D.C.-based California Justice & Public Safety PAC with major funding from Soros has reported more than $400,000 in spending to influence voters in the 2022 Contra Costa DA Race
Knox also benefits from out-of-county funds, but most are from within Contra Costa including $170,000 from Deputy Sheriff’s Association PAC
By Allen D. Payton
Over $400,000 has been spent by the California Justice & Public Safety Political Action Committee based in Washington, D.C. to support Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton’s re-election campaign. According to a Form 496 report filed on May 14 by the committee on the Netfile.com website, $206,700 in expenditures were made for “Digital Advertisement Production Supporting Diana Becton”. An additional $201,387.03 was spent by the independent expenditure committee according to another Form 496 report filed on May 14 on “Digital Advertisement Production Opposing Mary Knox”. California Justice & Public Safety PAC Form 496 051422 #1 California Justice & Public Safety PAC Form 496 051422 #2
According to influencewatch.org, “California Justice & Public Safety PAC is a left-of-center PAC that was created in 2018 to fund the campaigns of progressive Democratic candidates for district attorney in several cities in California. The organization is the California branch of the vast ‘Safety and Justice’ network, a project of left-leaning billionaire George Soros that used a network of similarly named state-level PACs to finance the campaigns of progressive Democratic candidates for district attorney in more than a dozen of America’s cities.”
According to the Justice & Public Safety PAC website, the Soros-backed effort has been “winning races in 14 states over the last 6 years.” Also according to influencewatch.org, “Justice and Public Safety PAC is a left-of-center PAC that focuses on supporting the campaigns of progressive district attorneys in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The PAC receives most of its funding from left-leaning billionaire George Soros and Democracy PAC, which also receives much of its funding from Soros.  It is one of several similarly-named PACs that receive substantial funding from Soros and contribute to the campaigns of progressive district attorneys across the U.S.”
They include Becton both during her 2018 campaign, and now, this year’s. The progressive Democrat DA’s also include San Francisco’s Chesa Boudin and Los Angeles County’s George Gascon, both of whom are facing possible recalls. Becton formed a statewide organization with them and San Joaquin County DA Tori Verber Salazar, entitled Prosecutors Alliance of California.
Knox’s Campaign Also Benefits from Out-of-County PAC Funds, But Most to Independent Committee from Within Contra Costa
Knox’s campaign was also the beneficiary of out-of-county political action committee funds, including $10,000 from the Oakland Police Officer’s Association PAC on May 5. According to the Netfile.com website a Form 496 was filed by the Contra Costans for Progress and Justice, a coalition of business, labor and people that care about public safety in support of Mary Knox for District Attorney 2022 showing $50,096 was spent on a “Mailer (Estimated Costs)” and showing the “Cumulative to date total $70,684.75” which the Oakland POA’s PAC helped pay for. Contra Costans for Progress & Justice PAC Form 496 050322 Contra Costans for Progress & Justice PAC Form 496 050522 Contra Costans for Progress & Justice PAC Form 496 051922
However, according to a separate Form 496 report filed on May 3 by the independent expenditure committee most of their funds spent were from within Contra Costa County, including $170,000 from the Contra Costa County Deputy Sheriff’s Association Independent Expenditure PAC, $7,500 from Alves Ranch Property Holdings, LLC in Alamo, $10,000 from the Concord Police Association PAC, $3,000 from the Brentwood Police Officers Association PAC and $2,500 from the Walnut Creek Police Association PAC (WCPA PAC). Contributions of $500 each were received from the Moraga and Pleasant Hill Police Officers Associations PACS. A total of $3,600 in contributions included in that report were received from sources outside of the county. The report shows $20,588.75 was spent on digital ads to support Knox’s campaign.
The most recent Form 496 report filed on May 19 by the Contra Costans for Progress and Justice committee shows an additional $20,000 contribution from the Contra Costa Deputy Sheriff’s Association PAC, $20,000 from the Peace Officers Research Association of California PAC (PORAC PAC) Small Contributor Committee based in Sacramento and an additional $2,500 from two Contra Costa County residents. The report also shows an additional $29,316 was spent on a mailer and shows cumulative to date total expenditures of $100,000.70.
