Dan Helix & Ed Birsan Win the Two Open Seats on Concord’s Council

November 7, 2012 4:10 am · 73 comments

Dan Helix and Ed Birsan won the two open seats on the Concord City Council. Helix received 22% of the votes, while Birsan received 18%

Third place went to Tim McGallian (15%) and fourth went to Harmesh Kumar (13%).

Terrence November 7, 2012 at 5:36 AM

And a special thanks goes out to the Concord Police Officer’s Association for helping to elect Ed Birsan!

Killjoy November 7, 2012 at 5:38 AM

Congratulations Ed! Go get ’em!

BlueJay November 7, 2012 at 5:42 AM

Congratulations Ed. Now let’s get something done to make Concord a great place once again.

Happy I don't live in concord! November 7, 2012 at 6:03 AM

All you Concord residents gloating and “sticking it” to the Concord Police should realize you look ridiculous. Do research and find out exactly who was behind the flier and who all actually agreed with its publication before you assume the entire Concord Police Dept was out to get Birsan. I’m sure you will find your assumptions were wrong and all you have done is created serious animosity between your City of Concord and your city police force. Kind of like you all are shooting yourselves in the foot. Not too mention you sound like third graders in your rants.

anonymous November 7, 2012 at 6:04 AM

Someone pinch me – I must be dreaming! Obama and Ed Birsan won! Congratulations Ed, you worked incredibly hard on this election. Thanks for standing up to the Concord political machine. Looks as if enough Concord residents have seen the light. Special thanks to Concord POA!

Bubba 94521 November 7, 2012 at 6:06 AM

Congratulations to Edi! Shame remains on the Concord POA.

Antler November 7, 2012 at 6:08 AM

Ed Birsan and the City of Concord is so deserving of this victory!!! Hoping a lot of residents will find a way to volunteer and improve our city the way Ed has done and will.

Bowsprite November 7, 2012 at 6:23 AM

Congratulations Ed! So nice to see you elected!

Jermy November 7, 2012 at 6:24 AM

Glad Harold….I mean kumar didn’t win.

Anyone know where a White Castle is?

Anon November 7, 2012 at 6:27 AM

Congratulations Edi for your hard word for The City of Concord and of course special thanks to the people behind the scene of the CPOA we couldn’t have done this without you.

anonymous November 7, 2012 at 6:35 AM

@ Happy I don’t live in Concord,

I’m happy you don’t live in Concord too. We know who’s behind that hit piece and we all know that all of Concord PD was not in on it. We also know that someone at the POA approved it or was dumb enough to be talked into it. Concord residents are clearly realizing how politics in this city work. The hit piece on Ed was an eye opener. Concord has been run by the local political machine for years. Ed’s election is a historical move in the right direction.

POA Hater November 7, 2012 at 6:44 AM

I wonder how many people like me voted only a single vote for Edi Birsan specifically because of the POA hit piece?

To the people above if the POA wasn’t behind the flier who was? Rumors are that Dan Helix was the guy who pulled the trigger on those fliers.

Pleasant Jenny November 7, 2012 at 6:45 AM

Yay Edi!!!

Sassy November 7, 2012 at 6:59 AM

Congrats, Edi!! A win WELL deserved!!

Feckin Irish Mouse November 7, 2012 at 7:34 AM

Congrats Edi – you fought a hard and honest campaign……
Everyone in Concord – please remember that Edi is just one vote on a council where the other 4 votes are controlled by Garaventa, Seeno and the POA. He has a tough road ahead of him and will need out support at meetings and other venues.

anonymous November 7, 2012 at 7:49 AM

@POA Hater #12,

Read #15. The entities mentioned hire local consultant Mary Jo Rossi to run their campaigns.

jp November 7, 2012 at 7:50 AM

POA Hater – same here – one vote for Edi. Thanks for your help POA.
Mouse – I agree, it’s going to be a tough road for someone like Edi who wants to do the right thing. Maybe now that our eyes are open Concord can pay a little more attention to who they’re voting for and we can slowly turn this thing around.

