SEP 23 Concord Pioneer 2016

Page 1

Vote for

Carlyn Obringer

City Council

The only candid ate endorsed by the Concord Police Assoc.




CNWS, economy and housing drive city council candidates’ campaigns


PEGGY SPEAR Concord Pioneer

The development of the Concord Naval Weapons Station, affordable housing and economic development all figure prominently with the seven candidates vying for two slots on the Concord City Council. With Edi Birsan the only


September 23, 2016


incumbent running – Dan Helix opted not to run for reelection – the field is wide open, and the candidates spread across all ages and backgrounds. The Concord Pioneer asked the candidates what they thought were the biggest issues facing the city and what their priorities would be if elected.


PABLO BENAVENTE Longtime Concord resident Pablo Benavente can trace his roots to middle school in Concord. He also attended CSU East Bay, studying political science emphasis in pre-law and a minor in music. He worked for Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta at Congressman Sam Farr’s office in Washington, where he focused mainly on

Helix calls for hotline to address rental crisis issues PEGGY SPEAR Concord Pioneer

City Councilman Dan Helix is proposing a Rent Reporting Hotline to help solve the issue of rising rents and the calls for rent control. In an exclusive interview with the Pioneer, he said the hotline will allow residents to tell Concord officials what is really going on in a city that has 9,400 apartment units, most of which would be subject to some type of rent control. Helix, who serves on the Housing and Economic Development Committee, said a hotline would be a way for local government to wrap its hands around the problem. Rising rents and the issue of rent control have rocked the city for months. Several wellattended city meetings, including a standing-room-only City Council forum last month, underscored that the issue of housing has reached crisis proportions in Contra Costa County’s largest city. COUNCIL NEEDS FACTS “After many hours of emotional testimony, it is obvious that we have a rent control issue in Concord. The true nature of that issue is unclear

because we do not actually have the empirical data necessary to make a fair and unbiased recommendation to the entire City Council,” Helix says. “I have a proposal which I believe will cure this defect and give us the data we need to take the next step in this process.” He points out many factors, some obvious, some not so, that led to his proposal. “There is a rental housing crisis in Concord and in the Bay Area, and rental rates are currently high. There is general agreement that the payment of rent is the largest single household expense,” he notes. He also says that there is unsupported testimony that people in the Bay Area are paying 40 percent to 45 percent of their income for housing. “There seems to be no uniformity as to when rental rates are raised, or any standard percentage increase amount. The consensus seems to be that an annual increase is fair,” Helix says. “There is also no uniformity on the amount of rental increases. The range we’ve heard about goes from five percent to 50 percent” He thinks that a fair threshold, consistent with the Consumer Price Index, seems to be

acceptable to most parties. Furthermore, he says the issue of no-notice eviction or eviction without just cause has not been adequately documented. “Also not documented is the charge that some landlords are seeking to eliminate ‘relatively’ low income tenants so they can raise all rents to market,” he says. Helix gives credit to community activist and rent control advocate George Fulmore for pointing out the “major chokepoint for making a fair and unbiased” recommendation to the City Council. “The fact is, no one is tracking information from tenants,” Helix says. “Without a tracking mechanism, how is it possible to get a fix on the problem? How can we know what steps to take to ameliorate the problem in a manner which is fair to all concerned?” He believes local government “absolutely” has a role in addressing the problem. “In order to keep the spotlight of public attention on this issue, I recommend we initiate a Rent Reporting Hotline to track and compile all rental increase data from the landlords and renters

See Hotline, page 8



immigration reform issues. After graduation, he worked as a political organizer in multiple campaigns around the Bay Area. After about a year, he got a job with an organization that represents caregivers across the state. There, he helped with campaigns to elect officials who want to lift working people out of poverty. He also advocated in the Capitol for the passage of SB3 that will increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022 and give homecare workers three paid sick days. “I have lived in Concord for most of my life. Concord has given much to me and my family, and I would like to give


back to my community. I believe I have the leadership and discipline necessary to serve the community on the council,” he says. “Currently, there is a lack of diversity on the council. As a member of the millennial and Latino community and a recent first-time home buyer, I understand the issues affecting a large number of underrepresented people of our community.” He says the three main issues facing Concord are making sure the incoming labor force is comprised of Concord residents, ensuring that new housing developments include affordable units and seeing that new development brings the


community together rather than dividing residents. “As the development at the Naval Weapons Station takes form, we must take the opportunity to bring our subdivisions together as one community. A unified Concord, not separated by class distinctions such as race, color, religion or economic status, will be a stronger Concord.” He also wants to focus on making sure that he is a voice for people who have not been heard on the City Council. “As a college-educated millennial, I have a different perspective. The current City Council average age is 64 and the median is 66.”

See Candidates, page 8

Large turnout enjoys ribbon cutting for Concord Pickleball

Sean Liming

Over 200 people were on hand last Saturday for the ribbon-cutting at the 14 new pickleball courts at Willow Pass Park in Concord. City officials and staff celebrated the new courts which were part of court resurfacing at the park and there were demonstrations and mini skills clinics. There are now four tennis and 14 pickleball courts on the site. Rich Lopez (near court) readies to return ball from David Wage (right) and Caden Nemoff. There were so many players on hand to take part in play after the formal ceremony that eventually city staff had to close things down in order to clean up and open the courts for general play.

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Advertisers Directory . . .7 From the desk of . . . . . .6 School News . . . . . . . .16 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

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Concord Pioneer •

In Brief...

Masonic Temple restoration tours Oct. 15

The Concord community is invited to see firsthand the restoration progress Concord’s classic 1928 meeting hall and cultural center. The Concord Historical Society is very proud of its ongoing restoration of this marvelous and unique structure, once the Masonic Temple and now the Concord Museum and Event Center. Walk-through tours are set for Oct. 15 at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. at the Event Center next door to the Galindo House, 1721 Amador Ave, Concord. No reservations are required. The tour is free, but donations are gratefully accepted. Due to construction, some areas will not be accessible to guests.

Clayton Valley Woman’s Club

Concord PD awarded First Place in CHP contest

Concord PD Sgt. James Nakayama, CHP Lieutenant Perea, Chief Guy Swanger, CHP Golden Gate Division Chief Paul Fontana, Officer Adam Hart, Lieutenant Jeff Krieger, Officer Blake Roberts and Officer Justin Wilson at the City Council meeting award presentation.

Concord’s Jim Burke (far left in photo), executive vice president and chief information officer of Bank of Marin, enjoyed an African vacation with his wife Janet (right) this year. The Concord couple was joined by Ulises and Chris Castellon. The group was in Africa on safari and had the unique opportunity to walk with the lions in Zambia. Burke has worked for some of the world’s major financial institutions including VISA, Bank of America and Charles Schwab. Since 2013 the Concord resident has been with Continued next page Bank of Marin, using his 25 years of information technolo-

gy leadership experience as their chief information officer and executive vice president. And this summer his transformative work for Bank of Marin was recognized when he was named a finalist for the 2016 Bay Area CIO of the Year Innovation/Transportation award, sponsored by The Silicon Valley Business Journal. A Concord resident with his wife Janet since 1980, Burke has helped the Bank of Marin “go from behind the IT curve to ahead of it.” The Burkes are native San Franciscans who moved to Concord in 1980 and raised their two children, Jennifer and Chris, in Concord

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When Mayor Laura Hoffmeister proclaimed the week of Sept. 19-25 as Fall Prevention Week, it was with some irony. The mayor was sporting a cast on her left wrist, fractured in a fall at her parents’ home the week before. Receiving the honor on behalf of the Fall Prevention Program of Contra Costa County was physical therapist Linda Meneken. The program is free to atrisk seniors. Statistically, one in three of them will suffer a fall this year. The program reaches out to seniors with training and home assessments of risk and prevention tactics. There will be a Pancake Breakfast and Resource Fair fundraiser to benefit Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services on Oct. 2 at the Pleasant Hill Senior Center, 233 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill.

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Concord Market Update

City stands up for Fall Prevention

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Concord Police are the best of the best according to Paul Fontana, Chief of the California Highway Patrol. The CHP awarded the department with First Place in the California Law Enforcement Challenge. CLEP is a competition between similar size and type police departments for the best traffic safety programs in California. First place in the California law enforcement challenge The competition judges the departments in four areas: Speeding, Impaired Driving, Occupant Restraint and Local Area Challenges. Concord PD scored at the top of each area, with special recognition given to its work in citing distracted drivers.

Concord man finalist for Bay Area CIO of the Year

The Clayton Valley Woman’s Club invites guests to attend their monthly meeting on Oct. 11 to hear Chloe Laube share a glimpse of her five-star novella that has a touch of Clayton woven into “Dream On, Dancing Queen.” The club meets at 10 a.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 5555 Clayton Road, Clayton. For regular meeting information, call Linda at 482.0807 or Michele 672.6434.

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Dylan Kupsh earns Eagle Scout rank

September 23, 2016

Concord Pioneer •

Page 3

Crisis Center back in the groove with new truck

PG&E representatives Vincent Romeo III, Vicki Leinweber, Chris Gilbert, Sandra Scherer Executive Director of Monument Crisis Center and retired PGE Robert D. Glynn, Jr.

Monument Crisis Center now has a Ford F250 truck to DYLAN KUPSH replace one previously donated by PG&E but stolen from the nonprofit’s front entry in Dylan Kupsh, Concord February. resident and member of Boy The center relied on the Scout Troop 810 in Walnut Creek, earned his Eagle Scout rank and will celebrate in a Court of Honor ceremony on Oct. 15. Dylan led the building of four barn owl nesting boxes for use as natural rodent abateAmerican Legion Post 331 ment for his Eagle Scout proj- recognized some of the 2016 ect. The boxes were given to Boys State delegates with a the Audubon Society. speaking event at the SeptemDylan began his scouting ber social dinner at the Vetercareer as a Bear Cub in Pack ans Hall in Concord. 444 at St. Bonaventure The delegates presented Church. He earned the Arrow their experiences at the 2016 of Light before joining Troop Boys State Conference in 810 in 2010. He earned 29 Sacramento. merit badges, attended 19 “It is very inspiring to see camps, held several troop lead- these young people take interest ership positions and volun- in our government,” said Post teered more than 100 hours of Commander Curt Byers. “They service. are very gifted young men with Dylan is a senior at North- much passion to learn, patriotgate High School. He enjoys ism and a strong desire to serve computer programming, poli- the public in the future.” tics and playing tennis. His colThe post is tentatively planlege goals are to earn a bache- ning an event to honor 2016 lor’s degree in computer sci- Girls State delegates. ence and ultimately work in “Our post is honored to be the high tech industry. part of this program,” Byers

truck to haul large amounts of donated food, diapers and other necessities for those in need. PG&E employees, many who volunteer regularly at the center, presented the replacement truck last month.

“We are honored and extremely touched to receive this special help from PG&E,” said Sandra Scherer, the center’s executive director. “Partnerships between nonprofits and corporations like PG&E are essential for our local nonprofits to thrive. Corporations are made up of people who are active members and residents in the same communities we serve. They volunteer with us because they care about their neighbors.” The Crisis Center is a family resource center dedicated to providing food, education, safety net services, tools and assistance, concrete referrals and resources for families, seniors and individuals in crisis situations. It also provides pathways toward health and selfsufficiency and promotes community awareness of needs and available resources to at-risk, low-income Contra Costa

County residents. In the last year, the center assisted 10,727 registered clients with a staff of five, one AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, several college interns and 310,000 hours of time from volunteers of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. The volunteer hours would be the equivalent of 148.5 full-time positions. For more information or to donate, visit or contact Scherer at 925.222.6868.

City honors public works employee

Boys State delegates relate experiences


c Pri

added. “It pleases our mem- education and community bers to take part, promoting involvement with them.”

“It’s not often we get a letter from a resident that says ‘what a fantastic street sweeper you have,’” said Mayor Laura Hoffmeister as she presented Don Morrison with the Public Works Award of Excellence. Morrison has worked for the city for 22 years. He was nominated by his peers for his “exceptional work ethic,” said Boys State delegates from College Park High School partici- Public Works Director Justin pate in a speaking engagement for American Legion Post Ezell. His fellow employees 331 at Veterans Hall in Concord. From left in front are say Morrison always “has a Daniel Elerding, Peter Tolentino and James Andrews. Post positive attitude” and “goes Commander Curt Byers is in back. the extra mile.”



d Re

In Brief...

Fall Prevention Workshop for Seniors

The Concord Senior Center is sponsoring “A Walking Safely Workshop” on Sept. 29, 9:30-11 a.m. at the Concord Senior, 2727 Parkside Circle, Concord. Physical Therapist Linda Meneken will lead an interactive presentation to increase awareness and knowledge on fall prevention principles. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for seniors. Seating is limited; the workshop fee is $3. Register at or for more information contact Program Coordinator Dario Sanchez at 925.671.3017.

Benefit for San Quentin Reentry Program

The California Reentry Institute will hold its annual celebration and benefit on Oct. 8, 5 p.m. at the Chateau Hall, 233 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill. CRI is based out of San Quentin State Prison and offers an Empowered Reentry Program which prepares men for their impending release. Graduates of the program have a zero recidivism rate. CRI is headed by Clayton resident, Collette Carroll, the 2016 California State Assembly Woman of the Year and a 2015 CNN Hero. For reservations, go to or call 925.549.1416.

Proud sponsors of Clayton

Oktoberfest Oct. 1 & 2



Trilogy at the Vineyards — 2,751 sq ft, Rafael model with upgrades galore. 2 bedrooms + office & 2.5 baths. 18 foot ceilings, plantation shutters, dark hardwood flooring and central vac. Nearly 1/3 acre property with outdoor kitchen, covered patio and 2.5 car garage on a cul-de-sac. Absolutely stunning!


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Easley Estates — Updated 4 bed, 2.5 bath home on corner lot. Bright open floor plan with updated kitchen featuring granite counters, maple cabinets, & recessed lights. Formal living/dining rooms plus beautiful fireplace & slider in family room. Fresh paint, newer carpets. Huge RV parking! Heather Gray (925) 765-3822 Cal BRE#01329100

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Diablo Estates — Beautiful 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with hardwood floors and crown molding. Family room with wood beamed ceiling and built in book shelves, living room with fireplace, updated kitchen and inside laundry room. Great yard with fruit trees, RV parking and patio.

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Summerset 4 — Stunning home in gated 55+ community on quiet street. Two bedroom, two bath home with designer touches thruout. Beautiful engineered floor and designer paint. Family/Kitchen combo with gas fireplace & inside laundry room. Great location, walk to clubhouse and pool. Sylvia Jones (925) 200-7491 Cal BRE#0133173

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Page 4


VFW names Tricia Davis Teacher of the Year

Tricia Davis’ husband, Truman, attended the VFW Teacher of the Year award ceremony with her on Sept. 6 at Moresi’s Chophouse in Clayton.

