pleased that the U.S. Department of Education selected Contra Costa College (CCC) to receive another Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) grant focused on expanding exposure, access and completion in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for Hispanics and low-income residents in our region,” says President Mojdeh Mehdizadeh. “Many areas of job growth in our community will require a strong STEM foundation, and our proposal is designed to help more students successfully achieve the confidence, education and skills to be competitive for these opportunities. In addition, we are excited because this grant allows us to continue our important work in promoting and supporting STEM literacy for elementary students and their parents.”
The grant is provided through the U.S. Department of Education’s Hispanic-Serving Institution’s Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics and Articulation (HSI STEM) Program. The purpose of the HSI STEM Program is to increase the number of Hispanic students attaining degrees in STEM fields and better facilitate transfers between two-year and four-year institutions in such fields.
Specifically, the funds will be used to help the Caminos al Exito Project:
- Increase access and college readiness to accelerate success in STEM for Hispanic and low-income area residents;
- Increase the number of articulation agreements in STEM disciplines with the University of California-Berkeley, University of California-Davis, University of California-Santa Cruz, California State University-East Bay, San Francisco State University, and San Jose State University; and
- Increase the retention, graduation and transfer rates of students in STEM through case management advising and high-impact educational practices.
Contra Costa College is a public community college in San Pablo serving the diverse communities of West Contra Costa County with over 6,500 enrolled students, 41 percent of which are Hispanic. Forty-five percent of the Hispanic students enrolled at Contra Costa College are both low-income and first-generation college students.Read More
Washington, D.C. – On Monday, September 26, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09), who serves on both the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology and the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, introduced legislation to increase broadband internet access for veterans. The Improving Broadband Access for Veterans Act of 2016 (H.R. 6165) directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to initiate a Notice of Inquiry examining veterans’ current access to broadband internet service and what can be done to increase access, with a focus on low-income veterans and veterans residing in rural areas.
“Broadband access is critical for the more than 20 million veterans living across the nation, with the highest population in California. Broadband access enables veterans to more easily apply for jobs and obtain necessary vocational training, connect with family and friends, get important information about their benefits and military records, and access health care services. Veterans, who fight tirelessly to protect our country, face many challenges when they return home. Not having internet access makes what is already an incredibly difficult transition process even harder,” said Rep. McNerney.
Veterans living below the federal poverty level or in rural areas are less likely to have broadband access. According to the Pew Research Center, less than half of Americans living below the federal poverty level have broadband internet access at home. Analysis by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce further finds that internet adoption in rural areas is lower than in urban areas.
“It is critical that we find ways to ensure that the more than 1.4 million veterans living below the federal poverty level and the 5.3 million veterans residing in rural communities have broadband access,” said Rep. McNerney. “By directing the FCC to examine current broadband access for veterans and what can be done to increase it, the Improving Broadband Access for Veterans Act will pave the way for getting more veterans online. By further directing the FCC to focus on veterans residing below the federal poverty line and in rural areas, my bill will help make sure these veterans are not left behind.”
Congressman Jerry McNerney represents California’s 9th Congressional District which includes portions of Contra Costa, San Joaquin, and Sacramento Counties. For more information on Rep. McNerney’s work, follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @RepMcNerney.Read More
Endorsed by Assemblyman Frazier, Brentwood Police Officers’ Association, County Prosecutors’ Association and Antioch community leader Iris Archuleta
With absentee ballots getting mailed out next week, Brentwood City Councilmember Steve Barr wanted to inform the public that he is running a strong campaign for County Supervisor, displaying his commitment to using tax dollars responsibly, and share some of his key endorsements.
Barr, who was the top vote getter in the primary election, is currently in a runoff that will be decided November 8th. As a Brentwood City Councilman he has made both fiscal responsibility and public safety top priorities.
“I decided to run for Supervisor because there is a lot of important work that needs to be done regionally such as providing regional public safety resources, making sure East County gets its fair share of transportation funding, andhelping our agricultural community,” said Barr. “And we need to do this in a fiscally responsible way, making sure we have money saved for when there’s the next recession or downturn.”
Barr has many accomplishments as both a City Councilmember and former School Board Trustee. From building the new Brentwood Dispatch Center that will improve public safety regionally, to helping manage a roads and paving program that was voted by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission as the best in the Bay Area, Barr has found ways to provide great service while cutting excess, pushing community priorities, and saving money. This was a big part of why Barr earned the endorsement of the East Bay Times.
