By Captain S. Albanese, Pittsburg Police Department
On Wednesday, July 19th at 3:00 in the afternoon, Pittsburg Police Officers responded to the Baskin Robbins on Century Boulevard, in regards to a reported shooting. When Officers arrived on scene they located a 43-year-old male suffering from several gunshot wounds. Pittsburg Police Officers immediately began performing CPR on the victim for life saving efforts. The victim, a resident of Bethel Island, was transported to Sutter Delta Medical Center and succumbed to his injuries. The Investigations Division responded to the scene and took over the investigation.
Based on initial information, it appears the victim and suspect knew each other. Detectives are currently contacting witnesses and obtaining additional statements.
The Pittsburg Police Department asks anyone with additional information to please contact their Tip-Line at 925-252-4040.Read More
Youth activities, health improvement, safety strategies, senior meals and beautification efforts in Bay Point, Pittsburg and Antioch benefited from the Keller Canyon Landfill Mitigation grants.
Over $1.3 million were awarded to community-based organizations and public agencies, including county departments, from the grant program administered by the District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover. The grants were approved unanimously by the Board of Supervisors, Tuesday morning, July 18.
“I’m inspired by the number of good people doing good work to enhance our community,” said Glover. “They sometimes get overlooked by the media, but they continue to work behind the scenes to help our young people, the elderly, the hungry and the sickly.”
The mitigation fund was negotiated by the County in the 1980s to offset the impact of having the landfill in Keller Canyon, just south of Pittsburg and Bay Point off of Bailey Road. The amount of the fund is based on the tonnage of debris, waste and trash brought to the dumpsite.
Some of the programs receiving grants this year include:
• Antioch Arts & Cultural Foundation;
• Opportunity Junction job training and placement program;
• Crossing guards for Bay Point schools;
• Feeding programs for senior citizens;
• Code enforcement and beautification efforts;
• Violence prevention programs; and
• Tutoring programs for youth
“The programs and services offered by these agencies help improve the quality of life in our community,” said Glover.
For a complete list of the grants, click here.Read More
Washington, D.C. – On Monday, July 17, on the 73rd anniversary of the Port Chicago tragedy, Congressmembers Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) and Barbara Lee (CA-13) introduced a House Resolution calling for the public exoneration of the Port Chicago 50. The resolution is part of their ongoing effort to bring attention to the injustice suffered by the Port Chicago 50, a group of African American sailors who were wrongly charged with mutiny following the deadliest home front disaster of World War II at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in California.
They’re continuing the efforts begun by former Congressman George Miller.
They’re continuing the efforts begun by former Congressman George Miller. According to a July 5, 2002 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Miller (D-Martinez) lobbied to get the the sailors’ convictions overturned and to get a presidential pardon in 1999 for one of the sailors, Frederick Meeks. Miller introduced legislation to make the Port Chicago National Memorial into a National Park.
After experiencing segregation in the Navy, 320 African American munitions sailors, who were not properly trained or supported, were killed and another 115 injured when a cargo vessel exploded. This incident accounted for more than 15 percent of all African American Naval casualties during WWII. When 50 of these men understandably refused to return to the unsafe working conditions that killed their fellow sailors, they were discriminately charged and convicted of mutiny.
“For 73 years the names of 50 brave sailors have been sullied by the racial discrimination they experienced during their service in World War II,” said DeSaulnier. “Given today’s political climate, there is no better moment in America to unite against discrimination and inequality. While we cannot erase the memories of the past, we can express our gratitude for the Port Chicago 50 and ultimately set the record straight through exoneration. An important step in healing our country is recognizing and correcting our past mistakes.”
“As the daughter of a veteran, I wholeheartedly appreciate the sacrifice made by the men and women who bravely serve to protect our freedom. That is why we must exonerate the 50 African-American sailors, who boldly stood against discrimination and refused to return to unsafe work conditions,” said Congresswoman Lee. “It’s past time to honor them, not only for their pivotal role in the World War II home front effort, but also for their unwavering commitment for justice. I am grateful to Congressman DeSaulnier for his staying the course on this vitally important issue.”
DeSaulnier and Lee first introduced this resolution last Congress, and jointly sent a letter to former President Obama requesting he acknowledge the injustice suffered by these sailors and remove these racially biased convictions from their records.
