Story and photo by Daniel Borsuk
At their meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019 the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors recognized the 2018 Counties Care Holiday Food Fight participants. Last December Contra Costa County employees and elected officials raised more than $73,000. Over the past 10 years, county employees have raised $1.4 million for the Contra Costa Food Bank.
Awards for top contributors were presented to county employees or elected officials such as District Attorney Diana Becton and District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen.
The Contra Costa Food Bank serves 30,000 low income residents each year.Read More
Nine Appointed to 2020 Census Complete Count Steering Committee
By Daniel Borsuk
Since passage of Contra Costa’s Industrial Safety Ordinance (ISO) in December 1998, the landmark law hammered out between the refinery industry and local government has played a major role in driving down the number of deadly chemical incidents in the county.
On Tuesday, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors heard Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), representative Shanelle Scales-Preston read a letter from the congressman about the importance of ISO’s enactment:
“The creation of the Industrial Safety Ordinance was one of the most impactful proposals I have been involved in throughout my 35 years in public service. As a member of the Board of Supervisors at the time of the Tosco explosion in 1997, we reacted immediately to put an end to corporate profits coming at the expense of safety. We partnered with labor, industry, environmental groups, and safety experts to draft the Industrial Safety Ordinance.
“The results speak for themselves. The severity of major chemical accidents or releases in Contra Costa County has declined since its implementation. During the 1990’s, on average there was a major incident every year that caused a fatality, serious injury, or major damage. Since the ISO took effect in 1999, there have been a total of two major incidents in covered jurisdictions over a nearly 20-year period. The county continues to proactively seek enhancements, and it continues to serve as a guidepost for safety.”
District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, who was an intern in 1998, recalled negotiations were not by any means diplomatic between industry and government representatives. “Those were headbutting meetings,” she said. “Those meetings were not smoothly conducted.”
Since the enactment of ISO in 1999, the number of major chemical accidents has fallen from a high of 10 Major Chemical Accidents or Releases (MCARs) in 2001 to 1 incident each in 2017 and 2018. No MCARs were reported in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2016.
District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood, who knows about the petroleum industry’s safety measures because she has a son who works in industry, commented, “I’m proud of Contra Costa County’s contributions to refinery safety.”
In a related consent action, supervisors approved a $700,000 contract with the consultant firm Baker and O’Brien, Inc. to provide refining industry analyses in connection with refinery property tax appeals for the period from Jan. 1, 2019 through Dec. 31, 2019. These appeals typically place several billion dollars of valuation in issue, said county counsel Sharon Anderson. “Assistance is required because valuations are highly technical, requiring specialized knowledge that only industry experts have,” said Anderson.
Supervisors Support Creation of Statewide Commission on Recycling Markets
On a consent action, supervisors called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to create a statewide commission on recycling markets citing the severity of environmental impacts triggered by China’s National Sword, that nation’s strict mixed paper and plastic contamination policy.
Upon noting that China has recently enacted strict mixed paper and plastic contamination limits and import bans, that are commonly called “National Sword,” China has declared its intent to ban all recyclable materials by 2020.
The board’s resolution states:
“Whereas, local governments across California will soon have to comply with additional state regulations for organic waste diversion and processing, SB 1383 (Chapters 395, 2016) establishes targets to achieve a 50 percent reduction in the level of the statewide disposal of organic waste from the 2014 level by 2020 and a 75 percent reduction by 2025. Infrastructure required to implement these regulations is expected to cost billions of dollars; and
“Whereas, these increased diversion requirements added to recent changes to international policies and a declining global market value for recyclables, has resulted in an issue of statewide concern for the resource recovery industry, local governments, and Californians;
“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Count of Contra Costa calls for the Governor to establish a statewide Commission to address these significant challenges to our recycling markets.”
Nine Appointed to 2020 Census Complete Count Steering Committee
Supervisors appointed as a consent action nine persons to serve At-Large seats on the 2020 Census County Complete Count Steering Committee, a committee designed to set goals and objectives to identify community areas or a population group that might be difficult to count.
