Claycord – Talk About Local Politics

July 6, 2018 19:00 pm · 38 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.

CDE Watcher July 6, 2018 at 8:58 PM

Soon a list of underperforming schools will be unveiled by the California Department of Education. Three very hot seats up for grabs in the MDUSD this November. A third bond also on the brink. Watch this space.

publius July 8, 2018 at 2:18 PM

Look forward to seeing your name on the ballot

CDE Watcher July 9, 2018 at 9:03 AM

Significant conflict of interest (financial) that cross all ethical boundaries. I don’t think you want that.

Bob July 6, 2018 at 10:41 PM

Can we do something about all the dead trees next to major roadways and freeways.

ZZ July 7, 2018 at 8:33 AM

I suppose the only way to remove dead trees along major freeways and roads is if someone of importance in politics is killed by a falling tree. The woman killed a few weeks ago wasn’t of importance, just a great mother, wife, friend and doctor.

Jef July 7, 2018 at 5:35 PM

What’s the point about talking about politics when everybody’s a democrat.

Fred P. July 9, 2018 at 6:52 AM

They don’t want to talk to you about politics (ie, have a conversation); they just want you to sit there and listen to them pontificate.

Once you bring up an alternate/opposing viewpoint, they’ll degenerate into personal insults and violence.

Concord Mike July 9, 2018 at 7:19 PM

In local city politics, political party affiliation is not as important as the elected official’s character, aptitude, and common sense.

THE BLACK KNIGHT July 10, 2018 at 7:21 PM

Concord Mike,

Yet, one of the first things the front running candidates for the Concord City Council do is run to the Contra Costa County Democratic Party and begin begging for an endorsement.

The last three “Republicans” that were elected to the Concord City Council all changed their voter registration from “Republican” to “Democrat” or “Decline To State.”

Unfortunately, I’d say money and signage plays a huge factor in who is elected to the Concord City Council and I’d have to argue that they play a much larger factor than who’s elected to the Concord City Council than character, aptitude, and common sense. Currently, Vice-Mayor Carlyn Obringer, Councilmember Ron Leone, Councilmember Laura Hoffmeister, and APPOINTED Councilmember Tim McGallian have had their campaigns funded by The Garaventa Family, their Corporate Entities, and their PAC’s, and the Concord Police Officers Association.

long time resident July 8, 2018 at 11:06 AM

Look out Martinez. The school district wants to raise taxes again. It is always the same story, we need it for the children. The district has done a lovely job of improving the schools but how much money does it need? It still pays the teachers and staff lower than all of the districts in the area. And gives the threat we can’t pay our teachers more unless we raise taxes. What is it doing with the money it gets from the state? Martinez just say no.

Fred P. July 9, 2018 at 10:19 AM

Wasn’t the CA lottery supposed to take care of all needed funding for the schools?

CDE Watcher July 9, 2018 at 2:25 PM

Lottery money can only go to instructional needs. Many bonds that raise taxes are tied to buildings. Districts can and do manipulate the monies to stretch it but the lottery money is not as extravagant as you may think.

Hope Johnson July 8, 2018 at 1:08 PM

Recent hearings on CNWS at Concord City Council meetings:
Guy Bjerke and Mayor Birsan or Hedley Lamarr and Gov. Le Petomane?

Chubby July 8, 2018 at 5:55 PM

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that this is the Fake Hope Johnson. It seems to me highly out of character that she would make some vaguely scatological wise-crack, at least not in a Claycord post. I’ve never heard her in person.

Cowellian July 8, 2018 at 9:58 PM

That’s Hedley!
I love (and can appreciate) the Blazing Saddles reference.

Lars Anderson July 9, 2018 at 1:34 PM

I had somebody pretend to be me too, but you could kind of tell it wasn’t me, because nobody rants with the clarity I do.

Hope Johnson July 9, 2018 at 2:33 PM

Not a fake poster – confirming it’s really me.

So disgusted with the unethical and moronic way the CNWS development is being handled. Concord residents should be furious.

