Small wineries can open two off-site tasting rooms
Local governments gain new tools for overseeing short-term rentals
Thousands of acres of East Bay wilderness to be preserved
By Steven Harmon, Policy Analyst/Communications, Office of Sen. Steve Glazer
Governor Gavin Newsom has signed three long-standing proposals advanced by Senator Steve Glazer, (D-SD7), that will have a direct impact on residents of Contra Costa and Alameda counties.
“It’s very gratifying to see important legislative priorities for my district signed into law,” Senator Glazer said. “These are bills and proposals that I’ve been working on with partners, in some cases, for years. I’m thankful to Governor Newsom for ushering them across the finish line with his signature, a nice reward for all the hard work put in by key allies and friends.”
The three proposals that Gov. Newsom signed were:
Winegrowers: Offsite Tasting Rooms (SB 19)
SB 19 will allow licensed winegrowers or brandy manufacturers to operate two off-site tasting rooms under their winegrower licenses. This bill will particularly help small and family-owned wineries to operate as California continues to recover from the Pandemic.
Approximately 55 wineries are located in Senator Glazer’s district, including in Livermore, Oakley, Brentwood, Byron and Moraga.
“Small and family-owned wineries have struggled the most among wineries, because they rely heavily on visitors and direct sales,” said Senator Glazer. “With tourism taking a terrible hit from the pandemic and consequences of the wildfires, I’m glad that Governor Newsom recognized that these wineries are in need of that additional outlet to provide tastings and sales to their customers.”
Prior to the current tasting room closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many wineries viewed additional off-site tasting rooms as a significant benefit. This was even more pressing for many small wineries looking to expand business opportunities, especially those wineries that produce their wine in an agreement to use the facility and equipment of a second (usually larger) winery.
Steven Kent Mirassou, owner and winemaker of Steven Kent winery, part of the Livermore Valley Wine Country Association, said SB 19 will make a difference to the industry, but also to wine enthusiasts.
“The ability to take care of people – which is the true center of hospitality and wine – is important at all times,” Kent Mirassou said. “It is especially crucial during the pandemic when we are all striving to maintain connections with our larger circle of friends and patrons, that small wineries remain open and thriving. I am so appreciative of the hard work and perseverance that Senator Glazer and his staff have shown in helping us continue to add joy and richness to peoples’ lives.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic, tasting rooms have been required to either close or significantly alter their operations for tastings, but can continue to operate sales for curbside pickup or delivery. Tourism has become almost nonexistent and is not expected to recover for several years. As a result, the impact from COVID-19 to the wine industry is estimated to be $5.9 billon, with a $3 billion loss in tasting room sales.
In addition, the 2020 wildfires had a substantial impact on the wine industry. According to the Wine Institute, the estimate of damage from 2020 wildfires amounts to $3.7 billion, including a loss of $41 million in tasting room sales and $57.6 million in lost winery structures.
Allows Increased Fines on Short Term Rental Violations – to Rein in House Parties (SB 60)
Under SB 60, cities and counties can now impose increased penalties on short-term rental hosts who violate local property rental laws – an attempt to rein in house parties, sometimes violent, that have been occurring at short term rentals because of lax oversight of these properties. SB 60, which took effect immediately, authorizes localities to impose fines up to $5,000 for a violation of a short-term ordinance.
“These large gatherings have made some short-term rental properties the sites of underage drinking, brawls, noise complaints, and violence,” Senator Glazer said. “I’m grateful to Governor Newsom for signing this bill so that local governments have the tools to ensure the safety of those who want to continue to use short-term rentals, and of our residents who live nearby these properties.”
The legislation was sparked by a spate of violence at short-term rental properties, most notably a mass shooting in Orinda, where five people were killed. Other abuses at short-term rentals occurred in Los Angeles and other locales in Northern California, including a party at a Sunnyvale rental where a teenager was shot and killed in August after violence erupted at the gathering. (See related articles, here, here, here and here)
Smaller fines were proving to be ineffective in deterring violations. Hosts were able to charge so much rent for big houses that the fines, if they occurred, were just seen as a cost of doing business.
