Claycord – Talk About Local Politics

December 15, 2017 19:00 pm · 19 comments

voted1

This special post is “Talk About LOCAL Politics”.

Please use this post to talk about LOCAL politics, and keep state and national politics out of this thread.

Thank you, and be kind to each other.

Please Note: Users who use multiple names will be deleted. Please choose a name so others can easily chat with you. Users must provide a name in the ‘name field’, please do not use the ‘@’ symbol in the name field.

Seinfeld December 16, 2017 at 8:56 PM

What? No local politics this week? Ok, I’ll go.

Edi Birsan for mayor? What’s up with that?

Cowellian December 17, 2017 at 9:35 AM

Craig Cheslog of Lafayette has resigned as California Democratic Party’s East Bay director.

Wondering December 20, 2017 at 11:45 AM

Cheslog worked for Tom Torlakson in his state senate office, his state assembly office, and in his state superintendent of public instruction office.

Concord Mike December 17, 2017 at 10:26 PM

It has been 10 years since the great recession. As I look around Concord I see a lot of new business activity. Home values are (finally) up to about where they were at the prior peak 10 years ago. Some reasons to be optimistic.

I am also enjoying all the Christmas lights I see on so many homes and the generally positive vibe I am getting from the people I encounter at the stores, at church, and when I walk around the neighborhood.

Life is pretty good here in suburbia. However my optimism is somewhat tempered by the acutely horrific condition of our Concord roads, the notable increase in property crime, and the continued lack of progress in code enforcement.

Fair to say Concord is not fully recovered from the great recession, but there is progress in some areas and reason for hope.

I wish everyone a wonderful Christmas!!! Let’s be thankful for what we have and try to make things a bit better in 2018.

R December 19, 2017 at 5:58 PM

Thank you Concord Mike. I usually agree with everything you post. Your posts are well written and reasonable. Merry Christmas to you, too.

Lars Anderson December 22, 2017 at 1:49 AM

Concord Mike, it’s x-mass year round for City of Concord employees as I report in my commentary below. Average compensation for Concord workers – wages and benefits – $158,000. Veteran patrol officers pay levels have gone from 104,000 in 2012 to 129,000 in 2016, and the officers get all the overtime they want, most of the time. Contrast that with Concord senior citizens – social security recipients got a whopper 20 dollar a month raise this year. this was the first raise senior citizens got in their social security checks in years. Guess who pays a lot of the taxes that are financing Concord city workers bloated wages and generous retirement packages? Senior citizens do Mike, many of whom have to scrape to pay for medical bills. Are you a police officer in Concord Mike? I’m guessing that you are because you are so happy about the current state of our bankrupt no-service city.

Anonymous December 18, 2017 at 4:05 PM

The excessive parkland in the NWS is going to be a huge drain on Concord’s resources. It will be costly to maintain and will be a crime magnet. We need to build more city and less park.

KG December 19, 2017 at 4:18 PM

We have plenty of city, people and traffic congestion. There are already “too many rats in the cage”. We need parks and open space. East Bay Regional Parks will maintain the majority of this space. Concord should be able to maintain the smaller portion the city will be responsible for.

KG December 19, 2017 at 4:19 PM

We have plenty of city, people and traffic congestion. There are already “too many rats in the cage”. We need parks and open space. East Bay Regional Parks will maintain the majority of this space. Concord should be able to maintain the smaller portion the city will be responsible for.

Anonymous December 20, 2017 at 9:38 AM

@KG: we can’t afford to maintain the parks we have and the buffer will be frigging enormous. Expect it to be a dirty crime magnet.

KAD December 19, 2017 at 4:22 PM

CAC meeting tonight starting at 6:00. If you want to find out where the earthquake faults on the CNWS, you need to watch or better yet, attend in person at Concord City Council Chambers.

Wondering December 20, 2017 at 3:10 PM

Claycord – I’m a bit surprised that you haven’t covered the Craig Cheslog story. His political area included all of Concord and Clayton.

Wondering December 21, 2017 at 2:41 PM

crickets….