Barr’s direct style and honesty has helped him accomplish a lot, and it also has earned him the support of many individuals and leaders throughout the District. The Brentwood Police Officers’ Association, the County Prosecutors’ Association, and many other community leaders, organizations, and elected officials from across the district have all joined up to support Barr because they know he is someone they can always work with, even if they disagree.
“Steve’s openness, willingness to listen and his ability to be upfront and honest in his responses are refreshing,” said community leader Iris Archuleta. “He doesn’t pretend to know everything, but is clearly caring enough to learn.”
Assemblymember Jim Frazier agreed.
“Steve is a true leader who doesn’t crave the spotlight, but shows up for the tough assignments, is very direct and honest, and uses his financial skills to make sure our tax dollars are spent wisely,” Frazier stated. “He is the leader I trust and know everyone can work with.”
Barr responded to the comments.
“I appreciate the support of law enforcement and community leaders,” he said. “I look forward to working with them to improve things in our county.”
Barr’s background includes being a small business owner for 35 years and a former Liberty Union High School District Trustee. He is married, and he and his wife have two children.
Contra Costa County’s 3rd Supervisorial District includespart of Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Byron, Knightsen, Bethel Island, Diablo, Blackhawk, and Tassajara. Please visit www.SteveBarrForSupervisor.com for more information about the campaign.Read More
The Contra Costa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is conducting interviews of candidates in the November election throughout the county. The completed videos can be viewed on the group’s Facebook page or heard on SoundCloud.
Below is a list of the candidates who are participating in the video interviews and the release status of their videos.
“We’re aiming to get all the videos released before the ballots hit the mailboxes and Early Voting/Absentee Voting By Mail begins on October 10th,” said Evodio “Vo” Walle, President-elect and Chair, Government Affairs Committee of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Contra Costa County,
|Anamarie Avila Farias||Interview Pending|
|Federal Glover||Interview Pending|
|Ben Johnson||Interview Pending|
|Harmesh Kumar||Video Released|
|Carlyn Obringer||Release Pending|
|Edi Birsan||Video Released|
|Pablo Benavente||Video Released|
|Cesar Zepeda||Release Pending|
|Jael Myrick||Interview Pending|
|Catherine Baker||Interview Pending|
|Cheryl Cook-Kalio||Release Pending|
|Lamar Thorpe||Release Pending|
|Frederick Rouse||Interview Pending|
|Juan Banales||Release Pending|
|Jelani Killings||Release Pending|
|Wade Harper||Release Pending|
|Mister Phillips||Interview Pending|
|Sean Wright||Interview Pending|
|Cherise Khaund||Interview Pending|
|Fernando Sandoval||Interview Pending|
|Mary Rocha||Interview Pending|
|Carlos Taboada||Interview Pending|
|Antonio Medrano||Interview Pending|
|Laura Canciamilla||Interview Pending|
For more information about the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce visit www.hc5.org.Read More
A press release from County Supervisor Federal Glover’s office on Friday, provided the following information regarding the challenges facing and what transpired during an attempted inspection by Glover and other county officials in August, of the Bay Point Homeless Recover Shelter of Love-A-Child Missions.
The clock is ticking for Love-A-Child Ministries, a privately run shelter for women and children in Bay Point.”
“If necessary, the county is prepared to assist in making arrangements for housing” for the women and children currently living at Love-A-Child, said Supervisor Federal Glover.
The shelter’s executive director, Jerome Knott has defaulted on $216,000 loaned to Love-A-Child by the Sacramento-based Nehemiah Community Reinvestment Fund. The (Contra Costa) county is not a party to this financial transaction. In addition, the privately run shelter owes over $100,000 in back taxes and other debts.
At stake are the 70 beds and the people currently living at the shelter, who through no fault of their own, are in danger of losing their shelter.
After reaching an agreement with Knott for an August 10 inspection, Nehemiah and county officials, including Supervisor Federal Glover, attempted to inspect the facility only to meet resistance from Knott and his staff. Knott was emphatic – at one point shouting at Glover – that he would not allow the visit to continue as planned.
Fearing that the situation could get out of hand, Glover asked that (Sheriff’s) deputies be sent to the facility.
“The officers showed up within minutes,” said David Fraser, the supervisor’s chief of staff, who was among the visitors.
Fraser also pointed out that in order to avoid a confrontation, Nehemiah needed to obtain a court order, which the deputies would then be able to enforce.
The Nehemiah representative agreed to that procedure and the visitors, which included the county’s homeless services director and a Building Code Inspector, left the facility. Nehemiah plans to conduct an inspection of the facilities in October and start the process of foreclosure.
The lender agreed to work with the county so that the people currently living there will not have to seek alternative housing or move their belongings.