“Violence and destructive behavior at short term rentals has become a true public safety issue in cities throughout California, as residents of Orinda know all too well,” Orinda Mayor Amy Worth said. “I am thankful that mayors like me will now have the ability to impose fines at a level high enough to get the attention of property owners who operate short term rentals to ensure the safety of our residents. Senator Glazer has been a true champion of this issue, and we are thankful for his hard work on making this California law.”
The use of short-term rentals has skyrocketed by 105 percent over just the past three years, according to vacation rental data compiled by AirDNA. Though short-term rentals offer a way to improve tourism and earn owners some extra money, their recent proliferation has allowed bad actors to use the platform to advertise and secure homes for large parties, oftentimes in violation of local ordinances.
The Covid-19 pandemic led to an increase in people using short-term rentals to evade public health restrictions on large public gatherings. Noise complaints as a result of parties have tripled since the start of the pandemic, according to Host Compliance, which tracks legal compliance among short-term rentals for 350 cities and counties in the U.S.
In the last half of 2019, 42 people were shot inside or just outside a short-term rental property nationwide and 17 people died.
Tesla Land Preservation (Budget)
Thousands of acres of East Bay wilderness threatened by the expansion of an off-highway vehicle park will instead be preserved. (See related article)
The legislation, approved in the Governor’s recent budget bills and took effect immediately, ends plans to expand the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area into the 3,100-acre Tesla parcel in the southeast corner of Alameda County, which scientists have described as a biologically unique habitat and Native Americans have long considered to be a sensitive historical site.
That land will now become a new state park closed to motorized recreation. The state will reimburse the Off-Highway Vehicle fund for the purchase price of the land, its appreciation in value, and the money spent planning the expansion, which was opposed from the start 20 years ago by nearby residents and public agencies. That money will go toward the purchase and development of an off-road park at another location.
“Our community and region will preserve this natural and cultural treasure, leaving it pristine for future generations to enjoy,” Senator Glazer said. “Meanwhile, off-road enthusiasts will be able to keep their current park and receive funding to develop another park on land that’s more suitable to that kind of recreation. I appreciate the hard work that so many key individuals played in moving this critical environmental and cultural issue to the Governor’s desk, and, of course, for the Governor to work with all the players to sign this important agreement.”
Senator Glazer partnered with Assembly member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, the Sierra Club, Friends of Tesla Park and other environmental organizations and individuals in getting the final approval from the governor’s office. Earlier, former Assembly member Catharine Baker worked with Senator Glazer on the same issue.
Nancy Rodrigue, a leading member of the Friends of Tesla Park steering committee and Livermore resident, said she was proud that years of hard work and persistence paid off.
“A very special thank you goes to Senator Glazer and Assembly member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan for the many years of work on this special project,” Rodrigue said. “Tesla Park will now be a reserve with no motorized recreation. Instead, the future holds Tesla as a protected native landscape for hikers, history buffs, nature lovers, researchers and educators.
“Saving Tesla Park has been a long, difficult, and now a rewarding journey, and we are grateful for the tremendous work of so many for saving Tesla as a legacy for future generations,” Rodrigue continued. “We are looking forward to planning the next phase of Tesla Park as a nature and cultural preserve, providing passive recreation and education to the community of the Bay area, the San Joaquin Valley, and Northern California.”
