Contra Costa County

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OAKLAND, Calif.—Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) increased its payment of property taxes sharply this year as the utility continued to make significant investments in its gas and electric system to improve safety and reliability.

PG&E recently paid property taxes of more than $172 million to the 49 counties in which it provides service to 16 million Californians. The payment covers the period from July 1 to December 31, 2014. Total payments for the tax year of July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015 will be $344 million. This is an increase of $27 million – or a nine percent increase – over the prior fiscal year.

“Our timely payment of property taxes helps local governments support essential public services for their residents,” said Mark Caron, PG&E’s Vice President of Taxes. “These payments also reflect the substantial ongoing investments in our gas and electric infrastructure that are creating one of the safest and most reliable utility systems in the country.”

Property taxes paid to East Bay counties include Alameda County, $17,391,238 (up 12 percent from a year ago) and Contra Costa County, $14,777,571 (up 10 percent).

One example of the many infrastructure investments PG&E made locally was the completion of upgrades to an electric substation in Oakland. The multi-year, $19 million project improved electric reliability for thousands of customers in Oakland and Berkeley, including the new Kaiser Permanente hospital.

PG&E invested more than $5 billion this year to enhance and upgrade its gas and electrical infrastructure across Northern and Central California. One such investment is the recently completed $28.5 million state-of-the-art electric distribution control center in Fresno. PG&E expects to open two more control centers in Concord and Rocklin.

An economic impact report issued this year shows that PG&E’s investments, purchases and payroll, in addition to the taxes and fees it pays, help drive California’s economy. PG&E contributed $22.2 billion of economic activity and supported nearly 71,600 jobs in its service area in 2012.

The “creatures will be stirring” at Contra Costa County Animal Services in Martinez at noon on Friday when dozens of toys and treats arrive just in time for the holidays! Shelters get crowded during the holidays, and that can create extra stress on animals. The chewable toys and treats help them reduce stress.

CCCAS has partnered with Oakland-based Pet Food Express for the past 10 years on the Giving Tree fundraiser. People can donate a toy or a treat to the Giving Tree at any Pet Food Express in the Bay Area through the end of December, and Pet Food Express delivers those donations directly to dozens of shelters including CCCAS. The holidays are often the busiest time of the year for shelters and that can be stressful on the animals. A chew toy or treat can help reduce stress.

Last year, Pet Food Express raised more than $80,000 worth of toys, treats and cash: enough to provide every homeless pet in the Bay Area with a new toy or treat.

Come see all the pets “dressed in fur from their head to their feet” enjoying toys and treats at noon this Friday at CCCAS .

  • WHO: Contra Costa County Animal Services
  • WHEN: 12pm Dec 19th, 2014
  • WHAT: Provide toys and treats to EVERY shelter pet during the holidays
  • WHERE: 4800 Imhoff Pl, Martinez Ca 94553

For more information, visit www.petfoodexpress.com/giving-back/annual-giving-tree/

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A Public Hearing, where treated and untreated water revenue increases will be considered, will be held on Wednesday, January 7, 2015.

The Board will consider an up to 3.5% revenue increase for treated water customers, and a up to 3.75% revenue increase for untreated water customers.

If approved, the new rates would become effective starting February 1, 2015.

Public comments and written protests may be submitted to the District prior to and at the Public Hearing. You may send an e-mail or write a letter addressed to the “CCWD Board of Directors” at the address above.

Following the Public Hearing, the Board will consider the adoption of the proposed revenue increases.

If a 3.5% revenue increase is approved, the increase to a single family residential customer in the District using 320 gallons per day (average customer) would be approximately $2.16 per month.

Please look here for more information on treated water rates, untreated water rates and water rates for customers with untreated agricultural, livestock or unmetered landscape service.

Please send an e-mail or call (925) 688-8044 for more information.

For more information from the Water District, click here

If you go:

Contra Costa Water District

January 7, 2015 at 6:30 pm
CCWD Board Room
1331 Concord Ave, Concord CA

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California State Senate Candidate Mark Meuser affirmed his support of a union led referendum to allow voters to accept or reject a 33% raise by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

Meuser, who is running as the Republican Candidate against Democrats Susan Bonilla and Joan Buchanan for Mark DeSaulnniers seat, is finding himself standing with unions on this issue.

Following a vote by Contra Costa County Supervisors to receive a 33% pay raise, the Deputy Sheriffs Association of Contra Costa and the Contra Costa Public Employees Union have now come together to pass a referendum and put a hold on the impending 33% pay raise. Likewise, they will be taking this issue before the voters.

