Following recent hate crimes in Antioch, Richmond, and Concord, the Democratic Party of Contra Costa County (DPCCC) urges Contra Costa District Attorney Mark Peterson to charge the perpetrators with hate crime enhancements and reiterates its support for minority communities throughout Contra Costa County.
In the dark of night on September 7, 2016, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a home owned by an African American family in Antioch and racial epithets were spray-painted on the home. Through the great work of the Antioch police department, the suspects were apprehended less than a week later. Although the police referred to this incident as an “isolated matter,” the African American community throughout the east bay was shocked by the event which was intended to terrorize a community simply because of their race.
Around 9:00 pm on September 25, 2016, out-of-town refinery workers attacked a Sikh man on Hilltop Mall Drive in Richmond. In the attack, the assailants knocked the victim’s turban off of his head and violently cut off a fistful of hair that the Sikh religion requires to be kept intact and covered. The violent attack also left the victim with cuts and lacerations on his hands and face, a swollen eye, damage to his teeth that may require thousands of dollars of reconstruction surgery, and a severe cut to one finger that may require amputation. The Richmond police who responded to the event were reportedly skeptical that the event was motivated by hate. The Democratic Party of Contra Costa County believes that this attack was intended to harass, intimidate, and instill fear in the members of the Sikh community and must be prosecuted as a hate crime.
Over two weeks leading up to October 7, 2016, burglars have attacked the Rainbow Community Center in Concord four times and left anti-gay graffiti on the walls, steps, and sidewalks surrounding the Center. Although the attack was less violent than the attacks in Antioch and Richmond, the Concord police department is investigating the incident as a hate crime against the LGBT community.
“Violence, the threat of violence, harassment, and intimidation have no place in our community,” said DPCCC Chair Jeff Koertzen, the first openly LGBT person elected to lead the county party. “Unfortunately, the very hateful rhetoric of the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, has emboldened people to act out against women, minorities, and communities of color. The Democratic Party of Contra Costa County is composed of men and women who feel the sting of these attacks. We are Black, White, Asian, and Latino. We are straight and gay. We are Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Muslim, Hindus, Buddhists and atheists. We stand for the humanity and democracy of all people. We will not tolerate racist, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic or other intolerant attacks on our community, and we call on people of all faiths, colors, sexual orientations, or political persuasions to reject these attacks and stand up against hate speech in any form.”
As a Brentwood farmer, I have watched Steve Barr work through many East County issues, and his thoroughness and balance has always impressed me. Steve has always had the ability to see the greater picture, and make decisions which will work most effectively for the community at large. Steve’s decisions have helped East County’s quality of life through his long-time support of the establishment of agriculture conservation easements which will help ensure the future of agriculture in the East County.
Steve has also voiced strong support for value-added agricultural enterprises such as wineries, farmers’ markets, fruit stands and u-picks. These enterprises will help the local farm economy develop their own markets and increase sustainability. Steve’s volunteer work as lead organizer of the Brentwood Cornfest helped cement his relationship between the ag community and the urban city.
Steve’s experience as an independent businessman has given him an understanding and perspective of the greater community’s relationship between business, jobs and government. As Contra Costa County Supervisor, Steve Barr will use his experience and his insightfulness to make decisions which will be best for the entire community now and in the long run.
Partner, Dwelley Famly Farms
By Raymond Odunlami
Nine candidates running for various offices in East County received the recommendation from a coalition of African-American faith based leaders in the East County. The need for the coalition and subsequent recommendation was brought about by the necessity to address the highly contentious state of race relations. That, coupled with what has been called the most divisive political campaign season in the history of this country the coalition felt the need to act.