Nothing sums it up better than Lamarr’s meeting with Gov. Le Petomane. Nothing. Cheers to Mel Brooks.

Cowellian July 9, 2018 at 3:19 PM


Chubby July 9, 2018 at 9:29 PM

Well! The egg is certainly on MY face!

Silva July 10, 2018 at 11:49 AM

Hope Johnson, thanks for confirming your post, informative as is normal, just shorter than usual. After looking at the scene I get it. It’s been a long time.

KAD July 8, 2018 at 8:11 PM

I think you are correct. Not like Hope at all.

Silva July 8, 2018 at 9:48 PM

That isn’t remotely like any of Hope Johnson’s posts I’ve ever seen.

Lars Anderson July 9, 2018 at 1:32 PM

Recently I reported Concord Police Chief Guy Swanger is being paid 257,000 per year to run the Concord PD. In 2011 he made 187,000, so Swanger is being paid quite a bit more in 2017 than he made in 2011 – 70,000 a year more to be specific. When I did that post a couple of weeks ago I was unaware Swanger was also drawing drawing down a 144,000 pension from the City of San Diego – while he also collects his Concord city salary. So back in 20011 when Swanger was making 187,000 he was also getting a 144,000 a year pension – bringing his annual salary-pension to 331,000 annually. Given how much Chief Swanger was already making – 331,000 a year – I am wondering why Concord Council people Laura Hoffmiester, Ron Leone, and Tim McGallian believed Chief Swanger needed a raise. Today, in 2017 – Swanger is making a combined salary pension of 400,000 annually!
I myself like Chief Swanger, he’s a fine PD Chief, and a good guy on top of that. I also don’t blame him for trying to making as much money as he can at his job, we all do this of course. We want to get paid as well as we can at work. While I don’t fault Swanger for trying to maximize his pay, I do fault city leaders for giving pay raises to city workers who don’t need the money,. Swanger, as I am reporting, makes so much money you need a Brinks truck to bring him his pay every month, he is making bag and bags of money from his civil service jobs.
As I have been reporting – continuously – the City of Concord police department has become a place where ALL city tax dollars go – never to be seen again. The cost of the PD in Concord – the fantastic salaries and benefits being paid to Concord cops, including Chief Swanger – has reached such a crescendo there is no money left for anything. Nothing. We can’t build a library in Concord, a teen center, we can’t find money for public works (taxpayers had to pass a special tax to pay for routine public works), there is no money for Rec programs. There also is no money to hire anybody else to work at the city; while all surrounding cities, the county, and the state of California are ALL hiring new workers – the economy is booming – the City of Concord can’t find a dime to do anything. The city can’t even find the money to hire a single employee! (Vallejo just hired 30 employees at the city).
I continue to wonder at what point in time – if ever – city leaders will start questioning the stranglehold the Concord PD has on our city budget. How many more years is this going to go on? Concord is a low crime suburban city – we have averaged less than 3 murders annually the last 15 years – what is going on with all this spending at the PD? Where is the crime that would justify all this spending on the PD?
If voters continue to keep council members like Laura Hoffmiester and Tim McGallian on the job you can predict Chief Swanager will be making 600,000 within a few years. You can also predict the city will do no hiring, services will continue to be slashed, we will not get a library built in Concord, no low income housing will get built, no teen center – the only thing that will happen – if Hoffmiester and McGallian aren’t given thier walking papers – is folks that work at Concord PD will all be living in Danville and Lafayette and Alamo (as many already are)