Near Martinez, near El Sobrante, and near Hercules; Coroner releases identities of three from Brentwood, Martinez and San Pablo
By CHP – Contra Costa
Two die in solo vehicle fatality collision on SR-4 near Martinez
Saturday morning Oct. 2, 2021 at about 6:35am, Contra Costa CHP was advised of a solo vehicle collision on eastbound Hwy 4, east of McEwen Road. The vehicle (a blue GMC SUV) was traveling eastbound and left the roadway, went down an embankment and collided with a tree. The driver of the vehicle was seatbelted and suffered minor injuries. The two passengers of the vehicle were unrestrained and pronounced deceased at the scene. This collision is still under investigation, if anyone witnessed it or the events leading up to it, please contact Contra Costa CHP in Martinez, (925) 646-4980. The county Coroner’s Office released the identities of the deceased, 40-year-old Raymond L. Pattillo from Brentwood, and Holly J. Webster, aged 28 from Martinez.
Two vehicle fatal collision on San Pablo Dam Road near El Sobrante.
Also Saturday morning, Oct. 2, 2021 at around 11:15am, Contra Costa CHP was advised of a two vehicle collision on San Pablo Dam Road, north of Bear Creek Road. A red Toyota Tacoma, with one occupant, was traveling northbound and a white Honda Civic, with three occupants, was traveling southbound.
It appears the driver of the Honda was driving on the shoulder to pass traffic, lost control of the vehicle, crossed into the northbound lane and collided with the Toyota. The driver of the Honda suffered major injuries, the right front passenger suffered minor injuries and the left rear passenger suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene. The driver of the Toyota was able to walk away with minor injuries. This collision is still under investigation. If anyone witnessed it or the events leading up to it, please contact Contra Costa CHP in Martinez, (925) 646-4980. The county Coroner’s Office released the identity of the deceased as 21-year-old Rodrigo J. Diaz-Reyes from San Pablo.
Three vehicle fatal collision on I-80 near Hercules
Sunday morning, Oct. 3, 2021 at 1:25am, Contra Costa CHP was advised of a three-vehicle collision on westbound I-80, west of SR-4. A Honda Accord with one occupant collided with the rear of a Toyota Yaris with two occupants. This initial collision caused both vehicles to spin out of control which ultimately left the Honda disabled and occupied in the lanes. A Lexus RX350 with one occupant approached the disabled Honda and collided with its side in a perpendicular manner.
The driver of the Honda was pronounced deceased at the scene. Both occupants of the Toyota suffered minor injuries. The driver of the Lexus also suffered minor injuries. This collision is still under investigation. If anyone witnessed it or the events leading up to it, please contact Contra Costa CHP in Martinez, (925) 646-4980. The county Coroner’s Office has not yet released the identity of the deceased, pending notification of family.
Please check back later for any updates.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.Read More
It will be pretty dam big!
By Jennifer Allen, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa Water District
Brentwood – The Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project (Project) passed a significant milestone today, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in officially filing agreements needed to form a Joint Powers Authority. This important milestone puts a group of Local Agency Partners one step closer to Project implementation.
Los Vaqueros Reservoir is an off-stream reservoir that was originally built by Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) in 1998. The original reservoir capacity was 100,000 acre-feet and in 2012, CCWD completed the first phase of expansion to hold 160,000 acre-feet.
Expanding Los Vaqueros to a new capacity of 275,000 acre-feet and adding new conveyance facilities will provide environmental, water supply reliability, operational flexibility, water quality and recreational benefits. Those benefits earned the expansion $470 million of the $2.7 billion in water storage investments approved by voters when Proposition 1 passed. The remainder of the project costs will be covered by federal and local partners.
Transforming a local reservoir into a regional facility requires partnerships. Agencies in the Bay Area and Central Valley, serving urban areas, agricultural land and wildlife refuges, have come together to move this expansion forward. A critical step in forming this partnership is the creation of the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Joint Powers Authority (JPA).
“Contra Costa Water District looks forward to working with all of the partners on the JPA in making financing, construction, and operations decisions for the expansion,” said Lisa Borba, CCWD Board President. “As the owner and operator of the system, we know the valuable benefits that Los Vaqueros continues to provide our customers and growing those benefits for a larger region is a smart investment for future generations.”
