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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 »

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.

Posted on Tuesday, June 26th, 2012
Under: Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 4 Comments »

Contra Costa public employee union seeks Andersen appointment

Candace Andersen

Contra Costa Public Employees Union Local One may have endorsed her opponent but now that Danville Mayor Candace Andersen has won the District 2 supervisor seat in a landslide, the labor group is graciously asking Gov. Jerry Brown to appoint the victor.

“Ms. Andersen was decisively elected to the District 2 seat,” wrote Local One General Manager Larry Edginton in a letter to the governor’s office. “The voters of that district have spoken. They have elected Mayor Andersen to represent them on the Board of Supervisors. There is no reason not to fill it or appoint someone else.”

The Contra Costa Building Trades and Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo — both endorsed Contra Costa Community College District board President Tomi Van de Brooke — have also sent letters recommending the appointment.

Local One, which represents 2,000 Contra Costa County employees, rightly argues that District 2 residents deserve a representative as soon as possible and the restoration of a fifth supervisor will avert any potential tie votes that might create governance programs.

Andersen beat Van de Brooke on June 5 by 31 percentage points. She will take the office held by the late Gayle Uilkema, who intended to retire at the end of the year but died in May from ovarian cancer.

The district office has been without a full-time supervisor since last winter, however. Uilkema had been unable to work for much of the year although she tried to keep up from home until very close to her death.

Andersen’s term doesn’t  officially start until Jan. 1, 2013, but the governor could appoint her to the post early. As a general law county, only the governor may fill vacant supervisor positions.

The Contra Costa Board of Supervisors is expected to approve a similar request of the governor at its June 26 meeting.

There’s no official word out of the governor’s office yet although nothing is likely to happen until after the election results have been certified.

But there is no obvious barrier to the appointment. Partisanship is unlikely to disqualify the Republican mayor because she won by such a vast margin. She also generally opposes new taxes but says she hasn’t taken a position on the governor’s tax initiative, hasn’t signed a “no new taxes pledge” and says she won’t, and has supported all the school bonds and tax measures in the San Ramon Valley.

“I’ve been in contact with the governor’s appointment in office to find out what they need from me,” Andersen said. “I’m hopeful it will happen in July but it is in the governor’s hands.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on Thursday, June 14th, 2012
Under: 2012 primary election, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 16 Comments »

Former Hercules Mayor Joe Eddy McDonald dies

Joe Eddy McDonald, the lively former Hercules mayor who leveraged a personal tragedy to make Highway 4 in West Contra Costa County safer for all drivers, has died.

Read my colleague Tom Lochner’s story here. http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_20832382/former-hercules-mayor-joe-eddy-mcdonald-dies?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com

 

 

Posted on Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
Under: Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 2 Comments »

Primary post-mortems on CA15, AD20 and AD25

I spent yesterday starting to unpack what the new top-two system hath wrought upon California’s state legislative and House races – something we’ll be unpacking for years, I suspect – but today I’ve some time to dissect the still-unofficial results in few interesting Bay Area races.

15th Congressional District

Incumbent Pete Stark, D-Fremont, finished first with 41.8 percent of the vote, followed by Democrat Eric Swalwell, a Dublin councilman and Alameda County prosecutor, at 36 percent; eliminated was conservative independent Chris Pareja, a Hayward businessman, at 22.2 percent. Stark is in trouble – I can’t imagine a single, solitary Pareja voter switching to Stark, but I can imagine lots of them voting for anybody but Stark. Stark won the Alameda County sections of the district 42.9 percent to Swalwell’s 35.3 percent, but Swalwell prevailed in the smaller Contra Costa area, 40 percent to Stark’s 33.1 percent.

Stark’s best hopes are that elevated Democratic turnout and the coattails of President Obama (who endorsed him) will give him an edge in November, while the more moderate Swalwell will continue romancing not only Democrats but also independents and Republicans. The key to Stark’s strategy might be saying as little as possible in live public appearances, given his disastrous spring gaffes.

20th Assembly District

Hayward councilman Bill Quirk, a Democrat, finished first in the race for this open seat, with 30.2 percent of the vote, followed by fellow Democrat Jennifer Ong, an optometrist from Hayward, at 24.9 percent. Eliminated were Union City Mayor Mark Green, an independent, at 20.9 percent; Hayward school board member Luis Reynoso, a Republican, at 18.1 percent; and Union City school board member Sarabjit Cheema, a Democrat, at 5.8 percent.