Appointed to the committee are Fran Biderman of Kensington, Alvaro Fuentes of Richmond, Samuel Houston of Concord, Melody Howe Weintraub of Lafayette, Terry Koehne of San Ramon, Mark Orcutt of Walnut Creek, Andres Orozco of Brentwood and Ali Saidi of Pinole.
District 3 Supervisors Diane Burgis of Brentwood chairs the committee.
Formation of the 2020 Census Complete county Steering Committee will aid the county is securing up to $362,605 in state aid to support the Complete Count campaign.
Victim/Witness Program Post Approved
District Attorney Diana Becton won supervisors’ consent approval to hire a full-time Victim/Witness Assistance Program Specialist in the Human Trafficking unit. The position will be responsible for advocacy and direct services for victims of human trafficking. The position’s salary will be $3,992 to $4,853 per month.
Approve $149,869 Payment to Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association
Supervisors also approved the payment of $149,869 to the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA) for services provided to the Contra Costa Clean Water Program during the period July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. Program funding is provided by the county and 19 cities and towns within Contra Costa County. Contra Costa County’s share is about $22,500.Read More
Promotion offered at CCAS’ Martinez & Pinole adoption centers to ensure everyone has a chance to find love this Valentine’s Day
Contra Costa Animal Services (CCAS) is offering reduced cost adoptions of all animals between February 14th and February 28th in an effort to help Bay Area residents and families find love this Valentine’s Day. During CCAS’ Big Love adoption promotion, the adoption fee for all dogs over 25 lbs, and all cats over 5lbs, will be reduced to $25. Interested adopters can take advantage of this adoption promotion by visiting CCAS’ Martinez and Pinole adoption centers to meet animals and adopt their new family member.
“Typical adoption costs range from $86-$264 at CCAS, depending on the animal, which makes this promotion a huge incentive for potential adopters,” says CCAS spokesman, Steve Burdo. “In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to find love this year.”
To view animals available for adoption, visit www.ccasd.org.
CCAS Adoption Locations
CCAS Adoption Centers
Martinez Adoption Center – 4800 Imhoff Pl., Martinez, CA 94553
Pinole Adoption Center – 910 San Pablo Ave., Pinole, CA 94564
For more information, contact Contra Costa County Animal Services’ Media and Community
Relations Manager Steve Burdo at 925-393-6836, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.Read More
Washington, D.C. – Today, in honor of Black History Month, Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) and Barbara Lee (CA-13) reintroduced a House Resolution calling for the public exoneration of the Port Chicago 50. The resolution is part of their ongoing effort, first started by former Congressman George Miller III, to bring attention and solutions to the injustice suffered by the Port Chicago 50, a group of African American sailors who were wrongly convicted of mutiny following the deadliest home front disaster of World War II at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in California.
After experiencing segregation in the Navy, 435 African American munitions sailors, who were not properly trained or supported, were killed or injured when a cargo vessel exploded. This incident accounted for more than 15 percent of all African American Naval casualties during WWII. When 50 of these men understandably refused to return to the unsafe working conditions that killed their fellow sailors, they were discriminately charged and convicted of mutiny.
“If we are to progress as a nation, it is critical that we learn from past injustices and correct our mistakes,” said Congressman DeSaulnier. “Our resolution recognizes the Port Chicago 50’s courage, celebrates their service to our country, and calls for their public exoneration. I thank Congresswoman Lee for her partnership as we work to right the wrongs of our past, and properly honor these men.”
“As the daughter of a veteran, I am deeply grateful to our men and women in uniform, who make tremendous sacrifices in service to this nation. However, our nation has not always treated our service members with the compassion and decency that they deserve. The 50 African American sailors at Port Chicago, who boldly stood against discrimination and refused to return to unsafe work conditions, should be remembered as heroes. The wrongful charges of mutiny levied against these service members were an injustice that persists to this day,” said Congresswoman Lee. “These brave men should be honored, not only for their pivotal role in the World War II home front effort, but also for their courage in the face of injustice. I am grateful to Congressman DeSaulnier for introducing this legislation and celebrating these local heroes.”
