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Cool Rep. George Miller factoids

Lafayette political blogger Jason Bezis at CalPolitical has posted some very cool factoids about retiring Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, and East Bay representation in Congress for the past 150 years:

East San Francisco Bay Area Members of Congress: 1865 to 2014: George Miller is Just Third to Retire Normally in 150 Years

 Thirty-five individuals (33 men and two women) have represented the East San Francisco Bay Area (Alameda and Contra Costa counties) in the U.S. House of Representatives since California’s first single-member districts were created in 1864.  (Not including the two congressmen who represented California at-large from 1883 to 1885.  California gained two seats in 1882 as a result of the post-1880 census re-apportionment but the Legislature postponed re-districting until the 1884 congressional elections.) 
 
The East Bay today has six U.S. representatives: George Miller, Barbara Lee, Eric Swalwell, Jerry McNerney, Mike Honda and Mike Thompson.
 
Here is how the 29 other East Bay U.S. representatives left their East Bay districts:
 
  • Defeated in primary or general elections: 14 (Higby, Page, Hilborn, English, MacLafferty, Eltse, Carter, Condon, Allen, Cohelan, George P. Miller, Baker, Pombo, Stark)
  • Died in office: 3 (Elston, Curry Sr., Baldwin)
  • Resigned mid-term: 4 (McKenna, Metcalf, Dellums, Tauscher)
  • Re-districting caused loss of all East Bay territory: 3 (Curry, Jr., Edwards, Garamendi)
  • Ran for another office at end of term: 3 (Sargent, Knowland, Waldie)
  • Retired at end of term: 2 (Budd, Tolan)
 

Retirements are very rare.  Just two East Bay representatives in the past 150 years have retired from the House and not sought another political office immediately thereafter: James Budd in 1884 and John Tolan in 1946.  George Miller III will become the third in 2014.

Link to the rest of CalPolitical’s post here.

Posted on Thursday, January 16th, 2014
Under: Alameda County, Congress, Contra Costa County | No Comments »

County Dems urge racist elected official to quit

(Ed.’s note: This post is by my colleague Thomas Peele, who has been on this story’s trail from the start. -J)

The Contra Costa County Democratic Party has joined the chorus of those demanding the resignation of West County Wastewater District Director Leonard Battaglia.

Leonard BattagliaBattaglia, you will remember, made racist remarks about African-Americans and Asians during an interview with this newspaper about his salary and benefits, saying that during his time as a Koren War fighter pilot he trained with black and found them as a race to be genetically inferior.

“Battaglia’s comments are an insult to all Americans who have and are honorably serving our country, including the President of the United States, who is of African American descent,” Ellis Goldberg, the party’s communications officer, said in a statement issued Wednesday that demanded Battaglia’s immediate resignation.

Battaglia, 85, of El Sobrante, is a registered Democrat.

Earlier this month, his water board colleagues asked, by way of a 4-0 vote, for Battaglia to resign. He did not. Several Richmond council members have also called for his resignation. The San Pablo City Council has scheduled a vote for Monday night to condemn Battaglia, whose term expires next year.

Goldberg is calling on other Democratic leaders to pursue similar measures.

Posted on Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
Under: Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 2 Comments »

Contra Costa gets federal domestic violence grant

Contra Costa County is among 12 U.S. counties and cities chosen to receive a new federal grant aimed at reducing domestic violence homicides by focusing on victims most at risk and abusers most likely to be lethal.

The money – $2.3 million in total, ranging from $101,658 to $200,000 per site – is part of the Justice Department’s new Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Demonstration Initiative, administered by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women. After a one-year assessment phase, up to six of these 12 sites will be chosen to continue a three-year implementation phase.

Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the grants Wednesday in Rockville, Md.

“Every single day in America, three women die at the hands of their boyfriend, or their husband, or their ex-husband,” Biden said in a news release. “Many of these women have been threatened or severely abused in the past. We know what risk factors put someone in greater danger of being killed by the person they love – and that also means we have the opportunity to step in and try to prevent these murders. That’s why these grants are so important. They’ll help stop violence before it turns deadly.”

