By Allen Payton
The deadline for candidates for Contra Costa County Supervisor to file papers to run in the June election was at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 11. However, the deadline was extended to Wednesday, March 16 in the race for District 3 Supervisor because the incumbent, Mary Piepho didn’t file for reelection. All six of the candidates expected to run for her seat filed their papers by the deadline.
Andersen Again for Two Terms in District 2
No one filed to run against District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen so she will get a free pass, this election.
Five Candidates in Fifth District by 5 PM, Federal files for Fifth Term, Farias not furious
But, some last minute maneuverings at the County Elections Office occurred on Friday, March 11th in the race for District 5 Supervisor, in which incumbent Federal Glover is seeking a fifth term. This time he will have four opponents, but not five, because one potential candidate who attempted to file at the last minute failed to qualify.
Glover was the first to file his papers, having done so on March 2nd. Martinez resident Conrad Dandridge, listed on the ballot as a Program Analyst, who began the process before any other candidate for the seat back on January 4th, filed his papers that day. Another candidate, Hercules Mayor Dan Romero had also filed his papers before 4:00 p.m.
Then, with less than an hour until the deadline, Martinez Vice Mayor AnaMarie Avila Farias filed her papers to run against Glover. About 10 minutes later, after she walked out of the Elections Office with Vince Wells, President of the county’s Professional Firefighters union Local 1230, former Martinez Mayor Mike Menisini, who had pulled papers on March 1st, walked in with former County Supervisor Tom Powers and political consultant Ray Sloan, and filed to run in the same race.
Then another Hercules resident, nursing administrator Deborah Campbell, a Democrat, who had pulled papers that same day, walked into the office with County School Board Trustee Jeff Belle, a member of the County Republican Central Committee. But, after she filed her papers, it was determined that Campbell did not have the required 20 valid signatures of registered voters in the district on her nomination papers, according to Elections Office staff. Since it was after the 5:00 p.m. filing deadline, she did not qualify for the ballot.
According to witnesses, Mary Jo Rossi, the consultant for both Glover and Concord Councilman Tim Grayson’s campaign for State Assembly, remained in the County Elections Office until 5:25 p.m. with Deborah Campbell, although the office closed at 5:00 p.m. Both Rossi and Campbell walked out of the building at the same time, the only non-county employees still in the office, that long.
According to a witness who chose not to be identified, Farias was “livid and witnessed what appeared to be political games going on” and believes Rossi recruited Menesini and possibly Dandridge, as well, to split the vote in Martinez to hurt Farias and help Glover.
When reached for comment, Farias stated “I wasn’t livid. But there is definitely a political machine at work in the county.”
Referring to Menesini, she said “I was surprised to see one of my former colleagues who lost for reelection in 2014 running for higher office.
“But, I think the more the merrier running for office,” Farias continued. “Because, at the end of the day it’s my constituency and voters who will decide.”
“It keeps you true to your elected office and true to who you are,” she added. “I like options. Don’t you?”
When reached for comment Rossi denied the accusations about recruiting Menesini.
“I have nothing to do with Mike’s candidacy,” she stated.
Menesini could not be reached for comment.
It was also speculated that Campbell was brought there by Belle to meet Rossi, and was recruited to help split the Hercules vote with Romero, which could also benefit Glover.
But, Belle said he didn’t recruit her.
“No. I did not,” he said. “I was simply assisting her with paperwork. I tried talking her out of running.”
Asked if he introduced Campbell to Rossi, Belle replied, “No. I don’t know Mary Jo Rossi.”
“In fact, I was there to consider filing for the Republican Central Committee,” he added. “I did not file…because of my lack of time to the committee. I plan to become an alternate only.”
However, according to the County Elections Office “Unofficial Candidate Report” (3 -11candidates_16jun07_detail) dated 3/11/16 at 5:24:22 PM, Belle had never pulled papers to file for the Contra Costa Republican Central Committee. (See pages 28-30, 921 Rep Central Committee, 3rd District Rep)
Rossi further dispelled the notion of being connected to Campbell.
“I don’t even know Deborah Campbell,” she stated.
When asked why she was at the Elections Office so late and walking out at the same time as Campbell, she responded, “I did not. They are misleading you.”
Asked if Rossi was there at 5:00 p.m. asking for copies of candidate statements (which are public records, but weren’t available to the public until the following Monday), she did not respond.