Mark November 7, 2012 at 7:52 AM

@POA hater – I only voted for Ed based on the hit piece.

ChampagneKitty November 7, 2012 at 8:10 AM

HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY happy happy joy joy HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY happy happy joy joy HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY happy happy joy joy HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY happy happy joy joy
*************Edi Birsan won the election!!! Thank you voters!!! Ironic thank you to the Concord POA!!! Edi did it. All of his hard work paid off. Congratulations to soon to be Councilmember EDI BIRSAN!!!*******************
HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY happy happy joy joy HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY happy happy joy joy HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY happy happy joy joy HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY happy happy joy joy

Dragon November 7, 2012 at 8:26 AM

Congratulations, Edi! We knew you could do it!

No go out there and fight the good fight for us!!

Dragon November 7, 2012 at 8:27 AM


^_Now_ go out there….

annie2u November 7, 2012 at 8:42 AM

Congratulations Ed! This is long over due.

Thanks for your persistence and years of hard work for Concord behind the scene.

DoReMi November 7, 2012 at 8:43 AM

Congratulations Ed Birsan. I hope you can implement your good intentions. Pension reform is a must. $225,000.00 a year to a 50 yr old for life is breaking the bank. No wonder the PD attacked you.

anonymous November 7, 2012 at 8:46 AM


The stink on the Birsan smear mailer was so bad that NO ONE has admittted any involvement yet. Rest assured it was whoever wanted Helix and McGallion in those council seats. I am overjoyed to know that Concord voters were not snowed once again.

Unfortunately, every time I see a Concord PD car now I think of that hateful mailer. I was a huge supporter of CPD before I found the hit piece in my mail box. Now – not so much. I do understand it was probably a handful of police involved in the mailer, but if this is who is leading their union, I am not a fan.

Many thanks to the Mayor for claycord.com, and other local blogs for providing residents with a forum to communicate with each other. This could be the beginning of the end for the Concord political machine.

Congratulations Edi Erselesi Birsan!

SK November 7, 2012 at 8:52 AM

@Feckin Irish Mouse, You nailed it. Edi is only one vote and can easily be outvoted by the rest of the Garaventa-Seeno-controlled puppets on the council. I am happy he was elected, but he will indeed need a lot of vocal support at those council meetings.

Ian November 7, 2012 at 8:53 AM

Congrats Edi, your persevearance and hard work have paid off. You’ve earned it.

CCC Anon November 7, 2012 at 8:55 AM

Congrats, Edi!

I hadn’t decided who to vote for before I got the POA hit piece. It prompted me to take a long hard look at the candidates and you got my vote. Any POA backed candidate who did not forcefully repudiate that horrible flyer had no chance of getting my vote. I have several friends who were prompted to take a closer look at your positions based on that flyer and you got their votes. I was so glad to see that POS flyer backfire on the POA. They should be ashamed of themselves. They did a lot of long term damage to the reputation of Concord police officers.

slagheap November 7, 2012 at 9:09 AM

very happy to see my vote for birsan helped just a little. anything that can be done to give us commoners of concord more voice on the council is appreciated, and much needed. still a tough fight ahead, birsan is still out-numbered badly, but in the next election we’ll put another honest person on the council. maybe by then the seenos will be in prison where they belong.

mwalker November 7, 2012 at 9:13 AM

In your face CPA!!!! Go Birsan.

Tree Farm November 7, 2012 at 9:36 AM

@ #21 DoReMi

Just need to set you straight here. It is OK to be against public servants pensions. It is a free country. Just get your facts straight. The best police officer retirement is 3% at 50. Meaning, you can retire at 50 and get 3% of your pay for every year worked. You can not be hired as a police officer in California until you are 21. That means the maximum pay someone can receive (based on 29 years of service) at age 50 is 87%. So unless you can show me where a cop can make $255,000 a year (the rough amount needed to get a $225,000 retirement)…. you are wrong.

