Claycord – Talk About Local Politics

April 13, 2018 19:00 pm · 24 comments


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.

Amy April 13, 2018 at 8:15 PM

Did anyone go to or watch the City Council meeting on Tuesday? I taped it. Sadly, Concord passed a bill allowing for marijuana manufacturing, testing and distribution in the city that “Puts Families First”. Our new mayor Edi Birsan opposed every common sense amendment proposed that would put limits on these business.

Concord Mike April 13, 2018 at 9:50 PM

Amy, I was there. Several of us ordinary Concord citizens stepped up and asked the Council to “put families first”. Although the cannabis overlay district was approved, it was approved with a very important restriction. NO Cannabis can be manufactured for recreational marijuana retail sale. Only medical.

The marijuana advocates and those who hope to make $$$ off of recreational marijuana in Concord were NOT happy. Mayor Birsan was not happy. They did not get what they really wanted.

For the last year and a half, they have organized desperately ill people to come down and plead to the city council and planning commission for medicinal marijuana. However the real agenda has always been about making Concord cannabis-central for recreational production and sale.

I am happy Council members McGallian, Leone, Hoffmiester, and Vice Mayor Obringer “Just said NO” to manufacture of recreational cannabis. I hope they continue to stand strong against the high pressure sales pitches of the cannabis manufacturers and retailers.

Concord families may have won a small victory here, but the battle is far from over. City Staff will continue to push forward with the next phase of the plan: get planning and council approval for several marijuana storefronts in central Concord neighborhoods.

You and I need to continue to make our voices and our values heard, “Big marijuana”, like “big tobacco” has deep pockets and will continue to push their agenda and mislead the public about the dangers of smoking marijuana- which is especially risky to young people.

Nunya April 14, 2018 at 7:28 AM

I hope you are right. This whole business of legalized marijuana will destroy our community. Sadly I fear that most don’t get it. They just think it is cool that pot is finally legal as they use it for whatever reason. A drug is drug, it changes your perception of reality, wither for minutes or hours like any other drug. As well we all the see the problems in other states, DUIs for example. And now the murders in PH over a drug deal gone bad. How long until those things and more become everyday life in our community.

Concord Mike April 14, 2018 at 10:48 AM


Please hold on to your copy of the meeting video. Normally council meeting videos are posted on the website a couple of days after the meeting, but so far it has not been released.

Ricardoh April 14, 2018 at 11:42 AM

A today story in the EB Times. Pressure mounts to stop CCC sheriff from giving the release dates of illegal alien criminals to ICE. My thought is where is the pressure on the sheriff to keep on what he is doing. Wonder where the citizens of CCC county stand on that subject.

Forsythe April 15, 2018 at 7:33 AM

Investigative local news reporter jobs have been cut drastically over recent years due to (brick and mortar) newspaper budget woes.

A Los Angeles reporter talks about cutbacks (he used to work in the Bay Area):

Amy April 15, 2018 at 5:56 PM

Yes, I have watched the video a few times but the vote to limit it to medical v. adult looked like possibly the Council slipped something by.

Concerned Parent April 16, 2018 at 4:55 PM

@Amy @Concord Mike How can you all be opposed to recreational marijuana in Concord, do you want to continue supporting black markets? Allowing medical was a start, but Concord would really benefit from the increased regulation and taxes of recreational marijuana.

Taggit April 16, 2018 at 5:21 PM

“Concord, where marijuana comes first?”

Concord Mike April 16, 2018 at 6:20 PM

Concerned parent,

Black markets are not going away. Tax dollars are not going to fund enforcement operations and the black market will continue to flourish.

Prop 64 gives us the worst possible outcome: more people harming themselves and others through recreational use because it is “legal”, and a permanent black market because it will always be cheaper.

Concerned Parent April 16, 2018 at 10:20 PM

Mike, that’s not quite how economics works. Legal prices will lower as regulation continues and supply increases. There might always be a black market, but we can decrease it significantly and contribute that money to the city. Are you concerned about the black market for alcohol as well?

Forsythe April 17, 2018 at 9:48 AM

@Concerned Parent

What Pot Really Does to the Teen Brain
How much should we worry?

During adolescence the brain matures in ways believed to strengthen executive functions such as emotional self-control. Cannabinoids manufactured by nerve cells help wire the brain, and regulate appetite, sleep, emotion, memory and movement. Various lines of research suggest that cannabis disrupts such processes.

Neurologists worry about the impact of casually using weed. Brain-imaging studies reinforce this concern.

—Connectivity between brain hemispheres is altered.
—Cognitive processing is impaired.
—Amygdala and hippocampus structures that regulate emotions and memory are compromised.

When cities decide to legalize pot, they need to understand that they are also endorsing it. Marijuana use is increasing among teenagers.

