In yesterday’s mail I received an attempt at a smear ad for one of our local candidates for County Supervisor, Diane Burgis. The claim, in bold red font, states that she intends to draw a salary and benefits for that position, paid for by the taxpayers. Does candidate Steve Barr, therefore, intend to forfeit his salary and benefits if elected?
Further, it attempts to slam her for drawing a salary as Executive Director of Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed (FOMCW). She can’t be chastised for drawing a salary for that work, as she is paid with grant funding to organize and mobilize volunteers, engage in community outreach, run successful creek cleanups of our local watershed, and support academy internships for local students. FOMCW saves the County money, especially with the trash cleanups. She has done a fine job linking people of all ages to their local environment and to the scientific community.
I find the ad misleading, lacking integrity, and unprofessional. I hope fellow community members see through the lame attempt by big oil and so-called “criminal prosecutors” to discredit a person who has fought for improved health of our local environment. I doubt these folks from Sacramento have ever organized a community volunteer force like Diane Burgis has.
I’m going to donate more money to FOMCW out of spite for this negative political ad. The community organization has done a fantastic job over the fifteen years I’ve been familiar with it, and it is an honor to continue to support FOMCW as well as Diane Burgis for County Supervisor.
The Contra Costa Community College District (District) Governing Board held a special public meeting on Friday, November 4, 2016, to announce they reached a unanimous decision to select Dr. Fred E. Wood as the next chancellor.
“All three finalists demonstrated strong leadership skills,” said Governing Board President Vicki Gordon. “In the end, Dr. Wood was chosen because of his focus on student success, building programs and services to help community college students successfully transfer to a four-year institution, experience working collaboratively with business on career technical education, and successful fundraising abilities.”
The announcement was made following a nationwide search, that began in May 2016. Potential candidates were reviewed and three finalists were selected to participate in public forums and final interviews this week.
Governing Board President Vicki Gordon recognized the dedication and work conducted by the Search Committee. “In addition, we were also very pleased and want to thank the faculty, staff, managers, and community leaders who attended the public forums and provided input on the candidates. Their feedback was important in making our decision.”
The District will begin negotiating the contract with Dr. Wood with the goal of placing the item on the December 14, 2016, Governing Board meeting agenda for review and approval.
“As a Diablo Valley College (DVC) alumni, I am humbled and extremely honored to be selected to serve as the next chancellor of the Contra Costa Community College District,” says Dr. Wood. “My DVC experience changed my life, and I am living proof of the power and impact community colleges can make. I am excited to work with my colleagues throughout the District to transform the lives of all our students who strive to achieve their higher educational goals with us.”
Wood presently serves as Chancellor at the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC). UMC, which was a two-year technical college beginning in 1966 and transitioned to a baccalaureate granting institution in 1993, is a work-force focused campus of the U of M system of which half of the degree seeking students are on-campus students and the other half are on-line. UMC offers an experiential learning based curriculum where on-campus students are required to complete an internship and currently offers 14 degrees fully on-line.
Chancellor Wood joined UMC after a 26-year career at the University of California, Davis, where he served as vice chancellor of student affairs from 2007 to 2012, leading one of the largest student affairs portfolios in the nation. His career at UC Davis included other leadership positions, as well, such as interim vice provost for undergraduate studies and associate dean of the College of Letters and Science, while concurrently serving as a faculty member in chemistry.
He began both his college education and professional career at the community college. Prior to UC Davis, Dr. Wood was a faculty member at North Idaho College and his first teaching assignment during graduate school was at Diablo Valley College.
A first-generation college graduate, Chancellor Wood earned an A.A from Diablo Valley College, and B.S. and Ph.D. in chemistry from UC Davis. He is married and has three grown children. He enjoys hiking, biking and skiing with his family.