Steve (Steven, Stephan) whatever... November 7, 2012 at 9:42 AM

This is a good start for the City of Concord! We also only cast one vote for Ed, I believe this Voting practice put Ed over the top! Way to go ‘Claycordians’!

viton November 7, 2012 at 9:58 AM

Okay Mr. Birsan, congratulations and take a day to savor your victory. Then make it PRIORITY ONE to pursue reform of police pensions.

jtkatec November 7, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Yeah, Edi!!

I think your first priority should be that free lifetime health coverage. What the heck?? It may apply to Congressman, Senators and Presidents, but Concord City Council members? Sheesh, a little full of themselves. And that perk, if there are no co-pays or deductibles, must equate to millions. No wonder Dan Helix wants it.

Dan Helix Hater November 7, 2012 at 10:41 AM

I suspect that Dan Helix and Cheif Swanger were behind the POA hit piece.

I am proud that Concord citizens have stood up to their mob-like ways.

Anonymous November 7, 2012 at 11:01 AM

Congratulations Ed Birsan!

I think this just proves the old adage that “the only bad publicity is no publicity.” The attack on Ed Birsan’s character backfired and he won by a big margin.

If Mary Jo Rossi came up with the negative publicity idea, anyone who retains her services should find a better consultant. And, if Mary Jo Rossi is behind this, perhaps Mr. Birsan should sue for slander/libel. Oh, wait, he wasn’t harmed by the slander/libel, he won because of it. I guess that makes it difficult to prove damages.

You have to get up pretty early in the morning to pull one over on the fine citizens of Concord (Claycord).

commoncents November 7, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Mr. Mayor – maybe you can have an interview with the head of the CPOA and get his view…… I’m sure he’d be glad to answer questions..

AnotherAnon November 7, 2012 at 11:23 AM

Near the top of the agenda should be “retiring” the HEALTH CARE KING, Ron Leone, who has free health care from 3 sources. From the Mt.Diablo Health Care District, FOR LIFE, from his retirement as a teacher, FOR LIFE, and now as a city council member, not yet for life, unless he’s re-elected . Not being able to use all this free care, he has elected to take the CASH instead, all at taxpayer expense. And he was another who had the support of the Police Officers Association.

The train November 7, 2012 at 11:30 AM

For most, the reason you kick and scream about pensions and lifetime medical mainly because you aren’t the one to get it, jealousy runs deep!

Like Birsan is Robin Hood gonna create equality in concord??? Anyone who believes this is a hack!

BTW – I’m not a police officer, but your being against them makes me worry. I work in oakland, but I don’t live there, for a reason. I’ve lived in concord for close to 19 years and call this my home, and am thankful that thugs and crimanals dont freely roam the streets, it seems they roam claycord instead.

You should have voted yes on Prop 32 and stopped allowing money to get into the POA hands, sorry maybe next time…

short and sweet . . . . November 7, 2012 at 11:42 AM

At least one of the liberal democrats were unsuccessful (Kumar) now we can only pray the decievers ( Ed , edi whatever going by this week) term will be short and sweet. . . .

Nature Lover November 7, 2012 at 11:43 AM

I too only voted for Ed Birsan. I am so happy he won!

Casey November 7, 2012 at 11:56 AM

I have a question. Why is it the CPOA won’t make any comments about the flyer distributed with their name? Um just sayin.

viton November 7, 2012 at 12:06 PM

train #39,
Is it some sort of chemical imbalance that makes people like you think that supporting police/fire and opposing their unsustainable pensions are mutually exclusive concepts? Let me help you: They’re not. Yes, they have a dangerous job. Besides the point, but so do refinery and highway workers. The point is, many of us support the police and the job they do, but will not fall hostage to this tired ploy that questioning these pensions somehow equates to being anti-cop.

And oh by the way, even though I knew it would lose in this union leech-infested state, I did vote yes on 32.