THE BLACK KNIGHT July 9, 2018 at 9:29 PM

Lars Anderson,

The members of the Concord City Council have already been discussing another Measure Q extension in 2 years and before the current Measure Q extension has expired, just as they put the current Measure Q extension on the ballot years before the original Measure Q was set to expire. One difference is that the 2020 extension likely won’t be another one-half of one percent (0.5%) sales tax extension, but instead the discussion has been about the sales tax being increased a full one percent (1.0%) sales tax increase. The 10-year budget forecast projects that the City of Concord is facing a $13 million deficit by 2026. A year ago the city had planned on hiring a “Consultant” for more than $100,000.00 to develop a “Fiscal Stability Plan” to “bring the City of Concord’s spending in line with revenue.” Are the members of the Concord City Council “in over their heads” if they can’t figure this out themselves with the help of City Staff? We were told that “The Fiscal Sustainability Ordinance” concocted by former Concord Mayor Tim Grayson and Councilmember Ron Leone was supposed deal with this! They will say as they always do, that if Concord voters don’t vote for the sales tax increase they will have to begin laying off city employees beginning with Concord Police Department employees. They’ve got to put fear in the minds of Concord citizens to get the tax increase they desire!

You are correct that APPOINTED Concord City Councilman Tim McGallian needs to be defeated in the next election! APPOINTED Concord City Councilman Tim McGallian hadn’t even been on the Concord City Council for 18 months before he voted himself a pay raise, along with Mayor Edi Birsan and Councilman Ron Leone. He knew what the pay was when he sought out the position of Concord City Councilmember! He knew what the pay was when he asked (begged) to be appointed to the Concord City Council! If Tim McGallian wasn’t pleased with the amount of pay that he would be receiving as a member of the Concord City Council, then he shouldn’t have sought out the position! There are plenty of other elected positions out there that he could’ve sought out, that probably pay more to his liking, and then the residents of Concord wouldn’t have to be troubled with Tim McGallian just using the Concord City Council as a steppingstone to higher office!

Concord Mike July 10, 2018 at 3:11 PM

@The Black Knight,

What specifically is your problem with councilmember McGallian? The only people I am aware of who are opposing him are the pro-pot people. They threatened to challenge him in the election since he opposed their plans to open up recreational cannabis storefronts in Concord.

Are you part of that constituency, or do you have a different axe to grind? Your criticisms seem a little over-the-top if only based on a single vote for a small pay increase and some sense he may have higher aspirations. Gotta be more substance to your objections than that. I have always respected your knowledge of local politics.

Tim McGallian and Laura Hoofmeister are a part of the status quo, but honestly the emerging alternative candidates may just make things a lot worse. I guess we will know more on August 15.

Recall 'Em All July 10, 2018 at 8:21 PM

There is no doubt that the City of Concord is in trouble financially. Our infrastructure is now being maintained by contractors, rather than full time people who might care about the job they are doing. This way the City doesn’t have to create dollars for pension and other benefits that “real” employees might get. Additionally these rental workers don’t care about the job they are doing.
Where are those infrastructure dollars promised through Measure Q going? Look Eastward . . .

THE BLACK KNIGHT July 10, 2018 at 8:26 PM

Concord Mike,

No, I’m not part of the Recreational Adult-Use Marijuana Group that’s opposing APPOINTED Concord City Councilmember Tim McGallian.

No, it’s not just the single vote by APPOINTED Concord City Councilmember Tim McGallian that I’ve had a problem with, there are other votes too, but I felt that bringing up the vote in regards to Councilmember pay raises helped me give Lars Anderson some information when I was trying to respond to his post, while other votes that I have a problem with weren’t necessarily relevant to the issue at hand.

APPOINTED Concord City Councilmember Tim McGallian has also had his past FAILED campaign for Concord City Council funded by the entities that run the City of Concord, which are The Garaventa Family/Concord Disposal and the Concord Police Officers Association. We have to many candidates for local offices, including the Concord City Council that have had their campaigns funded by these entities and we have to many elected office holders that are beholden to them and their interests over the interests of The People! We don’t need another candidate that’s being funded by these entities!

