By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office
The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office announced today that Patrick Morseman of Vallejo was charged with four felonies for unlawful sex acts involving two inmates at the West County Detention Facility. Morseman was a Deputy with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office and was assigned to the West County Detention Facility on the date the incidents occurred.
Morseman’s charges are specified penal code violations for sexual activity with a detainee in a jail. Morseman is charged with having unlawful oral copulation and sexual intercourse with the inmates in a jail cell during his shift on March 31.
Morseman was initially arrested by the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office on April 4 and released on $100,000 bail. The District Attorney’s Office requested that bail be set at $200,000.
Pursuant to state law, the identities of the victims will not be released as this is a sex crimes case. The victims in this case were offered victim assistance services by the District Attorney’s Office.
Morseman is facing a possible maximum sentence of five years in state prison. Arraignment is scheduled for a later date.
Case Information: People v. Morseman, Docket Number 02-327516-7Read More
By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff
On Wednesday, May 2 at about 10:56 AM, Orinda Police Officers responded to a report of a robbery at the Citibank on Orinda Way in Orinda.
An armed male suspect robbed a teller and apparently fled in a vehicle after receiving some cash.
Through witness descriptions and surveillance video, the Orinda Police Department, assisted by Detectives from the Lafayette Police Department, were able to identify the suspect.
The suspect was later stopped and detained on Mt. Diablo Boulevard in Lafayette. A search warrant was later served on the suspect’s home in Lafayette.
The suspect is identified as 54-year-old Valentino Luchin of Lafayette. He was later arrested and booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on one count of robbery. He is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
According to his Linkedin profile, Luchin is the Chef/Owner of Ottavio Osteria restaurant in Walnut Creek. However, the phone number listed for the restaurant is disconnected and results of an online search for it shows that it is closed.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.Read More
May 12th Candidate Workshop will demystify the process of campaigning
Contra Costa County residents who may consider running for office are encouraged to attend a free workshop being held by the County Elections Division this month.
The Candidate Workshop will be held Saturday, May 12th from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm at the Pacheco Community Center, located at 5800 Pacheco Boulevard in Pacheco.
The workshop is designed to remove the mystery from running for office. Experts will cover what’s involved in running for office, including how to file and appear on the ballot, campaign finance disclosure requirements, strategies for spreading a message through the media and social media, and what happens when candidates are in the public eye.
“Being a public servant is a worthwhile endeavor, but there are many steps to get your name on the ballot. It can be confusing and daunting to those unfamiliar with the process,” said Joe Canciamilla, Contra Costa Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters. “Our goal is for anyone who attends the workshop to leave feeling confident and energized to take that next step to successfully run for office.”
The workshop includes a panel of former elected officials from a variety of local offices who will share their experiences as candidates, including what inspired them to run for office.
For more information, visit the Contra Costa Elections website at www.cocovote.us.Read More
By Daniel Borsuk
Contra Costa County Supervisors unanimously launched on Tuesday a full-scale probe into whether radioactive tainted soil was illegally dumped at the Keller Canyon Landfill near Pittsburg.
At the request of District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg, who had initially learned about the allegations after reading a San Francisco Chronicle newspaper article about how Hunters Point Naval Shipyard contractor, Tetra Tech’s radioactive debris removal practices dating back to 2011 may have wound up at the Contra Costa County landfill and other state landfills not designated for nuclear waste. Supervisors requested that the Navy investigate the allegations and report back to the supervisors in 30 days.
Having the Navy come back in and investigate the Tetra Tech contract is the priority item supervisors have in mind, but board chair Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill said in order to quickly get the attention of the Navy to act on this issue the county also needs the political clout of state and federal legislators. She also requested that Tetra Tech pick up any costs associated with soil testing at Keller Canyon Landfill.
In the meantime, supervisors requested the county hire a soils specialist to detect if the landfill contains radioactive materials that could have been illegally deposited by Tetra Tech. The soils consultant contract does not require supervisors’ approval if it is less than $50,000.
