Prior to the DVC presidency, Garcia served for eight years as the president of Los Medanos College (LMC). He has also served as Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, Dean of Economic Development, Dean of Humanistic Studies, faculty researcher, philosophy instructor, and offensive line coach during his lengthy career with the District.
“Peter has made a lasting impact on thousands of students and many employees as well as the communities served by the District during his tenure,” said Chancellor Helen Benjamin. “He will surely be missed and fondly remembered as a leader who cared deeply about our students.”
Garcia expressed his appreciation for his colleagues and experiences at both colleges.
“I’m incredibly grateful for opportunities and people that both DVC and LMC brought to my life over these many years,” he shared.
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. For more information on the District, visit www.4cd.edu.Read More
Search efforts to begin
By Allen Payton
On March 9, the Contra Costa Community College District (District) Governing Board voted to hire Mojdeh Mehdizadeh for the position of President of Contra Costa College (CCC) in San Pablo. The vote was a unanimous 4-0 of those board members in attendance. Trustee John Nejedly was absent. The same night they accepted the retirement letter from Diablo Valley College (DVC) President Peter Garcia.
Garcia’s retirement is effective this June 30th.
Then, on April 5, the Board accepted the retirement letter of Chancellor Helen Benjamin, effective the end of the calendar year on December 31st.
In addition, the Board appointed Dr. Andrew C. Jones as the District’s Interim Executive Vice Chancellor, Education and Technology, to replace Mehdizadeh. He was appointed for a one year term beginning July 2015.
At a special meeting scheduled for Wednesday, April 20 the Board will interview search firm consultant applicants.
Contra Costa College New President
As college president, Mehdizadeh will receive a base annual salary of $247,968 with annual raises based on performance, from zero to five percent, plus benefits including car allowance, according to her contract.
According to a news release from the District, Mehdizadeh began her tenure as Interim President at Contra Costa College in January 2015. Her former role was Executive Vice Chancellor of Education and Technology at the Contra Costa Community College District. With more than 25 years of experience in higher education, she began her career at Diablo Valley College in the area of student services and later institutional research. Ms. Mehdizadeh’s responsibilities included support of the colleges’ educational programs, student services, workforce and economic development, information technology, international education, research and planning, and grants.
She has also served as adjunct faculty in Speech Communications and is actively engaged in state and national associations.
Ms. Mehdizadeh holds an M.A. in Organizational and Intercultural Communications from Cal State University East Bay and a B.S. in Computer Information Systems from San Francisco State University. Mojdeh completed her undergraduate general education requirements at Diablo Valley College and is proud of her roots in the community college system.
To watch the video of Mehdizadeh during the selection process, click here.
Stories about Garcia’s and Dr. Benjamin’s retirements to follow.
The Contra Costa Community College District (District) has chosen Edward Carney as the new District Director of Police, Safety and Emergency Services.
Carney, who spent 25 years with the Cherry Hill Police Department in New Jersey, is a strong advocate of education and officer training. With more than 30 years of police training under his belt, Carney also has experience as an educator, teaching online and at the community college level on topics such as Community Policing, Terrorism and Administration of Justice.
“We are fortunate to have such an experienced law enforcement leader join the District,” said Chancellor Helen Benjamin. “His extensive background in police training, education and public safety is a wonderful combination of skills and experience that will ensure our campuses remain safe environments for our students, staff and surrounding communities.”
For the past decade, Carney worked as Executive Director of Public Safety and Facilities with Camden County College in New Jersey where he developed a Public Safety department that became a model for operations and customer service industries in the region.
“I have the unique background of being law enforcement but then having a substantial number of years in community college work that really focuses on community policing,” shared Carney. “Now, I can focus on the community and relationship sides of policing. It’s about outreach, it’s about listening, it’s about trust and visibility.”
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
Brentwood gets higher percentage of property tax than other cities, some should go to fire district
By Hal Bray
In 1978 Proposition 13 became the law. The legislature was given the task of reallocating property taxes according to its guidelines. As usual they made a mess of it.
Oh, the original allocation may have been alright, but the state legislature put nothing in the legislation to reallocate taxes over timebased on population shifts, growth or some other equitable measure.So those entities receiving less were, and have stayed, underfunded since 1978. Hence, our issue today for the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District.
