Claycord – Talk About Local Politics

December 7, 2018 19:00 pm · 28 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.

Concorejet December 8, 2018 at 10:00 AM

Congratulation Carlyn Obringer being the Mayor of Concord!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bad Nombre December 8, 2018 at 12:56 PM

In light of recent efforts by the Contra Costa County supervisors to prevent you from attending gun shows at the Antioch fairgrounds, next weekend is your chance. A gun show is scheduled for the 15th and 16th. Turn out.

Lars Anderson December 8, 2018 at 1:50 PM

If Obringer is our new Mayor in Concord I’d like to see her do something about the profligate out of control spending being done at the Concord Police Department. The Concord PD is bankrupting our city.
The news media is reporting the PD squandered 34,000 on this ridiculous lyp-sync video. Apparently a professional video company was hired to produce the video, which features Concord PD officers dancing on the roof of our Taj Mahal PD facility. In the video the PD also shows off the departments massive fleet of un-needed Harley Davidson motorcycles.
As I have been reporting. the Concord PD officers have a gravy train going like you wouldn’t believe. In addition to this massive police station on Galindo, the officers have a resort like clubhouse – the Concord Police Academy – which features a gym for the officers to work out in, a shooting range, and a wet bar where the officers can relax after a hard day of investigating car break-ins, which is the most typical crime you see in Concord.
I think it’s also worth mentioning the top pay for a veteran officer in Concord is 149,000 – about 70,000 more per year than what officers make at the City of Clayton. Typically Concord PD officers get all the OT they want on top of the ridiculously high salaries, so it’s not unusual for lowly patrolman in Concord to make 200K a year.
Because there is little serious crime in Concord – an average of 3 murders per year over the last 15 years – there is little justification for this spending, but it goes on year after year unabated. Concord, in fact, is squandering astronomical amounts of money fighting a “pretend crime wave” – and the crime wave is being brought to us by these bigwigs at the PD, who make 220,000 to push papers around an office.
In the TV news story on the 34,000 lyp- sync video Concord PD Captain William Roche – who spearheaded this ridiculous waste of money -vigorously defended the video. He told the reporter if the video would have cost twice what the department paid he would have approved it. This remark, of course, just tells you have arrogant these people who run the PD really are.
According to Transparent California, the web site that tracks city salaries in California, this Concord PD Captain William Roche was making 150,000 working at the Concord PD in 2011. His salary in 2017 ballooned to 220,000, which is more than PD Chief makes in Pleasant Hill, and more than the PD Chief makes in Walnut Creek. These figures, of course, well demonstrate the orgy of spending going on at the Concord PD. Everybody working at the PD is cleaning up wage-wise, even though Concord has historically had very little crime.
The reason you are seeing all this wasteful spending at the PD, such as the 34,000 lypc-sync video, is we have got nobody in charge at the city. We have had a series of weak city managers – do nothing care-takers managers, and we also have a council that kowtows to the Concord Police Officers Association – to the point where the Concord POA is effectively running the city.
The successes council people point to, like the ballyhooed 10 year budget plan – actually lock in the wasteful spending being done at the PD year after year, its one of the reasons you see these ludicrously high salaries and why you see all these people at the PD doing make-work jobs, like William Roche. Roche produced this video because he has make-work job and he needed something to do, that should be clear to everybody.
I’d like to remind our new Mayor Concord has a decrepit broken down library, our city hall is tiny and out-dated too. Nor do we have a teen center either. The rec department has one tiny forlorn building, and we have no city gym either. And we don’t have much of a city work force anymore either.
As many are aware, 25% of the city work force was laid off several years back – supposedly due to the bad economy – when the economy got good none were hired back, the money instead went for fat raises over at the PD, that’s why PD Chief Guy Swanger is making 270,000 a year rather than the 186,000 he made a few years back.
I think our new Mayor, Carlyn Obringer, should put this wasteful spending going on at the Concord PD on the top of her agenda. This orgy of spending going on at the Concord PD, the lavish salaries, the make work management jobs, the fleets of un-needed Harley Davidson Motorcycles (toys for the officers), is making nobody any safer. A team of consultants needs to be brought in to reorganize this costly budget draining mess of a police department we have in Concord. If we don’t do this we are headed for bankruptcy court.

recall 'Em All December 8, 2018 at 8:53 PM

Lars –
Get your butt to a city council meeting and let the people who make the decisions know what is important to you.
As of now, you are just an absent whiner about what you don’t like about what is going on in our City, and frankly, I am really tired of reading your over worded posts.
You want change, okay, GET OUT AND MAKEIT HAPPEN.
Figure out how to get a library that meets your needs and get to work making it be a reality – and please stop blaming the city for not making your dreams come true.
Your dreams are up to you. . .