Concord resident Tricia Davis was recognized as Veterans of Foreign Wars Teacher of the Year for the state of California. Davis was nominated for her work at Black Diamond Middle School in Antioch by VFW Lt. Jerry Novakovich Post 1525 – Clayton Valley. The

award ceremony was attended by VFW State Commander Dale Smith, Sr. Vice Commander Wayne Wright, Jr. Vice Commander Lamont Duncan and Auxiliary President Tootsie Dougherty as well as officers and members of Post 1525 and its Auxiliary.

September 23, 2016

Blue Devils drum corps featured in reality TV series starting October 5 JAY BEDECARRÉ Concord Pioneer

Concord’s roving ambassadors, the 17-time world champion Blue Devils drum corps, will be getting unprecedented exposure in the next couple of months as a featured part of “Clash of the Corps,” an eightepisode reality series airing on Fuse TV starting Oct. 5. Wrestler turned actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is involved in the project as an executive producer through his Seven Bucks Productions company. Johnson’s brother-in-law Hiram Garcia is a fan of drum corps and marching bands and floated the idea of a reality show about it a couple years ago. David Gibbs of the Blue Devils was approached about having the local corps involved in the project. “We signed a development deal in 2015,” Gibbs says. That certainly didn’t ensure the Blue Devils would soon be on television screens around America.

© 2016 Fuse, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Blue Devils management hopes that the professional aspect of their musicians will come through during the eight-part reality TV series “Clash of the Corps” on the Fuse network starting Oct. 5. The 17-time world champion Blue Devils from Concord will star in the series along with The Cadets from Allentown, PA.

“We have been involved with multiple TV development projects over the years that never came to fruition,” Gibbs added. Some filming was done in 2015 when the Blue Devils won their record-setting 17th Drum Corps International world championship. That footage was used to sell the concept and Gibbs expects a little of it will end up in the series. Seven Bucks got together with 44 Blue Productions and “Clash of the Corps” is now a reality. The show will feature the The mayor declared Sept. Blue Devils and The Cadets of 16-18 as Greek Festival Days Allentown, Penn., who have the in Concord as she honored second most world titles with 10. Father Marin Staté, parish “I think having The Cadets from priest at St. Demetrios’ Greek the East Coast and the Blue Orthodox Church on the 38th Devils from the West Coast Annual Greek Festival. Each © 2016 Fuse, LLC. All Rights Reserved appealed to the directors. We year the festival brings thou- Blue Devils color guard have totally opposite styles so sands to the church on Kirker member Catie Michelle Toal the show may have a certain Pass Road for Greek food, was part of the local drum amount of ‘countcorps as they traveled across dancing and art. counterpoint,’” Gibbs said. 38th Greek Festival held America this summer and Gibbs explains that no one Sept. 16-18 brought thousands performing their “As Dreams with the Blue Devils has seen to the church on Kirker Pass Are Made On” program cel- the episodes. “We’ll be watching Rd. for Greek food, dancing ebrating the 400 anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Oct. 5 just like everyone else.” and art. There were certain ground rules

Opa! St. Demetrios’ Greek Festival honored by City

Anyone can become an “honorary Greek for three days,” said Mayor Laura Hoffmeister. All they have to do is attend the Greek Festival.”

Concord Pioneer •

set with the producers about what could and could not be filmed. The Blue Devils’ videographer of over two decades, Mike Zapanta, served as a consultant on the series. The producers filmed auditions for this season, rehearsals and then a number of competitions on the Blue Devils annual cross country journey and competitions leading to the DCI finals in Indianapolis last month. Fuse’s press release for “Clash of the Corps” says the series “will capture the blood, sweat and tears behind the scenes and on the road in the highly-competitive work of DCI.” Gibbs has been part of the Blue Devils since he began performing with them in 1974 and he’s still passionate about drum corps and the BD. “We’re very excited that the activity [drum corps] gets this exposure. 44 Blue and Seven Bucks love what the kids are doing and they will bring that to the rest of the country and world through the show.”

Gibbs speaks enthusiastically about how competitive and athletic drum corps is and says there’s as much “physicality and mentality” in an 11minute Blue Devils performance as in any athletic endeavor. “Our mission is to create great human beings who are musical and creative,” Gibbs said. Fuse has over 71 million cable subscribers receiving the network, which is geared to a multicultural 18-34 year-old audience. Spoiler alert: You will have to watch “Clash of the Corps” (or check the internet now) to see how the Blue Devils and The Cadets fared this year! The first episode of “Clash of the Corps” airs on FUSE TV starting at 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 5. The network is seen locally on Xfinity/Comcast channels 476, 779 HD; Wave/Astound 407; DISH 164, 9589 HD; DirecTV 339; AT&T U-verse 182, 1535 HD; Online

September 23, 2016

Concord Pioneer •

Page 5

Economy, education key issues for two Democrats in Assembly race BEV BRITTON Concord Pioneer

Assembly candidate Mae Torlakson says improving the state’s public education system is the most challenging issue facing the state, while Tim Grayson believes it is developing policies that strengthen the economy and promote job creation. Though their top priorities follow different tracks, each also supports the other’s direction. Overall, the two Democrats seem to be on the same page on most key state issues. Grayson’s focus on longterm economic stability includes “tackling the roughly $450 billion in unfunded liabilities the state faces.” Meanwhile, Torlakson wants to invest in early childhood learning as well as K12 and higher learning. “We must address the student debt crisis by advocating for lower interest rates on student loans while increasing grants and other forms of financial aid,” she adds. On the economy front, Torlakson says she will fight to bring more good paying jobs to our area. “We could be a jobs’ hub and a center for research and development. To do that, we need to bring a comprehensive, full-scale, public university to the Concord Naval Weapons Station and Mare Island in Vallejo,” she says. “I will build a team of business leaders and economic experts that will attract high-paying jobs into the districts.” On education, Grayson wants to refocus the University of California system. “I will fight to make sure qualified California students have a fair shot at admissions to our world-class university system,” he says. “It’s unacceptable that recent reports show the universities have


increased their acceptance rate among out-of-state students paying high tuition fees, while qualified resident students have struggled to gain admittance.” The two are vying for the District 14 seat in the Nov. 8 election. The winner replaces Susan Bonilla, who is being termed out. Grayson is a current Concord City Councilman, while Torlakson is serving her third term on the board of the Ambrose Recreation and Park District in Pittsburg/Bay Point. Torlakson coordinates the University of California Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Achievement (MESA) program. She is married to Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. Together, they have four children. She was born in Manila, Philippines, and moved to the United States in 1988. Grayson is Concord’s police chaplain and co-founded the Family Justice Center, which helps victims of domestic violence, senior abuse and human trafficking. He received the Presidential Citizens Award in 2008 and 2009. He and his wife Tammy have two children.


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NO MAGIC BULLET The candidates also agree about Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan for Delta tunnels to thwart a drought. In this case, though, they are decidedly against the proposal. “The tunnels would be a threat to the Delta cities and farms and to the fisheries and other Delta natural resources,” notes Torlakson, who advocates policies that will reduce water waste as well as expanding groundwater management and water recycling. “Now is the time to implement environmental plans that have the least impact on our community and ensure we are protecting our wild lands,” Grayson says. And neither candidate is sold on the current plan for a highspeed bullet train. “As we are recovering from the greatest recession in the past century, it would be more prudent to first ensure that our current infrastructure is up to date,” Grayson says. “I strongly believe that California needs to concentrate and invest in our local highways and regional rail and transit systems,” echoes Torlakson.

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Page 6

F rom t he desk o f . . .

Concord Pioneer •

September 23, 2016

Moving into next phase of Weapons Station development



From 1946 to 1989, the Concord Naval Weapons Station inland area (between Highway 4 to southeast of Bailey Road) provided military support, weapons storage and maintenance activities. In 2005, Congress closed the inland area. With the oversight of a 21member advisory committee, residents, stakeholders and the city held many public workshops and meetings to decide how the property should be developed. The Reuse Project Area Plan was adopted in 2012. The goals agreed upon by the community are: • Identity as a world-class project. • A balanced approach to conservation and development. • Economically viable and sustainable development. • High quality of life for all

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residents of Concord. The Area Plan reflects the community’s vision for a 30year timeframe for total buildout. Community amenities include more than 2,800 acres of parks and open-space, 18 miles of trails, the restoration of Mt. Diablo Creek, a 175acre tournament sports facility area and a 120-acre campus district. The plan calls for transitoriented development near the North Concord BART Station and village development patterns west of Mt. Diablo Creek, with single-family homes, townhouses, schools, community centers, green buffers and parks bordering the southern neighborhoods. Greenways and parks will link the neighborhoods to North Concord BART. This spring, after a competitive selection process, the city selected Lennar as the master developer for Phase One, representing 500 out of the total 2,300 acres to be developed. Phase One will provide amenities such as community centers, parks, recreation space and a circulator shuttle connecting to BART. The remainder will be developed in subsequent phases, with selection of future master developers. The city will now begin working with Lennar to prepare a Phase One Specific Plan



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and an Infrastructure Master Plan. Lennar will be responsible for the costs of the plan preparations. The Specific Plan will define Phase One in detail, while the Master Plan ensures infrastructure supports later development phases. Environmental and traffic impacts will be studied, with Lennar responsible for all costs. The Specific Plan will be




Thanks to the dedication of the local community, bicyclists and pedestrians are now safer on a heavily commuted street in Concord. A strip of Detroit Avenue, between Monument Boulevard and Clayton Road, now has designated bicycle facilities, signals at two intersections and larger, more usable sidewalks. The Detroit Avenue Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements project is part of the growing movement to improve pedestrian and bicycle access throughout the Bay Area. Detroit Avenue is a main street in one of the most densely populated communities in our county. The street was not originally designed to handle the size or scope of roadway users that travel it daily, nor did it accommodate the growing foot and bicycle traffic in

Street Party

reviewed by a new Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC), the community at large, the Planning Commission and City Council prior to council adoption. Development can begin only after property transfer from the Navy, as well as planning, environmental, traffic studies and permitting processes. This could take several more years. The CAC will provide input

and encourage public participation of the Phase One Specific Plan. CAC members will apply the Reuse Project Goals and Guiding Principles, adopted Reuse Area Plan policies and accepted Term Sheet provisions in evaluating and commenting on potential Specific Plan alternatives or issues. The CAC will also serve as a communication link to the community-at-large by assisting out-

reach to neighborhoods and interest groups and promoting participation at workshops and public meetings. The CAC appointments will be made this fall. They will begin work early next year, including monthly public meetings. Contact the Mayor


Grassroots led project makes Detroit Avenue safer for all the area. Thankfully, there are numerous local organizations and public institutions dedicated to improving roadways and increasing access to safer transportation. In collaboration with the county’s Public Health Department, many of these organizations led a walk audit of Detroit Avenue that resulted in a successful grant application for Complete Streets improvements. The grant was awarded through the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s competitive One Bay Area Grant Program. It also required matching money from the city of Concord, which used Measure J and Measure Q funds. As a member of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, which administers Measure J funds, I advocate projects that respond to the needs of local residents and make it easier to utilize alternative transportation. The Detroit Avenue Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements Project is an excellent example of this. Because of the cooperation of community groups like Bike

What: A celebration of the $2.7 million in pedestrian safety improvements on Detroit Avenue. Free family activities, including a bike rodeo, Zumba, cooking demonstrations and interactive children’s games. Mayor Laura Hoffmeister, Councilman Edi Birsan, local organizations and residents who participated in the project will speak and participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony. When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24 Where: Meadow Homes Park, 1371 Detroit Ave., Concord Contact: Rhea Elina Laughlin, First 5 Contra Costa community engagement officer, 925.726.7279 or

DETROIT AVE. RESIDENT LEADERS PREPARE to celebrate the major safety improvements to their street at a block party Sept. 24

Concord, Monument Impact, First 5 Contra Costa, Central County Regional Group and Healthy and Active Before 5, Detroit Avenue is a safer place to live, work and play.

• New streetlights along Detroit Avenue. As a public official, I am often approached with complex issues and concerns that do not have clear answers. These experiences make projects such as the Detroit Avenue Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements Project all the more inspiring, as it reflects the power of collaboration and the ingenuity of our community. The Sept. 24 ribbon cutting and street party is a time to celebrate our successes and look forward to the possibilities of the future. I hope we can continue to improve the streets in our communities and work together to ensure they are safe for all modes of transportation.

• The improvements include: • Four-way stop signs at Walters Way, Sunshine and Lynn Avenues. • High-visibility crosswalks at Laguna Street, Walters Way and Sunshine and Lynn Avenues. • Sidewalk accessibility improvements. • New extended sidewalks along the busy stretch from Clayton Road to Monument Boulevard. • New street paving and surfacing. Karen Mitchoff is Contra Costa • New bike lanes, including County District IV supervisor. Email green paving to increase questions or comments to bicyclist visibility and safety.

Concord’s new JetSuiteX proves a worthy option

I recently needed to take a last-minute work trip to the Los Angeles area. I started to book my usual Southwest flight out of Oakland when my husband reminded me about the new JetSuiteX service from Concord’s Buchanan Field to Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport. JetSuiteX, a private jet operator, is the first airline to offer commercial travel service out of Buchanan Field since 1992. I did a price comparison and discovered that the two options cost nearly the same, if I factored in the roundtrip BART ride from Concord to Oakland International Airport. I reviewed the flight times and was excited to find a roundtrip flight that suited my needs. JetSuiteX offers three round-trip flights between Concord and Burbank each weekday. The carrier also offers a regular flight to Las Vegas on Friday nights and return flights to Concord on Sunday afternoons.

The morning of my flight to Burbank, I arrived at the airport at 7 a.m. for my 7:30 a.m. flight. I was surprised to be greeted by a friendly ticket agent as I was ushered into a relaxing atmosphere that reminded me more of a hotel lounge than a noisy airport terminal. Complimentary snacks, bottled water, coffee, free WiFi and work stations with plugs were available as passengers waited to board. I chatted with passengers who hailed from Alamo, Concord, Lafayette, San Bernardino and San Ramon. Some were already frequent JetSuiteX passengers who used the service for business trips. Others were headed for vacation destinations like Disneyland or Las Vegas. One nursing mother was particularly pleased, as there is no limit on the amount of breast milk or formula that can be taken on a JetSuiteX flight.