Questions for Becton Go Unanswered
Becton was asked for comment about the spending by the PAC and funds from Soros via email Friday morning, May 20. She was also asked if it is good to have so much out-of-county and out-of-state funds spent to influence an election in Contra Costa County. Becton did not respond.
Knox Issues Statement
Knox’s campaign issued the following this week:
In light of recently reported contributions from an out-of-state PAC funded by George Soros, Mary Knox, candidate for Contra Costa District Attorney released the following statement:
“An out-of-state billionaire is now spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in an attempt to influence voters and drown out the voices of local donors in the District Attorney’s race,” said Deputy District Attorney Knox. “Our grassroots campaign has deeply resonated with Contra Costa voters who want to see our DA focused on restoring safety and reducing crime. It’s clear that my campaign has made an impact that is now driving out-of-state spending in this race. I remain focused on ensuring our message reaches voters across our county.”
Knox has served as a prosecutor in the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office for 37 years and has extensive trial experience. Knox has earned the endorsement of every law enforcement agency in the County, as well as state and local organizations such as the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, PORAC, the California Narcotics Officers Association and the California Gang Investigators Association. Mary has advanced social justice while preventing crime in Contra Costa County. She brought anti-bias training to the District Attorney’s Office and has fought to end discrimination against women in the Contra Costa County’s District Attorney’s Office.
Mary Knox and the incumbent are the only candidates running for election as District Attorney. Since this election will be won by a simple majority, the election of the next District Attorney of Contra Costa County will be determined by the votes cast on June 7, 2022.
About Mary Knox
Mary Knox has dedicated her life to making Contra Costa County safer. For more than 37 years, Mary has served as an experienced prosecutor and advocate for crime victims. As a lead prosecutor in the District Attorney’s office, Mary has won high profile cases against some of the most notorious criminals in Contra Costa County history. She worked to dismantle the criminal gangs who have preyed upon our most disadvantaged communities, and she has engaged in meaningful violence reduction by instituting effective strategies to reduce crime and prosecute violent criminals. To discourage freeway shootings, she secured $3.5 million for freeway security cameras. She brought in $3.5 million in federal funding to combat sex trafficking. And, after recent smash and grab robberies, Mary developed a three-point plan to hold organized crime syndicates accountable and prevent future crimes.
Born and raised in Walnut Creek, Mary Knox attended UCLA and then Pepperdine Law School.
During law school, Mary worked as a law clerk in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in the Sexual Assault Unit and in a second clerkship in the Juvenile Unit. Once Mary graduated from law school, she came home and has worked as a prosecutor in the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s for the past 37 years while raising her son, Darien, as a single mother.
Key Endorsements (for a complete list visit maryknox4da.com):
- Crime Victims United
- Police Officer Research Association of California (PORAC)
- California Narcotic Officers’ Association (CNOA)
- California Correctional Peace Officers Association
- Central Coast Gang Investigators Association
- National Latino Police Officer Association – Contra Costa County NLPOA Advocacy Chapter
- Chinese American Political Association (CAPA) PAC
- Contra Costa County Sheriff, David Livingston
- Mitchell Celaya III, Calistoga Police Chief
- Douglas Krathwal, Retired San Pablo Police Chief
- Joseph Aida, Retired San Pablo Police Chief
- Walt Schuld, Retired San Pablo Police Chief
- John Moore, Retired Pleasant Hill Police Chief
- Dan Lawrence, Retired Clayton Police Chief
- Tom Holt, Former Police Lieutenant from the Contra Costa Community College District
- Contra Costa County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association
- Contra Costa District Attorney Investigators Association
- El Cerrito Police Officer Association
- Hercules Police Officer Association
- Martinez Police Officer Association
- Oakley Police Officer Association
- Pinole Police Officer Association
- Pittsburg Police Officer Association
- Pleasant Hill Police Officer Association
- San Ramon Police Officer Association
- Antioch Police Officer Association
- BART Police Officer Association
- Brentwood Police Officer Association
- Richmond Police Officer Association
- San Pablo Police Employees’ Association
- Clayton Police Officer Association
- Concord Police Officer Association
- East Bay Regional Parks Police Officer Association
- Walnut Creek Police Officer Association
To learn more about incumbent DA Becton’s campaign, click here. The election is June 7.Read More
By Contra Costa Health Services
There continues to be a shortage of infant formula nationwide due to supply chain issues and a recall of infant formula due to bacterial contamination in the Abbott manufacturing plant in Michigan. The federal government is currently working on strategies to increase production of formula and help families access existing stock.