Fyi December 8, 2018 at 11:13 PM

Has it ever dawned on you that we have so little crime for such a large city because we spend money on the police.

I agree get off your computer and quit whining and go do something!!!

Comparing clayton and concord, get real!

Rollo Tomasi December 10, 2018 at 12:15 AM

Lars, I had a social studies teacher in eighth grade, back before political correctness had run amok, who told us that any piece of written work should be like a girl’s skirt. Long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to remain interesting. Of course he would be the subject of scorn in our current environment, but it remains sage advice nonetheless.

Hope Johnson December 10, 2018 at 8:34 AM

@Rollo Tomasi – You are confusing legitimate frustration at real political correctness with how annoyed you must be to finally learn that women aren’t selecting their clothing to please you. It’s never been appropriate for an eighth grade teacher to use sexual innuendo in class and the world doesn’t revolve around you. If you don’t like reading posts by Lars, then take some responsibility for yourself and stop reading them.

@Fyi – Conord is not considered one of the safer cities in the state. Have a look at any real estate neighborhood summary.

Rollo Tomasi December 10, 2018 at 11:33 AM

@ Hope Johnson:
“If you don’t like reading posts by Lars, then take some responsibility for yourself and stop reading them.”

You are hereby invited to do the same with my posts, shrew.

Smith December 11, 2018 at 2:11 PM

@Rollo Tomasi Hate to pile on, but if you consider any part of that advice acceptable, your mind is as twisted as that social studies teacher you had. It wasn’t appropriate then, and it isn’t appropriate now. Aren’t you the dude that said you told your girls that life wasn’t fair. I guess their’s wasn’t.

Rollo Tomasi December 11, 2018 at 6:27 PM

Nope, wasn’t me.

The pearl clutching and hand wringing are strong today.

Smith December 11, 2018 at 11:15 PM

@Rollo Tomasi Sorry to disappoint you, but there’s no pearl clutching or hand wringing going on here. Just the desire that the old, and very tired references that objectify women be put to rest once and for all.

Rollo Tomasi December 12, 2018 at 8:44 AM

Unfortunately for you and Hope, I’ll never be slated to host the Oscars. Otherwise, you could feverishly dig up these posts to prove that I’ve been a purveyor of wrong think, all the while proving to yourselves and all the world how virtuous you are.

Who Dat Gurl December 8, 2018 at 5:07 PM

No mention of Jeff Wan’s WIN for Clayton City Council? Maybe We The People are starting to make some of the other Council Members a tad nervous? Well they should be. It’s unheard of for a complete newcomer to utterly defeat a long-sitting council member, and yet, Jeff’s message resonated so loudly and clearly that his solid victory over the incumbent put all Council Members on alert. Do not think for one minute that We The People will be content with just Shoe’s seat. Oh no, we’re coming for the rest of you and we’ll have our city run how we want! Funny how the eulogies for Shoe were so, um, mournful, eh? Too bad he was ONCE AGAIN out of town on business and unable to attend (which is proof that a 30 % absence rate for a council seat is unacceptable!). Thanks for your service. So long now.

Also delighted that Brian Buddell made a very respectable showing. Thanks for putting so much time and energy into the race Brian. You and Kendra are awesome!

CONGRATULATIONS Jeff! Thanks to your wife and family for your sacrifice to lead our community.

Cyn December 8, 2018 at 9:08 PM

Gurl, that’s a great post.

Smith December 9, 2018 at 10:43 PM

Well said, Gurl.

CDE Watcher December 8, 2018 at 6:45 PM

For those interested in the state of our public funded schools.

