Regional plan for transportation, housing, the economy, and the environment
Interested agencies, organizations and individuals are invited by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) to comment on the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050. As required by state and federal law, MTC and ABAG have jointly developed this regional plan for transportation, housing, the economy, and the environment, which will serve as the San Francisco Bay Area’s Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) upon its adoption. Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 is defined by 35 integrated strategies designed to advance the region towards a more equitable and resilient future.
A Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) prepared on the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 will be subject to public review pursuant to a separate notice.
The following online public workshops have been scheduled to receive comment on the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050:
ONLINE PUBLIC WORKSHOP
East Bay Workshop
Contra Costa and Alameda Counties
Monday, June 14, 5:00 to 6:30 p.m.
Webinar ID: 862 3482 0389
ONLINE PUBLIC HEARINGS
Additionally, MTC and ABAG will hold three (3) public hearings to receive oral testimony and written comments about the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050. Copies of the draft plan are on file with the Secretary of the Board of MTC and open to public inspection at planbayarea.org/learnmore. Should you require a hard copy of the draft plan, please submit your request to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 415-778-6757 and one will be mailed to you.
The first public hearing will be held during the regular meeting of the Joint MTC Planning Committee with the ABAG Administrative Committee on:
Friday, June 11, 2021 at 9:40 a.m. (Remotely)
Webinar ID: 874 2787 4017
Bay Area Metro Center
Board Room, 1st Floor
375 Beale Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
In light of Governor Newsom’s State of Emergency declaration regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and in accordance with Executive Order N-29-20 issued by Governor Newsom on March 17, 2020 and the Guidance for Gatherings issued by the California Department of Public Health, the meeting will be conducted via webcast, teleconference, and Zoom for all participants. Detailed instructions on participating via Zoom are available at: https://mtc.ca.gov/how-provide-public-comment-board-meeting-zoom. The meeting accessibility instructions also will be posted to: https://mtc.ca.gov/whats-happening/events/public-hearings no less than 72 hours prior to the hearing.
Two additional online public hearings have been scheduled for:
Tuesday, June 22, 5:30 p.m.
Webinar ID: 812 0345 4209
Wednesday, July 7, 1:30 p.m.
Webinar ID: 854 5833 8822
The Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 will be available for public review beginning Wednesday, May 26, 2021, online at https://mtc.ca.gov/whats-happening/events/public-hearings, https://abag.ca.gov/meetings-events/public-hearings, and planbayarea.org. In an effort to reduce printing costs and conserve paper and in accordance with EO N-29-20 and the Guidance for Gatherings issued by the California Department of Public Health, you are urged to review the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 on the website listed above. Should you require a hard copy of the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050, please submit your request to email@example.com or call 415-778-6757 and one will be mailed to you.
The public comment period for the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 begins on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 and ends on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 by 5:00pm. All written comments must be received no later than Tuesday, July 20, 2021 by 5:00pm. All written comments on the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 are being accepted via mail to MTC Public Information, Attn: Draft Plan Comments, 375 Beale Street, Suite 800, San Francisco, CA 94105; via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; and online at planbayarea.org/learnmore. Comments also are being accepted by phone by leaving a voicemail at (415) 778-2292.
Public comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 will be sought pursuant to a separate notice. After considering public comment, MTC and ABAG are slated to adopt Plan Bay Area 2050 in fall 2021. For more information, call the MTC Public Information Office at (415) 778-6757.
Do you need an interpreter or any other assistance to participate? Please call 415-778-6757. We require at least three working days’ notice to accommodate assistance requests. For TDD or hearing impaired, call 711, California Relay Service, or 1-800-735-2929 (TTY), 1-800-735-2922 (voice) and ask to be relayed to 415-778-6700.
¿Necesita un intérprete o cualquier otra ayuda para participar? Llame al 415-778-6757. Requerimos un aviso de al menos tres días hábiles para atender las solicitudes de asistencia. Para personas con discapacidad auditiva o TDD, llame al 711, California Relay Service, o al 1-800-735-2929 (TTY) o al 1-800-735-2922 (voz) y pida que lo comuniquen al 415-778-6700.Read More
21 arrests, 20 cars towed from Antioch sideshow
Antioch police, councilman share photos, warn participants, spectators they’re “subject to up to 90 days in county jail and fines up to $1,000. Several license plates were obtained… as…vehicles fled the scene…will be followed up on, warrants will be written, and…towed for 30 days.”
By Sergeant Rob Green #3639, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau
On Saturday, May 22, 2021, over 150 cars converged into several areas in Contra Costa County and engaged in several side shows. The vehicles eventually took over the intersection of West 10th Street and Auto Center Drive. There were several vehicles doing donuts in the intersection and the parking lot of Arco Gas Station near the gas pumps.