Compared to other states California is faring better, but the shortages are still of concern.
Babies need the right balance of nutrients- not too much or too little of anything- to grow and be healthy. It is important for your baby’s health to use products that meet federal standards to ensure the formula is safe and free of harmful bacteria.
During this challenging time, the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Benito, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and the City of Berkeley encourage parents and families to:
- If you are currently breastfeeding, continue if possible. We recognize this optionmay not be viable for everyone. If someone is partially breastfeeding, they may consider reaching out to a lactation care provider (in-person or by telehealth) to help ensure that they maintain or increase their milk supply by breastfeeding more.
- Talk to your child’s doctor about substituting formula brands. For most babies, if their regular brand of formula is not currently available, it is OK to substitute with a similar version. Also consult your child’s pediatrician if your baby requires a specialized formula, (therapeutic or metabolic formula for an infant with a medical condition requiring different caloric or nutrient content), before making any substitution. Your pediatrician may recommend a milk bank referral. If you have questions about which formula is acceptable, contact your child’s pediatrician or your local WIC agency. (In Contra Costa County, call (800) 414-4WIC.)
- Avoid making your own formula at home, watering down formula to make it last longer, using expired formula, using cow, goat, or plant-based milk for formula, or giving toddler formula to infants. Doing so can reduce the amount of nutrients a baby receives and can lead to potential serious health complications. If no other options are available to feed your baby, children over six months may be eligible for whole, pasteurized, cow’s milk, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. This is not ideal and should not be done for more than one week. Talk to your pediatrician if you need to give your baby cow’s milk for a week to see if this option is appropriate for your child.
- Apply to the WIC program. About half of all births in California are in low-income families who qualify for the WIC program, and income-eligible clients can receive a WIC card and use it to purchase a limited amount of formula at participating retail stores. WIC offices are staffed by individuals with close ties to their communities. Existing WIC clients should use their benefits for formula earlier in the month in case they run into shortages near the end of their benefit period.
- Find out what resources exist in the community and share those resources widely. If you see infant formula in stock when you’re shopping, make it known within your network.
Health officials will continue to monitor the shortage and provide updates as new information is available.
By Ted Asregadoo, PIO, Contra Costa County Office of the District Attorney
Martinez, CA – The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office files a murder charge against a homeless man in Concord — plus an enhancement for intentionally firing a handgun that killed a Walnut Creek resident.
29-year-old Guadalupe Jose Robles is currently in the Martinez Detention Facility for the murder of 25-year-old Shafi Kevin Qasimi. Mr. Robles was unhoused and camped in a creek area near Diamond Boulevard and Willow Pass Road in Concord when the incident occurred.
On May 5th, 2022, Robles got into an altercation with Qasimi — who went by the nickname, “Active.” Robles believed that Qasimi used Bear spray on Robles’ friend earlier that day and threatened to do the same to Robles during the argument. At one point, Qasimi walked away from Robles’s campsite, while Robles and two others followed him.
Robles was handed a small handgun — which has not been recovered — and he fired one shot that hit Qasimi in the head, killing him. Robles and others used a stolen vehicle to move Qasimi’s body from Concord to Oakland in the Grizzly Peak area — where it was eventually found by Oakland Police on May 12th after receiving a 911 call from an individual who was sightseeing with his family.
Robles was arraigned yesterday in Martinez. Docket Number: 01-22-00577.
According to localcrimenews.com, Robles has a list of arrests dating back to 2015.
Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.Read More
In celebration of BART’s 50th anniversary this year, we’re looking back at the transit system’s five decades of service and innovation in a new series of stories. BART celebrates 50 years on Sept. 11, 2022.
Deep in the BART archives at Lake Merritt Station, an unassuming large format book has been gathering dust. Just over 100 pages, the green cover has now faded, the pages yellowed. The cover title reads: “Regional Rapid Transit: A Report to the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit Commission.”