Since Love-A-Child has had numerous building code infractions in the past, there is a possibility the current facility might not meet the county’s health and safety standards for a shelter.
“There is a dire need for shelter beds in our county,” said Glover. “We don’t want to see the women and children become homeless because of the poor financial decisions by Love-A-Child’s operators.”
For more information about Love-A-Child Missions and their Bay Point shelter, visit www.loveachildmissions.org.Read More
The existing Brentwood Center is costing $68,000 a month and its location is not suitable as it sits in a high density retail establishment.
The new center is planned to be completed and open approximately Sep 2020 to support student needs in a 17 acre environment in the Trilogy/Marsh Creek Road Location.
I support the Governing Board’s decision to go ahead with the center as part of phased plan for enrollment with the first phase planned to support forecasted enrollment with a future phase to increase capacity as enrollment increases.
The initial facilities that are being constructed will provide what is required for the existing student population and is not expected to reach capacity for many years, at which point the 2nd phase of the project will be reviewed for additional construction. This is a smart approach as it ensures that the costs are aligned with the needs of students when it opens and for future students.
Mr. Enholms position’s has resulted in numerous delays. Delaying the construction of the center would not serve the needs of the district or its students and would ultimately result in higher costs with no benefits to the district, its students and its taxpayers.
Delays also impact the jobs of workers who would contribute to its construction.
Mr. Enholm who was an instructor at DeVry and Heald, the two failed for-profit institutions, four years ago ran on the platform opposing the 17-acre campus and advocated for a 110-acre campus.
He voted for the Brentwood Center as part of the Governing Board recommendation and helped in its bond passage, but continues to pursue a bigger campus even though no location is available and a bigger campus is not approved by the Community College Board.
If a bigger campus were to be built it would mean a tax increase for working families. The need for a larger campus is not practical or a wise use of taxpayer dollars. The LMC campus has unused capacity and forecasted enrollment trends shows that an extension Center will meet the needs of future students as enrollment starts to creep up. The trend of on-line classes also continues to grow reducing the need for increased facilities.
There were discussions early on to move from the planned Trilogy and Marsh Creek Road location, however a feasibility study concluded there is no reasonable alternative to the original site, and the governing board voted 4-1 not to move the site, which it had already purchased. BART had urged possibly moving the site to Highway4 and Mokelume Trail, however, the BART Board had made no official decision to pursue property for a future eBART station near the intersection of Highway 4 and the Mokelumne Trail.
We have no secured land for a site near an eBART.
It would take an additional three or four years and cost an additional $750,000 or more in site-selection processing expenses alone. The move would also need to be approved by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors or the district could risk losing lose $1.1 million per year in current revenue. Pursing a new larger campus could result in a 10 year delay at a minimum and impacting the services that are required for students.
The existing construction at planned facility at the 17 Acre center is estimated at this time to be $43.6 Million dollars. The costs to move to a 110 Acre campus would be astronomical in comparison with the taxpayers footing the bill for this increase, with no current basis for its usage based on enrollment needs and trends compared to the approved 17 acre campus.
Mr. Enholm’s delaying tactics in stalling the construction has already cost the district thousands of dollars. Mr. Enholm continues to advocate for a larger campus for Antioch, Oakley and Brentwood. However, unless those communities are willing to pay an increase in taxes, as the entire District taxpayers would not support it based on past tax increase elections. A key reason Measure E passed was because there was something for every taxpayer.
Mr. Enholm continues to advocate for a campus in Antioch and Oakley and stated in part that the reason he won his first election was that he went before those communities and told them he would help build a larger campus. However, these communities were informed that Mr. Enholm did not have the authority of Board approval for such a statement.
Mr. Enholm’s desire to move the campus may be more in self-interest as these new campuses would be in Ward 5, which he presently represents. The planned Brentwood Center is located outside of his ward. Self-interest is never a reason to lobby for change that is not beneficial to the larger community, especially our students.
We need fresh eyes, new ideas, and a leader who can bring people together in order to solve problems with practical ideas and future thinking.
Fernando is listening. Fernando has the education, experience, and commitment to bring needed change.
Vote wisely November 8th.
Resident of Ward 5
The 76-acre Hanson Hills property on the eastern slopes of Mt. Diablo, will become part of the future Deer Valley Regional Park, extending the park’s southern boundary to Marsh Creek Road. The East Bay Regional Park District purchased the former ranch land, located south of Antioch and west of Brentwood, from Save Mount Diablo for $730,000, its appraised fair market value. East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy contributed $547,500 toward the cost and funds from Measure WW covered the remainder.