Meuser suggests that people would prefer politicians who would be willing to work with others on issues rather than being closed off due to political ideology.

According to a Press Release, Meuser will be using this referendum as an opportunity to show voters his position that when there is an issue he agrees with, he does not care as much about party as much as he does about making a difference. For Meuser, making a positive difference surpasses all else and he desires for the voters to choose for themselves whether or not an issue should be accepted or rejected.

“I support good common sense government and if you support the same, then I will be your ally. I believe that when politicians make a vote that is in their own self-interest, then they need to be held accountable,” Meuser said. “I believe that one can be a gentleman when it comes to politics because you never know when your enemy today is going to be your friend tomorrow. I may disagree with the public employees union on the issue of pension reform but I do agree with them today that the county Supervisors should not have given themselves a 33% pay raise.”

Proponents of the referendum are working together with Meuser to obtain 32,000 signatures by Jan. 2, 2015 in order to get his referendum on the 2016 ballots. Contra Costa voters will be able to sign the petition outside the BART, the mall or the grocery store from individuals carrying clip boards.

The petitions are also available at the Contra Costa County Deputy Sheriffs Association’s office, the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association’s office or you can obtain the petition online by contacting: contact@markmeuser.com.

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[Martinez] CA — This time of year, with all the holiday parties and festivities, many party-goers will be drinking. If you’re celebrating with alcohol, Avoid the 25 has a message for you: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Due to the increase in drunk-driving-related fatalities around the holidays each year, law enforcement agencies across the county will be out in force searching for impaired drivers from December 12 – January 1, 2015.

During the 21-day campaign, there are plans in place for DUI/Drivers license checkpoints, a multi-agency strike team, local roving anti-DUI saturation patrols, a DUI warrant/probation sweep and a DUI court sting targeting suspended drivers who were ordered by the judge not to drive. El Cerrito PD will be hosting a checkpoint on December 12, 2014.

The facts are grim: on average, about one-third of all crash fatalities in the US involve drunk driving. In December 2012, there were 830 people killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. For all of 2012, more than 10,322 people are killed by drunk drivers in America, with 802 of those in California alone.

Some startling data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration shows that during the holiday season in 2012, 40% of the drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes had at least one prior DUI on their record. And many offenders are young drivers: during that same holiday period 37% of the 21-24 year old drivers in fatal crashes were impaired.

Here are some tips to help keep the holidays safe and happy:
• If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving.
• Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the drinking/partying begins.
• If you have been drinking and need a ride, you can call a taxi, a sober friend or family member or use public transportation.
• Remember, it is never safe to drink and drive: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

Avoid the 25 funding is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Office of Traffic Safety is offering a free mobile app – DDVIP – aimed at thanking the sober designated driver with perks and free offers at area bars and restaurants.

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MARTINEZ, Calif. – Pastor Monty Stewart, his wife Janelle Stewart, and Carin Musak with the Christ Community Church of the Nazarene brought in 70 boxes of toys for the CHiPs for Kids toy drive today. CHP – Contra Costa Area Commander, Captain Chris Costigan, related, “This charitable gesture is yet another great example of the amazing community that comprises Contra Costa County.”

The CHiPs for Kids program collects toys for various charities and organizations within Contra Costa County to help families in need during the Holiday Season. We officially started our CHiPs for Kids toy drive on Friday, November 22. Come by our office on 5001 Blum Road, Martinez, CA 94553 or any CHP area office Statewide (Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM) if you would like to donate. Together we can make a difference in a child’s life.

Carin Musak related to our staff why their church felt called to support our program by saying, “We wanted to spread the spirit of the season to boys and girls at local hospitals and other church communities through your annual toy drive. We share in your vision, your kindness, and love shared through the community.”

Information provided by CHP-Contra Costa

 

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The Citizen Review Board that advises BART Police is considering a recommendation that BART PD adopt a policy for interactions with transgender people.

“Most law enforcement agencies still don’t have those kinds of policies in place,” said Harper Jean Tobin, policy director of the National Center for Transgender Equality in Washington, D.C. “In that sense BART is getting out ahead.”

“Adopting a policy isn’t going to eliminate problems overnight,” Tobin said. “But the larger charges that need to happen can’t happen without these kinds of actions.”

The Citizen Review Board, which can recommend changes to police policies, meets Monday, Dec. 8, at 4 pm in the BART Board Room, Kaiser Center 20th Street Mall, in Oakland. The agenda includes discussion and possible action on recommending the draft policy.