Representatives DeSaulnier and Lee have introduced this resolution in both the 114th and 115th Congress, and together they sent a letter to former President Obama requesting he acknowledge the injustice suffered by these sailors and remove these racially biased convictions from their records.
Additionally, Congressman DeSaulnier successfully included a provision to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requiring the Navy to investigate the circumstances surrounding the treatment of sailors at Port Chicago. This led to the Navy acknowledging the injustice that was served to the Port Chicago 50. DeSaulnier has also called upon the Smithsonian Institution to include information about the Port Chicago 50 in the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.
To learn more about the Port Chicago disaster and memorial visit https://portchicagomemorial.org/.Read More
SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay), chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, released the following statements on Tuesday after California Gov. Gavin Newsom delivered his first State of the State Address before a joint session of the Legislature.
“Governor Newsom inherited a high-speed rail project that is a mess. He showed he is ready to step up and take the reins as a leader, recognizing there needs to be wholesale changes. I appreciate his realistic and common-sense approach to this project.
The governor also has a soft spot in his heart for the intellectually and developmentally disabled and recognizes that we need to step up our game to better support the special needs community.”
The governor also announced he will appoint a new member to the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors, with the expectation the new appointee will become chair. Frazier responded with the following statement:
“I applaud the decision to appoint Lenny Mendonca to the High-Speed Rail Authority Board with the governor’s intention that Mendonca become chairman. An investigation by State Auditor Elaine Howle revealed a pattern of repeated failures at the Authority, under the direction of current Chairman Dan Richard, with hundreds of millions in cost overruns and a lack of honesty and transparency. That is just one reason I have been advocating for a change in leadership. I have high hopes for Mr. Mendonca to lead the High-Speed Rail Authority to complete the scaled down project the governor outlined in his State of the State Address today. A change of leadership at the HSRA was long overdue.”
Regarding Newsom’s announcement on scaling back the twin Delta tunnels to a single tunnel project, Frazier, whose district encompasses a large portion of the Delta, issued the following statement:
“I’m grateful Governor Newsom has been willing to listen to local stakeholders in the battle for the future of the Delta. His unequivocal denunciation of the twin tunnels project is a step in the right direction. I look forward to working with the governor to convince him there are alternative water delivery solutions that are economical and can be delivered in a timely manner, nullifying the need for even a single tunnel.”
Assemblymember Frazier represents the 11th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Antioch, Bethel Island, Birds Landing, Brentwood, Byron, Collinsville, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Isleton, Knightsen, Locke, Oakley, Pittsburg (partial), Rio Vista, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Walnut Grove.Read More
On February 8, a Contra Costa County jury found defendant William Butte of Martinez guilty as charged of three felonies, including his attempt to meet a 15-year-old girl for sex. Butte communicated with who he thought was a minor on the mobile application Kik on August 24, 2017. Butte interacted with an undercover law enforcement officer after he posted a sexually explicit post on Craigslist, which contained language suggesting an interest in minors.
The undercover officer saw Butte’s Craigslist post in the now-defunct causal encounters section, in which Butte asked for a “naughty little girl” to engage in sex acts with him. During the conversation on Kik, Butte discussed meeting with the minor in-person, shared graphic details of sexual acts and he expressed a desire to have sex with the minor. When the undercover officer told Butte that he was a 15-year-old girl, Butte reacted favorably and asked questions about her sexual experience and history. Butte also invited the minor to his home to watch pornography together.
Butte and the officer discussed meeting in a public place. Upon Butte’s arrival to that agreed upon location, he was subsequently taken into custody and arrested.
Our Office will be requesting Butte serve time in state prison. Based upon the jury’s verdict, Defendant will be required to register as a sex offender pursuant to Penal Code section 290. Sentencing will occur on April 12, 2019 in front of the Honorable Anita Santos – Department 2 of the Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez. Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Adam Wilks prosecuted the case on behalf of the People. The case originated in the Office’s Sexual Assault Unit.