For State

As largest district for the Claycord area, this is the link for MDUSD

Search for other districts, schools, counties

As always, dataquest on the California Department of Education website has the less colorful adaptation of all results, earlier

Concord Mike December 10, 2018 at 7:59 PM

@CDE Watcher, thanks for the links. What a sad mess our (MDUSD) and state schools have become.

J December 10, 2018 at 1:40 PM

The County Librarian’s salary is over 250k per yr, with benefits. I guess there is nothing lavish or make work about her job.

Lars Anderson December 10, 2018 at 3:19 PM

Rollo, my posts are long because of the obvious corruption going on in Concord, most of it centered around the police department.
The wages at the PD are ludicrously high given Concord’s crime levels , pensions now are astronomical, and the department is awash in highly paid managers. Even the dispatchers are cleaning up, they make more than police officers do at the City of Clayton!
Apparently there is no ceiling in Concord when it comes to spending on the PD, even if it means bankrupting the city, which is looming on the horizon. The city, laughably, is going broke during the greatest economic boom ever – there is a 13 million dollar deficit around the corner. Oh, and the Concord POA’s contract is up in 2019.
To justify all of this ridiculous over spending at the Concord PD our PD Chief Guy Swanger – continually claims crime is rampant in Concord, which simply is not the case. We have had an average of three murders per year over the last 15 years. That’s about these same as it was in the 60’s,70’s and 80’s.
Swanger also waves the bloody shirt on gangs, he continually claims Concord is a hotbed of gang activity (which drives Concord’s economic development people wild. The are trying to lure business’s and developers to come to Concord, yet Swanger keeps insisting gangs are everywhere in our town!)
I recall in 2016 Chief Swanger called this big press conference about the Norteno’s that supposedly lived in Concord – 24 gang members were arrested – I just did a search on the guys arrested, I couldn’t find one that lived in Concord on the MyLife web site. Some of the gang members were not even Hispanic – they were Irish. Irish Nortenos?
If we had some decent reporters at the East Bay Times covering Concord – reporters that didn’t just believe everything a PD Chief tells them they would have uncovered that. In just a few minutes of research I was able to uncover the fact that these Nortenos had almost no links to Concord, maybe their Mom’s lived here or something, or thier gun molls. Chief Swanger just sort of jumped in on the big Norteno gang bust press conference that reported all these East County members being arrested back in 2016.
Apparently whenever a gang member from Vallejo or Pittsburg is driving thru Concord on the way somewhere and they get pulled over by officers the Concord PD claims the are Concord gang members. It’s like that scene in Ghostbusters where the lady at the Ghostbusters HQ gets her first ghost call, and she jumps up and says, “We’ve got one”. Concord just isn’t gang infested, this is part of the ongoing “pretend” crime wave that department is sponsoring.
A few months back the Concord PD claimed MS-13 was setting up shop in Concord – you had a one day story on that in the Times – but never again did we hear anything about the MS13 invasion of Concord. I think it highly unlikely MS 13 gang members are buying 700,000 homes in Concord, Norteno’s either. The PD brass and POA union members though – by making this claim that Concord is a cesspool of crime and gang activity- can continue to plunder Concord’s city treasury , which is what they are doing, Concord, in fact. is a cesspool of municipal corruption – like the City of Detroit.
Pleasant Hill, I should mention – the city right next door – has no gang problem at all. Apparently the MS 13 gang members or Norteno’s never go to Pleasant Hill – they just hang in Concord! Apparently there is this invisible barrier that blocks gang members from going to Pleasant Hill, or Walnut Creek!
The SF Chronicle, I want to mention again, reported last week that violent crime peaked in California in 1992 – violent crime arrests are down everywhere in the state by 50%; you might think – given this – that city would take note of that and this overfunding of the PD might lessen, but it goes on year after year, and the wages over at the PD continue to skyrocket out of control – to the point our city is facing bankruptcy.
Governor Brown, as some are know, is well aware crime has lessened dramatically in California. That why the Highway patrol has the same amount of officers as it had when Brown took over eight years ago. Brown has also scaled down the number of prison guards too. Since crime is going down – rather dramatically – you can turn your attention to other things, which he has done. That’s responsible leadership.
But the war on crime has never wavered in Concord, that’s because we have this obnoxious police labor union and these empire building PS Chiefs . These people working at the Concord PD are making a fortune telling us how unsafe Concord is. Because Concord city taxpayers hard earned dollars are raining on Concord PD employees – at almost unbelievable levels – I feel it’s my civic duty to report on it. We need some reforms in Concord. Time to end the obscene gravy train going on at the PD.

