Contra Costa County

9

In response to Tuesdays 4-1 vote by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors to give themselves a $32,000 a year raise, the Public Employees Union, Local 1 is organizing an emergency rally on Nov. 4 to demand fair treatment and respect.

Philip Hu, Assistant General Manager of Local 1, explained that the issue of a 33% raise needs to get out into the community and deserves notoriety to the entire community, not just unions which represent county workers.

He noted that in most cases, county employees received small increases while the Board of Supervisors voted themselves a $32,000 a year raise. Hu explained that employees acted in good faith during a down economy by accepting salary reductions, furloughs, and layoffs, all while they are now paying more into healthcare.

“Part of this (accepting less) was doing it in good faith when times were bad. The Board of Supervisors needs to go back and look at who to make whole first, the employees or themselves?” said Hu. “These leaders looked to enrich themselves first. It’s amazing to me. They are shoving people out of the way and going to the front of the line while putting their hand out first.”

He noted that the pay study the Supervisors used were the same one employees have been trying to use for years but were rejected by Supervisors during negotiations.

During Tuesday’s meeting, it was brought up multiple times why the Board of Supervisors were including the Counties of San Francisco and San Mateo but unions were forced to use Sacramento and other rural counties.

Hu stated that even after listening to the Board discussion about the increase, he called it beyond rationalization.

“It was like a pity party for getting a $32,000 raise. It was like they were looking for justifications about how hard it was to give themselves a raise,” said Hu. “County supervisors are making $97,500 roughly, whether you are below the average of other supervisors, you are still making a nice living. You have people making $9 an hour. Even at 2% at $97,000, it is more than 2% at $9 an hour. This whole thing reeks.”

The Public Employees Union, Local 1 have reached out to other local unions and will take the lead on the rally and hope to gain more support to showcase this raise as unfair to employees who sacrificed.

Hu encourages both county employees and members of the public to voice their opinions and encourage the Board of Supervisors to rescind a 33% increase in salary during the November 4 meeting when the Supervisors will vote to finalize their pay raise.

Flyer Text per Public Employees Union, Local 1

BOS Local 1 FlyerOn October 29, 2014, the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to give themselves a 33% ($32,000) raise. As justification, the Supervisors pointed to the salaries of other Bay Area Counties, THE SAME ONES THE COUNTY REFUSES TO USE FOR EMPLOYEE PAY STUDIES. The Board ignored public comment and claimed that by putting themselves first, the Supervisors are somehow showing “leadership.”

On November 4, 2014, the Board of Supervisors is set to finalize the vote on their pay raise. WE NEED TO SHOW THEM THAT THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE AND THAT WE HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE!

Join your fellow Local 1 members and let’s remind the Supervisors who really does the County’s work and demand the fair treatment and respect that you have EARNED.

WHO: YOU!

WHEN: NOVEMBER 4, 2014 at 8:30 AM

WHERE: 651 Pine Street, Martinez, CA 94553

Click here to download the flyer.

 

12

By way of a 4-1 vote Tuesday, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted to increase their salaries by $32,000.

Under the ordinance, each supervisor’s salary will equate to 70 percent of a Contra Costa County Superior Court judge’s pay which is set by the State Legislator. They used a salary study to include: The counties of Alameda, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma.

The Supervisors salary now jumps from $97,483 ($8,123.28 per/mo) to $129,216 ($10,768.92 per/mo) annually—a monthly increase is $2,662.72

Over an 8-year period, the Contra Costa County Supervisors have increased their salaries from $58,200 (2006) to $129,216 (2014).

Below is a transcript from the Board of Supervisors Meeting

  1. Public Comments
  2. Board of Supervisor Discussion
  3. Vote
  4. Link to previous article with Agenda Item

Public Comments

Jonathan Wright, IFPTE Local 21
I am never going to argue against workers earning a fair wage. I get it, the Bay Area is an extremely expensive place to live with the CPI hovering around 3% annually, housing prices are irrational at best. I myself have been priced out of two cities… meanwhile, county workers struggle to make ends meat. The 4% wage increase this past April will be more than eaten up in January with medical increases and pension contributions. However, in calculating this proposed increase, we are very pleased to see the county has agreed to use the same comparable counties that we have been proposing to you in bargaining for years. San Francisco and San Mateo are far better matches than Sacramento and San Joaquin as well as focusing on urban counties throughout the State. These are accurate comparable and we look forward to using them in our next negotiations. I am serious, thank you, it’s been a long and hard fight to get this county to admit that non-urban, rural, spread-out counties with small budgets are not comparable because fair is fair. After all, what isn’t fair that in less than a month, you are going to be giving yourself a 30% raise, meanwhile, we are wondering where is ours. Fair is fair”

Margaret Hanlon-Gradie, Executive Director of Contra Costa AFL-CIO
We think all workers deserve a raise after four-years of sacrifice without one, including elected civil servants and department heads. We know you more than anyone else know you do work, we are at the same meetings and you work more than a full time job researching and crafting policy, appropriating budget funds, managing services that all Contra Costa relies on. We also will never join the anti-worker, anti-government rhetoric parade. We support quality public services done by fairly compensated public workers and civil servants… fairness and equity is what we are about… But we do have a few concerns about the timing and to a degree the amount of this proposal of this raise. Many workers received just a 4% raise after 10-months of bargaining and 4-years of sacrifices that included hiring freezes, furloughs and cuts to benefits and they are less able to absorb that kind of sacrifice or become whole again with their level of raise. It’s not about denying yours or taking away yours, but how do we get it for everybody? How do we do that? That is the principal that those chairs have to decide on so we also support fair wages for all department. Regarding the timing, we respectfully request you postpone a decision until you reach an agreement with the fire department and firefighters and medical re-opener.

