Claycord – Talk About Local Politics

August 10, 2018 19:00 pm · 56 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.

Kenji August 11, 2018 at 2:42 PM

I attended the City Council workshop this morning/afternoon on developing norms of governance for the transition from an at-large Council (each elected by the whole city) to districts.

Council chose to frame the discussion around the premise that Councilmembers (both present and future) should strive to minimize the role of districts in governance and their own conduct. They used a certain word frequently throughout the workshop: “parochialism”.

I understand parochialism to mean an *exclusive* focus on the needs of a particular place, disregarding all others. But the current Councilmembers seemed to agree in including under that pejorative label even the notion of a *particular* (but not exclusive) focus on the needs of the district which elected a given Councilmember. In other words, they took it as given that a Councilmember ought not to regard the residents of their district as their primary constituents, above residents in the rest of the city.

I disagree with this view. I think the relationship between districts, and by extension between the representatives of districts, should be like the relationship between individuals in a community. Each has their own particular experiences, needs, and points of view, and they do and should advocate for themselves (or for the district they represent). But they should also show significant, although limited, willingness to make sacrifices for the whole.

Ignoring the needs of the whole city, or of other districts, does not fit with this. But neither does ignoring the distinction between districts and behaving as if the Council were still at-large. A Councilmember for a district should be a negotiator and advocate for their district – but a fair-minded one, not an absolutist.

Incidentally, the view of at least some if not all of the current Councilmembers regarding BART governance fits their own usage of “parochialism”. They have indicated a strong belief that the BART Directors for the two BART districts in Concord (Joel Keller and Debora Allen) should not be thinking primarily of the entire BART system or the whole Bay Area, but rather of our particular needs in suburban/semi-urban Contra Costa.

ConcConcor August 11, 2018 at 7:39 PM


Most city services should be equitably divided among the 5 districts. Police protection, code enforcement services, street maintenance, park maintenance to name the most obvious.

The new district-based election system will motivate council members to make sure their district gets a fair share of services. That is a good thing in my view (whether it is called parochialism or not). The city staff will need to adapt to this new reality by providing reports breaking down service provisioning by district. This will assure the public they are getting their fair share.

Beyond those service issues, the city council has to deal with a multitude of items which are not district focused. Interactions with other cities and government organizations, policy issues, and general budget priorities will hopefully be managed for the overall good of the city.

I can foresee some situations where the council could have “parochial” problems. A few examples:

1) We may get council members demanding police substations for their own district if one or another district gets one. (IMHO substations are a complete waste of money, but some people think they help)

2) When Lars gets his new library approved, there will be the potential for contention over which district it should be located in :).

4) The impact of CNWS development will not be shared equally by the districts. There is the risk the council members with districts adjoining the CNWS will be swamped with work generated by that mess…and the other less affected council members will step back rather than pitching in to help out.

5) The two BART stations become one council member’s headache, and the others step back.

Will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Hope Johnson August 12, 2018 at 9:56 AM

Having lived and voted for several voting cycles in an area with district elections, I agree more with Kenji’s approach. Voters in each district should expect the person they elect to represent their district to do just that – analyze what is going on from the perspective of that district’s existing realities and then incorporate the choices that also embrace what is best for Concord overall.

For example, the current Council and many people on the east side of Concord tend to demand everything they consider undesirable to be placed in North Concord. I expect the North Concord representative to push back on this. All of Concord needs to share responsibility for the needs of a city that Council is determined to grow extensively. Council criticizes us in North Concord for advocating for fair treatment for our neighborhoods by saying we are one-issue thinkers but then they all stick to talking points as a single body for the Monument areas, likely because it makes them look “diverse” and “charitable” (even though many of their policies are not actually that), and for the higher income areas, likely because that is where the highest vote counts have been historically. District elections are expected to end this practice.

The treatment of the two Bart stations should come as a warning that the current Council doesn’t really care about Concord as a whole city anyway. Each station should have been in a separate district because they are of a concern to all of Concord and will require lots of work. They serve separate commuters with the North Concord station being an out-of-town commuter area. I advocated for separate districts for each station from the start of discussions on district elections, and other Concord residents did as well. Instead Council chose to put both Bart stations in one district because they cared more about gerrymandering each incumbent Councilmember his or her own district than the true needs of Concord as a whole. Selfish to the very end.

