11 Concord Residents File Papers to Run for Concord City Council

August 6, 2014 8:00 am · 121 comments

City of Concord

At least 11 candidates are running for the three open spots on the Concord City Council, according to City Clerk Mary Rae Lehman.

CITY COUNCILMEMBER (3 OPENINGS)

Ronald E. Leone
Harmesh Kumar
Patrick Hogoboom
Tim Grayson
Samuel Colvin
Brent Trublood
Laura Hoffmeister
Terry Kremin
Vernon Kurpieski
Adam Foster
Nicholas T. Lynch

Candidates must be registered voters at their current residence in the City of Concord, citizens of the United States, 18 years of age or older, and not disqualified from holding office by the constitution or laws of the State.

The period for filing nomination papers for the council runs until August 8, 2014.

Candidates are asked to make an appointment with the City Clerk to obtain nomination papers.

For more information about the nomination and election process, candidates may contact City Clerk Mary Rae Lehman at (925) 671-3495 or visit the City of Concord website at http://www.cityofconcord.org.

101 Atticus Thraxx August 8, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Legitimate question Antler. Dana Estates has a committed, very small group of people who got in early with council. Best I can tell the only result is visibility. And if we’re benefitting from Mr.Leone living amongst us, it’s well camouflaged.

102 jtkatec August 8, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Who’s Adam Forster?

103 jtkatec August 8, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Does anyone know Kumar’s website address?

I tried http://www.drhkumar.com which is listed on his flyer but it is not found.

104 Antler August 8, 2014 at 3:18 PM

#99/#100. …. My post is not a statement of my opinion. I only gave the same information which is printed on the Dana Neighborhood Alliance’s own website, and I asked questions about how other neighborhoods might get in with City of Concord and whether it is of any advantage to have a city councilperson living inside an alliance’s geographical boundaries.
(Thank you for continuing to let us know a great deal about your own character, community knowledge, and level of intelligence.)

My latter question is of special significance because there are plans being floated possibly to divide Concord into districts ….. thereby making a voter potentially only able to choose between certain candidates he might not even like.

Atticus at #102, I surely appreciate your realizing where I was coming from with the questions, especially as you live within the boundaries of that particular alliance. (And thank you for what actually is a piquant answer re Leone’s effectiveness. Though I really was not gunning for that sort of angle, I’ll take it as a bonus and run for cover! ;-) )

105 Former CVHS Parent August 8, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Rollo Tomasi #91,

You are incorrect about the initial formation of CVCHS. I was a parent there at the time and followed the issue very closely. The effort to convert to a charter school was started by a handful of teachers and controlled solely by the teachers. It was neither started nor led by parents, although they did get many parents and students to support the effort. The teachers used the “teacher trigger” provision in the law that allows teachers to convert a school to a charter school if the majority of the teachers sign a petition supporting the conversion and they turn in a plan to run the school that meets state requirements.

The teachers did not start this effort because they thought MDUSD was shorting CVHS its share of the district budget. They saw that charter high schools are funded at a higher per student rate than K-12 districts such as MDUSD. In fact, they correctly understood that MDUSD received less per student than the average K-12 district. However, they incorrectly thought that if they converted to a charter school, the extra funding would come from the state. It does not. The state is holding the line on its spending. It requires the charter school’s original school district to fork over the extra money from its own budget. So not only did MDUSD lose the per student funding for the 1850 students at CVHS, it had to give additional money to CVCHS to make up the funding gap. As noted by Ms. Whitmarsh, after the numbers were crunched, taking into account the cost savings from not operating CVHS, the loss to the district was around $3 million.

By the way, the teachers were very clear in what their #1 priority was for that extra money. They wanted higher pay and better benefits. They even wrote into the first draft of the charter that they expected to be paid more than MDUSD teachers.

The argument that MDUSD wasn’t giving high schools their fair share of the budget was not part of the teachers original justification for converting to a charter because it makes no sense. The teachers understood that the bulk of the spending goes to personnel, including teachers, and that school district spending is highly regulated. The argument wasn’t brought up until MDUSD pointed out that the extra funding for CVCHS would come out of its budget, not from the state, that it would be a big financial hit to the district and hurt every other school and student in the district. After at first claiming that MDUSD was lying about how the funding worked, then accusing them of cooking the books to hide the true numbers, the charter school supporters came out with the claim that the district must have been cheating the high school all along. Therefore, taking more money for Clayton Valley wasn’t morally wrong. It wasn’t stealing from others – it was just getting their fair share. It was a sorry attempt to justify harming all of the other students in the district – including the other high schools – to benefit themselves. If you have some examples of how MDUSD is lavishing money on elementary and middle schools at the expense of high schools, please come forward with it. No one has been able to come up with anything so far. As has been pointed out, state ed code requires that elementary and high school teachers in unified (K-12) districts work under the same salary scale, so blaming overpaid elementary school teachers is a non-starter.