The grant program, which aims to help state and local jurisdictions reduce domestic violence homicides by identifying potential victims and monitoring high-risk offenders, is modeled after programs in Massachusetts and Maryland where coordinated teams of law enforcement, prosecutors, health professionals and victims’ services significantly reduced the domestic violence homicide rate.

The new program is based on an assessment tool that researchers have identified that can be used to reliably recognize women who may be in fatally abusive relationships. Attempted strangulation, threats with weapons, sexual assault and obsessively jealous and controlling behavior are among the markers of particularly lethal abusers. Once at-risk victims are identified, law enforcement, prosecutors, courts and service providers can take action to protect them and their families.

The other 11 demonstration sites are Miami-Dade County, Fla.; Palm Beach County, Fla.; Rockdale County, Ga.; Winnebago County, Ill.; Boston; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Westchester County, N.Y.; Pitt County, N.C.; Cuyahoga County, Ohio; North Charleston, S.C.; and Rutland, Vt.

Posted on Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
Under: Contra Costa County, Joe Biden, Public safety | 1 Comment »

Retired CoCo Sheriff Warren Rupf passes away

Retired Contra Costa Sheriff Warren Rupf

Retired Contra Costa Sheriff Warren Rupf, the county’s own larger-than-life lawman, died earlier today after a two-month battle with a swift and deadly form of cancer.

Rupf told folks about his diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia in early July and predicted then his time could be short. Few might have imagined just how quickly the cancer would strike.

Warren’s wife, Carole, was at his side when he passed away at a Walnut Creek hospital.

Friends and family are working on the details of his memorial service and I’ll post information as soon as it is available.

Rest in peace, sheriff. We’ll miss you.

Read the Sheriff Department’s press release here.

Posted on Thursday, August 9th, 2012
Under: Contra Costa County, Law enforcement | 5 Comments »

Contra Costa reacts swiftly to revised Delta peripheral canal plan

Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho

Contra Costa County, whose leaders have been fending off a peripheral canal for more than three decades, reacted swiftly and negatively to a joint federal-state announcement today of a new Delta water diversion proposal.

“We need science before size,” said Contra Costa County Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho, who also sits on the Delta Protection Commission, Delta Conservancy and helped found the Delta County Coalition. “Science should drive the capacity of any project, not the other way around. It is completely unacceptable.”

See my colleague Steve Harmon’s full story here.

(ADDED 5:29 P.M. East Bay congressional representatives also blast plan. See full statements below.)

Smaller options must be evaluated, and science and the economic impacts of any pipeline must be more than “considered, as the announcement today said,” Piepho added.

“It’s easy to ‘consider’ something for 3 seconds, then shove it off the table and go back to your primary objective, which is to pipe massive amounts of Delta water into Southern California,” she said.

Supervisor Karen Mitchoff echoed her colleague’s dismay via  a text message from Sacramento, where she watched the announcement.

“If people believe what (Gov. Jerry Brown) and (Interior Secretary Ken) Salazar said today, I think there’s still a bridge available for sale,” Mitchoff said. “The plan will sacrifice the interest of one part of the state for the interests of others.”

The county, the Contra Costa Water District and others say the diversion will degrade both the environment and drinking water quality for tens of thousands of East Bay residents. The county board of supervisors formally opposed the plan in early July.

In contrast, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein wholeheartedly endorsed the pact, calling it a “major step toward a real solution in the Sacramento-Delta.” Feinstein led the federal legislation mandating completion of a Bay-Delta Conservation Plan by February 2013. See her press release issued today below.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
Under: Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics, water | 26 Comments »

Richmond Mayor McLaughlin vows to crack down on Corky Booze

Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin has run out of patience with colleague and Councilman Corky Booze, the man she says is responsible for inciting routine dysfunction and chaos at Richmond City Council meetings.

The mayor sent out an email letter this week (see below) castigating Booze — she doesn’t mention him by name but everybody knows who she is talking about — for what described as an unacceptable “battering situation.”

Her missive comes after Tuesday night’s huge blow-up some six hours into another marathon session, where the mayor sat as a referee between Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles who was calling Booze a “bald-faced liar” and “evil” while he repeatedly demanded the mayor shut her up when he has the floor. (Read my colleague Robert Rogers’ story on the meeting here.)