No specific problem or complaint spurred the action, said BART Independent Police Auditor Mark P. Smith. Rather, the idea to draft a policy came through work with the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) and the Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service, according to Smith and CRB Vice Chairman Les Mensinger.

“I was on this call concerning transgender people and some of their experiences, and I said, ‘This is interesting. We live in a very diverse area, and these people go through such traumatic conditions, I thought, we should do something about this.’ “ Mensinger said.

Russell Bloom, Independent Police Investigator with the BART OIPA who researched the draft policy, said it is intended to be proactive.

“The transgender community is an important part of the fabric of the Bay Area, and we should be out in front on this issue,” he said.

Bloom said that in his research, he learned that often the simple act of asking how a person prefers to be addressed fosters respect and good will.

The draft policy states, for example, “if gender expression does

not clearly indicate a transgender person’s identity, officer(s) may politely and respectfully ask the person how they wish to be addressed. For example, an officer may ask a transgender person which name and pronoun they prefer.”

What might seem, to some, to be awkward at first — asking, “How would you prefer that I address you?”, when used to using a habitual “Sir” Or “Miss”, — can be an important teaching moment, Bloom said.

“It creates an opportunity for officers to become comfortable asking that type of question, and having an open and honest conversation may help make the transgender people they serve feel they are a respected part of the community,” he said.

“The opportunity to answer the question is an important aspect of the interaction, and far better than feeling disrespected or disregarded or having assumptions made,” he said.

The draft policy also would change BART Police Department record keeping to make forms broad enough to include transgender identity. While federal data, such as Uniform Crime Reporting statistics, may not include such options yet, this could possibly influence society in a larger way.

“If there are insufficient data to analyze the ways this particular segment of the population is being policed, and if we can change that on a local level, eventually it could” lead to such record keeping on a larger scale, Bloom said.

Awareness of and treatment of transgender people has been a growing concern  in the country, and the Bay Area with its reputation for openness and  acceptance tends to be ahead of the national curve, experts say. The annual Trans March as part of San Francisco’s Pride celebration is one of the world’s largest transgender-focused events.

Yet, transgender people in every state in the country have reported negative experiences with law enforcement, from harassment to physical abuse, Tobin said, particularly for transgender people of color.

“For example, for some trans women of color, it is just assumed that they are going to have drugs or be doing sex work or something else illegal,” Tobin said. “There’s a dynamic that can come up with transgender people where officers who may not have much experience interacting with them feel a fear, or discomfort, or suspicion.”

The policy recommendation is meant to afford fairness and dignity, and not to interfere in any way with upholding the law, Smith and others said.

Many officers “just want to know, ‘What do I do, so I can do my job right?’ , “ Tobin said. “Their job is dangerous, and officers want rules they can understand … It’s part of a long-haul cultural change.”

For example, if someone’s legal name on an identification document such as a driver’s license is not the same as the name or gender identity they prefer, a warrant check could be made on the legal name, but the person could still be addressed by their preferred gender identity and pronoun.

In addition, when interactions occur in a group setting, the recommendation is to allow the transgender person to provide their legal identity in a separate setting apart from others in the group, to avoid “outing” them against their wishes.

The policy recommendation extends to items such as how one is treated when  wearing prosthetics, wigs, and makeup, and when those items may or may not be required to be removed; and making sure detained transgender persons have access to medical attention or medications, including hormone therapy, with the same urgency and respect as medical issues for other detained persons.

The recommendation does not deal extensively with issues of housing suspects, or how they are accommodated long-term, because BART Police generally remove suspects to facilities in the jurisdiction where issues occur, which have their own policies.

Mensinger said the draft is the result of a collaboration with stakeholders in the transgender community, as well as with police and other community stakeholders, including the Transgender Law Center in Oakland and the National Center for Transgender Equality. “What’s important to me is to show that BART takes this seriously and that BART really cares,” Mensinger said.

“We are grateful to the BART employees who are working so hard to make this policy a reality. With transgender people facing high rates of harassment and violence, it is good to know the BART Police Department is considering this policy to ensure transgender people are treated with respect,” said Masen Davis, Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center.

If the draft is approved by the CRB, the recommendation would go back to BART Police, pending a decision by BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey on whether it becomes an official BPD policy, said Lt. Ed Alvarez, the Support Services Lieutenant in charge of policies.

