Supervisors reject anti-sanctuary state petition, distribute $500,000 in Keller Canyon funds
By Daniel Borsuk
With a lack of adequate funding from civil lawsuit filing fees, the Pittsburg Superior Court Law Library has been shuttered since September, and now there is the possibility the Richmond Superior Court Law Library could follow suit, Law Library Director Carey Rowan told the Contra Costa Herald.
In her annual report to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, Rowan informed supervisors the law library at the Pittsburg Superior Court was closed in September due to a lack of funding.
“For several years I have been warning supervisors and state legislators that the law libraries need new funding legislation or they will face closure. No one stepped forward and that day arrived last September when the Pittsburg library was closed,” Rowan said.
Rowan’s 2016-2017 report was approved without comment by supervisors as a consent item on Tuesday.
Ninety-three percent of the law library’s revenue comes from civil case filing fees, but since 2007, passage of Senate Bill 1407 has slapped a moratorium on increasing civil filing fees. With the moratorium on increasing civil filing fees still in place, law library administrators have been unable to raise enough funds to acquire new legal materials that have risen in cost on average 10 to 15 percent per year, said Rowan.
While acknowledging there will be a hardship, especially for the disabled and senior citizens in East County to travel farther to the main law library in Martinez, Rowan said the Pittsburg courthouse library was chosen for closure based on the fewer number of gate count visits during the 2016-2017 fiscal year than the gate count visits at the Richmond court house library. During that period, the Pittsburg library drew 2,136 visits, the Richmond library attracted 3,713 visits, and the main library in Martinez had 32,790 visits.
“Without any support from the supervisors or state legislators, the future of law libraries is bleak. I’d have to say the Richmond library might be the next library we might have to close,” Rowan said.
Supervisors Reject Alamo Couple’s Anti-Sanctuary State Petition
Even though Contra Costa supervisors rejected on Tuesday an appeal from Ray and Tamara Bryant to sign their petition opposing the Sanctuary State bill, Senate Bill 54, and advocate for its repeal, the Alamo couple plan to press on with their petition drive in the county.
As of Wednesday, 26 persons had signed their petition. The Bryant’s petition is similar to other anti-SB 54 petition drives that have been successfully passed by county supervisors in San Diego and Orange Counties.
In criticizing SB 54, that was passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Edmund G. Brown last year, the petition to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors states:
“We, THE UNDERSIGNED, HEREBY PETITION the Contra Costa County to the growing number of California Counties and cities who oppose Senate Bill 54 (the “Sanctuary State “) and who advocate its repeal.
1) That U.S. citizens residing in Contra Costa County need protection against the flood of undocumented felons overwhelming the borders of our state and county.
2) That the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, by the authority granted to them must guard our state and federal resources allocated for law enforcement, fire services, educational, medical and social services for U.S. citizens resident in Contra Costa County. Currently, the foreign nationals and illegal aliens are being pushed to the head of the line for priority, for example, in receiving acceptance into the courses offered by our county’s three Community Colleges, with the result that our children as citizens are turned away.
3) That our police departments and incarceration facilities are being overwhelmed by the large number of illegal immigrants. They line the streets of cities and counties shooting up in plain sight on the sidewalks and in public and private bathrooms, threatening our youth, and making it very difficult to keep a small restaurant business, for example, profitable. Many restaurant owners and workers are afraid to deny access to non-customers for fear of being cited, fined or shut down for ‘racial discrimination.’
That our Law Enforcement agencies hands are tied with regard to prosecuting the law against the many thousands of illegal immigrants. These individuals, consequently, have great disdain for our government and no respect for our legal system. This in turn encourages both newly arrived immigrants as well as our own citizens to illegal acts because they see their own government afraid to do its job and make arrests.
That the Contra Costa County Law Enforcement agencies should operate in compliance with federal immigration laws to hold criminals until they can be turned over to Federal Immigration authorities to be deported. We further petition our county agencies to publicize the names of all undocumented immigrants a minimum of 3 days before their release so that ICE can pick them up and process them for deportation.
That the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors should join the Federal lawsuits against the unconstitutional Senate Bill 54.
Supervisors mostly withheld comment except for board chair Karen Mitchoff who informed the petition authors that the Sheriff-Coroner Office posts on its website on a daily basis the names of persons who have been released from county jails. This warns ICE officers who they can arrest when persons are released from county jails.
Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond ripped the petition calling it as part of “a lot of scare tactics.”
Supervisors Accept 2017 Kindergarten Readiness Report
Despite criticism from District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover over a finding in the 2017 Kindergarten Readiness Assessment, supervisors accepted the report 5-0.
The Supervisor from Pittsburg took exception from the report’s finding that 40 percent of pre-school children in the Pittsburg Unified School District are not school ready as compared to a high wealth community like San Ramon where 8 percent of 5-year-old children are not school ready.
Supervisor Glover told assessment author First 5 Executive Director Sean Casey “What are we doing to close the gap? This information is no good. It is not acceptable. It is not a good report.”
Casey informed supervisors First 5 acquired a building on Leland Avenue in Pittsburg last month where it will replace its Bay Point site and will offer an expanded array of pre-kindergarten educational services to children in the Pittsburg and Bay Point communities.
Casey said First 5 has also trained more than 200 providers to expand its Help Me Grow campaign throughout the county.
$578,934 Keller Canyon Mitigation Trust Fund Grants Approved
Supervisors approved five Keller Canyon Mitigation Trust Fund grants worth $578,934 to be spent by the Sheriff-Coroner in the Bay Point community for the upcoming 2018-2019 fiscal year. Grants approved include:
*$278,217 to fund one Deputy Sheriff position for the Bay Point Resident Deputy program with a focus on crime prevention enforcement, participation in the National Crime Free Housing Program, acts as a liaison to local businesses and works with the school resource officer to implement and participate in youth crime prevention programs.
*$276,217 to fund the Bay Point School Resource Officer Program and to assist resident deputies in organizing and planning the yearly Christmas and Holiday Heroes programs and annual Bike Rodeo and bicycle giveaway.
*$9,000 to host a free community Christmas party and toy giveaway for the residents of Bay Point.
*$8,000 for a gang intervention program involving movie nights at the local schools, an after-school sports program, fishing trips in the Delta and trips to Oakland A’s baseball games and other activities during the year.
*$5,000 for the removal of litter dumps and removal of graffiti in the Bay Point area.
*$4,500 for the Bay Points Bicycle Safety Rodeo in partnership with the Street Smarts Program to provide bicycle helmets, bicycle repairs, an instructional class on safety and bicycle raffles.