For his part, Booze calls the mayor’s email a blatant “political hit piece” intended to promote the Richmond Progressive Alliance’s slate of candidates running for the city council in November. He says the mayor, Beckles, councilmembers Tom Butt and Jeff Ritterman repeatedly interrupt him.

“This email is over the top,” Booze said. “I’ve never heard of a mayor doing something like this. But I’ve been hitting the Richmond Progressive Alliance every Tuesday.”

Councilman Nat Bates, who is also on the outs with the mayor, blames McLaughlin for the council meeting chaos.

“In most organizations, be it church, community group, business or governmental, the success or failure of the meetings almost always rest in the leadership quality of the chairperson,” he said. “A chairperson must be fair, impartial and lead by example while displaying respect for their colleagues and the public. Unfortunately, this mayor does neither and thus is the result of a dysfunctional Richmond city council.”

Here’s the mayor’s email:

Dear friends,

I am compelled to make a statement about the current state of affairs at Richmond City Council meetings.

Those of you who follow City Council meetings know how much chaos and discord exists. I want to share my feelings about this.

 There is dysfunction on this Council, but the dysfunction does not come from the Council as a whole. This dysfunction comes from one councilmember. It is truly a shame that this councilmember disrupts time and time again the needed business under discussion at the Council meeting. He forces us to deal with chaos, disruptions, and vitriolic speech that bring harm to the entire city of Richmond.

 It is the people of Richmond who suffer from all of this. It is the people of Richmond who are being held hostage because this councilmember refuses to adhere to the rules of the City Council. As chair, my job is to keep the meeting moving forward. When discussion becomes unproductive, I necessarily need to move us on. Discussion not only becomes unproductive, but as I said, it becomes chaotic, disruptive and vitriolic in its content….and it is this one councilmember who will not adhere to my role as chair. He feels that once “he has the floor” he has it until he has fully finished attacking and insulting me, other councilmembers, members of the City staff, and/or certain members of the audience. Then when the frustration level of other councilmembers has reached a limit and they intervene (after I have intervened unsuccessfully with him talking over me and talking over the gavel – as I call him out of order), we have even more chaos on the Council. I have called and will continue to call recesses of the Council meeting when such situations occur.

One of our others councilmembers, who has suffered his insults incessantly, conveys the situation in an explanatory way like this: “You have one councilmember beating up on another. The first councilmember attacks and attacks with the other councilmember not fighting back, recognizing that the public can see the despicable behavior exhibited and judge for themselves. Yet the beating continues until the councilmember under attack, now on the floor suffering more jabs, decides she has had enough and stands up and pushes back. The first councilmember and his supporters in the audience call out: How dare you push back? You are being “unprofessional.”

 This, my friends, is where the current state of affairs on the Richmond City Council is at. One councilmember is managing to hold a city hostage.

This MUST not continue. Many of us have looked toward changing the composition of the City Council in order to shift toward a better Richmond, and we will continue to do that. We have made so many gains with good councilmembers being elected in recent years. We will make more gains in November, and in subsequent elections. But we are currently dealing with something that is immediate in nature.

We are dealing with a battering situation, the result of which, if allowed to go on, will be highly destructive for our city. As a result, I will be more strictly enforcing the rules of the City Council, as per my role as chairperson, provided to me by the Charter of the City of Richmond in accordance with the Constitution of the State of California. Disagreement on issues is expected and can be productive, but where we are at right now is something altogether different.

I call on all members of the City Council and members of the audience to adhere to my call for order during meetings when I put out such a call. The disruptive nature of our Council meetings MUST be reversed.

I will not relinquish my parliamentary procedure duties. I will not let one councilmember hold the city hostage.

Thank you for your support at this critical time. We shall prevail, even among setbacks, to bring forward a political culture whereby the people’s business can be addressed in a healthy and productive way.