Published in January 1956, the report is a crystal ball, peering into an idealized future of BART and the Bay Area of the 21st century. The New York-based engineering consortium Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Hall and Macdonald researched the report from 1953 to 1955. Within its pages emerges a portrait of a burgeoning Bay Area – population ~3 million– in desperate need of a high-speed, grade-separated regional transit system.
“We are firmly convinced that the answer to ever-increasing traffic congestion in the Bay Area lies in the utilization of … interurban rapid transit,” the report’s cover letter reads.
Since 1956, the Bay Area has more than doubled in population, with an estimated 7 million people now residing in the region’s nine counties and 101 municipalities – many of which are now served by a BART system born of the forward-looking Parsons-Brinckerhoff report.
The report is a significant document as it was the first major publication to envision what BART could be. In the 1950s, many were keenly following this yet-to-be-built mass transit system, according to Liam O’Donoghue, a local historian and the host of the podcast “East Bay Yesterday.”
“One of the reasons there was so much national attention on BART is because it was the first mass transit rail system to be constructed in the U.S. for 60 years,” O’Donoghue said. “It was not only a milestone for public transit, harkening to a new era, it was also a test case for urban mass transit rail systems moving forward.”
O’Donoghue said the report is significant for multiple reasons. For one, it provided a blueprint for one of the biggest construction projects in California in half-a-century. It also helped “sell” the transit system to a skeptical, tax-paying public.
“The report really had to make the case for BART to the public,” O’Donoghue said. “BART came very close to not happening, so the people promoting BART needed the informational ammunition.”
Devin Smith, a volunteer at the Prelinger Library in San Francisco, recently got a shock when a Parsons-Brinckerhoff report from 1956 was donated from the private collection of Jay Bolcik, a former BART Manager of Schedules and Services. The library contains many trade periodicals, including plentiful materials on transportation, so the donation fit well with the library’s existing collection.
Smith said he found the report “incredibly fascinating,” and was especially impressed by its size and scope.
“It’s always interesting to look at reports like these and contextualize why this one proposal got picked over other,” he said. “Seeing the BART system at such an early stage…it’s just amazing.”
The Bay Area, the Parsons-Brinckerhoff report concludes, required a rapid transit system to complement the area’s already-established network of highways. Traffic, even in the 1950s, proved a sore spot for the region.
“Today’s age of automobiles has brought with its miracles a level of travel discomfort, cost, and hazard that is critical,” the Parsons-Brinckerhoff report summary reads. “In the Bay Area, home now for some 3 million people, traffic problems are aggravating.”
The report uses a series of phrases to stress the car problem: “heavily burdened,” “chaos,” “ever-mounting barrier.” Interurban transit would serve as a balm to soothe the Bay’s gridlock headache, while also facilitating urban development.
“The report is important now because the problem that BART was meant to deal with then – traffic – is still a problem here,” O’Donoghue said. “We need to keep expanding on projects like BART, whether it’s additional lines or some sort of connectors. We need to keep building these public transit systems because individual car use is really a dead end.”
The Parsons-Brinckerhoff engineers specify in the report that the new trains needed to travel at speeds of at least 45 miles per hour (BART trains now travel an average of 35 miles per hour with stops and can reach speeds up to 70 miles per hour). The report also states the new BART system needed to contain “comfortable seats for all passengers” on trains, provide service at short intervals, and construct stations at conveniently located and strategically positioned areas.
One fascinating aspect of the report is its portrait of a BART that could have been. BART as a monorail? BART trains with pneumatic tires? Nothing, at this stage in the transit system’s development, was overruled or overlooked.
Some train models the report examined include the suspended monorail in Wuppertal, Germany, the oldest elevated railway with hanging cars in the world; the Talgo Train, with its in-between carriage bogies; and a “Carveyor,” or continuous conveyer belt with cars atop. BART eventually nixed all these ideas for various reasons, including cost, feasibility, and reliability. The transit system settled on self-propelled cars that draw power from an electrified third rail and operate – perhaps notoriously — on a non-standard gauge width.