The coalition conducted interviews over a two period where all candidates who attended were asked their opinion on several issues. At the conclusion of the interviews deliberations were held by the faith leaders, after which it was decided to urge the East County electorate to support the following candidates who have promised to best support the community:
Federal Glover for Supervisor District 5
Dianne Burgis for Supervisor District 3
Sean Wright for Mayor of Antioch
Monica Wilson for City of Antioch City Council
Lamar Thorpe for City of Antioch City Council
Jelani Killings for City of Pittsburg City Council
Juan Banales for City of Pittsburg City Council
Laura Canciamilla for Pittsburg Unified School District Trustee
In addition to the recommendation above, the coalition also decided to urge all East County residents to support Hillary Clinton for President of the United States of America.
The coalition as a unit is not affiliated with any particular organization, religious or otherwise. It is a non-binding association of religious leaders who live and serve in East Contra Costa County. For more information or questions, contact Odessa Lefrancois at firstname.lastname@example.org.Read More
Residents can save postage and time with this expanding vote-by-mail program
By Paul Burgarino, Community Education and Engagement Specialist, Contra Costa County Elections Division
Contra Costa residents will find it easier to vote in the upcoming November 8th Election, as the Contra Costa Elections Office once again partners with local agencies to provide convenient “CoCo Vote-N-Go” drop off locations, prior to and on Election Day.
There are six new drop-off locations in Contra Costa County for the November 2016 Election; the Discovery Bay Community Center, the Kensington Library, the El Sobrante Library, the Crockett Library, the Ygnacio Valley Library and the Dougherty Station Library.
Starting the week of October 10th, voters will find the drop-off boxes at these new locations, in addition to all Contra Costa city halls and the County Administration Building, located at 651 Pine St. in Martinez.
“We are excited to expand the CoCo Vote-N-Go program into some of Contra Costa’s local library branches for voters to safely drop off their vote-by-mail envelopes,” said Joe Canciamilla, Contra Costa Registrar of Voters. “We urge voters to take advantage of this service.”
“The drop off locations at our libraries stretch into the deep parts of the county,” said County Librarian Melinda Cervantes. “We are thrilled to take part in this program and provide an additional service to our communities.”
Contra Costa voters can drop their ballots at any location, regardless of where they live. The distinguishable boxes will be available during the location’s normal business hours.
The postage for vote-by-mail envelopes this election is 68 cents; however, the drop-box service eliminates the need for those stamps. Staff members will have the popular “I Voted” stickers available for those who drop off their ballots.
For more information about voting by mail, call 925-335-7800 or visit the Elections Office website at www.cocovote.us.Read More
U.C. Berkeley announced, Wednesday that it has joined forces with Richmond-based CyberTran International (CTI), Stantec, a global architecture and engineering firm, and a group of small businesses to apply jointly to the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change grant competition. The grant would finance the development of the rapid, Ultra Light Rail Transit (ULRT) system technology pioneered by CTI.
UC Berkeley’s Partners in Advanced Transit and Highways (PATH) has decades of experience in the automated vehicle field.
“We can definitely apply our automated vehicle system technology to ULRT,” said researcher Xiao-Yun Lu.
“ULRT has the potential to revolutionize how we travel and commute,” said CTI President Dexter Vizinau. “Automated rail shuttles that travel in a network up to speeds of over 100 mph will reduce the cost of building and maintaining transit systems while greatly increasing convenience and providing an alternative sustainable mode to today’s congested highways and roads, and reducing toxic emissions.”
The John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s grant program, launched in June, will award only one grant applicant a year of $100 million. It is a “competition…to fund a single proposal that promises real and measurable progress in solving a critical problem of our time,” according to the organization’s website.
“Solving society’s most pressing problems isn’t easy, but we believe it can be done,” said MacArthur President Julia Stasch. “Potential solutions may go unnoticed or under resourced and are waiting to be brought to scale. Every three years, we plan to award $100 million to help make one of these solutions a reality. Through 100&Change, we want to inspire, encourage, and support other people’s ideas, here in our hometown Chicago, across the nation and around the world, about how to address major challenges and enable real progress toward a solution.”
