Requires super majority to approve; Gioia, Glover vote no
Do approve body worn cameras for sheriff deputies.
By Daniel Borsuk
Going against the spirit of the 2020 voter-approved the early education-medical services-social needs message of the Measure X sales tax measure, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday narrowly rejected a proposal to spend a chunk of the initial $212. 5 million in one-time Measure X funds for Sheriff David Livingston’s department to hire additional deputies to beef up patrols especially in under-patrolled areas of the county.
Supervisors also learned the county would draw approximately $128.4 million in ongoing Measure X tax revenue a year for at least 2027.
On a 3 to 2 vote, with District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen, and board chair District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis casting votes calling for the expenditure of $6.4 million of Measure X funds for the hiring of patrol deputies designated for the under patrolled Bay Point, Saranap, and Rodeo areas, supervisors rejected a proposal to strengthen up patrols in those under-served areas of the county.
If approved, the proposal could have decreased response time by nearly 14 minutes and 21 seconds per call.
“Police and mental health services are my top priorities,” said District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville. “Body cameras and patrols are needed.”
However, due to supervisors’ rules, locally generated tax funds require a super majority vote of four or more supervisors. As a result, Andersen’s motion to increase patrols with Measure X funds failed.
Funds for the Sheriff’s Department are allowed in the measure that passed by over 58% of the vote last November. The ballot language read, “To keep Contra Costa’s regional hospital open and staffed; fund community health centers; provide timely fire and emergency response; support crucial safety-net services; invest in early childhood services; protect vulnerable populations; and for other essential county services, shall the Contra Costa County measure levying a ½ cent sales tax, exempting food sales, providing an estimated $81,000,000 annually for 20 years that the State cannot take, requiring fiscal accountability, with funds benefiting County residents, be adopted?” CCC_2021MeasureX_FullText
District 1 Supervisor John Gioia and District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover voted against the proposal to increase patrols. The 3-2 was insufficient for supervisors to designate Measure X for the hiring of additional deputies based on board of supervisors’ rules.
“I want funding for the sheriff to be part of the general fund budget discussion, not part of Measure X,” explained Supervisor Glover of Pittsburg. Gioia gave no clear reason why he voted against increasing deputy patrols, but earlier he had talked about bringing the item before the finance committee that he and District 4 Supervisor
“I support giving more money to the sheriff,” said board chair Diane Burgis of Brentwood. “We are under-funding protective services in the Eastern area of the county.”
Supervisors did approve on a 4 to 1 vote the expenditure of $2.5 million of Measure X revenues for body worn cameras for sheriff deputies. District 1 Supervisor Gioia cast the sole opposition vote, siding with more than 60 speakers opposed to the proposed allocation of any Measure X funds to the sheriff.
“Let’s keep the spirit of Measure X,” said Pittsburg resident Francisco Flores. “Please don’t treat this money as pork for the use of the sheriff.”
Supervisors also voted 5-0 to transfer $6 million in Measure X funds designated for Contra Costa County Health Center capital improvement projects like a parking garage to county services that are financially neglected like the county library system and childcare.
All of the 60 speakers opposed spending any Measure X tax revenue for the sheriff.
Speakers said spending Measure X money for law enforcement purposes violated the spirit of the November 2020 voter approved tax revenue measure designed to ramp up revenue for underfunded public health and social service programs and services.
“Let’s keep the spirit of Measure X alive,” said Pittsburg resident Francisco Flores, a member of the community action group ACCE.
“You must follow the funding requests of the advisory board,” pleaded Measure X Advisory Board Chair Mariana Moore.
Some of the county programs or capital projects proposed for Measure X funds include:
$40 million parking garage for the Contra Costa Regional Medical and Health Center in Martinez.
$17.2 million for East Contra Costa County Fire District fire station construction projects.
$5 million to modernize the psychiatric ward at the Contra Costa Regional Medical and Health Center in Martinez.
$1.2 million for the Racial Equity and Social Justice office.
$250,000 for arts and culture programs.
$740,000 for the San Ramon Fire Emergency Medical Service.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.