Lars Anderson December 21, 2017 at 5:20 PM

Concord Mike’s view that Concord is a well run city is just ludicrous. Concord is a city steeped in political corruption and cronyism, corruption that has been going on for years. It wasn’t years ago when Bud Stewart was running the city, but it is today.
I invite Concord Mike to get on the Transparent California web site and compare the wages of benefits of Concord workers compared with surrounding cities. According to Transparent California the median pay and benefits of Concord City employees is 158,000. Compare this to surrounding cities. Walnut Creek’s median pay and benefits for city workers is 136,000, Pleasant Hills is 133,000. Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill have far better services for residents, especially recreation and leisure services. Concord’s recreation programs are a joke. Walnut Creek, I should mention, has a gorgeous library, PH’s has a new one on the way. Concord’s library? It’s a tiny little rat trap that was obsolete when I was in high school, and I’m 66 years old. The city has no real plans to replace the library, even though they are helping Lennar develop the old navy base property. 12,000 homes are on the way and city officials can’t figure out how to build a new library!
Why are city employee wages so high? I thought Concord is supposed to be so broke, that’s what 23 year council person Laura Hoffmiester keeps telling us. Even though the economy is booming the city is only able to keep the budget balanced with the money from a bond initiative, which Hoffmiester and her cronies talked voters into passing. City officials have thrown a few crumbs at residents with this money, we got new playground equipment for a couple of parks, but much of the money has been used to shore up structural budget problems, problems that have happened because of the profligate out-of-control spending on city employee salaries – which have gone through the roof, thanks to Laura Hoffmiesters inept leadership.
To demonstrate an example of this out-of-control spending I will use the example of Concord Police Officer Ronald Brukert, currently powerful head of the Concord Police labor union. – the union that many believe basically “runs” the town of Concord now- behind the scenes. Bruckert, a patrolman, made 104,000 in 2012 and 2013. In those years he also made about 25,000 in over time. In 2015 and 2016 Bruckerts salary grew to 129,000 and the overtime he got ballooned to an average of 90,000 annually, so his 129,000 salary jumped to 220,000 per year in 2015 and 2016.
If anybody is wondering why Concord’s city employees salaries are so much higher than surrounding cities the reason for this is linked to the fact that the police labor union in Concord controls the budget process – behind the scenes. This police labor union has placed stooges on the council – like Laura Hoffmiester, Tim McGallian, and Ron Leone. These council members don’t “work” for us taxpaying residents, they work for the Concord Police Officer Association, so when budget times rolls around the Concord POA gets everything they want, and what the POA wants is ever higher salaries, more overtime, more managers at the PD etc. etc. The reason Concord is broke is because of out-of-control spending on the PD. Period.
This profligate spending on the PD in Concord has nothing to do with crime levels, we don’t have a lot of crime in Concord – we never have – it has to do with politics and cronyism. The Concord POA has placed these stooges on the council, and like clockwork these weak stooges continue to give into the sa;lary and wage demands of the POA, and the end result our Concord is continually broke. We resident get almost nothing for our tax dollars but an expensive PD, a PD that continually exaggerates crime levels in Concord – “gangs, gangs, gangs” they keep claiming – to justify the gravy train the officer and police brass have been on for many years now (pensions so fabulous you just can’t believe it).
There is no reason – at all – why Concord should be paying 158,000 per employee. Walnut Creek only pays 133,000 – even though Walnut Creek has a fabulous tax base, along with far fewer city residents. Simple common sense tells you that something is profoundly wrong in Concord, we are paying way more for city workers, and almost unbelievably getting about half the services these other cities are getting.
Who is to blame for this? It’s not Valerie Barrone, she’s a fine City Manger, the fault goes to these people on the council who take orders from the Concord Police Officers Association – Laura Hoffmiester, Ron Leone, and Tim McGallian. When these council members tell us – as they do continually – that Concord is broke, that we can’t afford anything – they are lying to residents, they are covering up the secret deals they have made with this unbelievably greedy police labor union in Concord, a union that basically “placed” them on the council for the sole purpose of allowing the union to “raid” city funds for these huge salaries and massive pensions year after year (see POA honcho Brukert’s 220,000 patrolman salary!)
As I have been reporting, in 2018 a group of angry library patrons intends to recall Hoffmiester, McGallian, and Leone. For too long we have been hearing this “rap” about how broke the city is; we believe – and intend to show Concord voters – that the profligate spending of these council members – Hoffmiester, Leone, and McGallian, is the reason we are broke all the time. The money is “there” to build a library, to finance rec programs, build a teen center, build a theater for dramatic plays etc.- but we must get leaders on the council that fight for residents!
Concord Mike, all you have to do to see how poorly Concord is run is just go tour surrounding cities, go see PH’s 5,000 square foot teen center, go take a tour of Clayton’s beautiful library, or Walnut Creeks gorgeous new library, or go take a ride to Pittsburg and see the beautiful restored theater they have, or go to Dublin and see the beautiful state of the art basketball courts they have. I mean you live in fantasy land Concord Mike, you are not helping our city by falsely claiming Concord is doing great, This city is a disaster – Concord residents are being cheated out of the services they are paying for (see 158,000 median salary), and it will continue to be as long as Laura Hoffmeister and her cronies are running the show.

