This is the compilation of the reports from members observing the Board of Supervisors, with most recent at the top.
by Mary Schreiber and Marian Shostrom
D.1. Hearing to consider the Del Hombre Apartments project, a 284-unit development in unincorporated Walnut Creek.
- Presentation by staff
- Presentation by appellants
- Public comments by residents in the area: Concerns about number of units, traffic on Del Hombre which is dead end.
- Supervisor Andersen: Final decision not made until after public hearing, even if press reports it before the meeting.
- Supervisor Mitchoff: Wants to assure the public that the comments have been heard; the community never gets 100% concessions requested.
- Mitchoff requested and the applicant agrees to additional consideration of local labor to be used in the project. This cannot be required when project is private property.
- Mitchoff moved to deny both appeals. Second by Supervisor Andersen.
- Supervisor Gioia: Project is in Mitchoff’s district and she is familiar with detail. Wants county to do what they can to promote local workforce. Addressed question of using local workers and creating job opportunities including apprenticeships. Staff response: not within regulatory power but Supervisors can request as concessions as was done in this project.
- Gioia would like a policy that would address shortage of local skilled labor in future projects. This would provide opportunities for local HS grads to learn a trade. Asked staff how this could be addressed in the general plan. Staff: would have to research legality or such a plan.
- Supervisor Andersen: this requires a larger discussion outside this project.
- Gioia wants to be sure this issue is addressed soon as part of the general plan.
- Supervisor Burgis: Creating a local workforce is beneficial to the environment by decreasing travel from other areas. Would like to add that as preference for new construction projects.
- Supervisor Glover: Appreciates local hire plan and wants to continue in the future.
- Supervisor Mitchoff: pointed out that County building inspectors will ensure quality and craftsmanship.
Vote: passed unanimously
D.2. Consider COVID-19 update.
- COVID Case numbers reported. 65% of deaths in Contra Costa County are in Long Term Care facilities. There is assistance with training being provided. $150,000 on grants will be used to develop interventions that include family members.
- Youth Ambassador program training young people to use social media for public education, which is needed before Labor Day holiday as there have been increases in cases past holidays.
- Currently hospitalized in county: 98 patients in the hospital (10 from outside Contra Costa). 8 Contra Costa residents are hospitalized in Alameda County.
- Schools: Team at Health Department has waiver checklist and will begin accepting Waiver requests once case rate and positivity rate decreases for two weeks. Once the county is off the state watch list for two weeks elementary and secondary schools can resume in person classed without waiver.
- Currently 93% of deaths are people over 60. 80% of cases are younger people.
- Testing is improved with one-minute wait time on phone line. Appointments can be made on computer. Appointments are available for tomorrow.
- Two new testing sites: North Richmond two days/week and Richmond Civic Center later this month.
- Hotel rooms are available for people needing a place to quarantine as well as unsheltered individuals.
- Contact tracing program now has 201 employees.
- Lab capacity: County is utilizing National Guard and State Public Health and Research labs providing approximately 400 tests per day, supplementing the County testing capacity.
- Due to delay in getting results from the state reporting system (CalReady) means we do not have accurate numbers. It is possible that cases in Contra Costa County case numbers peaked/stabilized in mid-July. Will know soon.
- Again, reminder that we should all wear masks and avoid unnecessary social gatherings
- Burgis: Younger people may not die but many people have long term health effects. Please take precautions for the sake of vulnerable people.
D.3 Consider approval of the Fiscal Year 2020/21 Recommended Budget actions, including adopting Resolution No. 2020/90 to authorize the modification, addition and deletion of certain positions in affected departments.
- Twa explained why money from the CARES Act would be spent to add 24 positions to the Sheriff’s department.
- Gioia asked for clarification about the Status of the Boy’s Ranch. Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council and the Reimagining Youth Justice Task Force will be discussing the issue. The Board will discuss the issue at the October 20, 2020 Meeting. The Probation Director will make a Sheriff’s Office.
- Mitchoff asked about the number of 5150 Calls to Sheriff. That data is not available.
The Probation Director will make a recommendation to the Board. The Community will not decide the issue, but will provide input in the process.
Many questions and comments about adding 24 Sheriff’s deputies, using CARES Act money. Many concerns about lack of money for services.
- The person translating (or interpreting) was accused of inaccurate and misleading interpretation.
- The public meetings are not linguistically accessible.
- A caller requested language accessibility for four languages and ASL.
- Problems with several Spanish speaking callers being dropped without translation being provided.
Many callers spoke in support of the Miles Hall Non-Police Mental Health Response.
- Addressed budget process: BOS does not make decisions based only on public comment callers. It is a deliberative process.
- People in her district do not tolerate discrimination. But Danville, Orinda and Lafayette contract with Sheriff for police services and rely on that.
- She is in favor of the Miles Hall Non-Police Mental Health Crisis response.
- The BOS relies on department heads for best info about budget and must look at the entire picture.
- Transparency is important and he is happy with increased public participation.
- Agrees bold action is needed. Moving forward issues should be resolved across the system and not silos; i.e., Sheriff, Health Dept, Probation Officer.
- Requesting more detail about funding for Sheriff and Health Dept. for jail mental health program as well as how using funds used to staff Marsh Creek facility which is now closed can be used to cover jail costs.
- Requested more detail on how the number of 24 positions was determined.
- Clarified that her comments last week about DA Becton were about the timing of her announcement not the content.
- Sup. Burgis has personal experience with loved ones with mental illness. Encouraged people without such experience to read NAMI website and other sources to educate themselves.
- There is a group looking at a Regional Mental Health facility and interventions in schools.
- She is listening and hearing but does not always agree.
- AB 109 provides for funding for mental health care for inmates transferred from state to county facilities.
- Sheriff is not at the meeting today. He was the person who used the term “Special Interest” to describe callers.
- Respects DA Becton but her announcement last week was a communication issue.
Motion to approve Items 1-12 in budget proposal. Gioia wants more info about Marsh Creek funding.