“We have been collaborating with the Citizen Review Board and Office of the Independent Police Auditor on their draft and welcome the chance to look at this important issue,” Chief Rainey said.  “Our officer training is constantly evolving and improving, and developing a policy around interactions with transgender individuals makes sense for the diverse community we serve. We thank everyone who worked on this, including all the stakeholder organizations, and will give it close consideration to make sure we are respecting the dignity of all while upholding public safety, which are goals that can and should coexist.”

DEFINITIONS:

Some of the terms included in the draft policy:

Sex:
The classification of people as male or female.

Gender Identity:
One’s internal, deeply held sense of one’s gender. Unlike gender expression (see below) gender identity is not visible to others.

Gender Expression:
External manifestations of gender, expressed through one’s name, pronouns, clothing, haircut, behavior, voice or body characteristics.

Sexual Orientation:
Describes a person’s enduring physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction to another person. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same.

Transgender (adj):
An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. People under the transgender umbrella may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including transgender.

Source:
http://www.bart.gov/news/articles/2014/news20141208#sthash.mHiY3RNp.dpuf

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For every $1 donated, the Food Bank is able to distribute $4 of nutritious food.  Food Bank serves 1 in 8 residents. $0.96 of every $1 donated goes directly to food programs.  Need is high with 20 million pounds of food distributed a year, 1/2 of that fresh produce.

 Our County participates every year in The Food Fight.  The Food Fight is a friendly competition between Contra Costa and Solano County employees to raise funds for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano during the holiday season. The county raising the highest dollar amount per employee wins possession of and bragging rights to the Big Apple trophy for one year.

Donate today and help your county win the Big Apple!

Please contact Alicia Nuchols at 925-252-4500 or email at alicia.nuchols@bos.cccounty.us for ways to donate.  You can also visit the Food Bank’s website,www.foodbankccs.org.  Be sure to indicate  you are donating on behalf of Supervisor Piepho’s office in the Food Drive comment box.

Thank you in advance for helping us fight hunger in our County!

The following was sent out by Supervisor Mary Piepho

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The Contra Costa Water District is set to interview six finalist for the Board of Directors Division 5 seat on Dec. 10th.

The vacancy is due to the passing of Division 5 Director Karl Wandry.  Division 5 includes the District’s service area in Oakley and portions of Antioch, Brentwood, unincorporated Contra Costa County, and Bethel Island.  All applicants must reside within the boundaries of Division 5.

Applications were due by November 21 after the Board made the announcement of the application process on November 5.  The Board ranked the candidates November 26 with the interview invitations sent out December 3.

The Board determined the top six finalists are:

The District will interview the finalists at its Wednesday, Dec. 10 meeting starting at 7 p.m. The Board is expected to announce its appointment at its Dec. 17 meeting.

Those who did not make the interview process were:

Here is a look at the rankings below. You may also view Directors score sheets by clicking here.

Contra Costa Water District Rankings

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Martinez, CA (Dec. 3, 2014) – Pets in animal shelters have a new ally in their search for homes: veterinary dentists.

Thanks to the Foundation for Veterinary Dentistry’s “Make Me Smile Shelter Project,” shelter veterinarians and veterinary technicians nationwide will be receiving specialized training and equipment to help make sure homeless pets have dental exams and dental cleanings before they meet their new families.

“Animals with periodontal disease are extremely difficult to place for adoption,” says Foundation Chair Dr. Jamie Anderson, a veterinarian and member trustee. “Animals with healthy mouths are more appealing because their breath is sweeter, and because they’re healthier and feel better.”

The non-profit group is donating time, resources, equipment and expertise to train shelter veterinarians across the country with the goal of making the animals more adoptable.  In the Bay Area, board-certified veterinary dentists and trustees will be equipping the Contra Costa County Animal Shelter with dental equipment and training their veterinary teams to rid resident pets of periodontal disease.

“We hope they’ll take the opportunity to meet some of the wonderful pets in the shelter, too,” said Make Me Smile Shelter Project Chair Barry L. Rathfon, DVM. “They’ll be seeing the difference dental cleanings can make in a pet’s life, and then making the biggest difference of all by adopting one of their own.”

About the Foundation for Veterinary Dentistry

The Foundation for Veterinary Dentistry operates exclusively for charitable, scientific, or educational purposes and was founded to educate the public about the importance of oral health in animals, and advance the understanding of the science of veterinary dentistry among all veterinarians and other veterinary professionals. For more information, visit the Foundation website at http://f4vd.com/.

The following information was provided by Contra Costa County Animal Services