In 1978 fire fighting in East County was made up of voluntary fire districts; therefore firefighting and emergency medical services in the area received only 7.5% of our 1% ad valorem property tax. Other, established fire districts within the countyreceived, on average 12%, some much more. If East County would have received the county average or San Ramon’s allocation of 21% or even ConFire’s 14%, or if periodic adjustments had been made, the district’s budget today would be approximately double what it is today and we would not be having this severe crisis.
Where does the funding that ECCFPD did not get in 1978 go? It went to the City of Brentwood, the County, the school districts and special districts within the ECCFPD boundaries. It is time to right this historical wrong, redirecting some of our current property taxes from these entities to ECCFPD to provide for the services necessary to save lives and protect property.
We, East County Voters for Equal Protection (ECV) , want the other public entities within the ECCFPD boundaries to adjust their allocations by approximately 5% (which in many cases is only about 1-2% of their total revenue)to provide adequate funding for the ECCFPD. This would not cut any of their current programs, but would reduce their growth rate. They can keep the bonus allocations they have received since 1978, but going forward the funding is desperately needed to protect the lives and homes, schools and infrastructure of East County.
This reallocation would provide the $7.8 million that ECCFPD needs to open and operate three more stations bringing the total number of stations to six. We, ECV, would then support a tax measure on the ballot to fund beyond six stations, if necessary; but government must do their part first.
What must the community do to get the funding for ECCFPD?
The process to reallocate property taxes is clear; we know the process and the law. It is difficult, at best, and requires the co-operation of local elected officials and the concurrence by the areas residents. We recommend starting today and, in the short term, achieve this funding with a local MOU or Joint powers Agreement (JPA).
However, since our elected and appointed officials in East County are reluctant to solve this crisis, we, the residents of East County, must create the political will for these officialsto look beyond their own parochial interests and think of the common good.
This issue is, fundamentally, about fair and equitable solutions. Fire Services are funded by property taxes. Local government and school districts are among the largest land owners in East County. They are also large consumers of fire district services. However, they pay no property taxes and, therefore, do not pay their share of the costs of the services. We believe it is their responsibility to step up and share the cost of correcting this injustice.
Assemblyman Jim Frazier and State Senator Steve Glazer have said publically that they will carry any necessary legislation to Sacramento to complete the transaction, once a local agreement is reached.
Our local elected and appointed officials hold the keys to unlock the solution to our crises.Most will tell you the process is long and difficult, but will not tell you that they are the obstacle. This issue is one, long, self-fulfilling prophecy that starts with them.
This is why we have begun meeting with local elected and appointed officials and community groups. We must build the political will, break the cycle of self-interest,in our officials or, in this an election year, vote out of office any official who will not support this effort.
We need you, the community residents of East County to contact your city council, school board, irrigation and/or water district and other special districts to make this happen.
Hal Bray is a Brentwood resident and is co-chair of East County Voters for Equal Protection, a non-partisan citizen’s action committee, whose goal is to improve funding for the ECCFPD. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or like the group on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EastCountyVoters.Read More
There are currently, approximately 8,401 teachers educating more than 174,800 students in Contra Costa County’s public schools. To recognize their efforts and bring much-deserved honor to the teaching profession, the participating school districts in the county recently named their Teachers of the Year (TOY) representatives. (See list below.) The upcoming school year’s 21 TOYs represent 16 Contra Costa County school districts, the Contra Costa Community College District, and the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE). Most of these representatives, those who teach grades K thru 12, are eligible to compete in the Contra Costa County TOY competition. The two top teachers in the county TOY program will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program this coming fall.
“We are immensely proud of these amazing educators,” said Karen Sakata, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools. “They were thoughtfully chosen to represent their schools and districts, and truly represent what is best about public education.”
The county’s TOY program is directed by the CCCOE. With such a high caliber of teaching professionals to draw from, the CCCOE’s TOY program uses a three-stage selection process, with a point and percentage system to determine the final candidates as follows:
I Application Screening:
On April 8, a committee of 15 judges, representing the county’s education, business, and public-sector partners will carefully review the applications submitted by the school districts. This committee independently rates each application. After the application screening and scoring are completed, four teachers will be selected to advance to the next two phases as finalists.
II Classroom Observation and Interview:
In April and May, a small committee of education specialists and business partners observe the four finalists interacting with their students. Immediately following, the committee interviews the candidates discussing topics such as their teaching philosophy and techniques.