There were over 100 vehicles and close to 200 spectators in this intersection, several blocking the path of patrol vehicles. The spectators set off fireworks and at times threw fireworks at patrol vehicles and pointed high powered lasers at officers. Mutual aid was requested and several officers from Brentwood, Pittsburg and the Sheriff’s Office responded to assist in dispersing the crowd. Several vehicles continued to drive recklessly, and a vehicle nearly ran over an officer who was on foot. APD officers were able to stop a group of the vehicles with the help of the allied agencies. 20 subjects were issued citations and 21 vehicles were placed on 30-day tows from this scene.
The remaining group of vehicles entered the City of Brentwood where the vehicles took over the intersection of Lone Tree Way and HWY 4. Several vehicles made it into the City of Oakley and at approximately 1:09 AM, Oakley PD officers had bottles thrown at them from occupants from a vehicle that fled back into Antioch. Antioch Officers located a vehicle that matched the description, and a traffic stop was attempted. The vehicle fled from officers at a high rate of speed onto Hillcrest Avenue where it lost control and crashed. The driver of that vehicle fled on foot and was caught by officers a short distance later. The subject was arrested for an outstanding warrant and his vehicle was towed for 30-days.
At approximately 1:32 AM, more than 50 vehicles took over the intersection of Buchanan Road and Somersville Road and started another side show. Officers responded to the area; however, the group continued the side show despite the presence of law enforcement. After several minutes, the vehicles eventually dispersed in several different directions. At approximately 2:32 AM, APD officers responded into the City of Pittsburg to assist PPD with a large side show that resulted in several shots being fired by subjects in the side show.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441 or Detective Bledsoe at (925) 779-6884. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.
Antioch Police Department – May 23, 2021 – As many of you have seen by now through social media or other news media outlets, there was a large-scale side show in East Contra Costa County that touched the cities of Antioch, Pittsburg, Oakley, and Brentwood for several hours Saturday night, May 22. While we were able to head off several of the participants before anything could get started, eventually the crowd was able to overtake the intersection of Auto Center Drive and W. 10th Street with several hundred vehicles and spectators. Mutual aid was requested due to the large numbers involved, and eventually officers from the Pittsburg Police, Brentwood Police and Sheriff’s Office responded and we were able to disperse the crowd. Over the course of the next several hours, other smaller side shows popped up in Antioch and surrounding cities until the early morning hours.
These events have become more prevalent in recent months in our city and present many problems aside from the noise and traffic violations. They not only put the participants at risk of death or injury, but also the public should they get caught amid one of these intersections that have been taken over. These events also create traffic issues for police and medical responses to true emergency calls as well, and the Antioch Police Department has taken a zero-tolerance response to such activity. During Saturday night’s events alone, 20 citations were issued, and 21 vehicles were towed and stored for 30 days for those in attendance who were able to be stopped. So everyone is aware, participating in these events, including being a spectator or helping block intersections so these events may continue is subject to up to 90 days in county jail and fines up to $1000. Additionally, whether you are actively participating or spectating, your vehicle will be towed and stored at your expense for 30 days. These costs will run into the thousands of dollars and may also lead to a driver’s license suspension.
For those of you that believe you got out of town last night before being stopped by the police, be aware that this may be true for some, but not all of you. Several license plates were obtained last night as dozens of vehicles fled the scene. These vehicles will be followed up on, warrants will be written, and those vehicles will also be towed for 30 days.
To summarize the events from last night, these events will not be tolerated in the City of Antioch, and all participants and spectators will be met with all enforcement action allowed under the California Vehicle Code. Thank you to all the agencies that responded to our mutual aid request and helped us in our efforts to keep Antioch safe. It is greatly appreciated.
Councilman Comments, Posts Photos of Damage
District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica was the only Antioch council member to post anything about the sideshows, one of which occurred in District one, on his official Facebook page. On Sunday, he wrote, “I went out today and visited some of the locations from the recent side shows. I very BIG thank you to the APD Sgt. and crew that took a zero tolerance stance on this, having more than 20 cars towed on 30 day impounds, more than 20 citations and warrants coming for more cars also to be impounded for 30 days. We cannot tolerate this in our community. This is unsafe and is a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed. GREAT JOB APD! Also thank you to the allied agencies that came into our community to help.”
Allen Payton contributed to this report.