Wood will oversee the Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD), which is one of the largest multi-college community college districts in California. The CCCCD serves a population of 1,019,640 people, and its boundaries encompass all but 48 of the 734-square-mile land area of Contra Costa County. The District is home to Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, as well as educational centers in Brentwood and San Ramon. The District headquarters is located in downtown Martinez.Read More
When I made the difficult decision to not seek reelection to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, my choice was made easier by the fact that Diane Burgis would make an extraordinary County Supervisor. She is a smart and dedicated public servant, and I have been proud to work with her for many years.
I wanted to take a moment to cut through some of the smear tactics and tell you about the Diane Burgis that I know and trust.
I was surprised to see the recent hit pieces mailed by real estate developers and “Big Oil”/petroleum interests that support Diane’s opponent and attack Diane Burgis. These ridiculous mail pieces accuse Diane of “climbing the ladder.”
Well, – that’s what capable people do – when opportunities arise they move up to greater positions of responsibility and governance. Talented people, such as Diane Burgis, are recruited by the community, and by those leaving office, to carry on the work that must be done in the publics’ best interests.
That is why I asked Diane to run for County Supervisor. She has proven to be a thoughtful, regional leader, one who brings people together to find workable solutions.
The campaign process is well known as “silly season”. It is to be expected. However, I believe we are beyond the point of telling one of our most respected female leaders that she should stay put and know her place.
I believe Diane will make an excellent County Supervisor. She is talented, compassionate and hardworking. She will work every day to improve our community by reducing traffic, boosting public safety and defending our precious Delta.
Please don’t fall for the dirty tricks. Join me, Sheriff Livingston, District Attorney Mark Peterson, local Firefighters, Deputy Sheriffs and many other community leaders in voting for Diane Burgis for County Supervisor.
Mary Nejedly Piepho
Discovery BayRead More
At the October 19th Board Meeting, the board approved a resolution to recognize and raise awareness of the issue of youth homelessness. The goal of the resolution is to highlight the issue of youth homelessness within the county and our schools. Currently, Contra Costa County has over 3,000 children and youth living in homeless situations, as reported by the county school districts, charter schools and the Contra Costa Council on Homelessness. This includes children ages 0-5 and students in grades Kindergarten through 12.
In California, more than 298,000 youth up to the age of 18 experience homelessness each year. During November all students, schools and community members are encouraged to engage in discussions on this topic to raise awareness.
Below are some suggested activities for school sites:
- Send a flyer home with students or create a display to inform students and families of homeless education rights and resources available at your school and in Contra Costa County.
- Make a presentation to school teachers, staff and board members to raise awareness of homelessness in your community or school district.
- Organize a food drive and donate to the local food bank or pantry.
- Make a donation or volunteer at a local shelter.
- Participate in Contra Costa Community Donation Day on November 19th.
The Contra Costa County Office of Education (Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program) coordinates the following:
- Provides technical assistance regarding the proper identification, enrollment, and service needs of homeless students and their families.
- Conducts professional development trainings for school personnel and community agencies regarding the rights and responsibilities of homeless students.
- Educates students, parents and guardians on their educational rights, and promotes their participation in school-related activities.
- Facilitates the school enrollment process to ensure equal access to educational services, free-or-reduced price meals, tutoring or other programs.
- Assists unaccompanied youth with enrollment procedures, school placement options, and retrieval of records.
- Provides assistance with transportation, backpacks, school supplies and clothing.
- Provides medical, dental, and mental health referrals, in addition to other school/community services.
- Provides assistance to specialized populations of homeless students, including pre-schoolers, homeless teen parents, children with special needs, and unaccompanied youth.
For more information, contact CCCOE’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth program at (925) 942-3300.Read More
The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff recently received a two-year “Strengthening Law Enforcement and Community Relations Grant” to fund collaborative law enforcement-community partnerships that aim to improve or establish relationships with communities we serve.