Concord Mike December 22, 2017 at 12:19 PM

Lars, I never said Concord was a well run city. We have our share of problems as I mentioned: bad roads, property crime, etc.

Take 2017 as an example. While roads fall apart and property crimes jump, our new mayor spent more city council time on his plan to expand marijuana sales than on either of these more important issues. A well run city spends money, energy, and time on high priority items, not pet projects.

I am not a fan of a big new library (unless it comes as part of a new 4 year college campus on CNWS property), but I do agree with much of what you say about high employee salary and benefit costs in CPD and the city management.

The city has zero control over soaring pension costs, but they can look at opportunities to save money by trimming down the overgrowth at senior levels of Staff.

Hope Johnson December 22, 2017 at 2:07 PM

@ Concord Mike
Marijuana sales would have paid for the road repairs, maybe a civilian 311 call center to take property crime calls, and more. You might not want to do it that way, but it’s hypocritical to pretend it wouldn’t as you complain about both.

Concord Mike December 22, 2017 at 3:34 PM

Hope,

The promise of big city tax revenues from legal sales is just hype to get the businesses open. This is still an all cash business. Even if sales are brisk, taxes paid will be meager…. not enough to cover the cost of extra police calls and regulatory enforcement.

If Concord becomes the only city in the area to license storefront sales
the long term consequences could be really bad. The extra crime and homelessness neighborhoods will experience will drive down property values, investment, and overall quality of life. Yuck.

Hope Johnson December 22, 2017 at 5:06 PM

Concord Mike

Your theories on this are uninformed and underdeveloped. There are plenty of medical marijuana dispensaries that pay their taxes to the State right now, and there is no evidence that the retail stores wouldn’t do the same. Your opinion is not consistent with existing conditions and stop short of examining the tax situation now, likely because you are biased against the stores. You are certainly entitled to your opinion but policy should be based on examination of known facts.

Remember it’s the Federal government that’s creating the dangerous situation by refusing to allow banks in States where marijuana is legal to open accounts for distributors. Some cities are in the process of planning their own public banks to eliminate the absurdity of saying the store is dangerous because it’s a cash based business and then enacting laws that keep the store cash based. Banks have loads of money in them and we have found ways to keep them safe places of business, we can do the same with many other businesses.

I lived near dispensaries in the Hayes Valley and Alamo Square area, an area with many families and wealthy homeowners. The dispensaries were not the cause of any homeless people or extra crime. There are many studies that show it is not true that marijuana dispensaries increase crime – a simple internet search will show studies from UCLA, USC, and insurance companies that are trying to figure out if and how to insure retail marijuana. But, hey, go ahead and cling to your poorly informed opinion because most of Concord’s decision makers do the same thing in almost all categories let alone this one.

Concord PD will need to develop policies with or without Concord banning pot stores. Police will be dealing with it because it’s legal in the State. And now Concord will have to add that with its existing budget.

Nonetheless, my original point stands – your assertion that Birsan was only thinking of a pet project instead of increased revenue is unfounded since he has many times spoken of increasing revenue through regulated marijuana stores. You might not like it but that doesn’t make it false.

Cowellian December 22, 2017 at 6:07 PM

No, Hope,
It is the state and local governments who are creating the dangerous situation by choosing to ignore laws that they don’t like. Once they have demonstrated that the rule of law is meaningless to them, they cannot possibly be surprised when their citizens start making their own choices about which laws they want to obey.

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