Governor must pay $1.35 million to reimburse churches’ attorney’s fees and costs
By Liberty Counsel
On Monday, May 17, 2021 a California District Court entered an order approving Liberty Counsel’s settlement of the lawsuit on behalf of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry against California Gov. Gavin Newsom. The full and final settlement was approved today the District Court and thus is the first state-wide permanent injunction in the country against COVID restrictions on churches and places of worship.
This is the first state-wide permanent injunction in the country against COVID restrictions on churches and places of worship. Under the agreed state-wide permanent injunction, all California churches may hold worship without discriminatory restrictions.
Under the settlement, California may no longer impose discriminatory restrictions upon houses of worship. The governor must also pay Liberty Counsel $1,350,000 to reimburse attorney’s fees and costs.
The settlement references several Supreme Court opinions, including Harvest Rock Church v. Newsom, that include a long list of similar nonreligious activity the High Court set forth as comparable gatherings. These include grocery stores, warehouses, big box stores, transportation, infrastructure, telecommunications, and much more. In other words, churches and places of worship may never again have discriminatory restrictions placed on them that are not equally applied to a long list of “critical infrastructure” or “essential services” as outlined in several Supreme Court precedents cited in the settlement agreement.
Pastor Ché Ahn, founder of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry, received a letter from the Pasadena Criminal Prosecutor threating him, the staff, and anyone who attends church with daily criminal charges each up to one year in prison, and daily fines of $1,000. Despite this intense opposition, Pastor Ahn stood against these unconstitutional executive orders. He risked criminal charges and fines, as did those who worked for the church and those who attended. Thanks to his leadership, every church in California is now free.
Newsom originally imposed the most severe restrictions on churches and even home Bible studies and worship in the nation. Now after multiple reprimands from the U.S. Supreme Court, including two on behalf of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry, Gov. Newsom will be the first governor in America to have a permanent injunction against him on behalf of houses of worship.
This case involved three emergency injunctions pending appeal at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, two oral arguments before a panel of three judges, two orders from the U.S. Supreme Court, including an injunction pending appeal issued by the High Court on February 5, 2021.
The timeline for actions regarding California’s worship restrictions include:
March 19, 2020 – May 25, 2020: No Worship
May 26, 2020 – July 12, 2020: 25 percent capacity but no more than 100 people
July 13, 2020 – April 8, 2021: No worship for over 90 percent of California
April 9, 2021 – April 12, 2021: Restrictions on home Bible study lifted but not on singing and chanting
April 13, 2021 – May 9, 2021: Mandatory attendance limits are lifted
May 17, 2021 – and Forever: Discriminatory restrictions on churches permanently removed
Under the settlement agreement, discriminatory restrictions on worship and religious gatherings may no longer be applied to churches and places of worship.
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court granted an emergency petition for an injunction pending appeal on behalf of New York City synagogues and Roman Catholic churches in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo and Agudath Israel v. Cuomo. On December 3, 2020, the High Court granted the petition by Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry, setting aside all the lower court orders and directing them to follow its ruling in Roman Catholic Dioceses. When the lower courts refused to strike down California’s restrictions, the case returned to the Supreme Court.
On February 5, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry by enjoining California’s total ban on indoor worship. This was the second time Liberty Counsel appealed to the High Court on behalf of these churches. The ruling also included South Bay United Pentecostal Church.
On April 9, the U.S. Supreme Court granted an emergency injunction pending appeal in Tandon v. Newsom and ruled that Gov. Newsom’s restrictions on home Bible study and worship violate the First Amendment.
Pastor Ché Ahn said, “This is a momentous day for churches in America! After nearly a yearlong battle defending our religious freedoms, our lawsuit has reached a permanent settlement in our favor. I am thrilled to see the complete reversal of the last discriminatory restrictions against churches in California, knowing this case will act as a precedent, not only in our state, but also in our nation. We are incredibly grateful to our attorney Mat Staver and to Liberty Counsel for their relentless support and fierce determination. Most of all, we give all the glory to God for moving mightily in this historic season!”
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Governor Gavin Newsom’s COVID restrictions intentionally discriminated against churches while providing preferential treatment to many secular businesses and gatherings. The Supreme Court intervened multiple times to provide relief. California may never again place discriminatory restrictions on churches and places of worship. Gov. Gavin Newsom has now been permanently quarantined and may not violate the First Amendment rights of churches and places of worship again. We are grateful for Pastor Ché Ahn, Harvest Rock Church, and Harvest International Ministry. Pastor Ahn’s leadership and courage has toppled the tyranny and freed every pastor and church in California.”
The Contra Costa Community College District chancellor (4CD) has selected Dr. Tia Robinson-Cooper as the 14th permanent president of Contra Costa College (CCC). 4CD’s Governing Board will vote on ratification of her contract at their Tuesday, May 26, 2021, meeting. The announcement was made following a search that began in December 2020.
