On Saturday, October 27, 2018, from 10 AM to 2 PM, the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public another opportunity 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 du ring the National Prescription Drug TAKE BACK DAY. The DEA cannot accept needles or sharps, only pills, patches, and liquids sealed in their original container. 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, 3471 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette.
-Orinda Police Department, 22 Orinda Way, Orinda.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish at home 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 Take Back event, go to the DEA Office of Diversion Control website at: www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov.Read More
On Tuesday, October 23, 2018, at approximately 12:17 p.m., the Lafayette Police Department received a call of a suspicious subject in the area of School Street and 1st Street, near Lafayette Elementary School. The citizen reported a male adult sitting in a vehicle touching his genitals while staring at children.
The citizen provided a description of the subject and the vehicle as the subject drove away. Officers were able to locate the vehicle on eastbound Highway 24 prior to Pleasant Hill and conducted an enforcement stop. The driver was positively identified as the reported subject and was detained.
Currently, there have been no reports of children seeing the subject and the citizen caller was an adult.
The suspect is identified as 33-year-old Franklin Rivera of Bay Point. He was later booked into the Martinez Detention Facility for indecent exposure. He is being held in lieu of $5,000 bail.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to call Lafayette Police Detective Sergeant Rossberg at (925) 299-3234 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.Read More
Send letter to Homeland Security Secretary over changes to federal “public charge” rule changes which could adversely affect illegal immigrants
By Daniel Borsuk
Unlike 15 years ago, a new study with a potential crackdown on illegal dumping in unincorporated Contra Costa County might succeed, with an infusion of money, the possible assistance from the county’s two chief trash collectors, and the installation of surveillance cameras at hotspots where illegal haulers go to dump their loads.
Even though the county launched earlier this year its permit program for private haulers, there are telltale signs the program might be in trouble because not enough haulers can afford to buy the permits to legally pickup, haul and dump trash at authorized sites.
Supervisors are scheduled to receive an update from the county Health Department on the new trash haulers license program at their Nov. 6 meeting.
“I’ve seen haulers park their trucks in residential neighborhoods because they have no other place to go,” said District I Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond, whose district receives most of the illegally dumped litter in the county. He speculates those haulers probably illegally get rid of their hauls by dumping their load in empty dumpsters. “There is more illegal dumping in North Richmond than anywhere else,” said Gioia.
Bay Point places second in luring the most illegal dumping. Bay Point is so serious that in less than a year the Bay Point Blight Program collected more than 13 tons of trash, the Illegal Dumping Think Tank County Interdepartmental Team reported. “Illegal dumping in Bay Point is so bad that at time it spills onto streets and sidewalks,” the report stated.
The illegal dumping problem is so bad countywide that last July the county launched a $1.82 million interdepartmental team activity to identify strategies to wipe out the county’s chronic illegal dumping problem that cost the county more than $1.2 million to clean up litter in 2017-2018, but had only budgeted $400,000 for a part-time private contractor to pick up illegal litter for the current fiscal year.
District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg said he saw many of the same recommendations 15 years ago when another anti-litter study was conducted.
“We have not found the right mechanism that fits,” he said. “We still have the illegal haulers. They can still pick up and dump illegally, especially in Bay Point.”
Supervisor Gioia agreed with Glover that 90 percent of the task force’s recommendations resemble those proposed in a 2003 study, but county Conservation & Development Department Director John Kipchak, who lead the illegal dumping think tank effort, listed six of the 55 recommendations that supervisors should pay particular attention.
Those recommendations include setting aside $10,000 for public outreach, budgeting $58,000 for mandatory garbage service, establishing a free mattress recycling program, on-call right-of-way debris removal by Public Works and on-call right-of-way clean-up by franchise haulers (Republic Services and Mt. Diablo Resource Recovery that will require increased garbage rates), dedicate two law enforcement deputies to investigate dumping crimes at an additional cost of $566,000 and the installation of surveillance high definition, license plate reader cameras at a cost of $50,000.
Supervisors were interested in in hearing how the city of San Pablo has curbed illegal dumping with the installation of 165 cameras located in strategic hotspots in a in a city that is six square miles, said city Public Works Director Jill Mercurio. San Pablo has plans to install more cameras, Mercurio said, because they have proven to help law enforcement arrest the illegal dumpers at an economical cost.
Mt. Diablo Resource Recovery representative Sal Evola, who also serves on the Pittsburg City Council, said while the company and the county’s other major commercial garbage hauler, Republic Services, have not been involved in the county’s illegal dumping initiative, both companies would be willing to provide input at future meetings. Getting the two garbage haulers involved in the county’s trash initiative could give the county’s illegal trash initiative an extra incentive.
