Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Police investigate attempted homicide of man shot multiple times in Antioch Friday afternoon

Saturday, July 20th, 2019

By Lt. John Fortner, Antioch Police Investigations

On Friday, July 19, 2019, at approximately 12:47 pm, Antioch police officers responded to the area of West 9th and “J” Streets on the report of several gunshots in the area. When officers arrived at the scene, they located a 28-year-old male suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

Officers immediately provided first aid to the victim until ambulance and Contra Costa County Fire paramedics arrived. Paramedics transported the victim to a local area trauma center. The victim was admitted into the hospital in critical condition.

Currently, the shooting is being investigated the Antioch Police Department’s Investigations Bureau, and evidence at the scene is being collected.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Six-car crash involving Contra Costa Sheriff’s Deputy on Vasco Road Friday injures 8, three critically

Saturday, July 20th, 2019

Six-car accident on Vasco Road, Friday evening, July 19, 2019. Photos by East Contra Costa Fire Protection District.

By CHP-Contra Costa

Friday evening at about 5:32 P.M., Contra Costa CHP was advised of a six-vehicle collision on Vasco Road, just north of Camino Diablo in east Contra Costa County. An on-duty Contra Costa Sheriff’s deputy was involved but thankfully only sustained minor injuries.

Three parties from the collision were transported to local hospital’s by CHP helicopter, Contra Costa Sheriff’s office Cal-Star helicopter, and Reach regional helicopter as well. Three other parties were transported to local hospitals by ground ambulance. Thankfully all injured parties sustained non-life-threatening injuries. We’d like to thank our allied agencies and emergency personnel on scene for their help in this incident.

The cause of the collision is still under investigation. Alcohol and/or drug impairment is not suspected. If anyone has information about this collision, please call the Contra Costa CHP Office at 925-646-4980. Thank you and please drive safe.

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Community college Chancellor Fred Wood sets retirement date for next March

Friday, July 19th, 2019

Dr. Fred Wood

By Tim Leong, Director, Communications and Community Relations, CCCCD

Contra Costa Community College District (District) chancellor Fred Wood announced he plans to retire on March 31, 2020.  Since joining the District in 2017, Wood is credited with bringing stability to the District during a time of enrollment challenges and significant changes in the funding formula for California community colleges.

“After considerable and thoughtful deliberations, I have decided to retire after a

four-decade career in higher education due to increased personal obligations and because I firmly believe the District is ready for new leadership”, said Wood.  “Although there is never a perfect time for a leadership transition, the District is in a great place with a very strong financial position, stabilized enrollment, and doing a tremendous job of serving our students and community.”

The chancellor also cited other reasons the District is ready for new leadership by acknowledging the colleges are fully engaged and preparing for upcoming accreditation visits, the migration to a new format for district policies is underway, the capital construction bond program is moving along well, stronger relationships are being developed with educational and community partners, and the Governing Board has just approved a new District five-year strategic plan.

“We have been extremely fortunate to have Fred’s leadership over the past few years”, said Governing Board President Vicki Gordon.  “His honesty, integrity, thoughtful leadership, and passion for students were exactly what the District needed during this time.  We will miss his leadership and he will be a hard act to follow.”

The Governing Board will begin discussing how they will recruit the next chancellor at their upcoming meetings.  The plan is to complete the selection before Wood’s retirement to ensure a smooth transition.

Wood grew up in Martinez, attended Diablo Valley College as a first-generation college graduate, and credits the community college experience for transforming his life.  He is grateful for the opportunity to come “back home” and contribute to the District’s legacy of making a difference in the lives of its students.

“What I am most proud of during my tenure is the opportunity to join our Governing Board, faculty, staff, and community leaders in their work to support our students,” said Wood.  “They deserve the recognition for the success of our District and our three excellent colleges.”

The Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) is one of the largest multi-college community college districts in California. The CCCCD serves a population of 1,019,640 people, and its boundaries encompass all but 48 of the 734-square-mile land area of Contra Costa County. The District is home to Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, as well as educational centers in Brentwood and San Ramon. The District headquarters is located in downtown Martinez.

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Driver of stolen car dies following high speed chase in Antioch early Thursday morning.

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

By Lieutenant John Fortner – Investigations, Antioch Police Department

At approximately 1:00 am, Thursday, July 18, 2019, an Antioch police officer spotted a vehicle travelling on Somersville Road matching the description of the stolen vehicle. As officers got into position to initiate a traffic stop, the suspect driver accelerated away from the officers. After the officers activated their emergency lights and siren, the 21-year-old suspect driver fled eastbound on Buchanan Road at a high rate of speed.

At the 1100 block of Buchanan Road, the suspect vehicle crossed the raised center divider and stopped after colliding with a tree on the north side of the roadway. Emergency fire department and ambulance paramedics were immediately called to the scene to render first aid. Ultimately, the suspect driver succumbed to his injuries and he was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The Antioch Police Department’s Investigations Bureau responded to the scene and the Contra Costa County Law Enforcement Involved Fatal Incident Protocol was invoked.

The incident is currently being jointly investigated by the Antioch Police Department and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office.