Starfish November 7, 2012 at 12:08 PM

I voted for Ed Birsan. I am glad he won.

jadedserf November 7, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Rather than attacking pensions, I’d first like to see a resolution or motion to prohibit any current and future ‘appointments’ by council or some other affiliated body for unexpectedly empty council seats. Should an elected council member be unable to complete a term, then the replacement should come from within the pool of those who ran for the said office and participated in the last election. These unilateral appointments sink our city into the Seeno-styled cess pool of corruption and thwart transparency and legitimate public discourse in city planning and policy. Additionally, where applicable, past appointments should be considered void and replaced by voter chosen runner up or next available candidate.

The Richards Family November 7, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Oh God not Edi, well at least he is onyl one person.

anonymous November 7, 2012 at 1:16 PM

@ Richards Family,

Thank God, Edi. Too bad it’s only one person.

Sawyer November 7, 2012 at 1:33 PM

Edi Birsan won the election fair and square and he should be congratulated. I hope his next step is to be the bigger person and reach out to the police department as a whole (I suspect most had no knowledge about the mailer) and find common ground to work together. I think it would also be wise for the POA leadership to acknowledge that the flier was innapropriate and apologize. Having said that those of you who seem to want him to be adversarial with the police may not really be thinking this all the way through. Off the top of my head I can think of 4 other local cities whose police and city council have strained relations. Those are San Jose, Oakland, Stockton, and Vallejo. All four have other similarities as well, such as alarming increases in violent crime when violent crime as a whole is declining and police departments in turmoil. The bottom line is when city departments don’t trust or work well together the public suffers. San Jose was not that long ago routinely awarded status of one of the safest big cities in America, how far that city had fallen. They can’t even maintain staffing so many cops have left to go to other departments who don’t have the political fight they do.

My other concern is that people are focusing solely on Birsan’s desire to get out of the 3% at 50 formula which I’m sure is also what the POA was focusing on as well. He may want to question if that is the hill he wants to die on so to speak. As every court decision for 100 plus years on the issue has shown, it can’t be done. Even the CC Times forum moderator pointed this out to Birsan who just seemed to ignore it. Most experts predict it will fail in San Jose just like it did in Orange County which spent millions in court fees. And this is considering that San Jose has at least a shot as its a charter city with direct control over its own pension plans which Concord as a general law city in PERS does not have, and no the courts won’t let you get out of it for currently vested employees, a second tier may work though.

Bottom line is I don’t want to see Concord (where I have been born and raised in) descend into the status of those cities because city government can’t work together because some of you would love to see Birsan stick it to the police, especially on an issue he can’t win. I just really hope he doesn’t turn into the polarizing figure that traditionally creates divisions and therefore causes gridlock that you guys seem to want him to become.

What say you Mr. Birsan?

anon November 7, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Happy I don’t live in Concord. Why is it the CPOA is not taking a stand for distributing their flyer? For those of us who live in Concord we don’t understand why they distributed the flyer, but they are afraid to come out and face the music.

CPD Watcher November 7, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Maybe Edi will fire all the CPOA members who approved the hit piece.

That right there would be in the “interest of justice”. Right Capt. Downing?

Malice N. Wonderland November 7, 2012 at 3:11 PM

Congratulations Mr. Helix!

Anonymous November 7, 2012 at 3:34 PM

Dear Sawyer,
Let me get this straight, CPOA with the assistance of that legend, Mary Jo Rossi, write, fund and send out a despicable hit piece on Birsan and you want him to “Reach out to the police department as a whole” Good advice as soon as they apologizeand the the head of the POA resigns.

They had no problem making a public statement. They lack the balls to make one now.

Horse'n Around November 7, 2012 at 4:10 PM

What’s really sad is that alot of people on here sound just as mean and hateful as they make the Flyer from the CPOA sound. If you posted your real names and ran for council I wouldn’t vote for any of you. You don’t sound any better then the CPOA.