All agreed it was refreshing to fly from central Contra Costa County and avoid the hassle of driving or taking BART to Oakland or San Francisco. Every person I spoke with also cited how nice it was to avoid long security lines. Seasoned passengers arrived at 7:25 a.m., still in time to check in for the 7:30 a.m. flight. After a swift plane boarding, we settled into comfortable leather seats. Complimen-

tary snacks, beverages and WiFi were available. We landed at JetSuiteX Hangar 2, a private hangar about a mile from the main Burbank airport terminals, where it was easy to hail a cab or Uber, or rent a car. The evening flight home was equally smooth, with nearly all 30 seats filled. After a long work day, I appreciated the opportunity to enjoy a complimentary glass of wine or craft beer. I felt an incredible sense of freedom when I landed in Concord and was able to walk straight from the tarmac to the parking lot and drive home in 10 minutes. Carlyn Obringer is a member of the City of Concord Planning Commission. Professionally, she focuses on California education issues as an Education Policy Analyst. Carlyn resides in Concord with her husband, Justin, and dog Crystal. Contact her by email at


September 23, 2016

Concord Pioneer •

Mels, Clarion making Concord better



This month, the chamber welcomed new members to the community and also celebrated as renovations were completed at other businesses. Original Mels Diner opened on Sept. 7 on Treat

Boulevard. This chain of restaurants has been in existence since 1947, when Mel Weiss and Harold Dobbs opened their first “carhop” in San Francisco. By 1967, the Mels chain grew to more than 40 locations across Northern California and Nevada. Notoriety came in 1972, when George Lucas filmed the classic “American Graffiti” at the Original Mels in San Francisco. This movie renewed the public’s interest in ’50s diners. After some difficult years and the sale of Mels for real estate value, the Original Mels was resurrected in Stockton by 1994 and they started the long road to reclaim their glory days. The restaurant was featured in the TV show “Alice,”

CONCORD CLARION HOTEL cuts the ribbon on their newly renovated ballroom. upgrades begin soon on the restaurant.

their children.” Although Torlakson uses BART daily to commute to Oakland and was frustrated by the BART strike, she remains a strong supporter of the labor movement. Grayson agrees that employees have a right for their voices to be heard. However, both candidates advocate a strike only as a last resort.

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Clayton Club Saloon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .673-0440 CHAMBER MEMBERS AND CITY OFFICIALS CUT THE RIBBON with the ribbon on the new Original Mels. The restaurant opened in the old CoCo’s location on Treat Blv. near Clayton Rd.

and it is a feature at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla. We are glad to welcome Mels to Concord. Check out the restaurant at 4391 Treat Blvd. and relive that feel-good ’50s era. Meanwhile, the Concord Clarion Hotel is working on a multi-year renovation. They began renovations in 2015 with an upgrade to the pool. They have also renovated the boardroom and just completed ballroom renovations. The gorgeous new ballroom has room for 330 people using round tables or 500 people theater-style. The ballroom can also be sectioned off into smaller spaces for events or

A LOOK AT BALLOT MEASURES Here are the candidates’ opinions on some other state • ballot measures: • Prop. 51, brings $9 billion in bonds for education and schools. Both support, but Grayson’s approval is based on the ability to negotiate and seek a lower interest rate. “As

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KEEPING CITIZENS SAFE For Grayson, public safety is of the utmost importance. “In my role as police chaplain, I serve first responders and crime victims in our community every day,” he reports. “As co-founder of the Family Justice Center, I have served victims of domestic violence, senior abuse and human trafficking. And as a member of the state Assembly, I will continue to ensure victims in • the community have a voice.” Torlakson also touts public safety as a top priority. “I will be an active leader in promoting new gun control laws, as well as enforcing existing gun control laws,” she says. “As an active member of a Neighborhood Watch group and a former neighborhood block captain, I will continue to work closely with law enforcement to make our streets, parks and neighbor- • hoods safe.”

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Assembly, from page 5

PROPONENTS OF LOCAL MEASURE X On a local level, both support Contra County County’s Measure X tax to fund transportation improvements. “Measure X provides a diversified transportation plan that will reduce traffic congestion and improve highway safety,” Torlakson reports. “It further helps relieve traffic congestion by increasing ridership on public transportation as well as promoting a healthy lifestyle through biking and walking to local destinations.” “Measure X positions the county to leverage state and federal transportation dollars to benefit its residents in an unprecedented way,” says Grayson, adding that it’s crucial that “residents are informed as to where every dollar is spent.” The two Democrats also support raising the minimum wage. “Too many of our neighbors are struggling to make ends meet on low incomes,” Grayson says. “I am strongly in favor of raising the minimum wage, and I believe this can be done in a way that won’t put small businesses that are the engine of economic growth in danger.” Torlakson sees the income and wealth gap as one of the most pressing issues for the state. “This increase will help many families have decent housing and funds to help send their children to college and trade schools,” she says. “Raising the minimum wage will especially help women and mothers have more stable futures for themselves and

Page 7

mayor of Concord, I sought to refinance bonds at a much lower interest rate, with a faster repayment,” he says. Torlakson notes that the measure will not raise taxes, but rather directs the Legislature to make investments. “Our students deserve classrooms that are conducive to learning and have internet connections,” she says. “This is an opportunity to get state funding to match the dollars approved by local school districts and communities. Prop. 53, requires voter approval for revenue bonds above $2 billion: Both oppose. “I am concerned that this measure will result in expensive and time-consuming statewide ballot measures that could reduce local communities’ ability to lead,” Grayson says. “This would limit the state and local government’s abilities to address infrastructure needs,” Torlakson says. Prop. 55, an extension of the Prop. 30 income tax increase initiative. Torlakson supports, saying the proposition raises the revenue necessary to ensure that students get the world-class education they deserve. Grayson understands the need for temporary revenue measures, but wants the Legislature to be committed to revising the state’s antiquated tax code. Prop. 56, increases cigarette tax to $2 a pack with equivalent increases on other tobacco products and e-cigarettes. Both support. Prop. 57, increases parole and good behavior opportunities for felons convicted of nonviolent crimes and allows judges, not prosecutors, to decide whether to try certain juveniles as adults in court. Torlakson supports, but Grayson is

business meetings. The Clarion is looking to start renovating the restaurant. In 2017, they will start renovating the guest rooms, with a completion date in 2018. The Concord Clarion recently hosted an open house with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres to unveil the completion of the ballroom. The Concord Chamber also held a ribbon cutting last week. The Concord Clarion is at 1050 Burnett Ave.

For more information on becoming a member of the Concord Chamber of Commerce, please visit or call (925) 685-1181.

against – based on “his years of service in and support for public safety.” Prop. 58, allows non-English languages to be used in public educational instruction. Both support. “As an English learner myself, I know how important learning the English language is for students,” says Torlakson, who adds: “But I also know that bilingualism has helped me and my children succeed in our careers.” Grayson notes that California is a diverse state in a diverse world. “We should not limit ourselves or future generations. Instead, we should ensure that our students have the privilege of studying foreign languages,” he says. Prop. 59, an advisory measure regarding overturning the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision. Both support. Prop. 61, supports regulating drug prices by requiring state agencies to pay the same prices that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays for prescription drugs. Both Grayson and Torlakson will vote yes. “I believe we need greater leverage to ensure the high costs of medical treatment are reduced,” Grayson said. Prop. 63, requires background checks on certain individuals before ammunition purchases and bans large-capacity ammunition magazines. Both support. Prop. 64, legalizes recreational marijuana and hemp; establishes certain sales and cultivation taxes. Torlakson votes yes, with reservations, while Grayson supports medicinal but not recreational use. Prop. 67, upholds contested legislation banning plastic bags. Both support.

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$190 for 200 words; $50 for photo; 90 cents/word over 200. Example: A 350 word obituary with a photo is $385 ($200 basic plus $135 for 150 words extra and $50 for photo. Send text and photo to Or call (925) 672-0500

Page 8

Concord Pioneer •

Hotline, from page 1

of the city of Concord. This hotline will be operated by a member of the city staff to verify the authenticity of the data,” he says.

DATA WILL BE PUBLIC There is precedent for this recommendation, Helix says. In 1972, while serving on the City Council, he initiated a Consumer Hotline to protect a number of Concord senior citizens who were being treated unfairly when seeking relief from product liability malfunctions.

“One person ran the system. The data collected was referred to state and federal elected officials, who initiated legislation to correct some of the grievances,” he says. “The procedures for the hotline adopted by the city of Concord was recognized and commended in the U. S. Congressional Record as a local initiative recommended for other municipalities.” Helix says landlords and tenants will be the source of the data, which will be verified

Candidates, from page 1

ED BIRSAN When elected to the council four years ago, Ed “Edi” Birsan didn’t sit quietly in a corner. He quickly made a name for himself, questioning the status quo of many of the council’s lock-step decisions and introducing legislation that was sometimes unpopular among his colleagues. He is proud of his perfect attendance at council meetings, both as a member and for the four years prior to his election in 2012. He sees the three major issues facing the city in the next four years as land use reform, financial reform and political reform. On the land use front, he would like to see more road repairs, infill projects, reduced fees for home improvements, development of the CNWS, and completion of negotiations with the Navy and the Master Developer. Meanwhile, he wants financial progress so that the city can eventually eliminate Measure Q and, at the same time, have a structurally balanced budget with reduced unfunded liabilities. Birsan’s goal is to bring greater access to the people through things such as a directly elected mayor, transparency reform such as “defined rotation of vice mayor, to get rid of the back room deals, and see greater involvement of the community through boards and commissions.” He would like open discussions on things like defining electoral districts in Concord – “about which I can go either way” – term limits and term length. He is quick to point out that during the Lennar/Cattelus CNWS controversy last year, he was never in favor of a staff recommendation on a master developer for the base. “Just as I do not want a staff recommendation on directly elected mayor, political reforms, rent control, marijuana dispensaries, prayer before the council or any major policy item. If I want their opinion, I will ask for it specifically.” The main things he would work on in the next four years include striving for a directly elected mayor, a defined rotation of vice mayor and automatic appointment of the runner-up in an election to fill a council vacancy if they have at least 70 percent of the winning vote. In regard to public safety, he wants to reopen police and city service substations in the Monument and North Concord areas and bring in police body cameras. He says he would also work to expand housing options, including “tiny” starter houses as well as secondary units, get some type of rent control ordinance and obtain a subsidy for affordable secondary units at the CNWS and downtown.

safe and engaging for its residents. The CSU Sacramento grad, with degrees in government and history, says she’s always had an interest in understanding the reasoning, motives and history of why policies and laws are made. She has been a full-time state civil servant for 10 years, most recently as an analyst for all seven toll bridges at CalTrans, following stints at the Legislative Council Bureau and the Employee Development Department. She believes that the three major issues facing Concord in the coming years are the development of the CNWS, revitalizing communities, and dealing with transit and transportation. “The Concord Naval Weapons Station development is a major topic for residents. I would like for the City Council to ensure that the current residents also stay a priority. There are current neighborhoods in need of resources, and Concord should be spending time in improving those along with the new.” She does not want to see Concord become a city where some neighborhoods are neglected or deserted. “The City Council should promote incentives for current businesses to stay where they are and help revitalize those areas. It does not help Concord to have a thriving shopping center in one corner and the next corner have an abandoned area.” She also notes that new housing/business development at the CNWS will increase traffic tremendously. “There are two-way streets by the reuse project that have no option of expanding. Public transportation will have to increase. This is a main issue Concord needs to start planning for and surveying the community to help prevent future traffic problems.” She believes in a transparent government, and the main things she would focus on if elected would be safety, outreach, and investment in infrastructure and revitalization. “There are many great events that occur in Concord. That is one of the reasons I choose to make Concord my home. I want to make residents feel more invested in the community and know that they have an impact on their city. I would also like to create new or expand existing partnerships to help Concords advance into the future.”

HOPE JOHNSON Hope Johnson became a familiar face to many Concord residents during the CNWS controversy last year, when she was a vocal critic of the way the City Council handled the selection of Lennar as Master Developer. Following the selection, she led a recall effort against Mayor Laura Hoffmeister, which is now on hold. GLORIA CASILLAS Gloria Casillas is running The Sun Terrace resident, for City Council because she a paralegal who lives in the wants to make sure the city is home she grew up in, attend-

September 23, 2016

rental complex and the reporting tenant. “It should be publicized quarterly and be available on the city of Concord website,” he says. Helix believes this will give local lawmakers the factual data to assess the need for a rent control ordinance or other appropriate administrative procedures. “It will also enable us to recognize and commend apartment owners who conESCALATING RENTS HAVE REACHED CRISIS LEVELS in Concord. duct their operations in a reaCouncilmember Dan Helix’s plan will set up a tenant hotsonable and fair manner. Conline to collect data to support a plan for rent stabilation. versely, it will identify those who exploit the system by by city staff designated to will include both the identity of unreasonable rent increases, operate the hotline. The data the owner/landlord of the which inures to the detriment

ed Diablo Valley College, then UCLA. She worked with autistic children to help facilitate their entry into regular public schools. Prior to returning to Concord in 2013, she lived in San Francisco for 10 years. There, she volunteered at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and on several political campaigns. The Board of Supervisors appointed her to the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, where she served as chair her final year. She followed politics closely in San Francisco and wrote for a blog read by local politicians. This included Lennar’s Hunters Point and Treasure Island projects. She now watches Concord politics just as closely. “The council needs an ethical member who has some experience with the issues that are coming our way,” she says. “I have experience with Lennar, development struggles, rent control, government ethics and the contentious interactions that come with controversial issues. For too long, the same moneyed interests have controlled the City Council. We need someone willing to stand up to the status quo.” For her, a key issue is the development of the CNWS, including toxic cleanup, sustainable water use, traffic mitigation, incorporating financial safeguards into the development agreement and a specific plan that takes into account the type of housing that is successful in Concord. She also believes that vital economic development needs to be enhanced. “Concord needs to assess the reason it cannot attract living wage jobs or revitalize the long-term retail vacancies and try new avenues.” Affordable housing is another priority. ”I have asked the council during public comment to have updates from the outside consultants hired to attract businesses so we can analyze what is going wrong. So far, this has not happened.” If elected, also on are her agenda would be improvement of public transit, specifically working with the county for a better, faster bus system, increased safety and reduction of crime and homeless issues through police foot patrols and the return of some neighborhood substations, improved code enforcement budget restructuring and improved open government.

HARMESH KUMAR Harmesh Kumar is no stranger to city politics, having run unsuccessfully for council several times and often speaking up at council meetings regarding social issues. The licensed clinical psychologist has a private practice in Concord. “I am also an immigrant; I came to this country from my native India over 25 years ago and embarked on what we call the American Dream. After many years of sacrifice and hard work, I am now privileged to operate a network of well-recognized assisted living facilities across

of Concord residents in the rental market.” It is unclear which city staff member would operate the hotline or how much it would cost, since his proposal has yet to be adopted. But Helix makes clear that at least he is addressing the problem. “When citizen complaints reach the crescendo stage, we have the responsibility to take positive action.” Helix will introduce his proposal at the Housing and Economic Development Committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26, at the Concord Civic Center, 1950 Parkside Dr.

See candidates’ websites or Facebook pages to learn more


Pablo Benavente Ed Birsan

Hope Johnson

Harmesh Kumar

EDUARDO MANUEL Eduardo Manuel is running for City Council because he believes he has the education, experience, training and leadership to make a positive impact on the future of Concord.