Lars Anderson August 12, 2018 at 2:40 PM

I myself am excited about the shift to district elections because I believe it will empower the neighborhoods and increase the influence of regular citizens. In the old at-large system the Chamber of Commerce and special interest groups, like Concord Disposal or the Concord Police Officers Association, wielded too much power in our city. Concord, as a city, should “work” for everybody, not just the well connected or special interest groups. District elections will bring city government closer to the people I believe, and that’s a good thing. It’s going to much more difficult for these power brokers in Concord to install somebody in a council seat, as they have been doing for generations. In Richmond and El Cerrito, I should mention, the city council hiked the minimum wage for low income wage workers. Why didn’t they do this in Concord? We’ve got a ton of low income wage workers in the Monument District. They didn’t do it because the Chamber of Commerce would have had a cow. Our low income wage workers are seeing their rents skyrocket, they need relief, yet our council does nothing. Maybe if we elect council members from districts we will start seeing some policy innovation, such as what you saw in Richmond and El Cerrito when the council went to bat for the cities low income wage workers. Concord, in my view, get’s an “F” for policy innovation. City government can do a lot of things, yet in Concord they do almost nothing innovative. We Concord residents look around and see all these exciting things happening in surrounding cities, new libraries going up (see WC, Laf. and now PH), theaters getting built (see Pittsburg), teen centers getting built and funded (see PH), yet in Concord we get nothing for our tax dollars. The city puts out these press releases where they trumpet Concord getting awards for how well they have kept up our police cars! Oh, and we got a new bathroom at Ellis Park. Wow. How about hiking the local minimum wage? How about building some low income housing for our veterans and the disabled? How about building a new library like other cities are doing? These are the kinds of things I’d like to see in Concord, and maybe we will see them if we can get some new faces on the council who are representing the residents of these districts, rather than this situation that we have now where our council members kowtow to Concord Disposal, the POA, and the Chamber of Commerce.

THE BLACK KNIGHT August 13, 2018 at 7:49 PM


This is interesting considering that this is the same City Council that didn’t allow us to have a directly elected Mayor at the same time they voted on City Council District elections, because they believed that this would give too much power to one district that had both an elected Mayor and an elected District City Councilmember.

Hope Johnson August 14, 2018 at 8:48 AM

Directly elected Mayor needs term limits. Hoffmeister has been on the Council since the 1990’s. How would you like to have the same person, maybe even literally, be Mayor for that long? It’s obvious that’s what Birsan hopes he can do. Just cruise along for years in the Mayor’s seat without term limits so he can try for a statue of himself in Todos Santos as he hoped for recently on his facebook page. A Mayor without term limits, whether directly elected or not, and statues of any Councilmembers are not even on the list of things Concord needs.

THE BLACK KNIGHT August 15, 2018 at 9:00 PM

Hope Johnson,

Yes, term limits should be required for a directly elected Mayor and all councilmember districts as well. The only bad thing about term limits is that it’s caused “professional politicians” to constantly look for the next office to run for.

Mayor Birsan had pledged to only serve only 2 terms on the Concord City Council and had his pledge on his website for years, but it was conveniently removed from his website upon winning his second term in 2016.

Recall ‘em all August 11, 2018 at 6:15 PM

Maybe in Concord, you CAN have it both ways . . .

Lena August 12, 2018 at 7:44 AM

Since it seems to be the most accepted and fair way to give equal representation to the greatest number of people in any given area, and it is the commonly accepted method of governance in most Bay Area cities, as well as our representation at the State and Federal levels, I would hardly call it “parochialism.” Concord City Council appears to operate in an intellectual vacuum. What seems parochial to me is erecting a statue of the city’s founder, a plaque memorializing themselves, and a picket fence around a vacant lot while all the time ignoring a growing homeless problem.