Supervisors learned the county has a private contractor who picks up illegal dumped trash around the county at a yearly price tag of $400,000. Contra Costa County Public Works Department Deputy Director Mike Carlson was unable to exactly answer supervisors’ questions as to how frequently the on-call contractor picks-up litter, but he said the contractor actually picks up litter two days a week for the county and the contractor may take up to four to six weeks before the contractor gets to a reported litter area for cleanup.
Supervisors Oppose Proposed Rules Changes to Federal Public Charge
Concerning a new United States Department of Homeland Security published proposed change to the “public charge” in the Federal Register, the Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to instruct staff to send a letter to the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Senate and House leader and the Contra County Federal Congressional Delegation to declare the board’s opposition to the proposed rule change to public charge.
A public charge is someone who is likely to become dependent on the government for subsistence.
Contra Costa County Employment and Human Services Director Kathy Gallagher, Contra Costa County Health Services Director Anna Roth, and Contra Costa Housing Authority Director Joseph Villarreal recommended that the rule change would impose “grave economic and health consequences” to the county’s immigrants.
“While the proposed public charge changes are primarily directed toward applications for Legal Permanent Residency for those already in the United States, there could be an overall chilling effect of causing uncertainty and confusion among immigrant families about using public programs for themselves and their children,” Contra Costa County Human Services Director Gallagher wrote in her recommendation to the supervisors. “Not only would disenrollment or foregone enrollment lead to worse health outcomes and greater poverty risk for the families foregoing benefits, but public health at-large could be affected by sicker individuals in the community, increased emergency room use and uncompensated care.”
Rene Zimmer of the Contra Costa County Economic Opportunity Council urged supervisors to oppose the rule change by labeling it a “disturbing rule.”
Antioch City Councilman Lamar Thorpe said that this rule change promotes “unnecessary fear” in community.
$1.2 Million Landscaping Contract Awarded
Supervisors awarded Dominguez Landscape Services, Inc. a $1.2 million contract to provide landscape maintenance services countywide from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2021.
The county is searching for ways to reduce water usage at county facilities. The contractor will convert the grass and green ground cover to drought resistant plants that require less water.
Capital Road Program OK’d
The county’s Capital Road Improvement Preservation Program for 2018/2019 to 20124/2025 was unanimously approved without comments from the public. The county road improvement program for the next seven years is paid through state gas tax revenue, a source of revenue state voters will decide on the Nov. 6 ballot with Proposition 6. The CRIPP lays out road projects for the Contra Costa Public Works Department for the next seven years.Read More
At their Tuesday, Oct. 9th meeting, County Supervisors recognized October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Supervisors urge residents to participate in efforts to stop domestic violence in our homes, schools, and in our community. About 40 percent of California women experience physical intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. In 2017 state law enforcement agencies received 169,362 domestic violence-related calls and had 90 domestic violence deaths, 80 were females and 10 were males.Read More
Also honored by County Supervisors
By Daniel Borsuk
During their meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 9, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors honored Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Chief Jeff Carman for receiving the Ronny Jack Coleman Fire Chief of the Year Award from the California Fire Chiefs Association (CalChiefs).
Carman was presented the award at the association’s annual conference in Sacramento on Friday morning, Sept. 28.
The California Fire Chiefs Association established the award in 2000 to recognize an outstanding member of the state fire service leadership community. The award recognizes a single individual who is a role model for all fire chiefs in the state as demonstrated through leadership and management locally, regionally and statewide.
“The prestigious Ronny Jack Coleman Fire Chief of the Year Award recognizes our member who is a role model for all fire chiefs statewide,” said Jeffrey Meston, President Elect, CalChiefs and Chief, South Lake Tahoe Fire Department. “And, owing to his leadership, and the accomplishments of his district under that leadership, I am pleased to award Jeff Carman this year’s Fire Chief of the Year award on behalf of CalChiefs.”
Carman leads a 400-member ConFire in providing fire and emergency medical response to more than 1 million people in a 304-square-mile area in Contra Costa County.
During his nearly five-year tenure, the chief and his staff have reopened four stations that were closed during the recession, staffed the fire rescue boat, and improved overall fire response times. They also planned and executed implementation of the Offices of Emergency Services Type 2 Hazardous Materials Response team, and developed and expanded a joint venture with the Sheriff’s Office helicopter program for short-haul rescue and firefighting.
