YOUR HOMETOWN WEEKLY NEWSPAPER ward Winning News al A pa
Vol. 11, No. 39
Including Surrounding Communities
Mistrust Extreme fundraising remains W regarding Delta plan by Dave Roberts Staff Writer Local advocates for the Delta are wary of a plan whose purpose is to save the Delta, based on the questions and concerns voiced by many of the hundred people in the Brentwood Senior Center Saturday morning for a workshop on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). Among the plan’s chief critics is a group called Restore the Delta (RTD). Oakley City Councilman Bruce Connelley and RTD Board Member Roger Mammon stood outside of the center passing out a flier that argues that the BDCP is “a tool for ensuring reliable water supplies for export … (and) a tool for the Schwarzenegger peripheral canal strategy.” Among its many recommendations, the BDCP calls for the construction of a canal along
ater skiing’s most renowned athletes, including the world’s fastest female barefoot skier, Teresa Wallace; six-time national barefoot skiing champion Jerry Kanawyer; and Discovery Bay’s own world record holder for tandem speed barefoot skiing, Mike Temby, showed off their best skills during the Extreme Water and Air Show Photo by Stacey Chance at Orwood Resort last Saturday. Visit the Multimedia page on our Web site, thepress.net, for video highlights of the event, which raised money for Royal Family Kids’ Camps.
the eastern edge of the Delta to convey fresh water from the Sacramento River and ship it south, bypassing much of the rest of the Delta. Local advocates are concerned that this would result in decreased water quality in the southwest Delta where East County is located. The flier criticizes the representation on
the BDCP steering committee, arguing that the membership is skewed toward those favoring the canal plan. And it slams the BDCP workshops (the meeting in Brentwood was the first of four scheduled over 10 days in Delta communities), see Delta page 21A
September 25, 2009
Home and Garden
If you’ve got a home or a garden or hope to have a home or a garden or just like to read about them, this is your lucky day.
Harvest Fest welcomes fall Autumn came early to downtown Brentwood last week.
Lions eat Cardinals
More woes for family of ailing child by Ruth Roberts Staff Writer
Sleep is not Elizabeth Tanner’s friend these days, which is understandable given the grave illness of her four-year-old son Aaron. But even before it was determined that Aaron would need a rare heart and kidney transplant, the Brentwood resident was lying awake nights worrying about something else – the mortgage. “It was stressful, we’re like a lot of homeowners (with upside down loans), and it caused a lot of sleepless nights,” said Tanner. “It was a worry.” But when she and her husband Mark were approved for a loan modification last October, Tanner was hopeful she would soon be getting a better night’s sleep. And for a while she did. “Once we got the loan redone, we thought, ‘now we can afford to make our payments, and we’ll be OK,’” said Tanner. “Unfortunately that ended up not being the case.” According to Tanner, when the
AARON TANNER loan was redone last year – through Bank of America –unbeknownst to them, their property taxes were factored into the monthly payments along with the mortgage. But because the first payments were rolled into the initial loan remodification and not due again for another six months, the Tanners were unaware of the situation and continued to just pay their monthly mortgage payment of $2,900. “We were told the taxes wouldn’t be included in the monthly payment, and we would have been fine with it if they were, but we were specifically told that wasn’t
going to be the case,” said Tanner. So by the time the Tanners were notified by the bank in June that their account was in arrears, they already owed thousands of dollars in back taxes. Today that number – which includes late fees, insurance and back taxes – is up to nearly $20,000, and without some kind of reprieve, the Tanners may very well lose their home. “We have basically been in arrears of $4,000 a month, according to the bank,” said Tanner, “We recently received a letter saying that unless we pay up in full, they will begin foreclosure proceedings. Even though we’ve continued to pay our mortgage every month, they (the bank) have said that unless we can pay it all, don’t bother paying anything.” Tanner said the bank has refused to modify the loan again, and told her that leniency can only be granted if one of the signatories on the loan, not one of their children, is ill. “They (the bank) say they are sorry but there is nothing they can
do,” said Tanner. “And it’s frustrating because I get a different person every time I call. At this point we’re running out of options, and we have other things we are worrying about (Aaron’s illness).” But help may be on the way. Oakley City Councilman Jim Frazier and his wife Janet met the Tanners a few weeks ago when they dropped off some gift bags from their organization The Network of Care, which provides food to families of hospitalized children. “We spoke for quite awhile about their son and their (financial) situation, and said we would try to help any way we could,” said Frazier. “So I referred their case to the guys with the horsepower.” The horsepower turned out to be California State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier and Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan. Susanna Schlendorf, district representative for Buchanan’s office, said they are trying to help. “We are doing everything we see Woes page 21A
Lion fans left Ohmstede Field happy as Liberty won its homecoming game against the visiting Lowell Cardinals from San Francisco last Friday.
