On this episode, I chat with Liberty Union High School District trustee Erick Stonebarger who released data last week on the failure rate of nearly 30% after the District moved to Distance Learning, this is more than a 100% increase compared to last year.


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  • 00:36 – Introduction of Erick Stonebarger

  • 01:20 – We get into data released by the Liberty Union High School District regarding 28% of the District under a 2.0 GPA and 14% with a 1.0 GPA or below. This is for Heritage High School, Freedom High School and Liberty High School in the cities of Brentwood and Oakley. Stonebarger highlights it’s the same teachers, same students and it’s a system problem, not a teacher and student problem.
  •  
  • 06:00 – Given the data being new, has the District been able to dig deeper into the reason behind the low grades such as homelife, technology, mental health, overwhelmed, etc.  Stonebarger highlights how 1/3 of the students have no chance in this structure of Distance Learning.
  • 09:55 – Stonebarger argues when you go from 1100 kids to 2100 kids to a failure rate, they need to do something different because right now is not working and its impacting kids. He blames those making decisions will not discuss the balance of the whole child—including Contra Costa Health Department who is only talking about one aspect.
  • 11:19 – We get into social emotional issues, teachers are seeing the grades, will teachers question the job they are doing, it has to be devastating considering the amount of time they are putting into it.
  • 12:55 – We talk about human connection for kids with their teachers versus screen time.
  • 15:00 – I ask Stonebarger how Liberty Union High School District addressed the digital divide.
  • 16:45 – Frustration with Contra Costa County Board of Education and Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. I argue for shutdowns by zip code, not the whole county.
  • 17:55 – Stonebarger says they need to look at the data and sit down with the county and see if they can reopen or not. I suggest why not put the 28% kids who are struggling and place those kids back in a classroom.  They can be the ones who go back first. Stonebarger argues they need to have that conversation and option.
  • 19:01 – Stonebarger gets into the three options for Distance Learning which is 20% of the kids, now the school population is reduced by 20%. Now focus on the 80% who could return to school. Says the county is not having that conversation—especially County Board of Education and Superintendents meetings.
  • 22:15 – Stonebarger says he released data to begin having a conversation. He says its not the teachers doing a bad job, they are doing the best they can in the learning environment—the learning environment changed.
  • 25:46 – Has the District broke down the data of those 28% who are failing. What is their homelife and have parents been surveyed? Family dynamics at play?
  • 28:43 – Will the reopening in January happen? What is Stonebarger hearing from parents?
  • 30:50 – We talk about the California Teachers Union stance of not wanting to go back until there is a vaccine.  But a conversation around a vaccine will have to happen. Still no discussion on cost of reopening.
  • 34:50 – Concerns with kids now given the data with kids. I urge the District to dig deeper into the 30% not passing and figure out why.
  • 38:16 – Is the plan to have kids rotate in and out of classrooms on return or will the teachers rotate classrooms?  Maybe 1/3 of the kids go back, asks to local level to be able to make the decision to reopen because they are seeing the effects.
  • 40:29 – With the County/State being in Purple Tier, what is the next step? Stonebarger is asking for a change in policy on a waiver for K-12 schooling.  Says the rules are not logical. We also get into the County Health Numbers.
  • 47:00 – This idea of students being in school for a few hours, if they are already there, why cant students be at school all day?
  • 49:00 – I argue many superintendents are not leading, including Contra Costa County Board of Education. I urge other Districts release their “failure rate” and showcase what is happening to students. We get into how schools are the safest place for them.
  • 54:58 – Stonebarger gives brief update on Special Education and what could happen.
  • 56:19 – Will Liberty Union High School District release the full report and more data? Stonebarger says the District needs to communicate data to the County and post the data on the website. Says this should begin to force the conversation.
  • 58:00 – data is for Brentwood, but what is going on in other areas with greater socioeconomic challenges, what would their numbers show?

 

More info: https://eastcountytoday.net/liberty-union-high-school-district-board-approves-hybrid-reopening-plan-failure-rates-concerning/

On this episode, I chat with Matt Shupe who is the Chair of the Contra Costa County Republican Party.  He is also a political consultant and does Public Relations Work.  We discuss a variety of issues including Gavin Newsom, COVID-19 shutdowns, status of the republican party, how to get involved and a variety of other items.

