1

Oakley Dem Frazier takes big money lead in AD11 race

Assembly District 11 Democratic candidate and Oakley Councilman Jim Frazier has outraised and outspent his five opponents by a large margin.

In the latest campaign finance report, Frazier reported contributions of $160,429 since January and expenses of $296,383.

Republican and Suisun City Councilman Mike Hudson is in a distant second. He received $64,177 and spent $62,226.

Arguably, Frazier needed to raise and spend the most money. He is the only Contra Costa candidate running against five Solano County opponents in new district dominated by Solano County. It’s a large field and only the top two finishers will advance to the general election,

The numbers for the other candidates are: Democratic labor negotiator Patricia Hernandez of Rio Vista received $34,894 and spent $64,807; independent and ex-Vacaville councilman Len Augustine received $31,759 and spent $26,473; Democratic retired Benicia fire chief Gene Gantt received $22,364 and spent $49,930.

Democratic programmer and artist Charles Kingeter of Suisun City did not file a report, which presumably means he didn’t raise enough money to trigger the filing requirement.

Assembly District 11 is a newly drawn district that includes Antioch, Oakley, Brentwood, Knightsen, Byon, Discovery Bay and Bethel Island plus the bulk of Solano County.

Assembly District 11, map by Redistricting Partners

 

7

Failed Contra Costa water fee flopped in 18 of 19 cities

The failed Contra Costa clean water fee sank in every city in the county except El Cerrito, according to a vote breakdown.

As you may recall, the county and its 19 cities attempted earlier this year to persuade property owners to pass an annual fee to pay for programs associated with tightening state and federal anti-pollution regulations on stormwater runoff.

The unusual property-owner election coupled with the bad economy and campaign missteps doomed the effort, which went down 59.4 percent to 40.6 percent.

Here are the final numbers ranked by the percentage of support, as provided by the Contra Costa Clean Water Program:

AREA YES (%) NO (%)
El Cerrito 54.9 45.1
Walnut Creek 47.3 52.7
Moraga 45.6 54.4
Orinda 45 55
Richmond 43.5 56.5
Hercules 42.8 57.2
San Ramon 42.6 57.4
Lafayette 42.4 57.6
Danville 42.3 57.7
Pleasant Hill 39.5 60.5
Pittsburg 39.1 60.9
Unincorporated 38.6 61.4
San Pablo 38.2 61.8
Martinez 37.9 62.1
Antioch 37.4 62.6
Concord 37 63
Brentwood 35.7 64.3
Clayton 35.7 64.3
Oakley 33.3 66.7
Pinole 33 67
COUNTYWIDE 40.6 59.4

 

6

Contra Costa Supervisor Gayle Uilkema has died

Contra Costa Supervisor Gayle Uilkema on March 13, 2012.

Contra Costa County Supervisor Gayle Uilkema died early this morning with her family by her side.  She had been battling ovarian cancer since mid-2010.

In her fourth term, the 73-year-old former Lafayette mayor has been absent from her seat behind the board dais in Martinez since December, when she suffered a bout of pneumonia she described as a complication of chemotherapy.

She had hoped to return to her customary full-time schedule this spring although she was planning to retire at the end of the year after serving 16 years.

What I will remember most about Gayle is how much she deep-down loved her job as a county supervisor. She will be missed.

A rosary will be held 7 p.m. Wednesday St. Perpetua Church at 3454 Hamlin Road in Lafayette. The funeral mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, also at St. Perpetua.

Flowers should be sent to Hull’s, 1139 Saranap Ave., Walnut Creek, CA 94595.

Memorial donations may to sent to the American Cancer Society, 101 Ygnacio Valley Rd., Walnut Creek, CA 94596

 

 

2

State controller blasts Hercules’ financial books

State Controller John Chiang today called Hercules’ books the “worst set of accounting records” he has ever seen, and blasted the city on numerous fronts in its audits of the city’s use of federal and state grants and transportation money.

Read my colleague Tom Lochner’s story here.

Here’s what Chiang had to say a few minutes ago:

SACRAMENTO – State Controller John Chiang today released findings from his first two audits of the City of Hercules, one focusing on its use of state and federal grants , the other on the City’s use of transportation funds . The audits found glaring holes in the City’s accounting and management of state and federal grant funds, as well as inappropriate charges against street repair funds.

“During my time in office, this could be the worst set of city accounting records I have seen,” said Controller Chiang. “The City’s books were so poorly managed, that I must question their use of every single federal and state dollar granted to the City.”

Auditors made 32 requests for 107 documents from the City, many of them basic ledger statements that are fundamental to any accounting system, but the City only could provide 15 documents. Requests for meetings with City staff often were ignored or cancelled, and by the end of the review, the City no longer employed a senior accountant.