She was chosen from three candidates proposed by a district committee, following public interviews and review by Chancellor Bryan Reece who recommended Robinson-Cooper to the board. (See related articles here and here)
“We are excited to welcome Dr. Tia Robinson-Cooper to 4CD as the next president of CCC” said Reece. “She has a proven commitment to increasing student success outcomes and fostering an environment of equity and inclusion. We look forward to her leadership.”
Dr. Robinson-Cooper brings with her a lengthy, distinguished career in higher education, most recently serving as the provost and vice-president of academic affairs/chief academic officer at Inver Hills Community College, a campus of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Dr. Robinson-Cooper earned her A.S. degree in Business from Kishwaukee College, a B.S. degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Northern Illinois University, a M.B.A. degree and a M.S. degree in Managerial Leadership and Organizational Development both from National Louis University, and an Ed.D in Counseling and Adult Higher Education from Northern Illinois University.
4CD thanks Dr. Damon A. Bell, who held the CCC interim president position for the past 18 months. During this time, Dr. Bell successfully led the college during the pandemic as it transitioned to remote instruction and services, contributed to the college’s recent accreditation reaffirmation, and rebuilt the college’s leadership team.
The Contra Costa Community College District (4CD) is one of the largest multi-college community college districts in California. The 4CD serves a population of 1,019,640 people, and its boundaries encompass all but 48 of the 734-square-mile land area of Contra Costa County. 4CD is home to Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, as well as educational centers in Brentwood and San Ramon. The District headquarters is located in downtown Martinez. For more information visit www.4cd.edu.
Supports plans to establish Chinese historic district in downtown, museum exhibit, but no discussion yet on reparations to descendants for land City now owns; no apologies for last year’s effort to devalue without compensation current Chinese American landowners’ property in Antioch
By Allen Payton
During their special meeting on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, the Antioch City Council unanimously passed a resolution officially apologizing for the acts of racism against Chinese residents in the 1870’s, including the burning down of the city’s Chinatown in 1876. In addition, the council agreed to pursue establishing a Chinese historic district along Antioch’s waterfront from G Street to I Street, north of W. 2nd Street where Chinatown was located. The council also agreed to pursue funding for the planning and design of potential Asian museum exhibits and murals.
The council’s actions made national news with the New York Times publishing an article about it on Thursday. Mayor Lamar Thorpe posted a link to the article on his official Facebook page, writing, “We don’t always make headlines news in The New York Times but we did today. On Tuesday, Antioch became the only known city in the US to officially apologize for the historic mistreatment of early Chinese immigrants starting in the 1840s.” However, that is incorrect, since the town wasn’t founded until 1849 as Smith’s Landing by the twin Christian reverend Smith brothers and wasn’t until December 24, that year that they each broke ground for the construction of their homes.
Also in his Facebook post, the mayor announced he is planning a public signing ceremony of the resolution, “with CA Comptroller Betty Yee in the coming weeks.” She was unable to attend Thorpe’s April 14th press conference on the matter.
According to an article by the Antioch Historical Society, “When Chinese groups arrived at the City of Antioch a small ‘Chinatown’ was established consisting of homes and stores on both sides of Second and First Street. In May 1876 the anti-Chinese sentiments of the Antioch community reached a boiling point. The Chinese were asked to leave and a resistance led to Chinatown being destroyed which was chronicled (May 2nd) in the Sacramento Bee and the Daily Evening Express.
Today, the only remnants remaining of Antioch’s Chinatown are the tunnels beneath downtown Antioch. The Palace Hotel demolition in 1926, to make room for the El Campanil Theatre, uncovered a large section of the Chinese tunnel.
An 1851 county law prohibited Chinese from appearing on the streets after dusk. The tunnels are said to have been used by Chinese service workers to travel to work without walking the streets. The use of the tunnels is one of the examples of the patience and endurance of the Chinese people to persevere and overcome challenges.”
There was no discussion on reparations for the descendants of the Chinese owners of the property, most of which is now owned by the City, including two parking lots and the Waldie Plaza park, to compensate them. A similar action is underway by the state to return Bruce’s Beach property in Manhattan Beach, California to the descendants of Black owners it was taken from 97 years ago. During his April 14 press conference about the matter, Thorpe said he would ask Antioch Historical Society President Dwayne Eubanks to include that in the organization’s research. Following Tuesday’s actions, asked if he was still open to considering reparations, Thorpe did not respond. When reached for comment Eubanks said, “We’ve done some research. We have some artifacts from that time period.” But his board has to decide on both hosting the display at the museum and any further research, he shared. (Please check back later for any updates to this report).