Chief Carman and his staff were also created a unique 911 emergency ambulance system called Alliance, a private-public partnership with AMR, which supervisors credited for saving tax dollars and providing improved response times.
“I’m honored to accept this award on behalf of the men and women of our district whose dedication, professionalism and selfless service have made all our accomplishments possible these last five years.,” said Jeff Carman, Fire Chief, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District. “I’m also thankful for the leadership and vision of our county administrator and his staff, and our incredibly supportive fire board members who have, together, created the collaborative environment essential to our success on behalf of the citizens of Contra Costa County.”
Supervisor Karen Mitchoff said Carman has been a “strong voice on statewide mutual aid” at a critical time of large, widespread fires.
“I really appreciate the leadership you have demonstrated, to bring ConFire out of a very challenging situation,” Supervisor Candace Andersen said.
Carman added, “I’m eager to continue our work here, and with my fellow fire chiefs, across the state, to challenge the status quo and continue to drive change in how we deliver better and more effective fire and EMS services to the citizens of our state.”
About Contra Costa County Fire Protection District
Contra Costa County Fire Protection District is a recognized fire service leader providing fire and emergency medical services to more than a million people across a 304 square-mile area, in and around the 20 cities of Contra Costa County, California. In 2017, the District responded to nearly 74,000 fire and EMS emergencies and provided expert medical care in the conduct of more than 75,000 ambulance transports. The District with 25 fire stations and nearly 400 employees is dedicated to the preservation of life, property and the environment.
About California Fire Chiefs Association (CalChiefs)
CalChiefs is a professional association whose vision is to be the voice of the California fire service covering the spectrum of fire and EMS delivery, actively engaging in legislation that affects service delivery throughout the state, including national issues. CalChiefs membership includes leaders at all levels from the more than 800 municipal fire service agencies and fire districts (paid, combination & volunteer), state and federal government agencies, and corporate fire brigades operating in the state of California and associated colleagues from fire service support organizations and vendors.
Allen Payton and the Richmond Standard contributed to this report.
Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D, CA-11) will host a town hall meeting at Lovonya DeJean Middle School in Richmond on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 6:30 p.m.
This will be Congressman DeSaulnier’s 74th town hall and mobile district office hour since coming to Congress in January 2015. During the town hall, Congressman DeSaulnier will provide a legislative update on what is happening in Washington, take questions from constituents, and discuss the services his office can provide.
Richmond Town Hall
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Lovonya DeJean Middle School
3400 Macdonald Avenue
Richmond, CA 94805
Doors Open at 6:00 p.m.
This event is open to the public, press, and photographers.
Please RSVP by visiting https://desaulnier.house.gov/town-hall-rsvp or calling 925-933-2660. To request ADA accommodations, translation services, or for more information, contact Congressman DeSaulnier’s office in either Richmond or Walnut Creek.
Lately, I have had a number of people ask me about crime statistics in Antioch. More specifically, they want to know how our current crime rate compares to the crime rate prior to Measure C being approved by voters back in November 2013. Below is a graph comparing Antioch’s Part I crimes for the first nine months of 2013 to the first nine months of this year. (They can also be viewed on the City’s website at https://www.antiochca.gov/police/crime-statistics/)
Pretty staggering results! Overall, violent crime is down 39.9% and property crime is down 25.5%, resulting in a Total Part I Crime reduction of 28.2%.
This data clearly shows that Antioch is a safer community than it was five years ago. Now, by no means am I saying Antioch is crime-free, or even as safe as we would like it to be. It’s not. However, we have made great strides over the last five years in making our city safer. But like many things that happen over a period of time, the results aren’t as obvious to those of us who live here and are acclimated to the environment we see every day.
I’d like to share a personal story as an analogy to this. About 13 years ago, I weighed 320 pounds. I made some eating and lifestyle changes, and eventually lost over 100 pounds. This was very difficult for me to do and took more than a year to accomplish. The sad part about this was while I was losing weight, I continually felt as though my physical appearance was not changing. I saw myself every day, picking apart every flaw, and continually feeling as though I was making very little (if any) progress. It was not until I saw a picture of myself at my heaviest, and compared it to a more recent picture, that I was able to appreciate the change I had made.
Some people have a preconceived notion about Antioch. And for them, every single incident of crime reported helps justify their opinion. Also known as confirmation bias, this is the mentality of someone who fails to see the forest for the trees. Antioch previously had the unfortunate distinction of being one of the most dangerous cities in California. That is no longer the case. In fact, the most recent list I saw (just published last week) had Antioch down to #51 (https://www.roadsnacks.net/most-dangerous-cities-in-california/). By no means is this perfect or even ideal. But it’s a marked improvement from where we were.