The JPA establishes the governance of the Project among the partnering agencies and provides the organizational framework for Project design, construction, operation, maintenance and funding. JPA members will bring perspectives from the agency or agencies they represent and work collaboratively to meet the needs of all agencies involved. The JPA will hold its first official public meeting in mid-November.
“The Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion is not only important for EBMUD, but for the Bay Area and the region as a whole,” said John Coleman, EBMUD Ward 2 Director and Los Vaqueros JPA Board Member. “Along with efforts such as water conservation, water recycling, and supplemental supplies, EBMUD will continue to support mutually-beneficial regional reliability efforts to prepare for an uncertain future.”
Looking forward, the Project team is continuing work to secure the necessary permits, approvals and agreements to begin construction. At this point, construction is scheduled to begin in the winter of 2023.
More information about the JPA is available at www.losvaquerosjpa.com.
OTHER JPA PARTNER STATEMENTS
Zone 7 – Tri-Valley
“For the Zone 7 Board, participation in this project represents a lesson learned from the last drought. Our constituents were clear that they wanted the Agency to pursue additional local storage and this is a key step towards fulfilling that request,” noted Angela Ramirez Holmes, Zone 7 Board President. “In addition to local storage, this regional partnership also has the benefit of emergency conveyance which is critical for when there are pumping restrictions in the Delta preventing Zone 7 from accessing State Water Project water. This alternative conveyance will increase the Tri-Valley water system’s reliability.”
Alameda County Water District
“The current drought is a stark reminder of the importance of reliable water storage, and Alameda County Water District is proud of our partnership with Contra Costa Water District and other Bay Area and regional stakeholders on this multi-benefit project,” said Aziz Akbari, ACWD Board President. “ACWD’s participation in the JPA is another example of interagency coordination for the benefit of our customers and our region as we help guide improvements in long-term water supply reliability along with wildlife and environmental benefits as California works to combat climate change.”
Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency
“The Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA) is pleased to see continued progress in the Los Vaqueros Expansion Project, including this most recent milestone of the JPA formation,” said Nicole Sandkulla, BAWSCA CEO/General Manager. “The project, when in place, will serve to augment the water supply reliability of the San Francisco Regional Water System (System) during times of drought, helping to address the critical needs of the water users in the BAWSCA region that rely on the System to meet a majority of their water supply needs.”
Grassland Water District
“Grassland Water District is pleased to be involved with the formation of California’s newest water JPA,” said GWD General Manager Ricardo Ortega. “The Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project is a bright spot for California’s water future and will provide increasingly important ecosystem water supplies for wildlife refuges.”
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
“Regional Cooperation is crucial for a resilient and reliable water future for our customers given the stresses that global climate change and shifting regulations put on our water supplies,” said Michael Carlin, Acting General Manager for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. “The SFPUC is committed to working with our partners on regional solutions, such as the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project.”
San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority
“California’s increasingly variable water cycle – including our current devastating drought conditions – continues to reinforce the need to pursue an all of the above approach to increasing water supply reliability for our communities and ecosystems,” said Federico Barajas, Executive Director of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority. “We know the solutions – increased water storage, improved water conveyance, operations that are responsive to changing conditions – and are pleased to be a partner to advance the next step in making the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project a reality.”
Santa Clara Valley Water District
“Our Board is proactively exploring ways to secure enough water to help all our communities in Santa Clara County weather droughts,” Valley Water Board Chair Tony Estremera said. “Valley Water looks forward to working with our JPA partners on this important project that could improve the reliability of our region’s water supply.”Read More
As a Meteorological and Oceanography Officer and Command Duty Officer
By Rick Burke, Navy Office of Community Outreach
MILLINGTON, Tenn. – A Concord, California, native is serving at Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Ensign Anthony McLennan, a 2001 De La Salle High School graduate, worked at HP Labs in Palo Alto, California, for almost a decade working in the area of digital print and additive manufacturing before joining the Navy a year ago. Today, McLennan is a Meteorological and Oceanography (METOC) Officer and Command Duty Officer (CDO) at JTWC.