This was somewhat surprising, as I thought Green – mayor for 19 years – would have the name recognition to finish second behind Quirk. But Green, a longtime Democrat, switched to no-party-preference in 2010 and probably had hoped he’d attract the district’s voters who wouldn’t vote for a Democrat; that was foiled by Reynoso’s relatively late entry into the race. Ong, meanwhile, staged a direct-mail blitz – my household got 13 pieces of mail from her (including my favorite of this season), compared to two from Quirk, two from Green and one from Cheema. Quirk has the party establishment’s support, and easily is the odds-on favorite for November.

25th Assembly District

Incumbent Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, finished with 41.4 percent of the vote, followed by Republican ArLyne Diamond, a management consultant from Santa Clara, at 30.7 percent; eliminated was Democrat Pete McHugh, at 27.9. This district was radically redrawn last year, splitting Wieckowski’s power base in Fremont (where he was a councilman) and extending much further down into Santa Clara County. That’s where McHugh, Milpitas’ vice mayor and a former county supervisor, hoped his name recognition would give him an edge.

But ultimately, Wieckowski ran neck-and-neck with McHugh in Santa Clara County – a difference of only 10 votes out of the almost 20,000 cast for the two of them – while beating McHugh 4-to-1 in Alameda County. The district is registered 45.3 percent Democrat, 19.7 percent Republican and 30.5 percent no-party-preference, so it’ll be tough (read as: nothing short of a miracle) for Diamond to carry it in November.

Posted on Thursday, June 7th, 2012
Under: 2012 Assembly election, 2012 Congressional Election, 2012 primary election, Assembly, Bob Wieckowski, Pete Stark, U.S. House | No Comments »

Labor and abortion rights advocates play in CoCo District 2 supervisor race

Labor and abortion rights activists have poured nearly $50,000 into the intense county supervisor race between Contra Costa Community College Board President Tomi Van de Brooke and Danville Mayor Candace Andersen.

Funded by two independent expenditure committees, robocalls and mailers remind voters leading up to Tuesday’s election that Van de Brooke is the abortion-rights option while Andersen, a conservative Mormon, calls abortion a social issue irrelevant to the job of a county supervisor.

Whether or not a candidate’s positions on social issues do, or should, matter in a local nonpartisan race has been a combustible thread throughout the campaign.

Read full story here.   See mailers below.

 

 

 


Posted on Thursday, May 31st, 2012
Under: 2012 primary election, Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 17 Comments »

Ex-CoCo sex crimes prosecutor Gressett sues

Former Contra Costa sex crimes prosecutor Michael Gressett filed a sweeping lawsuit in Superior Court in Martinez today alleging that nearly every agency and person involved in his 2008 aborted rape case engaged in defamation and politically motivated malicious prosecution. Read full story here.

The defendant list includes Contra Costa County and its district attorney’s office along with a handful of its current and former deputy district attorneys and investigators. He also named the state and several deputy attorney generals; Martinez and several officers; retired District Attorney Bob Kochly; and unsuccessful 2010 district attorney candidate Dan O’Malley, and O’Malley’s former law partner, Tom McKenna.

Gressett, who learned in February that the state would not refile rape charges after a judge threw the case out on procedural grounds, seeks unspecified awards for lost wages and benefits, emotional distress, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.

A contract deputy district attorney accused Gressett of raping her in May 2008 at his Martinez apartment. She said he used ice cubes, an ice pick and a gun.

Gressett said the sex was rough but consensual.

An independent arbitrator later ruled the allegations unsubstantiated and a Superior Court judge threw the case out after state prosecutors failed to disclose a $450,000 settlement to the alleged victim, among other procedural problems.

Read the full complaint here: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/121728287/Michael-Gressett-lawsuit

Posted on Wednesday, May 30th, 2012
Under: Contra Costa County, Contra Costa District Attorney's Office, Contra Costa politics | 21 Comments »

Counties deal with military/overseas voting snafu

Eleven California counties including Contra Costa, San Mateo and San Francisco didn’t meet a federal law’s deadline for sending out vote-by-mail ballots to military families and other Americans living abroad, federal and state officials announced Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of Justice simultaneously announced a lawsuit and a settlement agreement Tuesday to remedy the situation under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) for this June 5 primary vote.