III Speech Presentation:
On August 15, the four TOY finalists will each give a three- to five-minute speech to another panel of a dozen educators, business, and public-sector representatives who will judge the finalists on their speech and presentation skills.
On the evening of September 22, 2016, all 21 TOYs, accompanied by their families, friends, and co-workers (an audience of close to 400) will be honored at the annual Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration, held at the Hilton Concord. Ms. Sakata, who serves as master of ceremonies, introduces the TOYs by sharing a special story that reflects her classroom visits of each teacher during the current spring and summer months. This will be followed by the four finalists giving their three- to five-minute speeches (same speeches given in August) to the filled banquet room. Finally, the night will come to a dramatic close with the announcement of the two 2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.
2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representatives:
Jamie Cackler Bennetts, Knightsen Elementary School District, Knightsen Elementary
Cynthia Boyko, Acalanes Union High School District, Miramonte High
Rachael Byron, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Dougherty Valley High
Krystal Figaroa, Pittsburg Unified School District, Stoneman Elementary
Erin Flanigan, Martinez Unified School District, Alhambra High
Daniel Yoshio Haley, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, El Dorado Middle
Shauna Hawes, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Valley View Middle
Judy Jernigan, Lafayette School District, Lafayette SD Schools
Kristyn Loy, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Stewart Elementary
Judy Mazur, Walnut Creek School District, Buena Vista Elementary
Vicki McGuire, Antioch Unified School District, Sutter Elementary
Aminta Mickles, Contra Costa Community College District, Contra Costa College
Gina Minder-Maldonado, Oakley Union Elementary School District, Oakley Elementary
Dayle Okamitsu, Orinda Union School District, Wagner Ranch Elementary
Lawrence Pang, West Contra Costa Unified School District, El Cerrito High
Deborah Guillén Rocchild, John Swett Unified School District, John Swett High
Summer Rodriguez, Liberty Union High School District, Liberty High
Joyce Rooks, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Creekside Elementary
Juliet Simens, Brentwood Union School District, Pioneer Elementary
Angela Taylor, Contra Costa County Office of Education, Parole Education Program Oakland Computerized Literacy Learning Center
Sarah Vieira, Byron Union School District, Timber Point Elementary
Note regarding eligible participants:
- Sixteen of the eighteen Contra Costa County school districts represented, and the CCCOE are participating in this year’s TOY program.
- Each year, one instructor from Contra Costa Community College District is submitted to the TOY program for his/her outstanding body of work with their designated college. The colleges rotate each year between Diablo Valley, Los Medanos, and Contra Costa. (These instructors do not compete in the State Teacher of the Year competition.) This year is Contra Costa College’s turn.
- Due to the larger number of students and teachers in their districts, West Contra Costa USD, Mt. Diablo USD, and San Ramon Valley USD are allowed to submit two TOY candidates.
Follow Contra Costa County’s Teacher of the Year program on Twitter: #CoCoTOYRead More
Contra Costa County Airports Welcomes JetSuiteX
Travelling from Contra Costa County to Southern California is just about to get much more convenient with the April launch of a new scheduled charter jet service out of Buchanan Field.
JetSuiteX, a new venture from private jet company JetSuite, will initially kick off service from Buchanan Field to Burbank round-trip up to three times daily later this month. A Friday flight to Las Vegas with a Sunday return will come later in April, offering a time-saving gateway for east bay residents looking for a quick weekend trip; additional routes may follow later this year.
“Contra Costa is delighted to welcome JetSuiteX to the Buchanan Field Airport, and provide our residents and businesses with a local travel option to Southern California and other desirable destinations,” said County Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, whose district includes the airport. “Buchanan Field is an important County asset, and the new JetSuiteX scheduled charter service will offer more opportunities and services to the general public.”
Additional benefits come from the pure convenience of travel in and out of Buchanan Field. Not only are long TSA lines and crowded terminals avoided, but travelers can enjoy free parking and easy access off Highway 680 in Concord. For area residents, the flights between Burbank and Buchanan Field represent a fraction of the 300 daily flights now. Neighboring communities won’t have to worry about JetSuiteX overburdening the area with significantly more air traffic, and the fleet is among the quietest.
“We’re very excited about what this will provide to the community,” said Ron Reagan, Chairman of the Contra Costa County Aviation Advisory Committee that recommended approval of the new service. “It will allow Contra Costa residents to travel by air directly to their destinations throughout California.”