Passed 4 to 1 with Gioia dissenting.
D.4. Consider adopting position on Proposition 19 (Property Tax base transfers) and Proposition 22 (Gig Workers Classification), measures qualified for the November 2020 statewide general election ballot.
- Prop 19 discussion: measure is complicated and benefit is not clear. Voted unanimously to take no position.
- Prop 22 discussions: applies to ride and delivery companies only, not other community organizations. Mitchoff in favor. Gioia opposed because Uber and Lyft drivers deserve protections. Andersen in favor due to innovation and flexibility. Burgis has worked as private contractor and rules can change without notice. No position. Glover: no vote. Companies making millions and many workers are students without protections.
Motion to take no position passed unanimously.
- Program to return inmates to local rather than state facilities.
- Remodeling facility to provide hospital level services in the detention facility. This money was budgeted last year and is being carried forward.
- Mariana Moore, ceded time to Danny Espinoza: Addressing need for transparency in the budget process. Why are we creating infrastructure when we know deputies cannot provide adequate care? We need community based mental health services.
- Andersen: Deputies will not be providing care. It’s better for inmates to be housed locally for better access to counseling and other resources.
- Gioia: Mental health professionals hired through Health Department will be providing services.
by Mary Schreiber, BOS Observer Team
D. 2. Public Comment
- Robert Campbell, County Auditor-Assessor called opposing Prob 15 ballot initiative.
- Three people commented about masks.
- Melvin Willis, Richmond City Council member called about reducing funding for Sheriff.
- Dan Kelly requested BOS consider changing the name of Kirker Pass Road since it is named after a person that murdered Native Americans.
D.3. Consider ordinance No. 2020-22, establishing a Countywide 0.5% sales tax.
- Supervisors voted not to include the full text of initiative in the ballot information published, as long as there are instructions on where to find it.
- Since the legislature must pass SB 1349 and the governor must sign the law allowing local tax increases, the BOS will meet on or before August 24 to finalize approval to put it on the ballot.
D.4. Truth Act Forum regarding provision of access of certain individuals to ICE.
by Janet Hoy and Mary Schreiber, BOS Observer Team
- D. 3 Discussion about likelihood of public support for County-wide $.05 sales tax measure on Nov ballot
- FM3 Research
- Strong support for accountability in sheriff’s department
- All messages receive a majority of support/ part emergency services and youth investments
- Opposition: affordability and rising taxes
- Measure well positioned for November ballot
- Public comments:
- Some push back from callers about language of measure, single viewpoint, information presented, special tax masquerading as general tax, public can’t handle additional tax, 3 callers in favor
- Supervisor comments:
- What is timeline for legislative decision? Legislative staff aware of bill and will be listed soon.
- Aug 24 is the printing date for ballots.
- April 2021 effective date for measure.
- If no decision before print date will be contingent measure
- Mitchoff: Concern about printing costs with contingent approval
- Glover: supports
- Burgis: supports
- Anderson: concern about new tax during pandemic and economic stress, bad timing. Opposes.
- Gioia: minimal impact for most people - costs $25-65 per year per resident. Supports.
- Motion passes: 4 to 1
- D. 4. Iron Horse Corridor Active Transportation Study
- Accepting the study, no action
- Jamar Stamps: Principal Planner reviewed results of study.
- Many calls against any changes to Iron Horse Trail
- All voted in favor of study.
- D. 5. Reduced funding for County Libraries due to Covid related reduction in city revenues (City cuts)
- Need to delete positions due to reduced funding and reduce hours.
- Reduces library funding by $567K.
- Positions available to transfer to for impacted employees.
- D.6. Delete 16 positions in Department of Child Support Services due to reduced funding
- Looking for other positions for 16 laid off employees within County.
- Brings budget back to 2019 levels.
- 8 are vacant position including half of the management team.
- Lobby staff eliminated.
- All in favor.
- D.7. Amends application fees for short term rentals
- Increases staff time fee from $157-200.
- All in favor.
- D.8. Authorizes the sale of Oak Park Blvd. real property to Davidson Homes for $13.8M
- Public comment: none.
- Supervisor comment:
- Mitchoff: Pleasant Hill Library will have new location due to this sale!
- All in favor.
- D.9. Urgency Ordinance continuing Temporary Prohibition on Evictions and rent increases
- No substantive changes.
- Need to determine end dates for extensions.
- 8 bills in state legislature, some at federal level.
- Banks and credit union offering some relief.
- No direct assistance for renters.
- Public Comments:
- Almost all in favor: Extend current protections, including moratorium, rental assistance, rent control. On the brink of a housing crisis
- One comment in Spanish/English.
- One landlord.
- Supervisor Comments:
- Mitchoff and Gioia: should consider September 30 end date. (1 year is too long.)
- Burgis: need federal and state help NOW.
- All in support to extend to September 30, with grace periods extended to Jan 31, 2021
D.10. Budget 101 presentation.David Twa, County Administrator and Lisa Driscoll, County Finance Director.
- Budget hearing is August 4 and is expected to go all day and possibly the next day.
- County is an arm of the state and federal budgets.
- There are budget mandates.
- Contra Costa County operates a hospital. Many counties have closed their hospitals.
- There is a normal budget process and a COVID budget process.
- The final budget is due in October, but there will be revisions depending on changing conditions.
- Budget information and documents are available on the county budget website.
- Homeless/Mental Health/Housing are allocated $421.88 million.
- Mandated mental health services in the correctional facility is allocated $13.5 million.
- COVID is causing cuts across the board due to decreased revenues.
- Supervisor Questions:
- Gioia: Property tax change information is not available until 8/10/20 which is the state deadline for assessments. Requested budget report more easily understood by the public.
- Burgis: Sheriff’s budget includes mandates for the county jail, coroner, police services for unincorporated areas.
- Mitchoff: Sheriff Livingston’s approval rate is high and she does not support defunding the sheriff. Budget 101 information needs to be more easily understood by the public. Majority of the budget goes to health and human services. Asked for more details about cost of salaries, benefits, etc.
