Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a pair of bills Wednesday that are intended to spur housing development on plots of land that are zoned for commercial and office buildings and parking lots.

State legislators and construction union officials gathered for the signing of Assembly Bill 2011 and Senate Bill 6, which both encourage and incentivize building housing in commercial areas and ensure that the workers building new housing will be paid sufficient wages.

The two bills, according to SB 6 author Sen. Anna Caballero, and AB 2011 author Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks, could support the construction of more than 2 million new housing units across the state while reducing urban sprawl and vacant storefronts and office buildings.

“We have an abundance of retail space, we have an abundance of office parks that are no longer being utilized and we have a real deficit of housing,” Wicks said. “Let’s use that land for what it should be for: homes so people have housing security.”

Newsom signed an additional 36 housing-related bills after the signing ceremony and argued that state officials have in the past deferred efforts to expand the availability of affordable housing and housing more broadly.

State officials dedicated some $3.3 billion in the budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year to spur the construction of affordable housing developments.

{ 0 comments }

The Concord Library is back open after being closed for a month while a new roof was installed.

The work involved a complete roof replacement, as well as replacement of shingles, substrate, downspouts, trim, gutter, and painting.

{ 0 comments }

ConFire has responded to a working residential structure fire on Craig Dr. near Reed Way and Cowell Rd., in Concord.

First units on scene report visible flames from the rear wall of the house.

Evacuations are currently underway for nearby homes.

Avoid the area.

UPDATE: The fire has been extinguished.

Thanks to Doug Geoffrey for the photo.

{ 2 comments }

A motorcyclist died after being struck from behind by a vehicle on state Highway 242 in Concord on Tuesday night, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The crash was reported shortly before 11:15 p.m. on southbound Highway 242 south of Willow Pass Road.

A rider on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle was hit from behind by someone driving a Toyota Highlander. The motorcyclist was taken to a hospital and succumbed to his injuries there, CHP officials said. The Contra Costa County coroner’s office was not releasing his name as of Wednesday.

The Toyota driver was not injured in the crash, which remains under investigation. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the CHP’s Contra Costa-area office at (925) 646-4980.

{ 8 comments }

The following update on the incident at Nordstrom Rack is from the Pleasant Hill Police Dept.:

Today, after the Central County SWAT team had left the scene, Nordstrom Rack loss prevention agents elected to keep the store closed to the public.

The Pleasant Hill Police Department left an undercover detective at the scene to monitor the business in case Ramos had somehow eluded detection during the hours-long search of the building.

At approximately 11:45 a.m., Ramos lowered himself from the ceiling and fled through the back door of the business.

He was quickly tackled by Nordstrom Rack loss prevention agents and taken into custody by Pleasant Hill Police personnel without further incident.

The Pleasant Hill Police Department recognizes and thanks the courageous Nordstrom Rack employees for their quick actions and assistance in taking this dangerous individual into custody.

The Pittsburg Police Department holds the original arrest warrant for Ramos and will assume custody of him, as well as, any additional investigation related to the original charges.

RELATED STORY:

UPDATE: Rape Suspect Wanted By Police Changed Clothes, Escaped From Nordstrom Rack

{ 29 comments }

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on Claycord.com where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it.

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon.

Today’s question:

QUESTION: What do you think is the number one local issue? Homelessness, crime, local economy, development of the naval weapons station, etc.?

Talk about it.

{ 55 comments }

Did you know that September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness month?

Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease past infancy for children.

Please help Martinez Police in raising awareness and showing our support for kids. They’re selling police patches, and all money raised will go towards helping pediatric cancer patients.

Patches are $10 at the Martinez Police Department’s front counter, 525 Henrietta St, Martinez, Mon. – Fri. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

{ 2 comments }

The following update on the incident at Nordstrom Rack, which was first reported on Claycord.com, is from the Pleasant Hill Police Dept.:

On September 27, 2022, at around 6:06 p.m., the Pleasant Hill Police Department was notified that the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office was involved in a vehicle pursuit of a wanted rape and domestic violence suspect fleeing in a stolen vehicle.

That pursuit ended in the City of Pleasant Hill, in the north parking lot of the Sunvalley Shopping Center. At the conclusion of the vehicle pursuit, the suspect exited the stolen vehicle and fled into Nordstrom Rack.

The store was occupied by patrons and employees when the suspect entered the business. The store was surrounded by law enforcement, and customers and staff were evacuated to safety without incident. The adjoining business, Safeway, was also evacuated to ensure the safety of customers and employees.

