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Ex-Walnut Creek mayor named to medical board

Gov. Jerry Brown appointed former Walnut Creek Mayor Kristina Lawson to the Medical Board of California on Wednesday.

Kristina LawsonLawson, 38, a Democrat, served on the city’s council from 2010 to 2014 and as mayor in 2014; she chose not to seek re-election last year. A land use, environment and natural resources attorney, Lawson has been a partner at Manatt, Phelps and Phillips since 2011; earlier, she was an associate and shareholder at Miller, Starr, Regalia from 2003 to 2011 and an associate at Meyers Nave from 2001 to 2003.

Lawson earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from the University of Arizona and her law degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law.

The Medical Board of California licenses and regulates physicians and surgeons and enforces the state’s Medical Practice Act. Members are appointed by the governor but must be confirmed by the state Senate, and while serving receive a $100 per diem.

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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.

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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.

 

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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

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.

 

 

 

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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)