Passenger in one car died, Bay Point man and woman in other car in critical condition
On Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, at about 12:51 AM, Contra Costa CHP was advised of a two-vehicle traffic collision at Port Chicago Highway and Wharf Drive in Bay Point. Upon Officers and emergency personnel arrival, they located a 1997 Chevrolet Camaro and 2008 Dodge Ram in the side yard of a residence at 1 Wharf Drive, Bay Point, both with major collision damage. An unidentified male passenger from the Chevy Camaro was pronounced deceased on scene. In total, one male passenger died at the scene, the male driver and female passenger of the Dodge both suffered major life-threatening injuries and are in critical condition at a local John Muir Hospital. The male driver of the Chevy also sustained major injuries but non-life-threatening and he was arrested for suspicion of felony DUI driving and manslaughter for killing his passenger. He too is at a local John Muir Hospital.
In the initial investigation, it appears that the driver of the Chevy Camaro, Raul Moreno Ochoa, Jr., – born 12/12/1991 – from Concord, was driving the Camaro westbound on Port Chicago Highway approaching Wharf Drive at a high rate of speed. The male driver of the Dodge Ram, 51-year-old male from Bay Point, was traveling northbound on Wharf Drive and came to a stop at the stop sign at Port Chicago Highway. Then he made a right turn onto eastbound Port Chicago Highway. As Ochoa drove the Camaro westbound at a high rate of speed, for unknown reasons he veered across the center line, driving wrong way in the eastbound lane, and directly in the path of the Dodge. Ochoa crashed the Camaro head on with the Dodge. The impact was so great, both vehicles were catapulted back and into the side yard of the residence at 1 Wharf Drive.
The 51-year-old male driver of the Dodge and his 46-year-old female passenger, both from Bay Point, sustained major life-threatening injuries and are currently listed in critical condition at John Muir Hospital. Ochoa’s male passenger died at the scene. Ochoa sustained major injuries but non-life-threatening and is also at John Muir Hospital. He was placed under arrest for the following charges: FELONY DUI DRIVING – 23153(a)VC and MANSLAUGHTER – 192(5)PC. Alcohol and drugs are a factor in this collision.
This collision is still under investigation but if you witnessed either one of these vehicles prior to the collision, or have any information regarding this collision, please contact Contra Costa CHP at (925) 646-4980.Read More
By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff
The Bayo Vista Youth Mural Project is the successful product of an art appreciation class taught by noted Bay Area artist Fred Alvarado. The class is part of the Bayo Vista Community Livability Community Initiative sponsored by the Office of the Sheriff, in partnership with the Housing Authority of Contra Costa County.
The Office of the Sheriff is hosting a dedication ceremony for the mural at the Bayo Vista Community is located at 1 California Street in Rodeo, today, Wednesday, February 21, 2018, at 4:30 PM.
The Youth Mural Project was developed to provide an opportunity for youth living in Bayo Vista to learn more about the influence of art in our communities. The students met with Alvarado three days a week with the goal of designing a mural for the outside wall of the Office of the Sheriff substation. Alvarado worked with the group to come up with a theme and design for the mural and explored their ideas of inspiration and symbolism to be represented in the art work. They titled the mural “Future” to represent the students’ concept of the future and to reinforce the importance of education, knowledge, community, teachers, leaders, innovators, and inspiration.Read More
By Bryan Scott
East of Clayton and Antioch lies a broad swath of what used to be Contra Costa County farmland. The California State Senator representing this area, Steve Glazer, seems to be ignoring the public safety needs of the people who now live there.
While East County used to contain just 8,000 residents and the largest irrigated orchard west of the Mississippi, the 249-square mile area now contains the cities of Brentwood (2016 pop. 60,532) and Oakley (pop. 40,622), along with the unincorporated communities of Bethel Island, Byron, Discovery Bay, Knightsen, and Morgan Territory.
All combined East County has a rapidly growing population of over 115,000 Californians.
A 2016 report by the Contra Costa County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) stated that emergency medical and fire services provided by the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD) were funded at a rate of $94 per-person. The report also said that these same services were funded at the rate of $449 and $370 per-person in central parts of the county.
This low funding level has forced ECCFPD to close five of the eight fire stations operational in 2010, and drastically reduce staff. Response times are at levels that far exceed any industry standards or goals.