“I help publish typhoon and tsunami warning information through our public web page and directly to our DoD customers operating in the Indian and Pacific Oceans,” said McLennan. “As a CDO, I help our command achieve its mission by being the eyes and ears for our commanding officer. I ensure our products reach our customers on time consistently and provide accurate and actionable information so they can successfully complete their missions.”
Naval Oceanography encompasses a wide range of missions crucial to supporting today’s Naval fleet. They include oceanography, hydrography, meteorology, climate science, geospatial information science, astrometry, Earth orientation and precise time.
Whether operating in the air, at sea or underwater, Navy equipment, people and decision-making all rely on the technical and tactical advice of Navy Meteorology and Oceanography (METOC) Officers.
The Naval Meteorology and Oceanography directs and oversees more than 2,500 globally-distributed military and civilian personnel who collect, process and exploit environmental information to assist Fleet and Joint Commanders in all warfare areas to make better decisions faster than the adversary.
As a member of the U.S. Navy, McLennan, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.
“You can learn more about a person in a hour of play, than a year of conversation,” added McLennan. “The devil is in the details.”
McLennan is a 2010 University of California, Davis graduate with an Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering degree. He graduated from Officer Candidate School in 2020 with the top overall class Physical Fitness score.
With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.
“with regional data showing that the surge is now receding, and with the Bay Area one of the most vaccinated regions in the country, the health officers agree it is time to plan for a transition.”
Total population includes residents under age 12 who are not yet eligible for vaccinations.
As decisions to vaccinate and wear face coverings indoors drive down COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations, health officers for the nine Bay Area jurisdictions that require face coverings in most indoor public spaces today reached consensus on criteria to lift those health orders.
These health officers continue to work together across the Bay Area to protect public health with a consistent regional approach, and to plan for the next phase of response to COVID-19 as this wave of the pandemic ebbs.
The counties of Contra Costa, Alameda, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma and the City of Berkeley will lift the indoor masking requirement in public spaces not subject to state and federal masking rules when all the following occur:
1) The jurisdiction reaches the moderate (yellow) COVID-19 transmission tier, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and remains there for at least three weeks
2) COVID-19 hospitalizations in the jurisdiction are low and stable, in the judgment of the health officer
3) 80% of the jurisdiction’s total population is fully vaccinated with two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of Johnson & Johnson (booster doses not considered) NOTE – Total population includes residents under age 12 who are not yet eligible for vaccinations.
Eight weeks have passed since a COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for emergency use by federal and state authorities for 5- to 11-year-olds.
Most Bay Area health departments issued the masking requirements for their respective jurisdictions on August 3, following a summer surge in cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
But with regional data showing that the surge is now receding, and with the Bay Area one of the most vaccinated regions in the country, the health officers agree it is time to plan for a transition.
“It is no accident that transmission is slowing in Contra Costa County. Public health interventions, including the masking requirement, are working,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa’s health officer. “We believe that health orders, along with vaccination, outreach and education are all adding layers of protection against COVID-19 in our community – and saving lives.”
Lifting a local indoor mask mandate would not prevent businesses, nonprofits, churches or others with public indoor spaces from imposing their own requirements. As COVID-19 easily spreads through airborne droplets, face coverings remain highly powerful in preventing its spread.
Each jurisdiction will rescind its order when criteria are met in that respective county or city. The criteria were developed to assist in determining the safest time to lift the indoor masking orders, based on regional scientific and medical consensus. The criteria also provide safety for school children, ages 5-11, who need the added protection of masks in the community to keep case rates low so they can remain in school until they can be vaccinated.
“Contra Costa is coming back strong, thanks to so many of our residents making healthy choices, such as getting vaccinated, or doing the courteous thing and wearing masks in places where the risk of transmission is a little higher,” said Diane Burgis, chair of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. “I’m thankful for every resident who has done their part.”