Additionally, DeSaulnier successfully included a provision to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which required the Navy to investigate the circumstances surrounding the treatment of sailors at Port Chicago. DeSaulnier has also called upon the Smithsonian Institution to include information about the Port Chicago 50 in the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.
To read more about the Port Chicago explosion see the History Channel website at http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/port-chicago-disaster. To read more including a list of those who perished, visit http://www.usmm.org/portchicago.html.Read More
As the debate continues over how best to address California’s water needs, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09), during a press conference in Stockton on Monday, July 17, 2017 announced the introduction of new, comprehensive legislation that would provide a long-term plan to improve water sustainability in California and across the country.
The Water and Energy Sustainability through Technology Act (WEST Act) includes provisions that support innovative technologies and infrastructure for urban and agricultural areas, as well as efforts to improve efficiency.
“Our water infrastructure is declining and in need of repair,” said Congressman McNerney. “Water supply in California, and across the nation, is a serious challenge, but we’ve only been presented with short-sighted and ill-conceived plans that rely on the shipment of water from one area to another. Instead, we should be focusing on creating water sustainability through conservation, recycling, and capture.”
Currently, the United States uses approximately 80 billion gallons of fresh groundwater per day. Under the WEST Act, reimbursements would be authorized for recycling and reuse projects that create new water, and regional self-sufficiency would be improved through the encouragement of storm water capture and increased water storage. It would also require a study on ways to improve leak detection location, mapping, and communications for pipeline systems and provide grants to implement these solutions.
“It’s time to change the narrative and focus on practical, forward-thinking solutions instead of high-cost, short-term fixes,” said Congressman McNerney. “California has long been a leading innovator in energy and technology and we now have the opportunity to apply that type of ingenuity to modernizing our water systems.”
The WEST Act would also establish a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation groundwater information system and groundwater management technical assistance, in addition to a smart energy and water efficiency program to support innovative technology solutions for agricultural use and to improve efficiency at federal buildings.
“This bill is the result of extensive engagement with a diverse group of stakeholders – including farmers, technology innovators, industry and community leaders,” Congressman McNerney stated. “These are tangible, commonsense approaches that we can accomplish in the short-term that will benefit all of us in the long-term.”
To launch the legislation, Congressman McNerney hosted a press conference yesterday, featuring local leaders and advocates who voiced their support for this legislation.
To view the full press conference, click here.Read More
Candidate Forum set for August 15
Friday, July 21, 2017, is the deadline to submit an application for the vacant position of District Attorney for Contra Costa County. The June 14 resignation of Mark Peterson from the position of District Attorney created a vacancy that will extend until the current term of office expires on January 7, 2019. The next election for the District Attorney will take place in June of 2018, with a potential runoff election in November of 2018.
At the August 1, 2017, Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board will review the applications and determine which applicants will continue in the process. The finalists will be invited to participate in a public forum to be held on August 15 at 6:00 p.m., with final candidate interviews by the County Board scheduled for September 12, 2017.
At the forum, a moderated discussion will take place, with questions solicited from the public in advance, as well as during the forum. If you would like to offer a question, you can submit it online via the District Attorney recruitment section of our website. On that site, you can also offer public comment to be submitted to the Board of Supervisors and entered into the public record. The forum will be open to the public, televised live and streamed live online.
Completed applications and a supplemental questionnaire must be returned to the County Human Resources Department no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, July 21. Materials can be found online at: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/contracosta. A background investigation will be conducted on all finalists. Any offer of employment will be contingent upon the successful completion of a thorough background investigation, which will include fingerprinting; county, state, and national criminal records checks; Economic Disclosure Form 700; and civil filings.
Story and Photos By Allen Payton
A car caught fire on the side of eastbound Highway 4 just west of the Highway 160 onramp and interchange, Sunday, July 16, 2017 at approximately 6:00 p.m. The fire then jumped to the grass on the adjacent hillside and quickly spread up the hill. Fire crews were able to bring the fire under control, but not until it had consumed approximately 30 acres. See more photos and video at www.facebook.com/cocoherald.
Car stolen in Concord
By Brandon Correia, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa CHP
Saturday night, July 15, 2017 at about 8:07 p.m., Contra Costa CHP was advised of a head-on collision at HWY4 at Sand Creek Road in Brentwood, with the report of injuries. Upon CHP arrival, it was learned that multiple parties had suffered major injuries. It was determined that one of the vehicles involved was a reported stolen vehicle out of Concord from the same day, a 1994 gold Honda Accord – License#7RAE887 – and that …the gold Honda was traveling the wrong way on HWY4. Two parties had to be air-lifted to trauma centers.