Jenna Biglow, AFSCME Local 2700
I am a clerk for the county and we recently went through negotiations and we did a study and we did the same counties in which the study wad done for you. During those negotiations it was implied that it was not a consideration it was just a matter of the money available. We took pay cuts while you may have not gotten a raise (Mitchoff interrupted noting they all took pay cuts)… leadership is a high responsibility and leaders need to come by the employees and they need to come together so the common goal is met and that is to ensure the public needs are best met. I am hoping that you will look at your leadership and you will lead by example. I am not saying that you shouldn’t get a raise, but what I am saying I hope it will be comparable to the rest of the workers who have a common goal of the people.

Ken Westermann, Contra Costa County Sheriffs Association
As a law enforcement professional we are tough to do the right thing and I’ve tried to place myself in your shoes and come up with an argument as to why I would give myself a 30% pay raise and I’ve struggled to find a legitimate reason for that and I have not been able to find one because I do not think it’s the right thing to do and the timing of it is not right. There is a lot of things that have happened over the last few years in Contra Costa County as you accurately pointed out Supervisor Mitchoff that most of us took pay cuts. Since 2008, we have received very modest pay increases in salary. Moreover, the State of California decided to come in and hijack our pension system and strip away fought for benefits that were often used and always used against us in the salary line. We have historically taken extremely low salaries for a different pension. What your message sends to the employees is that you completely undermined the collective bargaining process. We have bargained in good faith for the raises that we got the modest ones. And you want to give yourself a 30% raise? It’s not right. Take a pay wage to what we have all taken and we have no problem with that. We have no problem with you taking a pay raise; I have no problem with it, you deserve it as does everyone else here. The perception and message you are sending to the workers is just not right and I would ask of your sensibility that you sit amongst yourselves and have a constructive debate about that.

Dan Jamieson, SEIU 1021
When I woke up this morning it was odd because it seems like the austerity protesters and the media were on the same page as the unions today and that is pretty historic. What I have gotten from my people is it rubs them the wrong way because they are looking to you for leadership. They have sacrificed and held the line. When I was making comments about the closing of our negotiations, I said it wasn’t the end of the negations it was the beginning of a partnership and that is precociously that because we are not finished yet and solved all our problems. Six months we are going back to solve health care and we are hoping for a big fix on that so until that problem is resolved, we are saying well, lead by example and hold the line, it will be better for everyone and we can all move forward together.

Cynthia O’Brien, worker at Contra Costa Regional Center, Member of Local 1
It’s not a fair practice, we have worked hard. I love my job, I want to be here for years. But fair is fair, it’s time for all of us to share. I agree you need a pay raise, but so do we.

Gayle Walls Burns, ASME 512
I can say that in all my years I have never been as disgusted and outraged as I am at the arrogance of David Twa and the Board of Supervisors as I am at this time. But I am not surprised. I am sure that as soon as the time is up and the comments are made you guys will as usual will say thank you for your comment but this is why we are going to approve this wage increase. And I am sure that part of the reason will be that you are so poorly paid and cite the hard work that you do for the county. Funny, these are the same things we cite when you told us our efforts were only worth 4% after receiving almost a 3% degrees in years prior. For good measure, to show how much we are appreciated we get to an increase in our medical and retirement contributions. Almost as soon as the contract negotiations were over the Board of Supervisors was asked for direction as to whether or not they would like the county administrator to bring back the proposed Ordinance to change and adjust the Board of Supervisor salaries. They whole wholeheartedly agreed to the consideration. I guess I cannot fault them because if I was asked if I would like my salary adjusted by 70% i would say yes too. The last time you were asked to give yourself a wage increase your reasoning was the Board of Supervisors of the Bay Area made more than you did. At that time, you ended up with a 60% increase. Please know that I am not against folks getting a wage increase, but I am curious how the job parallels to California State Superior Judges. I am positive that they are more like positions where the comparison could have been made.

Phillip Hu, Public Employees Union Local 1
I am here today because I am extremely troubled you are about to vote yourselves a 33% pay increase when pay studies show your employees are underpaid from 16-to38%, instead you are choosing to enrich yourselves before your county employees. One of you was quoted recently on CBS News saying we lead by example, now is not the time for the board to give a raise beyond what is being offered to employees. Supervisor Andersen, you clearly understand your role as an elected official which is to set the example and put the public interest and your workers who serve the public first. And for that, we at Local 1 thank you on your no vote last week we hope you continue to vote no. One of you spent two decades working at DOW Chemical working on training for safety issues; you know how dangerous some of these jobs county employees perform are. Federal Glover, you should know better. One of you is married to a firefighter, a fellow public servant dedicated with heart. Mary Piepho, you should know better. One of you the very first time we met you introduced yourself as an old progressive with progressive values. How is enriching yourself first of progressive values? John Gioia, you should know better. One of you used to be an employee of this county, you benefited from that service and that job, this feels like you have forgotten where you came from. Karen Mitchoff, you should know better. You should do better. Your employees behind me sure as hell deserve better.

