Contra Costa College (CCC) held a Presidential Investiture, Tuesday for its 12th permanent president, Mojdeh Mehdizadeh, and celebrated the completion of its new College Center, the largest bond-funded project in the history of Contra Costa Community College District (District).
“We are happy and so proud to have Mojdeh Mehdizadeh in this leadership role,” says Governing Board president Vicki Gordon. “One of the District’s initiatives is to ensure we provide professional opportunities so we can grow our own leaders. Mojdeh’s 25 years of experience in the District is a shining success story of that commitment and provides proof that each employee has opportunities in our District to realize his or her full potential.”
Following the investiture formalities, President Mehdizadeh commented on her vision for the college.
“Contra Costa College is a beacon of hope for West County,” says president Mehdizadeh. “We are delighted about the completion of this project which changes the face of our entire campus. We have created facilities that provide an inviting and engaging physical learning environment for our students.”
Over $72 million was invested in the College Center project that includes a new General Education Building, Fireside Hall and Student and Administration Building. The quad area was completely redone, making it an inviting place for students to take part in meaningful activities that contribute to their success. Funding for this project came from the passage of Measure A Bond 2006, and Contra Costa County voters deserve the credit.
“This day could not be possible without the passage of our bond measures,” says chancellor Helen Benjamin. “We appreciate the support of our community and as we celebrate the opening of the new facilities, we celebrate the community as well for the investment they are making in improving the wellbeing of the residents. We invite the community to stop by and see what we have done for our students.”
The building of the College Center project included the demolition of the oldest building on the CCC campus, the Humanities building and the Student Activities building, constructed in 1954 and 1957, respectively.
“These new facilities are beautiful, and were completed on time and under budget,” says Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee chair Dr. Bill van Dyk. “The District continues to demonstrate they are good stewards of the public’s funds.”
Contra Costa College, located in San Pablo, is one of three colleges in the Contra Costa Community College District and currently serves almost 11,000 students (unduplicated head county) annually. Since 1948, CCC has provided exemplary educational services to hundreds of thousands of residents from the greater West County area, and is proud of its diverse student body and commitment to individual student success. Excellent programs such as the Center for Science Excellence, The Advocate newspaper, the green Automotive Services program, Middle College High School, the Nursing program, and the Culinary Arts program are known through the state and the nation. A model of excellence, Contra Costa College prides itself on being one of the finest community colleges in the country. For more information on the college, click here.
The Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) 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
This summer, John Muir Health Hospitals engaged in a dynamic partnership with local high schools to offer work-based learning programs designed to make students aware of health care careers and their own potential – exposing students to an experience they can’t get in a classroom.
The goal is to align classwork with real-world job opportunities, and to awaken local high school students to opportunities for education and careers in the medical field.
On Friday, August 5, nine local students graduated from the summer intern program at John Muir Health, Walnut Creek Hospital: Saadhana Deshpande, Kaanan Goradia, Justin Chang, Eeshan Sharma, Andrew Cho, Harini Rajan, Kaileigh Yang, Christina Alejandrino and Marina Fernandez.
To view a video on the Medical & Biotechnology Academy overview, click here.Read More
As incumbent District 1 BART Board Director Gail Murray officially announced her campaign for re-election on Wednesday, her challenger Debora Allen announced the endorsement of 30 current and former East Bay elected leaders.
