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
By Allen Payton
Former Supervisor Tom Powers chose a trick rather than a treat for candidate for District 5 Supervisor, AnaMarie Avila Farias, on Halloween. In an email on Monday, October 31st, Powers provided a copy of a letter regarding a “Timecard Fraud Complaint Sent to District Attorney’s Office – Misuse of Taxpayer Funds to Be Investigated” against the Martinez Councilwoman. da-complaint-re-avila-farias-10-31-16
His email message read:
“Today I personally delivered the attached letter to District Attorney Mark Peterson’s office (at 3:18 pm PST) requesting an official investigation in to Anamarie Avila Farias’s official use of her time and resources at her Section 8 government job at the Contra Costa Housing Authority.
It has been brought to all of our taxpayers’ attention that on numerous times her officially signed government timecard indicates she has been at work, being paid by taxpayers to be at work, but Ms. Farias has actually been elsewhere conducting her own personal business. In fact, one of the weeks she officially signs her timecard saying she is at work, her Facebook Posts (since deleted) actually indicate she is out of the country in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Using government time or resources for personal purposes is unlawful and, on behalf of County taxpayers, I am asking the District Attorney’s Office to conduct a full investigation of Ms. Farias’ potential misuse of taxpayers funds.”
In addition, Powers provided additional documentation to support his complaint.
When asked for a comment on the complaint, Avila-Farias responded with the following statement:
“When the political machine is threatened, they strike out like a cornered snake. This filing with the District Attorney is an attempt at an October surprise, trying to entice this law enforcement agency to back up their bogus claims.
Tom Powers, a longtime Contra Costa County power broker who is actively defending the incumbent Supervisor Federal Glover because he fears the loss of control if the Board of Supervisors is governed by the people and for the people.
False and misleading attacks like this have no place in our county’s campaigns.
I am an Independent Contract Employee. My job demands a non-traditional, flexible schedule. My hours are my own to determine. End of story.
My commitment, integrity and dedication to my job and hours worked to provide housing options for Contra Costa families has never been questioned by my employer.
This is a non-story generated by the sleazy political machine in this county desperate to protect their longtime champion – Supervisor Federal Glover. They want to talk about anything other than Federal Glover’s vote to increase his own pay 33%, lack of engagement in the District and his consistent support for insider deals for Contra Costa County contractors.”
The election is next Tuesday, November 8th.Read More
As an educator, I have seen Diane Burgis fight for all of Contra Costa’s students. She is a mother, a mentor and an environmental nonprofit leader who takes the time to develop young new talent. She knows the importance of a great education and how that helps create a strong local economy.
We all want our children to have a bright future. We also know a strong education is the cornerstone of our economy. Our community college system has worked diligently to partner students up with local businesses and organizations for hands on career opportunities. But to provide more of those career opportunities to our students, we need a strong local economy and a county that prioritizes career technical education and other educational opportunities.
Diane is a strong independent leader who brings different people together to find solutions. She has made it a priority to work on building our economy – creating jobs and opportunities for all county residents. As a County Supervisor, Diane will continue her work. Please join me and other educators in supporting Diane Burgis for County Supervisor in District 3.
Contra Costa Community College District Board PresidentRead More
I urge Brentwood and Oakley voters to vote NO on Utility User Tax Measures Z and A, and E and G, respectively, proposed as solutions to rescue our inadequately funded East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD).
Last week’s editorial by the publisher of The Press newspapersurged us, as residents and citizens, to take responsibility for the safety of our community and families by voting “yes” on the Utility User Tax. I found the suggestion somewhat offensive. Newsflash – we already have taken responsibility.
We pay extremely high property taxes, which if properly allocated, should provide first and foremost, for public safety. What is more important than this? How about asking our elected officials and those charged with this responsibility to step up to their responsibilities and to right the wrongs that have impacted on public safety.
Property tax allocations for our fire district were set in concrete back in the 1970s, when East County fire protection was provided primarily by volunteer firefighters for a sparse population in a rural area. But times have changed dramatically! Unfortunately, there was no provision in the law to revisit those allocations.
So today, as then, ECCFPD gets about 7% of property taxes from taxpayers within its district, compared to an average of more than 12% that the other fire districts in the county get. (Some of the fire districts receive as much as 21% and 30% from property taxes.)
During all these years, the almost 30 public agencies that get a share of the property taxes from taxpayers within the jurisdiction of the ECCFPD have been receiving more funding than they would have gotten had the fire district received enough revenue to provide adequate services for today’s needs. It would seem these agencies now need tostep up to the plate and allocate some of their funds to protect their community.
And yes – it can be done legally. The first step is to use the provisions for exchange of funds under Section 99.02 of the Revenue and Taxation Code. For those who continue to criticize reallocation proposals as illegal, see page one of The Press last week which describes how tax funds from the Byron Bethany IrrigationDistrict were transferred to our fire district.
And how about the “one-time” extra funding given to ECCFPD last year, by the cities of Oakley and Brentwood and the County Board of Supervisors to open an additional fire station until mid-2017?
So, stop using the erroneous excuse that reallocation is illegal. County Controller Bob Campbell has verified he can act quickly to begin reallocation.
Next, school districts regularly pay for various expenses through line items in their budgets – so why not a budget item to pay something for emergency and fire protection for students and property? The Liberty School District already has a $355,000 line item for police resource officers on their campuses.
Finally, our state legislators must introduce and pass legislation necessary to enable property tax reallocation – to provide for a re-look at the almost 40-year old allocations, in light of today’s needs and changing future needs.