In an interesting parallel, the nearby city of Lathrop in San Joaquin County has experienced significant growth and continues to grow due to its location along Interstate 5. From 2000 through 2016, according to the US Census Bureau, it grew by 97%. Lathrop’s 2016 population was 22,073, and the city expects to be at 35,000 by 2020.
The fire and emergency medical services that Lathrop Manteca Fire District (LMFD) provides are funded at a rate of $316 per resident (2016). Lathrop is part of a 100 square-mile, mostly rural, area served by LMFD, with over 30,000 total area residents. The district has four fire stations, 33 career firefighters, and 25 reserve/volunteers.
Yet, in East Contra Costa, have steadily deteriorated and the population and development grew. In 2016 ECCFPD recognized the funding crisis, called a “public safety emergency” by another elected official, and passed a resolution pleading for help from Senator Glazer and others in the legislature. You can view Resolution No. 2016-21 on the ECCFPD website.
The crisis was also the subject of reports by the Contra Costa County Grand Jury and a government task force, and it was noted by industry consultants as well as the media. Concerned residents have erected a billboard along Vasco Road, a major arterial route into East County, drawing attention to the crisis.
“The District lacks sufficient funds to provide fire and emergency response to the communities it was created to serve,” said a three-page letter the ECCFPD Board sent to Senator Glazer in 2016, signed by then Board President Joel Bryant.
So far, Senator Glazer has done little or nothing to address this issue.
A review of bills authored or co-authored by Senator Glazer shows a wide range of subjects. He’s sponsored ten “Awareness” month/week/day bills, several bills to ban smoking on public beaches and in parks, and one bill to change the names of California places because the names commemorate Civil War-era figures.
But he’s authored or co-authored no bills to improve the public safety of his ECCFPD constituents.
The Courage Campaign is a group of mostly online organizations that advocate for progressive causes in California. Representing an estimated 1.4 million members, the Courage Campaign uses digital tools with grassroots community organizers and targeted messaging.
The group focuses on the areas of Economic Justice, Human Rights and Corporate and Political Accountability. It annually ranks California Senators and Assembly Members, and for 2017 Courage Campaign gives Senator Glazer a letter grade of “F,” along with a numeric score of 32 out of 100.
The “Courage Score” as it is called, grades California legislators on political courage, how well they stand up for their constituents. While 16% of the all California Senators received an “A” grade, 40% received an “F” grade in 2017, including Senator Glazer.
According to the California Senate website, each Senator represents 931,349 Californians. So the residents of the ECCFPD service area represent only about one-eighth (12.35%) of Senator Glazer’s district.
It is clear that Senator Glazer is not acting to address or improve the public safety emergency involving his constituents of the ECCFPD service area.
Bryan Scott is Co-Chair of East County Voters for Equal Protection, a non-partisan citizen’s action committee striving to improve funding for the ECCFPD. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 925-418-4428. The group’s Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/EastCountyVoters/.Read More
Contra Costa County Public Works Department will activate the new traffic signal at the Byron Highway and Camino Diablo intersection starting Thursday, February 22, 2018. All lanes across Camino Diablo will be open to traffic. Message boards in the area will alert drivers of the signal activation.
The completed project widened roadway pavement to provide shoulders and left turn lanes on Byron Highway and eastbound Camino Diablo. The project also installed a traffic signal, sidewalk and ADA compliant curb ramps along the north side of Camino Diablo to Main Street and upgraded the railroad crossing on Camino Diablo. This work is part of the Byron Highway and Camino Diablo Intersection Improvements project. Additional project information is available at: http://www.cccounty.us/pwdmap.Read More
As we continue to grieve the loss of 17 innocent lives in Parkland, Florida, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D, CA-11) will host a gun violence prevention town hall at Stanley Middle School in Lafayette on Saturday, February 24th.
Gun Violence Prevention Town Hall
Saturday, February 24, 2018
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Stanley Middle School, Multi-Use Room
Lafayette, CA 94549
To confirm your attendance please RSVP online at https://desaulnier.house.gov/town-hall-rsvp or call 925-933-2660. To request ADA accommodations or for more information, please contact Congressman DeSaulnier’s office.
By Daniel Borsuk
With scant protest, Contra Costa County Supervisors unanimously approved Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder Joe Canciamilla’s request Tuesday to replace the county’s aging ES&S voting system with a system made by Dominion Democracy Voting Systems, Inc.
The new voting system, the Democracy Suite System made by Dominion will be delivered in time for the special March election for the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District and will be widely put into service for the June gubernatorial election, Canciamilla said.
The county has used the ES&S voting system since 2005.