Smith December 11, 2018 at 2:36 PM

@Lars The media is closely allied with local police departments. It is a symbiotic relationship. The police know what’s going on in any given town, and the media needs that information. By the same token, the media gets alerts they can provide the police. They also protect one another. And, did you ever notice how the media is all over a story where maybe a motorcycle officer’s bike got knocked over in traffic and he had a scrape that required an antiseptic at the Emergency Room … sometimes to the exclusion of major news happening in a given area.

Now, I’m not saying a motorcycle officer getting a scrape in an accident isn’t serious. But, really, they aren’t made of porcelain. Some major accident tying up the commute on 680 doesn’t get that kind of attention … lights, camera, action! The media treats them like royalty. And, you saw how long it took for Oakland officers to be indicted recently on the underage prostitute case and how law enforcement here on defended the officers blaming the underage girl who obviously had emotional problems. For good or bad, the media only very reluctantly reports anything negative going on in a local police department. Now, somebody prove me wrong, please. Until then, the unholy alliance continues to protect the worst in both professions, unfortunately.

Lars Anderson December 11, 2018 at 1:49 PM
Annonymous, I invite you to read this 1997 SF Chronicle story where Concord politicians – some of them anyway – are complaining about the political clout of the Concord Police Officer Association. The crux of the story is the PD labor union is “Calling The Shots” in Concord. The article reports 51% of the city budget went to policing in 1997.
The story, interestingly, also reports the city spent 19 million constructing the Taj Mahal PD station and three substantions – about 30 million in 2018 dollars. The substations, of course,, were closed down years ago when city officials figured out what a ridiculous waste of money they were.
The article also reports the five step salary schedule for the officers in Concord in 1997. Starting pay was 3,739 a month in 97 and it top out at 5,000 per month, so starting pay was 44,868 and top pay was 60,000 a year in 1997.
I crunched those numbers on an inflation adjuster; if Concord was paying Concord PD officers today what they made in 1997 they would be making a starting wage – in today’s dollars of – 70,692 and veteran officers would top out at 94, 536 -about what they pay City of Clayton officers today. lol.
In Concord – in 2018 – starting pay for an officer is now 114,000 and the officers top out at 139,00. This data on police pay in Concord, comparing the 1997 figures with the 20018 pay levels, supports my view that officer pay in Concord is out of control, and has been for many years.
Today, instead of the PD eating up 51% of the city budget – as reported in the 1997 SF Chronicle article – were told by city officials that the PD is eating up 59% of the city budget. I myself don’t believe those figures – I believe it’s likely more than 59% – I think it likely city officials are hiding some of the costs of the PD in other departments.
If the PD labor union was “Calling the shots” off stage in Concord in 1997, as was reported in the Chronicle in 97, you can surmise now – in 2018 – they are actually running the city from the Galindo facility. The massive amounts of pay you are seeing the officers making – eye popping amounts – indicate to me there are no cost controls – at all – going on at the PD in Concord.
From what I can see the bigwigs that are running the Concord PD have a blank check to pay themselves what they want, they can create managements jobs too – whether they are needed or not – and they can pass out all the OT the want too, to whoever they want.
I do not see any vestige of “civil service” going on at the Concord PD, at all, when I look at the pay levels of officers – I do not see “five step” step pay levels. Nor do I see managers being compensated fairly – the managers at the Concord PD are gouging the taxpayers at an almost unbelievable rate. They are all making City Manager pay! lol.
Anonymous, the reason I have come to this conclusion that the City of Concord PD has morphed into a cesspool of corruption is by studying the compensation levels of the officers in surrounding cities on the Transparent California website. Police officers, including managers, in surrounding communities are being paid well – they should be – but in Concord pay levels have gotten so out of control you can only conclude we are seeing municipal corruption.
Remember now, these massive raises the PD officers have gotten in Concord – which have gone unchecked for years (see above data), are coming at a time when all other city departments are being gutted, employees are being laid off – 25% of the city work force in 2009, budgets are being slashed, and now Ed Birsan tells us street repairs repairs are on the chopping block. The Pavillion, of course, was fobbed years ago to a private contractor – a contractor that is running it into the ground.
In terms of public buildings in Concord the big project in the last 20 years we’ve was putting a bathroom in at Ellis Park. Surrounding communities are getting new libraries, new theaters, new city halls too. Concord? We got a coupe of toilets at Ellis Park, that’s what we get for out tax dollars. Oh, and some playground fixtures next to the library, that nobody uses. I feel real strongly if you look around and compare what is going on in surrounding communities – and compare what is happening in Concord mostly nothing really -you can conclude we got massive and ongoing corruption going on in Concord.
As I was explaining in previous posts, the Concord PD bigwigs try to justify all this wasteful spending by claiming we’ve got gangs everywhere – a Norteno on every block -, and they claim crime is rampant in Concord. The data does not support that, according to policy experts, the data actually is the opposite, crime is way down.
In the 1997 SF Chronicle story referenced above, former Mayor Mike Pastrick tries justify the 1997 PD spending levels – modest by today’s standards – by referencing the “drive by shooting” problem Concord was supposedly having. Like Chief Swangers claims that Concord has this big gang problem , this was just a lot of nonsense, an excuse to keep the PD budget ridiculously high – higher than needed, and it’s even worse today. Concord does NOT have a big crime problem, what we have is a PD that is bankrupting our city without any justification.