Joanny Copeland, AFSCME Local 2700
I feel like our 4% raise was a slap in the face, like we deserve more. I am not saying you don’t deserve a raise, but so do we. I am a single mom with two-children. There are people losing their homes. There are parents moving in with their children, children are moving back to their parents, there are people getting second jobs and having to do payday advances loans, personal loans with enormous interest. We are not making it and you are saying you do not get paid like the other people. Well we are the lowest clerks paid in the state of California and it’s not right. All we are asking for is that before you give yourself a raise please look at where we are. We deserve it.

Alex Aliferis, Contra Costa Taxpayers Association
The current report leaves out facts regarding this 33% salary increase. If you pass this increase, did you know that the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors will be the second highest paid supervisors in the Bay area counties—higher than San Francisco, higher than San Mateo or Alameda County. (Mitchoff interjects saying not higher than Alameda County). San Francisco County Supervisors are paid at $110k, there was an article dating May 20, 2014 (SF Chronicle) stating the Supervisors gave themselves a 2% pay increase. Don’t you think the Board will set a poor example if you pass this? What will taxpayers think about this 33% salary increase when they find out about this? Did you know taxpayers in Arizona actually vote for or against salary increase for elected officials. I urge you to table this item.

Vito Impastato, Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa, Local1230
The 400 plus members that I represent in Local1230 support pay raise and support your pay raises, a few here will not smile about it but they we will support it because we recognize the importance of a fair wage whether you are a custodian, firefighter, deputy sheriff, or an elected. We also recognize how important it is to have salary surveys to see what other people are making. More importantly, we recognize the importance of having some type of formula to say this is how we are going to operate things instead of being at the table like we are now having to fight about this kind of stuff. We are in the same boat you are in, we haven’t seen raises since 2007 and we feel like we are still stalled out in negotiations. I just want to say firefighters are looking for speedy and fair negotiations and rebuild our department and get to the same level of wage you are all trying to get to.

Christine Hernandez, Probation Officer for County
I have been working here for 12 years and looking at my paycheck, its less now than it was when I started and I think it’s ridiculous you are taking a 30% raise when we haven’t taken one in years. We have taken on new jobs, we have a unit that is armed, supervising parolees, we are taking on jobs we never used to do. We are supervising new people. Our case loads are enormous. You think you deserve it, I think I deserve it too. I hope when we go back to negotiations next year you consider that.

Board of Supervisor Discussion

Supervisor Candace Andersen
I think 30-33% is too much, I think a raise of this magnitude is not acceptable to the public and certainly not to our public employees and I am going to reiterate we really need to lead by example. We should not be using the counties that we are telling the employees they cannot use. We can’t use Alameda County, we can’t use Santa Clara County because our budgets do not match up. For us to use it now seems very disingenuous.

I would like to offer an alternative to what is being proposed today and that would be we phase in any raise that is agreed to. If we are to look at a 3-4% increase we add a 2% COLA and in 5-to-6 years we will be at the rate you are looking at. 33% is just too much.

Supervisor Karen Mitchoff said she did not hear a second, the motion dies.

(Salary Survey: Click to enlarge)

 

ContraCostaCounty Board of Supervisor Salary

Supervisor John Gioia, stated he appreciates all the hard work of the county employees. We know that over the last number of the years that everyone in the county from Board to employees took wage cuts to help this county get through a very difficult situation. We also know that in the recent round of negotiations that we were able to provide for the first time raises and we are still in negotiations with some bargaining units such as fire—we understand their sacrifices. We gave raises to employees realizing they helped us get through.

Let me just say this is one of the most unpleasant. Anytime a salary increase comes to us for ourselves this is one of the most unpleasant tasks we have to face. I wish the legislator didn’t change the law or the initiative in 1970 where the people gave the ability for supervisors to raise their own salary. Not sure of the history behind that but prior to that the legislator was responsible for county salaries and the people of the state of California voted to give that power to us. Over time, what a number of counties have tried to do was link it to a percentage of Superior Court Judges to take it out of their hands and that was the genesis of looking at this.

What do we do so in the future we do not have to put in the position of voting for our own salary. I wish we had done that last time when the increase was in the end of 2006 when we voted. It took effect in early 2007. The idea was to look at various counties.

Let me say I agree with the employees that sometimes the county comparisons are not always the right counties. I agree with you which is why we looked at Bay Area Counties and Urban Counties. The idea was to say where we fall in that category and not to set it above the median above any of these other counties and to make a change once and then to be done with that change and not touch it anymore.

We can do as phasing it in, or make the change and move forward and that was the discussion at the last meeting (Gioia then ran off numbers in the chart). It’s a difficult choice and anything we do today we do today whether its 4% or linking to judges at 70% will be perceived by the public as more than what this board deserves.