THE BLACK KNIGHT August 12, 2018 at 9:29 PM


We are only represented by equal population districts in the California State Legislature and the House of Representatives in individual states because that is what was mandated by the United States Supreme Court when they overturned 175 years of precedence and had spent decades refusing to take up the issue of interfering in the drawing of state legislative and congressional districts because of “separation of powers” and the power of drawing legislative and congressional districts lines belonged to the State and Federal Legislative Branch of Government. I’d prefer we use the “Little Federalism” model as it was before the Supreme Court interjected themselves into the powers designated to the Legislatures. These decisions of the 1960’s gave political power to cities, large population counties, and greater urban areas.

Justyfiable Languor August 16, 2018 at 7:25 AM

We can alleviate some of the burden by sending the homeless back to their home of origin. That might help redistribute the burden. Certainly it would help with catagorizing the problem and therefore begin the task of finding a solution. Where are all those psyche majors?

Meanwhile, we have a readymade group of crop pickers.

Lars Anderson August 12, 2018 at 10:10 AM

The issue of where the new library will be built and how that will play out with these new districts; will there be a fight over who get the the library in their district? – is something I haven’t thought of. I myself favor keeping and renovating our current library and building a second “showplace” two story library, a library that will do double duty as a community center as well. Concord has grown to the point where we really need more than one library. Berkeley has four library’s and Vallejo has three, as I understand it. Personally it just irks me to no end that Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Clayton, and now Pleasant Hill have new gorgeous libraries – or planned library’s (see PH) while Concord – the 8th largest city in the bay area, the largest city in the county, has this tiny rat-trap of-a-library. Even tiny San Pablo has built a new library! This a disgrace, and we have Laura Hoffmiester to thank for this. Hoffmiester continues to claim she’d like to see a new library built in Concord – she says this publicly – but behind the scenes she schemes to block the funding of a new library! She fools some with her library rap, but not me. If voters have the good sense to vote Hoffmiester out we will be getting a new library in a hurry, no question in my mind about that. I would agree with this other poster – we do NOT need police sub-stations in any of the new districts, this would be a foolish waste of money that will make nobody any safer. The reason Concord is drowning in red ink is due to profligate overspending on our police department; for many years now Concord has been engaged in a perpetual ongoing never-ending “war on crime” even though Concord just doesn’t have that much crime. The Concord PD has been battling a “pretend” crime wave that doesn’t even exist for many years now – also they also have been battling “phantom gangs”. If we really had gangs, of course, you would be seeing drive by shootings and car jackings and so forth. (an average of less than three murders per year in Concord over the last 15 years) Fact is Concord is a reasonably safe city, always has been. We have a little more crime than PH and WC, but not much more. Our current PD chief, and the previous ones, have basically been” empire building” at the PD and the empire they have created is costing us taxpayers a ton of money, just astronomical amounts of money! And it gets worse every year. Many of the folks calling for sub-stations and more spending on police services in Concord are just cranks or cop buffs or shills for the Concord Police Officers Association (see Tim McGallian). Our city, of course, is heading toward bankruptcy thanks to over spending at the PD, yet McGallian is calling for more spending! Just unbelievable. I want to mention again this Tim McGallian believes Concord’s “greatness” as a city begins with our police department. He actually said that in his application for the open city council seat! McGallian believes Concord is a great city because we spend so much of residents tax dollars on the PD – while simultaneously starving all other city services, including library services. Concord is a “great city”, Mcgallian believes, because we arrest and jail so many of our residents! And because we spend so much of the city treasury performing this task! His views are ludicrous! I hope somebody files to run in McGallian’s district, we have got to get McGallian off the council.

Antler August 12, 2018 at 3:51 PM

Lars Anderson, my understanding is that McGallian (now an appointee) has no one AT ALL filed in his district to run against him in the election. Therefore, he automatically is elected! Already a done deal!

KAD August 12, 2018 at 8:27 PM

Antler – This is a real shame.

Nunya August 12, 2018 at 10:48 AM

If Moonbeam and his hippe friends hadn’t stopped preventative burns and clearing the fires would have been must less destructive. But you facts and liberals, they never seem to get along.