When it comes to the future aspirations of APPOINTED Councilmember Tim McGallian, it’s that I really don’t care for career politicians which is what he aspires to be and their “need” to seek higher office, which in California is sometimes caused because they are faced with term limits or retirement. Let’s see if APPOINTED Councilmember Tim McGallian will agree to only serve 2 terms on the Concord City Council and then retire? Look what we have now, it was Mayor Edi Birsan that had promised to only serve 2 terms on the Concord City Council, but after his election to his second term in 2016 he reneged on that promise. The 5 members of the Concord City Council decided to allow themselves to be safely gerrymandered into separate districts so that they wouldn’t be faced with the prospect of having to run against each other when they voted for District Elections. They didn’t look out for our best interests, but they looked out for their best interests. They were unwilling to place term limits on themselves “except” for Councilmember Ron Leone who claimed “I’m not for term limits, I’m term limiting myself!” Thankfully, voters finally term limited Ron Leone, but had he decided to run for another term he’d have likely been reelected. Tim McGallian hasn’t been on the Concord City Council for but 18 months, and he’s taken actions to help himself and his future political career. I don’t like that and I can’t support him.

I’ve got a huge problem with the Concord City Council vacancy appointment process and in this years election it’s APPOINTED Councilmember Tim McGallian that’s the beneficiary of this process and that does have an advantage because of it.

I’ve got several problems with the entire vacancy appointment process and in this case

Concord Mike July 11, 2018 at 7:20 AM

@TBK, Ah yes… the problematic Garaventa/CPOA campaign activism (and now we have to also be wary of Lennar $$$).

I am more pragmatic. The key factors in my decision about who to support are the individual’s policy direction and ethics. Fundraising sources are less important. For example, Laura Hoffmeister may accept funding from CPOA, but she doesn’t need it. She is, I believe fully independent in her votes. Tim has not had much time yet in office to fully discern his policy direction, but I was encouraged by his willingness to stand up to the recreational cannabis lobby. He also has done a lot for Concord in terms of volunteerism. That is just the type of person he is. I don’t for a minute believe his motivations for volunteering are simply self serving. Same thing for the rest of the council. Basically good people.

I am not happy with the appointment process either. With the new district election process, the costs of a special election should be a lot lower, and so we should insist on elections rathe than appointments in the future.

Hope Johnson July 11, 2018 at 8:46 PM

ALL of the current Councilmembers are adamant “stooges” (as Lars likes to say) for the POA and CPD. Yes, even the ones you like personally (and that Lars chooses to leave out of his accusations). They all vote in anything and everything CPD needs or wants, even to the detriment of other issues Concord desperately needs to address.

Current case in point – Hoffmeister and Obringer were indignant at the last Council meeting that their retail revitalization program was not supported by the staff memo. Problem was not staff, though. Problem was the close to $500,000 price tag to start the program, the majority of which was code enforcement officer pay. When you go along with the status quo to get elected, you can’t expect to waltz in and change the status quo. No one is that fancy. That’s why the status quo supported your campaigns, folks.

Maybe they can work this out with the CPD to get the program going but it’s not looking good. And Concord could use a retail revitalization program. BUT we like to spend 58-60% of the budget on CPD, rather than explore other programs or policies that would improve some issues CPD isn’t.

Until Concord chooses to elect someone who will not give the bank away to the POA, then there will be little money to improve other Concord issues – and much will remain the same or decline as Concord falls behind.

Lena July 9, 2018 at 9:49 PM

Concord Police Chief, Guy Swanger, will be presenting a lecture in Community Policing for the Osher Lifelibg Learning Institute at the Cal State East Bay Concird Campus. Here is the info:

Community Policing

Price for Members: Free
Price for Non-Members: $5
Date/Time: Wednesday, August 8 , 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Instructor: Guy Swanger, Chief of Police, City of Concord
Location: Concord Campus

“Police departments across the U.S. are pledged to provide safety and services to their communities. But how best to protect life and property, reduce crime and fear of it, help when natural disasters strike, and pitch in to soothe the everyday irritations of life? Further, how to meet these challenges when social norms and economic circumstances can shift so rapidly in a community? Concord’s Chief Swanger will take up the daunting task of explaining how his force interprets the concept of community policing and applies it to meeting the needs of the people they serve. OLLI and Chief Swanger offer a frank look at the balance of tactics, statistics, technologies, training and other factors that go into community policing in one of Contra Costa’s cities.”