District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood wanted to hear from Tetra Tech, which did not send a representative to the supervisors’ meeting, over a number of incidents when radiation monitors at the entrance of the Pittsburg landfill have reportedly been triggered.
“I want to put a hold on Tetra Tech and Hunters Point deliveries to Keller Canyon,” Burgis demanded.
Keller Canyon Landfill General Manager Rick King informed supervisors Republic has stopped accepting truck loads from Tetra Tec since the news coverage broke on April 22.
“We’re doing everything we can,” said King in preventing nuclear tainted material from winding up at the landfill. He explained how the radiation monitors work, the 24-hour security, and other security procedures Republic Services uses to block truckloads of illegal material from entering and unloading debris at the landfill.
With the Hunters Point project, Keller Canyon Landfill has 13 different profiles, King said. “Every truck load needs a manifest or it won’t be allowed to enter the landfill. Then it has to pass our radiation monitors,” he said.
From 2011 to 2017, Keller Canyon received 223,000 tons of waste from Hunters Points Shipyard, according to county Health Department records. On two occasions, June 2014 and February 2015 soil and material had to be returned to Hunters Point, according to Marilyn Underwood, Director of Environmental Health for the Contra Costa County Department of Health Services. The details on the contents of those two loads were not released.
“You should have appointed the city of Pittsburg as the lead enforcement agency,” warned former Pittsburg City Councilmember Nancy Parent. Parent said the county has not been able to properly monitor the landfill, especially now that it is a Grade 2 landfill capable of accepting dirt from Hunters Point. “It’s all about money” Parent said.
At one point, Board Chair Mitchoff entertained the idea of whether the county should cease being the lead enforcement agency of Keller Canyon, but none of her board colleagues supported that idea.
“This is a complicated issue. We need to get the right people at the table. We don’t have the expertise. We need to have a report back in 30 days,” Mitchoff ordered.
“I really do appreciate my colleagues for the enthusiastic support in involving the Navy, getting our state and federal legislators involved and making sure that our constituents know that the county serves as the lead enforcement agency on this matter,” said Glover.
Pasadena-based company Tetra Tech Chief Executive Office Dan Barach said in a statement:
“In light of the barrage of recent and misleading media reports, Tetra Tech is compelled to defend itself and its work at Hunters Point.
“Our company has sought to follow all the required standards and protections and to operate in a thorough, honest and professional manner to provide testing and clean-up services as required by our contract. We are proud of our high standards and professionalism on this contact, and all the work we perform for clients. Equally important, we have worked to make this site, and all sites where Tetra Tech works, safe for community members and residents.
$454,772 Sheriff-Coroner Livescan Contract OK’d
Supervisors voted 5-0 in approving a five-year $454,772 contract with Gemalto Cogent to maintain the Sheriff-Coroner Office’s Livescan fingerprint system. The contract is in effect from Jan. 1, 2018 through Dec. 3, 2022. The Sheriff-Coroner Office Livescan is used identify persons involved in motor vehicle crimes. Supervisors approved the contract as a consent agenda item.Read More
Sheriff’s Marine Patrol assisted by Coast Guard helicopters, state Fish and Wildlife, Contra Costa Fire
By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff
Saturday morning at approximately 8:25, Marine Patrol deputies heard a distress call on the radio. It was reported that two men had fallen off a boat near the Antioch Bridge and were struggling in the water. Marine Patrol units responded immediately and within minutes arrived on scene. A deputy located one of the victims who was pulled out of the water by a passing boater. The other boater was missing. The boaters were apparently at the time attempting to set an anchor to fish when their boat was hit by a wake causing both to fall overboard. Both of them were not wearing life jackets.
The missing boater is not being identified at this time. An extensive area search by Coast Guard helicopters, state Fish and Wildlife, and Contra Costa Fire and Sheriff’s Office patrol vessels was suspended at about 3:30 PM. He was not located.