Firefighters union president Wells was apparently upset about what he witnessed. On his Facebook page, later that evening, he made the following comments:
The “right to vote”; which is a major part of our democracy; includes “the right to run for office if qualified”. The shenanigans that have occurred in the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors race, especially for District 5, are appalling. As a veteran and as a member of a family of veterans and U.S. Citizen, I am personally offended by what I witnessed by representatives of people in elected offices regarding this current election cycle. I have a front row seat. More to come!
Wells did not respond to a request for details of what he saw that motivated his comments.
District 5 stretches from the north side of Antioch, through Pittsburg and Bay Point, along Highway 4, includes Martinez, and stretches all the way to Hercules and the west side of Pinole, in West County.
Six Seek Supervisor in District 3
In the District 3 race for Supervisor the following candidates filed in the following order: NAACP East County Branch President Odessa Lefrancois, who began her campaign last November, was the first to file papers on Wednesday, March 9th. Oakley Councilman Doug Hardcastle, who began his campaign last September and was the first to start the process on January 12th, filed his papers on Thursday, March 10th, the same day as Antioch Mayor Wade Harper, who announced his campaign in December, after Piepho announced she would not be running for reelection.
Both Antioch Councilwoman Monica Wilson and East Bay Regional Parks District Board Member Diane Burgis, who also entered the race since Piepho’s announcement, filed their papers on Friday, the 10th. But, Burgis said that night, she was one signature short of the 20 required on her nomination papers and would be back this week to complete the process, which she did.
Brentwood Councilman Steve Barr, who was the last to jump into the race, filed his papers on Monday, March 14th. No other candidates pulled or filed papers in the race before the Wednesday, March 16th deadline.
The district includes most of Antioch, Oakley, Brentwood, Discovery Bay, Bethel Island, Byron and Knightsen in East County, as well as Blackhawk, Diablo and Camino Tassajara in the San Ramon Valley.
If no candidate receives a majority of the votes in June, the top two candidates for Supervisor in each district will face off in November.
Mark S. says
Mari Jo Rossi has enough dirt on Mike Menesini to force him to run and tangle up the primary in the Western half of the district. She better have enough dirt on him to keep him from wanting to WIN the whole thing. If Menesini faces Glover in November, Federal Glover is going down.
Dan Romero says
Allen, Thank you for your article. I was turning my nomination papers when I saw Deborah Campbell and Jeff Belle pulling her candidate papers at 11am. What concerns me is the fact that Mary Jo Rossi was still in the election office after 5pm. Why was Ms. Rossi allowed to be inside the election office after hours? Everyone was ushered out of the office at 5pm. I think that County Clerk Canciamilla should be making a statement why Ms. Rossi was allowed after hours. The time to turn our cheeks is over. I am running for the Supervisor’s office due to events like what you have reported. County offices are off limits to special interest groups. The time to change is now and I am here to be part of the process.
Wendy Lack says
Thank you, Allen, for your coverage of this important story.
It is troubling that political operatives like Rossi appear to have special access to the Elections Division. It looks like Rossi received candidate filing information on Friday, March 11, when it was not publicly available until the following Monday. WTH? Such political games undermine public confidence in the election process and government generally.
As an experienced politician, County Clerk/Recorder-Registrar of Voters Joe Canciamilla surely knows his actions — and those of his office — are closely scrutinized. Any hint of ethical conflict — or appearance thereof — discredits the office he holds and the community he serves.
As Abe Lincoln said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Allen, I hope you do follow up articles about the ethical conduct of our county officials, including the County Clerk/Recorder. In this age of widespread public distrust of government, ethics is more important than ever.
Carolyn Phinney says
Monica Wilson never had the endorsement of the Democratic Central Committee. That’s false. In a split vote by the interviewing committee, she had nust over 50 percent which gave her the recommendation for endorsement. The interviewing group comtains all sorts of people who don’t have a vote on the Central Committee. The voting members of the Central Committee did not reach 60 percent agreement to endorse anyone. Thus, no one was endorsed. It is true that only Diane and Monica received any votes. No one supported any other candidate so there was agreement thst they were the two best Democratic candidates. In full disclosure, I had a vote on both committees and both times I voted for Diane Burgis, who I believe is the only Democrat who can win..
I believe your comment was posted to the wrong article.
The article about the Contra Costa Democratic Central Committee is separate and it was a press release from the Committee.