I for one wish we take this out of our hand, I think the Boards discussion last week was set it somewhere in the median range and not deal with it any further and knowing over time judges salaries haven’t particularly gone up a lot over the last number of years and leave it to the hands of the legislator who would then decide what our salaries would be.

Not a pleasant thing to do but going forward it takes us out of the picture as opposed to coming back. I don’t need to tell you that we understand that your salaries in some areas and pay equity studies need to be adjusted which is why there has been process and discussions to do that. We are committed to looking at the healthcare re-opener in 2015 which was part of the bargaining with our units this year because we understand. We have taken the same changes on healthcare as the employees. We have taken the same changes on pensions as employees. I know this is not a popular thing, but this is the reason for doing this so I wanted to explain this and put it out there knowing any increase is unpopular.

Supervisor Mary Piepho questioned the Department Head Classifications and salary to clarify that the Board of Supervisors pay would still be below Department heads.

David Twa explained that even with the increase, supervisors pay would be significantly lower than the department heads. Bottom line, most of the department heads make on average between $150,000 to $200,000. There are a couple who are lower on positions.

“So where does the Board of Supervisors sit currently on that chart?” asked Piepho.

“Currently you are at the bottom of course at $97,000 with the next lowest being the County Veteran Services Officer at $100,000,” Twa responded.

“With the proposal before us, where would that put the Board of Supervisor Salaries?” asked Piepho.

“Basically, you would still be at the bottom and above the Veteran Service Officer,” said Twa.

(Dept. Head Classification Salary: Click to enlarge)

Board of Supervisors Salary

Supervisor Mitchoff pointed out that although there is some wonderful work being done by the Veterans Services only has six employees.

“So we would be second to the bottom under this proposal if this proposal moved forward,” stated Piepho.

Piepho then asked who the third lowest would be which Twa shared it would be the Agricultural Commissioner-Dir at $140,641—nearly $10,000 more than Supervisors proposal.

Supervisor Federal Glover
Our responsibility is to lead and one of the things that prior boards has not done is to lead on this issue. We have allowed that because there are naysayers in terms of any type of raise that we would not do anything and its put us so far behind that it’s time for leadership, it’s time to make tough decisions.

We make tough decisions every day, but when it has come to this we have avoided really trying to make tough decisions and make and take on leadership role like we have to. It’s unfortunate that we are in a position where we have been in control of our own salaries. I don’t like this, it’s not comfortable but it’s necessarily to make sure that we have found a way to levy this so that it is not in our hands, but we can do the comparison to the judges like some of the other Bay Area counties are doing.

I think that just listening to the analogy in terms of where we are in terms of department heads and where we will continue to be when we look at the other comparable counties, we are still behind. We are not asking to come all the way up (crowd interrupts—Supervisor Mitchoff asks crowd to be respectful).

This board has vowed to work to get all wages where they should be. But at the same time I want to be responsible. We have a leadership role for the next board, and you will make those determinations as to whether or not this was the right move or not.

The bottom line whether you like it or not is we cannot continue to kick the can down the road and not deal with this issue. It’s time to take action on this issue and I think the action before us allows us to position ourselves to where it’s not in our hands anymore but will have it based on what is done with the judges and the legislator (70% of pay)… I’ve been here 15-years now and the can has been kicked down the road over and over again. It is time to take a stand so that we are not involved in this type of discussion where we have to make these determinations and makes our jobs that much more difficult because I will tell you that we will always who say we do not deserve it.

Mitchoff pointed out for the record is the majority of our employees in their MOU received a 4% raise and another 3% will go into effect on July 2015 and that was also in addition to $1,500 given ($750 this year, $750 next year). Additional payments made to majority of bargaining units.

Board voted 4-1 (Andersen voted no)

For information on the Staff Report, see information posted on October 28, 2014.

11

On Tuesday, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors will vote to adjust their annual salary in the form of a $31,7333 raise.  This would be the first increase the Board of Supervisors would receive in 8 years.

Based off the agenda item, Supervisors would jump from $97,483 ($8,123.28 per/mo)  to $129,216 ($10,768.92 per/mo)  annually. The monthly increase is $2,662.72

This would be the first increase since 2006 and the last increase occurred in July of 2007 when they received a 2% cost of living adjustment (COLA).  Between July 1, 2009 through July 31, 2013, the Supervisors took a wage reduction to go along with a majority of County Employees.

According to the agenda item, the Contra Costa County Supervisors are currently the lowest in the State for Urban Counties, and second lowest for counties in the Bay Area (see chart above).  The counties of Alameda, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma were used in the salary study.

Including benefits, the this action if approved would have a total annual additional cost of $235,000, $66,876 of which is pension cost.

Below is the information provided in the staff reports including the Ordinance.

Contra Costa County Board of SupervisorsRecommendations

INTRODUCE Ordinance No. 2014-10 amending the County Ordinance Code to adjust salary of members of the Board of Supervisors and provide that such salary shall equate to seventy percent of the salary of California Superior Court judges.

FISCAL IMPACT:

Upon adoption this action would have a total annual additional cost of $235,000, $66,876 of which is pension cost.

BACKGROUND:

On July 29, 2014, the Board adopted Resolution No. 2014/260, which provided wage increases for elected department heads to align with wages afforded to similar elected department heads for other Bay Area counties.