The County looks forward to partnering with JetSuiteX to provide a unique high-quality experience in a more convenient and cost-effective manner. Prices will be comparable to commercial flights, but you can make a single seat purchase on a modern, 30-seat private jet, making luxury travel more affordable to more people. For more information about the new service, visit www.JetSuite.com.
Buchanan Field is one of two airports operated by the County, the other being in Byron. The Airports Division is self-funded, and actually generates revenue for the County, schools and other community-related agencies. The Airports Division works with tenants at both Buchanan Field and Byron Airport to provide the community with a wide range of services, from flight schools to skydiving to private hangar rental. To find out more about the many opportunities at Contra Costa Airports, call 844-Fly-ToUs, or visit us online at www.ContraCostaAirports.org.Read More
By John Kabateck
If one takes a quick glance at the daily schedule of events happening in and around the State Capitol all on the same Monday this week, there seems to be a peculiar political paradox taking place right under our noses. Or, in laymen’s terms: an offensive double standard.
On Monday, April 4, the Governor signed SB 3, legislation increasing the California minimum wage to $15 an hour. Never mind that a mere three months ago small businesses and voters saw it rise to $10.00 an hour, making it even then (second only to the District of Columbia at $10.50) the highest in the nation. As the Governor himself stated in January, “Raise the minimum wage too much and you put a lot of people out of work. There won’t be a lot of jobs. It’s a matter of balance.”
Also on the agenda the same day this week was a hearing to evaluate the High-Speed Rail Authority, including criticism by many on both sides of the aisle about the significant cost the rail project will be to the state and California taxpayers. Too bad constituents weren’t afforded the same formal hearing process and public discourse surrounding the minimum wage measure, which the Governor’s Department of Finance has pegged at $4 billion per year. Instead, the measure moved faster than a bullet train – from a weekend discussion with labor unions, to the legislative chambers for a party-line vote, to the Governor’s desk for a swift signature – all without small businesses and voters allowed a seat at the table and open discussion. Had that taken place, we would have clearly heard stakeholders raise concerns about these enormous recurring state costs that will affect the truly vulnerable across our state – not just “mom and pops”, but persons with disabilities, students in our schools, local governments in rural and economically disadvantaged regions, and seniors on fixed incomes, to name a few.
Add to the irony a Capitol rally on this very same Monday surrounding legislation to exempt certain personal care products from the state sales tax. While some products would no doubt be exempted, most others would not and most small businesses would still be expected to continue to levy on their products a statewide sales tax that is also the highest in the nation. To add insult to injury, legislation has also been in play that seeks to extend the sales tax to service industries. So, exempt certain businesses and taxpayers from some taxes, while insisting that other, new, struggling industries pay more. And how, exactly, is a minimum wage hike not a “tax” on our number one job creators, the corner restaurant, the book store, the retailer? According to the legislature, “You win some, you lose some – we’ll make that decision for you based on our special interest support.”
Voters deserve better than this. Fortunately, in this election year, we all have an opportunity to demand voting records and explanations from the incumbents, and specific details and pledges from the new candidates. Have they stood with small business? Will they? Don’t settle for double speak – there’s too much at stake for us this November and the generations that follow.
Kabateck is President of Kabateck Strategies with nearly twenty-five years of leadership with strategic coalition development and implementation in California’s public policy and political arenas, with an emphasis on the full spectrum of business and job creator sectors. He has served as California Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Business, California’s and the nation’s leading organization serving only small businesses; Senior Legislative Director and Vice President of the California Restaurant Association; a Chief of Staff in the California Legislature; Director of Coalitions for Governor Pete Wilson’s successful re-election campaign, then Wilson’s Chief Deputy Appointments Secretary; and as Governor Schwarzenegger’s Director of External Affairs.Read More
Organization encourages local communities to be engaged in districts’ Local Control Accountability Plans
The Contra Costa County School Boards Association (CCCSBA) recently recognized more than 20 individuals in the county for outstanding service as trustees for their respective school districts and education agencies. The following governing board members were recognized by the organization for years of service:
Susie Epstein (5 years) and Cathy Coppersmith (15 years)
Acalanes Union High School District
Karen Pickett (5 years), Jefe Bernard (10 years), and Jim Smith (20 years)
Canyon School District
Art Kapoor (5 years), David Gerson (5 years) and Teresa Gerringer (15 years)
Lafayette School District
Matt Moran (5 years) and Julie Rossiter (5 years)
Orinda School District
Denise Jennison (5 years), Greg Marvel (15 years), and Ken Mintz (10 years)
San Ramon Valley Unified School District
Catherine Pena (15 years)
Walnut Creek School District
Bobbi Horack (5 years), Denise Elsken (15 years) and Kathi McLaughlin (15 years)
Martinez Unified School District
John Marquez (5 years) and John T. Nejedly, Jr. (20 years)
Contra Costa Community College Board
Pamela Mirabella (25 years) and Daniel Gomes (15 years)
Contra County County Board of Education
“School Board Members are at the heart of every community,” said Christine Deane, President of the Contra Costa County Board of Education. “School programs in Contra Costa County are outstanding, largely because our communities elect well-informed, dedicated, and student-focused trustees who oversee budgets, programs, and policies. These are oftentimes thankless jobs, but they need to be recognized for the great work they do.”