 Sincerely,

 Gayle McLaughlin

 Mayor, City of Richmond

Posted on Friday, July 20th, 2012
Under: Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics, Richmond | 3 Comments »

Contra Costa County office building is weedy and seedy

Lord knows, Contra Costa County is short on cash like every other public agency but the state of the landscaping at its offices on Arnold Drive in Martinez is disgraceful.

The grass is dead. Weeds abound. Shrubs and trees are dying. When I drove through the parking lot other evening after a county worker called and complained about it, the grounds were downright ghetto. (See pictures below.)

If my yard in Martinez resembled this one, the city would be on my doorstep and rightfully demanding I clean it up.

Public Works Director Julie Bueren says the original private building owner installed way too much lawn and when budget constraints hit the county a few years ago along with water useage standards imposed by the Contra Costa Water District, the county stopped watering the grass.

“When funding allows, the plan is to re-landscape some of these areas with drought resistant plants and landscape materials that will be less costly to maintain,” Bueren wrote to me in an email.

OK, I get the grass part. It uses a lot of water. At the very least, though, the county could put down some mulch. Replacing existing landscaping with drought resistant plants and shrubs over time is a good idea, too.

But to let those valuable trees and large shrubs die in the interim seems like a terrible waste.

As for the weeds, Bueren says abatement is scheduled for next week.  Thank goodness. Dry vegetation is a fire hazard and the fire district that protects this area has its own financial problems.

 

 

 

Posted on Friday, July 20th, 2012
Under: Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 4 Comments »

Filing period for local candidates opens July 16

If you have a hankering to run for public office, the time is now.

The candidate filing period opens July 16 and runs through Aug. 10 for hundreds of local city, school and special district offices. In districts where an incumbent fails to file for re-election, the deadline is extended to Aug. 15.

In Contra Costa County, nomination forms for school and special district offices are dispensed through the county election office at 555 Escobar St., in Martinez. City council forms are available at the respective city clerk’s offices.

In Alameda County, nomination forms for school and special district offices are dispensed through the county election office at 1225 Fallon Street, Room G-1, Oakland. City council forms are available at the respective city clerk’s offices.

Contra Costa seats up for election on Nov. 6 are:

  • Antioch mayor, City Council (two seats)
  • Brentwood mayor, City Council (two seats)
  • Clayton City Council (three seats)
  • Concord City Council (two seats)
  • Danville Town Council (three seats)
  • El Cerrito City Council (three seats)
  • Hercules City Council (three seats)
  • Lafayette City Council (three seats)
  • Martinez City Council (two seats), city clerk, treasurer
  • Moraga City Council (three seats)
  • Oakley City Council (three seats)
  • Orinda City Council (two seats)
  • Pinole City Council (two seats), treasurer
  • Pittsburg City Council (two seats)
  • Pleasant Hill City Council (three seats), city clerk, treasurer
  • Richmond City Council (three seats)
  • San Pablo City Council (three seats)
  • Walnut Creek City Council (three seats)
  • Crockett Community Services District (three seats)
  • Diablo Community Services District (three seats)
  • Discovery Bay Community Services District (three seats)
  • Dublin San Ramon Services District (three seats)
  • Kensington Police Protection and Community Services District (two seats)
  • Knightsen Town Community Services District (two seats)
  • Moraga-Orinda Fire Protection District (three seats)
  • Rode-Hercules Fire Protection District (three seats)
  • Los Medanos Community Healthcare District (three seats)
  • Mt. Diablo Healthcare District (four seats) **This elected board is set to be disbanded on Aug. 9 and its duties reassigned to the Concord City Council.
  • West Contra Costa Healthcare District (two seats)
  • Bethel Island Municipal Improvement District (three seats)
  • East Bay Municipal Utility District (one seat)
  • Ambrose Recreation and Park District (two seats)
  • East Bay Regional Park District (two seats)
  • Green Valley Recreation and Park District (three seats)
  • Pleasant Hill Recreation and Park District (two seats)
  • Rollingwood-Wilart Park Recreation and Park District (two seats)
  • Byron Sanitary District (three seats)
  • Central Contra Costa Sanitary District (three seats)
  • Ironhouse Sanitary District (three seats)
  • Mt. View Sanitary District (three seats)
  • Rodeo Sanitary District (three seats)
  • Stege Sanitary District (two seats)
  • West County Wastewater District (two seats)
  • Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (two seats)
  • Bay Area Rapid Transit District (three seats, districts 1, 3 and 7)
  • Castle Rock Water District (four seats)
  • Diablo Water District (two seats)
  • Byron Bethany Irrigation District (one seat)
  • East Contra Costa Irrigation District (three seats)
  • Acalanes Union High School District (two seats)
  • Antioch Unified School District (three seats)
  • Brentwood Union School District (two seats)
  • Byron Union School District (two seats)
  • Canyon Elementary School District (two seats)
  • Contra Costa County Board of Education (two seats)
  • Contra Costa Community College District (two seats, wards 2 and 5)
  • Chabot-Las Positas Community College District (one seat, Ward 7)
  • John Swett Unified School District (two seats)
  • Knightsen School District (three seats)
  • Lafayette School District (two seats)
  • Liberty Union High School District (two seats)
  • Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (two seats)
  • Martinez Unified School District (three seats)
  • Moraga School District (two seats)
  • Mt. Diablo Unified School District (two seats)
  • Oakley Union Elmentary School District (two seats)
  • Orinda Union School District (two seats)
  • Pittsburg Unified School District (three seats)
  • San Ramon Valley Unified School district (two seats)
  • Walnut Creek School District (two seats)
  • West Contra Costa Unified School District (two seats)