Lena July 10, 2018 at 3:10 PM

Go and ask questions.

KAD July 9, 2018 at 10:07 PM

Timmy has to go. There will be a NO vote on Measure Q extensions from this home. The current one was supposed to be stopped when no longer needed. It will always be needed because they can’t balance the budget.

Keep all three barrels up July 10, 2018 at 6:37 AM

I see Richard is at it again.

Lars Anderson July 11, 2018 at 10:23 AM

Appointed city council member Tim McGallian was “placed” on the council by the Concord Police Officers Association, which runs the town of Concord behind the scenes. He was put on the council to keep the gravy train going for Concord police officers and the brass at the PD. Salaries and benefit packages at the Concord PD – as I have been reporting – have ballooned to the point where the City of Concord is broke, and will continue to be broke for decades. It doesn’t matter how good the economy gets, Concord is broke now, we will be broke tomorrow, and we will be broke for the next 20 years – until we as a community reign in this out-of-control Concord Police department labor union. Over spending at the PD has wrecked out city, plain and simple. The 30 million dollar rainy day fund? That exists for the sole purpose of insuring there will be no lay-offs at the PD. The other reason that money has been set aside is to insure there will be money to pay bloated police officers pensions, should it be needed.
As I have reported, Ronald Bruckert – the police officer who currently holds the job as Concord Police Officers Association President, made about 900,00 working as a police officer at Concord in just 36 months, 240,000 in OT. This OT Bruckert is making – that’s a payoff – he is being paid all this extra money to keep him happy. The PD labor union – not the Council or the City Manager – runs the town of Concord, anybody who looks at the city budget can see that. This POA honcho – Bruckert -, as I have been reporting, has the enough power to fire Police Chief Swanger, City Manager Barrone and he also has the power to remove any council person who raises the “issue” of out-of-control spending at the police department (all he has to do to remove a city council person is make one phone call to the Concord Disposal). When you understand how much power Bruckert has – behind the scenes – you can understand why he’s makes 80,000 in year in OT year in and year out. Bruckert, in Concord politics, is the proverbial 800 pound gorilla, you’ve got to keep feeding him bananas to keep him and the other POA bigwigs happy.
Concord, like Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek, is a low crime suburban city, we don’t need to spend all this money on the PD, but overspending on the PD in Concord continues unabated due to the success the Concord POA has had placing stooges on the Concord City Council. Tim McGallian is just the latest POA created stooge. If elected to a four year term, McGallian will get his marching orders from the POA – and the marching orders of the POA never change; the POA wants ever larger salaries, larger pensions, more officers (to lighten work load for officers) and more management positions, so POA members can get promoted. If the City can’t afford this overspending on the PD – we can’t – then McGallian will be ordered to continue to raid other city departments, services will get slashed, the number of city employees will get cut (Walnut Creek, population 40,000, has more full time city employees than Concord, population 130,000! Our city has 50% fewer city employees than Richmond!).
If Concord voters want to see real changes, if they are fed up with the mismanagement of our tax dollars, then it’s vital we keep Tim McGallian from getting elected to a four year term. McGallian was place on the council for one reason – and one reason only – to keep the gravy train going on at the PD.

WC resident July 11, 2018 at 2:27 PM

Lars, since you are determined to provide a wall of text, I read from the bottom up. You lost my readership when you claim WC has a population 30,000 less than what was true in 2016. I have no reason to believe what you present and so shan’t read on.

KAD July 12, 2018 at 5:24 PM

The next CAC meeting on July 17th location has moved. I am very upset that they will not be recording it. They recorded from that location before so I don’t understand why they can’t do it any longer.


Due to the location change, this meeting will not be recorded or streamed live.

Silva July 12, 2018 at 6:15 PM

Oh oh.

KAD July 13, 2018 at 5:38 PM

Re the retail revitalization program – Why do they need CPD code enforcement to do this? Can’t they just set up another department to handle this so it not so costly?

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