California’s health guidance for the use of face coverings will remain in effect after local masking requirements are lifted, meaning that people who are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 must continue to wear masks in businesses and indoor public spaces.
The state also requires face coverings for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, in healthcare facilities, public transit and adult and senior care facilities. California’s masking guidelines in K-12 schools would also not be affected by changes to local health orders.
An FDA advisory committee is scheduled to consider an application from Pfizer-BioNTech to grant emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds on October 26.
Visit cchealth.org/coronavirus for local information about COVID-19 and Contra Costa County’s emergency response to the pandemic.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.Read More
County public meetings to continue online for 30 more days; COVID cases decrease by 27.9% over past two weeks
By Daniel Borsuk
In a show of respect for her 34 years of public service, retiring Contra Costa County Board of Supervisor Karen Mitchoff will manage the board’s gavel in 2022, a year when vice chair Federal Glover would have taken over the board leadership duties from current chair Diane Burgis of Brentwood.
Vice chair Glover of Pittsburg, who would have customarily been automatically approved by his supervisorial colleagues as chair for 2022, made the motion to transfer the board chair duties to Mitchoff as an act of respect for her public service dating back to 1981 in the office of late Contra Costa Sherriff-Coroner Richard Rainey as his executive secretary.
Glover, who represents District 5 on the board, will continue to serve as vice chair in 2022 and assume the chair duties in 2023.
Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill has served as District IV Supervisor since January 2011.
Supervisor Mitchoff had initially announced her candidacy for the position of Contra Costa County Recorder-Clerk when former officer holder Joe Canciamilla resigned and sentenced for violating Fair Political Practices Commission laws by spending more than $130,000 in campaign funds for personal uses. Mitchoff eventually stepped away from actively pursuing the County Recorder-Clerk post when Assistant Recorder-Clerk Debbi Cooper announced her candidacy and eventually won the supervisors’ approval to accept the top post.
“I talked to Supervisor Mitchoff, who plans to not run for reelection after next year, to serve as our chairperson as an honor,” said Supervisor Glover. “Therefore, I would make a motion to nominate Karen Mitchoff as chair for 2022 and Glover serve as vice chair for 2022.”
Glover’s motion passed on a 5-0 vote.
“I want to thank Mr. Glover to allow me to serve as board chair in my final year on the board,” said Mitchoff. “It shows how wonderful it is to be on this board. We are always respectful and kind.”
Mitchoff’s eventual departure raises the question of who might run for her position.
Among some of the potential candidates are Ken Carlson, a gay retired Concord police officer who serves on the Pleasant Hill City Council. Concord City Councilmember Edi Birsan has also frequently said he would run for the supervisorial post.
Mitchoff, a Portland, OR native, is a Cal State East Bay B.A. graduate in Human Development and has an elected and appointed public service record that includes election to the Pleasant Hill City Council in 2008 and service as mayor in 2010. She was appointed to the Pleasant Hill Recreation and Park District Board of Directors in 2003 and election to the Board of Directors in 2004 and 2006. From 1992 to 1996 she served on the Pleasant Hill Planning Commission.
Online Meetings for 30 More Days
The return of in person public meetings, especially at the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors’ brand new $100 million county administration building in downtown Martinez, will be on hold for at least another 30 days because of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signing of Assembly Bill 361. The law now allows public meeting to be held onlin through January 31, 2022. At least through November the supervisors and all county commissions and advisory panels – the Assessment Appeals Board, Merit Board, Planning Commission, and Measure X Advisory Commission – will continue to conduct meetings remotely.
The supervisor’s resolution states:
“The Board of Supervisors finds that in person meetings of the Board of Supervisors would present risks to the health or safety of the public, staff and officials attending meetings, in light of the high case rate of COVID-19 infections in the county.
“As authorized by Assembly Bill 361, effective immediately and for the next 30 days the Board of Supervisors, acting in all its capacities and all its subcommittees, will use teleconferencing for meetings with the provisions of Government Code section 54953e.”