“Thanks in this case is due entirely to the jurors who sacrificed their time and had to wade through truly disturbing evidence in order to reach a fair verdict. Their service to the community in this case cannot be understated,” said Wilks.
The investigation was conducted by the Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which is managed by the San Jose Police Department. In Contra Costa County, detectives and investigators from the Walnut Creek, Martinez, San Ramon, Concord and Moraga Police Departments, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, United States Secret Service, Homeland Security Investigations, the Contra Costa County Probation Department, and Inspectors from the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office participate in the task force.
Craigslist shut down the personal encounters section and the section is no longer active.Read More
His only intern from Contra Costa County
University of California Davis senior, Sasha Jordan is interning for State Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) this spring. Glazer, who represents the 7th Senate District including most of Contra Costa County and portions of Alameda County in the East Bay, currently has three interns but Jordan is the only intern from Contra Costa County.
Jordan is an Antioch resident and graduated from Deer Valley High School in 2015. She began attending UC Davis that same fall. While at Deer Valley she was active in the Performing Arts Academy. Jordan will graduate in June this year with a degree in Political Science and minor in Communications.
She had worked as a teen and young adult for the real estate company owned by her parents Mark and Cynthia Jordan, a local Certified Public Accountant and a local Attorney. She also had worked for the University as a resident advisor during her sophomore year at the Tecero Dorms on campus.
Jordan is currently applying for fellowships at the State Capital in Sacramento and is looking forward to a career in government.
“I think it is a good thing to help other people and government is just one way to make a difference” she said.
Asked about what she’s doing for the Senator, currently, Jordan said, “Right now, I’m working at the front desk greeting visitors. I’ve done some research projects.”
Her internship will last until March 15, which is the end of the Winter Quarter.
After Jordan graduates, her “plan is to work at the Capitol.”
As for her long-term plans, she said, “If you ask my dad, it’s to be governor of California.”
On a more serious note, Jordan stated, “My hope is to make as much change and improvement in the lives of individuals in California.”
Asked about her Communications minor, she said, “Right now, I’m learning about media messages. I’ve taken some classes on political communication, which I think is important. Because if you want to make change, you need the public to know about the issues that are going on.”
Jordan will graduate at the end of the Spring Quarter in June.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.Read More
By Lieutenant Sam Staten, Concord Police Department
On Saturday, February 2, 2019, at approximately 6:20 PM, Concord Police Officers responded to the intersection of Port Chicago Hwy and Arnold Industrial Way regarding an auto vs. pedestrian collision. Officers arrived on scene with AMR and Fire Department personnel and located a white male adult lying in the roadway. He was pronounced deceased at the scene by emergency medical personnel.
A preliminary investigation revealed that the pedestrian was crossing the roadway when he was struck by a vehicle traveling south on Port Chicago Hwy. The driver of the involved vehicle stopped at the scene and is cooperating with the investigation. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the collision.
Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call Concord Police Department Traffic Investigator Justin Wilson at (925)-603-5962.Read More
By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff
Thursday afternoon at about 1:04 PM, Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to an alleged rape. A woman told Deputies she got on a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train in San Francisco and was approached by a man. The two started a conversation. They got off the BART train at the Pittsburg/Bay Point station and exited the station. They walked north on Bailey Road.
Sometime during their walk while in a vacant field near Mims Avenue and Canal Road, the man exposed himself to the woman and told her to perform a sexual act on him. The suspect then physically assaulted the victim and tried to remove her clothing, but the victim fought him off and was able to get away. The victim was taken to the hospital as a precaution.
The suspect in this case was described as a black male adult, possibly in his 20’s, approximately 5’8” to 5’9”, medium build, with some facial hair. The suspect was last seen wearing black athletic shoes, blue jeans, and a white or gray hooded sweater under a hooded black jacket with fur trim on the hood. He was also carrying a red and black colored messenger style bag. Several photos of the suspect are attached.
Anyone with any information about this case is asked to contact the Investigation Division at (925) 646-2441 or (925) 313-2600. For any tips, call 866-846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message or email: email@example.com.Read More