Concord Mike April 17, 2018 at 12:29 PM

After over 5 years of legal recreational sales in Colorado, the price of recreational marijuana in adult use retail storefronts has gone down. But it is still about $4,000 a lb pre-tax.

This high price in small amounts, the ease of resale, and the lack of product traceability assures a permanent, robust black market unless laws are changed to increase penalties and Local law enforcement goes back to heavy handed enforcement. That is not going to happen.

That is why comparisons to alchohol are erroneous.

O. M. Rodgers April 17, 2018 at 10:19 AM

A lot of of beer and wine is made at home.

Lars Anderson April 17, 2018 at 6:25 PM

Concord City officials today announced they are closing Concord’s outdated ramshackle public library for three weeks to renovate the bathrooms. This move, unquestionably, is the city council’s answer to the calls for the construction of new library in Concord. Clearly, the city is saying, sorry folks, you are not getting a new library anytime soon. You are going to have to make do with your current sorry library, which many believe is a civic embarrassment. City officials are also asking us not to wonder why surrounding cities, like Clayton, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, El Sobrante have all gotten new libraries ( Pleasant Hill has one on the way), even though the tax bases in those cities – except for Walnut Creek – are nothing compared to what flows into Concord’s tax coffers
As many are aware, we have a 50 million dollar police station in Concord, a facility that is two times the size of what was really needed. Because the facility is so large, the PD Chief’ s, past and present, have filled up all the extra office space with costly PD managers, many of whom aren’t even needed, managers that are retiring with pensions in the 150,000 a year range.
As I have also reported, city employees in Concord have a median average salary of 158,000 (source Transparent California) – that’s salary and benefits, which is 25,000 more than employees get paid in Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill , and 35,000 more per hear than employees are being paid in Clayton or El Sobrante.
The reason I am mentioning our Taj Mahal police facility, and the generous salaries being paid to city of Concord employees, and why I mention the overstaffed over managed Concord PD (most managers are doing make work jobs) is because the money being squandered on these things – stupidly and needlessly – explains why we can’t get a new library built in our city. The money is “there” to build a new library, but the people who work at the city – and the city council – have other ideas of what we should do with Concord taxpayer dollars (see bloated pay of city workers).
If Concord residents want to see change, if they want to see a new library built in our city – which should have been done 20 years ago, if they want to see something for their tax dollars (other than bloated city salaries for city workers) – they can accomplish this by giving council members Laura Hoffmiester and Tim McGallian their pink slips in the upcoming council election.

Randy April 17, 2018 at 7:57 PM

Libraries like book stores are obsolete.

The rich get richer April 17, 2018 at 11:05 PM

Well said. The bloated paychecks and pensions are way over the top.

Lars Anderson April 17, 2018 at 10:26 PM

This view some ClayCord readers have that Concord is a city that “put’s families first” is not backed up by the facts. This “family first” stuff is an empty slogan dreamed up by some City of Concord PR person in years past. If Concord really was a city that put families first we would have had a quality state-of-art public library built a long time ago. We would also have robust rec programs in Concord, and decent recreational facilities as well. We would also have a teen center, well lighted outdoor basketball courts, etc. etc. In fact, we don’t even have the Concord Pavillion anymore, that was off-loaded to some private company. The bean counters at the city, the ones who pay themselves these fantastic salaries and pensions – two or three times what the ordinary Concord resident makes – 10 times what the ordinary senior citizen makes on social security – gave away the Pavillion many years ago (to “save money” they claimed!), and the same bean counters have blocked construction of anything in Concord with city money, including a new library or a teen center. All we have gotten in like 20 years in Concord is a couple of new bathrooms. Ellis Lake got a new bathroom, and now the library is getting a new bathroom. Wow. But wait, the city didn’t really pay for these bathrooms, at least not with the sales tax we pay or the property tax we pay, to get our new bathrooms we had to tax ourselves extra money! I mean anybody that concludes that Concord is a city that “put’s families first” needs to get their head examined. The only families that are being put first in Concord are the families that have been lucky enough to get on the city payroll (see above), but that’s like 300 families -most of whom don’t even live in Concord.
The fact that we can’t get a new library built in Concord, a city hall built to replace the current old dog we have, a teen center for the kids, decent basketball courts, or decent recreation facilities – all things surrounding cities have – is linked to the pervasive culture of corruption and cronyism that permeates Concord. Services in Concord, other than the PD and the senior center, have been whittled down to nothing. Programs have been starved of funding year after year, – lie rec programs – and the reason they have been starved is to pay for all these high priced managers at the city, who – laughably, have less and less to do since Concord doesn’t have much in the way of services, other than a PD.
Again, if voters want to change the culture in Concord, if voters want to get something for their tax dollars – other than a lot of overpaid managers doing make work jobs – then they need to vote out Laura Hoffmiester and her cronies, get some new blood on the council, people that will demand that our city deliver services to residents, like new libraries, robust rec programs, teen centers; things like this will make Concord a more livable city, they drive up property values, they will bring more business and commerce to our city too. I urge all residents to vote Laura Hoffmiester and Tim McGallian out of office – they are doing nothing in their capacity as council members but making city employees richer, at the expense of us .taxpayers.