Screwy Louie November 7, 2012 at 4:12 PM

Way to go, Mary Jo !!
Heard Romney’s looking for a Consultant.

Atticus Thraxx November 7, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Congratulations Ed and Dan. Only voted for Ed, but it’s time to put that all aside and do the people’s work. And if you could something about barking dogs and leaf blowers, that would be cool.

old sage November 7, 2012 at 5:22 PM

I voted for Edi and know he is not a one or two issue candidate. Although the lifetime health care for council persons gets me steamed, I know Edi is aware of a myriad of city issues and will represent those of us who voted for him well.

Kumar screwed up November 7, 2012 at 6:03 PM

Kumar screwed up b associating himself with Obama. I can’t believe America is Stupid enough to reelect Obama. Maybe he will be impeached for the Benghazi coverup.

max November 7, 2012 at 6:11 PM

Joe Higby and his entourage should ride off into the sunset, and the CPO should put some pressure on the the board to question where their money goes, because he has certainly created some bad feelings for the department.

@ #57 November 7, 2012 at 6:29 PM

I totally agree. I was actually going to vote for Kumar until I saw that billboard of him with Obama.

mob watcher November 7, 2012 at 7:01 PM

It will be interesting to see how quickly the Claycord readers turn on Edi after he has been in office for a bit. Mark my word, it will happen. The majority on this blog are quick to judge without information and they will do it to him too! Love him today, but we shall see…
Let’s see how supportive the Edi gaggle really is when is he is faced with real issues and real decisions.

How can he? November 7, 2012 at 7:26 PM

How is wonderful Edi gonna get rid of lifetime medical for cops? all city employees? council? Can he give me the name of the 50 year old cop making $225,000 every year while retired? how will he open a field office in his own neighborhood (but not mine)?

Let’s all watch in amazment and see.

Steal any more campaign signs, Edward from Lesbos?

Sawyer November 7, 2012 at 7:44 PM

Anonymous 52,

Yep you got it straight. I know it sounds hard to swallow but part of being a leader is brushing things like that aside and working with people you don’t like because it’s how you get things done. Trust me I know, If you want to settle scores and hold grudges, even if you were legitimately harmed, leadership in a public setting is not for you. Edi could be adversarial and take the focus off the issues facing the city (and there are many, even according to Edi) and try and exact some revenge but in the end the people of Concord would suffer the most from it or do you like the idea of Concord descending into the kind of garbage that has befallen the four cities I cited? I also forgot to mention Antioch. It’s about the same size as Concord and over the past 8-10 years Concord’s crime has declined and Antioch’s (which many people fail to realize wasn’t bad at all 8 years ago) has, I think, grown to great for the city to effectively combat. One of the biggest differences in my opinion was one had a disintegrating police/city organization and the other had a funded well run city/police department that worked well with each other. Criminals know the difference and they have a bennefit of choosing what city they’re going to target when it comes time to burglarize homes while people are sleeping or away from home. What has befallen Antioch could easily happen here and the quality and safety of the citizens in this city is more important then a little grudge/revenge mission, even if it’s understandable. As I did say before though, and you seemed to have ignored, the POA should apologize for the mailer and fire their political adviser.

@Dan Helix Hater November 7, 2012 at 7:57 PM

FYI, the POA hates the Chief…and would love to get rid of him and temp city mgr.

ChampagneKitty November 7, 2012 at 8:18 PM

America is not “stupid enough” to re-elect Obama. Just because you don’t like the decision doesn’t make voters stupid.
I agree that Kumar made a mistake in putting Obama’s image on his campaign signs. When you are running for city council, you want to appeal to as many voters as you can. I think that having that on his campaign signs alienated voters who are not fans of Obama. He did well though, he came in 4th, which is how Edi placed when he ran 2 years ago. Edi, by the way, has supporters with various political views.
Please remember that Edi will be one voice on a council of five. He will fight for what he believes in, but he can’t work magic, though I’m sure he would like to. In order for changes to happen, there must be a majority vote.