Since then, a salary study for Supervisors was conducted to compare Contra Costa County’s salaries with other counties. The counties of Alameda, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma were used in the salary study. Among these eight (8) counties, Contra Costa County is the third most populated county. Also, 6 of these 8 counties set their salaries as a percentage of that of the Superior Court judges. In fact, many counties in California also set the Supervisors’ salaries as a percentage of that of the Superior Court judges. Of the 12 California counties designated as “Urban Counties” based on population, 8 of those counties also set the

Supervisors’ salaries as a percentage of that of the Superior Court judges. Effective July 1, 2014 Superior Court judges, including those in Contra Costa County, had their salaries increased to $184,610 thus resulting in an increase for Supervisors in many of those same California counties.

In Contra Costa County, Supervisors’ salaries are set by ordinance. The last time Supervisors adjusted their salaries was in 2006, and the last increase was July 1, 2007, when they received a 2% cost of living adjustment (COLA). The Supervisors also took wage reductions from July 1, 2009, through July 31, 2013, along with a majority of our County employees. As a result of this, Contra Costa County Supervisors’ salaries are now the lowest in the State for Urban Counties, and the second lowest for counties in the Bay Area.

On October 21, 2014, the County Administrator reported that because the Board has recently made adjustments for the Contra Costa County elected department heads, it might be an appropriate time to consider also adjusting the Supervisors’ salaries which have not been increased for a number of years. In the Bay Area, Contra Costa County Supervisors’ salaries are near the bottom, with only Solano and Napa slightly higher or lower and those two counties have less than half the population of Contra Costa County. Additionally, many of the Bay Area counties tie the Supervisors’ salaries to a percentage of the Superior Court judge’s salary, with the percentage ranging between 47% and 80%. Board members considered the information provided, heard public testimony, and requested that an ordinance be prepared using 70% of Superior Court judges’ salaries. Additionally, the Board requested information be provided regarding other department heads’ salaries. The table below, sorted by annual salary, lists each department head classification and identifies elected department heads with an asterisk.

As directed by the Board of Supervisors on October 21, 2014, attached is Ordinance 2014-10 that would increase Supervisors’ salaries to an annual amount equivalent to seventy percent of Superior Court judges’ salaries and provide that prospectively Supervisors’ salaries shall be increased at such times and in such percentages necessary to maintain a base salary equivalent to seventy percent of judges’ salaries. This ordinance would amend Code section 24-26.006, Supervisors. Both a clean and redline version of the Ordinance are attached for reference.

CONSEQUENCE OF NEGATIVE ACTION:
New ordinance will not be introduced.

ORDINANCE NO. 2014- 10
(Salary for Elected County Officers)

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors ordains as follows (omitting the parenthetical footnotes from the official text of the enacted or amended provisions of the County Ordinance Code):

SECTION I. SUMMARY. This ordinance amends Section 24-26.006 of the County Ordinance Code to modify salary provisions for members of the Board of Supervisors.

SECTION II. Section 24-26.006 of the County Ordinance Code is amended to read: 24-26.006 Supervisors. (a) Each supervisor, for service as such, shall receive a base monthly salary at the following monthly rates as specified in the Contra Costa County pay series schedule:

(1) Effective January 5, 2015, a monthly salary of $ 10,768.92, which is determined to be equivalent to seventy percent (70%) of the monthly salary prescribed by State law for California Superior Court judges. Thereafter, the base salary of each supervisor shall be increased at such times and in such percentages as increases granted by law to California Superior Court judges, to maintain a base salary equivalent to seventy percent (70%) of the judges’ salary.

(b) Additionally, each supervisor shall receive reimbursement for reasonable expenses necessarily incurred in the conduct of such office; such other benefits as are provided other classified or exempt management employees; eligibility for an eighty-five dollar monthly county contribution to the county’s deferred compensation plan in the same manner as other management employees; and an automobile allowance of six hundred dollars per month, plus all mileage, at the rate per mile allowed by the Internal Revenue Services as a deductible expense. Receipt of the automobile allowance requires that a private automobile be furnished for county business.

9

CONCORD, Calif. – Recently an off-duty Sergeant with the California Highway Patrol, assigned to the Contra Costa CHP office, found over $120,000.00 in cash in the middle of Concord Boulevard. The money was located inside two bank deposit bags that were laying in the middle of the city street.

The off-duty sergeant, a veteran of over 20 years with the patrol, was traveling on Concord Boulevard, in a personal vehicle and had to swerve around the bags to avoid running over them. The sergeant made a U-turn and retrieved the bags which had signs tire markings on them indicating they had been previously run over by other vehicles.

Without hesitation the off-duty CHP supervisor alerted local law enforcement authorities, reported what was discovered and responded out to the city of Concord Police Department giving possession of the money to them to locate its rightful owner.

Through Concord Police Department’s investigative efforts, a local resident was identified and his family’s life savings were returned.

The CHP off-duty supervisor who does not want to be named or receive any accolades simply said, “It was the right thing to do. I am paid to uphold the law and it’s my job to set the example whether I’m working or not. I am happy to hear the rightful owner was identified and that the money has been returned”.