There is still a lot of work needed to make Antioch safer. But the men and women of the Antioch Police Department have been, and are still, committed to doing the best we can with the staffing and resources we have to improve the safety of our community. I believe the funding generated by Measure C has enabled the Antioch Police Department to make a measurable impact on the crime in our city over the past five years. Measure W, on this November’s ballot, is intended to continue providing the Department funding that could be used for programs and staffing to further reduce crime in our community.
As your Chief of Police, and an Antioch resident, I am truly thankful for everything and everyone working to keep our community safer!
Tammany Brooks III
Antioch Chief of Police
**The increase in Rape crimes was a direct result of the Department of Justice expanding the definition of that crime, which took effect January 2014.Read More
On October 25, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office along with our justice partners, is hosting a community forum and resource fair which will address what family violence looks like in Contra Costa County, what Contra Costa County’s response is to family violence and how law enforcement responds to family violence. Victims may feel conflicted about reporting violence in the home or may not be aware of the wide range of resources in our community that can respond to, intervene in and work to prevent these issues and keep our families safe.
32.9 percent of California women and 27.3 percent of California men experience physical violence, sexual violence and/or stalking in their lifetimes. In 2016, the National Domestic Violence Hotline received over 28,000 calls from California and nearly one-third of these had children in the home. Research has shown that only 4 percent of domestic violence murder victims nationwide had ever availed themselves of domestic violence program services. Our goal is to increase that number by letting our community members know how to get help right here in Contra Costa County.
The event will occur in Antioch at the Antioch Water Park (4701 Lone Tree Way) starting at 5:00 p.m. with the resource fair. Community members will receive a “passport” to use when visiting providers at the resource fair and will be eligible for prizes if they collect a “stamp” from each provider. A blue ribbon panel of experts from many levels of our County’s family violence response system will address the audience at 6:00 p.m. and be available for questions. After the panelists finish, the resources fair will be continue until 8:00 p.m. Food and drinks will be provided.
Victims of family violence can get help by reporting the conduct to the police, by calling the STAND! for Families Free of Violence 24-hour toll free crisis line at 1-888-215-5555 or contacting the Family Justice Centers in Richmond (256 24th St.) or Concord (2151 Salvio St., Suite 201). In any life-threatening emergency, victims should always call 911. In 2019, a new Family Justice Center location will open in Antioch to serve East County residents.
The entire program will be moderated by KTVU’s Candice Nguyen. Panelists will include:
· Dana Filkowski, Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office
· Rhonda James, STAND! For Families Free of Violence
· Devorah Levine, Contra Costa Alliance to End Abuse
· Kevin McAllister, Rainbow Community Center
· Nicole Riddick, Pittsburg Police Department
· Jason Vanderpool, Antioch Police Department
The participating agencies are as follows:
· Antioch Council for the Teens
· Antioch Police Department
· Bay Area Rapid Transit
· Brentwood Police Department
· Brentwood Union School District
· Catholic Charities of the East Bay
· Community Violence Solutions
· Contra Costa Family Justice Centers
· Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office
· Contra Costa County Employment and Human Services Department
· Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office
· International Rescue Committee
· Mexican Consulate
· Oakley Police Department
· Ombudsman Services of Contra Costa, Inc.
· Opportunity Junction
· Pittsburg Police Department
· Planned Parenthood
· Rainbow Community Center
· Rubicon Programs
· Ruby’s Place
· STAND! For Families Free of Violence
· Tourette Association of America
· Village Community Resource Center
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month.
Approve spending $41,000 for sideshow deterrence project
By Daniel Borsuk
Airplane tenants at the county’s two airports – Buchanan Field Airport and Byron Airport – will see hangar and tie-down rental rates decline as a result of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors concurring with an airports staff analysis that the rates charged at the two airports are non-competitive. The lower rates go into effect Jan. 1, 2019.
Supervisors voted 5-0 in approving the rate reductions at a meeting on Tuesday in Martinez.
Overall, the lower rates will mean the county will receive $65,514 less annual revenue for the Airport Enterprise Fund, the fund that financially operates the two airports. Unlike other county departments or operations, the two airports are run as financially self-sustaining public use facilities in accordance with the Federal Aviation Administration.