Carlyn Obringer ASSEMBLY

Gloria Casillas Facebook

Northern and Central California.” He takes time to offer his free services to many in need. “It pains me to know that every day we have 20 veterans commit suicide in America. More than 40,000 people commit suicide in the USA and more than 16,000 people are killed by guns in this country. There is a 63 percent increase in suicide rates for women in the age range of 45 to 64 from 1999 to 2015. No candidate talks about these issues, which impact every local community,” he says. “Our seniors are suffering from loneliness and lack of care due to the systemwide lack of acknowledgement from our government officials. Lack of social safety nets, increase in the prices of basic necessities, food and medications and affordable housing and other basic services for ordinary people lead them to desperation, violence and suicides.” Kumar believes the major issues facing Concord are the development of the CNWS, reviving “the dying and gasping” small businesses in the city, focusing on the infrastructure needs of the city, and creating safety by reducing homelessness for the elderly population and connecting mentally ill residents and elderly to affordable housing and services to save money and emotional drain on police officers. He says he would have handled the CNWS Master Developer issue very differently – “by not getting into messy dual relationship or conflict of interest situations with the developer like the current City Council members have done, especially our former mayor (Tim Grayson). Also I would have taken the staff recommendations to the public and be more transparent with the process.” If elected, Kumar will focus on affordable housing and helping small businesses with new state and local mandates.

Eduardo Manuel No website or Facebook page

Tim Grayson Mae Torlakson

With a lot of experience in the public realm – he served as mayor of Hercules, as well as many other positions there and throughout Contra Costa County – the now-Concord resident said he would be an asset to the city. He sees the three major issues facing the city in the next four years as the development of the CNWS, integrating the recommendations of the citizens advisory commission into the process, rent control by helping to adopt a policy that will bring a “happy balance” between the escalating expenses of landlords and diminishing income of tenants, and looking at the possibility of an elected mayor and returning the mayor’s and vice mayor’s tenure to one year. He says he would have addressed last year’s CNWS controversy by bringing in an outside body, made up of representatives from different neighborhoods in the city, to help mitigate the issues the council faced. “One factor that made the issue complicated and controversial was that two out of five decision makers had to recuse themselves. This created a game of 2 vs. 1 in scoring points and opened the door for unethical developers to make themselves favorable and win ’em all.” If elected, other issues he would like to bring to the council are “police-citizen bonding through sports intramurals, potluck events, etc. The idea is to re-enforce the partnership between residents and the police.” He also aims to make Concord a tourist destination. “For example, Concord has a big Latino community, and a Holy Week festival similar to the one from the old country will be highly attended.” Finally, he says he wants to “make Concord the most fun city in Northern California.”

CARLYN OBRINGER It’s hard not to find a Concord event that Carlyn Obringer has not had a hand in developing, organizing or helping to run. “For me, public service is not just an ideal but a way of life,” says the Planning Commission chair. “For nearly a decade, I have dedicated my

time and energy to making Concord an even better community in which to live and work.” Obringer has served as liaison to TRANSPAC, a regional transportation planning committee, an advisory committee member for the Concord Family Justice Center, chair of Monument Impact, founder/chair of the Concord Art, Wine (and Beer!) Walk and chair of the Concord Fourth of July Parade, among other roles. “My community and city service has given me a solid understanding of how Concord works, the challenges facing Concord and the exciting opportunities waiting to be seized.” She says that the three major issues facing Concord in the next four years are providing law enforcement the resources they need to improve public safety, cleaning up blight to help with economic development and development of the CNWS. “As the largest city in Contra Costa County, we face gang activity, an increase in petty crime as a direct result of the passage of Prop. 47 and ongoing issues with the approximately 400 homeless individuals who choose the streets of Concord as their home. I think it’s critical that the City Council annually approves a budget that provides the Concord Police Department with the resources its needs to effectively deal with these issues, while at the same time, the city grows its economic development pie so that we can meet our other critical obligations.” If elected, she will continue to work with the Concord Police, creating a Gang Prevention Task Force to prevent the spread of gang activity in Concord and help people successfully leave gang life. She also would like to hire at least one additional multifamily residential unit inspector, preferably with Spanish language skills. She wants to maintain resources for senior services and establish a Cultural Arts Commission comprised of members of Concord’s performing and visual arts community, with the goal of planning and promoting events highlighting the arts within the city.

September 23, 2016

Concord Pioneer •

Concord looks to make downtown more walkable PEGGY SPEAR Concord Pioneer

The city of Concord is taking more steps to make the downtown a more pedestrian and bike-friendly environment. A major project designed to connect the Monument Corridor with central downtown began last week with sidewalk repairs and new handicap ramps on Willow Pass Road. New pedestrian safety upgrades will include crosswalk repairs at 30 intersections, paving rehabilitation on Willow Pass between Market and Galindo and a new bike route on Salvio and Broadway Streets. Twinkling tree lights will lead the way along Grant Street between downtown and the BART station and a general spiffing up will include refinishing the light poles, new trash cans, bike racks and paver repairs. The sidewalk repairs on Willow Pass will take about three weeks, according to construction manager Steve Patterson of Park Engineering. During the work, one lane will be closed between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Any pavement work will be done at night, Patterson said. The entire project will be finished by early February. The Central Concord Pedestrian Improvements and

Streetscape project is part of the city’s Capital Improvement Program Ten Year Plan adopted in 2012. The $2.5 million project is funded primarily by a Measure J grant approved by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority.

MORE TO COME The improvements will gel nicely with a conceptual plan approved for downtown at the Sept. 13 council meeting. By giving the nod to the Downtown Corridors Plan, the council paved the way for the city to seek grants and partnerships that will help fund more changes to the streetscapes in and around Todos Santos Plaza and the downtown Concord BART station. The plan establishes a pedestrian-oriented streetscape design for three critical downtown corridors, said senior planner Joan Ryan: Salvio Street, Grant Street and Oak Street, and includes introducing green features compatible with other ongoing projects and serve as a model for the redesign of other downtown streets. Intersections, crosswalks, landscaping parking and the streets themselves will be designed to be more pedestrian and bike-friendly. The plan is broken into four zones — Salvio West, from Broadway to Galindo; Todos Santos Plaza,

from Galindo to Willow Pass; Central Grant, from Willow Pass to Park; and BART access, from Park to Galindo Streets. For Salvio West, the design calls for widening the sidewalk on the north side of the street, installing a mid-block crossing with a rapid-flashing beacon — similar to the one near Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek — buffered bike lanes, the addition of bus shelters, the addition of curb “Bulb-outs” and pedestrian lighting. For Todos Santos Plaza, the plan calls for the addition of bike sharrows (lanes shared with vehicles) on Salvio Street, adding pavers along the edge of Todos Santos Plaza, and adding landscaping, lighting, rain gardens and pedestrian lighting. For central Grant Street, the plan calls for the addition of buffered bike lanes, a bike “box” at Willow Pass Road for bike repairs, the addition of a curb bulb-out at Concord Boulevard, and the replacement of decomposed granite with pavers. There will also be the addition of twinkle lights and high visibility crosswalks where they are not already in place. Finally, the Oak Street/ BART access plan calls for buffered bike lanes on Grant Street and Oak Street, the addition of parking on the south side, pedestrian improvements

that will be determined by the developer of the area, when chosen, the replacement of decomposed granite with pavers and plantings, and again the addition of pedestrian lighting. According to Ryan, the plan comes at the cost of about 20 parking spaces, including some of the spots on the north side of Salvio Street at Todos Santos Plaza. But Ryan says that the merchants there at Salvio Pacheco Square have been involved in the planning, and they generally like the idea of losing parking in front of their businesses. “They say it opens them up to more foot traffic, and the restaurants can have more outdoor seating, like at nearby E.J. Phair Brewing Company,” she said. The plans were greeted enthusiastically by the bike community. “Thank you,” said Kenji Yamada. “This has integrated all the elements we wanted,” he said, speaking on behalf of Bike Concord. The plan is just one more stage in the development of the downtown specific plan, and once funding is secured, it will once again go before the council and the community for final input and approval, Ryan said. (Tamara Steiner contributed to this article.)

If you want to be heard, get involved



Some 55 years ago, a wise guy in Brooklyn explained local government to me this way: “They are either listening to you or to someone else, so what’s it going to be?” I would add what I learned during the anti-Vietnam War movement: “Silence never moved a politician.” City government is the closest you can get to government in action. I often say that at the City Council, you can

touch the face of democracy. You may want to slap it a few times, but nevertheless it is a truism. Local government sometimes has a greater and faster effect on residents than the machinations of Congress and the bureaucrats in Washington. We pave the streets, set the priorities for enforcement, charge the fees for your window upgrades and decide how high you can build your house. We decide if you are allowed to park a boat in your driveway or smoke down the street. And we can change those rules in 60 days or less. If you want to get involved at a local level, here are some things to do: Form or attend a neighborhood group. It can be a full-blown neighborhood partnership or a neighborhood watch; both are formal programs in the city. You can meet at a house, a church or a community room. Turn your church group or

knitting club into a voice for the common causes that the group shares. Come to the City Council and introduce yourself. Or contact council members individually; some of us will come to your meetings. The city will often send staff such as police patrol leaders, code enforcement and traffic people to group meetings so you get to deal face-toface with them. Speak up and tell people what you want. A good example is the Sun Terrace Neighborhood, which for years has had a regular presence at council meetings. Residents share the good and the bad about their interactions with the city. The Monument groups are also starting to gear up. Solo voices can work also. We have four to seven “regulars” at City Council meetings, and they sit in the same places in the chamber. We all know them by first name and converse directly and in private

with them. They often speak on their topics of concern. For some, it is their adopted neighborhood. One lives in the Crossings but is a major advocate for things in the Monument Corridor. A Clayton resident speaks often on issues of disability access and equity. Write often if you cannot interact face-to-face with city staff or council members. But remember it likely won’t help if you rant or go into attack mode. It’s best to offer cold logic and facts, with a clear call for a specific action. Call on the phone, if writing or face-to-face is not your thing. Your neighborhood does not exist in isolation from the city community, so activate those bonds and links by reaching out.

Send comments to or 510-812-8180 or visit

Page 9

P.O. Box 1246 6200 Center Street, Suite H, Clayton, CA 94517 TAMARA AND R OBERT S TEINER , Publishers TAMARA S TEINER , Editor P ETE C RUZ , Graphic Design B EV B RITTON , Copy Editor J AY B EDECARRÉ, Sports Editor PAMELA W IESENDANGER , Administration, Calendar Editor S TAFF W RITERS : Peggy Spear, Pamela Wiesendanger, Jay Bedecarré

C ORRESPONDENTS : Cynthia Gregory, Kara Navolio, John T. Miller, Jennifer Leischer


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Tamara Steiner Send Ads to Send Sports News to Send School, Club and Calendar Items to

The Clayton Pioneer and the Concord Pioneer are monthly publications delivered free to homes and businesses in 94517, 94518, 94519 and 94521. ZIP code 94520 is currently served by drop site distribution. The papers are published by Clayton Pioneer, Inc., Tamara and Robert Steiner, PO 1246, Clayton, CA 94517. The offices are located at 6200 Center St. Suite H, Clayton, CA 94517

LET US KNOW Weddings, anniversaries, births and deaths all weave together as part of the fabric of our community. Please let us know of these important events. We ask only that the announcement be for a resident in our home delivery area. Submit on our website and be sure to attach a JPG photo that is at least 3 MB. Also on the website are forms for calendar items, events & press releases. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Both Pioneer newspapers welcome letters from our readers.

Doug Van Wyck

CLU ChFC, Agent Insurance Lic. # 0586396

6200 Center St. Ste. A Clayton, CA 94517


As a general rule, letters should be 175 words or less and submitted at least one week prior to publication date. Letters concerning current issues will have priority. We may edit letters for length and clarity. All letters will be published at the editor’s discretion. Please include name, address and daytime telephone number. We will not print anonymous letters. E-mail your letter to Letters must be submitted via E-mail. CIRCULATION The Concord Pioneer is delivered monthly to 30,000 homes and businesses in 94518, 94519 and 94521. Papers are delivered by carriers for ABC Direct around the last Friday of the month. To stop delivery for any reason, call the office at (925) 672-0500 . If you are NOT receiving the Pioneer, please check the distribution map on the website. If you live in the shaded area and are not receiving the paper, please let us know. If you are not in the shaded area, please be patient. We will come to your neighborhood soon. The Clayton Pioneer is delivered by US Mail to 5,500 homes and businesses in 94517 around the second Friday of the month. SUBSCRIPTIONS To subscribe to either the Clayton Pioneer or the Concord Pioneer, call the office at (925) 672-0500. Subscriptions are $35/year for each paper, $60/year for both.

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Concord plans ahead for biking and walking



Earlier this month, the City Council approved the Downtown Corridors Plan. The document lays out concrete recommendations for a revitalized, more walkable and bikeable downtown Concord. It looks in particular at three corridors, which together form the eastern half of a “green frame” defined in the Specific Plan: Oak Street, Grant Street from Oak Street to Salvio Street, and Salvio from Grant to Broadway. Data from the Bicycle, Pedestrian and Safe Routes to Transit Master Plan tells us that this area has some of the highest demand for walking and biking. There have been numerous injuries involving bicyclists and pedestrians in downtown – more than 50 from 2009 to 2013. The forward-thinking designs approved by the city should go a long way toward making the streets safer and more enjoyable for everyone. The downtown schools, shops, transit centers and destinations should be able to offer residents and visitors friendly streets for walking and biking. As usual, a main obstacle

for these projects is funding. The city is doing a good job of going after competitive funding, but it would be great if there were more regular, stable funding available for the city to fix potholes and complete these projects. We have an opportunity on Nov. 8 to secure that funding for Concord. Bike Concord and Bike East Bay want you to vote yes on Measure X. Contra Costa County’s Transportation Expenditure Plan will bring the 2004 halfcent sales tax up to a full cent, generating $2.9 billion over 30 years. Of that, $664 million will go to local streets and roads. An additional $290 million will fund improvements to major thoroughfares. This could be Monument Boulevard, for example. The measure includes $64 million for Safe Routes to School and $115 million to fund bike, pedestrian and trail facilities. Recent cuts in state funding make the expansion of this tax critical to keep the local transportation system up to date and to keep transportation services running smoothly for everyone. To keep Contra Costa moving, to fix potholes, triple funding for bicycles and give Concord a bright future, please vote yes on Measure X. Armour is the advocacy manager for Bike East Bay, a regional bicycle advocacy organization and partner of Bike Concord. Bike Concord is an organization of local residents working to make bicycling a safe, convenient transportation option. Email her at, or call 510-845-7433, ext 5

Concord Pioneer • Sponsored content

By Dr. Armando Samaniego

When illness begins, chicken soup or Tylenol may offer comfort and the hope of uninterrupted daily routines. However, not addressing persistent symptoms early may lead to

September 23, 2016

Timing is everything when it comes to your health

extended downtime in the long run. Certainly, persistent symptoms are not always a sign of a more serious medical issue, but as one presidential candidate can attest, powering through respiratory issues can lead to bronchitis or even pneumonia. Those who experience shingles often recall the initial painful rash. It is best to seek medical attention as soon as signs of a potentially more serious illness emerge. Here are the telltale signs for pneumonia and shingles, plus a bit of trivia which may of interest. What do Rice Crispies have in common with pneumonia? A combination of a per-

sistent productive cough (coughing up phlegm), chills, fever or feeling rundown may suggest bronchitis or even pneumonia. Your physician will listen to your breathing for the presence of a cracklinglike sound created by the pneumonia bacteria infection (Yes, sounds like milk pouring onto Rice Crispies); or if needed, view your lungs on x-ray.

like a roof shingle or its ‘belt of fire’ appears on either side of the body. It is a reoccurrence of the chicken pox virus and may emerge during times of significant stress. STAT MED Urgent Care provides expert care alongside an outstanding experience whether it’s for illness, injury, physicals or vaccines. With ER trained physicians, and onsite x-rays and labs, we What do roofs have in common strive to diagnose and treat you with shingles? as efficiently and effectively as Shingles can appear as a possible. red band-like skin rash that can burn as if touched by a hot Samaniego is the founder of iron and can be very painful if STAT MED Urgent Care. For not caught early. Shingles more information, visit coined for its horizontal shape or call 925-234-4447.