“We believe that 100&Change can have a ripple effect beyond what a single $100 million grant enables,” said Cecilia Conrad, MacArthur’s Managing Director leading the competition. “Setting audacious goals is inspiring. Clear evidence of impact can encourage other funders to invest in solvable problems more broadly, and applicants who do not receive the $100 million grant will still receive valuable feedback on and attention to their ideas.”
“These funds will help us to bring this very important technology to market at low, medium and 100-plus miles per hour speed applications. Our team is ably skilled to succeed in introducing this radically innovative and effective technology to the globe,” said Neil Sinclair, CTI’s Chairman. “We are very happy to be teaming with UC Berkeley’s PATH group along with the rest of the team on this project.”
ULRT is a computer operated on-demand and direct-to-destination transit system using individual rail shuttles. Studies have shown the system to cost an order of magnitude less to build and operate. It was originated at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory. The program proposal is a three year $100M project resulting in the completion of the commercialization of the technology. CTI engineers compare ULRT to the Internet. Vehicles travel under computer control to off-line stations based on real time passenger demand. The demand can come from passengers in stations pushing a button, or through smart phone pre-scheduling.
CyberTran International’s offices are located at the UC Berkeley Global Campus Richmond Bay, in Richmond, California. For more information on CyberTran, visit www.cybertran.com. For more information on the 100&Change Competition, click here.
As a matter of disclosure, the publisher of this website is a part owner of a company with a financial interest in CyberTran International, Inc.Read More
The candidates for Assembly District 14 are set to square off at the East Bay Leadership Council’s candidate forum tomorrow in Concord. The highly contested-race between Mae Torlakson and Tim Grayson has drawn statewide attention and millions of dollars from independent expenditure campaigns. Topics of discussion will include the East Bay’s historic traffic congestion, soaring housing costs, crumbling infrastructure, and underfunded schools.
The forum will be moderated by the President and CEO of the East Bay Leadership Council, Kristin Connelly. Questions for the candidates may also be submitted by the audience.
WHEN: Thursday, October 13, 2016, 5:30PM – 6:30PM
WHERE: Crowne Plaza Concord, 45 John Glenn Dr in Concord
EVENT WEBSITE: http://bit.ly/ForumAsm14Read More
By Allen Payton
Candidate for County Supervisor in District Three, Diane Burgis filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) on Tuesday, against her opponent, Steve Barr, alleging his campaign failed to publicly disclose $19,457 in large donor contributions within the required 24-hour reporting period. burgis-complaint-v-barr
The FPPC is the enforcement agency for the California Political Reform Act. The Act covers campaign finance and lobbying reporting, campaign advertising disclosure, and conflicts of interest laws regarding public officials. The financial disclosure rules state that all campaigns must report monetary contributions of $1,000 or more within 24 hours of receipt, or within 48 hours for non-monetary, in-kind contributions beginning 90 days before an election using a 497 form. That period began on August 1oth, this year. fppc-reporting-rules
The complaint alleges the Steve Barr for Supervisor 2016 campaign failed to file the 497 reports on time, on at least ten occasions, only reporting the contributions on its first required campaign report, which he filed on September 28, 2016. Those contributions and dates they were received are as follows:
- $1,150 on August 18 from Richland Real Estate Fund, LLC of Irvine, CA (41 days past due)
- $1,000 on August 24 from Bloomfield Vineyards of Brentwood, CA (34 days past due)
- $1,500 on August 28 from the Aloha Club of Byron, CA (29 days past due)
- $1,675 on September 8 from Balfour Properties (19 days past due)
- $1,675 on September 12 from the Committee to Re-Elect Robert Taylor of Brentwood, CA (15 days past due)
- $5,000 on September 12 from CREPAC-C.A.R. of Los Angeles, CA (15 days past due)
- $1,675 on September 14 from Premier Floor Care, Inc. of Walnut Creek, CA (13 days past due)
- $1,000 on September 22 from ASM Investment Properties, LLC of Oakley, (5 days past due)
- $2,000 on September 23 from Build Jobs PAC of Walnut Creek, CA 9 (2 days past due)
- $2,782 on September 24 from Pacific Union of Danville, CA (1 day past due)
If the state confirms misreporting, penalties could equal $10 per day plus up to $5,000 per violation, a potential penalty of up to $51,730, more than the value of all contributions combined, Burgis’ campaign stated in a Wednesday press release.