A 2015 Honda Odyssey van with seven occupants was traveling westbound on HWY4, just west of Sand Creek Road. The stolen gold Honda Accord entered the westbound lanes of HWY4, traveling wrong way-eastbound in the westbound lanes-from Lone Tree Way. The suspect vehicle was reported at a high rate of speed and passing multiple vehicles in the wrong way direction until ultimately colliding head-on with the Honda Odyssey. HWY4 was briefly shut down for the investigation.
Injured people from the 2015 Honda Odyssey are listed as follows: The driver, a 30-year-old Asian male adult, out of San Francisco, sustained moderate injuries. Passengers: a 34yr old Asian female adult, out of San Francisco, sustained minor injuries. A female baby, 1yr old-out of San Francisco, just for precaution. A 61-year-old Asian Adult female, out of San Francisco, sustained major injuries but is in stable condition. A 2-year-old Asian Female baby, out of San Francisco, sustained minor injuries. A 72-year-old Asian Adult female, out of San Francisco, sustained minor injuries. A 10-year-old Asian female juvenile, out of San Francisco, sustained minor injuries. All injured parties from the minivan were taken to John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek.
The suspect driver, 24-year-old Rafael Duarte (DOB-11-16-92), out of Oakley, was transported to John Muir Walnut Creek for minor injuries. Upon his release from the hospital, Duarte was arrested and booked into the Martinez Detention Facility for the following charges; Felony DUI, possession and driving of a stolen vehicle, unlicensed drivers license, no vehicle insurance, and driving wrong way on the highway causing injury.
Asked about the victims of the collision, Brandon Correia, Public Information Officer for Contra Costa CHP said, “they’re all in stable condition. The passenger in the gold Honda had major injuries, but they’re not life threatening.”
This is an ongoing investigation and if anyone witnessed this collision or has information regarding it, please contact CHP-Contra Costa in Martinez at (925) 646-4980.
See video of the crash scene on KRON4.com.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.Read More
Former high school teacher, vice principal, and Director of Student Services
By John Crowder
Concord City Councilman and one-time mayor Ron Leone, a former vice principal at Antioch’s Deer Valley High School, confirmed today that he is running for the position of Contra Costa County School Superintendent in the June 2018 election. Incumbent Karen Sakata, serving in her first term, has not yet indicated if she will seek re-election.
Leone, who is also a former Teacher of the Year and was the Director of Student Services for the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD), has been involved in education for over forty years. In an interview with this reporter, Leone said he is running because, “education is my passion. Everything I’ve done over my career has led me to this point, and I want to use my experience to ensure our students achieve academic success.”
According to his bio on the City of Concord’s website, “Ron Leone, a resident of Concord since 1978, was elected to the City Council in 2010, re-elected in 2014. He served as Mayor in 2012 and Vice Mayor in 2014 and 2016. Leone served 35 years in education as a high school teacher and principal. He was the teacher of the year in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District and teachers’ association president. He coached high school baseball, and several championship mock trial and constitutional academic teams.”
“I believe that I have the vision our schools need now,” he continued. “In many ways, our schools throughout the county need help. For example, last year the Grand Jury delivered a report on truancy that was very troubling. Our county is one of the worst in the state for truancy, but I know first-hand that we can turn this around. I served as the Director of Child Welfare and Attendance in Antioch some years ago, and was the first to conduct truancy sweeps, coordinating with local law enforcement. Students who were truant were given Saturday school, and phone calls went home to parents. In subsequent sweeps, we found that, by having real consequences for the students who skipped school, we dramatically reduced the number of repeat offenders.”
Leone also mentioned the financial challenges he plans to address.
“Another potentially serious problem is the County Office of Education’s unfunded liabilities,” he stated. “They continue to grow, and this will undoubtedly impact our ability to keep dollars in the classroom, if it continues. We faced the same issue in Concord, but by exercising the leadership needed to tackle the matter, we were able to pay down the debt and create a $30 million reserve.”
Vocational training is strongly advocated by Leone. He described a Regional Occupation Program (ROP) his students used during his tenure in Fremont.