County COVID-19 Cases and Vaccinations
In the meantime, the Contra Costa Health Services reported there were 1,532 COVID-19 cases reported in the past two weeks, for a 36.8 percent decrease. Seventy-three COVID-19 patients were hospitalized, a 27.9 decrease over the past two weeks, department records show.
The Contra Costa County Health Services also reported the county’s vaccination rate for residents ages 12 and older, who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, is 86.3 percent compared to a 75.9 percent national rate.
All seven state legislators representing portions of Contra Costa County voted for both bills
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a pair of bills Sept. 22 that relate to privacy surrounding abortion, and a policy expert commented to CNA that the laws highlight the importance of parent-child communication regarding difficult topics such as abortion.
All seven state legislators representing portions of Contra Costa County voted for both bills, including Senators Steve Glazer, Nancy Skinner and Bill Dodd, and Assemblymembers Tim Grayson, Jim Frazier, Rebecca Bauer-Kahan and Buffy Wicks.
Kathleen Domingo, Executive Director of the California Catholic Conference, told CNA that the new laws, while “absurd” and harmful, are just the latest in a pattern of performative pro-abortion actions taken by California lawmakers over a period of decades.
“The reality is that this isn’t really anything new, and I think this is important for people to know…this has been the agenda of California for decades,” she said.
AB 1184 allows insured individuals, including minors, to keep “sensitive services” confidential from the insurance policyholder, generally their parents.
The law requires insurance companies to “accommodate requests for confidential communication of medical information” regardless of whether “disclosure would endanger the individual.” Set to take effect in July 2022, the law specifically mentions “sexual and reproductive health” and “gender affirming care” as potentially “sensitive services.”
California has a parental consent law for minors seeking abortions on the books, but the law is permanently enjoined by court order, meaning minors in California can seek abortions without their parents’ knowledge or permission. Planned Parenthood provides resources instructing teens how to hide abortions from their parents, Domingo noted.
Also signed Sept. 22 was AB 1356, which makes it illegal to film or photograph patients or employees within 100 feet of an abortion clinic “with the specific intent to intimidate a person from becoming or remaining a reproductive health services patient, provider, or assistant.” Domingo said this law could affect pro-life campaigners and sidewalk counselors, who may merely want to film or photograph themselves and their work outside abortion clinics.
Domingo said laws of this kind reinforce the importance of parents and guardians talking to and building trust with their children, and encouraging them to seek their parents’ advice in difficult situations.
“It really comes down to having conversations in your own families, and making sure that your children understand what your values are, and understand that they can come and talk to you if they have situations that are difficult,” Domingo said.
“If they know of someone who has a situation, if they themselves get into a situation where they need help, I think more than anything it’s just continuing that conversation and making sure are families are equipped to know what to do in those moments, that our parishes are equipped to know what to do, so that if you have a situation where a young woman finds herself in need, she knows who to talk to: our pregnancy resource centers and our pro-life pregnancy clinics up and down the state.”
Domingo said while performative pro-abortion laws will likely continue to be passed in California, supporting pro-life alternatives is the best way to combat them.
“That truly is the work that is needed. We can’t necessarily combat these laws that keep compounding abortion in California, but we can do the grassroots efforts that we have been doing for almost 50 years in California of helping people one at a time and saving families one at a time.”
A group of Republican lawmakers wrote to Newsom before he signed the bills into law, urging him to veto them instead.
“We should be encouraging parents and family to be involved in their children’s lives, not removing them further from it,” the letter reads, which was signed by nine state senators.
They also argued, in a more pragmatic vein, that AB 1184 would put policyholders in the “impossible position” of being financially responsible for bills incurred by their dependent children, but which they have no means of verifying because of the new confidentiality rules.
Newsom’s office heralded the laws as a strengthening of California’s status as a “haven” for women seeking abortions.