This whole process should have been started long ago. The ECCFPD did not fall into dire straits overnight. We rely on those we elect to represent us and those appointed to serve us to identify and resolve problems within their purview, and if need be, bring the issues to those who have the power to resolve them. Where have they been as our situation deteriorated? And, continually asking the taxpayers for more money doesn’t count!
We can’t put off a permanent resolution of the revenue problem for ECCFPD any longer – it must start now.
We, the voters, must send a strong message to the political powers that be – no more new taxes. A “no” vote on the Utility User Tax Measures will send that message and pressure officials to act on the reallocation process now.
Finally, the suggestion that these new Utility User Taxes will go away in the future, when other funding comes through, is a fantasy. When has that ever happened?
Bethel IslandRead More
As an Oakley resident and small business owner for the last five years, I have seen Diane Burgis’ leadership on many local issues. From her time as an Oakley City councilmember to watching her get sworn in as an East Bay Regional Parks District Board member at Dunsmuir in Oakland, Diane always demonstrates a unique skill in joining different groups to solve problems and get things done.
I’ve been an East County resident for over 28 years and have known Diane Burgis for almost 10 years.
Diane knows what small businesses need to succeed, because she was a small business owner herself. She has built a business, balanced budgets and knows first-hand the tremendous struggles and rewards of being a small business owner. This experience will be essential when she takes the reign of our region’s complex economy. I’m confident she will responsibly and diligently develop our county while promoting jobs based in growing industries.
Diane’s time as a small business owner and a nonprofit director has given her the skills and talent needed to build the consensus necessary to make the economy thrive. Diane is no stranger to hard work; she’s always ready to roll up her sleeves and get work done.
I am voting for Diane Burgis for County Supervisor and I support her platform, goals and enthusiasm to make progress for all of us. Please join me in casting your vote for Diane Burgis on Nov. 8.
Publisher & Founder, Delta Living Magazine
Professor, Los Medanos College
Regional Early Voting sites provide flexible timing and locations to cast ballots Contra Costa County voters don’t have to wait until Election Day to vote in person.
The Contra Costa Elections Division is hosting seven Regional Early Voting sites throughout the county, starting Monday, October 31st.
All registered Contra Costa voters will be able to obtain a ballot and vote at any of the locations. They will be open from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm Monday October 31st through Friday November 4th, and 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Saturday, November 5th.
“We continue to seek ways to make voting more convenient for our voters,” said Joe Canciamilla, Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters. The night and weekend hours are aimed at making it easier for those Contra Costa voters who commute or want to vote at a convenient site before Election Day, Canciamilla said.
“We have seen the use of our early voting sites double and expect the trend to continue,” Canciamilla said.
Regional Early Voting sites are structured so that any registered Contra Costa voter can vote at any of the locations. For example, a Concord resident who works at Bishop Ranch in San Ramon can vote at the site in either of those cities.
The sites are geographically balanced and are located in convenient, accessible locations.
- Golden Hills Community Church, 2401 Shady Willow Ln., Brentwood
- Bay Hills Community Church, 4100 Klose Way, Richmond
- Lafayette Library and Learning Center, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette
- San Ramon Community Center at Central Park, 12501 Alcosta Blvd., San Ramon
- Pittsburg Library Community Room, 80 Power Ave., Pittsburg
- The Salvation Army Church, 3950 Clayton Road, Concord
- El Cerrito City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito
For more information on Regional Early Voting, visit www.cocovote.us/vote-early.Read More
Applications now available to fill vacancy on Governing Board by Provisional Appointment-Trustee Ward IV
The Contra Costa Community College District (District) is accepting applications to serve as an appointed member for Ward IV of the Governing Board until the next regularly scheduled election for Governing Board members in 2018. The vacancy was created by the recent death of Trustee John Nejedly.
Applicants must be registered voters and residents of Ward IV, which includes Blackhawk, Byron, Danville, Diablo, Discovery Bay, San Ramon, and parts of Alamo, Antioch, Brentwood, Clayton, and Concord.
The Governing Board gave approval at its October 18, 2016, special meeting, to fill this position by provisional appointment instead of the more costly option of an election. Applications are being sought from candidates who have the ability and time to fulfill the responsibilities of being a member of the Board, which includes:
- full participation in the work of the Board by attending all Board meetings and key college and District events, studying and discussing policy issues, and participating in trustee education programs;
- knowledge of the communities served by the colleges and willingness to act on behalf of and for the benefit of those communities;
- commitment to community colleges and their missions; understanding of educational, social, and economic policy issues;
- balancing the needs of many diverse groups; being able to build consensus; and
- contribution to effective Board functioning and supporting the authority of the Board as a w
Those interested in applying shall complete and submit a cover letter, application form, resume, and no more than three letters of reference by 4:30 p.m., November 15, 2016, to the Human Resources Department, c/o Mr. Eugene Huff, Contra Costa Community College District, 500 Court Street, Martinez, CA, 94553. All forms are located on the District website at www.4cd.edu, or can be picked up at the District Office.
A special Governing Board meeting will be held on November 29, 2016, to review all applications and determine persons to be interviewed. Another special Governing Board meeting will be held on December 1, 2016, to interview three finalists. If a third special meeting is needed, it will be held on December 5, 2016.
The goal will be to administer the oath of office for the new member at the regular Governing Board meeting on Wednesday, December 14, 2016, at 6:00 p.m.
For more information, please contact the Communications and Community Relations department at (925) 229-6823.Read More