Recognize 50th Anniversary of Concord Jazz Festival; Sheriff opposes oversight bill
By Daniel Borsuk
A mission undertaken by two Tice Valley Boulevard residents to sway the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors to overturn a county planning commission land use permit approved to convert an existing elderly care facility into a psychiatric care facility backfired when the supervisors voted 5-0 to support the $2.5 million development on Tuesday.
About a dozen people spoke in favor of the project while two petitioners were against the development. Another Tice Valley resident, Penny Mahoney, opposed the project on grounds the development won’t care for patient’s older than 60 years old because the proposed National Psychiatric Care and Rehabilitation facility planned by Dr. Gregory Braverman will administer psychotropic drugs that can only be administered to patients ages 18 to 60 years old.
“This project morphed into something different,” said Mahoney.
Tice Valley Boulevard property owners Amy Majors, who was represented by land use attorney Terry Mollica, and neighbor Linda Uhrenholt appealed a planning commission’s decision supporting the developer Braverman and his National Psychiatric Care and Rehabilitation Services (NPCRS) plans to build a 12-bed facility at 2181 Tice Valley Blvd. in unincorporated Walnut Creek that had previously served as an elder care facility for eight residents. .
The new state licensed facility planned for Tice Valley Boulevard would specialize in providing 24-hour care for adult patients referred by Kaiser Permanente for stays on average lasting 18 days even though opponent Uhrenholt contended the developer’s letter of intent states “under no circumstances may a client’s length of stay exceed 3 months.”
Uhrenholt also cited “poor” Tice Valley area cellular connectivity presents potential emergency response problems and patient privacy violations.
Psychiatric disorders that will be treated at the Tice Boulevard facility will include schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, adjustment disorder, personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
“I just wanted them (County Planning Commissioners) to be on a level playing field,” appellant Majors told the Contra Costa Herald. Majors, the parent of a mentally disabled adult daughter, contends during the county planning commission process, commissioners, not the planning staff, did not give her and her fellow appellant, Uhrenholt, a fair hearing. “We were not given due process,” she contends.
Majors asserts political factors swayed the Planning Commission’s action.
Real estate attorney Mollica said it is too early to say whether his client will take any legal action against the county. The lawyer said the project is beginning to negatively impact home real estate sales in the area with some home prices recently dropping about $25,000 per transaction, a claim that District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville disputed.
“Property values have not been impacted,” Andersen said. The supervisor also said prices of three homes in the Tice Valley Boulevard area have risen, recently. Additionally, the board vice chairperson supported the NPCRS development saying, “We need to demystify mental illness. I have family members with mental illness. I am for more mental health care facilities like this in the county.”
Rosemary Friedman, the mother of a bipolar daughter who stays at the University of California Davis, supports the NPCRS project because it would mean her daughter could be treated closer to home. “I want to let you know how badly we need this social rehabilitation facility in Contra Costa County,” she said.
Walnut Creek attorney Daniel Roemer said he supports the project because of his increased concerns about the shortage of mental health services and “I want to live in a community that takes care of itself.”
“These types of facilities are desperately needed in Contra Costa County,” said county mental health commissioner Douglas Dunn of Antioch.
“This is one type of facility that we don’t have in our county where people have to go out of county,” said District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg. “Our families need these facilities so that they can be near their family members. This is something I would encourage more of in Contra Costa.”
Sheriff Livingston Opposes Sheriff Office Oversight Bill
At a rare public appearance before the Board of Supervisors, Contra Costa County Sheriff-Coroner David O. Livingston said he opposes state legislation, Assembly Bill 1185, that is sitting on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk for potential ratification or veto. The sheriff believes the governor will veto the bill.
During the hearing, supervisors and the sheriff listened to a number of speakers support state Assemblyman Kevin McCarty’s (Dem-Sacramento) bill, AB 1185. The supervisors’ hearing was held to comply with state law, the 2016 Truth Act signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown that lays out the rules whereby sheriffs must comply when dealing with persons in their jails and ICE agents.
Sheriff Livingston said he and sheriffs in 57 other counties in the state have gone on record opposing the AB 1185 legislation pushed by human rights organizations to hold sheriff offices more accountable.
“I am an elected official. To say we don’t have oversight is ridiculous,” Livingston told the supervisors. “We have a lot of oversight. I’m happy to have people come to the jail for visits.”
“Until this year, between 2015 and 2017 we had no deaths in the jails,” said the sheriff. “Then, in 2018 there were six deaths.”
The sheriff’s office has recently installed ligature-proof bedding in all jail cells to reduce suicides. So far, this year there has been one death by suicide and one by pulmonary failure, the sheriff reported. In 2018 there were six jail related deaths, two by suicide and four to health or medical reasons.
Recognize 50th Anniversary of Concord Jazz Festival
The Supervisors recognized the 50th anniversary of the Concord Jazz Festival, initially called the Concord Summer Music Festival, begun in 1969 with a resolution at their meeting on Tuesday. The inaugural event drew 17,000 fans to a park that what would be later designated as Dave Brubeck Park, in recognition of jazz great and Concord native Dave Brubeck. Over the course of the last 50 years, the Concord Jazz Festival has featured jazz greats Count Basie, Rosemary Clooney, Ella Fitzgerald, Woody Herman, Marian McPartland, Poncho Sanchez, and Brubeck. The festival was the idea of Carl Jefferson, who in 1973 started Concord Records which for 26 years had a strong jazz history in Concord, where talented musicians recorded albums that made the billboard charts.
From August 1 through August 10, the Concord Jazz Festival will sponsor jazz related events at different venue in the city. For schedule information, go to www.concord.com. Today, on August 3, the 50th Anniversary Jazz Festival and Art & Wine Expo will be held starting at 4 p.m. at the Concord Pavilion It will feature Dave Koz & Friends Summer Horns, Esperanza Spalding, Chick Corea – The Spanish Heart Band, The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra featuring Patti Austin, Jamison Ross, Carmen Bradford and Poncho Sanchez & His Latin Jazz Band, and many more musicians.