- D.11. Recruiting for new County Administrator
- Recruitment pamphlet is on county website.
- Public callers requested that candidates have diversity certification, commitment to racial justice and economic opportunity and that a community member be on panel for final selection.
- Gioia: Candidates must have demonstrated commitment to DEI. Asked for community organizations to submit interview questions. Agrees with community member on interview panel.
- Discussion about above followed. Concerns expressed that requiring certification and community member on panel will deter candidates from applying. Burgis, Mitchoff, and Andersen opposed. Gioia in favor. Glover agrees with both sides and vote is moot.
- D.12. COVID update and enforcement.
- Code Enforcement: Randy Sawyer; Environmental Health: John Kopchik; Asst DA for Consumer Protection: Stacey Grassini.
- So far, most complaints are resolved with education. Goal is voluntary compliance.
- Public can report violations to their local non-emergency police number.
- Discussion about need to increase enforcement as everyone knows that masks and social distancing are required. BOS can adopt an emergency ordinance allowing for an administrative citation for noncompliance as an option before misdemeanor citation. Ad Hoc COVID committee is working with Code Enforcement.
- Health Department update provided by Anna Roth and Chris Farnitano.
by Mary Schreiber and Marian Shostrom, BOS Observer Team
- The Board took public comment for nearly an hour.
- Callers expressed opinions about police response to protesters and requested ban on tear gas and an evaluation of the police response.
- Concern about not enough oversight was expressed about Board approval at last meeting for the purchase of a DHS logistics vehicle with federal funds.
- Sheriff’s budget was questioned.
- Request for declaration of racism as a public health emergency.
- Former fire director called to request that the BOS change the weed and grass abatement requirement from 18 inches to 3 inches for clarity since 3 inches is recommended.
- One person expressed support for the sheriff.
- Two callers stated that masks are unconstitutional.
Debi Cooper, County Clerk-Recorder
Every voter will get a vote by mail ballot. If they do not receive their ballot within five day after mailing, they should call the County Clerk-Recorder for follow up. Voters can track their ballot online and make sure it was counted. There will be six in-person satellite offices for four days for in-person voting. Plan is for extensive voter education and working with nonprofit partners. See presentation slides here.
- Supervisor Gioia does not think six satellite offices for in-person voting is enough. People of color are more likely to vote in person. Need to evaluate the assumption that churches will not be available for 5 days.
- Need to encourage Vote by Mail but also make voting in person doable for people who want it.
- Days for in-person voting have not yet been determined and depends on Secretary of State.
- Supervisor Mitchoff said we need to encourage people to vote by mail, rather than in person.
- Question assumption that in-person voters will wait until Tuesday to vote.
- Supervisor Andersen thinks that six in-person voting places should be enough.
- Supervisor Glover emphasized the need to serve low turnout areas. Asked about PPE available, concerned about seniors who are traditionally poll workers.
- Need to encourage younger people to be poll workers.
- Supervisor Burgis commented that census, voting, and COVID-19 are all important factors.
- Callers advocated for more in person voting places.
- There was discussion about the assumption that churches would not be available (one of the reasons for the small number of in person voting sites).
- Discussion about recruiting young people including high school students as poll workers.
- One caller stated that she did not trust high school students to be poll workers.
- Two callers talked about widespread voter fraud, and distrust of the system.
- Renee Zeimer called to request that the Planning for Elections and Engaging Panel meeting that was canceled in April be rescheduled. She supports younger poll workers being recruited.
Final Supervisor Comments
Supervisor Mitchoff said we need to encourage people to vote by mail, rather than in person. Supervisor Mitchoff asked the County Clerk-Recorder to respond with information that there is not voter fraud in the county. She explained that every signature is checked against voter registration or DMV signatures. There is a state database to check if someone registers at a new address, and the old registration is removed.
Resolution 2020/139 to approve a Memo of Understanding between the In-Home Supportive Services Public Authority and SEIU Local 2015. Passed unanimously.
Contra Costa Budget Justice Coalition and other partners
- Introductory remarks by Vic Baker, East Bay Leadership Council. Then, Sarah Truehaft of Policy Link made a presentation on data about where Contra Costa is.
- Cheryl Sudduth of the Racial Justice Coalition gave a talk about inequities among people of color. At one point Supervisor Mitchoff interrupted her, and Sudduth told her it was her turn to listen.
- Dan Geiger made a presentation for the Budget Justice Coalition, asking the Board to set up an Office of Racial Justice and Social Equity.
Supervisors Gioia and Glover will be bringing a proposal to the Board to establish an Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice. Gioia asked for it to be placed on July 14th Agenda.
County Administrator: David Twa is retiring. Supervisor Gioia suggested the Board put an update to the public about the recruiting process on the agenda for July 14, 2020.
- August 4, 2020: Budget Hearing
- Sept. 15, 2020: Adopt the County budget
- Supervisor Mitchoff supports a robust budget process and suggested a Budget 101 presentation so that the public knows more about what is mandated and what are discretionary funds. There may be town halls.
UPDATE ON COVID-19
- Cases continue to rise in CA and across the U.S. San Joaquin is nearing hospital capacity.
- Contra Costa: 343 new cases in last week. Widespread community transmission. Most spread in congregate facilities and low-income communities. Hospitalized: 35 (some non-Contra Costa).
- Two-thirds of deaths were in congregate care facilities. Seven CC residents are hospitalized in other counties.
- The County has been increasing testing. New test site in Monument Corridor. Call for an appointment to get tested (1-844-421-0804).
- Adding Contact Tracing staff and will have 140. Others will come from the State.
- Congregate Care facilities: long-term care, residential treatment, intermediate care, group homes, etc. County does not regulate any of these facilities. New health orders to help slow spread and protect vulnerable individuals.
- 99% of deaths are over 50. 66% over 80. 15% 70-80. 1%<50.
- July 1st: Hotels, gyms, fitness centers, personal training, personal services that don’t involve face, indoor restaurants and bars will open.