Dead birds in Concord lead to West Nile alert in Contra Costa

With four dead birds in Concord testing positive for West Nile Virus, officials are reminding residents that the mosquito season is not quite over. “We had several days of hot weather over the past week and saw a bit of a resurgence of West Nile virus activity,” reported Steve Schutz of the Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District. “We need to continue to take precautions to prevent mosquitoes and mosquito bites.” Since Aug. 9, four dead birds have been found in the

94521 ZIP code area of Concord. The birds were at Glazier and Armand drives, Michigan and Washington boulevards, Glazier Drive and Mercer Court and, most recently, at Denkinger Road and Wilson Lane on Sept. 8. Two groups of mosquitoes have also tested positive for the virus. Since 2005, 55 people in Contra Costa County have been diagnosed with West Nile virus. In 2006, two people died from the disease. Residents can reduce their risk of contracting mosquitoborne diseases by:

• Dumping or draining standing water. • Using repellents containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. • Avoiding outdoor areas when mosquitoes are present, typically dawn and dusk. • Maintaining neglected swimming pools. Just one stagnant pool can produce more than 1 million mosquitoes and affect people up to five miles away. • Reporting dead birds to the state hotline at 877.968.2473 or to the

California Department of Public Health at • Calling the mosquito district to report mosquito problems at 925. 771.6195. • Visiting vector control to get free mosquito fish for ornamental ponds, horse troughs or neglected swimming pools. The office is at 155 Mason Circle in Concord. For a current list of West Nile virus activity, visit

September 23, 2016

Concord Pioneer •

Council moves closer to selecting CNWS Advisory Committee PEGGY SPEAR Concord Pioneer

It might be tougher to find an interview date for the candidates for the Concord Naval Weapons Station Community Advisory Committee than it will be selecting the committee itself. Due to crowded schedules in November — and the desire to give candidates ample time to state their case — the Concord

City Council is looking at two Saturdays, Nov. 5 and Nov. 19, as possible dates to hold a special meeting for interviews. Already more than 70 residents have applied to be on the committee, according to Reuse Director Guy Bjerke. The deadline to submit an application is Sept. 23. Currently, his staff is weeding out those applicants who live too close to the base to legally

serve on the committee. He will then submit a list of applicants to the council members by Oct. 7. By Oct. 21, he wants the council to submit a list of 11 candidates ranked in order of priority. His staff will then compile a list and get down to about 22 residents who will be interviewed for the CAC post. The committee will be comprised of 11 members and three alternates, who will serve only if a committee member permanently leaves their post. Mayor Laura Hoffmeister said this was a similar procedure to how the first CAC was formed when the base reuse plans were just beginning. Council member Edi Birsan asked if he could speak with other council members or candidates after the recommendations have been submitted, but the city attorney advised against that. However, the council said that all the finalists’ applications would be public record, and available on the city’s website. Birsan asked again why not wait until December, after the new council members are elected, to hold interviews, but other council members said crowded holiday schedules would prohibit that, and they want to get the committee up and running quickly. Hoffmeister said that a seated council member who may be leaving the council — such as

Letter to the Editor

Just say NO to Proposition 64

Proposition 64 is not about making marijuana legal. Marijuana use is already essentially legal in California. No marijuana smokers go to jail anymore. Earlier laws have ended criminal prosecutions for users. This proposition is about promoting marijuana use with aggressive advertising. Like Big Tobacco, Big Marijuana wants to make money. You (and your children) will start seeing TV ads and Internet ads designed to encourage you to start smoking. Those under 21 cannot purchase, but advertising and legal availability WILL result in more smoking by young



Q: What is the latest study from the California Association of Realtors called “One Cool Thing”? A: This month it is called “Wonder Women.” Women are making strides in everything from the Olympics to the race for the White House. But despite their growing power, they still face various hurdles. Stresses in their lives include finances (44 percent), relationships (27 percent), work (26 percent), health (25 percent) and time pressures (21 percent). Sixty-seven percent say they cannot possibly save as much money annually as retirement planning tools say they will need to invest to have a comfortable retirement. I want to add that if they are able to own the house they live in, that is automatic forced savings. A home can be considered an investment tool, with the equity gain and amortized payments. Amortization is when during the course of the loan,

people. So what is the harm? Take a look at the results in Colorado and Washington: More car accident fatalities due to marijuana intoxication and more young people smoking. The American Lung Association reports marijuana smoke contains 33 cancercausing chemicals. Like cigarette smokers, marijuana smokers are subject to cancer risk and COPD. Recent studies also show a risk of permanent brain damage in young people who regularly use marijuana. Democrats and Republicans who care about our kids are voting NO on 64. Mike McDermott Concord Resident

Housing affordability a stressor for women

the principal that you own increases and you are paying less interest until it is paid off. Once you have a certain percentage of equity, you have options such as a reverse mortgage when you reach a certain age. I will address the pros and cons of this investment tool in another column. Many women (and others of course) are doing just that. Their payment could be lower than rent these days when you include the huge tax deduction you will receive. The problem for some, though, is that qualifications to buy a home are stringent with the new guidelines. Some don’t have enough down payment, their credit isn’t stellar enough or income can’t be proved. So some people continue to rent. Single women and men can’t show a double income to qualify. This a huge stressor for women and men.

Q: What are zero energy houses? Is this a fad or are they here to stay? A: They are here to stay and will become the new homes of the near future. Zero energy houses are a new type of green homes built to return zero dollar energy bills. The houses are becoming universally viable, due to advancements in energy-effi-

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cient technology and the declining cost of construction. More than 6,000 houses in the United States and Canada are “zero energy ready.” Of those, 13 percent are able to supply 100-110 percent or more of their annual energy demand. The remainder are able to supply 90 percent of their energy. California is ahead of the curve, and the number of zero energy homes will increase enormously over the next five years. Lawmakers in our golden state have made zero energy technology accessible and affordable to residents. Zero energy homeowners pay nothing for energy consumption other than a monthly grid fee, and they cut their carbon footprint to near zero. The typical zero energy house is made of thick exterior walls and is outfitted with an efficient HVAC system and solar panels. The home is connected to the grid, so that excess energy generated by the home throughout the day can be distributed back into the grid and power the home at night. I can attest to the desirability of this technology. I live in a home that is in the 90 percent range powered by solar and I have not had an electric bill since

Residential & Commercial


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Dan Helix, who is not running for reelection, or Birsan, who is — is not eligible to serve on the committee. The discussion followed a monthly update by Bjerke about the status of the development of the CNWS. “This is one of about a thousand or so updates I’ll be giving,” he said jokingly. Councilmember Tim Grayson was concerned that recent reorganizations by Lennar would impact the proceedings, but Bjerke said it would not. Lennar recently spun off a smaller company, 5Point, which will be the contact for the CNWS project. Lennar still holds the name of master developer, but many of the major players in the master developer negotiations — including Kofi Bonner — have moved over to 5Point. That company has been assembling a team and finding office space in Concord, Bjerke said, and recently hired a project manager for the vast project: Rachel Flynn, the former director of planning and building for the city of Oakland. Bjerke himself has been meeting with community members, public officials and other stakeholders to tour the base, and is working with the Navy in efforts to move the land transfer forward.


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Q: How are interest rates holding lately? A: They are at historic lows. Freddy Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) has released this information. For example, the 30-year fixed mortgage averaged 4.04 percent a year ago and now averages 3.45 percent, up from one week ago when it averaged 3.42 percent. The 15-year mortgage averages 2.75 percent, up from 2.72 percent last week and 3.21 percent a year ago. For a number of reasons, including what is happening in Europe, they don’t expect significant movement in mortgage interest rates in the near future. This remains a wonderful time to buy a home or refinance an existing mortgage. Send your question and look for your answer in a future column. Email French is the broker/owner of Windermere Lynne French & Associates. Contact her at 672-8787 or stop in at 6200 Center St., Clayton.

Page 11

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Page 12

Concord Pioneer •

September 23, 2016

Only 1 unbeaten team as area schools ready for DAL football JAY BEDECARRÉ Concord Pioneer

The new Diablo Athletic League will begin its first football season in two weeks after the majority of the teams complete their pre-seasons this week and then enjoy a bye at the end of the month before the Oct. 7 inaugural slate of six games among the 12 teams in the new super league. Before the new league officially kicks off there’s only one unbeaten team in the area. And, it isn’t perennial national power De La Salle which lost first home game since 2008 on a last-season field goal last Friday to East of Salt Lake City, the Utah 4A champs. And this Friday on national TV the Spartans host Antioch, 3-1 like DLS, which features America’s No. 1 recruit running back Najee Harris. With the seven former Diablo Valley Athletic League teams joining five schools from the Diablo Foothill Athletic League it allowed the 12-team DAL to split into two conferences for each sport. This should make for much more competitive play through the majority of the fall league season.


CV Charter 3-1 The Ugly Eagles have had perhaps their toughest-ever preseason schedule and so far have won three of four games but lost the services of standout runningback Akeal Lalaind, who injured his ankle in the Honor Bowl and underwent season-ending ankle surgery. The Eagles hold wins over a pair of Nevada teams, Reed of Sparks and Canyon Springs of North Las Vegas, along with beating James Logan of Union City. The double dose of losing 13-0 to Helix of La Mesa and Lalaind to injury in the Honor Bowl came in the 60th game of coach Tim Murphy’s time in charge and was the first shutout of CVCHS in their eight losses in those 60 games over four plus seasons. In last week’s rout of Logan nine different Eagles scored touchdowns. Junior James Teofilo and sophomore Thomas Alatini will need to pick up the slack in the backfield along with quarterback Zia Rahmany in the run-happy Clayton Valley offense. Murphy has lauded his defense this year for giving up

MT. DIABLO QUARTERBACK FERNANDO PEREZ (10) tried to evade Mike Davis Jr. (25) of Concord during their non-league game earlier this month won by the Minutemen. Davis is a two-way standout for Concord after earning all-DVAL honors last year on defense. He’s also the leading rusher for the Minutemen this fall.

Photos courtesy Bay Area HS Football

SENIOR DARIUS MCVAY (left) was all-league on defense last year but he’s also a key offensive cog at runningback for the Ygnacio Valley Warriors this fall. YVHS is looking forward to hosting its first DAL game Oct. 7 against visiting Alhambra of Martinez.

only two touchdowns over the past three games. The Eagles conclude their non-league schedule this Friday at Deer Valley (1-3) in Antioch. The first DAL game should be a doozy as Clayton valley Charter travels to Orinda to meet unbeaten Miramonte in a game that figures to go a long way towards determining the Valley Conference champ. The teams have a history as the Mats eliminated CVCHS 44-38 in the 2013 North Coast Section Division II semi-finals. Miramonte went on to win the NCS title, the only time in four years Clayton Valley wasn’t top dog at NCS. Concord 3-1 The last two years Concord has gone all the way to the NCS DII championship game only to lose to CVCHS in the finale. In fact, the Minutemen have lost to their cross town

rivals in three of the past four section playoffs. Coach Mark Bywater’s squad lost its season opener 27-26 in Vacaville to Wood High but since then quarterback Nick Nunez has led the Minutemen to three impressive wins while the Concord defense has only given up one touchdown and one field goal over those three games in victories over former DVAL rivals Mt. Diablo and College Park plus Liberty of Brentwood. Nunez, who was second team all-league as sophomore, has thrown for six TDs and run for five. Concord finishes up its non-league schedule hosting Benicia this Friday before traveling to Lafayette to meet Acalanes in the league opener Oct. 7. Acalanes 2-2 The Dons brought in 68-year-old Floyd Burnsed to coach this year. He

Justin Argenal returns to De La Salle as school hires another alumnus JAY BEDECARRÉ Concord Pioneer

Frank Allocco spent 18 years as the head basketball coach at De La Salle High School and during that time established the Spartans as a state powerhouse. Since leaving in the spring of 2015 for a college coaching job, not one but two of his former DLS players have been hired to succeed him. AJ Kuhle took over for Allocco and guided his alma mater within one half of a remarkable State championship in March. Kuhle resigned earlier this summer to return to Colorado and the school announced this month the appointment of Justin Argenal to the post effective immediately. Argenal was a member of the De La Salle class of 2004 and racked up an impressive playing and coaching resume since leaving the Concord school. He was a four-year team captain at Chico State and is the conference and school all-time leader in steals and assists. He earned a bachelor of arts in psychology from Chico

in 2009 before completing his master’s degree in coaching and athletic administration at Concordia University in Irvine. His older brother Gus Argenal is the fourth-year head coach at Cal State University East Bay and was a Spartan teammate of Kuhle’s. The younger Argenal brings nine years of NCAA coaching experience to the Spartans. His most recent assignment was at Cal State Dominguez Hills where he was the head assistant basketball coach in 2015-16. Prior he was assistant coach at Southeast Missouri State and The Citadel and two seasons as director of basketball operations at Louisiana Tech. Argenal started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the University of Mississippi where he focused on academic success of student-athletes and implementation of individual workouts for offseason player development. De La Salle’s vice president for athletics Leo Lopoz says Argenal understands what it means to be a student-athlete. “His education, playing career and coaching experience along with his work ethic and integrity make him a perfect


fit for our program and I am confident he will make a major impact both within and outside of the De La Salle community,” “We are thrilled to welcome Justin and his wife Suzanne back to the De La Salle family. Justin exemplifies everything that we are looking for in our next coach; his personal values and beliefs reflect those of our school and we believe he will further build upon a successful tradition for our basketball program,” Lopoz added. Argenal says, “It is an

honor and privilege to serve as head basketball coach at De La Salle, a place that has such rich history and tradition. I had a tremendously positive experience here as a student-athlete and I look forward to helping provide that same experience to the student-athletes that I will coach. I look forward to entrenching myself in the DLS community and am excited about the challenges that lie ahead.” He will also serve in a new position of director of enrichment programs where he will be responsible for developing new enrichment programs in several areas and expanding existing ones focused on athletic activities whose net revenue will be used to provide access and support for students from families of limited financial resources. The new coach inherits the defending East Bay Athletic League, North Coast Section and Northern California champions minus graduated all-everything player Jordan Ratinho and all-league standout Nikhil Peters. Among the top returning players are Colby Orr, Emeka Udenyi, Eric Headley and Connor O’Dea.

spent about 20 seasons coaching rival Miramonte through 2001 where he won five NCS titles. The Dons started with lopsided wins over Alhambra and Skyline of Oakland before coming up short the past two weeks at Heritage of Brentwood and Analy in Sebastopol. They finish their pre-DAL sked this Friday at 3-1 De Anza in El Sobrante. Campolindo 2-2 Like Clayton Valley Charter, Campo has been to the CIF State championship game the past two years, The Cougars were state champs in 2014. Coach Kevin Macy’s team has split its four games and hosts Hayward in the pre-season finale. The quarterback to receiver combo of Jacob Westphal to Vincent Mossoti has highlighted a passing offense searching for a consistent running game to complement. Las Lomas 0-4 The

Knights have lost their first four games while reaching double figures in scoring only once. The one time they racked up 21 points they were outscored 41-21 in the Battle of the Creek to crosstown rival Northgate. Coach Mikhail Ress-Nathans has found the going tough in his first season and LL finishes up pre-season at College Park. They figure to have a rough run in the tough Valley Conference this fall. Miramonte 4-0 The Mats will be favored to defeat Alhambra this Friday and complete an unbeaten pre-season. Coach Jack Schram’s offense revolves around senior quarterback Tim Tague who has already thrown 16 TD passes against only three interceptions. Six of his receivers have already caught passes totally over 100 yards.

