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AUGUST 16, 2019

Local mayors support gun tax bill Mayors throughout the Bay Area called for the California Legislature to move Assembly Bill 18 by Assemblymember Marc Levine, D-Marin County, before adjournment next month. Mayors Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft of Alameda, Jesse Arreguin of Berkeley, Libby Schaaf of Oakland, Tom Butt of Richmond, London Breed of San Francisco and Sam Liccardo of San Jose joined the Giffords Law Center to Prevent

Gun Violence and the California chapters of the Brady Campaign in supporting AB 18. AB 18 would impose a statewide excise tax of $25 on handgun and semiautomatic rifle sales in California. Additional planned amendments will add an excise tax to bullets sold in the state, directing revenue to the California Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program (CalVIP). CalVIP supports violence in-

tervention and prevention activities, giving preference to programs shown to be most effective at reducing violence and to applicants in cities or regions disproportionately affected by violence. “Gun violence traumatizes our communities long after the bullets have been fired,” Schaaf said. “I support Assemblymember Levine’s AB 18 because it funds violence prevention programs like Ceasefire that are proven to reduce gun vio-

lence, and it gives young men and women the support they deserve and need.” AB 18 was approved by the Assembly Public Safety and Revenue and Taxation committees earlier this year. Co-authored by seven legislators from throughout the state, AB 18’s firearm and bullet tax would create an ongoing revenue stream to support programs designed to reduce gun violence and is pending action in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

7-Eleven settles for $1.5m with county DAs Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton announced a $1.525 million civil settlement with Texas-based 7-Eleven, Inc., to resolve allegations the company violated state laws requiring training of store personnel in hazardous-materials handling. Becton joined the district attorneys of Alameda, Monterey, San Mateo, San Francisco, San Joaquin, Solano, Ventura and Yolo counties in prosecuting this case. 7-Eleven is an operator or franchisor of over 1,700 convenience stores in California. The stores use carbon dioxide for their carbonated fountain beverage systems. Carbon dioxide, typically stored in tanks onsite, is widely used by fast food and convenience stores and is safe if handled properly. If not, carbon dioxide can leak unnoticed, displacing oxygen from the air, resulting in serious health effects or even death. California

Amphitheater from page 1A But the overall recommendations of the study prompted the council to take a step back. The report proposed building a twophase, $35 million, outdoor facility over at least 15 years, eventually able to accommodate up to 4,000 patrons. Financial projections predicted the venue would run at a net operating deficit in the hundreds of thousands, for at least the first 10 years. The analysis also didn’t take into account input from nearby residents who could be subjected to the venue’s ramifications, such as noise and traffic, one nearby resident said. “We have a lot of homework to do,”

Disaster

businesses that use carbon dioxide are required by law to train employees on safe handling practices and how to detect leaks from tanks and supply lines, and must file certified, complete, and accurate reports with local authorities at least annually confirming such training. An investigation by the prosecutors’ offices indicated, in contrast to reports filed by 7-Eleven on behalf of California stores, employees were not receiving required training in the safe handling of carbon dioxide. The settlement resolves allegations that 7-Eleven submitted certified reports for California stores that did not accurately and completely disclose employeetraining information as required by state laws designed to ensure the safety of first-responders, employees, and customers. The settlement was reached after verification of revisions to 7-Eleven’s business practices designed to

said Mayor Bob Taylor. The council indicated it would favor a facility built around the already available funds (currently around $7.7 million), which early projections suggest could yield around a 750-seat outdoor venue, with additional room on the lawn. City officials also pointed out that several factors must be explored before they can even begin to narrow down their options, including community input, the facility’s long-term operating costs, associated fundraising opportunities and any traffic and noise impacts. “There is still a lot of information that needs to come back to us,” said Councilmember Karen Rarey. City Manager Gus Vina agreed that

