This Saturday is Clean Slate Day in Antioch that allows individuals to apply for and receive a reduction or dismissal of a prior conviction. The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office and Antioch Police Department are co-hosting Saturday’s event.
The event is open to the public. Residents can register for Saturday through Code for America at www.clearmyrecord.org
“Clean Slate Day will help remove barriers for members of our community trying to get a fresh start. With this partnership, we are able to assist hundreds seeking legal assistance,” stated Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton. “Prior convictions can leave a lasting mark on an individual’s record and life. We must continue to seek opportunities to bring law enforcement and the legal community together with the community to ease tensions and clear old convictions.” Becton initially organized a Clean Slate Day in Richmond, California when she served as a Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge in 2016.
The Clean Slate Program operates throughout the entire year and is managed by the Public Defender’s Office. Individuals can contact the program at 925-335-8150 for questions about seeking Proposition 47 relief, record sealing, legal advice and dismissals of convictions. Residents can also register on an ongoing basis for the Clean Slate Program through Code for America at www.clearmyrecord.org.
“Far too many people face barriers in accessing employment, housing, and education because of a prior criminal record. Having one’s record expunged can have a transformative effect by making it easier for individuals to reintegrate back into their communities,” said Robin Lipetzky, Chief Public Defender. “Our Clean Slate team specializes in assisting people with clearing their records and giving them a second chance at life.”
This is the first event co-hosted with a law enforcement agency. Clean Slate Day starts at 10:00 a.m. and ends at 2:00 p.m. at Antioch Middle School.
“This event helps our community heal and thrive,” conveyed Antioch Police Chief Tammany Brooks. “We must work to reduce recidivism and assist individuals in navigating the criminal justice system.”
Other community partners offering services on Saturday will include the following organizations: Bay Area Legal Aid, Rubicon Programs, Contra Costa Reentry Network, and the Safe Return Project.Read More
ANTIOCH – Open Day May 17th, Is Dollar Day at the 2018 Contra Costa County Fair. Gates Open at 12 noon, and everyone can enjoy the Fair for just $1 until 5PM. Also you can enjoy $1 Carnival Rides until 5PM. The Contra Costa County Fair has partnered with the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano to bring $1 Day to the Fair. Pay $1 to get into the Fair, and donate $1 to the Food Bank, $1 can provide 2 Health Meals to a needy family in Contra Costa or Solano County.
We look forward to seeing you at the 2018 Contra Costa County Fair. For the complete program, click here: CCCFair Program – Antioch Herald
For additional information about the 2018 Contra Costa County Fair visit our website at www.contracostafair.com, or like us on Facebook. The fairgrounds are located at 1201 West 10th Street in Antioch.Read More
Contra Costa County is one of 30 California counties that have filed litigation against opioid manufacturers and distributors for creating an opioid epidemic in this state. These 30 counties represent approximately 10.5 million residents. All 30 counties are filing suit in federal court and expect their cases to be transferred to the Multi-District Litigation in Ohio, where more than 500 public entities have filed similar suits.
The lawsuit seeks reimbursement of taxpayer funds that already have been spent responding to the opioid epidemic in Contra Costa County; for ongoing costs of continuing the fight, including emergency response, prevention, monitoring and treatment; and for prospective relief to help the County undo some of the widespread damage that these drug manufacturers and distributors have caused.
“This litigation is an important tool to help us recover the taxpayer funds currently being used and desperately needed to intervene and try to counteract the opioid epidemic,” noted Chair of the Board of Supervisors, Karen Mitchoff.
According to the County’s complaint on file with the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Case No. 3:18-cv-02705, many of the nation’s largest drug manufacturers misinformed doctors about the addictiveness and efficacy of opioids. The manufacturer defendants include Purdue Pharma; Teva Ltd.; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson); Endo Health Solutions, Inc.; Allergan PLC; and Mallinckrodt. Drugs manufactured by these companies include, but are not limited to: OxyContin, Actiq, Fentora, Duragesic, Nucynta, Nucynta ER, Opana/Opana ER, Percodan, Percocet, Zydone, Kadian and Norco. In addition to the wrongdoing by drug manufacturers, the lawsuit asserts that the nation’s largest drug distributors – including Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, and McKesson Corp. – failed to monitor, identify and report “suspicious” opioid shipments to pharmacies, in violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act.
The County Counsel’s Office and following six law firms comprise the County’s legal team: Baron & Budd; Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor; Powell & Majestro; Greene, Ketchum, Farrell, Bailey & Tweel; Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler; and McHugh Fuller Law Group. These firms currently represent over 300 cities and counties throughout the United States.Read More
By Dan Borsuk
Contra Costa voters could see a cannabis industry tax measure on the November 6 ballot after supervisors on Tuesday thrashed through statistics and ideas on what route to take in complying with the 2016 passage of state Proposition 64.
Determined to assemble a cannabis tax ordinance by an August 10 deadline in order to file a tax measure ballot for the November election, supervisors, under the guidance of Julie Enea of the County Administrator’s Office, presented a cannabis business tax levy proposal assembled by HdL, the Crescent City-based consulting firm hired by the county to assist the county in developing an ordinance in the aftermath of the passage of Proposition 64, the 2016 state initiative that legalized the sale of recreational marijuana.
The proposed cannabis business tax levy sets initial and maximum rates for eight license types. Those proposed rates are:
- Cultivator: Indoor, artificial lighting: 7/ft. initial rate, $10/ft. maximum rate.
- Cultivator: Greenhouse, mixed lighting: $4/ft initial rate, $7/ft. maximum rate.
- Cultivator: Outdoor, natural light: $2 ft. initial rate, $4 ft. maximum rate.
- Cultivator Nursery: $1/ft. initial rate: $2/ft. maximum rates.