There was also no apology for last year’s actions by three of the current council members and a majority of Antioch voters for their attempt to devalue by over 97% the property owned by current Chinese American landowners in Antioch and without compensation, when they endorsed and passed Measure T. (See related editorial)
One idea for the location of the Chinese museum exhibit was proposed by a Rivertown business owner, following the council’s vote, and that was to use the Hard House on First Street. Another idea was to rename First Street, where the Hard House, Lynn House Gallery and Amtrak Station are located, to Chinatown Way.
Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson and District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker were appointed to a council subcommittee to pursue the matters of establishing the historic district, exhibit and murals.
Following is the resolution:
RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ANTIOCH APOLOGIZING TO EARLY CHINESE IMMIGRANTS AND THEIR DESCENDANTS FOR ACTS OF FUNDAMENTIAL INJUSTICE, SEEKING FORGIVENESS AND COMMITTING TO RECTIFICATION OF PAST MISDEEDS
WHEREAS, on January 24, 1848, gold was discovered in Alta California, Mex(ico) and by 1849, people were coming to the region from all over the world to look for gold;
WHEREAS, the Gold Rush caused a huge increase in the population by migrants from the eastern United States and other parts of the world including China;
WHEREAS, between 1849 and 1853 about 24,000 young Chinese men immigrated to Alta California, Mex(ico) (which in 1850 became the United States, State of California) and by 1870 there were an estimated 63,000 Chinese in the United States, 77% of whom resided in California;
WHEREAS, many Chinese immigrants were met with racism, scapegoating and anti-Chinese sentiment also known as xenophobia, which was at its highest between 1850 and 1870;
WHEREAS, Antioch in its early years was not exempt from xenophobia;
WHEREAS, this period in Antioch’s history, like in most of America, is now known as the “The Driving Out” with forced removals of Chinese immigrants;
WHEREAS, during “The Driving Out” period, Antioch officially became a “Sundown Town” when it banned Chinese residents from walking city streets after sunset;
WHEREAS, in order to get from their jobs to their homes each evening, these Chinese residents built a series of tunnels connecting the business district to where I Street met the waterfront;
WHEREAS, in 1876 Chinese residents were told by white mobs that they had until 3 p.m. to leave Antioch— no exceptions;
WHEREAS, after Chinese residents were forced out, Chinatown was burned to the ground and Antioch made headline news: “The Caucasian torch,” wrote the Sacramento Bee, “lighted the way of the heathen out of the wilderness,” and “The actions of the citizens of this place will, without doubt, meet with the hearty approval of every man, woman and child on the Pacific coast” wrote the San Francisco Chronicle;
WHEREAS, Antioch’s early period helped negatively contribute to the Nation’s xenophobic discourse, which led to legal discrimination in public policy with the establishment of the Chinese Exclusion Act;
WHEREAS, the system of “The Driving Out” and the visceral racism against persons of Chinese descent upon which it depended became entrenched in the City’s, the State’s and the Nation’s social fabric;
WHEREAS, the story of Chinese immigrants and the dehumanizing atrocities committed against them should not be purged from or minimized in the telling of Antioch’s history;
WHEREAS, the City of Antioch must acknowledge that the legacy of early Chinese immigrants and Xenophobia are part of our collective consciousness that helps contribute to the current anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander hate;
WHEREAS, a genuine apology and seeking forgiveness are an important and necessary first step in the process of racial reconciliation;
WHEREAS, an apology for dehumanization and injustices cannot erase the past, but admission of the wrongs committed can speed racial healing and reconciliation and help confront the ghosts of the City’s past;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Antioch:
1) Apologizes to all early Chinese immigrants and their descendants who came to Antioch and were unwelcome;
2) Seeks forgiveness for acts of fundamental injustice, terror, cruelty, and brutality; and
3) Expresses its commitment to rectify the lingering consequences of the misdeeds committed against early Chinese immigrant under, before and during “The Driving Out.”
* * * * * * * * *
I HEREBY CERTIFY that the foregoing resolution was passed and adopted by the City Council of the City of Antioch at a special meeting thereof, held on the 18th day of May, 2021 by the following vote:
CITY CLERK OF THE CITY OF ANTIOCH
LAMAR A. THORPE
MAYOR OF THE CITY OF ANTIOCHRead More
Contra Costa County Officer Involved Incident Protocol enacted
By Pittsburg Police Department
On Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 9:21 P.M, Pittsburg Police Officers were called to an apartment complex in the 2300 block of Loveridge Road regarding a man holding a handgun, banging on the front door of an apartment. The man was reported to be the ex-boyfriend of the resident. When officers arrived, they contacted the man on a stairway leading to the second-floor apartment of his ex-girlfriend. Officers asked the man to walk down the stairs and speak with them, but he ignored their commands and began walking back up the stairs away from the officers. Officers followed him up the stairs and continued to ask him to stop and not walk away.