“This action comes in the wake of attacks on sexual health care and reproductive rights around the country, including the U.S. Supreme Court’s failure to block Texas’ ban on abortion after six weeks,” a statement from Newsom’s office reads, referring to a pro-life law in that state that took effect Sept. 1.
“California is a national leader on reproductive and sexual health protections and rights, and Governor Newsom’s actions today make clear that the state will remain a haven for all Californians, and for those coming from out-of-state seeking reproductive health services here.”
Allen Payton contributed to this report.Read More
Help draw your representatives’ districts the way you’d like to see them; provided by 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission and Statewide Database
SACRAMENTO, CA—On Saturday, Oct. 2, the 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission announced the Statewide Database’s release of two free-to-use tools to help Californians submit redistricting plans to the Commission. These are the only redistricting applications through which users can submit their input directly to the state of California’s official redistricting process.
“The Commission is excited to share these free resources to help people draw their own district maps,” stated Commission Chair Sara Sadhwani. “The success of this decennial process depends on the participation of all Californians. We want to hear from everyone and want to know if our line drawing is heading in the right direction.”
“The Statewide Database is proud to provide two map creation tools that are free of charge,” said Karin Mac Donald, Director of the Statewide Database. “The key to participation is access. These online tools aim to expand access to every Californian in hopes that they have the tools necessary to participate in the redistricting process.”
Tell the CRC about your community today!
The previously released Draw My CA Community allows users to draw a map of and respond to a few simple prompts about their Communities of Interest. When finished, users can submit community input directly to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission for consideration in the statewide redistricting process. (https://drawmycacommunity.org/)
Draw My CA Districts is a free-to-use online tool for creating district maps
Through the newly released Draw My CA Districts web application, users can create district maps throughout the state of California and submit those maps directly to the Commission. (https://drawmycadistricts.org/)
Draw My CA is a free-to-use plugin for the open-source GIS platform, QGIS
Today’s release of the Draw My CA QGIS plugin allows users to download a California redistricting application to their own computer. With this plugin, users can create redistricting plans for the state of California and submit those maps directly to the Commission while having access to a full GIS platform. Draw My CA will be available 10/03/2021 at: https://www.redistrictinggroup.org/installer/.
To learn more about these tools, please visit https://drawmycalifornia.org/.
Both the online district mapping tools (Draw My CA Districts and Draw My CA) include functionality to assist users to comply with population deviation, contiguity and assignment checks.
- % Deviation check – tells the user to what extent any of their districts are above or below the ideal population of the distinct type they are working on
- Contiguity check – lets the user know if their districts are contiguous or not
- Assignment check – lets the user know if they have unassigned areas in their redistricting plan
The Commission must follow the following criteria, in this order, when drawing district maps:
- Districts must be of equal population to comply with the US Constitution.
- Districts must comply with the Voting Rights Act to ensure that minorities have an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice.
- Districts must be drawn contiguously, so that all parts of the district are connected to each other.
- Districts must minimize the division of cities, counties, neighborhoods and communities of interest to the extent possible.
- Districts should be geographically compact: such that nearby areas of population are not bypassed for a more distant population. This requirement refers to density, not shape. Census blocks cannot be split.
- Where practicable each Senate District should be comprised of two complete and adjacent Assembly Districts, and Board of Equalization districts should be comprised of 10 complete and adjacent State Senate Districts.
In addition, the place of residence of any incumbent or political candidate may not be considered in the creation of a map, and districts may not be drawn for the purpose of favoring or discriminating against an incumbent, political candidate, or political party.
Every 10 years, after the federal government publishes updated census information, California must redraw the boundaries of its electoral districts so that the state’s population is evenly allocated among the new districts.
In 2008, California voters passed the Voters First Act, authorizing the creation of the independent California Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw new State Senate, State Assembly, and State Board of Equalization district lines. In 2010, the Voters First Act for Congress gave the Commission the responsibility of drawing new Congressional districts following every census.
For more information, please visit WeDrawTheLinesCA.org.