If a fine is levied, more likely the maximum would be $1,740 for the 174 cumulative days past due at $10 per day, since each of the contributions have been reported.
“We were disappointed to find such significant financial mismanagement on the part of Mr. Barr,” said Rebecca Barrett, Burgis’ campaign manager. “He built his candidacy on his fiscal know-how and ability to follow the rules, yet it appears he’s been unable to meet his obligation to inform voters about who funds his campaign. It should make us wonder if Mr. Barr is truly ready for the job.”
When reached for comment, Barr offered the following statement:
“I received the complaint and have attempted to contact the FPPC and are awaiting a response and it appears we made a mistake in our reporting deadline. I take full responsibility for that mistake. And we will work with the FPPC on any amendments and accept any remedies that they see fit.”
“What we don’t know is whether or not we still need to file the forms after the fact, since the contributions have already been reported,” he continued.
“We have filed the 497’s for two contributions received since the last reporting period, including one just yesterday,” Barr added.
When reached for comment, County Clerk Joe Canciamilla was asked if Barr has to still file the 497’s if all the contributions in dispute have been reported on his latest 460 form all the contributions and who levies any fine that might be assessed.
“The forms are to be filed with us, since it’s a local office,” Canciamilla said. “It’s sort of a moot point at this stage, since they were disclosed but not within the time frame of the 24-hour reporting.”
“We’ve never fined anybody. We have to do some research to talk about whether we have the authority to levy the fine or the FPPC and if it’s discretionary,” he continued. “Until we get a formal complaint here, we’ll have to deal with it when we get it.”
A call and email to the FPPC garnered the following response:
“If people file a complaint with us, we can release a copy of the complaint five days after we receive it,” said Jay Wieringa, Communications Director for the FPPC. “The Commission made a decision to give people a chance to find out about a complaint against them before they read it in your paper, especially during non-campaign season.”
“But, during campaign season sometimes campaigns file complaints against another and then inform the media,” he continued. “We frown on it. We don’t like it. But we recognize it happens.”
Canciamilla later provided additional information.
“We did get an email about three weeks ago from the FPPC that any of these complaints be referred to them, to the Enforcement Division,” he said. “So that’s where it will go. It would be the FPPC or the District Attorney who would levy any fines.”
When asked again if Barr still had to file a 497 form for the contributions since they’ve already been reported on the 460 form, Canciamilla responded, “Retroactively? No. I’m not sure what the value would be to go back and file the 497’s now.”
A letter was sent by the FPPC’s Enforcement Division, yesterday, to Barr, his campaign and his wife Kathy, who serves as his campaign treasurer, informing them of the complaint. The letter states the agency will inform Burgis within 14 days 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. fppc-letter-to-barrsRead More
By Allen Payton
In an effort to determine the cause of death of Contra Costa Community College District Trustee John T. Nejedly, while he was in New Orleans over the weekend, following a conference, inquiries were made to both the New Orleans Police Department and New Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office, today.
“The New Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office releases the names of victims,” said Dawn Massey, Senior Public Information Officer in the New Orleans Police Public Affairs Division. “We’ve had a couple of unclassified deaths that came in over the weekend.”
Unclassified means there was no obvious signs of death.
When asked for information about Nejedly’s death, Gayell Johnson of the Coroner’s Office said, “Once the person is autopsied it takes awhile to determine the cause of death. That is not something we know at this time.”
The Nejedly case “came in as a UI which is ‘under investigation’,” she added.
When asked how many days that will take, Johnson replied, “You mean how many weeks. The usual time is eight to sixteen weeks” for the results of the autopsy to be released.
However, his body can be released once the autopsy is completed, which is within 24-48 hours, so a memorial service can be held, she added.Read More