The report also puts forth four options for constructing the system with the following keep the system low cost, attractive, and as unobtrusive as possible.
“Low cost is always predominant and in the public interest; the aesthetics of the rapid transit structures is a major factor in determining general public acceptance of its form and its impact upon the value of adjacent properties,” the report states. “These basic objectives are often in conflict, however. The ideal combination of invisible structures at zero cost is impossible, and we must therefore make compromises.”
Construction options included surface transit, open-cut transit, subway transit, and elevated structure transit. Today, BART uses a combination of all four options.
As for the trains, the Parsons-Brinckerhoff report outlines that the system most likely to serve the Bay Area would be a “basic supported system,” with high-speed, lightweight cars featuring steel wheels on steel rails, powered by electricity. But the report didn’t write off alternative systems, such as suspended trains or rubber tires. It included renderings of some alternatives, which you can view above.
“The question of appearance,” the report notes, “always involves personal taste.” Future reports would outline in greater detail the look and feel of BART, but the renderings the report does provide depict transit specifically born out of the Space Age, with sleek and futuristic-looking bodies.
The report concludes with a simple thesis: “Some form of interurban transit [for the Bay Area] is necessary.”
“Unless it is willing to accept sustained congestion and the retardation of economic growth that would result, the Bay Area has no choice but to accelerate its transportation planning and construction,” the report concludes, continuing, “Concepts of large metropolitan cities served only by private automobiles are in the realm of physical and economic fantasy.”
Just under two decades later, many of the Parsons-Brinckerhoff report’s findings and recommendations would be put into action. Some of the original concepts continue to serve the Bay Area and its transit riders today.
According to O’Donoghue, the report serves as a reminder of what is possible.
“If we’re going to solve the Bay Area’s problems, like traffic, we have a whole playbook from BART history about how people were approaching these same issues in previous generations,” he said. “And that matters.”
If you’d like to read the report yourself, you can access a hard copy at a handful of libraries and historical societies around the Bay Area. You can view them on WorldCat by clicking here.Read More
Oakley resident Katherine Piccinini announced that she has filed paperwork with the Contra Costa Elections Division and is certified as an official Write-In Candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, 10th District race in the June 7th Primary Election. The 10th Congressional District was recently changed due to re-districting and now includes much of Contra Costa County, including Oakley, Brentwood, parts of Antioch and Central Contra Costa County, as well.
If she gets enough voters to write her name on the June ballot, it will appear on the November ballot.
“I am a mother, a grandmother, and a Constitutionalist,” Piccinini stated. “I am concerned about the direction of our great nation.”
She said she was concerned no viable challenger had filed paperwork to run against incumbent, liberal Congressman Mark DeSaulnier in the Primary.
“DeSaulnier has voted yes to budget after budget where America has overspent beyond our means, incurring 10’s of trillions in debt that our children and grandchildren will be forced to pay back,” Piccinini said as one of her reasons for the challenge.
She also discussed other parts of DeSaulnier’s voting record, noting he even voted no on the ‘Infants Born Alive Protection Act’ H.R. 4712 which would have required health care professionals to provide life-saving care to babies born during botched abortions.
Shortly after announcing her candidacy, Piccinini received numerous endorsements from several community groups including the East Contra Costa Republican Women Federated, where she serving as president in her third year; Lamorinda Republican Women Federated and the San Ramon Republican Women Federated; the California Delta Region Republican Party organization on social media; Rachel Hamm, candidate for Secretary of State; David E Burton San Diego East County Conservatives; George Yang, candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction; Congressional District 9 candidate Jim Shoemaker; Assembly District 16 candidate Joe Rubay; Assembly District candidate Janell Proctor; Assembly District 14 write-in candidate Rich Kinney and former AD-11 Assembly candidate Erik Elness.
Piccinini outlined several of her platform issues, including financial accountability, such as reigning in our $30.4+ trillion dollar national debt by auditing, reducing spending and advancing a balanced budget amendment, support for the Bill of Rights, including the Freedom of Speech, Religion, and our Right to Bear Arms, as well as supporting federal voucher efforts for school choice, reducing federal restrictions on water for California’s Central Valley farmers, closed borders and stopping federal funding of Planned Parenthood.