- July 15th: movie theaters, card rooms will open.
- School district guidance documents from state and county.
Budget 101 Report from David Twa. He said there will be cuts everywhere, including in the Sheriff’s Budget, because of reduced revenues. He also said that doesn’t mean there will be money for other services.
by Marian Shostrom
Public Comment: Public comment lasted nearly 90 minutes. Many commenters called for cuts to the Sheriff's budget, and for money to be spent on services to residents.
NOTE: Budget Hearings will be held in August, and the budget will be determined in September.
Consider Items removed from Consent Calendar
C-13--Andersen will abstain because she has a financial interest
Subject: Purchase Order --Custom Specialty Vehicle for Sheriff
An Assistant Sheriff testified that this would be paid from a Homeland Security grant to the state. It would be used to store search and rescue equipment. No county funds to be spent. Mitchoff moved, and Gioia seconded. This vehicle is replacing a 2004 vehicle, to serve a broad purpose, including wildfires. Passed unanimously.
D.10. Resolution authorizing modification of operating hours for a number of Contra Costa libraries. (Melinda Cervantes, County Librarian).
County funds 35 hours per week at each library; cities will not be able to fund additional hours so libraries will revert to 35 hours per week. Libraries will be open Tues-Sat and closed Sun and Mon.
During public comment expressed concerns about cutting needed services especially for most vulnerable residents. Supervisor Gioia reminded that the budget cuts are from the cities and stated that the county budget discussions will be in August and encouraged the public to give input at that time.
Supervisor Burgis expressed concern about limited service in far East County.
D.11. Resolution to initiate layoffs due to reduced funding. (Melinda Cervantes).
David Twa, County Administrator, stated that there are 30 open positions in the County and they will be offered to affected staff. Public comment callers again expressed concerns about cuts. Supervisor Gioia again reminded the public about the Budget process in August.
D.13. Receive update on potential polling for potential sales tax measure to be listed on November 2020 ballot and authorizing a contribution from the county towards the cost of polling. (Mariana Moore campaign manager for Community Coming Together and Josh Anijarof the Contra Costa Central Labor Council). Contra Costa County does not have a local sales tax; all other Bay Area counties do. Polling was done in March before COVID-19 closure. Community has raised approximately $21,000 for another poll; cost is $30,000. Discussion about whether bill will be passed by the State legislature and signed by Gov Newsom to allow for increased sales tax rates.
Supervisor Gioia spoke in favor of County contributing $9000 for the poll to be conducted.
Passed 4 to 1 with Supervisor Andersen voting no.
D.14. Consider update to COVID-19. Anna Roth, Director of Health Department and Dr Tom Warne of Contra Costa Health Services.
There are 150,000 cases in CA and 5000 deaths. CC Health department is watching other counties with high numbers of cases that are sending patients to other counties. There are currently patients in Contra Costa from Imperial County.
Public needs to focus on prevention: hand washing, social distancing. The increasing hospitalization rate appears to be from community spread and not congregate care facilities.
More testing is being done and new testing sites are opening. Appointment is needed but there is no wait for appointments (844-421-8410).
New guidelines effective 6/17/20 to allow more services to open including hair salons and barber shops. Swimming pool guidance was modified to increase number of people. Funerals and religious functions can now have up to 100 people or 25% of capacity.
Reusable bags are now permitted if store employees do not touch them.
Title of guidelines is now Social Distancing and Other Measures and is no longer shelter in place. Some language was clarified.
During supervisor questions swimming pool guidelines discussed in depth. Refer to CCHealth.org website for the text of the order. The County Call Center has more staff to answer questions: 844-729-8410.
Public Questions: Callers had questions about the demographics. The Dashboard at CCHealth.org has data about age and comorbidity.
Question about schools: school reopening is determined by State and School Districts. The County Health department will work with school districts.
Question about why the County is reopening with an increasing number of cases. There are increasing positive cases but there are currently adequate hospital beds and PPE to handle them. Testing systems are in place to identify and isolate new cases.
by Marian Shostrom, BOS Observer
- The Board opened with Board members making comments about what is happening in the United States. Two of the supervisors mentioned the Racial Justice Oversight Body, which met on June 1st. There is a Racial Equity Action Plan, and a Hiring Oversight Plan to ensure diversity in County employment.
- Consent items were passed unanimously.
- Public Comment on items not on agenda. Some residents have a medical exemption because they cannot wear a mask, and they have been harassed by store employees.
- The Board adopted Ordinance No. 2020-12, which regulates short-term rentals in the Unincorporated areas of the County. The ordinance passed unanimously.
Updates on Covid-19.
Anna Roth, Health Services Director.
- Long-term care dashboard will launch today. Launching outreach campaign to encourage testing. Outdoor testing sites will close at 12:30 because of heat. There are sites that have indoor facilities. All hospitals now have adequate PPE. The County is using a less-invasive test.
- Burgis suggested testing farm workers and underserved populations. Perhaps tie in message about Census. If we have everyone tested, do we then go back to high-risk populations? Mitchoff asked should everyone be tested? There will be guidelines for different populations. Gioia said we know demographic breakdown of positive tests, and do we know demographic breakdown of total tests? Health Services staff are meeting with every Supervisor’s office, to talk about outreach to churches and other community groups. Roth said there is a commitment to look at all data on race, ethnicity, and language.
Dr. Chris Farnitano, Health Services Officer
- Most West Contra Costa COVID (12 currently) patients are treated at hospitals in Alameda County.
- High death rates at nursing home in Orinda and Assisted Living facility in Pleasant Hill.
- The County now has 38 deaths.
Health Order effective tomorrow:
- Child care will be open for all. Opening: libraries, indoor retail, social activities outside household. Small social gatherings (up to 12 people), only outdoors. Encouraging facial coverings. Offices open if you cannot telecommute. In-home services without personal contact (cleaning, plumbing, etc.).
- Beginning June 15th: Religious ceremonies can be held in person outdoors. Small ceremonies, up to 12 people can be held indoors, with social distancing.