No further information will be released regarding this case at this time. Any further information or additional press releases will be provided by the Investigations Bureau.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Black Diamond Mines closed until Sept. 10 for installation of new coal mining exhibit

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

Graphic by East Bay Regional Park District.

The Hazel-Atlas Mine and Greathouse Visitor Center will be closed until September 10 while a new exhibit is installed. No mine tours will be available during the construction period. Sidney Flat Visitor Center, located at park headquarters, will be open on weekends during the summer from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The new Black Diamond Coal Mine exhibit, built into the existing Hazel-Atlas silica sand mine, will be an immersive experience taking visitors into a recreated 1870s coal mine, part of California’s largest coal mining operation. All of the original coal mines at the preserve have been closed to the public and permanently sealed for public safety. Visitors to the new exhibit will experience the sights and sounds of a working coal mine from nearly 150 years ago when immigrant miners worked deep in the earth to supply California with the energy needed to power and transform the state’s economy from rural to industrial. The new exhibit is scheduled to open to the public in the spring.

Black Diamond Mines Naturalist Eddie Willis is looking forward to the new addition to the Hazel-Atlas Mine and Greathouse Visitor Center. “We are excited to showcase this new exhibit which will allow visitors to connect more directly with the coal mining legacy of these hills in a safe and educational way,” said Willis.

To help fund the visitor center exhibit, the Regional Parks Foundation secured two grants from the Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation and Marathon Petroleum.


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Transportation authority awarded $755,000 to plan future transit between Antioch and Brentwood

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

CalTrans Sustainable Communities Planning Grant

The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) won a Caltrans SB1 Sustainable Communities Planning Grant valued at $755,000 to support a study that will evaluate new transit options between the cities of Antioch and Brentwood in East Contra Costa County.

The East County Integrated Transit Study will guide the development of a plan for providing fast, frequent, high-capacity transit connections between Antioch and Brentwood that will directly integrate with existing local and regional services such as the Antioch BART station and Tri Delta Transit local bus service. The study will also look at improving connections to Capitol Corridor and ACE rail services, as well as proposed future ferry service between Antioch and Martinez. As part of its commitment to sustainable communities, CCTA will focus on new, zero-emission public transit options for potential outcomes of the study.

“Now that Highway 4 has been modernized to improve access to Eastern Contra Costa, I am pleased that we were successful in obtaining these funds to plan for a future that provides more transportation options to support economic growth and mobility for our residents,” says California Assemblymember Jim Frazier.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to harness new transit technology that can integrate with existing systems to create a smart, efficient network that easily connects people to their desired destinations,” explains CCTA Executive Director Randell Iwasaki. “This grant will enable us to expedite a much-needed study that will guide valuable transit improvements for Eastern Contra Costa County.”

“CCTA is a forward-looking organization,” states Bob Taylor, Mayor of Brentwood and Contra Costa Transportation Authority Board Chair. “I’ve always predicted a bright future for Eastern Contra Costa County and this grant win lays the foundation for the communities along Highway 4 to connect, grow, and prosper.”

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California State Fair in Sacramento now open through July 28

Monday, July 15th, 2019

The 2019 California State Fair & Food Festival officially opened its gates Friday morning July 12 with big crowds, eagerly awaiting to get into Cal Expo in Sacramento.

“We’re so thrilled Opening Day was such a great success; it’s fun seeing so many people and families out having a good time, and of course, eating at our 100 food booths.” said Rick Pickering, Cal Expo General Manager and CEO. “We’ve worked hard to make this year’s State Fair the best yet – a fair for all Californians up and down the state. The food festival is just part of what we have in store for the next two and a half weeks.”

The California State Fair & Food Festival runs through July 28th.

For the schedule of daily events and concerts, as well as the list of food vendors, fairgoers are encouraged to visit the website at or download the Ca State Fair app where they can map out all of their adventures.

About the California State Fair 

The California State Fair is an international award-winning fair, receiving top honors at the International Association of Fairs and Expositions out of more than 1,100 fairs world-wide. The California State Fair is dedicated as a place to celebrate the best the state has to offer in agriculture, technology and the diversity of its people, traditions and trends that shape the Golden State’s future. We invite you to join us for the 166th California State Fair, July 12-28, 2019.

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Judge tosses out Antioch Council’s adoption of environmental group’s Sand Creek initiative and The Ranch development agreement

Monday, July 15th, 2019

Herald file graphic.

