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Michael Gressett files claims of malicious prosecution in CoCo rape case

Former Contra Costa sex crimes prosecutor Michael Gressett has turned the tables on the agencies and people who pursued him for the alleged rape of a junior colleague nearly four years ago.  Read my full story here.  Watch video of the press conference here.

The state recently dropped the criminal charges, clearing the way for Gressett to file today damage claims — the precursor to a lawsuit — against Contra Costa County and Martinez, where he says he was the target of politically motivated malicious prosecution.

Speaking publicly for the first time about the graphic case that has wracked the District Attorney’s Office, the gregarious 55-year-old Gressett displayed his legendary spunk to journalists gathered at his attorney’s Oakland office.

“What would satisfy me would be a trial where all the people listening to the cross-examination would see what I have been seeing for years,” said Gressett, impeccably dressed in a dark suit and red-checkered tie.

But in other moments, a visibly distressed Gressett choked back tears as he spoke about the devastating impact on him and his family in the years since accusations surfaced that he raped a deputy district attorney with an ice pick, ice cubes and a gun during their lunch hour.

“It has destroyed my life in every way possible,” Gressett said. “If you Google my name, you see pages and pages of me being a rapist. You can never rectify that.”

He said the ordeal was especially hard on his college-age son.

Gressett even contemplated killing himself, anticipating the sexual assaults he would suffer in prison at the hands of other inmates as a former prosecutor convicted of a sex crime.

“It would have been a death sentence for me,” he said.

Read the rest of the story here.



Posted on Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
Under: Contra Costa County, Contra Costa District Attorney's Office, Contra Costa politics | 17 Comments »

CoCo supervisor race endorsements show support

The endorsement battle between Contra Costa County supervisor candidates Candace Andersen and Tomi Van de Brooke is getting interesting although I still maintain that endorsements don’t matter much to typical voters.

Still, the endorsement list does offer insight into where each of the candidates is finding financial and volunteer support, and signals where each might stand on policy decisions.

Andersen secured the nod from retiring Supervisor Gayle Uilkema of Lafayette. This isn’t a big surprise. Uilkema and Andersen, who is Danville’s mayor, have worked together for years on various boards and while the supervisor post is nonpartisan, both women are Republicans.

Andersen also secured recommendations from the county’s top law enforcement leaders along with the unions for the county’s prosecutors and deputy sheriffs.

Van de Brooke, a trustee on the Contra Costa Community College board, has locked down the endorsements of every major Democratic political leader in the county including state Superintendent of Public Schools Tom Torlakson; Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez; state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord; and assemblywomen Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, and Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo.

Will party registration matter in this race? It certainly matters to the two major parties, who view these seats as part of their farm teams. County supervisors do run for higher — and partisan — offices. Torlakson, DeSaulnier and Bonilla were all Contra Costa County supervisors. But for the average voter, whether or not partisanship plays a role will likely depend on how much of a campaign issue the candidates or their supporters make out of it.

There is no significant party registration incentive for either candidate. Of the five supervisor districts, District 2 has the most competitive party registration split: 39.8 percent of registered voters are  Democrats vs. 35.4 percent for Republicans. The other four heavily favor Democrats.

Candace Andersen

A sample of Andersen endorsements (click here for full list on her web site)