The endorsements are:
Steve Glazer State Senator, California
Catharine Baker State Assemblywoman, California
Candace Andersen Supervisor, Contra Costa County
Ben Johnson Mayor, City of Pittsburg
Bill Clarkson Mayor, City of San Ramon
Dan Walden Former Board Member, Walnut Creek School Board
Ed Duarte Director, Dublin-San Ramon Services District
Eve Phillips Vice‐Mayor, City of Orinda
Greg Marvel President, Board of Education, San Ramon Valley Unified School District
H. Abram Wilson Former Mayor, City of San Ramon
Howard Geller Mayor, City of Clayton
Jack Weir Former City Council Member, City of Pleasant Hill
Jim Diaz Vice Mayor, Clayton
John Phillips Chairman, Contra Costa County Pension Board
Julie Pierce Council Member, City of Clayton
Justin Wedel Council Member, City of Walnut Creek
Lynne Leach Former CA State Assemblywoman AD15 (1996‐2002)
Mark Peterson District Attorney, Contra Costa County
Merle Hall Former Mayor, Walnut Creek
Mike McGill Board Member, Central Contra Costa Sanitary District
Pete Laurence Former Mayor, City of Clayton
Richard Rainey Former CA State Senator, Assemblyman, and Contra Costa County Sheriff
Robert Storer Council Member, Danville Town Council
Russell Watts Treasurer‐Tax Collector, Contra Costa County
Sal Evola Council Member, City of Pittsburg
Scott Gordon Secretary, Contra Costa County Pension Board
Scott Perkins Vice Mayor, City of San Ramon
Steve Barr Council Member, City of Brentwood
Steve Mick Alamo Municipal Advisory Council
Vicki Gordon Board President, Contra Costa Community College District
In the 12 years Murray has served as a BART Director, the system has seen the largest decline in quality of service in its 40+ year history, accord to Allen.
“Over the last decade, the BART experience has deteriorated with increased crime, system delays, labor strikes, equipment malfunctions, fake security cameras, high fares, budget shortfalls and overall public dissatisfaction,” she said. “BART is so antiquated, their control system is from 1972 and they buy replacement parts on eBay.”
Following are what some of her supporters have to say:
Senator Steve Glazer: “Debora Allen will bring an important voice and fiscally responsible vote into the BART boardroom. She’s smart, she’s tough, and she’s a problem solver. She will stand up to special interests and management incompetence and fight to improve BART while protecting the interest of taxpayers.”
Assemblywoman Catharine Baker: “Debora Allen brings a refreshing new energy and approach to getting BART’s fiscal house in order. She will be a champion for the transit rider and taxpayer!”
City Council Member of Clayton Julie Pierce: “Our BART system is incredibly important to the residents of Contra Costa County. I am confident that Debora Allen will be strong leadership on the Board of Directors and a loud voice for transparency and financial accountability to the stakeholders as we rebuild BART into a world class transportation system of which we can all be proud.”
Contra Costa County Supervisor Candace Andersen: “Debora Allen brings the business experience and financial acumen we need to lead BART in the right direction.”
Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson: “I trust Debora Allen to protect the taxpayers’ investment in BART, for the riders, the workers, and for the future of Bay Area living.”
Former CA State Assemblywoman Lynne Leach: “Debora Allen is a talented, trusted and experienced businesswoman. Her background of working to stem the ever increasing growth of public pension costs prepares her well to serve on the BART Board.”
Former Mayor of Walnut Creek Merle Hall: “Debora will help get BART off welfare, and run it like a proper railroad in a business-like manner.”
Allen is Murray’s only challenger in the November election. BART District 1 includes the BART stations in Concord, Lafayette, Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Centre and Walnut Creek and all or portions of the Contra Costa County cities and communities of Alamo, Alhambra Valley, Blackhawk, Camino Tassajara, Clayton, Concord, Danville, Diablo, Lafayette, Martinez, Pacheco, Pleasant Hill, Port Costa, San Ramon and Walnut Creek.Read More
This year, Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord) continued her efforts to help college students fight mounting higher education costs by authoring Assembly Bill 1914, which was signed into law, last Friday by Governor Brown. AB 1914 ensures that college students are not paying for unnecessary and underutilized academic materials during coursework.
“Each year students pay approximately $1,300 for required textbooks,” said Assemblywoman Bonilla. “Couple this with rising tuition, room and board, and the fact that textbooks are increasingly linked to digital content which require access codes costing an additional fifty to one hundred dollars, college is becoming more and more unaffordable. The problem is not only the extra costs, but the fact that many of the tasks managed by digital content can be completed by platforms already available to professors and universities.”