“It is great to highlight examples of the great work the men and women of the Golden Gate Division CHP do on a daily basis, unfortunately, on too many occasions our personnel do not pause to be recognized as they feel they were simply doing their job”, Golden Gate Division Chief Avery Browne said.

The CHP plans to properly present the off-duty supervisor with the appropriate commendation at a private ceremony.

Questions regarding this incident should be referred to Contra Costa CHP office PIO at 925-646-4980 or to Concord Police Department PIO at 925-671-3200.

0

On Saturday, Assemblyman Jim Frazier was joined by the California Highway Patrol and Contra Costa Street Smarts to help increase safety in the County.

Held at the Brentwood Senior Activity Center, attendees were able to receive a free car seat inspection by  certified NHTSA Child Passenger Safety Technician while other road safety information was also provided.

During the event, a number of free car seats were given away to help increase safety.

California Law (Effective 01/01/2012):

  • Children under the age of 8 must be secured in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat.
  • Children under the age of 8 who are 4′ 9″ or taller may be secured by a safety belt in the back seat.
  • Children who are 8 years and over shall be properly secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint system or safety belt.
  • Passengers who are 16 years of age and over are subject to California’s Mandatory Seat Belt law.
  • Buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash. Also, seat belts are the best defense against impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers.

IMG_3323 copy

Avoiding Common Car Seat Installation Mistake
Source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Our research shows that even experienced parents and caregivers can make mistakes when installing a child safety seat. However, with initial practical instruction, you can get an accurate and secure installation every time.

Let’s assume you’ve selected the best seat for your child’s age and size and that, prior to installing the child safety seat, you viewed video installation tips on our website or consulted with a child passenger safety technician at a car seat check. You’ve also reviewed the safety instruction manual for both your vehicle and the child safety seat, and now have your rear-facing or forward-facing child safety seat with a harness installed into your vehicle. Take a few minutes to make sure you have avoided the most common and potentially dangerous installation errors by following the checklist below.

If you encounter any of these common errors, it’s important to correct them by referring back to the manuals, videos or consulting with a professional at a car seat check. When in doubt, seek extra help!

1. Tightens of the Installation
A properly installed child safety seat should not be able to move more than 1 inch in any direction (side to side or outward). Grip the seat at or near the belt path and make sure there is less than 1 inch of movement.

2. Position of the shoulder straps
While the chest clip should always be at armpit level, for rear-facing seats, the shoulder straps must be threaded through slots that are at or below your baby’s shoulders. For forward-facing seats, the shoulder straps should be at or above your child’s shoulders

3. Pinch test
Once the harness is buckled, test the snugness by trying to pinch extra material at the top of your child’s shoulders. If you are able to pinch extra webbing, the harness is too loose. Make sure to tighten and re-check.

4. Check the belt path
Convertible safety seats that transition from rear- to forward-facing have multiple slots for routing the seat belt during installation. Check the instruction manual for your child safety seat to make sure the seat belt is routed properly based on the direction of the installation

5. Use the top tether
You can further optimize the safety of your child safety seat by using its top tether strap located at the top of the seat. Check your car seat and vehicle manuals for proper use of the tether for your seat. If use of the tether is appropriate, tightly attach the seat’s top tether strap to the correct anchor point in the vehicle and tighten. Check your car owner’s manual to identify the correct anchor point.

Additional resources

If you find yourself making some of these common errors, don’t worry! Installing a child safety seat can be challenging, but there are lots of resources to help. Do your best to correct these errors on your own with the help of your child safety seat and vehicle manuals. If you are still unsure, consult a trained child passenger safety CPS technician at a local car seat check point. This person can show you how to correct errors and achieve an optimal, secure installation.

Reviewed on April 25, 2014

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Joseph E. Canciamilla, County Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters announced last week that the voter registration deadline for the November 4 election is due by 5:00 pm October 20 while vote by mail ballots are due by October 28.

Here are both press releases:

Voter Registration Deadline October 20

Joseph E. Canciamilla, County Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters, announces that Monday, October 20, 2014 is the voter registration deadline for the November 4, 2014 Gubernatorial General Election. New voters, anyone who has moved, or has had a name change must register.

Voters may register online at https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/register-to-vote/. Voters may also obtain registration forms at government offices including City, County Offices, and DMV locations. The completed form must be delivered to the Contra Costa County Elections Office at 555 Escobar Street in Martinez no later than 5:00 pm on October 20, 2014, or be postmarked by October 20, 2014.

To be eligible to vote, a person must be a U.S. citizen who will be at least 18 years old by November 4, 2014 and not imprisoned or on parole for the conviction of a felony. Anyone who becomes a newly naturalized citizen after the October 20, 2014 deadline may register and vote between October 21 and November 4, 2014. New citizens may register at the Contra Costa County Elections Office at 555 Escobar Street in Martinez and must present his or her Certificate of Naturalization.

Vote by Mail Deadline is October 28

Joseph E. Canciamilla, the County Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters, reminds voters that 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 28, 2014 is the deadline for the Elections Office to receive a vote-by-mail ballot request for the November 4, 2014 Gubernatorial General Election.

Any registered voter within Contra Costa County may apply for a vote-by-mail ballot. A vote-by-mail application is available on the last page of your Sample Ballot Booklet. Vote-by-mail ballots may also be requested by emailing voter.services@vote.cccounty.us. Email requests must include name, date of birth, residence address and mailing address (if different).