SAD December 12, 2018 at 7:54 AM

Is it just me or have you noticed how bad the TRASH DUMP is getting at the top of Bailey Road. It’s time the county fix this problem, widen and
Pave that road and place cameras so violators are caught, it’s so sad how bad this looks, and hazardous this road has become! SHame on CCC for ignoring this issue for past 30 years! Surely there is enough $$$$ to solve it. Why don’t I hear more about this in out local news?

WC Resident December 12, 2018 at 9:27 AM

@Lars – Rather than a wall of text post one paragraph per week. I suspect you’ll get more traction on each of the issues.

While people have complained about the Concord police budget I have not seen anyone document the amount spent by each of the cities plus the county in the immediate region and to show how much is spent per capita and as a percentage of the city budget. If Concord, or any city, is truly out of line compared to other cities or the county then we will have a set of facts, rather then opinion, to get spending back in line.

I tend to notice statements by agencies (this includes schools, utilities, and any business or entity) claiming they have been getting or spending less than comparable agencies and using that as justification for increasing their spending and/or fees/charges. That’s not a valid justification and instead creates a ratcheting affect. By definition, 50% of the agencies will be at or below the median line and 50% will be at or above the median.

@SAD – find out the e-mail and phone number of whoever is responsible for cleanup of that section of Bailey Road. Publish that and encourage daily calls and e-mails the moment there’s any trash. Many people will dump trash if there’s already trash there but go elsewhere if the area is clean. I have not been up Bailey Road in over 40 years and have no idea what it’s like these days.

Silva December 12, 2018 at 9:38 AM

^^^ This is how it gets done. ^^^

Kenji December 12, 2018 at 3:56 PM

WC Resident, I took a stab at that comparison a little over a year ago. The spreadsheet is still available for anyone who wants to look or contribute data.

WC Resident December 13, 2018 at 8:39 PM

Thank you Kenji – that’s perfect.

Walnut Creek’s police budget for 2016-17 is at

I can’t find an annual report from the police department for 2016. The one for 2017 is at Unfortunately, they don’t break out the numbers of staff.

It’s interesting that Concord PD does not spend that much per capita.