Alameda County seats up for election on Nov. 6 are:

  • Alameda County Board of Supervisors, District 2 (one seat)
  • Alameda City Council (two seats), auditor, treasurer
  • Albany City Council (three seats)
  • Albany Board of Education (two seats)
  • Berkeley mayor, City Council (four seats, districts 2, 3, 5 and 6)
  • Berkeley Rent Board (four seats)
  • Berkeley Board of Education (two seats)
  • Dublin mayor and City Council (two seats)
  • Fremont mayor and City Council (two seats)
  • Oakland City Council (five seats, at-large and districts 1, 3, 5 and 7), city attorney
  • Pleasanton mayor and City Council (two seats)
  • San Leandro City Council (three seats, district 2, 4 and 6)
  • Union City mayor and City Council (one seat)
  • Chabot-Los Positas Community College District (four seats, district 1, 3, 5 and 7)
  • Peralta Community College District (four seats)
  • San Joaquin Delta Community College District (one seat)
  • Alameda Unified School District (three seats)
  • Castro Valley Unified School District (three seats)
  • Dublin Unified School District (three seats)
  • Fremont Unified School District (three seats)
  • Hayward Unified School District (three seats)
  • Livermore Unified School District (two seats)
  • Mount House Elementary (one seat)
  • New Haven Unified School District (three seats)
  • Newark Unified School District (three seats)
  • Pleasanton Unified School District (three seats)
  • San Leandro Unified School district (three seats)
  • San Lorenzo Unified School District (four seats)
  • Sunol Glen Unified School district (1 seat)
  • AC Transit (three seats)
  • Alameda County Water District (three seats)
  • Bay Area Rapid Transit District (three seats, wards 3, 5 and 7)
  • Castro Valley Sanitary District (three seats)
  • City of Alameda Healthcare District (two seats)
  • Dublin-San Ramon Services District (three seats)
  • East Bay Municipal Utility District (two seats, wards 5 and 6)
  • East Bay Regional Park District (three seats, wards, 1, 2 and 4)
  • Eden Township Healthcare District (two seats)
  • Fairview Fire Protection District (three seats)
  • Hayward Area Recreation and Park District (three seats)
  • Livermore Area Recreation and Park District (three seats)
  • Oro Loma Sanitary District (two seats)
  • Washington Township Healthcare District (two seats)

 

Posted on Friday, July 6th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 1 Comment »

Retired Contra Costa Sheriff Warren Rupf diagnosed with leukemia

Retired Contra Costa Sheriff Warren Rupf has been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.

In his trademark, wry and witty voice, the 69-year-old East Bay native who served as his county’s sheriff for almost two decades, sent an email to friends and colleagues on Thursday.

He is exploring treatment options but the prognosis is grim for this type of cancer, he wrote.