Lars Anderson August 12, 2018 at 6:17 PM

If what you say is true Antler, I am disappointed McGallian didn’t draw an opponent in his district. The guy doesn’t have a single good idea on how he would improve the City of Concord. Not one. Talk about an empty suit. McGallian was placed on the council by the Concord Police Officers Association and his mission is to keep the gravy train going for the POA. More spending on the PD, ever larger salaries for the officers – that’s all McGallian stands for and that’s all we voters will be getting from him. It will be the same rap we’ve been getting from Hoffmiester for decades, “Sorry folks we are broke at the city, we can’t afford anything” Meanwhile the salaries at the city workers will continue to go through the roof. Concord, as I have been reporting – pays city workers a median pay of 154,000 a year – that’s includes benefits – which is 20,000 more than WC, 30,000 more than PH, and 40,000 more than Clayton’s spends on public employees. We’ve seen an orgy of spending on salaries at the city of Concord, thanks to Laura Hoffmeister. As it stands now almost every person working at the PD in Concord, including dispatchers, makes well over 100K a year now – many PD workers are making substantially more than that with the unlimited OT they get. Ronald Bruckert, a lowly patrolman – who is the POA President, has made almost 1 million policing the city in the last 36 months – a little over 900,000, which includes 230,000 in OT! As some of have noticed, the “morale” at Concord PD is just sky high, the officers are smiling and laughing all the time – people that work at the Concord PD are buying mansions in Discovery Bay, they are taking these expensive vacations to exotic resorts, and the higher ups that work at the PD – all these mangers they have running around now at Concord PD – they are all licking their chops counting down the days when they will be able to get their 200K a year retirement pensions. While “morale” is sky high at the PD, it’s high nowhere else at the city of Concord, all other city workers are getting chiseled on their pay, 25% of the work force was laid off 8 years ago, thus remaining non-police department workers are working harder than ever. Residents, of course, are seeing their rents skyrocket, we can’t get a decent library built in our town, our kids are being chiseled too – we have no programs for youth to speak of in our city, Concord’s recreation programs are a disgrace given the size of our city, Pleasant Hill has better recreation programs, and so does tiny little Bay Point! I recall when Bud Stewart ran the City of Concord police officers hated him – they were constantly complaining they were being underpaid. Morale was terrible at the PD then. While morale was bad at the PD, morale in the city was high because Stewart was building new parks, he built Cowell pool, he was expanding Leisure Services, he built the Concord Pavillion, and he also redeveloped the aging downtown – which is why we have this great Todos Santos Plaza. Bud Stewart got stuff done! Compare this to what Laura Hoffmiester and her cronies have done for our city. They have done nothing but give away the store to the Concord Police Officers Association! If Hoffmiester and McGallian are elected in November I am going to dust of my plan to have these two recalled. I am going to sponsor a recall and ask voters to recall them from their council seats because they won’t build a new library and because they are such poor stewards of city money (see bloated city salaries). If I do this I am going to try and “time” the recall when the city makes this play to try and get more bond money out of voters. I think I can defeat this bond measure by just pointing out to voters all the profligate money being spent on city worker salaries. City officials can’t make a case they deserve more money from taxpayers when all these city employees are buying mansions on the water in Discovery Bay. No way!

Dave August 13, 2018 at 8:51 AM

I’ve taken to opposing all candidates for any local office taking money from the Police Officer’s Association. I can’t say I know much about the numbers in the manner of which you claim to, but it’s becoming more and more clear to me that CPD and some wealthy friends of CPD, have been dumping a considerable amount of money into local politics, mostly by way of campaign funding. I won’t make assertions as to why that is the case or what their agenda might be, but regardless, it’s not ok. This tells me Concord is bought by the same people that should be serving us. The responsible thing to do as a citizen and a voter is to work toward exposing this financial relationship to the public as it compromises the democratic process. Responsible citizens should make sure they know exactly who is funding all candidates running (contact the City Clerk and ask from Form 460), so that they know their elected officials are not beholden to any powerful individuals or groups with an agenda that might not best serve the City of Concord.