Supervisors, particularly Chairperson Karen Mitchoff and District 4 Supervisor Candace Andersen, said they had received several emails from citizens questioning the fiscal validity of acquiring a new voting system in an era of election system security vulnerability.
Andersen wanted to know why the county did not put out a request for proposal (RFP), and Scott Konopasek, assistant county registrar, answered that the Secretary of State has to certify voting equipment suppliers. There are few voting equipment suppliers that meet rigid state requirements. It happens that both Dominion Democracy Voting Systems and ES&S are voting equipment suppliers the Secretary of State has certified and an RFP is unnecessary.
But in the county’s evaluation, Dominion Democracy took top honors, said Konopasek.
In evaluating the Dominion Democracy and ES&S systems, Dominion Democracy came out on top with a score of 39 points out of 60 possible points. Dominion Democracy scored highest, especially in the areas of integrated software, ballot marking device, central count equipment and precinct count system. ES&S did not prevail in any of the 11 evaluation categories.
Canciamilla told supervisors that the Office of the Clerk-Recorder has $4.7 million to pay Dominion Democracy Voting Systems. Beginning in the second year of the contract, the office will pay $360,000 a year for six years to cover maintenance and licensing costs, Konopasek explained.
Canciamilla said the current ES&S system is rapidly deteriorating to the point that it needs to be replaced, especially now that elections will need to accommodate three languages: English, Spanish, and, starting this year, Chinese. Furthermore, ballots are bulkier with more ballot measures.
In this era of national inquiry about Russian meddling in our elections, Konospasek said the Dominion Democracy Voting Systems passes the cyber security test.
Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood questioned the vulnerability of the Dominion Democracy Voting System to cyber security threats.
“We have always had great security” Canciamilla said. “We have designated a person to manage our security.”
Voters will see no difference. They will continue to receive and fill-in-the-bubble ballots that will be tabulated by digital imaging. Poll workers will also see no difference with the new voting machines.
Before supervisors voted on the request to acquire the Dominion Democracy system, Canciamilla informed supervisors that he plans to eventually present a request to the board for the county to spend about $14 million to restore 3 million historic documents and 20 million maps that are now housed in inadequate storage. Canciamilla did not state when he will present this request or how he plans to fund the request.
“We are excited to be bringing in this new equipment that will make our operation more cost effective and reliable and ensure a secure, accessible and transparent process,” said Canciamilla.
Supervisors Authorize Agricultural Planning Hearings
At the request of District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood, supervisors voted 5-0 to authorize the Conservation and Development Department to conduct meetings with farmers and residents with agricultural interests to assist the county in a policy review and the creation of new ideas to promote an “incentive” for agricultural sustainability and economic vitality in Contra Costa County.
The county has $150,000 to spend on agricultural planning, John Kopchick, chief of the Contra Costa County Department of Conservation and Development told supervisors. He suggested that the department conduct a series of forums where 15 to 20 persons per forum can express ideas ranging from agricultural tourism to bed and breakfast establishments.
“How does cannabis get involved in this?” asked Board Chairperson Mitchoff.
“Cannabis is a background topic,” answered Kopchiick because the county does not yet have a marijuana ordinance on the books.
The department plans to conduct its first forum in April.
County Auditor-Controller Campbell Honored
The Supervisors also gave special recognition to the county’s elected Auditor-Controller Robert Campbell for his 30 years of service to the county on Tuesday.Read More
The Contra Costa County Public Works Department will perform work on Marsh Creek Road from Camino Diablo to the Clayton City limits, from February 12 through March 1, 2018. The work will occur between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m to trim back trees and vegetation along the road edge and make spot shoulder repairs.
The purpose of this work is to increase driver visibility, awareness and public safety. The work may be rescheduled based on weather conditions. Electronic message boards will alert drivers of the scheduled work. There will be traffic control through the work area and motorists can expect delays.
About Contra Costa County Public Works Department:
Contra Costa County Public Works Department (CCCPWD) maintains over 660 miles of roads, 150 miles of streams, channels and other drainage and over 200 County buildings throughout Contra Costa County. CCCPWD provides services such as Parks and Recreation, Sand Bag Distribution and Flood Control throughout unincorporated areas of Contra Costa County. For more information about CCCPWD, please visit us here.Read More
The East County Voters for Equal Protection (ECV), led by Co-Chairs Hal Bray and Bryan Scott, are encouraging voters within the 249-square mile service area of the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD) to vote “Yes” on Measure A.