“While rather morbid, this may be the only good news,” Rupf wrote. “When you buy this brand, you move rather quickly from check in to check out.”

Yes, Warren was an elected official and as a reporter, I kept my eye on him when he was in office.

But as I grew to know him over the years, I became terribly fond of him. When my son went into law enforcement, the sheriff offered his support and always remembered to ask about the young officer’s progress in the California Highway Patrol. (Warren tested with CHP as a young man but Contra Costa County called him first.)

From me and my family, Warren, we wish you and your family fair winds and following seas as you  chart your way through this hazardous passage.

But as always, his own words are far better than anything I could come up with. I included the photos we used for a profile story on him when he retired in 2010 but here’s what he wrote via email:

Lt. Warren Rupf circa 1975

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Shipmates and others with whom I have shared so much,

 I choose an e-mail to share what follows to reduce the likelihood that the message gets caught up in politics or locker room editing (also an opportunity to respond to the charges that Marines cannot read or write. ) Should you choose to offer any response, it also offers an easy to schedule means. I love you all but I am not excited by the idea of putting you (or me) on a path filled with sympathy cards and grown-man tears.

While some tests are still being evaluated and treatment options explored, both are rather grim. I have acute myeloid leukemia. While rather morbid, this may be the only good news. When you buy this brand, you move rather quickly from check-in to check-out. I hate long, slow-moving lines.

Warren Rupf as a young Marine

Some will say that I should have retired earlier and enjoyed the good life. I say: Poppycock, my life could not have been any better. Be it Marine Corps , Office of the Sheriff , going toe-to-toe with a real labor leader or a beer at the slop chute with an old-school reporter, you made my list of those whom made my life one of few regrets.

I know that there are good men with whom I have lost electronic contact please consider sharing this with them as your paths cross and offer them my regards.

Semper Fidelis,

Warren

 

UPDATE: 3:46 p.m. Contra Costa Sheriff Dave Livingston sent this message to his department and other county offices:

As you may have heard by now, our friend and colleague, retired Sheriff Warren Rupf, has been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. He is currently undergoing treatment but is facing many challenges as he fights this disease.

Yesterday he shared his condition with close friends and relatives. His family has asked that we respect his privacy during these difficult times. He is not able to accept visitors or phone calls.

Please keep Sheriff Rupf, his wife Carole, and his entire family in your thoughts and prayers.

I will update you when we have more information.

Thank you.

David Livingston

Sheriff-Coroner

 

 

Posted on Friday, July 6th, 2012
Under: Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 28 Comments »

ConFire Chief Louder braves Contra Costa Taxpayers Association

ConFire Chief Daryl Louder will walk through a wall of fire to rescue women, children and kittens.

But is he brave enough to speak at a breakfast of the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association, whose members have been asking tough questions about his agency’s drive to put a parcel tax measure on the November ballot?

Yep. I saw it for myself. And you can watch it, too. Contra Costa Taxpayers Association Executive Director Kris Hunt is acting as the moderator.

Click here for the main part of his speech.

Click here for the Q&A segment that followed his comments.

What comes through loud and clear in the chief’s presentation is that he views his role as that of an expert on fire protection. And he is giving the district’s elected officials and its residents his best professional advice about how to protect the community from loss of life and property due to fire.

The reasons behind district’s financial woes are numerous, pre-date his arrival two years ago and largely outside his control but what he does know, he told the taxpayers, is that without more money, he will have to shut down seven to 10 out 28 fire stations.

“I cannot protect the community with 10 fewer fire stations,” Louder said.

The county board of supervisors is looking at placing on the November ballot a fire safety tax. The details are still being worked out but supervisors directed staff to look at a $75 annual parcel tax. It would expire in seven years. Seniors age 65 and older would be exempt. The money would be used to keep open the district’s 28 fire stations but not much else.

The board has set a public hearing to vote on the tax measure for July 31, 2012, at 10:30 a.m. in the supervisors’ chambers at 651 Pine St. in Martinez.

 

Posted on Friday, June 29th, 2012
Under: 2012 Contra Costa County election, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 30 Comments »