 

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Episode Overview:

00:25 – Introduction of Matt Shupe who is on the show representing himself, not any client or political party.

 

03:05 – We talk about Harmeet Dillion and her law firm including the Center For American Liberty filing several lawsuits as Governors and states overstep their power. Shupe argues there is politics over science

 

06:14 – We talk about COVID-19 Hypocrite number one in Governor Gavin Newsom and the dinner at the French Laundry which Newsom apologized and told the world what happened, however, the photographs released show a different story. Shupe also brings up Nancy Pelosi and the hair solon incident.

 

12:40 – We talk about the lack of accountability, which is happening in Contra Costa County due to the District Attorney’s Office. Shupe says Diana Becton has legalized petty theft under $950 which has huge ramifications. We talk about how in this county, the victim has become the criminal—such as the incidents at Bourbon Highway in Walnut Creek.

 

22:36 – We jump back to California going into the Purple Tier.  The hypocrisy over enforcement of businesses being shutdown but its okay for hundreds of people to protest, but churches also can’t gather.  We jump into Assemblymembers Kevin Kiley and James Gallagher.

 

24:22 – We talk about Kevin Kiley being public enemy number one as he fight against Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) which was introduced by Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego). AB 5 was rejected by voters who approved Proposition 22 by 58% who support the gig economy.

 

26:35 – we talk about this Hawaii trip by California legislators during a so called 14-day quarantine for travel in and out of California.  

 

30:48 – I explain what is going on with City Managers, Police Departments, City Governments have retreated on giving out information – no real discussions are occurring in local governments. Community wide discussions are really not wanted, just rammed through policy and ordinances. Shupe jumps into lack of Public Records Requests not even being responded to, which is what is happening at the California Department of Health.

 

39:05 – Bring up Governor Gavin Newsom possible curfew coming soon.  We get into science vs. data.

 

43:50 – How people can get involved over the next two-years before the 2022 elections, if people want to get involved with possible running for election, what needs to happen now? Shupe says the goal is to build a bench.  We talk about Assembly District 11 which is currently held by Jim Frazier.

51:55 – I ask Shupe if he believes Gavin Newsom will run for President in 2024.

 

55:48 – I argue how California Legislators should be rolling back regulations during COVID-19. There is still a backlog of unemployment claims. Shupe talks about the failures of California Departments such as the DMV.

 

57:13 – Shupe talks about the problem with Republicans in California—who focus on bland topics such as budget.

 

57:48 – We talk about Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) director Rebecca Saltzman tweeting out that Debora Allen’s victory “shows the not-so-hidden racism of East Bay suburban residents”.  Shupe highlights how she is actually calling a lot of democrats racist because Allen’s District is only 23% republican.  I explain how Director Mark Foley is an east county representative but is pandering to San Francisco and Oakland. 

 

01:03:31 – We briefly touch on Congressman Eric Swalwell on his failed Presidential run.

 

01:04:11 – Shupe provides advice for people who want to get involved and possibly even run for office.  We get into homeless, what is going on in Texas with people moving out of California.  This idea what republicans in Contra Costa County run out of nowhere, no one knows who they are.

 

01:12:30 – Why can’t republicans get together in some of these local city council races and decide on which candidate to run so they don’t split the vote – which happened in some local races, including City of Brentwood.

 

01:18:57 – Shupe talks about his focus over the next two years. He calls the biggest goal for 2022 is to replace the Diana Becton, Contra Costa County District Attorney.

 

01:21:01 – Shupe plugs how people can get in touch with the Contra Costa County Republic Party and www.LibertyCenter.org   

On this episode, I chat with Antioch City Councilwoman elect Tamisha Walker where we talk about how she got elected, address some of the rumors on her decade old arrest, where she stands on voting blocks, the police department and direction of the city.