Piccinini stands for individual liberty and Constitutional government with Congress exercising the “power of the purse” to control spending, as well as encouraging pride in the founding principles that make America exceptional.
“Speaking with fellow citizens, so many are frustrated and very concerned with the lack of honesty, integrity and morals of our elected representatives in Washington DC,” she also stated, “We the people deserve better than that.”
Piccinini has been involved with her community as a soccer mom and coach for the youth; a parent advocate, and property manager. She worked and served at the Delta Community food bank for 4 years. In 2019, she took the initiative to support the East Contra Costa Women’s Republican club, increased the membership by 50% and then became President of the organization. Her commitment is to stand for truth and freedom and represent District 10 with honor.
You can follow Katherine Pinnicici’s campaign on Facebook at Piccinini 4 Congress and on Instagram at piccinini 4 congress.
To vote for Piccinini in the June 7, 2022 Election, fill in the bubble in the “write in” area and neatly print her name, “Katherine Piccinini” on the write in line.Read More
By Oakley Police Department
An anonymous donor has contributed $50,000 to the reward fund to help bring the 24-year-old Oakley resident home. A total of $60,000 will be awarded to anyone with information leading to Ms. Gabe’s whereabouts.
“The Oakley Police Department and partner agencies are relentlessly working on this case and investigating the circumstances surrounding her disappearance. Our hope is that these reward funds will bring us closer to finding Alexis and bringing resolution to the Gabe family,” said Oakley Police Chief Paul Beard. “We are grateful for the donor’s generous contribution and to the community for their continued support.”
Detective Tyler Horn urges those with information to come forward, “we continue to comb through all the tips received and are working on this case around the clock. We ask that anyone with information please contact us.”
Those with information as to the whereabouts of Alexis Gabe are asked to call 925-625-7009 or Alexistips@ci.oakley.ca.us.Read More
Alexis Gabe, last seen in Antioch, has been missing since Jan. 26
By Oakley Police Department
Investigators have located a key piece of evidence in the search for Alexis Gabe – her cell phone case. Alexis uniquely designed the cell phone case, and her family members and friends have confirmed the case belonged to Alexis.
The cell phone case (pictured in this post) was discovered in Antioch and has been submitted to the crime lab for further analysis.
The cell phone case (pictured in this post) was discovered in Antioch and has been submitted to the crime lab for further analysis.If anyone recognizes the male in the video, please call the Alexis Gabe tip line at (925) 625-7009 or email Alexistips@ci.oakley.ca.us. A $10,000 reward will be issued to anyone with information leading to Alexis Gabe’s location.Read More
In loving memory
Sharon Lee Heaney
March 6, 1955 – March 2, 2021
We lost you a year ago.
Life has not been the same without you.
Sharon Lee (Gresko) Heaney was born to Eileen Gresko in Bakersfield, CA on March 6, 1955, and grew up in San Francisco. She later moved to Antioch in 1986.
Loving mother to Shannon Smario and David Heaney, a loving mother-in-law to Arenaeus Smario and proud grandmother to Sofia Smario.
She attended Galileo High School in San Francisco and worked in a dental office for many years. After having children, she worked for Safeway for 31 years, including about 10 years Antioch in the deli department.
She enjoyed her life traveling, going out dancing, and feeding the neighborhood cats.
She passed away on March 2, 2021, just shy of her 66th birthday. She will be missed by everyone.
A service will be held at 10:00 AM, Saturday, May 14, 2022, at St. Ignatius Church at 3351 Contra Loma Blvd. in Antioch.
All are welcome to attend.
Oakley Police Detectives served a search warrant at a home on Benttree Way in Antioch with the assistance of the Antioch Police Department in a continuing effort to locate evidence related to the disappearance of Alexis Gabe. The home in question is where she was reportedly last seen, and investigators are looking into whether this location is where she met with foul play.
“We are aware of numerous reports of recently recovered deceased bodies around the Bay Area and beyond. The community can be assured that the Oakley and Antioch Police Departments are actively looking into all reports and cases,” stated Chief of Police Paul Beard.
Those with information as to the whereabouts of Alexis Gabe are asked to call 925-625-7009 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.Read More