The Contra Costa County School Boards Association is also encouraging parents and community members to become engaged in their local school district’s Local Control Accountability Plan process (LCAP). The Local Control Accountability Plan is a critical part of the new Local Control Funding Formula, which defines how public schools are funded in California. Each school district and county office of education must engage parents, educators, employees, and the community to establish these plans. The plans describe each district’s overall vision for students, annual goals, and specific actions the district will take to achieve the vision and goals.
“We encourage all parents and community members to become actively engaged in their local LCAP process and affirm the job their local board members are doing to help shape the future of education in their communities,” said Deane.Read More
Council to decide how, when and if they will work with Lennar at Tuesday’s meeting
By Allen Payton
At their special meeting on Monday, March 28, after hours of questioning Guy Bjerke, the Director of Community Reuse Planning for the Naval Weapons Station project, the Concord City Council, acting as the Local Reuse Authority (LRA) voted 2-1 to deny Catellus’ demands, accepted their offer to withdraw and refund their Good Faith Deposit.
Both Councilmembers Ron Leone and Tim Grayson were not in attendance, because they had recused themselves from participating in the selection process. Mayor Laura Hoffmeister pointed out that Leone had to do so because he lives within 500 feet of the project site.
The staff presentation and answers to Council members’ questions included Bjerke demonstrating the patience of Job and admitting the staff and consultants preferred Catellus and didn’t want to have to recommend the Council approve the company’s withdrawal. But, they were “unanimous in this,” he said.
“Staff estimates a transfer of between $350,000 and $700,000 in financial risk from Catellus to the City,” he said. “It would eliminate any leverage the city has.”
He spoke of the “insurmountable trust and confidence issues between our staffs.”
Bjerke also stated that Catellus would not be participating in the meeting.
Later in the meeting he said the following:
“Our staff recommended Catellus, last September,” he said. “There is no one on city staff or on my team that likes making these recommendations, tonight. But we’re doing what we think are our professional responsibility and fiduciary responsibility to protect the city.”
The report on the investigation of Catellus’ complaints against Lennar by the outside attorney, Michael Jenkins, revealed that Catellus has wanted out of the process since at least last September.
So, their latest request, although it included a demand for the refund of deposit money, didn’t come as a surprise.
Bjerke advised the council members of their three options with Lennar, at this Tuesday’s council meeting, if they voted to reject Catellus’ demands and accept their withdrawal.
First, they can select Lennar as the Master Developer and approve their term sheet. Second, they can direct staff to meet with Lennar and renegotiate their term sheet, or third, they can reject Lennar’s term sheet, which would reopen the process.
The council members asked a few questions of Bjerke before Hoffmeister opened the public comments, which were split between supporting Catellus and Lennar.
She asked each speaker, who didn’t offer a recommendation on the agendized item, what they thought the Council should do.
Tim Lynch, Jr. stated clearly, “Please reject special favors…for Catellus.”
Dennis Costanza, President of the Community Youth Center, said he was there representing himself, “Because I care about the community of Concord.”
“I agree with staff. You should reject Catellus’ desire to change their term sheet. Refund the money and allow them to withdraw,” Constanza stated. “Make today the first day of the rest of this project.”
Another speaker was less cordial.
“I blame the incompetence of the city staff” and their “gross lack of negotiating skills,” said Greg Sandborn. He opened his comments by disclosing that he is Councilmember Edi Birsan’s campaign treasurer and that he is an elected member of the county Democratic Central Committee representing Concord and Birsan is his alternate.