Episode Overview:

  • 01:05 – we talk about the election and how she is 196 votes ahead of Joy Motts. I ask her how she beat an incumbent city council member and a city council member who previous served in Manny Soliz Jr.
  • 02:53 – We talk about in her district, what she learned on the campaign trail. Also what most residents were curious about and their concerns – traffic safety, blight and trash, and crime.
  • 05:46 – Walker talks about this assumption of a “voting block” with Lamar Thorpe and Monica Wilson.  Walker rejects the idea of voting blocks.
  • 11:11 – Walker urges people to “calm down” on this idea of Charter City, she doesn’t believe it can happen in the 2-years she is serving on the City Council.
  • 12:15 – We get into people calling Tamisha “arsonist” or “felon” on social media based on a decade old arrest. She explains people either believe in the criminal justice system and rehabilitation or you don’t. if you don’t believe it, how can you continue to support a system that doesn’t rehabilitate.  She explains people can change and she needed treatment and mental health support along with spiritual guidance.
  • 16:55 – we discuss this idea that Walker got the “hood vote” which put her over the top to win the City Council Election.
  • 18:12 – We discuss where Walker stands with the Antioch Police Department, possible meetings with community activists.  She also talks about police intimidation during the campaign trail against her and Gabe Makinano.
  • 23:46 – We touch on the City of Brentwood incident involving the Joe Biden mannequin at a Donald Trump supporters house. We talk about how Brentwood is willing to discuss this, Antioch is dragging its feet on a community meeting on racism.  How to we move from agenda pushing to actual dialogue.  We talk about activism and protests and what should and should not occur.
  • 33:35 – Where does Tamisha draw the line from City Councilmember versus community activism.  We talk about the “defund the police” movement. She also says there is too much “word play” going on. She says the city can’t do safety with 80 officers.  We also get into police communication with the community.
  • 41:06 – We discuss the fear that the new City Council will fire Antioch Police Chief Tammany Brooks, that City Clerk position under Ellie Householder will be rewarded with a full-time, fully salaried position. The idea of a charter city is also discussed. Walker says this will not be a “radical” city council.
  • 44:03 – We discuss Ad-Hoc committees versus Standing Committees along with these “serial meetings” that are occurring that no one is talking about. Walker says she wants meetings with impact and wants all meetings to fall under Brown Act and public announcements, staffed and minutes.
  • 46:35 – We talk about racial equity and how Tamisha will push equity in Antioch (Question by Supervisor John Gioia).
  • 50:00 – we talk about the Antioch downtown and how she will work to support downtown business, address homeless issues and should police continue responding to homeless incidents down there. We also get into the idea people think development will stop under this council because developers will not want to work with this council.  She wants a cleaner and safer downtown.
  • 57:49: I bring up the Antioch homeless trailers still sitting in the public works yard.  The need to address the Antioch homeless issue.  We talk about the need for services while Walker calls on more help from Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors Diane Burgis and Federal Glover.
  • 1:07:58 – We discuss youth services and Walker would like to see focus groups and more discussion.
  • 1:10:01 – We talk about the City of Antioch and transparency.
  • 1:12:05 – We close by talking about how much work will need to be done immediately for Antioch to move forward.

On this episode, I chat with Vince Wells, President of the United Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County, Local 1230. We touch on a variety of topics from Measure X, to the possibility of consolidation of the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District to Contra Costa County Fire, the dynamics of what is going on with the City of Oakley and how the City of Brentwood is exploring working on a funding mechanism for the District.

 