See Football, page 15

Jose Canseco loses Home Run Derby to Ugly Eagles pair

Photo courtesy Clayton Valley Charter High School

Jose Canseco was a Major League Baseball all-star, American League MVP and World Series champion with the Oakland A’s but he was defeated last month in a home run derby by Clayton Valley Charter High School players James Biles (left) and Billy Ralston (22). Canseco was at a Pittsburg Diamonds game at Pittsburg City Park where he played in a few games for the independent professional baseball team. The CVCHS duo won a high school home run derby by outslugging duos from seven other East Bay schools in order to square off against Canseco. Each Clayton Valley senior hit four homeruns within two minutes in the first round and then Biles blasted a “walk-off ” homer to win the second round and put his team into the finals against the 52-year-old Canseco and Diamonds team owner Khurram Shah where the youngters prevailed 4-3. The two Clayton Valley Charter players look forward to their senior season next spring as returning all-league players.

September 23, 2016

Concord Pioneer • ed to improve and works hard at every practice. She goes after every ball, picking up most of them. She’s also a wonderful spirit on and off the court.” The coach says this example motivates others on the team to play hard and keep going when they’re tired. Moral is in the Key Club and Christian Club on campus. Summing up her nominee Hockenbery said, “She is dedicated to the sport of volleyball and Joanna is a joy to coach as she listens, implements what we tell her and then improves. We are lucky to have her on our team.”

Athlete Spotlight

Joanna Moral Grade: Senior School: Concord High Sports: Volleyball

Concord High girls volleyball coach Kristine Hockenbery had an easy choice to make when deciding who to nominate for the Pioneer Athlete Spotlight this month. She said senior libero Joanna Moral’s credentials could be summed up in one example: “In a preseason meeting, a player said her goal

Page 13

was ‘to play more like Joanna.’ It was no surprise when the team voted her as their captain this season.” The coach said in preparation for her second year on varsity Moral attended every open gym and conditioning we had during the summer and found other places to play in between. “She is highly motivat-

The Concord Pioneer congratulates Joanna and thanks Athlete Spotlight sponsors Dr. Laura Lacey & Dr. Christopher Ruzicka who have been serving the Clayton and Concord area for 25 years at Family Vision Care Optometry. Do you know a young athlete who should be recognized? Perhaps he or she has shown exceptional sportsmanship, remarkable improvement or great heart for the sport. Send your nomination for the Pioneer Athlete Spotlight today to

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Local schools facing familiar, new teams in Diablo Athletic League JAY BEDECARRÉ Concord Pioneer

The five fall sports in the new Diablo Athletic League besides football will be underway with DAL competition by next week. The new DAL setup places its 12 schools in separate Valley and Foothill conferences for each sport. The Valley Conference contains the top-ranked teams based on results from the past two years for the schools that previously were in the Diablo Valley and Diablo Foothill athletic leagues. The winner of each DAL conference earns an automatic North Coast Section postseason berth.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL Diablo Athletic League Conference alignments: Girls Volleyball – Valley: Acalanes, Campolindo, College Park, Las Lomas, Miramonte, Northgate. Foothill: Alhambra, Berean Christian, CVCHS, Concord, Mt. Diablo, Ygnacio Valley. Nine of the 12 schools made it to the North Coast Section post-season last fall over four divisions so hopefully the split into two divisions will make for top competition for the majority of teams. Campolindo was the NCS DIII finalist last fall for the top finish among the teams and that result moved Campo up to Division II for playoffs

this year. College Park was in NCS Division I last year and Northgate in DII. They will join four former DFAL teams in the Valley Conference. Clayton Valley went to NCS quarterfinals last year by winning a playoff with Northgate for the automatic section berth after tying for the DVAL title with the Broncos at 11-1. Second-year head coach Sebastian Sheehan says he’ll miss playing College Park and Northgate in league but “Alhambra and Berean Christian are the two teams we need to beat if we have any chance at winning this league.” DAL play begins next week with Tuesday and Thursday games through the end of October. The NCS playoffs run Nov. 2-12. The Northern California playoffs are Nov. 16-22 with the CIF State championships Nov. 26Dec. 3.

GIRLS TENNIS Girls Tennis – Valley: Acalanes, Campolindo, College Park, Las Lomas, Miramonte, Northgate. Foothill: Alhambra, Berean Christian, CVCHS, Concord, Mt. Diablo, Ygnacio Valley. Campolindo, Miramonte, Acalanes and Northgate made the NCS Division I field last fall with the Cougars going to the quarterfinals by beating rivals Miramonte. League matches are on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning this week through Oct. 25. The DAL tourna-

w e i V o l Diab truction Cons Photo courtesy Carondelet High School

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Freshman Isabelle O’Brien of Concord is on the Carondelet High varsity golf team, the defending North Coast Section champs. Her sophomore teammate Yealimi Noh, also of Concord, is the No. 1 player for the Cougars. The team is a top contender to win the East Bay Athletic League title and the Cougars hope to defend their NCS crown.

ment is Oct. 27-29 with NCS Berean Christian, CVCHS, team and singles-doubles Concord, Mt. Diablo, Ygnacio Valley. competitions in November. Clayton Valley Charter CROSS COUNTRY head coach Anthony Munch Boys & Girls Cross Coun- adds, “The new DAL is going try – Valley: Acalanes, Cam- to be one of the more compolindo, College Park, Las petitive leagues in the North Lomas, Miramonte, Northgate. Foothill: Alhambra, See DAL, page 15

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MDSA United complete Stanford Tripple-peat

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The MDSA united FC girls elite team have found a home away from home at the Stanford Summer Classic. For the third year in a row the local team won the tournament championship there. They previously were under 16 and u17 champs and last month made it three in a row, this time in the oldest u19 Adidas division. The team had quite an August by also taking first place at the Fair Oaks Cup Classic Gold division. The team includes, front row from left, Kalina Campos, Madison Bliss; middle row, Lisette Ayala, Viviana Aceves, Georgia Moraes, Savannah Christopher, Isabella Scarpulla, Neftali Ramirez, Kaleigh Finney; back row, coach Jose Soltero, Maggie Soltero, Adelle Meyer, Rylie Pearson, Coralie Senquis, Emily Hockenbery, Micaela Davis, Amanda Funk, Adriana Gauthier and coach Anthony Campos. Not pictured, Kaitlyn Chiok and Tianna Young and coach Nelson Arcaya.

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Concord Pioneer •

September 23, 2016

JAY BEDECARRÉ Concord Pioneer

Three athletes, one coach and a championship basketball team spanning four decades from the 1950s to the 1980s are being inducted into the Mt. Diablo High School Sports Hall of Fame at an induction dinner Nov. 5. This year’s recipients are athletes Joe DeRosa (Class of 1971), Oscar “Bud” Peebles (Class of ‘59) and Howard Silva (Class of ‘69), coach Darrell Leckliter (1961-83) and the 1957-58 boys basketball team. DeRosa, part of a longtime Concord family, was a

three-year starter in football and two years in basketball. He was selected to play in the Contra Costa-Alameda and North-South Shrine all-star football games after his senior season with lineman teammate Pat Micco. The duo went on to be starters at Cal for the legendary Golden Bears team led by quarterback Joe Roth and runningback Chuck Muncie. DeRosa also played rugby at Cal. Silva was a two year starting quarterback for the Red Devils and three-year basketball starter. He was named to the 1960’s DVAL all-decade basketball team and was 1969 ath-

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Editor’s Note: We are pleased to introduce Jacob Samuels as our new student SportsTalk columnist. Jacob is a senior at Ygnacio Valley High School where he runs cross country and plays for the varsity baseball team. He is the announcer for YVHS home football, basketball and soccer games. This summer he worked as a warehouse assistant and coach for San Francisco Giants Baseball Camps. Jacob has been an avid sports fan since before he could talk and was lucky enough to be in the ballpark when the Giants won the pennant in 2002 and 2012. His goal to attend UC Berkeley next year and major in communications.

As summer gives way to fall, football fans can finally see the date they circled on their calendar months ago: this Sunday, Sept. 11, the first NFL Sunday of the year. The Bay Area’s two teams have been headed in opposite directions for a couple years now. The Raiders, with thirdyear quarterback Derek Carr primed to make major strides, are a darkhorse for a wild-card playoff berth. On the other hand, although new head coach Chip Kelly’s success is unpredictable, the 49ers will likely need a rebuilding before getting back on top. It is imperative that Oakland take advantage of a light early schedule with only one of their first eight games against over .500 teams from last year (week six vs. Kansas City). A tough stretch then ensues, with four of their next five against last year’s playoff teams. The Raiders’ season finishes with potentially make or break road division games sandwiched around an intriguing home matchup with the Colts. If the Silver and Black can win eight of 13 going into this

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final trio of games, they stand a good chance of being in the playoff picture come January. My prediction: A 6-2 start is wasted after winning only one of the next five, followed by closing the season on a high note with a win in Denver. They will then have to rely on tiebreakers for their 9-7 record to be enough for the Raiders to reach their first playoff game since 2003 Super Bowl. Moving south to Santa Clara, projected week one starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert needs to become the player we all expected him to be when he was drafted 10th overall in 2011. For the fivetime Super Bowl champs to have even a whiff of the Lombardi trophy scramble, Gabbert must drastically improve on his career rate of 1.06 touchdowns per interception. With three division opponents and the defending NFC champions among their first five games, the 49ers will be tested early. The schedule lightens up fwith three winnable games at Buffalo and hosting Tampa Bay and. New Orleans), but that is short-lived because all

of the final eight games are either on the road (five) and/or against teams that won double digit games last season (four). My prediction: San Francisco succumbs to their tough schedule before their week eight bye, winning only one game. Chip Kelly does lead his team to victories over Dallas, New Orleans and Atlanta on his way to a 3-13 record while planning for the future. With the tough division that is the NFC West, the Niners unfortunately will be cellar dwellers for the second consecutive season. My NFL prediction: A determined Tom Brady leads the New England Patriots over the Chiefs in the AFC title game, but Carson Palmer is destined to finally get a ring as he leads his Arizona Cardinals into Lambeau Field for the NFC title game at Green Bay and then into Houston to win Super Bowl LI: Arizona over New England 23-21. Email any comments or questions to


Walnut Country Swim Team head coach Adrian Lohse developed the Eagle Rays swim programs as a supplement to summer recreational swimming. The fall program goes until Nov. 10 ST. FRANCIS CYO BASKETBALL STILL offering summer recreational swimmers of all abilities a chance TAKING PLAYER REGISTRATION St. Francis CYO basketball signups are being accepted to improve their strokes. One afternoon program is for up to throughout September for boys and girls through eighth grade. four days a week while other sessions are held for beginners Monday-Wednesday or advanced swimmers on Tuesday-ThursYou can find information and register at day. For more info email or visit ST. BONAVENTURE CYO CROSS COUNTRY SEASON UNDERWAY

St. Bonaventure CYO cross country is open to boys and girls in 2nd-8th grades in the St. Bonaventure attendance area. Cross country is a short, family-oriented season with practices Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5:30 p.m. in Newhall Park. The program is also looking for volunteer coaches. Parents are highly encouraged to run with their children at practices. Friday meets begin Sept. 23 with the Oakland Diocese meet Oct. 21. Contact St. Bonaventure CYO athletic director Joe Sullivan at 969-0207, email or visit for more info.


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McClymonds of Oakland. The squad finished with a 19-3 overall record. To order tickets for the Saturday, Nov. 5, hall of fame dinner at Zio Fraedo’s Continental Restaurant in Pleasant Hill contact Lou Adamo by phone (925) 212-9332 or email or mail a check to treasurer Larry Prosper, 3718 Hillsborough Dr., Concord 94520 by Oct. 20. Make checks payable to MDHSSHOF. Tickets are $55 per person. Proceeds go to help fund girls’ and boys’ academic and athletic programs at the school.

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lete of the year. Peebles was a key cog and all-league for two-time league champion MDHS baseball teams and also for the Red Devils basketball squads. Leckliter led the school to three straight league gymnastics championships from 196163. The ’63 team also went on to win the East Bay championship and advance to the Northern California meet. Coach Charlie Karp’s 1958 team won the school’s first basketball title in eight years and reached the second round of the Tournament of Champions in Berkeley before the Red Devils lost to top-ranked

Photos courtesy Mt. Diablo High School

Mt. Diablo HS announces 2016 Sports Hall of Fame Class


Clayton Valley High School Athletic Hall of Fame will induct its fifth class on Friday, May 19, 2017 at the Shadelands Art Center in Walnut Creek. The Hall of Fame committee is seeking nominees for that 2017 induction class. Nominees must be a CVHS grad from 1959-2006 and was all-league in at least one sport. Nomination forms can be picked up at the high school office during business hours. Contact Herc Pardi or Dee Billeter deebilleter@ with any questions. The committee will accept completed forms until Oct. 15.

TERRAPINS FALL CLINIC , YEAR-ROUND PROGRAM Forest Park Swim Team coach Jeff Mellinger is holding fall UNDERWAY swim clinics running through Thanksgiving. Swimmers can The renowned Terrapins Swim Team is hosting its annual choose from one-, two- or three-day weekly options. Coach Fall Stoke Improvement Program through Dec. 11 at Concord Mellinger has been with Forest Park for 17 years. For complete Community Pool. The program offers rec swimmers six-yearclinic information him at, olds through high school the opportunity to train under the professional Terrapin staff for three months. Limited clinic registraST. BONAVENTURE CYO BASKETBALL tion is now being taken online at The TerraTAKING SIGNUPS ONLINE Signups for boys and girls in second through eighth grades pins year-round USA Swimming program is also accepting applifor the St. Bonaventure basketball CYO program are being taken cations for its fall season. Call 680-8372 or visit online at For more information call 672- for more info. 5774. SPRINGWOOD FALL SWIM CLINIC RUNS THROUGH NOV. 19

Coach Niki Rodriguez is offering a fall swim clinic at Springwood Pool in Concord running through Nov. 19. Boys and girls up to 18 years old will get instruction in the four strokes over the 11-week program on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoon sessions at 3:30-4:30 p.m. or 4:30-5:30 p.m. Email coach Rodriguez at for more information.