It was acknowledged at the state board of education hearing that in every case, when a high school in a unified district converts to a charter school, it is a financial hit to the school district. MDUSD is not unique in that respect and there is nothing unusual about the way it apportions its spending between elementary, middle, and high schools. However, most of the school districts that have had high school charter conversions have been very large districts in Southern California. When one high school converts to a charter in a very large district, the impact is much smaller because it’s a much smaller proportion of their students. The financial impact was much greater for MDUSD because it was a much larger percentage of out student body. The state BOE was very sympathetic to MDUSD’s financial plight and the unfairness of the situation, but they had no legal way to mitigate the financial harm to MDUSD. They said the state legislature needed to change the law.

Of couse it should be acknowledged that money wasn’t the only reason Clayton Valley teachers wanted to convert to a charter. They objected to taking direction from administrators. They envisioned a school that would be run by committees of teachers. (They eventually added parents and students into their proposed governing committees.) The joke’s on them. They ended up with an executive director who doesn’t believe in any newfangled ideas about teachers having a say in how to reform a school. He’s a top down kind of guy who believes administrators make the decisions and hold the teachers’ feet to the fire to make sure they obey their directives. The teachers also got outflanked on the governing board, so there’s nothing they can do about it. A good many of them are every bit as angry and unhappy as they were when the school was part of MDUSD. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

The CVCHS teachers did get some sweet salary and benefit increases, but then so did MDUSD teachers once the state tax increase passed and the economy picked up. I think the CVCHS teachers ended up doing a little bit better financially than the MDUSD teachers. It looks like the pot was sweetened at the end of negotiations to try to deal with the rising tide of teacher unhappiness over the way the executive director is running things.

106 Atticus Thraxx August 8, 2014 at 5:41 PM

No, Antler I wasn’t coming down Mr.Leone’s road :) I know he has……his detractors, I just don’t know enough about his record to approve or disapprove of his performance. The relationship between him and CPD being being the hangnail best I can understand, correct? Met him once recently, and liked him. That’s all I got.

107 ChampagneKitty August 8, 2014 at 7:46 PM

to the person posting as “@ Antler” #80: Let me assure you that Antler is a very bright, nice, generous lady. I do believe there’s been a misunderstanding; she thought you were someone else. There is a person whom she and I both know, who used to comment on Claycord using a regular blog handle (such as “ChampagneKitty” or “Antler”) but has stopped and has taken to posting anonymously, often using “@ whomever”. This is one reason why Antler thought you were that person.

This person likes to criticize members of the Concord City Council, the same council that appointed her to a commission seat. This is why she stopped using her blog handle. This is another reason why Antler thought you were that person. I hope this makes a little more sense to you. Sorry about the confusion.

108 ChampagneKitty August 8, 2014 at 7:57 PM

Also, let me just say something that can apply to anyone, regardless of the city you live in. In my opinion and experience, when dealing with the city, whether it’s city councilmembers or staff, it is best to be nice, polite, and respectful to them. I have known people who have gone before the city council with their complaints and issues, hoping that something would be done about it, but then they turn around and insult them. You can’t expect the city to do things for you if you aren’t nice to them. Some of you may argue that the city is responsible and/or obligated to help you and they should be held accountable if they don’t, Well, that depends on the situation. In the real world, it pays to be nice, even if you don’t agree with their views.

109 ChampagneKitty August 8, 2014 at 8:06 PM

to jtkatec #104–I haven’t found a website for Dr. Kumar, but I did find a couple of Facebook page. His personal one is below, though he makes his posts public.

https://www.facebook.com/harmesh.kumar2?fref=ts&ref=br_tf

Here is his campaign one, though he hasn’t been posting very frequently lately. I imagine that will change very soon.

https://www.facebook.com/harmesh.kumar.127?fref=ts

I haven’t seen his latest campaign platform yet, but I’ve met him a number of times. He’s a very nice man, is almost always at city council meetings and frequently speaks during public comment sessions. He’s very active in the community and has a vested interest in the city of Concord.

110 Atticus Thraxx August 8, 2014 at 8:17 PM

Kitty I don’t have a facebook, what kind of doctor is Dr. Kumar?