The rich get richer April 17, 2018 at 11:02 PM

You nailed it! (unfortunately)

Well Folk April 19, 2018 at 8:15 AM

Lars – Concord needs a big police budget. Have you notice some of what lives in Concord? Lots of tweekers means lots of crime. Do you ever leave your house and take a GOOD look at Concord?

As for the library……Well honey, I had a friend that served on the committee in Lafayette. They held $1000 per ticket wine tastings, pricey art sales, $500 a plate dinners etc. Uh I doubt if Concord’s Friends of the Library would be able to get people to pay that kind of monies for events. And have you bothered to get off your fanny and JOIN the Friends of the Library.
Lars – it ain’t about the building. The Library in Carson City is small and older. The just did a sprucing up of the place and guess what???? It was named one of the best 18 libraries in the country. And guess what else neither WC or Lafayette’s libraries were on the the list. And how did they fix things up? Volunteers, fundraising and running a little book store by the library called Browsers Corner. So why don’t you join the Concord Friends of the Library.

Fyi April 18, 2018 at 8:41 AM

The new libraries were due to people raising the money not from city money. Walnut creek spends a million a year to keep it running. It is not just building it, it has yearly expenses. I suggest Lars start raising the money!

Lars Anderson April 18, 2018 at 12:30 PM

I suggest FYI go on Transparent California and see for himself/herself how much money is being spent on our police department in salaries, city cops have gotten these massive raises, they are working all this OT, OT arguably not even needed. Concord, unlike surrounding cities, has all these managers at the PD now, Sgt’s. Captains, LT’s – you can barely even find a patrolman on the Transparent California list of Concord City employees – at Concord PD everybody is a manager now. Concord doesn’t have a lot of crime ( 1 to 2 murders a year), we’ve never have had a lot of crime, the massive amounts being spent on the PD are linked to the fact the PD labor union controls our council. Valerie Barrone, I should mention, just got the police department to eliminate two obsolete forensic investigator jobs – the savings was 400K a year. What she did was go after some of the fat in the PD budget – working with some higher ups at the PD.. According to what I read they were paying these forensic investigators all this money to take photos of crime scenes, now they are going to have the officers do it with digital cameras. The PD bigwigs went along with this only because so many in the community are aghast at the costs of our PD, and the way it now has this stranglehold on our budget. They also went along with it because forensic investigators are not cops – as I have been reporting the PD labor union runs our town – pretty much – that’s why the PD budget is so massive, it has nothing to do with crime levels. If Valerie Barrone had tried to eliminate cop manager jobs – rather than forensic investigator jobs – she would have run up against a blue brick wall. Please note, we have a great PD chief in this town, our police officers are very good too, I would describe Concord’s PD as one of the best in NorCal. But how much of a PD do we need given Concord’s crime levels? I mean Canada, the country above us, doesn’t spend 40% of it’s budget on the military, they don’t have to. Who is poised to attack Canada? Same with Concord, because we don’t have that much crime – murders, drive by shootings (homes cost 650K, criminals are priced out of Concord,as they are in PH and WC) – we don’t need to pour all this money into the PD to keep us safe (PD budget has gone from 42 million to 60 million in just 4 years). We just don’t have enough bad guys in Concord to be spending all this money on the PD, crime statistics show this. The big crime in Concord is car shopping!
So to answer your query – where the money could come from to spend 1 million on our new library in yearly upkeep – should one be built, you get that money by forcing the PD to make do with 59 million a year, rather than 60. Cutting the Concord PD budget by 1 million would have little impact, if any, on public safety in Concord, a little belt tightening at the PD is needed.The PD has gone hog wild on Concord’s budget, that’s been going on for years. The reason the PD budget is so high – in part – is linked the fact that the city hasn’t built a library – more money is available for the PD than they need for that reason, same with rec programs, because we have no real rec department now – it’s been whittled down to nothing (13 full time employees) PD bigwigs can dream up more ways to spend money from the city budget, and PD labor union officials can roll city council people for big raises.

Rollo Tomasi April 18, 2018 at 2:18 PM

“I mean Canada, the country above us, doesn’t spend 40% of it’s budget on the military, they don’t have to. Who is poised to attack Canada?”

Nothing to do with Canada’s neighbor/ally to the south, right? Not to cherry pick your comment, but c’mon.

Keep all three barrels up April 18, 2018 at 1:30 PM

Lars. Please enough already. We get it. You hate the police but love the library!!

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