  • 00:30 – Introduction of Vince Wells
  • 02:15 – We jump into Contra Costa Measure X, a 0.5% sales tax which would invest in fire and paramedic services across the county, keep a regional hospital open, connect residents to essential food, housing and other safety nets to the county and community resources. It would also help fund critical services for children and seniors. Wells explains why the Firefighters are supporting Measure X which could help all 12 fire agencies across the county.
  • 08:37 – We talk about Measure X and Consolidation. What this does for potential consolidation between Contra Costa County Fire, Rodeo-Hercules, and East Contra Costa Fire. Wells shares his vision.
  • 15:33 – We discuss what consolidation would do to auto aid between the borders between the City Antioch, City of Brentwood and City of Oakley. We get into how different fire departments have different policies on responses. I ask if Chief Brian Helmick was justified in his policy of exterior fire attack and no inside fire attack to save homes.
  • 28:58 – Wells says movement on consolidation will come by February. If Measure X fails, a revenue enhancement tax by ECCFPD will need to be voted on.
  • 29:27 – We get into the disagreement between East Contra Costa Fire and the City of Oakley. We get into the rumored CFD’s that Oakley has created, we talk about Station 55 and the agreement. We also get into the bizarre statement issued by Mayor Kevin Romick. He talks about how Bryan Montgomery believes Oakley doesn’t have a fire issue due to auto aid with Antioch engines being close to Oakley.
  • 36:50 – We jump into the City of Brentwood and what they are trying to do in providing funding to the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District to enhance fire service.  We get into the Brentwood 9210 Report and this idea of giving money without sustainability.
  • 45:15 – Wells provides an update on the possibility of City of Antioch getting a 5th fire station. We also talk abut how busy Battalion 8 is (City of Antioch, City of Pittsburg and Bay Point).  Wells further highlights the homeless fires have jumped to 60% of all vegetation fires.
  • 48:42 – We chat about arson and the job that fire investigators are doing. They have been moved to “on shift” because of the call volume.
  • 51:08 – We close on the importance of Measure X and the impact across all of Contra Costa County.  I would argue this measure got lost in the political rhetoric both national and local.
  • 01:01:13 – Final thoughts

 

On this episode, I chat Steve Smith who is one of the directors at the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District. We talk about a variety of issues from the District's history, funding issues, the beef with the City of Oakley, and a variety of other issues.

  • 00:33 – Introduction to Steve Smith who has been involved with the Fire District since 2013 as an appointed Board Member. He says he first got involved after the 2006 Citygate Report.
  • 2:20 – We get into how busy the Fire District has been since Chief Brian Helmick taken over to find money for the district, $700k from Byron Bethany Irrigation District, the $6.2 million found and the CCCERA find of $1.7 million. Smith talks about impact of Measure X the might help bring even more revenue.
  • 04:15 – Smith talks about Chief Helmick taking heat for “staffing up” the District. He talks about this fire district trying to overcome neglect for years.
  • 08:08 – We jump into Oakley Community Facilities District and Fire Fees and what is going on with that and why the ECCFPD went public. Smith says the City of Oakley is sandbagging the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, says Oakley is not fulfilling terms of Station 55.  We talk about these so called approved CFD’s by City of Oakley. Smith says Oakley has a “culture of secrecy” going on.
  • 14:00 – Smith says since 2018, the Fire District is meeting with various candidates as a formal process so candidates understand what is going on. This year, they focused on the Strategic Plan.  
  • 15:50 – We get into the upcoming “ask of the public” in terms of revenue enhancement. How do you ask for more funding after multiple tax measures have failed? Now there could be extra money through Measure X plus consolidation is on the table.  Smith says they are still working on financials as they have a lot of moving parts.
  • 18:30 – We talk abut the possibility of consolidation between East Contra Costa Fire Protection District and the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.
  • 20:50 – We talk about the upcoming election and why voters should consider supporting Steve Smith in his reelection bid. Smith says the public should get a solution that is no longer a band-aid, but a real solution in solving fire service once and for all.
  • 24:00 – Smith says the City of Brentwood has always come through with everything the District has asked of them and end up being 5-0 votes.  
  • 25:10 – The Fire District, under Chief Helmick and new board had implemented the creation of an FAQ several years ago. They have worked on educating the public.  Smith highlights there are a lot of people proposing a lot of things, but they are the subject matter experts.
  • 27:25 – I ask Smith what is the one question he gets asked all the time that he is tired of answering.  He talks about reallocation and going to Sacramento.
  • 28:54 – Smith talks about the concept that they are trying to build a coalition of fire districts
  • 30:41 – We talk about the District no longer being the training ground for firefighters, but also there was a time when they did not have enough qualified staff to promote up to Engineer, they also were near brownouts for Station 59 (Discovery Bay) because they didn’t have enough engineers. We also talk about AMR meeting their targets, but ECCFPD is not.
  • 35:22 – We talk about how its taken more than 6 years of education to finally move the ball forward in terms of community knowledge and possibility of tax or consolidation.
  • 40:45 – I ask Steve what has been the most frustrating thing in being a Board Member on the ECCFPD. Smith replies it’s the persistence of East County Voters group.
  • 43:30 – Steve Gets into why voters should support him for re-election.