  • Gayle Uilkema, Contra Costa County supervisor
  • David Livingston, Contra Costa County Sheriff
  • Mark Peterson, Contra Costa District Attorney
  • Ken Westermann, Contra Costa Deputy Sheriffs Association president
  • Barry Grove, Contra Costa Deputy District Attorney Association president
  • Warren Rupf, retired Contra Costa County Sheriff
  • Charlie Abrams, former Mayor of Walnut Creek
  • Mike Anderson, Lafayette vice mayor
  • Newell Arnerich, Danville vice mayor
  • Bill Clarkson, San Ramon mayor
  • Mike Doyle, Danville councilman
  • Erlene DeMarcus, former BART director
  • Carol Federighi, Lafayette mayor
  • Paul Gardner, San Ramon Valley Unified School District Board of Education
  • Howard Harpham, Moraga vice mayor
  • David Harmer, former candidate for Congress
  • Guy Houston, former assemblyman and former Dublin mayor
  • David Hudson, San Ramon councilman
  • Denise Jennison, San Ramon Valley Unified School District Board of Education
  • Lynne Leach, former assemblywoman
  • Jim Livingstone, San Ramon councilman
  • Roxanne Lindsay, San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District
  • Judy Lloyd, former presidential appointee, U.S. Dept of Labor & U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
  • Mike Metcalf, Moraga mayor
  • Sue McNulty Rainey, former mayor of Walnut Creek and Moraga
  • Richard Rainey, former state senator, assemblyman and Contra Costa County Sheriff
  • Pat Rudebusch, Orinda Union School Board President
  • Christopher Severson, Orinda School Board Member
  • Sue Severson, Orinda councilwoman
  • David “Shoe” Shuey, Clayton councilman
  • Karen Stepper, Danville councilwoman
  • Robert Storer, Danville councilman
  • Hank Stratford, Clayton councilman
  • Dave Trotter, Moraga councilman
  • Jack Weir, Pleasant Hill councilman

Tomi Van de Brooke

A sampling of Van de Brooke endorsements (click here for full list on her web site)

  • Rep.  George Miller, D-Martinez
  • State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
  • State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord
  • Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla, D-Concord
  • Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo
  • Jim Kellogg, California Fish & Game Commissioner
  • Joseph A. Ovick, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools
  • John Coleman, East Bay MUD Board of Directors president
  • Robert J. Calone, Contra Costa Community College trustee
  • John E. Marquez, Contra Costa Community College trustee
  • Susanna Schlendorf, former Danville mayor
  • Tim Sbranti, Dublin mayor
  • Robert Schroder, Martinez mayor
  • Karen Mendonca, Moraga mayor
  • Brandt Andersson, Lafayette councilman
  • Anne Grodin, former Lafayette mayor of Lafayette
  • Victoria Smith, Orinda mayor
  • Amy Worth, Orinda councilwoman
  • Dean Orr, Orinda councilman
  • Laura Abrams, former Orinda mayor
  • Bob Simmons, Walnut Creek mayor
  • Kish Rajan, Walnut Creek vice mayor
  • Cindy Silva, Walnut Creek councilwoman
  • Kristina Lawson, Walnut Creek City councilwoman
  • Gwen Regalia, Former Walnut Creek mayor
  • David Bowlby, Alamo MAC Chair
  • Nancy Dommes, Alamo MAC Member
  • Ed Best, Alamo MAC Member
  • Steve Roberti, Fmr Secretary’s Representative, US Dept. of Labor
  •  Contra Costa County Firefighters




Posted on Monday, March 19th, 2012
Under: 2012 primary election, Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 25 Comments »

CoCo needs to fill 44 redevelopment oversight openings

Contra Costa County needs a few good men and women. Actually, it needs way way more than a few.

The Board of Supervisors must fill 44 slots on the oversight boards that will supervise the dismantling of redevelopment agencies within the county.

The task is horrifically complex and the pay is zilch. But the county has no choice.

The state Supreme Court earlier this year upheld legislation that shut down as of Feb. 1 California’s 400 redevelopment agencies including those in Contra Costa County and 16 of its cities. Lawmakers said redevelopment was siphoning off too much property tax money away from schools and other public services.

The law mandates the formation of an oversight board for every former redevelopment agency. The members will decide how to dispose of the assets, pay off the bills and restore money as quickly as possible to cities, schools, fire and other special districts.

Membership ranges from elected officials to former redevelopment agency employees to representatives of the county board of education and the public.