- The county is considering opening up pools, as Santa Clara has done. Dr. Farnitano will clarify leeway with state.
- We have seen surges in other parts of CA.
Mitchoff: Is there still a Shelter in Place order? Farnitano said it is more of a Risk Mitigation Strategy. High-risk individuals are advised to stay home as much as possible.
Andersen: What about schools? County Office of Education and Local School Districts are meeting with Health Services department. Schools need to plan.
The meeting was adjourned after public comment.
Board of Supervisors Emergency Meeting
The Board announced an emergency meeting to adopt a Resolution ordering a county-wide curfew. Sheriff Livingston recommended that the County Administrator order a county-wide curfew from 8 pm – 5 am. Supervisors agreed that it would be good to have one county-wide curfew, and the resolution was passed unanimously.
by Mary Schreiber and Marian Shostrom, LWVDV Board of Supervisors Observers
D1: Consent Items
D2: Public comment:
Caller Sylvia from Antioch and East County regional group, spoke requesting extension of moratorium on rent increase to end of stay at home order plus 30 days. Some discussion but will be decided in D5.
D3. Consider approving and authorizing the County Librarian to implement the Pandemic Preparedness Plan for County Library, a scalable plan when reopening or closing the Library facilities to align with the County Health Officer’s COVID-19 and other pandemic Health Order. Presented by Melinda Cervantes, County Librarian.
- Library now in Phase 2 and has curbside pick-up at some branches. Deep cleaning has been done at all branches. Some branches have turned on Wi-Fi so students and families can use it in the parking lot. Wi-Fi Hot Spots will be available to borrow in Phase 3.
- Phase 3 will include reopening library branches with limited number of patrons and time spent in the library. Some furniture will be removed to support social distancing.
- Phase 4 is full reopening and will include increased hygiene and social distancing.
- Phase 5 will be scaling back or closing if needed.
Plan has been reviewed and approved by Dr Faritano, Public Health Officer.
Public comment: Stacy, library staff who works in Library Collections, asked about layoffs. Ms. Cervantes acknowledged that some branches have cut hours that were funded by the cities. Mr. Twa stated that laid off library employees can apply for job openings in other departments. Some have been hired as COVID-19 Contact Tracers. There are openings in EDD.
D4: Received the Needs Assessment Report from the Ad Hoc Committee to consider putting a County Sales Tax on the ballot. Josh Anjar (Contra Costa Labor Council) and Marianna Moor (Ensuring Opportunity Coalition) co-chaired a Working Group and presented the report of the Group. Polling had been done before Covid-19, and the Board agreed that there needs to be additional polling because of the current situation. Supervisors Andersen and Mitchoff do not want to spend any county funds on polling. Supervisors Burgis, Glover, and Gioia would consider spending some county funds. The Board directed the working group to come back to the Board in June with a detailed polling plan, including costs. The deadline to put a measure on the Ballot is July.
D5: The Board voted unanimously to pass Ordinance No. 2020-16-Revised, which will extend the Urgency Ordinance continuing and modifying a temporary prohibition on evictions and rent increases. There was public comment from both landlords and tenants. Supervisor Mitchoff commented that some landlords in her district are taking advantage of tenants who don’t speak English by trying to evict them, which is unlawful.
D6: The Board received an update on Covid-19 from Health Director Anna Roth and Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano. The Board had many questions, especially about different Counties in the State opening faster than others. Dr. Farnitano discussed the need for more testing, and he said that of the six hospitals in the county, only two have adequate PPE. The Contra Costa Medical Center does not have adequate PPE. During public comment, one caller told the Board that it was their responsibility under the Constitution to make all decisions, and that it was not the role of the Health Officer to do so. Supervisor Andersen explained to the caller that in this emergency situation declared by the State, Health Officer orders are measures taken to preserve the public health, which is an exercise of the police power contained in the California Constitution.
There was confusion about what constitutes Public Comment, and whether someone who wrote an email to the Board could also speak during public comment time. Supervisor Andersen clarified that emails received before a meeting would not be read or considered public comment, but would be attached to minutes. Public Comment happens during a meeting (currently by telephone).
by Marian Shostrom, Contra Costa BOS Observer Team
Co-Chairs: Candace Andersen and Karen Mitchoff, with Dr. Chris Farnitano
There were 162 participants on the Zoom call. Supervisor Andersen said they had increased Zoom capacity to 300, from the 100 it had been for the May 14, 2020, meeting. Supervisor Andersen announced three more deaths in the county as of May 21, for a total of 36. Full Phase 2 opening will be based on six indicators. Testing needs to be at 2300 people per day. The state has developed guidelines for different industries. The county is creating separate guidelines.
There was much public comment, especially from small business owners, who want the Shelter-in-Place Order to be lifted, and businesses to begin to operate. San Mateo County has gotten ahead of the state order, which causes problems for other Bay Area counties. To influence state action, it was suggested that people call their local state Senator and Assembly member.
For more information, see:
Draft Record of Action from May 21, 2020 Meeting
Marian Shostrom, BOS Observer
Supervisors Candace Andersen and Karen Mitchoff, Co-chairs
Note: Before the meeting began, Zoom capacity of 100 people had been reached, and some people (including me), were unable to observe the full meeting. As people left the meeting, slots opened up. I was able to observe the last half hour of the meeting. Supervisor Andersen apologized for the limits of the technology, and said that the meeting was recorded, and would be posted. She also said they would work on expanding the capacity of the technology. I was able to view the beginning of the meeting on May 15, 2020.
Each meeting will discuss specific categories of businesses or entities. Dr. Christopher Farnitano answered questions affecting public health issues. This meeting considered the impacts of COVID-19 on Personal Services such as cleaning services, piano tuners, salons, and salon suites. Following that, there was discussion Recreation and Lifestyle Services. There were many questions about health clubs and gyms and the circumstances under which they could open. There was considerable discussion of summer camps and swimming schools. Local municipal Recreation and Parks directors have been meeting to discuss issues, and many of them were at the meeting.