Let Antioch Voters Decide initiative must go to Nov. 2020 ballot; Richland must produce new Environmental Impact Report

By Allen Payton

On May 31, Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Edward Weil tossed out the Antioch City Council’s adoption of the initiative sponsored by environmental groups to limit growth in the Sand Creek Focus Area, as well as the development agreement for The Ranch project, contained in the competing initiative sponsored by Richland Communities. That agreement approved 1,177 homes on their property. (See related articles, here and here.) See judge’s ruling, here: Judge’s Order on initiatives lawsuits 05-31-19

As a result of the adoption by the Antioch Council of the two initiatives, last year, four lawsuits were filed against the City of Antioch, two each by The Zeka Group and Oak Hill Park Company, challenging both initiatives. The Zeka Group owns the 640-acre Zeka Ranch property on Old Empire Mine Road at the west end of the Sand Creek Focus Area, and according to the court documents, “which Zeka Group purchased in 1989. Prior to purchase, the City’s planning development manager, Raymond Vignola, assured Zeka Group that the property was and would continue to be designated for residential development of 1000+ units. The City’s 2003 General Plan called for 4,000+ units in the Sand Creek Focus Area, and Zeka Ranch was to develop the executive housing stock.” That resulted in a reduction of the number of housing units on the property that can be built. Zeka’s plans are to build 340 homes on their property.

Oak Hill “owns roughly 419 acres in three parcels” directly south of The Ranch project, “designated for a golf course and senior housing in the 2003 General Plan.”

The city council adopted both initiatives instead of placing either on the ballot, as the council had the option of doing. First, they adopted the one sponsored by Richland on July 11, 2018, which also resulted in the adoption of the development agreement 30 days later. The other initiative, entitled Let Antioch Voters Decide: The Sand Creek Area Protection Initiative (LAVD) sponsored by Save Mount Diablo and other environmental groups in the county, was adopted by the council on August 28, after the council had sent it back for more study and a report by city staff, which was also one of the options the council had.

Both initiatives downgraded the development potential on the Zeka Ranch, Oak Hill and other properties in the Sand Creek area west of Deer Valley Road to just one home per 80 acres, the same level as land outside the city’s and county’s Urban Limit Lines. The entire Sand Creek area is inside the city’s voter approved ULL. That would allow only eight homes on Zeka’s property and only five homes on the Oak Hill property.

The Ranch Development Agreement Unlawfully Included In Initiative, Requires EIR

In the decision, “the Court finds that the Richland Initiative unlawfully includes the Development Agreement between Richland and the City…but it may be severed from the remainder of the Richland Initiative.” The court also found that “The Development Agreement cannot be approved by initiative and requires compliance with CEQA” (the California Environmental Quality Act).

The decision means the development agreement is invalid and Richland must go through CEQA’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process in order to obtain approval of their development agreement. Whether or not the development agreement can be separated from the initiative has yet to be determined. If the judge finds that it can’t be, that will result in the entire initiative being invalidated.

Voids Let Antioch Voters Decide Initiative

In addition, the court found, “The LAVD Initiative is void as an improperly-adopted amendment to the Richland Initiative. The…question is whether the LAVD Initiative improperly amended the Richland Initiative. The Court concludes that it did. Under Elections Code section 9217, the City could not adopt the LAVD Initiative on its own. A vote of the people was required. This renders the LAVD Initiative void.”

The Council Must Place the LAVD Initiative On The Ballot

The court further finds, “Since the LAVD Initiative amends the Richland Initiative, the City had no choice but to put the LAVD Initiative before the voters. It would be manifestly unfair to the supporters of the LAVD Initiative to start the process over because the City instead adopted it. So, the Court is inclined to order the LAVD Initiative to a vote. The Court is unconvinced that the Richland Initiative is somehow immune from challenge by initiative amendment.”

The court prohibits “the City from enforcing the LAVD Initiative.” The judge then ordered the city council to place the environmental groups’ initiative on the November 2020 ballot. City Clerk Arne Simonsen said he has sufficient funds to include the ballot measure on the November 2020 election ballot.

Zoning For Zeka Ranch’s Property Couldn’t Be Changed By Initiative

In an additional decision, the judge ruled that the city council couldn’t change the designation of executive housing for the Zeka Ranch property.

“A city may not adopt ordinances and regulations which conflict with the state Planning and Zoning Law,” the ruling quoted from a previous court case. The judge further wrote, “Government Code section 65913.1 provides that a city ‘shall designate and zone sufficient vacant land for residential use with appropriate standards, in relation to zoning for nonresidential use, and in relation to growth projections of the general plan to meet housing needs for all income categories as identified in the housing element of the general plan.’

Zeka Ranch claims…that the Richland Initiative violated the code by restricting development in a manner that makes it impossible to meet the City’s housing needs allocation, particularly for the kind of executive housing Zeka Ranch was to build.

In fact, Zeka Ranch pleads that the General Plan called for allocation of one-to-two units per developable acre and contained a housing element specifically calling for residential development appropriate for executives of businesses seeking relocation to the City. Accepting this as true, Zeka Ranch properly pleads this claim.”

Legal Process Continues

The legal process continues over the two initiatives. To conclude his ruling the judge wrote, “The remaining challenges to the Richland Initiative will be resolved in a further phase.” Furthermore, the judge wrote, “Parties shall appear to discuss the proper remedy as to the LAVD Initiative and any further orders that may be necessary, as well as a schedule for briefing the remaining matters related to the Richland Initiative.”

In addition, the judge gave the parties in the lawsuits until June 24 to file amended pleadings. Both Zeka and Oak Hill submitted them by the deadline.

The case numbers are MSN-18-2228, 2229, 2231 and 2232.

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