The Contra Costa Board of Supervisors’ appointment list is massive:

  • Two people each to oversight boards in 16 Contra Costa cities.
  • One person each to represent the Contra Costa Fire District in eight cities, where the district is the largest special district. (The board of supervisors is the district’s governing board.)
  • Four people to the county’s former redevelopment agency oversight board.

Eligibility requirements vary but most of the open posts call for a member of the public who is not an elected official and require residency in the city or district in which the individual seeks to represent.

The time commitment also varies. Some former redevelopment agencies were larger than others and will take longer to unwind.

Supervisors will directly appoint some of the posts while the full board will select others.

Applications should be returned by noon on March 20 to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, Room 106, County Administration Building, 651 Pine St., Martinez CA 94553.

A Board of Supervisors’ committee will conduct interviews on March 26 at 9 a.m. at the county administration building.

For questions or to request an application form, call 925-335-1900 or visit Residents may also contact county staffer Tim Ewell at 925-335-1036 or



Posted on Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
Under: Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics, redevelopment | No Comments »

CoCo supervisors meeting: What goes on here?

One of my adult children asked me the other day, “What do you do at those county supervisor meetings?”

Nothing like hearing from a person with a real life to put your life’s work into perspective.

Nonetheless, I promised to explain the experience.

So, at this moment, I am blogging from the press table at the Board of Supervisors’ chambers in Martinez.

What is going on? I’ll update this list as the day unfolds. But the agenda lacks obvious controversy. I don’t attend if the items don’t look promising but today’s offerings include a discussion about the unfunded liability for the retiree health benefits of county employees and an update on a proposed fire district tax for the November ballot. Government is very often an incremental experience and there are few substitutes for actually hearing the information first-hand.

  • Supervisor Gayle Uilkema makes her first appearance at a board meeting since fell ill with pneumonia. She is being treated for cancer and the pneumonia was an unwanted complication. But she looked and sounded good. She joked about the wheelchair, saying she “loved being driven around.”
  • Presentation commemorating Girl Scouts week. The young Scouts were adorable in their uniforms and they handed out green re-usable water bottles. (I was hoping for Girl Scout cookies.)
  • Honored retired county emergency medical services director Art Lathrop, who was selected state EMS administrator of the year from the California Emergency Services Authority.
  • Declared March “Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Month” and heard a heart-breaking story from a mother whose son died after an overdose.
  • Heard the 2011 annual report from the county’s Mental Health Commission.
  • The poetry reading was unexpected. Gadfly Ralph Hoffmann complained that a man by the name of Joel Barker stole some lines from one of his copyrighted poems and asked the county attorney to investigate. And yes, he read the poem out loud.
  • Ellen Smith (not Wilson, sorry, there are two transportation guru Ellens!) from BART delivers update on planning for eBART out to East Contra Costa County. She may also have a career in stand-up if the transit gig flops.  Staff turned out all the lights when Wilson started her slideshow and when Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho asked if Ellen could read her notes in the dark, she didn’t miss a beat. “Yes, my notes are in Braille.” BART is working on right of way but still doesn’t have money for construction.
  • A bit of good financial news:  The county has cut its unfunded liability for retiree health care to $968 million. It was $2.6 billion in 2006. The number matters because the higher the figure, the higher the number of dollars the county must contribute each year out of its general purpose funds toward paying it off over a 30-year period. Six year ago, the county’s payment was $216 million. This fiscal year, it was $59.8 million. The drop is the result, among other things, of cuts in county employee benefits.
  • The board dealt with a handful of abatements, those pay-up orders to landowners who fail to clean up their properties and the county does it for them. The county has spent quite a bit of time trying to clean up areas in the Delta such as Bethel Island.
  • Board goes into closed session — where they also eat lunch — and will return at 1:30 p.m. for a meeting as the Contra Costa Fire District Board and Housing Authority.
  • Supervisor Federal Glover is gone today. He’s in Washington, D.C., for conferences including the National Association of Counties.
  • Housing Authority meeting cancelled. No quorum.
  • Supervisors convene as the Contra Costa Fire Protection District board. They hear that the department is crafting contingency plans in the event the Rodeo-Hercules fire district shuts one of its two stations after April 1 and/or if East Contra Costa Fire Protection District residents fail to pass an annual $197 per parcel tax measure on the June 5 ballot. Fire districts operate under mutual aid agreements and when one agency cuts service, it impacts its neighbors.
  • Starting with public comment and continuing with the county supervisors, Confire Chief Daryl Louder is repeatedly asked to provide more back-up documents and meatier staff reports with the agenda. “This is Government Sunshine Week. Let’s have more sunshine,” said Kris Hunt with the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association. Hey, it’s still better than most of the items on the last fire board agenda, which had no staff reports.
  • The county’s proposal to provide contract fire and emergency medical services to Pinole failed to include the cost of retiree health care and must be revised, supervisors told Chief Louder. ConFire and the Rodeo-Hercules district are competing for the deal. “We need to tell Pinole as soon as possible because they are relying on these figures to make policy decisions,” Supervisor John Gioia said.
  • News happening with the proposed parcel tax for ConFire and the impacts if it doesn’t pass in November …
  • I’m off to write dailies.
  • And here is what I just filed:

Posted on Tuesday, March 13th, 2012
Under: Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 5 Comments »

CoCo Supervisor Uilkema returns to public life after illness

Contra Costa County Supervisor Gayle Uilkema returned to the board chambers for the first time since she became ill with pneumonia in January.

The Lafayette lawmaker has been fighting cancer for the past year and the pneumonia was a complication of her treatment.

No one loves this job more than Gayle, who will retire this year after 15 years on the board.

“I really miss you guys, all of you,” she told me before the meeting started. (Yes, I think she even meant me!)

Gayle says she plans to ramp back up into public life using the slow lane, attending meetings for an hour or two until she works her way back up to a full schedule.



Posted on Tuesday, March 13th, 2012
Under: Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 1 Comment »

Filing deadline passes and East Bay ballots firm up

The 5 p.m. filing deadline today has come and gone and election clerks in the East Bay have delivered their promised preliminary candidate and ballot lists.

Check out the list below for Contra Costa, Alameda and portions of Solano County. There are a few surprises, including a fair number of entirely uncontested races. (The women rule here, as you’ll see.)

My favorite development is the similarity between the name of incumbent Democratic state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier and his Republican challenger Mark Meuser. The Marks might want to hand out reading glasses to voters in the hopes the magnification effect will help them choose the right one.

Voters in a dozen cities, school and fire districts will also find requests for new taxes on their ballots. While no one wants to pay more, residents are far more likely to support local measures because they feel the money will stay closer to home.

The following individuals and ballot measures had qualified for the June 5 ballot as of information available late today. (i) denotes incumbent. (Keep in mind, election clerks may still be processing applications from those who filed at the last minute.)

(Ed. Note: I’ve updated this at 4:30 p.m. Saturday — Josh)


District 3: John Garamendi, Dem. (i); Kim Vann, Rep.; Eugene Ray, Rep., Rick Tubbs, Rep.

District 5: Mike Thompson, Dem., (i); Randy Loftin, Rep.; John Cilley, Rep.

District 9: Jerry McNerney, Dem., (i); John McDonald, Rep.; Ricky Gill, Rep.

District 11: George Miller, Dem. (i); Cheryl Sudduth, Dem.; John Fitzgerald, Dem.; Virginia Fuller, Rep.

District 13: Barbara Lee, Dem. (i); Marilyn Singleton, nonpartisan; Justin Jelincic, Dem.

District 15: Fortney “Pete” Stark, Dem. (i); Eric Swalwell, Dem.; Christopher Pareja, nonpartisan.