from page 1A

ager. “I believe the key point to make, however, is that each individual and family need to take steps to prepare, and cannot necessarily count on quick assistance in the time of a huge emergency. Each resident should know what to do in the event of an earthquake, have an emergency preparedness kit that provides food and water for the entire family for at least 72 hours, but hopefully longer. There are great resources on www.ready.gov, and we would encourage each resident to go on that site and make preparations now.” In the event of a significant emergency, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Fire Chief Brian Helmick, said the initial responsibility of first responders like fire and police departments, after they assess their own operational capabilities, will be to assess the overall situation before they commit resources to any particular situation. That process will likely mean very long response times for many individual circumstances, which reinforces the need for self-reliance, particularly in the early hours of an event. “You need to have the expectation in a substantial event that fire, police and EMS response times are going to be

ensure that all employees receive proper training. “7-Eleven Inc. was cooperative throughout our investigation and worked diligently toward correcting their deficiencies as we reached this resolution,” Becton said. “7-Eleven Inc. must also abide by a permanent injunction to ensure future statutory compliance.” The case was resolved by way of a stipulated final judgment entered in Contra Costa County Superior Court and requires monetary payment of $1.525 million from 7-Eleven: $948,000 in civil penalties, $252,000 for supplemental environmental projects promoting training for California environmental agencies and prosecutors and $325,000 for reimbursement of investigative and enforcement costs. A total of $117,504 will be paid to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office specifically in civil penalties.

additional analysis is needed, but suggested that partnerships, foundations, grants and sponsorships could possibly all be leveraged to reduce the burden of unmet operating costs. Actor Kyle Conley, a member of the local Ghostlight Theatre Ensemble, expressed excitement about a facility, but cautioned that an outdoor venue would force performers and patrons to combat the sometimes unfavorable weather. He suggested that the city target something similar to the 215-seat City of Pleasanton Firehouse Arts Center in Pleasanton, noting that at least eight local dance companies, two theater companies, six choirs and eight bands would immediately embrace it. The Ghostlight Theatre Ensem-

extremely delayed,” Helmick said. “That’s the reality of it. There may be access challenges. There may be higher priority calls.” For those looking to lend a hand in a time of need, the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program provides that opportunity, according Brentwood Police Chief Tom Hansen. The program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area, and trains them in basic disaster response skills. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members are trained to assist others after an incident, when first responders may not be immediately available. Approximately 300 people have been through the Brentwood Police Department’s CERT training, and another session begins in October. Hansen encourages anyone with an interest in getting involved with the community to consider participation in that training. “The best way that citizens can help themselves in a disaster is not to need help,” said Helmick. “So what is it that you can do to not lean on the emergency response system?

ble hosted one of its last performances at Edna Hill Middle School, which prohibited daytime rehearsals and required the group to leave at a certain time each at night, Conley said. “We have the community, the arts, and people wanting to do it (perform),” he said. “Let’s give them a building to do that.” Vice Mayor Joel Bryant mentioned the large movie and music-in-the-park crowds as further proof that a venue of some kind would be welcomed. “This type of venue can fit hand-inglove with our community,” Bryant said. “It can be a tremendous asset.” It’s believed the council will again mull over the project during its October strategic planning session.

There are going to be those that didn’t take preventative measures and are not prepared. If they want to strive for something, it is ‘when it goes down, how are you not only going to take care of yourself, but be able to help those next to you?’ to take strain off of our system.” In addition to the links already provided, there is a wealth of information online regarding disaster preparedness. The Town of Discovery Bay published a Home Disaster Preparedness Guide at www.bit.ly/thepress_ db_emergencyguide. Information on the Brentwood Police Department’s CERT training can be found at www. brentwoodca.gov/gov/police/emergency/cert.asp. In the event of a disaster, information on the more than 250 Red Cross shelters in East County can be found at www. redcross.org/shelters. A guide to preparing for emergency evacuations was recently jointly released by the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District and the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff. A printable version of the guide can be found here: www.bit.ly/thepress_ccc_emergencyplan. To comment, visit www.thepress.net

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