INSIDE Calendar ..........................27B Classifieds ........................19B Education ..........................8A Entertainment ................16B Food .................................14B Health & Beauty .............10B Home & Garden ............... 1B Milestones ......................... 9B Opinion ...........................14A Sports ...............................17A
FOR MOVIE TIMES SEE PAGE 5A
SEPTEMBER 25, 2009
Scarecrows take over First Street by Samie Hartley Staff Writer Autumn came early to downtown Brentwood last week as locals honored the changing of the seasons with a celebratory Harvest Festival. Last Thursday’s festival featured the usual Downtown Thursday attractions such as live music and vendor booths, but it was the 23 scarecrows lining First Street that stole the show. The inaugural scarecrow building contest resulted in a cluster of unique and less-than scary designs as entrants used everything from straw and hay to balloons and ice cream cups to construct their crow-repellant creatures. The giant Lego scarecrow designed by Discovery Bay Elementary first graders David Dove and Kintado Hanna was a hit with the crowd. “We wanted it to look like something out of a video game,” David explained after receiving the third place ribbon for their creation. “We used cardboard, cups, Styrofoam and straw to make it. It was a lot of fun to make.” “It’s really cool that we won,” Kintado added. “I can’t wait to tell my friends.” There were two categories of competition, one for kids and one for adults. Top winners in both categories received $150. However, the top winners in both categories decided not to keep their winnings. “We’re going to donate the money to a friend who’s getting married soon,” said Rachel Guillian, whose witch scarecrow took top honors in the adult division. “We’re hoping this prize money will help them out.” Ethan and Taylor Basker’s family, who won first prize in the kids’ division with their “Wizard of Oz”-inspired scarecrow, is also a friend of the bride-to-be, so the boys are donat-
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ing their winnings as well. “The three families decided that we’d give this scarecrow building contest a try, and if we were lucky enough to win, we’d give away the money,” said Robin Evanson, who won $50 as third prize winner in the adult category. “We’re so blessed that we were fortunate enough to win. These scarecrows were a lot of fun to put together – even more so when you’re doing it for a good cause. I hope we get to do it again next year. This is such a fun event that the community gets to take part in. We need more things like this.” Brentwood City Councilman Bob Brockman, who served as judge along with Brentwood City Manager Donna Landeros and Brentwood Chamber of Commerce President Karen Spann, said he took a deep philosophical approach to assessing the entries. “It was a long, trying process with three great minds delving into the depths of their childhoods to choose the best scarecrow.” Spann laughed at Brockman’s methods. “Maybe that’s how he was deciding how to vote, but I was judging based on the creativity of the scarecrow – seeing how they decided to put things together. I was looking for those little details, but I was also looking for the best traditional representation of a scarecrow.” Ava Ford, the youngest winner at age 3, took home second place for her simplistic design which involved stuffing blue jeans and a sweatshirt with newspaper. Ava was too excited about winning to talk about her scarecrow but did manage to muster the patience to blurt out that she’d like to buy candy with her $100 in prize money. Traci Strahlendrof, whose diva scarecrow “Sheryl Crow” won second prize in the adult division, said she wasn’t sure what she’d do with her prize money as she was still trying to get over the shock of receiving a ribbon. “I didn’t even think I’d win,” said the owner of Amidst the Chaos, who set up a vendor booth at the festival. “I figured
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since I’d be here selling my jewelry that I’d enter. My husband helped out a lot to get her ready for today. We were going to take her apart after tonight, but now that she’s a prize-winning scarecrow, maybe we’ll keep her for Halloween.” Downtown Thursday organizer Lyle Miller said based on the turn out, he’d like to make the scarecrow building contest an annual event. “The city has been so supportive of our programs,” Miller said. “If we get another grant from the city and they continue to support us, we’ll definitely be back next year.”