District 17: Mike Honda, Dem. (i); Charles Richardson, Lib.; Evelyn Li, Dem.


District 3: Lois Wolk, Dem. (i)

District 7: Mark DeSaulnier, Dem. (i); Mark Meuser, Rep.

District 9: Loni Hancock, Dem. (i)


District 11: (No incumbent) Jim Frazier, Dem.; Patricia Hernandez, Dem.; Gene Gantt, Dem.; Len Augustine, nonpartisan; Mike Hudson, Rep., Charles Kingeter, Dem.

District 14: Susan Bonilla, Dem. (i)

District 15: Nancy Skinner, Dem. (i)

District 16: Joan Buchanan, Dem. (i); Al Phillips, Rep.

District 18: (No incumbent) Rob Bonta, Dem.; Joel Young, Dem.; Abel Guillen, Dem., Rhonda Weber, Rep.

District 20: (No incumbent) Bill Quirk, Dem.; Jennifer Ong, Dem.; Sarabjit Cheema, Dem.; Luis Reynoso, Rep.; Mark Green, nonpartisan

District 25: Bob Wieckowski, Dem. (i)

ALAMEDA COUNTY (nonpartisan races)

Board of Supervisors, District 1: Scott Haggerty (i)

Board of Supervisors, District 4: Nate Miley (i); Tojo Thomas

Board of Supervisors, District 5: Keith Carson (i)

Hayward City Council (four seats): Barbara Halliday (i), Francisco Zermeno (i), Olden Henson, (i), Al Mendall, Greg Jones, Fahim Ajaz Khan, Ralph Farias Jr. and Peter Bufete. (Filing deadline extended to March 14 as one of the incumbents did not seek re-election.)

Board of Education, District 2: None

Board of Education, District 3: Ken Berrick (i)

Board of Education, District 4: None

Board of Education, District 5: Frederick Sims (i)

Board of Education, District 6: Eileen McDonald (i)

Zone 7 (three seats): Sandy Figuers (i); Dick Quigley (i)

Union Sanitary District, Ward 1: Manuel Fernandez (i)

Union Sanitary District, Ward 2: Patricia Kite (i)

Union Sanitary District, Ward 3: Anjali Lathi (i)


Board of Supervisors, District 2: Sean White of Lafayette, Candace Andersen of Danville; and Tomi Van de Brooke of Orinda. (Filing deadline extended to March 14 as incumbent Gayle Uilkema did not seek re-election.)

Board of Supervisors, District 3: Mary Nejedly Piepho of Discovery Bay (i)

Board of Supervisors, District 5: Federal Glover of Pittsburg (i)


Antioch Unified School District: $59.5 million bond measure for school facility upgrades. Requires 55 percent voter approval.

Antioch: Two measures. One seeks to change city clerk and treasurer from elected to appointed position. The other would convert elected mayor to a rotating position from among members of the City Council. Both require majority approval.

Crockett Community Services District: Increase in the $50 recreation per parcel tax to $110 for maintenance of the area’s parks. Two-thirds vote required.

East Contra Costa Fire Protection District: Annual $197 per parcel tax to maintain fire service. Two-thirds vote required.

Hercules: Two measures. One seeks voter approval to sell the city’s electric company and requires a two-thirds vote. The second is an emergency funding proposal for a four-year, 1/2-cent sales tax to maintain city services in the wake of a deficit. Majority approval required.

Pittsburg: A 10-year sales tax (1/2 cent for first five years, 1/4 cent in the second five years) to raise money for city services. Majority approval required.

San Pablo: A 10-year sales tax (1/2 cent for first five years, 1/4 cent in the second five years) to raise money for city services. Majority approval required.

West Contra Costa Unified School District: Five-year renewal and increase in parcel tax. Requires two-thirds vote.


Peralta Community College District: Eight-year annual $48 per parcel tax. The funds would be used to preserve 1,900 classes a year at the college serving students from Oakland, Alameda, Piedmont, Berkeley, Albany and Emeryville. Requires two-thirds vote.