Mr. Anon E. Mouse November 7, 2012 at 8:29 PM

Just read the good news, Congratulations Ed! Look forward to the swearing in ceremony.

ChampagneKitty November 7, 2012 at 8:48 PM

I agree with most of viton’s post #43. Being anti-POA does not have to be the same as anti-police. Ever since the anti-Edi campaign hit piece came out, I have been angry with the Concord Police Officers Association. There is a board of directors that is responsible for the decisions the POA makes. There is a board president. Currently, that person is Officer Joe Higby. The decisions made by the POA do not necessarily reflect the views of each man and woman on the Concord police force. Obviously, what the POA has done as made the entire police force look bad. They should have apologized. They should still apologize, however, the apology really should have happened before Election Day. It is my understanding that Helix and McGallian were not aware of the hit piece before it came out. Some people have expressed their doubts. Even if they were not involved, I feel that both candidates should have made statements condemning what the POA has done. I am disappointed that they have not. It would have been the right thing to do.
As far as the police in general go, for the most part, I am supportive of the men and women of the Concord Police Department. I’ll say again that I like Chief Guy Swanger. I have been to a couple of Tip-a-Cop fundraisers for the Special Olympics. I went more to support the police than for the Special Olympics, though it’s a great cause. The Citizen’s Police Academy program is wonderful. I would recommend that you go, next time they offer it. You learn a lot. They are good, hard-working people.

Babs November 7, 2012 at 9:49 PM

Edi is not stupid. He does not hold the POA piece against the normal CPO. If anything he does not want this to reflect badly on our city police dept.

And yes, he will be one vote on the council. But knowing Edi he will bring up issues that need to be addressed, now if his fellow council members can’t support or have differences they will the opportunity to explain their views in front of Concord citizens. Then it is up to us, as citizens to hold their feet to the fire for changes we want. We have to take some responsblity in the way things have gone on. If you can comment on Claycord, you can sure write a letter to the Council or newspaper or get your butts down to a Council mtg.

We have power, we just don’t use it….if Edi can get over 700 signatures in about a day to keep open a Farmers Mkt…think what we can do on other stuff. If us parents and grandparents can organize to keep Westwood like it is….we can do all sorts of stuff.

Anonymous November 7, 2012 at 10:38 PM

I look for Birsan to stop or try to stop the garbage companies constant rate raises. His idea about sub stations went out years ago. Substations have nothing to do with catching criminals.They soak up money that could be used for patrol. It’s a catchy idea and appeals to voters .Also doesn’t work. He should quietly shelve the idea.

ChampagneKitty November 7, 2012 at 11:41 PM

to jadedserf: It was very nice to meet you and your beautiful dog last night at Edi’s party!

AoD November 8, 2012 at 12:36 AM

@ChampagneKitty.If you were singing the same song that I think you were earlier, then you rock! I was singing that song all day in my head at work, and still cant get rid of it.

Wow.. November 8, 2012 at 5:16 AM

700 signatures to keep a Farmers Market open! What’s next? Getting people to sign a petition against sex offenders? Truly amazing! (Snort).

GovBrown November 8, 2012 at 5:28 AM

Ok so Ed got elected. Congrats. And he is anti pension spiking. As are most folks. So answer me this, is his big push to eliminate pension retirement spiking at the PD? I swear Brown just addressed that issue with AB340, which has already passed. Read up peoples! His other hot topic issue is to reopen field offices. Will non-sworn staff really curb that much crime just by answering a phone? I’m still skeptical. I think the real Ed is gonna make us all regret it. Ed, if your reading this, don’t suck!! Be the solution, not the problem!!

Thunderdome November 8, 2012 at 12:09 PM

I don’t know who Ed is. However, when I received that flyer, I immediately decided to vote for him. The backlash was real.

ChampagneKitty November 8, 2012 at 2:37 PM

to wow… #71: I would suggest that you visit Edi’s website http://www.edbirsan.com and check out the long list of things he has done for the community.

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