Marian Shostrom, BOS Observer
Supervisors John Gioia and Karen Mitchoff, Co-Chairs
Report of Sales Tax Working Group: Josh Anijar, Contra Costa Central Labor Council and Mariana Moore, ensuring Opportunity Campaign, Co-chairs of the Working Group, presented the report: Contra Costa County Needs Assessment.
Highlight of needs:
Vision: We need resources to fund community-based services and shared responsibility to practice equity, inclusion, and invest in services that address social disparity. Without financial resources to fund resident health, safety-net, affordable housing, and early child care services, taxpayers are spending more. The County Hospital and medical clinics need to be available to serve all residents. Targeted investments would save the county money. By creating a new revenue source, the county can reduce dependence on money from the general fund.
Mitchoff: No mention of Public Safety in the report. Fire services are discussed as a need. Investments in public health are a necessity. Board would need to approve by end of June. Dedicated public health funds.
We need to support needy, like we did the Sheriff and the new jail. This sales tax is regressive, and union members will support if it goes to most needy. Seriously mentally ill aren’t always considered. Services for needy are under extreme stress. We need to fund community health. Needs to be prioritization for care. We need an emphasis on fire safety and emergency response, and focus on core needs of most vulnerable. Child care is a critical service for economic recovery, but a precarious industry. Need intervention in early childhood. I would like to see more about public safety. So many different fire departments in the county. East County Fire has the greatest needs.
Tim Ewell, Chief Assistant County Administrator, discussed Glazer-sponsored bill, SB 1349. It is necessary to receive statutory relief because some cities are already at or above statutory tax limit of 9.25. With an additional County tax, they would be over the limit, and need special permission. The Legislature will do abbreviated schedule for rest of session. Bill will be heard in Senate Governance and Finance Committee May 21st.
- Mitchoff: Limited polling was done, funded by Labor unions, and came back favorable. We need more polling. Concerned about possibility of recession. The tax measure has to be a broad need, covering many areas, for 51% passage. If not broad enough, it will need to get 2/3 to pass. Supervisors are getting vitriolic comments about the stay at home order.
- Gioia: Emergency medical and first responders were high on the poll. Need another poll in mid to late June. Need Board to start talking at the May 26th Meeting. It will take 4 members of the Board to put it on the ballot.
Janet Hoy and Martha Goralka, BOS Observers
- Public Comments included:
- 6 callers about extending time for comments regarding fossil fuel infrastructure in Antioch/East Bay; Youth vs. Apocalypse reps.
- Soccer coach about opening public facilities for sports. (Board recommended attending COVID Ad Hoc committee meeting on Thursday.)
- No item public raised about oil and gas, which was on the current Consent calendar.
- Adam Poe, Bay Area Legal Aide: funding recommendations about housing issues/evictions; question about where their offices are and if they have a presence in Contra Costa County and access to county residents (C65).
- Point of order about responding to public comments.
- Calls about extending public comment period about drilling, Shelter in Place issues - economic and social impacts.
- Move Consent Calendar: passed.
- D3 cancelled (roundabout).
- D4: Fire Protection expand ambulance service. Fire Chief presentation - rate increase request of 5% (3% directly to AMR; effective June 12); using medical CPI; no public comment on this item; split into 2 separate motions and votes: passed.
- Additional testimony: new Medicare initiative - for 2 EMTs for lower intensity calls.
- Director of EMS; ambulance rates in order and consistent in market.
- C4 and D6: Pleasant Hill Rec and Park asking for County to sell property at Oak Park Blvd. to be used for residential development; proposals reviewed (additional attachments); Pleasant Hill City Council approved unanimously; both items approved by Supervisors; no public comments.
- Update on COVID 19:
- Executive Order from Governor suspending some late payment property tax penalties; must be owner occupied or small business. Extended until May 6, 2021 (covers next 2 tax installments).
- Health officer, Anna Roth: 18,669 tests total; 5 indicators - total cases, hospital capacity, daily testing, tracing, PPE.
- # cases: 1000+ cases, no new cases today. 11-15 new cases/day, declined by 7%. 20 in hospital. 5 hotels with 586 rooms for homeless, 2 hotels for health workers.
- Testing: expanded over last week. Don’t have to have symptoms to get a test - go to cchealth.org to get testing criteria and access points or your health provider. 9 sites total. Added staff and new call triage system. County conducted 552 tests yesterday. Goal is 2200 tests per day. Coordinating with hospitals and health systems. No online testing appointments yet.
- Congregate Living facilities (jails, assisted living, etc.). Tool kit for SNFs (31 facilities) recommends test once a month. Jails were screening new inmates with symptoms, now testing everyone. Caution about antibody testing: not recommending. Recruiting staff and volunteers (Covid19volunteers [at] cchealth.org).
- Dr. Farintano and PPE: Still getting lots of requests for PPE from hospitals, congregate living, first responders, dental offices. Need N95 masks and disinfecting supplies and gowns. 329 resource requests: filled 229. Can’t fill all PPE requests! Schools received new guidelines about graduation activities. 7 Bay Area health officers will follow 5 indicators to determine when to safely re-open. Not yet where we need to be to open more - need to see impact of last loosening of requirements. Question about billing and insurance payments - who pays and when?
- The county is no longer billing for COVID19 tests and has reversed charges for people who were mistakenly charged.
- The supervisors were reminded that their local guidelines cannot be more permissive than state guidelines, but could be more restrictive, depending on the Bay Area’s virus data. Since the state doesn’t allow small group meetings yet, the county cannot allow small group meetings either.
- Contra Costa County Administrator David Twa:
- The budget forecast projections should be out on Thursday. The governor says the state shortfall should be $54 billion, and the legislative analyst thinks it might be less. Beacon Economics thinks we’ll have a quick recovery with one or two quarters with problems before a rebound. Forty percent of our general fund comes from the state and federal government so reductions in their funding will hit us hard. Hospitals and clinics already have a revenue short fall. Contra Costa will have to wait and see how we do.