A market survey County Director of Airports Keith Freitas and his staff conducted on the county airports’ regional competitors including Livermore, Hayward, Napa, Sonoma, Stockton, and Nut Tree showed that rates at the two Contra Costa County airports were “on the high end of the rate range.”
“To best position Buchanan Field and Byron Airports to be regionally competitive, the new hangar and tie-down rates have been lowered and they will adjust every three years instead of annually,” Freitas wrote in his report to the supervisors. This will permit the Airports Division to “react and behave more like a business in order to successfully compete for marketplace in the region.”
There is currently a six-month wait for a hangar at the two airports, the airports director said and he would like to see that wait period decline even more over time.
The county’s tie-down rates are less than 40 percent occupied, the airports director’s report stated.
Pleasant Hill resident Tom Weber, who is not a pilot, supported the lower airport rates because “We need to be competitive. Our rates have been too high.”
Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood, who serves on the Airports Commission, foresees how the lower hangar and tie-down rates at the airports could potentially spark “so many opportunities” in the county. She cited how the airports could be catalysts for “really good jobs for the Northern Waterfront,” an area currently undergoing an extensive county planning study for future development.
$41,000 Sideshow Deterrence Project OK’d
Without out any comment, supervisors approved a $41,000 anti-sideshow project at the intersection of Alhambra Valley Road and Bear Creek Road. The supervisors approved the item on their consent agenda.
At the request of District 1 Supervisor John Gioia, who has received complaints from citizens about illegal sideshow activities (spinning circles and other illegal vehicular stunts) at the intersection, the county Public Works Department plans to take preventive action.
“The project consists of installing a series of 6-inch and/or 8-inch raised ceramic domes at the four approaches to the intersection,” Brian M. Balbas, Public Work Director/Chief Engineer wrote in this report to the board.
“The ceramic domes will be strategically placed along the centerline striping and in the shoulder areas. The intent of the raised features is to provide a visual, auditory, and sensory deterrence, while minimizing the impact to most road users who follow the vehicle code. The project will test if raised ceramic domes have intended deterrent effect on sideshow activities.”
But when the Contra Costa Herald contacted Balbas, the county public works chief wasn’t too optimistic that the ceramic domes will spoil the enthusiasm of the sideshow participants. “They’ll find a way to either scrape them off or demolish the ceramic domes in order continue their sideshows,” he said.
Supervisors also heard Arthur Road resident Jonathan Katayanagi describe how sideshows and speeding cars have made his neighborhood dangerous for children and anyone living in the area. Recently there was an auto accident on Arthur Road, sparking increased concerns about sideshows and dangerous auto stunts. Katayanagi told the Herald perhaps his neighborhood should also get the ceramic dome street treatment like what Public Works will soon install at Alhambra Valley Road and Bear Creek Road.
Proclaim October Diaper Need Awareness Month
Supervisors unanimously proclaimed October as Diaper Need Awareness Month in Contra Costa County as part of a countywide effort to raise public awareness and action to donate diapers to diaper banks, diaper drives, and organizations that distribute diapers to families in need.
Supervisors acknowledged the works of Sweet Beginnings Family Resource Center for its work to be recognized as the 20th Diaper Bank in California and the work of SupplyBank.Org’s Diaper Kit Assistance that distributes 18,000 TalkReadSign branded diapers and 36,000 baby wipes per month through the Concord Women and Children (WIC) Program.
Citing how the high cost of diapers imposes a financial strain, especially on low income families, can account for 14 percent of a monthly budget. Diapers can be purchased with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits, but only 27 percent of families with children in poverty receive TANF benefits.Read More
By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff
The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff is currently searching for 76-year-old Ruth Blanchard of Rodeo.
Blanchard left her residence on the 800 block of Sandy Cove Drive yesterday, October 15, 2018, at about 12:30 PM to run an er-rand and did not return home.
Her family reported her missing to the Office of the Sheriff at about 8:00 PM. Deputies immediately searched for Blanchard but were not able to locate her. Her vehicle was last seen in the area of Highway 4 and Sycamore Avenue.
The search for Blanchard is ongoing. Local law enforcement agencies have been notified, she has been entered into the state missing persons’ database and a Silver Alert has been put out. She is at-risk because of health issues.
She is described as: black female, 5’ 7”, approximately 185 pounds, brown eyes, greying short hair. She was last wearing a red shirt, black pants, and a headwrap with a rhinestone.
The vehicle she was driving is a black 2014 Toyota Sienna (minivan) with California license plates—7MCU465.
Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of Blanchard is asked to immediately call the Office of the Sheriff at (925) 646-2441.Read More