With the funds, the Office of the Sheriff, in partnership with the YMCA, Housing Authority of Contra Costa County, and other community partners, will develop a program that will effectively engage residents at the Bayo Vista Housing Development in the community of Rodeo. This program will enhance safety, well being, health, education and public trust. Available resources and partnerships will be used to develop a plan that unifies services to meet the needs of the Bayo Vista community. A special focus will be on youths.
The grand opening of the substation took place on October 26, 2016. Please click this link to see a KRON 4 story on the opening.Read More
With Bay Area population shifts towards East County, the City of Pittsburg is poised for revitalization and growth. Yet these opportunities can slip through our fingers without strong leadership and vision. That’s why we support Jelani Killings for Pittsburg City Council.
Jelani believes in outreach and communication. He truly listens and gives attention to our concerns and needs. As local owners here in Pittsburg, Jelani understands that we are invested in our future here and the prosperity of the city.
Jelani’s community investment strategy calls for increasing school partnerships and family-centered programs. It includes infrastructure development to sustain growth and stop the revolving door of businesses coming into and out of Pittsburg.
Jelani has a plan to bring together stakeholders to address job creation, quality of life issues, to streamline permitting processes, and build capacity so that we all win.
Join us in voting for Jelani Killings on November 8th.
Thomas and Svonne Underwood, Railroad Cleaners
Michael Bardales, Tohtal Real Estate
Thomas Evans, West Coast Signs and Banners
Bhupen Amin, Hampton Inn and Suites
Eren, Keaonani, and Michaela Aquino, DIND Apparel
Redd Tha Barber, Redd’s Barber Shop
Vajinder Hira, Mountain Mike’s PizzaRead More
The Contra Costa Community College District (District) Governing Board has scheduled a special public meeting on Friday, November 4, 2016, at 9:00 a.m., to make an announcement regarding the search for a new chancellor. The meeting will take place at 500 Court Street, Martinez, California, in the 6th floor Board Room.
The nationwide search for a new chancellor began in May 2016 following the retirement announcement of current Chancellor Helen Benjamin. To review the agenda of this special meeting visit:Read More
East Bay State Senate candidate Joseph A. Rubay (7th District, R-Alamo) rebuked incumbent Steve Glazer, on Wednesday for endorsing a new county tax on the November ballot after promising to “hold the line on taxes.”
“Steve Glazer pledged in his official candidate statement to ‘hold the line on taxes.’ By endorsing Measure X, a new $2.9 billion county tax, Mr. Glazer has broken his promise,” Rubay stated. “He can’t have it both ways.”
Measure X would double the Contra Costa transportation sales tax rate and last for 30 years. It would increase the county’s transportation sales tax to a whole percent, making Contra Costa’s tax rates among the highest in the state, according to the website www.saynotox.com.
“The current county transportation sales tax began in 2009 and was supposed to satisfy needs for 25 years,” Rubay said. “Doubling the tax is outrageous, coming only seven years into a 25-year tax.”
Rubay is a real estate appraiser, former certified public accountant and auditor.
“I oppose Measure X because it would cost a family of four an average of $268 annually until the year 2047,” he said. “Mr. Glazer was wrong to champion AB 1665, the special legislation that busted the county sales tax cap to allow this new tax to be placed on the ballot.”
“There’s no shortage of money for transportation projects,” Rubay continued. “East Bay residents already pay fuel taxes at the pump, a county sales tax, a BART sales tax, a state Transportation Development Act sales tax, and a regional transportation sales tax, in addition to property taxes for BART and local roads, vehicle license and registration fees, and bridge tolls. We don’t need a new tax.”
“Senate District 7 taxpayers have contributed more than a half billion dollars of the existing AB 1107 sales tax to San Francisco’s Muni system,” he continued. “Why doesn’t Mr. Glazer stop this massive diversion of our local transportation funds to San Francisco instead of forcing a tax increase on us?”