Lars Anderson August 13, 2018 at 1:02 PM

You made some great points Dave. I myself won’t vote for a Concord POA backed candidate, generally. It’s clear the city of Concord is working very well for those lucky enough to get a job at the city,notably at the PD, but how about us residents? What are we residents getting for our tax dollars other than a ludicrously over-funded police department? Not much. As many are aware, the biggest and most opulent public building in our city is the PD station, a facility we residents can’t use. What city in California that has a 100,000 plus residents has a broken down ramshackle library, no recreation facilities to speak of, a tiny dated city hall, while the bigwigs that work at the PD – who push papers around an office counting down the days the days until they retire – and the prisoners that are arrested I might add – are housed in an opulent Taj Mahal like facility? No city I’m aware of, you are only seeing this in Concord, not other cities. Who is responsible for this sorry state of affairs? I blame the Concord POA, and their hand picked stooges that have been serving on our council. We taxpayers and residents – the little people are paying the freight – have been sold out by our city leaders (see Hoffmiester, McGallian and the rest). The big wigs at the city are working 24/7 to take care of themselves – while giving us a whole lot of nothing for our tax dollars.

Nature Lover August 13, 2018 at 2:10 PM

Have you ever been inside that building? I have been there for meetings and there is nothing opulent about it. It is just a functional office building. Trust me, the jail is nothing fancy.

KAD August 13, 2018 at 2:33 PM

The current Mayor, Edi Birsan, never took any money from the POA.

KAD August 13, 2018 at 5:01 PM

Dominic Aliano’s campaign web site is a little light on information on the issues and how he would deal with them.

THE BLACK KNIGHT August 13, 2018 at 7:59 PM


Dominic Aliano doesn’t need to have that kind of information on his website as he’s the hand picked candidate of the Concord Police Officer’s Association and The Garaventa Family and their garbage company!!! He moved into the “Monument District” specifically to run for a seat on the Concord City Council!!!

Kenji August 14, 2018 at 8:51 AM

It is true that Dominic moved into District 3 recently. To be fair, the other candidate for District 3 (me) also moved into District 3 recently.

Lars Anderson August 13, 2018 at 5:40 PM

Nature Lover, the Concord PD station on Galindo is 10 times larger than the old PD station that they had at the Civic Center. I too have attended a meeting at the PD – they have this tiny little broom closet meeting room where they allow commnity groups to meet. Our Concord teens – who don’t have a teen center like they do in PD – have to meet there because they have no other place to meet. According to what I am told the meeting room is smaller than Chief Swanger’s office! I mention this because when the city opened the facility they announced with great fanfare they had graciously included a community meeting center when they designed the building, but the meeting room is so tiny people faint for lack of air (it has no windows!). Conversely, the PD facility is as big as a football field, they have got space galore. This crummy little meeting room – which may not be any bigger than one of the cells at the jail part of the PD facility – is just another example of how PD bigwigs are hogging things, they hog the entire Concord city budget now, and they are hogging all the space at the PD on top of that.

Well Folks August 14, 2018 at 8:37 AM

Lars – size is just size. The new county SO office is going to be bigger and far more techie than the old one. Doesn’t mean “opulent” but will be more functional. I really feel you don’t bother to educate yourself to fact. Take the time to do so. As Nature Lovers said the building is big & functional. It makes sense to have all depts. with the PD to be located under one roof and that is exactly the function of that building.

Please research and analyze things before going on long winded rants.

Nature Lover August 14, 2018 at 8:33 PM

The upstairs meeting room where the Citizens Police Academy met was quite large.

WC Resident August 15, 2018 at 1:03 PM

@Lars – If you need a larger or more pleasant meeting room then ask for one. indicates they have more than one room available though does not give the sizes.

If you wish to know the size of Chief Swanger’s office then e-mail him to ask about meeting with him to talk about community meeting rooms. You will get to see his office and you can get a tour of the place.

The Pleasant Hill library and both libraries in Walnut Creek also have public meeting rooms available. The Walnut Creek and Pleasant hill senior centers both also has several meeting rooms. I don’t know what’s available from the Concord library and senior center but you could ask. The Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill facilities are not restricted to residents of those cities.

The Odd Fellows hall on Cowell Road is also available for meetings.