On this episode, I chat with Indrani Golden who is running for District 3 Brentwood City Council as we talk a variety of issues from homeless, to police, fire service and economic development.

 

  • 00:46 – intro on Indrani Golden and her background. We get into how COVID-19 has impacted her business. We talk about the importance of pivoting in this economic environment.
  • 05:30 – What made Indrani want to jump into the City Council Race.
  • 06:30 – we talk about her being with the church, the impact they are having with homeless services and seeing the need out there and not enough help available.
  • 08:14 – We jump into public safety with the Brentwood Police Department and what her thoughts are. She calls for at least 10 more officers to be added to the police department.
  • 11:17 – We talk about the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District and the funding issue. We also talk about the potential of Contra Costa County Measure X.
  • 17:00 – We talk about the homelessness in Brentwood and the city response.
  • 20:50 – We discuss transportation in Brentwood and Contra Costa County.
  • 22:55 – Indrani says Bridle Gate has gotten a bad reputation, but says its needed for the schools.
  • 25:30 – We talk abut job creation and economic development for the City of Brentwood. We also get into how Brentwood has responded to COVID-19.
  • 27:49 – Indrani provides her thoughts on Planning Area 1 (PA-1).
  • 32:55 – We talk about agriculture in Brentwood.
  • 35:30 – We talk about youth and senior services.  We get into senior issues such as loneliness.
  • 42:40 – We talk about parks, open space and events.
  • 47:58 – Indrani highlights why voters should support her in this election.

On this episode, I chat with Indrani Golden who is running for District 3 Brentwood City Council as we talk a variety of issues from homeless, to police, fire service and economic development.

 

  • 00:46 – intro on Indrani Golden and her background. We get into how COVID-19 has impacted her business. We talk about the importance of pivoting in this economic environment.
  • 05:30 – What made Indrani want to jump into the City Council Race.
  • 06:30 – we talk about her being with the church, the impact they are having with homeless services and seeing the need out there and not enough help available.
  • 08:14 – We jump into public safety with the Brentwood Police Department and what her thoughts are. She calls for at least 10 more officers to be added to the police department.
  • 11:17 – We talk about the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District and the funding issue. We also talk about the potential of Contra Costa County Measure X.
  • 17:00 – We talk about the homelessness in Brentwood and the city response.
  • 20:50 – We discuss transportation in Brentwood and Contra Costa County.
  • 22:55 – Indrani says Bridle Gate has gotten a bad reputation, but says its needed for the schools.
  • 25:30 – We talk abut job creation and economic development for the City of Brentwood. We also get into how Brentwood has responded to COVID-19.
  • 27:49 – Indrani provides her thoughts on Planning Area 1 (PA-1).
  • 32:55 – We talk about agriculture in Brentwood.
  • 35:30 – We talk about youth and senior services.  We get into senior issues such as loneliness.
  • 42:40 – We talk about parks, open space and events.
  • 47:58 – Indrani highlights why voters should support her in this election.

On this episode, I chat Marie Arce who is running for Antioch City Council in District 3. We get into why she is running for city council which is improving economic development, cleaning up the city and keeping it safe and working on better taxpayer accountability with reporting.

 