- Manufacturer/Non-retail microbusiness: 2.5 % of gross receipts initial rate, 4% of gross receipts maximum rate.
- Testing: Not Available; initial rate: 2.5% percent of gross receipts maximum rate.
- Distribution: 2% of gross receipts initial rate; percent maximum rate.
- Retailer/Retail microbusiness: 4% of gross receipts initial rate and 6% of gross receipts maximum rate.
The supervisors’ cannabis tax ordinance proposal still requires a public hearing slated for July 10 when supervisors are expected to take official action on the tax ordinance proposal as well as the cannabis health ordinance. The cannabis health ordinance will not appear on the November ballot.
During the supervisor’s proceedings on Tuesday, citizens and supervisors alike were concerned the amount of money the county would raise from a cannabis tax might fall short of the mark in adequately enforcing the law, especially the health ordinance.
Since enactment of Proposition 64 beginning this year, the state has collected only $34 million in tax revenue of the anticipated $175 million. The state is considering shelving a plan to cut the excise tax from 15 percent to 11 percent even though cannabis sales are not as brisk as anticipated.
Board chair Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill said the board should model the tax ordinance measure so that it requires a two-thirds majority voter approval, have an oversight committee and be reviewed yearly for adjustments based on the consumer price index.
“We’re going to impose this tax to cover our costs,” said District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville, who represents a district where a number of citizens have aired widespread opposition to Proposition 64’s implementation.
Shawn Casey of First 5, a pro children’s organization, proposed that the county create with cannabis revenues a fund to aid children harmed by the effects of cannabis.
“I’m in favor of reasonable regulation,” said Vickie Norris of Friends of Proposition 64. “I’m in favor of a tax.” Norris noted Contra Costa’s tax proposal that HdL prepared won’t price out businesses like what occurred in Berkeley which had to scale back its retail sales tax which was 35%.
“The legal market is taking a piece out of the black market,” said HdL’s Mark Lovelace. “Thirty percent of the marijuana remains in the black market.”
Supervisors OK 2018-2019 Budget Proposal
In speedy action, supervisors voted 5-0 in approving a $3.5 billion 2018-2019 recommended budget without public fanfare. Supervisors will officially adopt the budget in September. The spending plan is an increase from $3.1 billion for the current 2017-2018 fiscal year.
482,055 Square Foot North Richmond Warehouse Approved
Without hearing any opposition, supervisors unanimously approved a 482,055 square foot warehouse-distribution project that could create up to 800 jobs in the North Richmond. Construction of the proposed Panattoni Warehouse project at 500 Pittsburg Ave. could get underway in the first quarter of 2019.
District 1 Supervisor John Gioia, who represents the North Richmond development site owned by Redus EL LLC, said the Panattoni Warehouse project is the first of at least two other similar warehouse distribution projects that are in the pipeline that will come before the supervisors in the near future.
Gioia refused to provide details about the other two warehouse-distribution projects.
“This is just not a warehouse,” the supervisor said. Upon commenting how the North Richmond area is in a stage of transition from residential to warehouse, the supervisor said, “North Richmond has become ground zero for the fulltime warehouse area that is patterned after AMAZON, the type of company the gets products out sooner.”
In approving the project at Pittsburg Avenue and Richmond Parkway, supervisors approved a number of “traffic calming measures” in order to minimize the environmental impacts from more than 100 truck trips during peak period AM and PM periods. Those traffic calming measures include “chokers and bulbouts.”
The developer will install solar power and plant 200 trees to replace 21 old trees that need to removed from the project site. A 1.3-acre area site has been designated for a gas station with a mini-mart that will be constructed sometime after the warehouse-distribution building is constructed.Read More
First pre-primary endorsement of non-incumbent candidate since Schwarzenegger in 2003
San Diego — Leading Republican Secretary of State candidate Mark Meuser is the first non-incumbent statewide candidate to earn the endorsement of the California Republican Party (CAGOP) at this past weekend’s convention in San Diego. Meuser is a Constitution and election law attorney from Clayton.
Meuser earned the endorsement with a vote of 803-51, something that has not been accomplished since former Governor Schwarzenegger received the party’s endorsement in 2003.
“The CAGOP recognized the importance of addressing increasingly-severe voter integrity issues throughout California,” said Meuser. “I take this endorsement very seriously and will take this critical message to the voters of California.”
He was the only Republican candidate who met the qualifications for consideration of an endorsement for Secretary of State by the CAGOP.
Meuser’s priority is to guide the Secretary of State’s office out of the antiquated 19th Century and into the 21st Century. The people of California deserve an open and accessible government that works for them, not against them.
California needs a Secretary of State who will fight to protect the rights of citizens to vote and petition their government. California needs a Secretary of State who will restore the people’s confidence in open, secure, and fair elections. California needs a Secretary of State who will utilize the knowledge and experience of Silicon Valley to modernize the way businesses register in the State.
To learn more about Meuser, please visit his website at www.MarkMeuser.com.Read More
By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff
On Saturday, May 5, 2018, at approximately 2:11 PM, Contra Costa County Marine Patrol Deputy Sheriffs responded to a report of a body on the levee at False River near the San Joaquin River. Deputies arrived on scene a short time later and recovered the body.
The Coroner’s Division took custody of the male body. He was later positively identified as 39-year-old Johnson Ng of Daly City. Ng is the missing boater who fell from a vessel on April 28, 2018.
According to an ABC7 news report, “Initial reports from deputies said two men were on a boat trying to set an anchor to start fishing when a wake came along. The wake hit the boat, the men fell off and they did not have life jackets on, according to sheriff’s officials. A passing boat rescued one of the men.”
An autopsy will be held to determine the cause of death.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.Read More
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