As the man reached the top of the stairs, officers observed he was in possession of a handgun in his right hand. Officers directed the man to get on the ground and drop the handgun. The man turned towards the officers and pointed the handgun directly at them. Two officers then used their service weapon, striking the man. The man immediately fell to the ground, still holding the handgun.
For several minutes following the shooting, officers continued speaking with the man, asking him to drop the handgun so they could get him medical attention. The man did not respond to officer’s request. Eventually, officers were able to detain the man and immediately started life saving measures until paramedics arrived. Unfortunately, the man died at the scene due to his injuries. The man was 31 years old. A handgun was recovered from the man’s possession. We are waiting to release his name due to the ongoing investigation.
The Contra Costa County Officer Involved Incident Protocol has been enacted and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office will be completing an independent investigation into this incident. The Pittsburg Police Department’s independent outside investigator is also conducting an independent investigation of the incident pursuant to department policy. We will be releasing body-cam footage within the coming days of the incident, along with the officers’ names. This is still an active investigation and additional information will be released in the coming days.
Opens Saturday for weekend tours
By Allen Payton
On Thursday, May 20, 2021 officials and staff of the East Bay Regional Parks District (EBRPD) were joined by local officials to celebrate the opening of the new coal mine exhibit at the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve. Following speeches of gratitude and congratulations they held a ribbon cutting inside the sand mine in front of the entrance to the new exhibit.
It will take visitors back in time to a realistic 1870’s-era coal mine, complete with sights and sounds. The immersive educational experience will allow for greater understanding and appreciation of the area’s coal mining past.
Ira Bletz, Regional Manager, Interpretive & Recreation Services for EBRPD said the whole effort took two years, including carving out the area inside the mine and the development of the display. While the mine was being worked on to make room for the exhibit, the display was being developed at another location. It was then disassembled, brought to the mine and reassembled for the exhibit. The fake rock was bolted to the real rock.
New district general manager, Sabrina Landreth said, about her staff, “it’s a joy to see the fruits of their labor”.
Board of Directors Vice President Colin Coffey, who represents East County, said, “the exhibit shows what it was like working in the mine in the early 20th Century.”
“You are the first public visitors in the mine since 2019,” he stated. “As of today, Black Diamond Mines is happy to welcome guests, here.”
Director Beverly Lane and Board president, Dee Rosario were also in attendance for the event.
Antioch Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson and Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, as well as city manager Ron Bernal, and Parks & Rec Commission Chair Marie Arce attended.
Wilson spoke, recognizing “the East Bay Regional Parks District for their commitment to the community” and thanked them for keeping parks open during COVID-19.
“Thank you for sharing our history and stories of our rich heritage,” she added. “I’m really happy this is going to be available to our residents, our youth.”
During her remarks, Pittsburg Councilwoman Shanelle Scales-Preston shared the fact that “Pittsburg was first named Black Diamond because of the coal mines.”
Representatives from Congressman Mark DeSaulnier and Assemblyman Tim Grayson read letters from them and Assemblyman Jim Frazier, congratulating the parks district for the opening of the exhibit.
Former General Manager Bob Doyle spoke about the background of the new exhibit and his own experience in one of the now closed coal mines.
“It was John Waters’ vision. He came up with this idea,” Doyle stated.
According to the display inside the mine, “the Hazel-Atlas Mining Museum and Greathouse Visitor Center are two of the many accomplishments of Waters,” who “began his career with the East Bay Regional Park District in 1968 as a Park Ranger. Later, as Resource Analyst, he designed Black Diamond’s parking lot, picnic areas and water system. John eventually became Black Diamond Park Supervisor, and later served as the Preserve’s first Mine Manager, a position he held until his retirement in 2006.”
“I was privileged in 1977 to actually go into the last open coal mine…in Nortonville,” Doyle shared. “The exhibit has the photos from the actual coal miners. No one had been in there for 110 years. It had the corral for the animals that were used to haul the coal. The middle of the track was worn out from the animals pulling the coal mine.”
“Our gas meters went off and we took as many photos, and got out. That has been permanently closed off. Four boys snuck in and died about four years, later,” he continued. “It’s important we recognize the safety by the parks district and the hard, hard life the early workers had, here.”