He went on to ask for the resignation of the city manager, “without severance” and the political issues surrounding Grayson and his State Assembly campaign consultant. Regarding the refund of money to Catellus, Sandborn said, “That money should come from Councilman Grayson’s pocket.”
However, he asked the Council to “grant Catellus’ request. Go forward and select from the two.”
Phyllis Gordon said she was “Here as a citizen of the region” and that the developer chosen “will be the region’s partner.” She supported Catellus’ request to withdraw.
Louise McGuire said “I can understand Catellus wanting to put boundaries in place,” then proposed a third developer and wanted “LEED housing…be brought back in.”
“Lennar’s credibility has been tarnished in their dealings with Councilman Grayson,” she added.
Dr. Harmesh Kumar, a former Concord City Council candidate and now candidate for State Assembly against Grayson, said “I think there has been some bias” and that the “Lennar group has been tainted.”
“I have been told not to say these things,” he continued. “Objectivity we are losing in this city.”
Ralph Oliver, a resident of Sun Terrace area in north Concord said, “I am a stakeholder in the process. I don’t desire to deal with Lennar because I don’t trust them.”
“Catellus has been put in a difficult situation at no fault of their own,” he continued. “I suggest you grant Catellus’ request. Catellus is just trying to protect themselves.”
Hope Johnson was the most animated of the speakers, and continued to speak out during the meeting from her seat and was asked to be quiet by both Hoffmeister and Birsan.
“It’s Concord who broke the agreement,” she stated. “You are the ones who violated it…with Lennar. You’ve created a hostile environment.”
“Most of us don’t trust you. Your handling of this. You failed us and we’re embarrassed,” Johnson continued. “This is the biggest project in Contra Costa County. There’s three of you voting.”
She then mentioned one difference in the term sheets between the two developers.
“Lennar has only $16 million for roads. Catellus has $67 million.”
Following the close of public comments, Councilmember Dan Helix read from a prepared statement.
“We need to understand how one of the two finalists believe the deck is stacked against them,” he said. “This is not easy for me but I must continue.”
“I’m not sure how the city manager [Valerie Barone] came to her conclusion. I have not heard a persuasive reason for deleting the staff recommendation…which would have favored Catellus.”
“I do not blame Catellus for their concern,” Helix continued. “Of the 10 areas in the Term Sheets Catellus was seriously ahead in six areas.”
He also mentioned the offsite road improvements of $67 million in Catellus’ plan compared to Lennar’s $16 million.
“I would prefer this not happen,” he said. “There’s a difference in Lennar’s request [to change their term sheet, last fall] and Catellus’ request is based on the trust factor…a matter of good faith and trust.”
“I want very much for them to be here next week to compete to be Master Developer,” Helix added and then advocated that the Council members “also accept Lennar’s changes. Let them change their term sheet.”
“This is why I came back to this city council to work on this huge, huge opportunity,” he stated. “I’m also old enough to know it takes two out of three.”
Hoffmeister then asked “Is that legally possible?”
Bjerke responded, for the first of multiple times, “What staff recommends that you likewise grant those same changes to Lennar. But keep the underlying principles of their Term Sheet. You need to make identical changes to Lennar’s Term Sheet.”
Acting City Attorney Brian Libow expounded on Bjerke’s statement.
“Under the process, any changes to that contract have to be by mutual assent by the City, Catellus and Lennar,” he stated. “It is my opinion we cannot change Lennar’s Term Sheet.”
Hoffmeister then reiterated “We can only change the engagement and staff costs. But we can not accept the changes to the term sheets.”
“I just want to keep two Master Developers in the process,” he said.
Hoffmeister then attempted to appease Helix’s desire and asked should changes be allowed to the Term Sheets what would be the time frame.
“It would be at least a month,” Bjerke responded.
“Could that be done by the 5th of April,” Hoffmeister then asked.
“No,” Bjerke flatly stated.
Libbow then said “Both parties would have to concur.”
“The Term Sheets are a framework but are not the final document for the DDA [Disposition and Development Agreement] process,” he said.
That process will occur once the Council chooses the Master Developer for the project.
“The staff will work with the Master Developer to turn that Term Sheet into a DDA,” Bjerke explained, later.