Allen Payton, Publisher
Kate T says
Wow. Interesting article.
It shows that the politicians in the District 5 race are certainly exemplifying the infantile tone with which national politics has been wallowing in this election cycle. What I read here is just more politicians complaining like children. Less likely that either of these quoted individuals are going to get my vote.
No one is a sure thing in this race.
Pil Lee Orbison says
Dan Romero may not run for the Board of Supervisor.
Since I got to know this candidate, he is hypocritical: He became abusive with his power over the private citizen’s right to operate business and threatened with a City Attorney’s official letter knowing that he could sabotage my business to take over my intellectual properties and projects after I announced that nonprofit project became official by IRS and State after having “expedited” due to safety issues on the public parks.
Sure enough, he became nosy about what I do and showed up at the public tennis court to inquire whether I received the City Attorney’s “Cease and Desist” letter on “Tuesday.” I said to him, “I’ve not opened it yet but I’ve received the text and email message that I’ve received a “Certified Letter from the City of Hercules.” He further inquired, “You mean you don’t live at the address?” I said to him, “I do not live in my mailbox, and I’ll show you.” Dan Romero ran away and said, “I’m not interested, but please don’t come to the City Council Meetings to complain but go to the Committee Meetings to complain.” I said to him, “The committees and Park Director Pedro never listens to me.” He turned back on the people who were drunk while partying at public tennis courts and shook his hands with everyone of them as if he was campaigning to promote himself….This event was my first Play Day which was advertised with personally designed flyers authorized by the School Board to post around the school and the public places to invite youngsters for a round of tennis game on March 15, 2014. But I’d received a letter of Threat from the City Attorney John Patrick Tang on Friday, one day before the event which was scheduled for Saturday in the same week, but the scheme to interfere with my event was conspired by Dan Romero, then-Council Member in 2014 who was elected as a result of the Recall Election in June 2011. His co-conspirator was Myrna De Vera, and she stopped me from addressing about the nonprofit being the economic development project that was officially approved by the IRS and State. On Jan 28, 2014, Myrna De Vera, then-Mayor, stated that my request for grants information filed by then-Park Director Pedro Jimenez and then-Rec Manager Greg Dwyer with the Duns #024223476 however registered under the illegitimate business branch office name/entities was “inappropriate.”
One and a half year later, their conspiring actions became more obvious to take over my business for money and therefore a lawsuit was filed on April 07, 2016.
Defendants include these two city officials who were from the notorious politics in the City of Hercules.
Despite the Redevelopment Agency was dissolved, the corruption has not been dissolved.
This ongoing corruption and racists’ contemplated conspiracy ruined my personal life and finance and my little nephew’s well-being, because his inheritance from his late mother was being invested on organizing the nonprofit when the Park Director wrote a letter on behalf of the Committees to be partnered with my group to improve the tennis facilities that paused a serious safety issue to public. But the scenario had since changed at the City-Sanctioned Committee Meeting after they took over my nonprofit documents including the Certificates (2) after they promised to be partnered with my nonprofit organization with an offer of salary advertised in the Activity Guides in 2014.
Because of this ongoing business tort and racists’ tactics, my miner nephew and I have been suffering from the financial burden and sacrifice of his education because I was not able to pay for his loan and interest after I was ripped off by the City of Hercules staffs and Mayor Romero and Vice Mayor Myrna De Vera.
After three long years of these foregoing conspiracy, business tort and harassment in public, I am determined to punish these public officials for having ruined my and my little nephew’s economic burden and reputation and integrity. The lawsuit is handled by the Martinez Superior Court, and Case is MSC16-00638, and the defendants include: City of Hercules, Dan Romero as Mayor in 2012 and 2016/Vice Mayor in 2015/City Council Member in 2011-2013-2014, Myrna De Vera as Vice Mayor in 2016 and Mayor in 2014 and Council Member in 2014 and 2015, their co-conspirator Attorney John Patrick Tang, new City Manager (since July 2014) David C. Biggs, Park Director Pedro J. Jimenez and friend/social club Director (dissolved, Hercules Tennis Club/Association) Judy Yamamoto Soriano, as
“Ostensible Agent,” former Rec Manager Gregory Dwyer/Judy’s friend, Judy’s another co-conspirator Kristina Griffith at Senior Center. Judy has been using five different fake names to provoke and to invite lawsuits and falsely claimed my business ownership as a ‘merger’/”co-owner.”