4

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.

 

 

 

1

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)

 

28

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

 

 

30

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.

 

4

Candace Andersen takes oath of office in Contra Costa County

Candace Andersen

Elegantly attired in red in honor of the late Supervisor Gayle Uilkema, former Danville Mayor Candace Andersen was sworn into office Tuesday as the District 2 representative on the Contra Costa County board of supervisors. (Click here to read story at ContraCostaTimes.com.)

Click here to watch video of Andersen take the oath of office with Clerk-Recorder Steve Weir.

Click here to watch video of Andersen’s post-oath comments.

Andersen, 51, was overwhelmingly elected to the District 2 seat in the June primary election, beating out two competitors.

But her official term wasn’t slated to start until Jan. 1, which would have left the seat vacant for more than six months. In the wake of her decisive win, Andersen, other elected officials and labor leaders petitioned Gov. Jerry Brown for an early appointment, which he did late Monday.

Andersen took the oath of office before a crowd of supporters, her husband, Phil, and former Danville Town Council colleagues.

District 2 includes the San Ramon Valley, Alamo, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga and Rossmoor.

“You will learn that Candace is truly a good person,” Danville Vice Mayor Newell Arnerich told the supervisors and the audience. “She is easy to get along with. She is bright. She has a smile even in the most difficult of times.”

Andersen expressed sadness at leaving the Danville council, where she has served since 2003. And she paid homage to Uilkema, who died in May after a battle with cancer but had endorsed the Danville mayor as her replacement on the board.

Uilkema offered invaluable advice on numerous fronts before her death, Andersen said, including a recommendation that she always keep a classic red suit in her closet for auspicious occasions.

“I have high heels to fill,” said the attorney and mother of six. “But I am looking forward to representing not just Danville but the entire county.”

Before her election to the Danville council, Andersen was elected to the Morgan Hill council.

She began her legal career as a clerk and deputy prosecuting attorney for the city and county of Honolulu in her home state of Hawaii, from 1983 to 1987. She earned her law degree at Brigham Young University.

17

Danville Mayor Andersen appointed to CoCo supervisors

Contra Costa Supervisor Candace Andersen

Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Danville Mayor Candace Andersen to the Contra Costa County board of supervisors late Monday night and she will be sworn into office Tuesday at 9 a.m., in Martinez, just in time to join her four colleagues on the debate later in the day over whether to put a fire parcel tax on the November ballot.

Andersen was overwhelmingly elected to the District 2 seat in the June primary election, beating out competitors Tomi Van de Brooke of Orinda and Sean White of Lafayette.

The supervisor-elect’s official term wasn’t slated to start until Jan. 1, which would have left the seat vacant for more than six months.

The late incumbent supervisor Gayle Uilkema died in May after a battle with cancer, and she had been unable to perform many of her public duties since last December.

District 2 includes the San Ramon Valley, Alamo, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga and Rossmoor.

Here’s what the governor’s office said about her in a release that went out a few minutes ago:

Candace Andersen, 51, of Danville, has been appointed to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. Andersen has served as mayor and councilmember for the Town of Danville since 2003. She was a councilmember for the City of Morgan Hill from 1993 to 1994 and an attorney at the Law Offices of Craig J. Bassett from 1988 to 1991. Andersen served as a clerk and deputy prosecuting attorney for the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii from 1983 to 1987. She earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $97,483. Andersen is a Republican.