A “Measure A” mail-in ballot has been distributed by mail to voters throughout the district by the Contra Costa County Clerk, Elections Division. The measure was initiated by the ECCFPD Board of Directors.
A “Yes” will reduce the number of Directors of the oversight Board from nine to five. All other fire districts in Contra Costa County have five-member boards, as do many cities, school districts and other special districts.
“An elected Board removes even the appearance of conflict between Board members, the agencies that appointed them, and the residents they represent,” said Bray. “Reducing the size of the Board will make it easier to manage the operation of the District; the District and the residents of the District win on both counts.”
All seats on the Board of Directors will be filled by an election in November of this year as ECCFPD moves from an appointed Board to an elected Board. The current nine-member board has been appointed since the creation of the fire district in 2002.
When the County’s Board of Supervisors consolidated three fire districts into a large regional district, ECCFPD, there was opposition from some East County residents who believed their community, such as the cities of Brentwood and Oakley, would lose influence.
Consequently, the largest concentration of residents, Brentwood, was given the most seats on the board, four, while the smaller city of Oakley got three seats. The much less-populated unincorporated areas of the county received two seats.
Since all Board positions will be filled by popular vote, the assignment of Board seats by political jurisdiction is no longer necessary.
The Contra Costa Taxpayers Association (CoCoTax) also encourages East County residents to vote “Yes” on Measure A.
“The best government is the most local government, with more direct access and accountability at the polling place,” said Jack Weir, CoCoTax President.
While the change will have minimal fiscal impact on district finances, the change will improve the efficiency of district administration, according to the “Argument in Favor of Measure A” submitted by Fire Chief Brian Helmick. His statement indicates it will be easier to build a consensus, he believes.
Ballots may be returned by mail, or dropped off at Oakley City Hall, Brentwood City Hall, or the Discovery Bay Community Center during regular business hours from Feb. 12 to March 6. Ballots may also be dropped off at County Elections Division, 555 Escobar Street in Martinez by 8 p.m., on or before March 6.
A County Elections Division Voter Services Center at the Brentwood Community Center will be open on Saturday, March 3, from 9 am – 3 pm, Monday, March 5, from 9 am to 6 pm, and on Tuesday, March 6, from 9 am to 8 pm, to receive ballots.
“East County Voters for Equal Protection” is a non-partisan, grass roots, citizens’ action committee formed to address the issue of unequal funding of fire and emergency medical services existing in 249 square miles of Eastern Contra Costa County. About 120,000 residents, as well as those who work and play in Eastern Contra Costa, have services funded at a level one-fourth to one-third of those levels in other parts of Contra Costa County. For more information contact committee Co-Chairs Hal Bray at email@example.com or Bryan Scott firstname.lastname@example.org. The group’s Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/EastCountyVoters/Read More
SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Jim Frazier, D-Discovery Bay, issued a statement on Thursday, after the Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced it is significantly altering the proposed WaterFix project to construct one larger tunnel first and build a second tunnel later.
On Wednesday, the DWR sent a memo to the local public water agencies participating in the development and construction of California WaterFix and issued the following statement from DWR Director Karla Nemeth.
The memo further states “The option for a first stage includes two intakes…one tunnel, one intermediate forebay, and one pumping station.”
Frazier responded with the following statement:
“The Department of Water Resources is trying to sell its latest WaterFix revision as a one-tunnel plan, but that is smoke and mirrors,” Frazier stated. “Their plan still calls for two tunnels. The new plan still poses the same threat to the Delta’s environment, agricultural economy and way of life. There still is no cost-benefit analysis or economic justification for the project. The project still does not create a single ounce of new water.
DWR has shape-shifted the size of the tunnels. This is now an entirely new project. The process must start over from the beginning, with an entirely new Environmental Impact Report. The proposed new and even larger tunnel will have even greater ecological and economic impacts on the Delta.
DWR can’t just amend the EIR and biological opinions and pass it off as legitimate. The size and scope of a project this size demands a thorough process and the ability for the people of the Delta to voice their concerns.
DWR’s method for estimating the cost of its revised plan is also curious. Instead of doing a comprehensive cost analysis for the revised proposal, they gave us lazy math. They just took $16.3 billion cost estimate they have been using and chopped it into thirds.
When I was a construction contractor, I couldn’t just change my building plans without bringing it back for review. DWR and the Administration should not be exempt from process that all building projects are subject to in California, especially on one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the state’s history.”Read More