Vote-by-mail applications are valid if they are received in the Elections Office by the October 28th deadline. Elections officials encourage voters to submit their application as soon as possible to allow citizens sufficient time to receive, vote and return their ballots before the polls close at 8:00 pm on November 4th.

Voters may also visit the Elections Office between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm weekdays through Election Day to vote in person or to drop off their ballot. Voters can also use the drop-off boxes for vote-by-mail and absentee ballots located at Antioch, Brentwood, Concord, Hercules, Orinda, Pinole, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, Richmond, San Pablo, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek City Halls during those cities’ business hours.

Voters may also obtain a vote-by-mail ballot in person on Saturday, November 1, 2014, between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm at the Elections Office, which is located at 555 Escobar Street in Martinez.

Any newly naturalized citizen (after October 20, 2014) may register and vote between October 21, 2014 and November 4, 2014, at the Elections Office. Each new citizen must bring their Certificate of Naturalization.

Voters may obtain further information at our website at http://www.cocovote.us/ or by calling the Elections Office at (925) 335-7800 or toll free (877) 335-7802.

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MARTINEZ, CA — Mark A. Peterson, District Attorney of Contra Costa County, announces that on October 15, 2014, a grand jury voted to indict defendant Charles Waldo with nine counts of solicitation to commit murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder. The indictment alleges that while serving time in custody at the Martinez Detention Facility, the defendant solicited and conspired with other inmates to arrange the killing of nine different witnesses that were set to testify against him at an upcoming trial. These ten new charges will be added to the fifty charges the defendant currently faces.

“Protecting witnesses and victims is central to maintaining the integrity of the criminal justice system” said Mr. Peterson. “Our office will aggressively pursue anyone who attempts to thwart the orderly administration of justice.”

The investigation of Mr. Waldo began when the Auto Insurance Fraud Unit of the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office received information about a fraudulent auto insurance claim related to an automobile arson.

With the assistance of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, the investigation expanded and soon involved multiple fraudulent insurance claims related to the arson’s and vandalism’s of five cars over a five year period. The loss from these fraudulent claims exceeds $100,000 dollars.

The investigation also uncovered a series of crimes that occurred at a local business. Mr. Waldo had worked at the business and eventually talked the owner into making him the manager. Once he was in charge of the business it is alleged that Mr. Waldo embezzled over $100,000 dollars from the business and that he stole property from the business, including a $38,000 generator.

As the manager, Waldo was able to force out other employees and replace them with his associates. He directed these associates to commit additional crimes while working for the company such as the theft of recyclable metals and the theft of an electrical transformer.

He also had his associates help construct a 2000 square foot addition to his Pittsburg, CA home. This work occurred while his associates were being paid by, and supposed to be working for, the victim company.

Investigators from the California Department of Insurance established that Waldo was also committing Workers’ Compensation Insurance fraud and tax code violations.

Investigators from the Employment Development Department discovered that Mr. Waldo claimed unemployment insurance benefits for a year after being fired from the victim business. Mr. Waldo claimed these benefits despite the fact that he had secured other employment.

Additional crimes on the original case include:

  • Multiple counts of felony vandalism: The investigation showed that after being fired from his job, Mr. Waldo drove to the location of the business, and to the homes of several employees, where he punctured the tires of all the large commercial trucks that were crucial to the operation of the business.
  • Brandishing a firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm;
  • Violating a restraining order;
  • A high speed chase through central Contra Costa County;

The new allegations came to light when a witness was alerted that a “hit” had been put out on him. The District Attorney’s office promptly started an investigation which led to two witnesses and one document. The document was a hit list that included nine names, the order in which they were to be killed, and suggested methods by which the murders were to occur. The methods included staged car accidents, drug overdoses and robberies that had “gone bad”.

The defendant will be arraigned on these new charges on October 17th. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 25 years to life in jail.

Information and photo provided by Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office

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Tobacco companies and their products have cost Contra Costa $540 million dollars, according to a new study just released by the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP).  Contra Costa ranks ninth in the state for the highest cost of smoking and ninth for the most direct healthcare costs attributable to smoking.   While the smoking rate in California has decreased by 50 percent over the last two decades, the price tag for tobacco use continues to increase in the state and Contra Costa County because of inflation and the rising cost of healthcare, the report explains.

The TRDRP-funded “Cost of Smoking in California” report—which was recently completed by University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) researchers, Drs. Wendy Max and HaiYen Sung—analyzes the economic burden of smoking, including direct healthcare costs and indirect costs from lost productivity due to illness and premature death. The report is the third in a series of reports on California smoking-attributable costs, following reports done in 1989 and 1999.

Overall, the total cost of smoking per pack in California is $17.46. Tax revenues generated by tobacco sales do not compensate for the costs imposed by smoking. According to the report, smoking costs $21 for every $1 of cigarette tax revenue generated.