111 ChampagneKitty August 8, 2014 at 8:39 PM

Dr. Kumar has a P.H.D. Licensed psychologist. He also runs care homes for the mentally ill and skilled nursing facilities. Here, I found his business website:

http://www.trshumanity.com/index.php

and this link goes straight to his bio page:

http://www.trshumanity.com/dr-harmesh-kumar

112 EdiBirsan August 8, 2014 at 9:32 PM

Neighborhood Partnerships were pushed by the City in the 90’s and each one was given a one time stipend to help with printing costs for flyers and the like.
There are few that remained active, namely Sun Terrace, Concord Park and Dana Estates. Neighborhood Watches are all over the city with the most recent two being one on Rosemary Lane in the Fruitbowl-tree haven area and the North Todos Santos group around Almond/Bonafacio, and one around Joan Ave.

You do not need anyone on the Council to get one going. It takes a few dedicated people to act as leaders and to coordinate with PD/Code Enforcement/City Staff etc. Benefits are face to face contact with the city, better neighborhood connections, community activity and watching out for one another. If you have questions or want more help you can write to me EdiBirsan@astound.net

113 @ Champagne Kitty August 8, 2014 at 9:52 PM

Well I know people are a bit tired of Antlers hauty and know-it-all attitude, I will stand by my statement when one assumes they make a$$ of themselves.
As for being nice…………….well I believe in a firm business approach at at time being firm and business like isn’t “nice” but then again I don;t give 2 craps about being any politicians friend or buddy. Bottom line as a homeowner and property tax payer these council members and BOS members are my employees and work for me. Whether anyone one has the brains on Claycord to realize it (I think BFF gets it) cities and counties are a business…..everything that involve the collection and expending of revenue is a business.

114 KAD August 8, 2014 at 10:27 PM

Atticus Thraxx – Re Leone – He recently abstained from voting on the master developer top four. I think it was because Seeno was in the bottom 4. He said he was surprised about the bottom 4. That tells me that Seeno is giving money to him. I do not attend the City Council meetings lately, but I do watch them.

115 Antler August 9, 2014 at 12:01 AM

Thank you very much, Councilman Birsan.

116 Antler August 9, 2014 at 12:46 AM

Atticus at #107…. Yes, that was my first impression of Councilman Ron Leone’s personal demeanor as well, as were the cases when I have spoken with Dr. Kumar. But that may or may not have anything to do with whether they function well with other councilpersons in ways which make positive improvements in all sectors of council to citizen responsibilities. I’m thinking of things like whether a candidate knows how to effectively direct staff, the Police Department, and to work within the amendment concept rather than closing a discussion and slamming through to a vote when no deadline was looming….those sorts of considerations.

117 Silva August 9, 2014 at 8:49 AM

ChampagneKitty #109, I agree whole heartedly. I’ve proven true the old adage “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” to myself time and time again, often within the confines of governing bodies. It find it holds true for most situations. It’s not always easy to keep cool, but it’s very rewarding, especially combined with patience and persistance.

118 KAD August 10, 2014 at 11:04 AM

Leone has signs saying that he saved 70% open space on CNWS,,,,,What happened to the “truth” on political signs. He did not do this.

119 Silva August 10, 2014 at 1:15 PM

KAD, Disturbing.

120 Antler August 10, 2014 at 9:16 PM

Councilman Ron Leone has a large sign at the corner of Denkinger Road and Concord Boulevard. It states that people should vote for him because he is against the widening of Denkinger to 4 lanes.

Widening Denkinger to four lanes is the perfect and logical mid-entry access linking Treat Blvd.(which becomes Denkinger Rd.) to the future cluster homes on CNWS land (as shown in the approved master plan). Indeed, the end of Denkinger Rd. comes to an abrupt deadend precisely BECAUSE “someone” …. “some” councilperson and/or “some” developer KNEW long ago about what would become of that Navy property. The same abrupt deadend circumstances are true of the end of Lynwood Ave. East and of ALL Dana Estates’ streets bordering Navy property.

But look ahead on this….
Leone lives in Dana Estates. He has already stated that he must recuse himself on this street-extension issue. Thereby, HE WILL NOT BE VOTING ONE WAY OR THE OTHER on such street extensions (even if he is re-elected)!!! I.e. If Leone is re-elected, the developers are one slot closer to gaining any rubber stamping they desire…. because Leone will not be voting AGAINST the Denkinger widening.

So I am FOR the widening of Denkinger Road. But I am against sleazy campaign tactics and will NOT vote for Leone!

[And PLEASE, would someone check to see whether the placement of that sign is legal and/or whether the homeowner of that corner house has given permission?]

121 KAD August 10, 2014 at 10:36 PM

Antler – Thank you for pointing this out.
Everyone, please do not vote for people that are altering the truth.

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