“We know that we made a mistake, and we have scrambled to correct it before being told to do so,” Contra Costa County Registrar Steve Weir said Tuesday, acknowledging that his office sent ballots out late to 1,496 military and overseas voters – well over half of his county’s 2,450 total such voters, and about 18 percent of the 8,249 ballots that went out late statewide. “We are working to make this right.”

The long and short of it: In San Mateo, San Francisco and two other counties, officials must email all affected UOCAVA voters for whom the county offices have email addresses to notify them that if they have not yet received their ballots, they may choose to receive their ballots for the June 5 election by fax or email, instead of by postal mail; advise them of the option for returning a voted ballot by fax; and offer the option to return the ballot by express delivery at the county government’s expense. If the county has no email address for a voter, the county elections official must contact the voter by fax or telephone if that contact information is on file.

Weir in Contra Costa County and his peers in six other counties had already set about e-mailing affected voters and/or sending them out a second ballot by express delivery. For any they didn’t already reach, they’ll have to abide by the same conditions described above.

The UOCAVA requires that the state send absentee ballots to thousands of California’s eligible military and overseas voters at least 45 days before the election date. But that’s a task that ultimately falls to each of the 58 counties’ voter registrars, and despite Secretary of State Debra Bowen issuing four memos and holding a conference call with the registrars since November, 11 counties didn’t meet the deadline.

Weir said Contra Costa County had been part of a 13-county pilot program to use e-mail as the main method of sending ballots to military and overseas voters. But when that project fell through, the county used e-mail to send those voters their ballots anyway even though most of them had asked to get them by fax or mail, he said: “This was clearly a management mistake on our part.”

“Once we knew of our mistake, we moved very quickly to send a second ballot, in the manner that the voter had requested,” he said. “I think the stats on returns indicate that we have gotten to those voters.”

Weir said his county’s UOCAVA voters are 44.5 percent Democrat, compared to 49 percent countywide; 16.9 percent Republican, compared to 25 percent countywide; and 36.5 percent no-party-preference, compared to 21 percent countywide.

Bowen’s office reported today that of the 8,249 ballots transmitted after the 45-day deadline, most went out within two days after the deadline; only 41 military and overseas ballots were transmitted after April 27.

“Members of our armed forces, their families and overseas citizens are entitled to a complete and meaningful opportunity to vote, and the Justice Department is committed to seeking full access to the ballot box for all voters – regardless of where they are on Election Day,” Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a news release today. “The California Secretary of State worked cooperatively with the department and agreed to implement measures that will ensure California’s military and overseas voters will have the opportunity to fully participate in June’s primary election and future federal elections.”

Today’s deal, which needs an OK from a federal judge in Sacramento, also commits Bowen’s office to closely monitor and certify California counties’ transmission of UOCAVA ballots, conduct training of county election officials before the 2012 general election, give aid to its counties when necessary, and report back to the United States about its UOCAVA compliance for the 2012 federal general election and the 2014 federal election cycle. It also requires the California Secretary of State to investigate why these ballots went out late and then take whatever action is necessary to prevent future violations; Bowen will provide status reports to the Justice Department on those efforts.

Posted on Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
Under: 2012 primary election | No Comments »

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

 

Posted on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012
Under: Contra Costa County, water | 7 Comments »

Contra Costa supervisor candidate debate set for April 23

Contra Costa District 2 supervisor candidates Candace Andersen and Tomi Van de Brooke will face off at the April 23 lunch meeting of the Contra Costa Council.

Van de Brooke, an Orinda resident and elected member of the Contra Costa Community College District, and Andersen, mayor of Danville, will answer questions and discuss their platforms.

The third supervisor candidate, Sean White of Lafayette, is out of town and cannot attend.

The Contra Costa Council is a nonprofit membership and nonpartisan organization that advocates for economic development throughout the East Bay.

I am the moderator and the event is open to the public.

Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. followed by the program at noon. It will be held at the Lafayette Veterans Memorial Building, 3780 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette.

Tickets are $45 for non-members and $35 for members. For reservations, contact the Contra Costa Council at www.contracostacouncil.com or 925-246-1880.

 

Posted on Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
Under: Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics, Political calendar, Political events | 1 Comment »