“This is an incredibly huge, 6,000-acre park and someday there will be an entrance from the Nortonville side, which was the largest town in the area,” Doyle added
“It’s a history that’s often hidden and one we take great pleasure in sharing with you,” said Kevin Damstra, Supervising Naturalist in charge of both the exhibit and the Black Diamond Mines park.
“The exhibit includes background noise of coal mining including voices of Welsh and Welsh accented English,” he shared. “There were also Irish, Italian and Chinese miners, out here, for a while.”
The coal mining lasted from 1865 to 1908 and then the sand mining from 1920 to 1945,” Damstra shared.
The Black Diamond Mines Hazel Atlas Mine is located at the south end of the Somersville Road in Antioch. The exhibit is open for four tours each Saturday and Sunday beginning tomorrow, May 22. To schedule yours contact the parks district at (510) 544-2750 or Toll Free: 888-EBPARKS (888-327-2757), option 3, extension 4506, or visit www.ebparks.org/parks/black_diamond/. The sand mine will not be open until June. It’s cold inside the mine and wearing something warm is recommended.Read More
Enter to win an iPad in the Grand Prize Drawing
By Marie Arce, Member, Advisory Committee, East Bay Regional Parks District
Looking for free summertime recreation and fun for the whole family? Check out 511 Contra Costa’s Summer Bike Challenge. From June through August, riders of all ages can explore their hometowns on two wheels. Simply bike to each destination and cross off the squares as you go. Pick up free prizes on select dates, take weekly Bonus Challenges, and enter the iPad Grand Prize Drawing.
The Summer Bike Challenge is free for people of all ages.
How to Play:
- Register& play for free! You’ll be entered in the iPad Grand Prize drawing.
- Select your city below and download your gameboard.
- Bike to as many squares as you can June-August. Can’t bike to certain Squares? Substitute any square with a bike-able destination of your choice.
- Collect prizes at in-person events, find details on your gamecard.
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Developer’s attorney calls lawsuit “poorly drafted and baseless”; 1,650-home project requires LAFCO annexation approval
Save Mount Diablo issued a statement, Thursday, May 20, 2021 announcing they are suing the developer of the recently approved large housing project on the edge of Pittsburg’s southwest hills that abuts the future regional park on the Concord side of the ridge. The organization claims that Discovery Builders’ Faria project would damage the major ridgeline between east and central Contra Costa County, threaten views from throughout the region, and impact the new regional park.
The Pittsburg City Council voted 5-0 during a special meeting on Feb. 22, 2021 to approve the project, following approval by the city’s planning commission.
On March 30, 2021, Save Mount Diablo filed the lawsuit challenging the City of Pittsburg’s approval of the 1,650-unit Faria project, on the ridgeline between Pittsburg and Concord. According to the agenda item documents, the master plan overlay district encompasses approximately 607 acres of land. The district is generally bounded by Bailey Road and the approved but not yet constructed, “Bailey Estates” subdivision to the east; the Concord City Limits and recently closed Concord Naval Weapons Station (CNWS) property to the south and west; and the San Marco and Vista Del Mar residential subdivisions (substantially developed) along the northern boundary and other open space areas along the northeastern boundary.
“Save Mount Diablo is simply trying to protect one of the East Bay’s most prominent and well-known ridgelines. The Pittsburg City Council approved Seeno-owned Discovery Builders’ Faria project. If we do nothing, massive grading will take place; the project will be built; the ridge damaged; other natural resources, including scenic vistas, will be harmed; and the new regional park, which we advocated for over many years, will be negatively impacted,” said Ted Clement, Executive Director, Save Mount Diablo.
Asked why it took so long for the organization to respond to the project’s approval, Seth Adams, Land Conservation Director for Save Mount Diablo responded, “things take time.” Asked if they had a court date set, yet, he said, “No. We’re at the stage where we have a mandatory settlement conference and where the preparation of the administrative record, which includes all the public comments, etc. That’s what the whole trial is about.”
According to Save Mount Diablo, the Faria project violates Pittsburg’s General Plan, state planning and zoning law, and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). CEQA requires legally adequate environmental review, consideration of appropriate alternatives, and implementation of mitigations to reduce impacts.
Save Mount Diablo’s lawsuit challenges the approval of the Faria project claiming the city council ignored hundreds of letters and public comments that opposed the project.
The Faria site is rugged, landslide prone, and badly suited for development, which will only be possible with massive grading, the environmental organization contends. The project as approved by the city authorizes the development of a major, new residential subdivision on 607 acres of ridgeline and hillside grazing land in what is currently unincorporated Contra Costa County, immediately south of the City of Pittsburg.