The suspect was believed to be hiding inside Nordstrom Rack. Officers made multiple attempts to call the suspect out of the store. The interior of the building was searched when no response was received. The suspect was known to be armed and dangerous. It was believed he had barricaded himself in the attic of the building.

The Central County SWAT team was called to the scene. Members of the Crisis Negotiations Team tried multiple times to communicate with the suspect without success.

A methodical search of the business was conducted utilizing drones, a K-9, a robot, and SWAT team members.

After an exhaustive search of the building, the suspect was not located.

It is believed he changed clothing and exited at some point in the initial moments of this incident, prior to the SWAT team arrival.

The suspect is still wanted for rape, domestic violence and felony reckless evasion. He has been identified as 26-year-old Concord resident Joseph Alan Ramos.

UPDATE FROM PHPD (SUSPECT ARRESTED):

The suspect has been arrested at Nordstrom Rack.

Today, after the Central County SWAT team had left the scene, Nordstrom Rack loss prevention agents elected to keep the store closed to the public.

The Pleasant Hill Police Department left an undercover detective at the scene to monitor the business in case Ramos had somehow eluded detection during the hours-long search of the building. At approximately 11:45 a.m.,

Ramos lowered himself from the ceiling and fled through the back door of the business. He was quickly tackled by Nordstrom Rack loss prevention agents and taken into custody by Pleasant Hill Police personnel without further incident. The Pleasant Hill Police Department recognizes and thanks the courageous Nordstrom Rack employees for their quick actions and assistance in taking this dangerous individual into custody.

The Pittsburg Police Department holds the original arrest warrant for Ramos and will assume custody of him, as well as, any additional investigation related to the original charges.

{ 25 comments }

The Sheriff’s STARR1 helicopter is currently assisting at least 3 law enforcement agencies in the vehicle and now foot pursuit of a lone male suspect.

We believe this may have originated in Pittsburg, but haven’t been able to confirm that. The suspect was last seen on foot, in the area near the northern end of Sunvalley Mall.

Please avoid the area.

Update, Tuesday 6:10 p.m.: The suspect ran into the Nordstrom Rack store and may be hiding in a bathroom or the ceiling. The store is being evacuated. We’re also getting reports the the Safeway store, which is immediately next door, was also evacuated.

Update, Tuesday 6:15 p.m.: It does appear that the suspect is now hiding in the ceiling. There is access to the roof, so STARR1 is orbiting the scene in order to continuously observe.

Update, Tuesday 6:30 p.m.: Both stores have been completely evacuated. Officers on scene are continuing to hold the perimeter and forming a plan of action. K9 and drone Officers are standing by.

Update, Tuesday 8 p.m.: After another switch of helicopters back to STARR1, who ultimately had to leave, they are now using drones in their place. Specially trained and equipped officers are in a very tight perimeter around the building. Negotiators are trying to establish contact with the suspect.

Update, Wednesday 12 a.m.: As of midnight, the incident is still ongoing. About 6 hours have elapsed. Negotiators are still trying to establish contact with the suspect.

Update, Wednesday morning: Police are still on scene. Safeway and Nordstrom are both closed. Police still have not contacted the suspect.

UPDATE: Rape Suspect Wanted By Police Changed Clothes, Escaped From Nordstrom Rack

{ 21 comments }

The union representing Kaiser Permanente mental health therapists on their seventh week of striking said members “resoundingly rejected a contract offer” from Kaiser over the weekend.

Workers in Northern California and the Central Valley went on strike Aug. 15. Leaders of the National Union of Healthcare Workers said Sunday the final tally was 1,349 to 222 to reject the latest contract offer.

“We presented Kaiser officials detailed proposals to increase staffing and improve access to care in the first negotiating session 14 months ago, and we won’t accept a contract that ignores those issues,” Ilana Marcucci-Morris, a Kaiser therapist and a member of the union’s bargaining team. “At this point, Kaiser executives can’t have any misconceptions about what it will take to secure a contract. We’re ready to negotiate around the clock to get an agreement signed as quickly as possible. It’s time for Kaiser to return to the bargaining table and end this strike.”

A Kaiser spokesperson said 60 percent of the company’s therapists have chosen to work through the strike.

“It is unfortunate that union leadership pressed members for a no vote, with assurances they would get more from continued contract bargaining. The ‘more’ that union leaders have identified will reduce access to mental health care for our members, and we have been clear we are not willing to do that,” Kaiser officials said.

Workers want increased staffing and improved access to care for patients who sometimes must wait months for therapy appointments. Both sides have agreed to a wage increase, but the union also wants therapists to have more time to see returning patients and perform all of their patient care duties.

{ 1 comment }