Dublin Unified School District: $99 million school bond measure to build and improve classrooms, buildings and equipment. Requires 55 percent voter approval.

Hayward Unified School District: Annual $58 per parcel tax for school operations. Two-thirds vote required.

New Haven Unified School District (Hayward): Four-year annual $180 per parcel tax to fund school operations. It is similar to a measure that failed last May. Two-thirds vote required.

City of Alameda: A 30-year half-cent sales tax increase to fund library improvements, replace aging police and fire vehicles and construct a new emergency center. Two-thirds vote required.


Countywide: Would extend existing one-eighth of 1 percent library tax for 16 years to fund ongoing operations. Majority approval required.

Board of Supervisors, District 1 (no incumbent): Susan Anthony, Erin Hannigan, Tony Intintoli Jr., Lee Simmons.

Board of Supervisors, District 2: Steve Messina, Linda Seifert (i)

Board of Supervisors, District 5: Mike Reagan (i); Skip Thomson


Posted on Friday, March 9th, 2012
Under: 2012 primary election, Alameda County, Alameda County Board of Supervisors, ballot measures, Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 28 Comments »

CoCo top cops choose Andersen over Van de Brooke

Van de Brooke


Contra Costa County’s top law enforcement leaders have endorsed Danville Mayor Candace Andersen for county supervisor over rival Contra Costa Community College Trustee Tomi Van de Brooke.

District Attorney Mark Peterson and Sheriff David Livingston, along with Deputy Sheriffs Association President Ken Westermann and Deputy District Attorneys Association President Barry Grove, are scheduled to show up at noon today in Martinez at the election office with Andersen as she files her final candidacy paperwork. Friday is the filing deadline.

The four men interviewed Andersen and Van de Brooke at length on Tuesday. Along with most public agencies in the aftermath of the 2008 recession, the sheriff and district attorney’s office have been hit with big budget cuts.

“Both candidates are good people,” Sheriff Livingston said. “But Candace was able to point to a specific record of support for law enforcement in Danville in ways that are quite compelling. With the drastic cuts that public safety has experienced in this county, we have to support a candidate who has a record of supporting public safety.”

Westermann said “the DSA and Candace Anersen share the same values of prioritizing public safety and fiscal responsibility. We are confident she is the best candidate to represent the citizens of District 2.”

Grove said, “After interviewing both candidates, we felt Candace sincerely believes that law enforcement is a priority in the county. We think she understands the issues better than her counterpart. And frankly, I think she brings common sense to the county.”

The deputy sheriffs have settled their labor contract dispute while the district attorneys and the county are still in negotiations.

The same law enforcement coalition endorsed last week incumbent Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg in his re-election bid. Glover’s only potential challenger to surface so far, Martinez Councilman Mike Menesini, has pulled candidacy papers but had not yet filed the final paperwork as of this morning.

Andersen and Van de Brooke, of Orinda, are running for the District 2 seat on the Board of Supervisors in the June 5 election.  Solar energy professor Sean White of Lafayette has also filed for the post. Incumbent Gayle Uilkema is retiring.

If one candidate receives 50 percent plus 1 vote in June, he or she will win outright. If no candidate takes a majority, the top two vote-getters will compete in a run-off in the November general election.


Posted on Thursday, March 8th, 2012
Under: Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 25 Comments »

CoCo civil grand jury seeks pitbulls, er, volunteers

The Contra Costa Civil Grand Jury is looking for watchdogs with a strong bite and a willingness to growl at public agencies who stray from the ranch.

And heaven knows the county’s residents need you what with the steady decline in the numbers of the press corps.

The application deadline is April 13. Read below for all the details.

GRAND JURY: The Contra Costa County Superior Court is accepting applications for Civil Grand Jury Service for the fiscal year 2012-2013 term.

