Celebrate MLK day, honor Humanitarians of the Year, appoint 11 to Racial Justice Oversight Body, increase vehicle license fees
By Daniel Borsuk
During the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, under the questioning of District 1 Supervisor John Gioia, Contra Costa County Public Health Director Anna Roth was asked why West County has the fewest vaccine locations, five, while other districts in the county have more sites where citizens can get vaccinated.
Gioia brought up the issue on why there are far fewer vaccination sites in the Richmond and El Cerrito area that has the highest COVID-19 incidence rates in the county because of its high percentage of Black and Latino residents. He noted that there were 10 vaccination sites in East County, 10 sites in the South County (San Ramon Valley) and seven locations in Central County.
Roth said she would report back to the Board on why West County had fewest vaccination sites, but District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville said many of the vaccination locations in her district are drug stores or grocery stores.
Gioia brought up the disparity of vaccination locations in West County after Roth had reported that the County had given about 52,000 vaccine shots since Dec. 15. She noted persons over 65 are now eligible to receive the vaccine and the vaccine is being distributed through Kaiser, Sutter and at Safeway stories. The vaccine is being distributed at 960 doses a day.
“The vaccine is giving us hope” said Contra Costa Public Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano. “Almost one third of the deaths in Contra Costa County were COVID-19 related.”
Velma Wilson, Kimyatta Newby Honored at MLK Ceremony
During the county’s 43rd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration, the Board Chair Diane Burgis presented a spectacularly produced video (see 2:34:00 mark) featuring Antioch activist Velma Wilson as the Humanitarian of the Year and Howard University student Kimyatta Newby as Student Humanitarian of the Year. (See related article)
Appoint 11 to Racial Justice Oversight Body
Supervisors approved, without discussion, the appointments of 11 residents to the Racial Justice Oversight Body, a multi-agency advisory body established by the Board of Supervisors in 2018 to oversee the implementation of the recommendations made by the Racial Justice Task Force to reduce disparities in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. The 11 new members will serve their appointment throuogh December 31, 2023.
Richmond Police Chief Bisa French will serve as the Local Law Enforcement representative. LaShanta Smith of the West Contra Costa Unified School District will serve as the school district representative. Also appointed are Tamisha Torres-Walker, an Antioch Council Member; Jeff Landau, a County public defender; Michael Pierson, an Antioch lawyer; Chala Bonner, a political education organizer; Stephanie Medley, an attorney; Ronell Ellis, an entertainment company owner; Cheryl Sudduth, a Goodwill Industries director; Apollo Sulse, a pastor of The Bay Church; and Noe Gudino, a coordinator at Ryse Youth Center.
Vehicle License Fee Hike OK’d
Without hearing any citizen objection, supervisors unanimously approved increasing an annual vehicle license fee of $1.00 for all motor vehicles registered in Contra Costa County and an additional $2.00 for commercial vehicles to provide additional funding for the county’s CAL-ID program. Used by the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies in the county, the CAL-ID system provides funding for the Automated Fingerprint Identification System for persons who may be involved in driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, vehicular manslaughter, or any combination of those and other vehicle-related crimes.
The fee increase will help cover a projected deficit of $1.1 million starting August 1, 2021.
Bay Point Fire Station Construction Contract Approved
Serving as the Contra Costa Fire Protection District Board of Directors, supervisors unanimously approved a $9,579,000 contract with C. Overaa & Co. to construct a new Fire Station 86 in Bay Point at 10 Goble Dr. even though the second lowest bidder for the project, D.L. Falk Construction Inc., with a bid of $9,714,000 had submitted an objection that was rejected by county officials.
No public objections were lodged about the contract during the Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday.
“Overaa’s bid is responsive and that County Public Works Department staff has thoroughly reviewed the bid and determined that Overaa has documented an adequate good faith effort to comply with the requirements of the County’s Outreach Program, as provided in the Project specifications. Staff recommends that the construction contract for the Project be awarded to Overaa Construction Inc., the lowest, responsible bidder, in the nearly $9,579,000, as listed in Overaa’s bid,” said the Public Works Department statement.
A third bid of $10,088,000 had been submitted by Alten Construction, Inc. of Richmond.
The new Fire Station 86 will replace the asbestos-plagued, 60-year-old fire station that is so outdated and “is too small to accommodate the needs of the modern fire service,” Contra Costa Fire Protection District Chief Lewis Broschard III wrote in a recommendation to the supervisors. “The layout consists of unconnected buildings used for various purposes. This station itself is believed to contain asbestos …This project has had several starts and stops over the decades. This fire station will serve Bay Point and the adjacent City of Pittsburg. The Pittsburg area south of Highway 4 has seen significant growth in recent years. This growth is anticipated to continue.”
Retiring EBRPD Director Doyle Recognized
Supervisors also recognized Robert Doyle for his 25 years of service at the East Bay Regional Park District, the past 10 years where he served as General Manager of the park district. Among his numerous achievements at EBRPD, Doyle was instrumental in managing the parks during the current COVID-19 crisis in which park use increased dramatically.