- Covid 19 has been very expensive for the county. P.P.E. costs and technical costs to allow employees to work at home have sent expenses escalating by $10 million. CARES may cover $7.2 million of this as a reimbursement. Homeless testing is about $300,000 Tracing will be more – possibly as much as one to two million dollars. Safety precautions for the “surge” were $400,000 The list for expense increases and revenue losses continued.
- Plans to reopen county offices also appeared to be expensive. The county wants all of its employees working, so some categories of workers are being reassigned where needed most. The county is hoping for fewer, better buildings with separations built in offices and many workers continuing to work from home.
Reports of Board members: Diane Burgis reported on the 2020 Census, saying we already have a 68% response rate, just behind San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. California only has a 59.6% response rate at this time.
Mary Schreiber, BOS Observer
- D1 Consent items previously removed.
- D2 Public comment which is accepted by email only
- Email from Stephanie who would like the Supervisors to consider allowing her home dog grooming business to open.
- Email from Mark who states that the COVID-19 dashboard information on the County website is insufficient compared to other counties and does not include details that would help with lifting restrictions for people under age 50.
- D3 Hearing regarding acquisition by eminent domain of real property required for the Marsh Drive Replacement Project. Presentation made; one letter of objection which Supervisor Mitchoff said was too vague. Motion made and passed unanimously.
- D4 Hearing to consider resolution for acquisition by eminent domain real property required for the Danville Blvd/Orchard Court complete street improvement. Passed unanimously.
- D5 Update on COVID-19 and provide direction to staff
Anna Roth, Director of Health Dept report on progress
- 83 days since Travis Air Force Base opened to COVID 19 patients
- 61 days since 1st case in Solano County
- 56 days since 1st Contra Costa County case.
- This is opportunity to look at the whole Health Dept agency
- 9 health orders
- Media, website updated, FAQs addressed
- County wide effort, all department.
- CCRMC preparing for surge, 1100 bed capacity doubled
- Jail: new detainees isolated for 14 days
- Mental Health: Clinics open with direct and remote care; meds delivered to patients.
- Alternative care sites identified for COVID-19 and other patients; 600 out of hospital beds available
- Community donation sites established
- Screening and testing: 110,500 tests done (300 per day); 2400 per day needed.
- 5 Community testing sites opened b County, 3 more planned by CA DPH
- Strike team developed for SNFs and Group Living facilities
- Auth from Fed for antibody testing requested
- Plans for investigation and tracing: investigators increased for 14 to 79; plan is for more than 100
- COVID-10 Playbook is now on Website
- 450 hotel rooms obtained for homeless; all homeless shelters decompressed
- 29 handwashing stations, restrooms and portable tents provided
- MOWs now serving 5000 daily
- Counseling hotline established for HCWs
- Outreach and education: working on improvements
- Dept is working on 25 metrics for reopening
- Call center running 7 days/week for COVID-19 questions from public
- Philanthropy: $500K grant from Chan Zuckerberg Foundation and $500K grant from
- Silicon Valley Foundation for food and financial assistance.
- Sup. Mitchoff asked why death information not easily available on Website by age. Answer: there are 25 total deaths and not all lab results are reported.
- Effective 4/30/20 data regarding deaths will be posted with disclaimers
- Subcommittee on Reopening is composed of Supervisors Anderson and Mitchoff plus Health Department staff.
Marian Shostrom, BOS Observer
The Board held a special meeting to discuss two items. By unanimous vote, they created an Ad Hoc Committee to Advise Health Dept. on COVID 19 impacts due to business closures and provide directions to staff. The Committee will include Supervisor Anderson and Supervisor Mitchoff, and will meet every week or every other week. They will invite relevant business and community members to discuss issues, and then report to the full BOS.
The second item on the agenda was devoted to the draft Urgency Ordinance 2020-14, to provide a moratorium on rent increases and a moratorium on no-fault evictions for residential and commercial properties in Contra Costa County. County Counsel Mary Ann Mason presented key elements of the Ordinance, then answered questions from Supervisors. After questions, Public Comments from 45 people were read before the Supervisors discussed the Ordinance. Comments included the following: increase time for tenant to provide documentation from 14 to 30 days; increase time for tenants to pay back rent from120 days after end of shelter in place, to 120 days for each month a tenant was unable to pay rent due to Covid-19, and various other suggestions; BOS should consider small landlords who rely on rent for their income. Supervisor Gioia said that the BOS should take telephone public comment during a meeting. Limiting comment to emails before a meeting is not adequate. People who aren’t comfortable with writing, are treated differently from people who are. The BOS directed the Administrator to try to set up a telephone line into the Board Room for the April 28th BOS Meeting. Urgency Ordinance 2020-14 was passed unanimously, and will be retroactive to March 16, 2020. Full text of Ordinance.
Martha Goralka, BOS Observer
The second half of the meeting was taken up mostly with reports from the Sheriff, Health Department and County Administrator David Twa.
Most of the 36 public comments were about releasing prisoners at the jail, asking for release for the Covid 19 crisis. Twenty-two had the same wording while the rest had slightly different language. Sheriff David Livingston reported that the jail was screening all staffers and inmates for fever and symptoms. He had one staffer test positive and to date, no inmates have tested positive. The jail population has dropped from 1,117 to 722; the capacity is 2,000. There is only one person per cell for 80% of the inmates. The only visitors allowed are attorneys; the phone rates have been reduced and chaplains have been offering phone service, too. The people sent to the jail are considered violent offenders; i.e. violent felons. Other offenses are cited and released by most local jurisdictions. The jail has had a professional cleaner augment their usual staff’s cleaning efforts to ensure the virus doesn’t invade.
The Health Department report first gave an update of cases and their status, by Director Anna Roth and Dr. Farnitano, health officer. They have focused on group living assessments to ensure facilities such as nursing homes have the protective equipment they need and are trained in how to use it. The latest health order requires all visitors to wear masks, no group dining, and regular temperature and symptoms checks. Large shelters are moving residents to hotels; hand washing stations and portable toilets are available at homeless encampments. The health department has prepared for a possible surge with the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond and the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds in Antioch.