Winter programs offered by All Out Sports Leagues in Clayton are taking registration now online. Tryouts for Blaze AAU boys and girls basketball will be held in December for grades 28. For complete information on All Out Sports programs, visit


Please let us know about your sports news, special events, fund raisers, tryouts, signups and accomplishments. Youth leagues, clubs, ST. AGNES CYO BASKETBALL schools and adult programs are all welcome to send us a rundown ACCEPTING REGISTRATIONS on what you’re doing. Include all the necessary details (too much Players in second through eighth grades can apply for St. information is better than too little!) and your contact information. Agnes CYO basketball by contacting the St. Agnes basketball It’s as simple as sending an email to athletic director at

September 23, 2016

DAL, from page 13

state. Campolindo and Miramonte regularly attend the state championships and the league races are going to have

a large number of runners for each division.” His Eagles boys were third at NCS DII and made it to State for first

Joe Protheroe piling up the yards for Cal Poly SLO football

Photo courtesy Cal Poly Athletics

Clayton Valley Charter won its first-ever North Coast Section football championship in the fall of 2012 and runningback Joe Protheroe was the featured back in coach Tim Murphy’s wing-T offense. He ended up as the third leading prep runner in California with 3,014 yards while scoring 222 points as a senior. He committed to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for the fall of 2013 but delayed his college enrollment one year. Over the 2014-15 seasons he ran for nearly 1000 yards and as a sophomore last year was first-team all-Big Sky Conference and third team STATS FCS all-America. The fullback has started off his junior season with three touchdowns and 250 yards. He’s done all this while helping his wife Ashley raise their daughter Jolene and prepare for a second child on the way. Murphy says, “He is a great father and husband. He defines everything we try to teach our players at CVCHS. Bottom line, he is the total package.”

Football, from page 12 FOOTHILL CONFERENCE

Mt. Diablo 0-4 Second-year head coach Derek Clements works with a varsity roster of 30 players and his Red Devils have so far come up on the short end of each game. They lost to Hercules, Concord, Miramonte and De Anza with the games against Division II powers Concord and Miramonte tough goes but the other two contests very competitive. Like some of his counterparts in the Foothill Conference, Clements welcomes the change in league setups and hopes it makes for much more balanced play. The Red Devils meet Berean Christian in their DAL opener. The Eagles were NCS Division V finalists last year. Mt. Diablo was

last in the NCS playoffs in 2014 in Division III.

Ygnacio Valley 1-3 Phil Puentes is in his fifth year in charge of the Warriors. They reached the NCS playoffs two years ago and hope the more competitive DAL schedule gives them another shot at the post-season. The Warriors defeated Las Lomas 14-7 in their second pre-season game but have lost to St. Patrick-St. Vincent, De Anza and Hercules in their other games. They host Fremont of Oakland in the non-league finale this Friday. Alhambra travels to Concord to meet the Warriors in the DAL opener Oct. 5. Alhambra 2-2 The Bulldogs of veteran coach Alan Hern went to the second round of the NCS playoffs last year and hope they are

Concord Pioneer • time in 13 years. In Division I NCS boys last fall College Park and De La Salle were top 10 while Northgate was sixth in DII behind CVCHS’s third place. Campolindo was first, Las Lomas second, Miramonte fourth and Acalanes fifth in DIII. Ygnacio Valley was 13th in D-IV. Girls cross country will be just as power-packed. College Park was seventh in NCS DI and Northgate, Carondelet and Clayton Valley Charter were top 10 in DII. In Division III Campo won the championship, Las Lomas was third, Miramonte fifth and Acalanes 12th. Campo Cougars took fifth at the CIF State meet. DAL has Wednesday center meets for all 12 teams on Sept. 28 at Hidden Valley Park in Martinez and Oct. 26 at Newhall Park in Concord. The center meets will be scored as dual meets. The league championship meet is at Hidden Valley Park on Saturday, Nov. 5, with the NCS Meet of Champions Nov. 19 and the state meet a week later.

DVAL team in the five-team Valley Conference that will feature games for five Wednesdays starting next week. Each team will have one bye during league play. Because there are eight teams in the Foothill Conference league matches began Sept. 14 and continue through a single-round of games ending Oct. 26. Alhambra (2013) and Las Lomas (2010-11) are recent DII NCS champs and should be top contenders along with Clayton Valley Charter in the Foothill Conference.

On the girls side, defending champion Miramonte, Campolindo (four times) and Las Lomas have claimed the last six DII NCS championships. The NCS tournament is Nov. 2-12.

year ago while Carondelet with Concord’s Yealimi Noh, then a freshman leading the way, won DI. Campolindo and College Park made it to the NCS qualifying meet. The DAL league tournament will be held Monday, Oct. 17, with the NCS qualifiers a week later followed by the Tournament of Championships on Halloween and the NorCal Championships Nov. 7. Carondelet is the defending NCS champs.

headed in that direction again after winning their most recent two non-league games over Washington of Fremont and Las Lomas. Berean Christian 2-1 Coach James Hodgins took his Eagles to unprecedented success last year with an 11-2 record and a place in the NCS Division V championship game where they lost to St. Bernard’s of Eureka. His son Isaiah Hodgins is among the top 40 high school football recruits in California. The 6-4 wide receiver has 37 catches and seven TDs from quarterback and fellow cocaptain Chandler Davis in their first three games. They are the only DAL school with a non-league game next week at Clear Lake after visiting Salesian in Richmond this Saturday afternoon. College Park 2-2 The Falcons of new coach Joseph Bautista figure to be among the favorites in the Foothill Conference. They close out

the pre-season against Las Lomas and then will host Northgate in the league opener Oct 7. Northgate 3-1 The Broncos are in their third year with coach Ben Ballard and hope they can advance past the first round of the NCS playoffs, which is where their seasons ended the past two years. The school has reached the post-season four times in a row. Northgate lost a defensive struggle 7-0 Windsor in their second game. They’ve won their other three games over Rodriquez of Fairfield, Las Lomas and Bethel of Vallejo. They wrap up non-league play at Alameda this Friday.

mores are currently starting for DLS 3-1 and they will be severely tested this Friday when 3-1 Antioch comes to the Concord campus. The game will be televised on ESPNU and the network is probably shocked that both teams have lost a game before their showdown. Antioch fell a couple weeks ago 49-28 to Milpitas while the Spartans lost at home last Friday 23-21 to East, a Utah power and defending 4A state champs. De La Salle had last lost a home game in 2008 by a nearly identical score of 23-21 to New Jersey power Don Bosco Prep. Harris has rushed for nearly 1000 yards in the first four outings despite not playing full games in a couple blowouts. Antioch will try and stop a 273-game De La Salle winning streak against Northern California teams that dates back to 1991 when another East County team, Pittsburg, beat them in the

NCS championship game. De La Salle has shown that some experts calling this version of the legendary school’s football program not at the highest level may be accurate. The Spartans needed Kairee’s Robinson’s touchdown and two-point conversation with a minute left a week before the East game to edge Servite of Anaheim 2827 in a Southern California clash. DLS had opened the year with two more “routine” home results over traditional rivals Amador Valley and Serra. The Spartans play an independent schedule so after the Antioch game they meet all East Bay teams against San Ramon Valley, Foothill, California, James Logan and Monte Vista. The team is famous for peaking at the end of the season and coach Justin Alumbaugh is hoping that will be the case again this fall as they try to remain the only California school to go to a State Bowl game every year.

SPARTANS CHALLENGED De La Salle entered the season with the label of a very inexperienced team after 32 seniors graduated from the State champions and of the 27 juniors on this year’s DLS roster only six played varsity last year. Seven sopho-

GIRLS GOLF Girls Golf – Valley: Acalanes, Campolindo, Las Lomas, Miramonte, Northgate. Foothill: Alhambra, CVCHS, College Park, Concord, Ygnacio Valley. Miramonte won the NCS Division II championship a

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WATER POLO Girls & Boys Water Polo – Valley: Acalanes, Campolindo, Las Lomas, Miramonte, Northgate. Foothill: Alhambra, College Park, CVCHS, Concord, Ygnacio Valley, Hercules, Pinole Valley, St. Patrick-St. Vincent. Campolindo won the NCS boys title last year and in 2013 while Miramonte is 14time Section Division I winner. Acalanes won the title in 2010 so the competition in DAL should be top notch. NCS DII champ from last fall Northgate is the only former

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Page 16

Concord Pioneer •

September 23, 2016

CVCHS principal abruptly resigns, Gaffney appointed JAY BEDECARRÉ Concord Pioneer

Never far from the headlines, Clayton Valley began its fifth term as a charter high school last month welcoming the school’s largest freshman class in many years and within weeks of the opening having principal Jeff Eben suddenly announce his resignation. Eben was starting his second year on the Concord campus when he left less than four weeks into the fall semester. No reason for the resignation has been given by the school or Eben. The school issued a statement: Since this matter involves a personnel issue, CVCHS is unable to provide any additional remarks at this time and asks the CVCHS community and media to respect the privacy of all involved. The departing principal, who by all accounts was quite popular with all facets of the campus community, told the Pioneer, “I love the students and staff at Clayton Valley and will miss them dearly.” At the school’s regular monthly governing board meeting last week Dr. Patrick Gaffney was announced as interim principal and John McMorris as deputy principal. Gaffney has been with the school since it became a charter while McMor-

AFTER SERVING JUST ONE YEAR AS PRINCIPAL of CVCHS, Jeff Eben (left) resigned. Dr. Patrick Gaffney (right) will serve as principal or this school year.

ris was principal of Northgate High for six years through the end of the 2013-14 school year. Executive director Dave Linzey said, “Dr. Gaffney has been asked to transition from deputy principal to interim principal for the remainder of the 2016-2017 school year. As a seasoned administrator who helped open CVCHS, the Board values his history with CVCHS in this new leadership role. “We also are fortunate to have welcomed two veteran administrators – John McMorris and Jim Stewart – who join our management team and ensure an exceptional student and employee experience at CVCHS. We look forward to John’s positive contributions as a seasoned administrator now at

Carondelet Laura McFarland

Stand up against sexual assault


Three weeks ago, Brock Turner was released from Santa Clara County jail after a three-month stay. The 27-yearold in the infamous Stanford University rape case only served half of his six-month sentence after being charged with three counts of sexual assault. Turner sexually assaulted an unconscious 22-year-old woman behind a dumpster at a college party. After being

reported by two witnesses, Turner faced trial and a maximum sentence of 14 years. In the United States, the average prison time for rape is 8-9 years. The prosecution suggested six years, yet Brock received six months. And then he was released early for “good behavior.” The lack of punishment for violating a woman’s body is a mockery of both the victim and the crime. The injustice of

CVCHS. John was beloved by his students and parents [at Northgate] and we are confident he has much to offer our families.” McMorris resigned from his Northgate post after it came to light that he was paid $20,000 per annum by the non-profit Parent Faculty Club for two school years to supervise the school’s Model United Nations program. It was reported at the time that teachers or administrators supervising this extracurricular activity are usually paid about $1000 stipend. Ironically McMorris, citing fears of financial ruin for remaining district schools, had been an outspoken opponent of Clayton Valley converting to a charter back in 2011 when the

this situation infuriates me. I’m constantly reminded of the statistic that one in five women are raped or sexually assaulted in their college years. The judge remarked that Turner’s light sentence was because anything more would have a “severe impact” on the young man. What about the impact on the victim, on both her mental and physical health? What about her scars, a daily reminder that her body and her dignity were violated? This case is not only about a woman being raped behind a dumpster. This is about the continuous denial of justice for sexual assault victims. The three months Turner served are a symbol of something larger: the notion that men deserve priority over women. Turner was in jail for 90 days. I wonder if that is enough time to realize that sexual assault is wrong under any circumstance. Or if it’s enough time for the victim to heal, to

school was seeking to leave the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. A year after the charter began McMorris lauded many of their efforts and reported to the Northgate site council and PFC that there were CVCHS programs Northgate should emulate. St. Mary’s College faculty member Monica Fitzgerald was an active Northgate parent while McMorris was principal. “Mr. McMorris was ‘the new sheriff in town’ at Northgate. He brought spirit to the community and new programs to the school. He’s a transformative leader who brought the Northgate community to a whole new level. We were very saddened when he left.” Fitzgerald added, “We’re very happy for Clayton Valley getting the opportunity to work with him.”

After approval last month by the Mt. Diablo Unified School District Board of Education, the process of re-opening Holbrook Elementary School in North Concord is moving forward. Next August, students will be there for the first time since 2011. In a cost saving measure the school board—which also cited declining enrollment— closed both Holbrook and nearby Glenbrook Middle School following the conclusion of the 2010-11 school year with grade school children in the Holbrook enrollment area sent to Wren Avenue, Sun Terrace and other MDUSD sites. Superintendent Dr. Nellie Meyer and her staff presented the board with four options of

“strong instructional programs” at a re-opened Holbrook: model education center, magnet school, theme-based (arts, STEM, technology, project-based) or dual language. Those options are being explored with a planning committee led by MDUSD director of special projects Stephanie Roberts. High on the agenda is hiring a principal by the first of the year in order to begin assembling staff, establishing curriculum and myriad other tasks. School board president Cheryl Hansen, a strong proponent of the re-opening and the only board member who voted against the closure, said she was surprised to find out there was a dedicated group of Holbrook parents who still met even though the school had been shuttered since 2011.

“I’ve met with them and they will have a key part to play as we move forward. Many of the parents also went to Holbrook [opened in the 1950s] and have a deep connection.” It is projected Holbrook will initially begin with kindergarten through third or fifth grade and then add a grade each school year through sixth grade. The enrollment in 2010-11 was nearly 400 students for grades K-6. Hansen says the possibility re-opening Glenbrook in the fall of 2018 will be discussed soon by staff and the board. District estimates it will cost about $4.6 million for needed heating and air conditioning, restrooms, technology, flooring, painting, windows, playgrounds, kitchen equipment/repairs and roofing, largely funded by Measure C.

Hansen says almost all of those items were dropped from the Measure C projects list when Holbrook was closed so it’s really “catch-up” rather than new funding to get these done. Ironically, the Measure C staff for the district has been housed at Holbrook for several years and will move out with the school reopens. Another program leasing space at the school, Novea, will also move out. Another $660,000 of computers, classroom furniture, instruments and library books will need to be purchased using Measure A funds, bringing total cost estimate to $5.3 million. A community survey about the school and curriculum is planned this fall along with public meetings in November and February.

school as well as support and respect for the staff and administration. We are fortunate to have such great kids at CVCHS.” The board meeting concluded with a financial report on the unaudited final 2015-16 fiscal year budget that shows an $11.8 million surplus moving into the 2016-17 school year. This includes a $3.6 surplus from the recent school year, primarily due to $2.1 million that was budgeted for but not yet used to install new turf fields on campus. That project has been delayed for over a year while the school and district litigate other issues.