Faculty members are already encouraged to consider free or inexpensive options when they select materials for their students to purchase. However, in many cases, professors do not realize the cost of the materials they assign or know that less expensive, quality resources are available. AB 1914 addresses this issue by requiring a policy specifically considering the benefits and drawbacks of academic materials, in addition to raising awareness of platforms already available on campus. Overall, this bill will make the process of selecting, requiring, and purchasing textbooks more transparent for both faculty and their students.
“This bill is part of our continued commitment to ensuring students have access to affordable course materials,” said David Lopez, California State Student Association President. “For far too long the cost of textbooks have been rising at levels that put students in undesirable financial situations. With the help of Assemblywoman Bonilla and her dedicated staff, we have been able to alleviate some of that financial burden by continuing to improve access to free or low-cost educational resources. CSSA believes every student should have access to an affordable education, and this bill is yet another positive step toward that goal.”
Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord) was elected in November 2010 and represents California’s 14th Assembly District, which includes Contra Costa County and Solano County.Read More
The Mt. Diablo Unified School District’s (MDUSD) new Visual and Performing Arts Steering Committee is beginning a series of meetings to engage the MDUSD community in planning a framework for sustained growth of visual and performing arts in district schools as part of the District’s core belief that all students in MDUSD deserve a high quality and robust arts education.
The committee was formed in spring 2016 as a leadership and advocacy group composed of District teachers and central office staff focusing on equitable access to high-quality visual and performing arts programs from Transitional Kindergarten (TK) through Grade 12. The committee also includes a student leadership component – Student Leaders Within the Performing Arts. Students will meet throughout the year for special sessions on a variety of arts-related topics. Their first meeting on September 7, featured a motivational speaker talking about student leadership and break outs for students in band, orchestra and vocal music.
“A strong arts education promotes the skills our students need to be successful in school and in life,” said Meyer. “We know from our experiences and from years of research that experiences in the arts have direct connections to positive student outcomes. Arts education levels the playing field among students, regardless of income, race or ethnicity, and other demographics.”
Decades of research compiled by the Arts Education Partnership (AEP), a national network of organizations dedicated to advancing the arts in education, show time and again that students highly involved in the arts outperform students with little or no arts involvement, particularly in school settings. They receive better grades, have more positive attitudes about school, and are less likely to drop out of school. An AEP study also noted that, more importantly, the differences are most significant for economically disadvantaged students.
This year’s National Arts in Education Week will be observed September 11 – 17, as part of House Resolution #275 designating the second week of September as National Arts in Education Week. The resolution expresses congressional support for arts education, stipulating that “arts education, comprising a rich array of disciplines including dance, music, theatre, media arts, literature, design, and visual arts, is a core academic subject and an essential element of a complete and balanced education for all students.”
“Arts education is a priority of the MDUSD as a key tool for developing capacity for creativity, problem solving, collaboration and communication, and leadership,” added Meyer. “More and more, these qualities are essential to being successful in the 21st century workforce.”
California leads the United States in the creative economy with the largest number of creative jobs. Additionally, California has two of the top five regions leading the creative economy; the Los Angeles region and the San Francisco Bay Area. MDUSD visual arts teachers have demonstrated success at preparing students to participate in this flourishing creative economy. Some MDUSD arts alumni are working in California’s creative economy in major companies such as like Laika, FitBit, Playstation, the DeYoung Museum, and Yelp.
“From photography to ceramics, and culinary arts to designing layouts for the yearbook, the courses I took in high school enabled me to think creatively and critically, and were crucial to my decision to study art history and design in college,” said Ryan Printer, an administrator with the Department of Strategic Projects at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and an MDUSD alumnus. “The arts education I received in the Mount Diablo Unified School District inspired me to pursue the career I have today,”
Key to MDUSD’s success is the expertise of the MDUSD visual arts teachers. “Our MDUSD visual arts team includes teachers with multiple degrees in Art and education, several National Board Certified teachers, and many teachers who are also practicing professional artists,” said Meyer.