KAD August 14, 2018 at 7:01 PM

Great job to Mike McDermott tonight at the Concord City Council meeting explaining the devious way the staff explained the tax increase Carlyn and Ron did not put on the Nov 2018 ballot.

Hope Johnson August 14, 2018 at 9:50 PM

It’s a great disservice to the voters to imply staff is solely responsible for misleading the public on the proposed doubling of the Measure Q sales tax. Council willingly misled the public both times Measure Q was previously on the ballot and it is painfully gullible to believe Council plays no role in the purposeful wording this time around. Hold elected representatives responsible or be prepared to repeat the same scenarios over and over again.

Jojo Potato August 15, 2018 at 10:38 AM

I had the pleasure of visiting the Concord library yesterday. I am not a Concord resident but the library system is countywide and the book I wanted was there so I went and got it. I don’t really see what all the complaining is about. The facility is pretty nice with helpful staff. Also, like Pleasant Hill, there is plenty of free parking. I enjoyed by visit.

WC Resident August 15, 2018 at 12:03 PM

I know the Concord library is easy to get to from most of WC but did you know you can put a book or movie on hold and they will fetch it from any available branch and deliver it to your local branch for you? Link+ allows you to get books and movies from libraries across California and some of Nevada.

I agree that the parking is easy and free at Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek Ygnacio branch, and Concord. I’m hoping the new PH library uses the same large asphalt lot style of parking as the existing library. One advantage is that most of the time it’s very quick and easy to find a parking spot and it’s also easy to navigate when the library is holding an event that can fill the lot to near capacity.

Silva August 15, 2018 at 2:17 PM

I don’t know what all the fuss is about the Downtown library either, Jojo.

Jojo Potato August 15, 2018 at 5:16 PM

Your reaction is pretty funny. What I didn’t mention was that I rode my bike over there. Easy to get off the canal trail at Euclid and grab Parkside over to the library. Bike locker parking too. Most people assume car travel. For the last few years I’ve switched to bike first choice. It’s made my life so much more fun and met a lot of nice people too, and some cager morons as well.

Kentucky Derby August 15, 2018 at 11:24 AM

The Concord and PH libraries are fine. You’re checking out books, not moving in.

Lena August 15, 2018 at 10:38 PM

Concord needs a new library. That one is tiny and old … so old I can’t believe it’s still there. I studied there in high school in the 50’s. Libraries today are about so much more than just checking out books. They are a cultural resource for the community and offer everything from computer use to DVDs to passes to local places of interest like museums. They have copy machines you can pay per copy to use, a reading room with current newspapers and magazines, wifi. They are a one stop collection of delights. I think they are really the heart of a community. Concord needs a new heart.

Hope Johnson August 15, 2018 at 8:15 PM

Concord could use a new library. Libraries are about more than books now. It was built in the 1950’s and could use a nice update. The library is a reflection of the value a community places on culture, education, and information. Most of the professionals I meet at work still take their kids to the library.

The library could use some money for a psych professional to assist with homeless issues. Also, I believe I recall Concord put up part of the land or parking lot of the library as collateral. Can’t recall the details but would be good for that to be resolved as needed.

Kentucky Derby August 15, 2018 at 11:14 PM

The library is a reflection of the value a community places on culture, education and information. Orinda library would be a perfect example. Concord probably could use an update, but will it benefit families or a more comfortable place for the homeless? We don’t live in Concord, but I understand this is a concern for the some of the residents.

Justyfiable Languor August 16, 2018 at 7:15 AM

People with bad manners and bad hygiene should not have access to the library. There, I said it. I can’t believe the ACLU has got us frightened of setting boundaries. I can’t believe WC let a stinking ahool ruin their new library. I bet the Orinda library would not tremble to instate common sense rules. Wake up you bleeding heart idiots.

Yes, Concord needs a new library. But why bother if you won’t set standards. Set up hygiene clinics somewhere, and keep the dopers away from our children!

Kenji August 16, 2018 at 10:11 AM

I like your idea of hygiene clinics. What are some locations that you would favor?