“Mr. Glazer has flip-flopped on his promise – one of his ‘Ten Governing Principles’ – to ‘hold the line on taxes.’ He has betrayed voters, especially fiscal conservatives,” Rubay added. “He’s proven he can’t be trusted to represent us in Sacramento.”
The 7th District covers all of the 925 area code (except Martinez and Pleasant Hill), including the communities of Alamo, Antioch, Bay Point, Blackhawk, Brentwood, Clayton, Concord, Danville, Discovery Bay, Dublin, Lafayette, Livermore, Moraga, Oakley, Orinda, Pittsburg, Pleasanton, San Ramon and Walnut Creek.
To learn more about the Rubay for Senate campaign visit his website at http://rubayforstatesenate2016.com/home.
The election is next Tuesday, November 8th.Read More
BART says ad was paid for by the Warriors
By Allen Payton
Another campaign trick was played on Halloween, when Lafayette attorney Jason Bezis filed a complaint against BART for using public funds, on Monday, October 31st. He claims the government agency is using public funds to promote the bond Measure RR on the November ballot. fppc-complaint-against-bart-re-measure-rr-first-supplement-oct-31-2016
In an email about his complaint, Bezis wrote, “I just filed a complaint with the FPPC about BART’s video using Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors to promote Measure RR ($3.5 billion BART bond measure). I argue that BART is illegally using public resources to influence voters to vote yes on Measure RR.”
Bezis’ complaint states, “complaint concerns BART public resources used illegally to plan, produce and publicize a video featuring basketball player Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors to promote Measure RR. On Friday, October 28, 2016, BART released a 31-second video titled ‘Draymond Says’ and an accompanying ‘news article,’ YouTube post, Facebook post, and Twitter post to promote the video. The BART video, BART World Web (sic) [Wide] Web homepage, BART ‘news article,’ BART YouTube post, BART Facebook post and BART Twitter post all contain the message ‘BART needs to stay safe and reliable.’
These communications paid for with public moneys by BART, a local governmental agency, unambiguously urge a particular result in the November 2016 election: they urge ‘yes’ votes for Measure RR, referred to on the ballot as ‘BART Safety, Reliability and Traffic Relief.’ These BART communications constitute ‘contributions’ or ‘independent expenditures’ benefiting the Yes on RR campaign (FPPC ID#1381218), officially named the ‘Committee to Keep BART Safe and Reliable,’ which uses the phrase ‘Keep BART Safe and Reliable’ in its campaign logo.”
Bezis then offered what he wants BART to basically admit they’re using public money to campaign for the ballot measure and to file the necessary finance reports for the expenditures.
His complaint concludes with the following:
“As BART has engaged in campaign activity, pursuant to Regulation 18420.1(f), the FPPC should require BART to file the necessary campaign finance reports for the direct and indirect costs of its campaign activities relating to promotion of Measure RR on the November 2016 ballot in Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties. BART needs to publicly disclose the value of public resources that it expended for campaign activities supporting passage of Measure RR as either a contribution to Yes on RR campaign or as an independent expenditure supporting Measure RR. For the “Draymond Says” video, BART needs to report as campaign activity the costs of planning the video, production of the video, and promotion of the video via YouTube, Twitter, its internet homepage, its BART “news article,” and by other means of publicity. If Draymond Green is a “paid spokesperson” for BART, then a Form 511 report must be filed.”
Bezis also provided evidence to support his complaint, which can be seen below.
When reached for comment BART Board Director Joel Keller responded “The complainant believes the District used public funds to promote a ballot measure and has filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). There is a fine line between education and advocacy and it is appropriate to wait for the FPPC’s response before discussing the merits of the complaint. However, as a supporter of the Dub Nation and admirer of the heart and intensity of Draymond Green’s play, it’s too bad that the motivation for the video about the Warriors and BART has become controversial because it is a slam dunk.”
Kerry Hamill, BART’s Assistant General Manager for External Affairs said “We have had an ongoing relationship with the Golden State Warriors for years at BART.”
