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Weapons Station Explosion
From the desk of...
February 26, 2016
City embarks on bumpy road to street repair
You’re driving along and you hit a pothole or section of bad pavement that rumbles and jostles you and your car around. You ask, “don’t my elected officials and the mayor see these and drive the same streets?” The answer is yes we do. We are very aware and working hard to improve the city’s aging infrastructure. Until the great recession the City of Concord was able to keep up with needed street repairs. The recession significantly reduced federal, state and local funds that were available for such activities. As a result, the city’s streets have been deteriorating faster than funds have been available to catch up even with the improving economy. Beginning to fix our streets is one of my priorities as mayor,
Now facing possible lawsuits, the Concord City Council tries to right the ship in its disastrous Master Developer selection process.
the road in this process,” said Valerie Barone. The distrust grew after the Mayor Laura Hoffmeister. “Now it’s up to us to regain that release of an independent report by Michael Jenkins of Jenkins & It wasn’t exactly a Shake- trust of the city. Hogin LLP, tapped by interim spearean tragedy, but the recent TRUST AND INTEGRITY city attorney Brian Libow to events in the selection of Master That trust in the city and a investigate the allegations. The Developer for Concord’s Naval Weapons Station had at least one sense of integrity of the Master report claimed that four donaobserver, County Democratic Developer selection process tions to Grayson’s Assembly bid Chair Jeff Koertzen noting that came under fire often at the were solicited by Lennar for the “there’s something rotten in the meeting, exploding in a swell of sake of “lobbying” in its favor, public disgust — aired in news- which it deemed was prohibited city of Concord.” And the Concord City paper editorials and on local in the agreement. While several Council tried to quell that stench blogs —after news of campaign speakers at the meeting called on Tuesday as it responded to an contributions to then-Mayor Lennar’s disqualification, the independent investigator’s Tim Grayson’s Assembly Cam- council ultimately decided not report that found one Master paign by groups affiliated with to, arguing that the city needed Developer at fault for lobbying developer finalist Lennar Corp. the two developers for the public and the council itself responsi- and the removal of other finalist benefit of comparison and makCatellus Corp. from the final ing a thoughtful decision. ble for Brown Act violations. See Mayor, page 8 As Councilman Dan Helix “We’ve hit some bumps in staff report by City Manager PEGGY SPEAR Concord Pioneer
Concord addresses homeless issues
pointed out — and was noted in the Jenkins report — Grayson was unaware of the four companies’ ties to Lennar, and when he did find out, he quickly gave back the money. He also recused himself from voting on any issues that dealt with the Master Developer selection.
Photo courtesy City of Concord
That leaves the deciding number of council members on the important vote at three, as Vice Mayor Ron Leone can’t vote on the CNWS development because he lives within a close enough distance to the
See CNWS, page 11
Hot Rod Himsls both now in the Hall of Fame
PEGGY SPEAR Concord Pioneer
Photo courtesy City of Concord
THIS HOMELESS ENCAMPMENT NEAR PORT CHICAGO HWY. AND BATES AVE. IN CONCORD is one of several encampments Concord Police cleaned up recently. Concord Police say there are about 450 homeless people in the city of Concord.
Nestled behind the Artists Den on Salvio Street is a tiny covered enclave that provides shelter to several homeless individuals in Concord. Unfortunately, the trash and waste that is left behind has become an issue for Michelle Morey of Futures Explored, who runs the collective that offers art classes to developmentally disabled adults. “We have to clean up human waste almost daily, and that’s become a real nuisance,” she says. Morey was one of almost 50 people from the business, social services and law enforcement communities who attended a
Photos courtesy Himsl family
CONCORD BROTHERS ART (LEFT) AND MICKEY HIMSL are now both in the Grand National Roadster Show Hall of Fame after younger brother Mickey was inducted this year at the 67th annual show in Ponoma. The two Mt. Diablo High grads have been involved in customizing cars since their teen years in Concord. Mickey’s younger daughter Katy was on hand for the Hall of Fame induction. JAY BEDECARRÉ Concord Pioneer
Growing up in 1950s Concord, Art Himsl would take younger brother Mickey with him to car shows. “Cars were important. It was in See Homeless, page 7 your blood and that’s where I got my love of cars,” the
What to do with your bottles and cans now? JAY BEDECARRÉ Concord Pioneer
rePlanet, an Ontario, CAbased company, suddenly shutdown 191 recycling centers in the state at the end of January including its two remaining local locations in Concord. Then last Friday Garaventa Enterprises, which includes Concord Disposal, shuttered its local buy-back center in Pittsburg Signs on the locked doors of the rePlanet recycling center on Clayton Rd. behind Food Maxx and at the Concord
Service Center on Concord Ave. said, “due to the decline in commodity prices and reduction of state subsidies this recycling center is now closed.” The company’s website said the 191 closures included the layoff of 278 employees. A press release added, “Following the most recent reduction in State fees on Jan. 1 and after enduring 12 months of unprecedented declines in commodities pricing of aluminum and PET plastic, coupled with the mandated rise in operating costs as a result of
minimum wage increases and required health and workers compensation insurance, the company has concluded that operation of these recycling centers is no longer sustainable.” The release said the closures will allow rePlanet to continue operating 350 centers with its remaining 800 employees “as long as current conditions remain unchanged.” The company says they have participated in numerous meetings with CalRecycle “to
See Recycle, page 3
younger Himsl says today. Last month Mickey Himsl was inducted into the Grand National Roadster Show Hall of Fame, joining his internationallyrenowned car painter brother Art, who was given a similar honor in 1992. The two Mt. Diablo High School grads both still live in their hometown and cars are still very much in their blood. Mickey, now 71, typically spends one day at the Grand National, which moved from Oakland to Pomona 14 years ago. When he was told he had been elected to the Hall he gathered family and friends for a weekend celebration at the 67th edition of the world’s longest
See Roadster, page 3
CONCORD SERVICE CENTER on Concord Ave. is one of two local recycle centers operated by rePlanet abruptly closed Jan. 31. The center behind Food Maxx on Clayton Rd. was also shuttered.
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