The Civil Grand Jury is made up of 19 members who serve for one year, July
through June, to monitor, review and report on city and county governments, special districts and school districts.

“Grand Juries are the citizen watchdogs of civic functions,” says current Grand Jury Foreperson Lloyd Bell. “All county citizens have the authority to call the juries’ attention to issues within their governmental agencies that they think should be reviewed .”

Every effort is made to ensure that the Grand Jury reflects the makeup of the residents of the county. Approximately 60 applicants will be selected to be interviewed by ‘the Grand Jury Selection Committee, which is composed of Superior Court Judges.

After interviews, the judges will nominate approximately 30 applicants to constitute a grand jury pool from which the final panel of 19 will be selected by random drawing.

Individuals selected for service will be expected to be available during the last two weeks of June to meet with outgoing jurors, tour county facilities, meet with department heads, become familiar with their colleagues, learn about juror responsibilities and procedures, and select committees on which they will serve.

Grand jurors must be a United States citizen, 18 years of age or older, who have been a resident of Contra Costa County for at least one year prior to selection.  They cannot currently hold any elected position within the county. Applicants should have reliable transportation to Martinez, and must be prepared to devote at least 20 hours per week to Civil Grand Jury service.

Citizens who work should apply only if they can be released from their jobs to perform the jury duties. Applicants selected as one of the 30 nominees will be fingerprinted before the drawing.

Jurors receive a stipend for attending full jury and committee meetings and are reimbursed for allowable jury travel. Parking permits are provided to park in the City of Martinez while performing Grand Jury duties.

Persons interested in applying may contact the Office of the Civil Grand Jury at (925) 957-5638, or visit the website at to receive additional information regarding service on the Civil Grand Jury and to obtain an application.


Posted on Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
Under: Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Consultant prematurely mails stormwater election flyers

The nearly 30 people who testified Tuesday before the Contra Costa Board of  Supervisors against a proposed new stormwater fee  arrived home later in the day to find an unpleasant surprise: A fold-out mailer promoting the countywide fee election that had been approved just a few hours earlier.

Critics immediately called the public hearing on the Contra Costa Community Clean Water Initiative a sham and started phoning supervisors’ offices.

It looks bad. The mailers were clearly prepared and mailed before the supervisors voted on whether to proceed with the election.

But the county says an outside consulting firm mistakenly and prematurely sent out the mailers during a staff changeover.

Supervisors and County Administrator David Twa are very displeased with SCI Consulting Group, which has a $1.1 million contract to help the county and its 19 cities put together the stormwater fee election.

“We did convey to (SCI) that this did a great deal of harm to the entire process and only adds to the belief that government fails to provide meaningful opportunities for the public to be heard,” Twa told me in an email.

See the mailer below.


Posted on Thursday, February 9th, 2012
Under: Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics, water | 13 Comments »

BART director won’t seek Contra Costa supervisor seat

Joel Keller

BART Director Joel Keller will not challenge Contra Costa County Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho, saying he wants to stay around to see through the construction of eBART into east Contra Costa County.

“I helped start eBART a number of years ago and I am going to stay at BART and see it through,” said Keller, a former Antioch mayor who was re-elected to BART in 2010.

eBART is a planned extension of the train system into Antioch and points east.

His decision to stay out of the race may well clear the path for Piepho’s easy re-election to a third term. No other challenger has emerged and while the official filing period doesn’t open until Feb. 13, the clock is ticking to set up a campaign structure and raise money.

Three Contra Costa supervisor seats will be on the ballot in June including Piepho’s slot and that of  supervisors Federal Glover and Gayle Uilkema. Glover has one declared challenger, Martinez Councilman Mike Menesini. Uilkema is retiring and two women are vying for her seat — Danville Mayor Candace Andersen and Contra Costa Community College Trustee Tomi Van de Brooke.


Posted on Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
Under: Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 6 Comments »