The biologically rich site supports sensitive wildlife species and rare plants and is in one of the most visible and most environmentally constrained areas of the county.
The Faria project would change the beautiful green hills forever by annexing the property to the City of Pittsburg and locating 1,650 new residences far from jobs, transit, and services, Save Mount Diablo claims. As a result, rare habitat for special status species would be lost. The extensive grading would increase landslide risks and degrade creeks and streams. Building in the wildland urban interface would create new wildfire risks and strain the City of Pittsburg’s existing firefighting services. Traffic on Bailey Road, San Marco Blvd., and Highway 4 would be made much worse.
Save Mount Diablo claims the Faria project would also impact the new Concord Hills Regional Park, which the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) has long planned at the former Concord Naval Weapons Station at the Faria site’s southwestern edge. The Faria project would sit directly above the new park on a ridgeline, degrading views from surrounding areas. It would fragment open space and damage wildlife corridors.
The East Bay Regional Park District adopted the Land Use Plan for the new park last year on July 7, 2020. Discovery Builders and Faria Land Investors filed suit to stop the new regional park.
The Concord Hills Regional Park Land Use Plan provides for public access, preserves 95 percent of the area’s natural habitat, and honors the unique natural and human history of the land.
According to an August 21, 2020 media release by EBRPD: “This approval paved the way for the Park District to begin work on park and trail development of the 2,540-plus-acre regional park at the former Concord Naval Weapons Station and was the product of two decades of community advocacy and partnership amongst the Park District, U.S. Navy, National Park Service, City of Concord, with overwhelming support from the residents of Central Costa County.
“Despite a thorough environmental analysis of the new Regional Park’s plans, which include public access for recreation, permanent preservation of the land as natural habitat, and a joint visitor center with the National Park Services that will also honor the Black sailors who died in the massive Port Chicago explosion, Mr. Seeno’s Discovery Builders and Faria Land Investors filed suit to stop the new regional park. In their lawsuit, Mr. Seeno alleges that the Park, after a decades long collaborative planning efforts to protect and preserve open space, would cause undisclosed impacts on the environment and would impact their planned Faria residential development in Pittsburg on a 606-acre parcel adjacent to the ridgeline of the park,” stated the media release.
By comparison, next door and above the new park, Faria would include hundreds of acres of impacts, Save Mount Diablo claims. The City of Pittsburg prepared an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that fell far short of CEQA’s requirements. Among other flaws, the EIR lacks adequate analysis of numerous impacts, including biological resources, water supply, wildfire, traffic, and land use. The EIR failed to provide an adequate project description, for example, by omitting information about the location of elements of the planned residential development and about related public services, such as water consumption rates. It also failed to discuss appropriate alternatives. And the mitigation adopted for many impacts is plainly inadequate or ineffective.
Save Mount Diablo is not opposed to all growth. Pittsburg has thousands of housing units already approved but not yet built, including units at Seeno’s San Marco, Sky Ranch II, Montreux, and Tuscany Meadows projects and now including Faria. A smaller or more compact Faria project could easily protect the beautiful ridge, expand the new regional park onto the Pittsburg side, and provide easy public access for Pittsburg residents.
According to Pittsburg’s Current Project Pipeline List, there are currently 5,853 housing units approved or under construction, 88 percent of them by Seeno’s Discovery Builders (5,141 housing units). Those units represent approximately 60,000 new car trips per day that will soon impact local roads and Highway 4, Save Mount Diablo claims.
According to Clement, “Throughout the East Bay, residents have worked hard to protect our ridges and views, and to defend our parks. Pittsburg residents deserve the same protections and quality of life.”
Developer’s Attorney Responds
In response, Discovery Builders’ attorney, Kristina Lawson, Managing Partner of Hanson Bridgett issued the following statement:
“The City of Pittsburg, as the lead agency, and the City’s environmental consultant have performed a comprehensive and extensive analysis of potential impacts of this project. Their work was thorough and well done. Following that analysis, planning and engineering staff at the City recommended approval of this project; the Pittsburg Planning Commission recommended approval of this project; and the City Council voted unanimously to approve this project.
Furthermore, Pittsburg voters approved this land to become part of the City of Pittsburg, and to be developed with much needed housing, consistent with the City’s General Plan which has long provided for this land to be developed for housing.
My client knows that the City Manager, City employees and City-appointed and elected officials all have the best interests of the City in mind and agrees with the many staff recommendations and City approvals for the project. Given the City and their consultant diligently analyzed potential impacts of this project, my client is not concerned with this poorly drafted and baseless lawsuit filed solely for the purpose of delay.”
Allen Payton contributed to this report.