Hope Johnson August 16, 2018 at 10:28 AM

People understand your suggestion to exclude people with “bad manners” and “bad hygiene” in theory. However, it’s much more complicated for it to be enforced in reality. Who gets to define what bad manners and bad hygiene is? On a regular basis, there are certainly some techies on my Bart train who are far from homeless that exhibit these traits – yet they would not be considered homeless. Would they be excluded? It’s not a crime to be poor and no one should want the government to be able to discriminate on the basis of income. Unfortunately, the ACLU has had to intervene because these types of vague laws have been and continue to be used as an excuse to illegally exclude people for other reasons. Justyfiable Languor’s own words show how this continues to be done in his last sentence by implying people with bad manners and bad hygiene are “dopers.” Some are and some aren’t but enforcement of vague laws using stereotypes is over. I’m sure the libraries would be justified in asking someone who is obviously causing other users problems through behavior or strong smells to leave and that is why we need to spend some money to have professionals available to handle these situations on a case by case basis. We always seem to have enough money for war and new police semi-military gadgets but empty pockets for medical care and mental health treatment and education. That’s our policy now so when you get upset about the current situation, think again about continuing down that path.

Justyfiable Languor August 16, 2018 at 1:08 PM

Kenji: Re location. The military base on Port Chicago comes to mind. Aren’t there barracks there? Showers? A mess hall? The miltary is especially qualified to set up a bivouac.

Hope: I know it is not simple. Categorizing would be a start. Mental and physical health. Also willingness to rehabilitate. Without the willingness, there can be no change.

Approaching the problem like a team of lawyers has failed. The refuseniks need to be categorized and separated from those that can be helped. I’ll let you figure out what to do with them. Maybe some wealthy compassionate citizens will offer the hands and money.

I am not interested in arguing the minutiae of semantics with you. Acting like a prissy child hampers creative solutions. Isn’t a solution the main point?

Hope Johnson August 16, 2018 at 2:07 PM

@ Justyfiable Languor

Unfortunately for you, your “minutiae of semantics” is the details of how you would enforce your own suggestion. It’s easy for someone to through around big opinions like yourself but someone – whether the CPD or library – has to analyze how to actually carry out laws or rules. Many time Chief Swanger has addressed this same issue when asked about homeless. If you were really interested in a solution, then you would know it requires details of enforcement. And, if you paid attention to anyone but yourself, you would have seen that the apartments on the Coast Guard property don’t belong to Concord and are not considered safe for general public use.

Justyfiable Languor August 16, 2018 at 2:26 PM

Hope: Boy you sure told me!

Feel free to use some more of my ideas.

Lena August 16, 2018 at 3:34 PM

Just two points on this discussion, if I may? Some medical problems can cause an individual to smell not as delightful as a field of fliwers, and where exactly do you shower if you are homeless? I am not saying you want overnight accomodations with showers. Just a shower, that’s all.

Justyfiable Languor August 16, 2018 at 6:04 PM

Of course you may Lena. I love spontaneity. I agree with you about cleanliness.

I will also add, we have waited too long with providing clean and safe places for the homeless. They need to be documented in order to receive appropriate care. Those that refuse cannot be allowed to foul the land and waters. They will be the cause of the next plague.

Chief Swanger knows the law, it is up to others to create a way to help. I love the creative process. Let’s hope the prissy ones will get out of the way for some righteous maybe even outrageous ideas.

Hope Johnson August 16, 2018 at 6:58 PM

Chief Swanger is tasked with setting policy on how to enforce laws and calls that come in from the police department. He has to determine how to define dirty or homeless, neither of which is a crime, or any other vague word in a law. How dirty is too dirty? The point is the rules can’t be so open they can be interpreted at random. Your ideas are not new or fancy and have not been blocked by anyone. You fail to account for violations of civil rights that have long been recognized by others. Your ideas are woefully behind what has been analyzed repeatedly.

Justifiable Languor August 17, 2018 at 10:57 AM

Hope: The ACLU has effectively bound but not quite gagged bureaucrats such as yourself…as you have illustrated.

Jojo Potato August 16, 2018 at 9:10 AM

Have any of you actually been to the Concord library recently? I was there Tuesday (as reported). There is a security guard at the entry door. I suppose her presence discourages undersireables, seems to work. She also takes a turn around the outside sometimes. The recent upgrade has made a big difference, it’s a pleasant place to be, not a homeless hangout. I would suggest some of you give it another try. For kids, the PH library is by far the best. Storytime packs ‘em in. Check the CCClibrary calendar.