The difference between Lennar’s requested changes and Catellus’ was Lennar’s were to aspects of their Term Sheet while “Catellus’ requested changes are in their Rules of Engagement,” Bjerke explained. “$350,000 more is required upon being selected as Master Developer. If they are selected as Master Developer but can’t agree on a DDA, they get their $350,000 back.”
That’s what Catellus was demanding of the City Council.
However, “If they stay in the process they’re only allowed a refund of the $71,000 [of their initial $250,000 deposit] remaining,” he added.
Birsan’s Key Question & Answer
Birsan offered a key question and scenario.
“If we grant Catellus’ request to withdraw could we renegotiate [with Lennar]?” he asked.
Libbow said that was possible “with only one developer left in the process.”
That is what the Council majority of Birsan and Hoffmeister ended up making possible. But, not before Helix made a motion to accept the request by Catellus. The motion died without one of the other council members offering a second.
“Where we are, there is no change to the Term Sheet whatsoever,” Helix then stated. “We are back to square one.”
His failed motion, which hinted at how the other two would eventually vote, was followed by another lengthy discussion and questions and answers between council members and Bjerke.
Birsan offered his argument against Catellus’ demands for a refund if no DDA could be agreed upon should they be selected as Master Developer.
“We have no hammer,” he stated. “The power is shifted to the developers. The City abdicates its power.”
Birsan then made another motion, to direct staff to provide a complete refund of fees and accept the withdrawal of Catellus.
Hoffmeister seconded the motion and offered what sounded like a contradictory statement.
“I would like to keep Catellus in…but it seems to be an indication they want to part…go their separate way,” she stated. “I would encourage them to reconsider that. In the DDA stage, these are things that could be addressed.”
“Us approving this is an option for them to consider,” Hoffmeister continued, to groans from the audience and a few verbal outbursts. “If they don’t want to sign the letter they can stay in the process.”
The Council then voted 2-1 with Helix dissenting, approving the motion.
Following the meeting, when asked if she understood the motion she voted on, Hoffmeister responded, “They don’t have to accept the refund. I’m just allowing them the option.”
When Bjerke was asked if that was correct, he stated, “They could. But they won’t.”
And they didn’t.
During the week following the Monday meeting, Catellus chose to withdraw from the process leaving just Lennar remaining as the sole, current option for the Council to choose as Master Developer.
Tuesday Meeting, Staff Recommends Council Defers Decision
The Concord City Council, acting as the Local Reuse Authority, will at their meeting, tonight, Tuesday, April 5, have the option to do just that. If they do, it will be according to the staff report “to negotiate a DDA to implement the First Phase of the Concord Reuse Project (CRP) Area Plan.”
Also in the staff report for Item 6 on the Council’s meeting agenda, staff lists five “Primary areas of concern:
- Use of binding arbitration to resolve disputes over reimbursement of City costs (Sec 8.f.iii)
- Transfer of the Remaining Development Footprint (Sec 7. B.ii and Sec 25. a.b.c.)
- Affordable Housing Gap Subsidies (Sec 3 d.e. and Exhibit H Sec 4)
- Offsite Improvements (Sec 6 and Exhibit I)
- Use of a limited liability corporation structure and the relationship to Five Point Holdings (Sec 25)”
Staff is recommending the City Council “Request staff to re-open negotiations with Lennar on the five primary areas of concern noted above as well as any others that the Council identifies at tonight’s meeting and defer the selection of Lennar to be the Master Developer until staff can return with a revised Term Sheet for Council consideration.”
The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at the Concord Senior Center, 2727 Parkside Drive.Read More
The Pittsburg Yacht Club is hosting their 69th annual Opening Day on the Delta Parade of decorated boats and Blessing of the fleet on Saturday, April 9th. All boat owners in all three marinas are invited to attend. The theme is flags and banners.
Currently, there are 21 boats are signed up including Delta Bayliners Y.C and Sea Ray Y.C.
A captains meeting will be held at the Yacht Club, located at 3 Marina Boulevard, at 10:00 a.m., the parade will start at 11:00 a.m.
The parade will start directly across from the Yacht Club at the west end of Brown’s Island and proceed to beyond the POSCO steel mill and return. Staff Chaplain, Father Robert Rien of St. Ignatius Church in Antioch, will be stationed on the Commodore’s yacht to bless the fleet as it sails past.
The best public viewing will be from the gazebo area and along the shoreline between the center basin and the George Lowey Basin.
First, second and third place awards will be presented during lunch at the yacht club following the parade.Read More