Lars Anderson December 12, 2018 at 4:44 PM

WC Resident, below are some figures – hard data – that I got from the Transparent California web site, a public service web site that tracks city salaries in all California cities.
This data shows pay and benefits per worker in Concord is out of control – thru the stratosphere. Admittedly I have cherry picked some of the cities in my chart, butI I did get a kick out of learning Concord pays it’s city employees – on the average – 20,000 more per employee than Beverly Hills and Palm Springs, as well as the City of Francisco, a city notorious for overpaying city workers.
Median average pay per city worker by city, wages and benefits.
Concord; 154,855
Palm Springs; 139,427
Beverly Hills; 134,585
San Francisco; 133,317
Walnut Creek; 126, 491
Pleasant Hill; 120, 913
San Diego; 83,208
Amazingly, we are told year after year by city officials, notably city council women Laura Hoffmiester and City Manager Valerie Barrone, that Concord is a “poor city”. in Concord we can afford nothing – we can’t afford a new library, a teen center, decent recreation programs, or low income housing for the working poor in our city, or our disabled veterans.
We also can’t afford money for the Arts in Concord, for little theater – we used to fund local theater in Concord as many may remember – we just can’t afford anything in Concord. Not even when the economy is booming.
But, as the above data shows, we can afford to pay city workers 20,000 to 70,000 more per worker than city workers make in Beverly Hills, or Palm Springs or San Diego or Walnut Creek – and even more than San Francisco workers, a city that has a billion dollar budget to play with.
While I am providing “hard data” that Concord is overpaying city workers – notably at the police department – PD Chief Guy Swanger cannot produce ANY hard crime figures that would justify the astronomical wages at the PD. Concord just isn’t that dangerous a city, it never has been. Nor can Swanger produce any hard data that we have a gang problem in Concord.
How many Nortenos live in Concord? How many drive by shootings in Concord last 10 years? How many large drugs busts in Concord linked to gangs? What we are getting out of Swanger is weak anecdotal evidence f of a gang problem – that is not backed up by facts.
In fact, it’s very difficult to determine if somebody is in a gang or not – gang members don’t carry membership cards, they also don’t volunteer that they are gang members. Thus Swanger can claim all day long Concord has this massive gang problem – and get away with with that.
The people on the city council – who are supposed to oversee the PD and make sure the department isn’t bankrupting the city – which it is (13 million dollar deficit looming) ought to be asking tough question of our police officials; such as why is the department so costly? Do we really have a gang problem in Concord? Why are there no drive by shootings? Where are the crack dealers openly selling drugs on the street ( a clear indicator of gang activity).
But instead of asking these tough questions our council people – like Hoffmiester or Tim Mcgallian – just sit there and say ” That’s right Chief Swanger, you tell them”. Because that’s what they do the PD gets this blank check to run up salaries at the PD, a blank check to buy all the latest crime fighting equipment (see fleets of motorcycles, half tracks, the most sophisticated computers), or pad the department with all these specialized gang units, along with the PD managers that do these make-work jobs, like William Roche.
Concord does not have lot of crime – more than WC and PH, but not much more – Concord is a reasonably safe suburban city, always has been. I have lived in Concord since 1950, we don’t a crime problem in Concord
I am just guessing here, but I think there is a good chance when the City manager of Beverly Hills or the City Manager of Palm Springs are negotiating with their city workers – and the union bigwigs are trying to get as much out of the city managers as they can – the City Managers are saying “Look, were not another City of Concord, a city where the sky is the limit on city wages, we’ve got to fund our library, the arts, our rec programs, your programs , we’ve got a lot of things going on in our city that need to get funded”.
In Concord there is no negotiation – at all – with city unions at all, the city manager just raises the white flag and lays down when the contracts are up. The PD labor union just tells city officials what they want, and the wages of city workers continue to skyrocket out of control.
After they roll city officials, Laura Hoffmeister – on the council for 24 years now – tells us taxpayers, Sorry folks, we are broke”. Hoffmiester is never troubled about the city treasury being empty – or not building a new library, or a new teen center, or trying to figure out a way to fund theater programs – not doing stuff like this just cuts down on her work load as a council person!

Rollo Tomasi December 12, 2018 at 5:33 PM

“In fact, it’s very difficult to determine if somebody is in a gang or not – gang members don’t carry membership cards, they also don’t volunteer that they are gang members.”

Then support your conclusion that there are very few, and do so with hard numbers, please.

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