Contra Costa county Administrator, David Twa, reported that even with the CARE act and their approval of submitted papers – the county will still not be able to recover many of the millions of dollars expended in this crisis. Although we are on track to receive $190 million, we have already spent $10 million and will spend at least another $200 million before the fiscal year end. And our income from various sources including clinics has dried up. Recovering from our revenue losses will be a marathon, not a sprint.
The meeting adjourned at 2:43 pm.
Janet Hoy, BOS Observer
Meeting was held virtually with supervisors calling in and presenters in the chamber; all supervisors were present (virtually).
- Short statement from John Gioia in tribute to Bob Campbell
- One public comment from Pete Bennet with an array of complaints regarding bathroom facilities, the homeless, murder, the state bar and faulty computer repair
- Long discussion on eviction and the need for a Emergency Ordinance from the County to offer protection from eviction for those affected by COVID 19 and provide guidelines/regs for both renters and landlords. Discussion focused on grace periods, late fees, rent freezes, payback provisions and timeframes to as well as protections for landlords who might need to open up their rental space for their own families; will use the Ordinance from Santa Clara as a template with modifications to meet the needs of CCC; Attorney- Mary Ann will put together a draft ordinance for Supervisors review and discussion at 1:00pm on April 23rd.
- Public Comments read aloud on the eviction issue- majority from ACE; all in favor of the Board taking action on evictions in protection of low income renters.
Elections: Presentation by Debra Cooper and Scott Konopasek regarding moving the Nov 3 General Election to a Vote by Mail election exclusively. Want the BOS to petition the Governor for a resolution allowing this decision to be made by the Board; 165 polling places will be eliminated as well as the need for 1600 volunteers; will require an increase in printing and postage but a reduction in polling staff and equipment- financially a 'wash' ; will include 12+ Ballot Drop Boxes and Regional Voting Centers- Board to review and determine the number and location; Voting Centers will be open October 31st- Tuesday November 3rd. Read public comments about all mail election- 5 in favor 2 opposed.
Marian Shostrom, BOS Observer
The Meeting was held online, with supervisors meeting from their homes or offices.
Consent Items removed:
C42: Providing for additional temporary worker positions—David Twa
BOARD will meet every other Tuesday, unless there is a “need to meet.”
- Lots of comments about Incarcerated population, renters/tenants, immigrants, Non-profits.
- Many individuals described their anxiety as they are unable to work or pay rent.
- EBHO: tenant protections; need strong County-wide policy
D5: Update on County & School District Response to COVID-19
Anna Roth, CCC Health Dept:
- New dashboard: CCHealth.org to communicate data
- CCC: 2066 hospital beds available. 160 ICU beds. Can surge to 480 ICU beds.
- PPE: 250,095 masks; 1.2 million about to arrive. Shortage of protective gowns; Need medical grade cleaning supplies.
- Testing is challenging. Prioritizing: first responders with symptoms; people living in close quarters. 3 Drive-through screening sites: Martinez, Pittsburg, Richmond
- Workforce Concerns: need more workers as surge happens. We need to plan for a large surge.
Dr. Farnitano, CCC Health Officer:
Availability of ventilators is critical. 75, but more are on order. Half people on ventilators do not survive. Emergency Operations Center is virtual. Working with Sheriff to reduce jail population—now about half. New bookings have dropped 85%. Newly incarcerated are quarantined for 14 days. Staff are checked in every shift. No contact visits. Modeling to know what to expect. Antioch Fairgrounds, Craneway Pavilion, Hotel Rooms—alternative care sites being explored.
Lynn Mackey, CCC Superintendent of Education
18 school districts. 177,000 students. Public Health and workforce issues. Child care is being set up. Schools are providing take-out food for children.
Rusty Watts, Treasurer/Tax Collector: Property Tax Collection
Late penalty fees will be waived upon application, for both individual residents and businesses. There will be a form available on April 11th. It will come from CA State Controller’s Office. What documents will be needed: www.cctax.us. Look under News Flash. Evidence of reduced hours, layoffs, hospitalizations. There is still April 10th deadline. Taxes support local and county-wide services.
Bob Campbell, Auditor-Controller:
Let BOS know if mortgage companies aren’t paying from escrow account.
Kathy Gallagher, EHSD (Employment & Human Services Dept.)
- Many residents are unemployed, and need services. www.ehsd.org is open for business.
- State Employment Development Dept. www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment handles unemployment claims. For services, the demand curve is increasing.
- Immediate need to hire temporary and permanent eligibility and social workers. Vacant funded positions—need to accelerate on-boarding of these positions.
GIOIA: County should pass a moratorium on evictions and rent increases. Concord passed moratorium on rent increases. Asked County Counsel look at what other counties are doing. Should have this discussion sooner than two weeks.
Agenda item C42: Temporary Emergency Worker classification: the County did not have sufficient discussions with labor leaders. Thursday, 4/2 County will have that discussion.
Concern that large number of workers would be hired without protections. County should be requesting the National Guard step in, rather than hiring temporary workers. Concern that County would pay emergency workers $12/hour and no benefits.
Karen Mitchoff moved the matter. Candace Anderson seconded.
All 5 supervisors voted yes to approving the Temporary Emergency Worker classification.
Twa reported on the rest of the budget: hearing (budget) was set for April 21st. Clinic revenue down $15M/month. $11M proposed to be provided to CBOs. $100M expenditures in March and April. Another $100M? If feds follow through, some of this will be reimbursed. Property tax loss around $35M/year. Twa said employees’ wages were reduced and caused County to fall behind other counties and he accepted responsibility. Sales tax and Realignment (AB109) funds. We can only manage if we’re very careful and not try to provide too much for too many. County will Continue Budget at a later date. September with final adoption October 2nd. April 28 meeting Board hearing, need not be an active item.
$100 million of reserves will be spent.