“This beautiful property will be a tremendous asset for generations of East Bay residents,” said Park District Board Member Diane Burgis, whose ward includes the Hanson Hills property. “It’s also a critical part of the Marsh Creek watershed. We’re thrilled to be able to protect this ecologically sensitive area forever.”
The property encompasses canyons and ridges covered with blue-oak forests and native grasslands, as well as a seasonal stream that drains to Marsh Creek. The ridgetops provide panoramic views of Mt. Diablo, the Marsh Creek corridor and Morgan Territory Regional Preserve. It’s also home to eagles, hawks, coyotes, mountain lions, deer, foxes and other species. The acquisition secures important land links that provide habitat for a number of special status species including the California red-legged frog and Alameda whipsnake.
The acquisition represents an important piece in long-term efforts to preserve land around Mount Diablo. Save Mount Diablo acquired the property from the Hanson Family in April, 2014. The Hanson children, now all in their 80’s, remember fishing for steelhead with their grandfather in Marsh Creek, just across the road, and camping out on warm nights atop the tallest hill. It was important to the family that the land they love so dearly be protected forever.
Ted Clement, executive director of Save Mount Diablo, spoke to the importance of partnerships in conserving land in the region.
“We are thrilled to help ensure the permanent protection of 76-acre Hanson Hills through our partnerships with the East Bay Regional Park District and the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy,” Clement said. “With this transaction not only have we preserved essential wildlife habitat and ensured the protection of a strategic parcel that can later support outdoor public recreation and education, but we have also generated funds to protect more lands around Mount Diablo.”
“This acquisition is another positive step for conservation in east Contra Costa County,” said Pittsburg Councilman Salvatore Evola, chair of the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy board. “It is valuable to have a local land trust, the East Bay Regional Park District and the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy working together to conserve valuable landscapes for species while also providing park and recreation opportunities for the growing population.”
The land will remain closed to the public (“land banked”) until the Deer Valley Regional Park Land Use Plan is completed.
Save Mount Diablo is a non-profit 501(c)(3) conservation organization, which has been preserving lands on and around Mount Diablo and educating the public to the mountain’s natural values since 1971. Preserved lands have increased from 6,788 acres in one park to more than 110,000 acres in more than 40 parks and preserves. Save Mount Diablo continues to preserve, defend and restore the remainder of the mountain for people and wildlife to enjoy. Contact: Save Mount Diablo, telephone: (925) 947-3535, fax: (925) 947-0642, 1901 Olympic Blvd., Suite 320, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; www.SaveMountDiablo.org
The East Bay Regional Park District is a system of beautiful public parks and trails in Alameda and Contra Costa counties east of San Francisco Bay, established in 1934. The system comprises 120,700 acres in 65 parks including over 1,250 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature learning. www.ebparks.org
For information, please contact East Bay Regional Park District public information supervisor Carolyn Jones at (510) 544-2217, email@example.com.
Detectives from the Sexual Assault Unit of the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Investigation Division have arrested 21-year-old Lafayette Thomas of San Francisco following an investigation.
Alleged acts of molestation that occurred in August in unincorporated Oakley were brought to the attention of the Office of the Sheriff. Detectives immediately launched an investigation and confirmed them. Thomas was arrested last Thursday, September 22, 2016.
Thomas was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on three counts of child molestation and one count of sexual battery. He is being held in lieu of $205,000 bail.
Thomas, who lives on Treasure Island, is known to frequent parks in San Francisco, including Golden Gate Park. Detectives believe there may be additional victims. Thomas is known to inappropriately contact children in parks.
Anyone with any information is asked to call (925) 313-2625. For any tips, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866-846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.Read More
On Wednesday, September 28, 2016, at about 11:35 PM, Valley Station Deputy Sheriffs were dispatched to a report of a carjacking at a residence on the 4300 block of Conejo Drive in unincorporated Danville.
Two armed suspects apparently entered the victim’s garage after he arrived home. One of the suspects stole some of the victim’s personal belongings and a black colored 2014 Honda Pilot SUV. The second suspect got into a white colored sedan with paper license plates.
The vehicles fled westbound onto Camino Tassajara and Sycamore Valley Road. Danville Police Officers spotted both vehicles as they approached Highway 680 and initiated pursuits of both vehicles. The pursuit went onto northbound 680 and westbound on Highway 24 before being terminated.
The carjacked Honda Pilot was later found abandoned in the city of Oakland in the area of Oakland Avenue and Pearl Street.
The suspects remain outstanding. The victim was not injured. The investigation is continuing. Anyone with any information on this incident is asked to contact the Office of the Sheriff at (925) 313-2600. For tips, email: email@example.com or call (866) 846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.Read More