Mary Jaccodine, Contra Costa Tobacco Prevention Coalition Co-Chair, said the report shows that despite progress in the fight against smoking, tobacco use still has a huge cost to society. “It’s more than an economic cost.  There is a huge human cost. You can’t put a price on the suffering caused by tobacco-related disease and death,” Jaccodine said. “We also know that ninety percent of all adults who smoke, began smoking as children.  Right now, the industry is spending 90% of their marketing dollars in the retail environment. If we want these numbers to look better in ten years, we have to look at what is marketed and sold in the stores children pass on the way to school.”

Cigarette smoking is known to be a leading cause of preventable death in the United States and in California, accounting for one out of seven deaths. Smoking still accounts for more deaths than deaths from many other causes:

  • 17 times the deaths from AIDS
  • 5 times the deaths from diabetes
  • 5 times the deaths from influenza and pneumonia
  • 3 times the deaths from unintentional injuries
  • 3 times the deaths from Alzheimer’s disease

Significant strides have been made in tobacco control, resulting in smoking-attributable deaths decreasing by 20 percent throughout the state since the last report.  Much of the progress in Contra Costa is due to local tobacco control laws that reduce exposure to secondhand smoke and youth access to tobacco, said Jaccodine.

“Contra Costa has been at the forefront of tobacco control since the 1980’s. There is still a lot of work to do, but I’m optimistic that we will continue to make great progress. When our Coalition started thirty years ago, secondhand smoke protections seemed radical and now ten communities in our County have them.  Our next frontier is tackling tobacco industry influences in the retail environment.  I can’t wait to see what kind of progress we have made when the next Cost of Smoking Report comes out.”

To read the “Cost of Smoking” report, visit http://www.trdrp.org/ or http://www.trdrp.org/funded-research/cost-smoking-ca.html

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(Contra Costa County) – There are many infectious illnesses managed every day by healthcare professionals, across the U.S. The healthcare community – including American Medical Response (AMR) – is trained, equipped and ready to care for these patients safely – even in the case of an illness previously not found in our country, such as Ebola. Each day healthcare professionals use appropriate protective equipment and infection control principles to protect themselves, their patients and our communities from transmissible disease.

“AMR clinicians and collaborating partners have been monitoring the evolving Ebola issue for the past several weeks and have developed additional resources, training materials as well as implementing a 24-hour response center to assist all of our caregivers,” stated Ed Racht, M.D., AMR Chief Medical Officer. “In addition, in accordance with CDC guidelines, AMR and Contra Costa County health officials have initiated specific screening protocols, to include questions in the patient’s electronic patient record that help clinicians identify patients at risk of having Ebola.”

“AMR employees in Contra Costa County are trained in the necessary precautions to protect against blood and body fluid contamination from infectious diseases and viruses, including Ebola. It is important for people to remember that Ebola is not transmitted by air. It is passed on through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected individual.”

General Advice:

Infectious illnesses are one of the most frequent causes of doctors’ visits with varying symptoms ranging from runny nose, sore throat, cough, to breathing difficulty and fatigue. In the United States, these are the most common cause of missing school or work. In the case of Ebola, the precautions are similar for other infectious diseases. AMR offers the following prevention advice:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Do not handle items that may have come in contact with a potentially infected person’s blood or body fluids
  • Properly clean common objects touched by individuals who may be infectious such as telephones, refrigerator door, computers, stair railings or door handles
  • Refrain from touching your nose, mouth or eyes
  • Get a flu shot. While unrelated to the Ebola virus, it’s vitally important to remain healthy and not transmit other infectious diseases that may have initial symptoms similar to Ebola
  • Consult your healthcare provider for questions about your health or any symptoms that concern you

For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola.

About American Medical Response

American Medical Response Inc. (www.amr.net), America’s leading provider of medical transportation, provides services in 40 states and the District of Columbia. More than 18,000 AMR paramedics, EMTs,

RNs and other professionals work together to transport more than 3 million patients nationwide each year. AMR’s Contra Costa County division employs over 350 professionals and transports over 60,000 patients annually. The company is a subsidiary of Envision Healthcare Corporation, which is headquartered in Greenwood Village, Colo.

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Following a months-long investigation by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, the Contra Costa County Anti-Violence Support Effort (CASE) team confiscated more than 70 guns and arrested a suspect.

The investigation, involving the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff, Walnut Creek Police Department, Pittsburg Police Department, Concord Police Department, CHP, California Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, started in July 2014. The investigation was launched because the suspect was allegedly trafficking guns.

Last week law enforcement officers carried out two search warrants, one at a home on Raymond Drive in Pacheco and another on 62nd Avenue in Oakland. In total, more than 70 guns were confiscated at the Pacheco residence including assault rifles, .50 caliber rifles, other rifles, pistols and shotguns. In addition, more than 100 magazines were seized, including 60 hi-capacity ones. Several hundred thousand rounds of ammunition were also confiscated.

Law enforcement officers arrested 26-year-old Alex Conley of Oakland. He was booked on numerous violations that include — felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, illegal transfer of firearms, possession of stolen property and conspiracy. He is currently being held in county jail without bail. The investigation is continuing.

The arrest and seizure was a result of an investigation by CASE, a joint effort by the Office of the Sheriff, local law enforcement agencies and the California Department of Justice. CASE was created in November 2011 as a collaborative effort to reduce violent crimes in Contra Costa, especially those related to illegal firearms.

Information and photograph provided by the Contra Costa County Sheriffs Office