“We provide extra service to their games,” she continued. “They promote BART in a variety of ways, like this video, which they showed at one of their last pre-season games.”
“We did not pay for it. The District absolutely did not pay for it,” Hamill reiterated. “It’s the Warriors’ video and they used it to show during their pre-season game. They let us use it for BARTable, which is a website and a newsletter that promotes off-peak ridership to various games, activities, shows and festivals.”
“I really want the Warriors to be applauded for encouraging people to take BART to the game and get cars off the road,” she said. “It’s a lot safer and smarter to take public transit to a game, when you’re going to drink and party.”
“The Warriors and BART shouldn’t be attacked for promoting taking transit,” Hamill added. “People should take BART to the game.”
A source within the Yes on RR campaign said that “Bezis has a pattern of filing these complaints. He did this several times against the Measure BB campaign in 2014. The FPPC declined to even investigate them.”
The FPPC has 14 days to decide if they intend to investigate the complaint, refer the complaint to another agency, take no action either because the Commission doesn’t have the authority or the allegations do not warrant any further action.
The election is Tuesday, November 8th.
Alumnus, U.C. Berkeley grad Hammed Suleman encourages students with his own experience
By Allen Payton
University of California system President Janet Napolitano visited Deer Valley High School in Antioch, today and encouraged the students in the standing room only gymnasium, that they can get into a U.C. school if they do the work. Before she spoke, however, Deer Valley High and U.C. Berkeley graduate student Hammed Suleman shared his experience of how he was able to get into “the best school in the world,” as he put it.
“I never thought I was college material or smart enough to get a college education,” Suleman said. “But I knew I could never achieve my goals if I didn’t do the work.”
He was on the track and field team at Deer Valley and became the number one triple jumper in the U.S., resulting in him receiving scholarship offers from colleges across the US.
Suleman chose UC Berkeley.
“It was and still is the number one university in the world,” he stated. “It has had a profound influence on who I am today and who I want to be.”
While at Berkeley Suleman was a track and field champion and earned the Most Academically Improved Student Athlete award in 2014.
Suleman is now completing his masters degree, also at Berkeley.
He then introduced Napolitano, who is also served as Secretary of Homeland Security under President Obama.
“You do the work and take the SAT or ACT and some community service, work and all those things go into your application to the University of California,” she told the students. “That’s your part. Our part is to give you a great college education.”
“You’re at a great stage of your life,” Napolitano continued. “I kinda wish I was back in high school.”
Speaking of a college education, she stated, “It does matter.”
“Where do you see yourself in five or ten years?” Napolitano asked the students. “What do you want to contribute?”
She then quoted President John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
“One-third of our students start at community college and transfer to UC,” Napolitano shared. “Ask yourself what you’re good at; what you think you’ll be good at. Take some classes.”
“I want to leave you here with this message. Only you can answer the question ‘what are you prepared to do?’ Get ready,” she said. “California is the only state with the higher education we have in this state.”
The former two-time governor of Arizona said while serving in that position she wished she could have brought one of the U.C. schools to her state.
“Find some quiet time. Turn off your screens. Turn off your phone,” Napolitano said in encouraging the students to think about their future.
“You won’t get where you want to go without…preparation,” she added. “UC is for you – a place to grow, to learn and leave the nest for the next generation.”
Napolitano then ended with “Thank you. Go Wolverines!” to the roar from the audience.
Before the assembly, Napolitano met and spoke with the school district’s college counselors and students interested in attending a U.C. school.
She was treated to music by the Deer Valley jazz band and a song by Divine Voices.
Principal Ken Gardner welcomed everyone and then handed the event off to teacher Bernard Stephens who served as Master of Ceremonies and had been Suleman’s track and field coach, while he was in high school. Congressman Jerry McNerney was in attendance and offered his thoughts. The students also heard from Eloy Oakley, the Chancellor of the California Community College system.Read More