“The Mission Valley ROP Center that was developed was part of a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) with three school districts,” he said. “I believe this approach would work for our County, as well. I’m proposing a vocational training center in Central Contra Costa County. Students from several school districts would be able to attend after school hours.”
Leone wants to work closely with the local school districts in the County. As of today, he’s already met with twelve of the County’s local school district superintendents.
“One of the things that I’m seeing is that the County Office of Education can help our local districts through expanded support of teacher training,” he said. “In addition, we want to encourage school districts to implement programs that advance academic achievement, and to help engage parents in their students’ success.”
Prior to being elected to the Concord City Council, Leone served for 16 years as an elected member of the Mt. Diablo Hospital District Board, as well as Chairman of the Board of the John Muir Hospitals, and the City’s Planning Commission.
Leone invites anyone interested in learning more to contact him at RonaldLeone@comcast.net.Read More
Opens college doors for over a dozen high school players
By Luke Johnson
After his second MLB start, it was hard for Paul Blackburn to believe it happened in real life.
“I still feel like I’m dreaming out here,” he said in a postgame interview.
The Oakland A’s newest pitcher spent his youth all over Eastern Contra Costa County. He was born in Antioch, grew up in Oakley and went to high school in Brentwood.
His coach at Heritage High School, Kevin Brannan, said Blackburn is responsible for the program’s influx of college-bound players.
“What he did was put Heritage on the map,” Brannan said. “Now I’m getting calls in preseason [from scouts] finding out, ‘Hey, who do you have this year?’…He definitely opened the door for a lot of kids.”
Blackburn is the first professional athlete to come out of Heritage High School (est. 2005). Before he was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2012, only two Heritage baseball players went straight to four-year colleges. However, since he graduated, that number has inflated to 25. This figure consists of colleges that are Division I-III according to Brannan.
“There have always been a lot of great athletes that came through here, and I’m sure there will be a lot more,” Blackburn said.
Brannan said he used to beg for scouts to look at his athletes, but now he has them constantly contacting him – eager to come to games. In the past two seasons alone, nine Heritage baseball players have received Division-I scholarships.
“Back then, a kid would go to one showcase and maybe not have his best performance,” Brannan said. “But now scouts come to multiple games and a kid will have more opportunities than just that one at bat.”
In two MLB appearances, Blackburn has pitched 13 and 2/3 innings with a 0.66 ERA. His next start is Saturday in Oakland against the reigning American League Champions Cleveland Indians.Read More
By Dr. Lawrence A. Rasheed
In observance of Black Mental Health Awareness Month, we are continuing our series of symposiums, “Tackling the Taboo.” In this series, we touch on issues that often go ignored within the Black community, especially issues related to Black males.
Young Black men in America are the most despised, most stereotyped, most disregarded, most policed and most feared people in this country; more likely to be poor, more likely to be undereducated, more likely to be unemployed, more likely to be discriminated against, more likely to live without their fathers, more likely to suffer from mental health issues, more likely to be locked up in prisons, and more likely to be murdered than any others in America.
Usual and easy responses to the plight of Black males in America always include historic indignation, protest and demands that raise public awareness – the stuff “moments” and not “movements” are made of. However, what is lacking is a comprehensive, well-conceived, sustained response, which requires massive community building efforts, direct-actions with and on behalf of young Black men and boys, and redirecting dollars from incarcerating Black men to educating and developing Black youth. Together, these actions will develop and support Black men and boys to become strong, positive, powerful, contributing, compassionate and courageous citizens.
Finally, there is a proper response. G.R.I.O.T. (Greatness Rediscovered In Our Time) and P.O.W.E.R. (Providing Optimal [W]holistic Educational Resources) are the much-needed, missing and best response to the issues of Black men and boys in East Contra Costa County and America.
On Saturday, July 15th, 2017 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Delta Bay Church of Christ, located at 913 Sunset Drive in Antioch, we will be discussing Black Mental Health issues facing our Black Male Community. This free event is being moderated by Dr. Richard Hanzy, who will be joined by several black male thought leaders such as Dr. Lamont Francies, former SF Police Captain Cornelius Johnson, and Author LeRon Barton.
Please register by clicking here, or call Dr. Lawrence Rasheed at (925) 726-6162. The best way to improve the conditions of young Black men and boys in America is not simply to protest them, but to invest in them – https://gofund.me/tacklingthetaboo.Read More