Anyone with any information on this missing boater is asked to contact the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff at 925-646-2441.Read More
Nonprofit organizations and government agencies wishing to apply for a grant from the Keller Canyon Landfill Mitigation Fund are invited to a Bidders Conference, April 30.
The Keller Canyon grants are from $500 to $10,000 and given to services and events that will benefit residents of Bay Point, Pittsburg and parts of Antioch and Concord, said Supervisor Federal Glover, who oversees the grant program on behalf of the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors.
Interested applicants are REQUIRED to attend:
Keller Canyon Bidders’ Conference
April 30, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
California Theater, 351 Railroad Ave, Pittsburg
Generally, applications that fall into the following general categories will receive consideration:
- Youth Services – specific activities projects that benefit children/youth
- Code Enforcement – activities focusing on clean communities
- Public Safety – related to law enforcement, crime prevention, etc.
- Community Beautification
- Community Services – broad category of public benefit activities
The deadline for applications is May 18. After an initial screening, you may be requested to give a 5-minute oral presentation during the week of June 18, 2018 – June 22, 2018. Awards for the fiscal year 2018-2019 will be announced in July.
At the Bidders’ Conference, county staff will provide grant information and general technical assistance on the submission requirements.
For more information about the Bidders Conference, the Keller grant or the application process, contact Brittney Jones, at (925) 608-4200.Read More
Matter to be heard at next Tuesday’s Board meeting
Supervisor Federal Glover has directed Contra Costa County Staff at next Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting to provide the Board with an update concerning the allegations of malfeasance by Tetra Tech EC Inc. at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. The allegations concern possible radioactive materials being deposited at landfills across the state including possible contaminated material that might have been sent to the Keller Canyon Landfill.
“I am very concerned about these allegations and want a full report from staff on this issue,” Glover stated. Healso said that he expects County staff to follow up with further review of the issue after the Board meeting next Tuesday.
“I want staff to thoroughly investigate these allegations and determine whether or not the Keller Landfill was sent contaminated material,” Glover continued. “I want to make sure the residents of Contra Costa County are protected and that this matter is fully addressed.”
He said that the matter will be heard in front of the Board of Supervisors during its regularly scheduled session starting at 9:30 AM on May 1, 2018 in the Board Chambers at 651 Pine St., Martinez.
Was under investigation for claims of sexual contact with a juvenile in Las Vegas
By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff
Sheriff-Coroner David O. Livingston announces that a Coroner’s Jury has reached a finding in the December 18, 2017 death of 49-year-old Antonio Malinao Cacatian of Richmond. The finding of the jury is that the death was a suicide.
According to the Washington Post, Cacatian was a San Francisco police officer and “The Las Vegas Police Department was investigating claims that Cacatian had inappropriate sexual contact with a juvenile in the Nevada city…” Richmond Police pulled him over in the Hilltop Mall parking lot, where he then fatally shot himself. (See Post article, here).
The Coroner’s Jury reached the verdict after hearing the testimony of witnesses called by the hearing officer, Matthew Guichard.
A Coroner’s Inquest, which Sheriff-Coroner Livingston convenes in fatal incidents involving police officers, is a public hearing, during which a jury rules on the manner of a person’s death. Jury members can choose from the following four options when making their finding: accident, suicide, natural Causes, or at the hands of another person, other than by accident.Read More
By Daniel Borsuk
Contra Costa County supervisors moved closer to adopting in June a commercial marijuana ordinance on Tuesday, and unanimously increased a three-year moving contract without raising a single question.
The officials approved a $3.5 million contract extension for Metropolitan Van and Storage to provide moving services countywide through the end of its three-year contract that expires on May 31, 2019. The supervisors’ approval boosts the overall payment limit to Metropolitan from $4 million to $7.5 million.
Placed on the agenda as a consent item, none of the five supervisors had asked to have Item No. 31 pulled from the agenda for discussion and action at a meeting where the elected officials were clearly more focused on a progress report from the county Conservation and Development Department on a draft cannabis ordinance, an agenda item that drew 53 speakers.
