Retired CoCo Sheriff Warren Rupf passes away

Retired Contra Costa Sheriff Warren Rupf

Retired Contra Costa Sheriff Warren Rupf, the county’s own larger-than-life lawman, died earlier today after a two-month battle with a swift and deadly form of cancer.

Rupf told folks about his diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia in early July and predicted then his time could be short. Few might have imagined just how quickly the cancer would strike.

Warren’s wife, Carole, was at his side when he passed away at a Walnut Creek hospital.

Friends and family are working on the details of his memorial service and I’ll post information as soon as it is available.

Rest in peace, sheriff. We’ll miss you.

Read the Sheriff Department’s press release here.


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,



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





Pair of Contra Costa electeds say ‘No thanks’

The Contra Costa Board of Supervisors this week delivered official farewells and fancy framed proclamations to retiring Sheriff Warren Rupf, District Attorney Robert Kochly, Treasurer-Tax Collector Bill Pollacek and Auditor Steve Ybarra.

Well, sort of.

Only Rupf and Kochly showed up. (See video of Tuesday’s presentations below.)

Pollacek and Ybarra declined to participate. Supervisor John Gioia told the audience that both men had opted to receive their proclamations at another time. That isn’t entirely true.

Word is the two men told the board to take their plaques and put them where the sun don’t shine. Well, perhaps they didn’t use those exact words. But don’t expect either Pollacek or Ybarra to make room on their living room walls for them.

There’s no love between Ybarra and several members of the board. Several  members publicly accused Ybarra of exacting political revenge when he released an unprecedented and highly critical audit of how Supervisor Federal Glover was spending the proceeds of the Keller Canyon mitigation fund.

And Ybarra says Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho has treated him and his staff with disdain ever since he endorsed her opponent, Guy Houston, in 2008.

As countywide, independent elected officials, Pollacek and Ybarra have often said they answered to the voters, not the Board of Supervisors, despite the board’s control over their budgets. They didn’t like what they viewed as arrogant attempts to relegate them to the status of a mere department head by people who were elected by a smaller district rather than countywide.

The incoming Treasurer Russ Watts and Auditor Bob Campbell are proteges of their predecessors. It will be interesting to see how the men navigate the political scene, particularly if they are asked to endorse candidates. Supervisors Gayle Uilkema, Piepho and Glover are up for re-election in 2012.

Here are the videos of the Kockly and Rupf presentations.


Contra Costa: More retirements on the way?

Two top executives in the offices of the Contra Costa County Auditor-Controller and Treasurer-Tax Collector filed today to run for their boss’ jobs, a strong indication that two more veteran countywide elected officials will retire.

Russell Watts of Brentwood, chief deputy Treasurer-Tax Collector, pulled papers in the election clerk’s office to run for the post held by incumbent Treasurer-Tax Collector Bill Pollacek.

Robert Campbell of Concord, chief accountant in the payroll and property division, also pulled papers to run for the job held by incumbent Auditor-Controller Steve Ybarra.

Neither incumbent has made any official retirement announcements and top department aides rarely run against their bosses.

Incumbent Sheriff Warren Rupf and District Attorney Robert Kochly have both announced their retirements, which has inspired fierce campaigns for the open seats.

Friday is the filing deadline for candidates who wish to run in the June election unless the incumbent does not seek re-election; in those offices, the deadline is extended to March 17.


Political events round-up

Check out the following upcoming political events in Contra Costa County:




GOP Secretary of State candidate and former NFL player Damon Dunn is the featured speaker at the March 10 evening meeting of the Blackhawk Republican Women.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Blackhawk Country Club, 599 Blackhawk Club Drive in Danville. The cost is $25 per person.

For reservations, call 925-820-6452 or e-mail rlyons1009@sbcglobal.net.


Veteran author and journalist Peter Schrag will speak on California’s fiscal crisis at the March 11 meeting of the Lamorinda Democratic Club.

Schrag, a former Sacramento Bee editorial page editor who has written several authoritative books on California public policy, will speak on his 10-step solution for fixing California’s fiscal crisis while protecting the state’s education system and social safety net,

Shrag’s most recent book, “California: America’s High-Stakes Experiment,” was published by the University of California Press in April 2006. His “Not Fit for Our Society,” a history of immigration restriction movements and ideology in the United States is scheduled for publication in the spring

The club’s social hour begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by its business meeting at 7:30 p.m. and its speaker at 8 p.m. It meets at the Orinda Community Church, 10 Irwin Way in Orinda. Entry is $5 per person and students are free.

For more details, call 925-567-3367 or visit www.lamorindemoclub.org.

Walnut Creek



A free public workshop on ways to save money on telephone and energy bills will be held on March 12.

The event is sponsored by state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, and the California Public Utilities Commission.

Speakers will discuss state and federally mandated programs, energy efficiency and conservation programs, bill payment assistance plans and how to empower consumers against scams and fraud.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at Heather Farms Community Center, 301 North San Carlos Drive in Walnut Creek.

For more information on the utilities commission, visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.


Businessman and 7th Congressional District GOP candidate Roger Peterson is the featured speaker at the March 17 luncheon meeting of the Ygnacio Valley Republican Women Federated.

Also on the agenda is Chase Cabot, who present his essay on the Transcontinental Railroad that has won for him a chapter and district award from the Daughters of the American Revolution Chapter.

The luncheon begins at 10:15 a.m. at the Oakhurst Country Club. 1001 Peacock Creek Road in Clayton.

The cost is $22 a person. For reservations, contact Barbara Allen at 925-672-5061 or e-mail jngcabot@pacbell.net

Pleasant Hill



Contra Costa County Supervisor Susan Bonilla will host a budget town meeting on March 25.

The public is invited to voice their concerns and ask questions of a variety of county department managers, including County Administrator David Twa, Health Department Director and Dr. William Walker, Sheriff Warren Rupf, District Attorney Bob Kochly and Interim Contra Costa Fire Chief John Ross.

The town hall will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. at 500 Ellinwood Way in Pleasant Hill.

For more information, contact Bonilla’s Concord office at 925-521-7100.


More budget woes on Contra Costa’s horizon

Contra Costa County Administrator David Twa delivered today what has become a standard litany of bad news: More cuts, more pain, more layoffs, more of the same.

In particular, he reminded the Board of Supervisors that the Contra Costa Fire Department will burn through its reserves by July 1, 2011, and run out of money. There’s talk of closing as many as four fire stations.

And Contra Costa Chief Probation Officer Lionel Chatman told the board he was perilously close to sending a letter to the courts and advising them that he no longer had enough money to deliver his department’s mandated services.

But the comment that perked up the ears of the other department heads came from Local Firefighters Union 1230 President Vince Wells, who urged the board to consider using funds that would be set aside to reduce the county’s unfunded post-retirement benefits, or OPEB, liability.

Supervisor Susan Bonilla, who is running for state Assembly in the Democratic primary, brought the subject up again later, and said she wanted that option on the table.

If the board taps into the OPEB set-aside as a source of emergency cash, it will represent a 180-degree turnaround from its previous commitment to reducing the liability. It will also generate a political backlash among critics who say the county needs to put aside more and not less money to pay down its retiree health care obligations.

The county administrator will present his budget on April 20 and the board is scheduled to adopt a final spending plan on May 11. Layoffs as a result of the new budget — Twa says they are inevitable — will occur after May 11.

View video clips of budget-related comments below:

Vince Wells, president of Contra Costa Firefighters Local 1230

Local One business agent Rollie Katz:

Contra Costa Sheriff Warren Rupf

Contra Costa District Attorney Robert Kochly

Contra Costa Chief Probation Officer Lionel Chatman