  • 00:58 – Introduction on who Marie Ace is and she provides a bio.
  • 04:58 – We jump into the school district and if the School Board and City Council can even work together.
  • 06:40 – Marie explains whys he is running for Antioch City Council
  • 8:45 – We talk about Antioch Economic Development and the closure of many businesses recently. Arce shares Antioch isn’t even collecting enough good data to make decisions or attract business. She talks about lack of outreach to local business from the city of Antioch. We also talk about the COVID-19 response. Marie is calling for an incubator program.
  • 18:00 – Marie talks about the budget and taxpayer accountability (Measure W), she asks where all the money is going. She highlights how residents are concerned with how money is being spent and do not trust the city council. She calls on better reporting that is easier for residents to understand.
  • 22:58 – We discuss blight in the City of Antioch. We discuss property owners/business owners maintaining their properties and the spend on illegal dumping.  We get into the Delta Fair Village Apartments.
  • 33:18 – We discuss the homeless and thoughts on how Antioch has responded with their $1 million spend, homeless hotel, a homeless coordinator, etc. She calls for a regional approach.
  • 39:25 – we discuss the Antioch Police Department and Marie is seeking body cameras for police. She applauds Chief Tammany Brooks on his community engagement. We also discuss the Antioch Protests. Marie says she would like to see 130-135 officers which is Chief Brooks recommendation.
  • 43:16 – We discuss specifically District 3 issues and Marie explains what she is hearing and the concerns they have within the District. It comes down to local business, jobs, and change.  We talk about community pride and bringing it back.
  • 52:35 – Marie highlights why voters should support her for Antioch City Council.
  • 54:07 – Marie talks about the loss of her daughter to cancer, the response as a family and continue to live life. She talks about her damaged signs.
  • 1:01:48 – How voters can get in touch with Marie Arce
  •  

On this episode, I chat Olga Vidriales who is running for Brentwood City Council in District 3. We get into the Brentwood COVID-19 response, economic development, PA-1 and the growth within he City as well as public safety.

  • 00:59 – Introduction and background on Olga.
  • 02:05 – Why she is running for city council and some of the favorite things she has done for Brentwood.
  • 04:08 – How Olga believes Brentwood has handled the COVID-19 response. We get into what else she would like to see.
  • 08:28 – We get into how Brentwood could make up the $4 million estimated loss due to COVID, where could/should Brentwood cut?
  • 10:11 – We chat about East Contra Costa Fire Protection District. Olga calls on residents funding their “fair share”. She highlights how she previously voted “no” on parcel tax, but she has changed to a “yes” after being more educated.
  • 16:50 – We talk about Brentwood Police and their response to the national rhetoric. Thoughts on future growth of the police department and adding officers.
  • 19:45 – We jump into homeless and possible solutions.
  • 27:09 – We talk about Brentwood growth and developers. We also talk about the infill projects.
  • 34:46 – Olga discusses Planning Area 1 (PA-1) and how she would like to see that developed.
  • 37:46 – Olga provides her thoughts on the possibility of the youth center and the $100k spend on an architect.
  • 40:29 – Olga provides her thoughts on senior services and what is needed.
  • 42:17 – We talk about the landscaping tax for those in Deer Ridge to make the landscape improved.
  • 44:45 – Olga talks about District 3 specifically and residents concerns she is hearing—she says growth is a big issue and the circulation around Shadow Lakes being “horrible”. 
  • 46:20 – We get into the oil drilling in the Brentwood hills.
  • 49:19 – Olga highlights why voters should support her for city council.

On this episode, I chat with Oakley City Councilwoman Claire Alaura who is running for reelection. We talk about a variety of topics which includes economic development, police department, East Contra Costa fire

Episode Overview

  • 00:30 – Introduction of Claire Alaura
  • 02:08 – We talk about the baby steps over the past 4 years by the City of Oakley, Claire shares what she is most proud of.
  • 07:55 – We talk about the downtown and finally there is interest for businesses to come to Oakley.
  • 11:15 – We chat about “safety” and the new Oakley Police Chief and the Oakley Police Department.
  • 15:00 – Claire talks about the need to support the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District.
  • 18:00 – Continuing the talk on safety, she also shares how the city is analyzing ADA compliance and looking to be more ADA compliant within the law and services being improved.  She also talks about being neighborly and looking out for one another.
  • 19:29 – We jump into economic development with both Amazon and Skipolini’s came to Oakley and brief update on the train station.
  • 26:25 – Claire talks about amenities and what she wants to bring, such as a library, expand the recreation center, we also get into the 55-acre park.
  • 35:55 – We talk about Code Enforcement and how Oakley residents have responded negatively to actions by code enforcement at times.
  • 38:50 – Claire discusses some of her ideas to help bring more business to the City of Oakley
  • 42:30 – We jump into homeless, how do we work regionally to reduce the amount of homeless in East Contra Costa County.
  • 45:41 – What Claire is looking most forward to if reelected.
  • 47:48 – Claire shares why voters should consider voting for her for a second term.

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