Hope Johnson August 16, 2018 at 7:04 PM

Homeless at the library tends to become a more prominent issue during cold and rainy seasons.

Jojo Potato August 17, 2018 at 9:31 AM

You are absolutely right. “In the summertime, the living is easy”. Re: library construction Hayward is about to open their new facility. $65 million plus. Looks like they’ve gone all out. Check it out here:


Kentucky Derby August 16, 2018 at 10:58 AM

I’ve been to the Concord library recently, and there is a guard. CPD were there too. I wanted to donate food to the barrel, and I was told that they no longer have the barrel because people were stealing the food. Stealing food from a barrel of donated food saddens me. Wow.

As far as asking people to leave the library, it’s probably up to the discretion of the librarian.

Lars Anderson August 17, 2018 at 11:41 AM

Mayor Birsan is threatening to stop doing any street repairs in Concord if voters don’t pass a tax hike. Mayor Birsan, have you checked the median pay and benefits of Concord workers – it’s 154,000 per employee according to Transparent California the web site that tracks city employee salaries. Walnut Creek – a wealthier city with a huge retail base – is paying 20,000 a year less per employee. I guess were smarter here in Concord paying our city workers 20,000 more per year. Apparently the thinking down at city hall in Concord is this; Because Concord is bigger than Walnut Creek, population wise, Concord should pay city workers more money.But since we don’t really have the revenue coming in to pay all these city workers their 100K or 200K salaries we will just not fund recreation programs, the arts, youth services, library services – or any other services that would make for an improved quality of life for city residents. The important thing, according to Laura Hoffmeister, and Edie Birsan, is that we continue to pay these whopper salaries to city workers, even though Concord barely has any services anymore, due to the over spending at the PD. Now Birsan is threatening to withhold street repairs, about the only thing Concord does anymore – other than fund a police department and finger excercises classes at the senior citizen center. Credit Leone and Obringer for saying no to this Edi Birsan-Laura Hoffmiester led scheme to raise more money with this bond thing. If Concord wants us to pay higher taxes, we want some services and quality of life projects – like a new library. What we got instead with the last bond is just higher city worker salaries, and more generous benefits for city workers. It’s time to end the corruption in Concord, put city residents needs first, rather than spoiling city workers.

BAAQMD Hater August 17, 2018 at 11:52 AM

Mr. Lars is correct. Birsan is an out and out socialist who only believes in extracting taxes from the hard workng families so that he can pay his cronies more and more.

Jojo Potato August 17, 2018 at 12:17 PM

Chatting just now with the WC maintenance guy at Walden Park. He’s replacing the louvered grate on the restroom door. Seems the homeless kick these in and crawl in to sleep after the nightly lockup. New grates are aerospace grade titanium forgings (or something). He also mentioned the increased homeless in town. One claim is that Oakland service providers are reccommending WC because of the $100-200 dollars available for an afternoon panhandling at the Safeway. But he did mention that Concord might be better. Enjoy.

WC Resident August 17, 2018 at 2:09 PM

Hopefully the city does not get get sued by someone who broke their leg trying to kick in the grate.

Ruh Roh August 17, 2018 at 12:23 PM

Hope: “Chief Swanger is tasked with setting policy on how to enforce laws…” The state has an exclusive monopoly on exertion of force upon citizens. We, the little people, ask for this exclusive entity to do right by us. Your statement shows how the state only serves the state while we’re left out. If there is a law, say against vagrancy, loitering, disturbing the peace, harassment, what have you, the Chief is free to do whatever is in the best interest of the Chief, politicians, donors, elite by setting up whatever he (or his handlers) deem “policy on how to enforce”. Ignoring calls can be policy. Having an arbitrary and unattainable number of calls needed before response can be policy. Enforcing after a single call from a VIP can be policy. We have the laws, we just need enforcement- you know, what this singular source of “authority” is “elected” and paid to do. And in places the special chosen few may not ever venture out into.

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