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Taylor and Ethan Baskin, seen with their younger brothers, won $150 in prize money for designing a ﬁrst-place scarecrow at last week’s Harvest Festival. For photos of all the scarecrows, visit thepress.net.
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Photo by Samie Hartley
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SEPTEMBER 25, 2009
Jackson blasts mortgage lenders by Dave Roberts Staff Writer
The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. came to Antioch, ground zero for the foreclosure crisis in the county, on Sept. 17 to compare mortgage lenders to thieves and urge people to fight back instead of allowing their homes to be foreclosed. Jacksonâ€™s 54-minute speech in the packed Antioch Church Family building on E. 18th Street was billed as a town hall meeting. But it more resembled an old-fashioned revival meeting that included sermons from several pastors, a rousing gospel performance, shouted â€œamensâ€? and repetition of Jacksonâ€™s words in call-and-response fashion as people waved fans to ward off the heat. Jacksonâ€™s main target was mortgage lenders, whom he referred to as â€œbankstersâ€? and equated with the notorious bank and train robber Jesse James. â€œThis housing crisis is driven by unfair rules,â€? said Jackson â€œThe robber Jesse James got paid twice. He got paid when he robbed you with an adjustable mortgage, and then he also got the (federal) stimulus (money). Jesse James stole on the front side and got bailed out on the backside. The victims are facing foreclosure.â€? Jackson said that his current crusade is the fourth major battle that has been fought in this country on behalf of victimized people. â€œWe face one of the most chilling moments in the history of our nation,â€? he said. â€œI submit to you that we never lost a battle that we fought, and never won a battle unless we fought. We fought the battle against slavery, and we won. We fought the battle against Jim Crow, and won. We fought the battle for womenâ€™s right to vote, and we won. We fought the battle for bilingual education, and we won.
Photo by Dave Roberts
Jesse Jackson compares mortgage lenders to Jesse James in a speech in Antioch last week. â€œYou can be out of slavery, first stage, out of Jim Crow, second stage, have the right to vote, and still be out of your house because it was stolen by banksters. Out of slavery, out of Jim Crow, the right to vote â€“ and out of a job, out of health care, out of education, out of a house. So now we fight in this fourth stage to democratize opportunity, not democratize the vote.â€? Jackson, who may be the second most famous community organizer in the country after President Obama, said that the way to democratize opportunity is to organize and fight back.
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â€œWe need to build an organization,â€? he said. â€œGod said, â€˜Noah, thereâ€™s a storm coming and there will be a flood.â€™ He did not tell Noah to go and teach swimming lessons. He said build an ark, build an organization, build an infrastructure. You can swim, but you cannot swim 40 days and nights without stopping. â€œWe have to build an infrastructure. The banksters have infrastructure. We cannot confront the banks unless we have the infrastructure to give us our power. We need new rules, new rules, new rules, fair rules, more rules, fair rules. We are organizing in 50 markets. People are facing the thievery and violation of taking their homes. On the first Tuesday of every month (in Atlanta) they have foreclosure auctions â€“ like the old slave auctions. â€œJesse James has lobbies â€“ heâ€™s a thief with lobbies. Citizens need the power of bankruptcy laws so citizens can negotiate with banks. We need consumer protection enforced. We need restructured loans, not repossessed homes. We must stand up; we are not going to leave our house. We are going to stand right here, redo the deal and stay in my house. Stay in my house, stay in my house and redo the deal. â€œWe bailed out the banks; we didnâ€™t bail out the homeowners. So the banks got the windfall, and we got the house fall. So we need to organize some neighborhood resistance; some squatters rights. Squat in your house and stay until something happens.â€? Before concluding his speech with a prayer, Jackson asked people to stand based on who their mortgage lender is and to meet in groups with the event organizers Kay Trail and Roger Henry. Forms were also handed out for those wanting help from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition to remodify their home loan. Jackson also asked people to join him in a prayer vigil, rally and march the following day to the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco.
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