When asked about the moving contract agenda item, board chairperson Karen Mitchoff said she was unaware of the Metropolitan contract item being on the consent agenda.
“I am informed about what consent items are to be pulled for discussion by my staff,” Mitchoff said. “This item was not brought to my attention by staff.”
County Administrator David Twa said he had reviewed the Metropolitan contract increase and found no irregularities.
The county needs to add $3.5 million to the Metropolitan Van and Storage contract in order to complete the three-year contract that expires in May 2019, newly appointed Public Works Directors Brian Balbas said.
While admitting the spending of the initial $4 million “came as a bit of a surprise” to him, Balbas said about 50 percent of the 2,266 invoices Metropolitan Moving submitted for 1,429 jobs came from, three major county departments – Assessors Department, Employment and Human Services Department and Health Department.
In addition to moving furniture and other material, Balbas said Metropolitan Moving also takes down and erects cubicles in county department offices.
When asked if the extra $3.5 million will cover the next 12 months of the contract, Balbas responded, “I sure hope so.”
Supervisors Aim for June 26 Marijuana Ordinance Adoption
Supervisors set the stage to adopt a cannabis zoning ordinance on June 26 after listening to long list of speakers, mostly opponents to the legalization of recreational marijuana. On July 10, supervisors are scheduled to consider adopting health and tax measure ordinances that will go before the voters, perhaps in November.
After nearly two hours of public testimony coming mostly from residents in Supervisor Candace Andersen’s District 2, a district widely opposed to the sale and cultivation of recreational marijuana, the supervisor commented, “In a perfect world, I’m for a moratorium.” The supervisor hinted she might vote against the county ordinance because of the overwhelming opposition from her constituency, even though the county Department of Conservation and Development has spent hundreds of manhours and attended 27 community meetings around the county to inform the public about the county’s proposed marijuana ordinance.
District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg, who had earlier observed most of the proposed cannabis zoning is located in his district along Highway 4, remarked, “We need to make sure the safety measures are put in place and that won’t occur unless a tax is passed by the voters. Until that happens this ordinance will not be enforced.”
When Dr. Phillip Drum, a marijuana legalization opponent, listed butane explosions and a number of other reasons why supervisors should stop developing a marijuana ordinance even though 61% of Contra Costans approved Proposition 64 in 2016, Board Chair Mitchoff pointed out the Contra Costa ordinance will prohibit the use of butane to extract oil from marijuana plants.
The proposed ordinance will feature zones for commercial cultivation, retail storefront, delivery only, manufacturing/processing, distribution and testing.
For personal cultivation, the county is proposing six or less plants for indoor, private cultivation and not more than three plants that are more than five feet in height for outdoor cultivation.Read More
Contra Costa County Administrator, David Twa, has proposed a $3.5 Billion ($1.6 Billion General Fund) Budget for FY 2018-19 that is balanced and will provide critical services to the residents of Contra Costa County. Twa said that “the proposed spending plan includes funding increases to community service providers, allows the County to continue building its financial reserves, provides funding for new capital projects including a new Emergency Operations Center, and supports the county workforce of over 9,500 Employees.”
Chair of the County Board, Karen Mitchoff, said that “while the County is well positioned going into the next fiscal year, there continues to be storm clouds on the horizon.” She pointed out that “State and Federal funding combined with the County’s limited discretionary revenues will continue to fall short of the rising costs necessary to provide critical services to County residents.”
While the Budget includes $13 million in additional funding for Public Works projects as a result of the Gas Tax passed last year by the Legislature, (SB 1) there is a proposed repeal effort that may be on the November election ballot. Chair Mitchoff said that “If repealed, this would substantially reduce the ability of the County to meet necessary road and bridge repair projects.”
The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to adopt the Budget for 2018-19 during its regularly scheduled session on May 8, 2018 in the Board Chambers at 651 Pine St., Martinez.Read More