MDUSD has four approved AP courses of study in the visual arts (AP 2-D, AP Drawing, AP 3-D, and AP Art History) offering students college-level coursework in high school. MDUSD offers numerous CTE courses in arts, media, and entertainment providing students with opportunities to be college and career ready.
MDUSD’s art students were selected by the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek to exhibit work from around the district in the Walnut Creek library during April 2017. This exhibition will represent the first district-wide art show in over 10 years. Meadow Homes Elementary has also been chosen as a Turnaround Arts School and recognized by the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities.
In April 2016, the US Department of Education issued a letter to State Educational agencies and school districts discussing how to maximize Federal funds to support and enhance humanities-based educational strategies under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA.) MDUSD has recently added a specific goal in the 2016 LCAP that targets visual and performing arts (Goal 1.21.)
To learn more check out the following, additional resources:
California’s creative economy: http://www.otis.edu/sites/default/files/2015-CA-Region-Creative-Economy-Report-WEB-FINAL.pdfRead More
By Allen Payton
Former Moraga Mayor Ken Chew released his candidate’s statement early, so voters can know why he is running for BART Board in District 3. He is one of three challengers for incumbent Rebecca Saltzman, who is seeking reelection to her second term.
Following is his complete statement:
“We can make BART better. We can make BART safe, clean and run-on time. We can hold the BART Board fiscally responsible and accountable. I will work hard to make this happen.
With over 25 years’ experience as a transportation professional and having served three years on the Moraga Planning Commission before serving eight years as a councilmember, including two years as mayor, I have the expertise and public policy leadership experience to be your BART Director.
BART is an essential system in need of reform in many areas. BART employees are our assets and integral to the success of the entire system under strong leadership with a sound plan.
My top priority is to make stations and trains safe and welcoming with adequate staffing and training to transform BART stations to be clean, service-oriented and vibrant. I will pursue full staffing of BART police, and then push for smart technology solutions to force multiply their abilities on public safety effectiveness. For the few stations that are key opportunity hubs for ‘smart village’ development, I will work with stakeholders to attract community investments to develop transit villages of the 21st century.
Reform requires new leadership characterized by common sense and shared vision. With your votes, we can begin the process of getting BART back on track.”
Chew has the support of over 50 public officials, community leaders and business owners, including four of the five members of the Contra Costa County Supervisors, Candace Andersen, Federal Glover, Karen Mitchoff and Mary Piepho, as well a variety of mayors and council members. For a more extensive list of his endorsements visit www.electkenchew.com/endorsements.html.
District 3 includes the following BART Stations: Bay Fair, Downtown Berkeley, El Cerrito del Norte, El Cerrito Plaza, North Berkeley, Orinda, Rockridge, San Leandro; and all or portions of the following cities and communities: Albany, Ashland, Berkeley, Castro Valley, Cherryland, El Cerrito, Kensington, Lafayette, Moraga, Oakland, Orinda, Piedmont, San Lorenzo See map of District 3, here: www.bart.gov/sites/default/files/docs/bart_3.pdf
Chew is a long time resident of the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a professional engineer, is married and a father of two children. For more information about his campaign, visit www.electkenchew.com. The election is November 8.Read More
San Ramon – Assemblywoman Catharine Baker (R-San Ramon) announced that Governor Brown has signed her bill, AB 2486, making it easier for consumers to find and check for a licensed contractor for construction projects.
Under current law, California consumers are required to use a licensed contractor for construction projects costing more than $500. When an unlicensed contractor is used, consumers risk suffering financial loss, costly lawsuits, and shoddy workmanship with little recourse. Regrettably, the Contractor’s State License Board website only allows consumers to search for contractors by name or license number. As a result, consumers cannot utilize the Board’s website to find a licensed contractor. Instead, they can only look up a contractor for whom they already have a name or license number.