The City could provide almost no records showing how it spent more than $2 million in state and federal grants, leading auditors to question the use of all grant dollars in 2009-10. Some of the grants included:

  • State Citizens Office of Public Safety: $100,000
  • State Housing and Community Development: $720,000
  • Federal EPA Watershed – West Coast Estuary Initiative: $146,025
  • Homeland Security Grant Program: $4,824

The City’s reporting was so poor that it even failed to list four additional federal grants, which together totaled $159,984.

Auditors also found the City was commingling gas tax receipts – which are solely restricted to fund street improvement projects – in an investment pool with other city funds. Given the City’s questionable fiscal management practices, there is concern that gas tax dollars may have been diverted to fund activities unrelated to public streets and roads, and the Controller has ordered the City of Hercules to remove those dollars and place them in a separate bank account. The City also incorrectly charged more than $39,000 in interest against the gas tax funds, which must be replaced.

“The manner in which city officials approached their fiduciary responsibilities falls below every reasonable standard of care and begins to explain why Hercules is under water,” said Chiang. “The longer the City goes without accounting for its taxpayer dollars, the greater the risk that federal and state authorities will withhold money from the City, further increasing Hercules’ difficulties.”

The audits released today by the Controller will be followed by two separate reviews focusing on the City’s financial internal controls, as well as its redevelopment agency.

18

Contra Costa water initiative loses big

The contentious Contra Costa countywide clean water initiative has failed by nearly 19,000 votes. Property owners rejected the per-parcel fee by a 60 percent to 40 percent margin, which would have raised $14 million a year for water pollution prevention programs.

In a snippy press release, Clean Water Program Director Don Freitas blames the loss on the media, the voters in 1996, the California Constitution and the sun coming up. (Okay, I made up the last one.) Nowhere, it seems, does Freitas point the finger at himself.

Check out what Freitas put out a few minutes ago:

The purpose of this email is to inform you of the final election results for the “2012 Community Clean Water Initiative”. Contrary to recent press articles, Monday, May 7th has always been designated as the deadline to receive this information. Passage of the Initiative required fifty percent (50%) plus one of those casting a vote which included all property owners in Contra Costa County. The results are as follows:

Mailed Ballots – 339,586

Received Valid Ballots – 100,768

“Yes” Ballots – 40,924

“No” Ballots – 59,844

Invalid Ballots – 1,355

Based on the aforementioned results, the Initiative failed by approximately a 60% to a 40% margin. As was stated many times during this process, the defeat of the Initiative does NOT negate the need for all twenty-one affected jurisdictions in Contra Costa County from the regulatory mandates of the Federal Clean Water Act and California’s Porter-Cologne Water Quality Act. Each entity needs to immediately determine how the necessary funding will now be generated in order to implement the regulatory mandates or be found to be in noncompliance and subject to fines which could run into the thousands or millions of dollars.

The election results can and will be interpreted in many ways, but suffice it to say, the methodology outlined in the voter approved 1996 Proposition 218 ( California Constitution XIII ) had great challenges even though the Program followed its provisions religiously. Courts in California have said the legal nexus between urban runoff and property is valid, but the requirements of Proposition 218 became suspect in the voter’s mind and the press. It’s very easy for the press to condemn actions of local government; but rarely if ever, do they suggest valid alternatives. The election result has worsened local government’s ability to finance Federal and/or State mandates when it is done with no local financing. If the general fund becomes the only alternative to finance the regulatory mandates than the public debate will be simplified between “clean water vs. hiring police officers and other vital community services.”

Donald P. Freitas

Project Manager

Contra Costa Clean Water Program

 255 Glacier Drive

 Martinez, CA 94553-4825

 (925) 313-2373

 dfrei@pw.cccounty.us

 

1

CoCo supervisor forum to air May 7 and 9

An election forum featuring two candidates for Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors will air on public access television on May 7 and May 9.

The Contra Costa Council sponsored the lunchtime debate with candidates Tomi Van de Brooke, president of the Contra Costa Community College District Board of Trustees, and Danville Mayor Candace Andersen.

The pair answered questions earlier today in Lafayette about a wide range of topics including pension reform, water policy, tax initiatives and county budget trade-offs. And they sparred over campaign finances and whether positions on social issues matter in the local, nonpartisan race.

The third candidate, solar technology professor Sean White of Lafayette, was out of town on business and could not attend.

Held in Lafayette, the debate will air at 8 p.m. on May 7 and 10 a.m. on May 9 on Contra Costa Television. For Comcast customers, CCTV is on Channel 27; Astound, Channel 32; and AT&T U-verse, Channel 99.

For information, visit www.contracostatv.org.