AB 2486 fixes this problem and requires the Board to update its website to allow consumers to search for licensed contractors by zip code. This important feature will help make it easier for individuals to find contractors working in their community and prevent consumers from falling victim to the underground economy and unlicensed contractor scams.
“Although it only makes a small change to the Contractors State License Board website, AB 2486 will have a significant impact on improving consumer protection and access to important information,” said Assemblywoman Baker. “At the four Senior Fraud Seminars we’ve hosted throughout the District, constituents made it loud and clear that they want easier ways to search for and screen contractors in order to avoid and detect scams from unlicensed contractors. Making government serve more efficiently is what I’m about, and I’m so pleased that this bill has been signed.”
When unlicensed contractors are used, they provide increased risk to consumers, undercut lawful employers, and contribute to the state’s unsafe and unlawful underground economy. The Franchise Tax Board estimates that the underground economy costs the state $10 billion annually in uncollected tax revenue. AB 2486 will help combat the use of unlicensed contractors in the underground economy by making it easier for consumers to get information about licensed contractors in their area.
AB 2486 received the support of Associated Builders and Contractors of California, California Landscape Contractors Association, Sacramento Regional Builders Exchange, the California Pool and Spa Association, and the Contractors State License Board.
Prior to being signed by the Governor, AB 2486 received unanimous, bipartisan support in both the Senate and Assembly.
Baker represents the 16th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Alamo, Danville, Dublin, Lafayette, Livermore, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasanton, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek.Read More
By Supervisor Federal Glover
FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, the United States suffered the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. 9/11 has become a date that will live in infamy. It is our generation’s equivalent to December 7, 1941. Who can ever forget the jetliners crashing into the New York skyscrapers, bursting into flames, people jumping from the upper stories, the last calls of those trapped inside.
Who can forget the office workers fleeing the burning floors above them and the firemen dragging their hoses with them, going up the stairs towards the flames.
Who can forget the towers toppling down on workers and the heroic first responders? The mayhem, the dust-covered office workers?
Who can forget other firefighters, policemen and other rescue workers going through the debris to find survivors?
Who can forget the people from all across the nation, including some from Contra Costa County, who dropped what they were doing and rushed to New York to help in the rescue efforts?
Who can forget Flight 93’s heroic passengers, including residents of the Bay Area, who fought the terrorists to prevent the jetliner crashing into the White House or Congress even though it meant their certain death?
The deaths of those 3000 people on 9/11 are seared into our collective memories. We will always remember what we were doing and where we were on that fateful morning.
But there is another memory I’ll always keep with me. I’ll remember the American people rallying around the towers, around New York, around the Pentagon and Flight 93 – that was perhaps among the finest hours of America. We didn’t think about the race of the victims or their rescuers. We didn’t ask if they were Democrat, Republican, liberal or conservative, rich or poor. For those few hours, those few weeks, after the horrible acts of terror; we were united as a country, we were all Americans.
That is what I’ll remember.
Glover represents District 5 on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.Read More
Detectives from the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff have arrested 22-year-old Nicholas Daigle of Walnut Creek in connection with an alleged lewd conduct incident that occurred at the Alamo Safeway last month.
After the incident, the Office of the Sheriff posted surveillance photos and a video on social media. Several tips came in by phone and email identifying Daigle as the person in the images.
Detectives arrested Daigle at his home Wednesday morning without incident. After being interviewed, he was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on several charges: battery, indecent exposure, sexual battery, and engaging in lewd conduct.
Daigle is currently being held in lieu of $5,000 bail.
Anyone who has any information on this incident or Daigle is asked to contact the Investigation Division at (925) 313-2600. For any tips, please email: email@example.com or call 866-846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.Read More