Concord High

Don’t confuse individual actions with a CHS attitude

STUDENTS AIR FEARS At the CVCHS board meeting several dozen students were in the audience and a few spoke during the public comment period bemoaning the resignation of their principal as well as over 50 other staff and faculty members Aasim Yahya in the past three years. CONCORD HIGH Student body president CORRESPONDENT Cameron Martin was the first As a proud Minuteman, I speaker and said that, although was shocked when I scrolled the school’s test scores are good down the comment section of and the campus is clean, the stua Claycord post regarding fights at Concord High during a game against College Park on Sept. 9. Posts included hateful feel safe outside her house exchanges that referred to my again, to be able to live her life school as “Thugville” and without the constant reminder called for unnecessary mass punishments. Some comments of her assault. Brock was punished for his pointed the finger at the actions, but it was a jokingly administrative team or at offilight sentence – and he only cers in attendance. However, the culture of served half of it. No one should get away with sexually Concord High will not be tarassaulting a woman, because it nished by a few hateful messends the message that the U.S. sages. Every time I walk through justice system does not take the halls of Concord High, I’m rape seriously. The punishment was a joke, embraced by the supportive but the crime is the furthest staff and outstanding administrative team. Changing a culthing from funny. As a young woman in a ture is a difficult task, but every world that still faces inequality member of the CHS staff is between the sexes, I am disap- dedicated. We are lucky to have pointed and angry that Turner admin, teachers and students walks free after three months who genuinely care. in jail. However, I am hopeful that if enough people share this outrage, maybe something will finally be done. McFarland is a senior at Carondelet High School and a member of the cross country team. Send comments and questions to

Process of re-opening Holbrook Elementary next fall moving forward JAY BEDECARRÉ Concord Pioneer

dents want to be informed [about changes at the school]. “We’re kids, not test scores,” he said. Senior Alissa Guevera gave an impassioned speech decrying the turnover in teachers and administrators as she and her classmates conclude their four years at Clayton Valley. As promised, the day after the board meeting Linzey, McMorris and Stewart met with the student leadership class. Linzey said, “The meeting with student leaders went very well. CVCHS has some of the brightest students anywhere. They show incredible love for their


When I viewed the comments, I was hurt by how others perceived my school based on the actions of a few individuals. Hatred, especially targeted at a high school, is unacceptable in our Concord community. The events were separate from the game. This was not a clash between CHS and CPHS students but rather the mistake of a few. The posted comments indirectly build an unnecessary tension among students. Unfortunately, violence and hatred dominate the media today. Concord has always been my home. We are a small community, and ensuring that we are united can make a real impact.

Aasim Yahya is a sophomore and student body vice president. He has a passion for basketball and plays on the school team. Send comments to

Helping students navigate the digital world

Technology has opened the door for great exploration and innovation for teachers in their classrooms. We now have Chromebooks, mobile apps, digital student response systems, access to a wealth of information and knowledge through the web, Google classrooms, Twitter and Remind. And the list goes on and on. The challenge is teaching the value of digital social responsibility and how to cope in a world where sharing our lives with others is almost mandatory for social survival. Students in this generation face difficulties that their parents did not experience. Today’s parents didn’t worry about being the teenager without a cell phone. They also didn’t worry about whether they would be publically judged by pictures, tweets and posts. They didn’t think about being “liked,” “re-tweeted” or “shared” – or about the “footprint” they were leaving

behind that could be traced for years down the road. At Concord High, we take on this challenge by teaching students digital social responsibility through a newly revamped Advisory program. Teachers selected students for a 35-minute block of time where lessons such as these can be tackled. Teacher advisors will help students explore the challenges and benefits of social media, while giving them strategies to use in certain situations. Students will learn the importance of respecting themselves and others online. They will also understand how to responsibly connect with others, as well as how to protect themselves and others. This is part of what we teach as the Minutemen Way. We hope to create responsible citizens, both digitally and personally, as they are thrust into this “paperless” world.

Send comments and questions to

September 23, 2016

Concord Pioneer •

Page 17

New School of Performing Arts lands in Walnut Creek JAY BEDECARRÉ Concord Pioneer

When the first graduates from the Contra Costa School of Performing Arts get their diplomas in the spring of 2019, the senior class members as well as the school’s original administrators will look back at their earliest times at the new public charter high school as quite an adventure. Executive director Neil McChesney has been navigating through challenging waters for 15 months, since the county Board of Education approved his plan to start the unique charter high school. In doing so, he overcame a legal challenge by the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, secured start-up financing and encountered real estate and permitting roadblocks. McChesney says starting a school from scratch is an “immense and complex task.” Top of the list was finding a physical location on which to

operate the School of Performing Arts. The dream of running the school on the site of the Concord Pavilion is still alive. But after looking at numerous locations in Central County, the school will be in the Shadelands area of Walnut Creek for the foreseeable future. Because of permitting and construction issues this summer, the leased facilities on North Wiget Lane won’t be ready until the first of the year. ACRE Education, an organization that helps charter schools secure facilities, is in the process of purchasing the buildings and will lease them to SPA. This meant that the opening of the charter school had to be delayed 2½ weeks, until Aug. 29. In order to get the mandated 175 instructional days, they will end classes June 9 – the same day as MDUSD ends its year. For the first month or so, the 330 students in grades 6-10

are in temporary quarters in a nearby building. They will move into 10 portable classrooms on their school site next month. In a couple years, when enrollment reaches 500, the school will also occupy the adjacent building. The facility issues haven’t dampened the enthusiasm for the new school, McChesney said. “The students and families have embraced our little community.” The school has relied on grants, fundraising and a line of credit to manage expenses and cash flow. The first payment from the state will come in October. McChesney explains that public schools get about 37 percent of their funding based on average daily attendance in the October payment, with the rest spread out monthly through the school year. The school has already cast its first production, “Metamorphoses,” a play by Mary Zim-

merman that will be presented at the Pavilion. In keeping with SPA’s mission, also on tap are a holiday choral and vocal show in December, a late winter dance performance and an allschool musical in the spring. McChesney and his administrative team conducted a month-long professional development program this summer for their 18 teachers. Schools typically have two or three days of summer workshops for staff. Much of that time was spent integrating the performing arts into more traditional subject matter. After an intense six-month application process, the new charter was chosen as one of less than 100 schools in the nation to be part of a Facebook-developed, cutting-edge online curriculum program. The Personalized Learning Platform is provided free to the school, which is expected to “pay it forward” to its students and community. SPA students should have

Clayton Valley Charter High Patrick Gaffney CVCHS PRINCIPAL

CVCHS helps students prepare for next steps

Fall is an amazing time of the academic year. For many, it’s a new start at a new school. But for others – especially junior and seniors – it’s about making final plans for college and career objectives. The College & Career Center at CVCHS supports students’ academic, vocational, personal and social needs. Cindy Edwards oversees the center and works alongside the academic counselors to further prepare all students for life after high school. While all regional high schools offer some sort of support, CVCHS exemplifies a broad range of informational opportunities – including testing, tutoring, financial aid,

scholarships, collegiate and career speakers. CVCHS has implemented Naviance, a comprehensive college and career readiness solution allowing students to create a personalized plan and to make the right decisions throughout their academic journey. The college application process has become more complex and competitive in the last decade. On Sept. 22, CVCHS hosted a Senior Parent Night to provide parents with everything about rapidly approaching deadlines – from testing dates to applying to college to meeting graduation requirements. Additionally, students have the opportunity to attend SAT

Northgate High Michael McAlister NORTHGATE PRINCIPAL

Northgate poised for banner year

Northgate opened this fall with great fanfare and excitement. One of the things we’re celebrating this year is our Silver

Award from US News and World report, ranking Northgate as one of the best high schools in California. We are also excited to see how the Mt.

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BRIDGETTE EDWARDS, A CVCHS FRESHMAN, reviews her personalized college plan with Center Director Cindy Edwards

and ACT boot camps, sharpen skills at practice placement tests and meet with college representatives throughout the state. This month, we had visitors from Mount Saint Mary’s of Los Angeles, UCLA, UC Santa Cruz and UC San Diego. Members of the U.S. Marine Corps stopped by to speak with interested students and hosted a “pull-up challenge” on campus.

Finally, I am excited to announce a special recognition starting with this year’s graduating class: The A-G Graduation Cord. It’s a red, white and blue cord to be worn at graduation for students who meet challenging course requirements. We already have a lot of interest at the counseling office about this distinctive honor.

Send comments and questions to

much lighter backpacks than their friends at other schools, since the charter provided each student with a Chromebook and there are no textbooks used at SPA. The entire cur-

riculum is provided digitally.

For a peek at the first day of the Contra Costa School of Performing Arts on Aug. 29, check out a oneminute video at

Mt. Diablo High

MDHS joins Twitter universe

Liane Cismowski MDHS PRINCIPAL

Mount Diablo High School is on Twitter, and you can follow us @MtDiabloHS. The school’s resident Twitter specialist, Vice Principal Elena Duarte Ruiz, is highlighting the amazing things happening in the classrooms and academies: Medical Biotechnical Academy students are getting certified by FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute; Architecture Construction Manufacturing and Engineering students are studiously comparing and contrasting ancient Greece and Rome; Digital Safari Academy students played a rigged Monopoly game to help them understand generational wealth and income inequality; and Inter-

national Hospitality and Tourism Academy juniors are engaged and supported in their English and U.S. History classes. Meanwhile, World Academy students were featured in a beautiful story in the East Bay Times. Find a link to the article and video on the school’s Twitter feed, along with a short video from Univision Noticias. We hope that the use of this social media outlet will help the community see the learning going on in our classes as we prepare all of our students for college, career and civic responsibility.

Send comments and questions to

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Clayton Valley Charter High School—Parent Faculty Club Diablo Unified School District is upgrading our WiFi so students and teachers can better take advantage of online educational opportunities. Additionally, our athletic teams – football, water polo, volleyball and cross-country – are all poised to do well this season. On the academic front, teachers are learning how to maximize content mastery with an assortment of Google training that involve various Google Apps for Education (GAFE). In the weeks ahead, this will unfold in constructive ways. Our goal for this year is to

continue to build a community that supports happy, healthy and innovative people. This applies to every person involved with Northgate – students, parents, faculty and staff. This helps us with our guiding vision: “Excellence for, and from, all students.” We are looking forward to the year ahead and all that it might bring. We welcome previously unseen talent getting a chance to shine along with the traditions that get to be continually celebrated. Send comments and questions to


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T HE ARTS Page 18

Concord Pioneer •

September 23, 2016

Grant assures future of Clayton Theatre Company

Congratulations to Clayton Theatre Company for receiving a well-deserved grant from the Clayton Business and Community Association. The $6,000 will cover the royalty fees for the company’s fall production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,”

The highlight of this year’s Eugene O’Neill Festival, subtitled (R)Evolution, features “Seascape” and “The Emperor Jones.”

which runs Oct. 13-29 at Clayton’s Endeavor Hall. “This is a wonderful musical for the whole family to enjoy that will tug at your heartstrings,” says director Roxanne Pardi. Pardi noted that this grant represents a new direction for both the civic organization and Clayton Theatre Company, which is in its fourth year. According to Pardi, the struggling company has barely stayed afloat from year to year, and this year’s rising overhead threatened the future of the young company. For tickets, go to Pittsburg Community Theatre opens its season with the popular musical “Fiddler on the Roof,” through Sept. 25 at the California Theatre in downtown Pittsburg. Directed by Steven Mergogey-Conti and with musical direction by Carille Bruno-Thayer, the show is set in the little village

of Anatevka. Tevye, a poor dairyman, and his wife are raising five daughters with the help of their colorful and tight-knit Jewish community. For more information, go to The Eugene O’Neill Festival presents O’Neill’s “The Emperor Jones,” Sept. 23Oct.2 at Danville’s historic Tao House. O’Neill’s drama tells of a fugitive turned island dictator who finds himself running for his life when the island’s inhabitants revolt. Other events at the festival include a staged reading of Adrienne Pender’s original play “N,” about the relationship between O’Neill and actor Charles Gilpin, who starred in “The Emperor Jones.” The reading takes place 8 p.m. Sept. 29 at Tao House. For a detailed schedule, call 925.820.1818 or go to Onstage Theatre celebrates love later in life with its production of Joe DiPietro’s “The Last Romance,” through Oct. 1 at the Campbell Theatre, 636 Ward St., Martinez. Romance is in the air when an 80-year-old widower decides



Cindy Goldfield, Jeremy Kahn and Maureen McVerry in Center Rep’s comedy “It Shoulda Been You,” at the Lesher Center through Oct. 8.

to take a different path on his morning walk. Meeting an elegant but distant woman renews his boyish charm as this hilarious yet warm-hearted story unfolds. Helen Means directs with Bill Dietz as the widower, Sheilah Morrison as Carol, Lynn Elizondo as Ralph’s sister and Davey Towers as a younger Ralph. Tickets are $10-$18. Call 925.518.3277. Center Repertory’s hilarious musical “It Should Have Been You” continues through

Steven W Mergogey-Conti

James “Jim” Coniglio stars as Tevye in Pittsburg Community Theatre’s “Fiddler on the Roof,” at the California Theater through Sept. 25

Randall Nott

Bill Dietz, Sheileh Morrison and (standing) Lynne Elizondo from Onstage Theatre’s production of “The Last Romance,” a celebration of late-in-life love, at the Campbell Theatre through Oct. 1.

Oct. 8 at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr. Talk about a wedding disaster: The bride and groom’s families come from wildly different cultures and clash on everything. Then the bride’s ex-boyfriend arrives and brings the wedding to a screeching halt. Hysterical chaos ensues as plots are hatched, promises broken and secrets exposed. Call 925.943.SHOW or go to Black, Muslim, outsider are the labels carried by Shakespeare’s most famous Moor as he climbed the military ranks. But surviving in battle in faraway lands doesn’t begin to compare to the tragedy he will suffer at home. Cal Shakes’ artistic director Eric Ting directs a gripping and provocative interpretation of the Bard’s “Othello,” running through Oct. 9 at the Bruns Amphitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way, Orinda. Aldo Billingslea stars as the famous Moor, with Liz Sklar as Desdemona. Call 510.548.9666 or go to Also in Orinda, the Orinda Starlight Village Players continue “Love, Sex and the IRS” through Oct. 1 at the Orinda Community Center

Park Amphitheater, 29 Orinda Way. The comedy has enough mistaken identities and subplots to make even fraudulent tax returns seem funny. Call 925.538.9225 for reservations. Just in time for the elections, Contra Costa Musical Theatre (CCMT) takes us back in time to when the likes of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and an upstart named Benjamin Franklin were forging the country’s declaration of independence from the British Empire. The musical “1776” runs Oct. 7-Nov. 5 at the Lesher Center for the Arts. “This is not only one of the great American musicals, it couldn’t be any timelier than it is right now,” says CCMT general manager Danny Boyle. Scout Fryer directs, with Heidi Dahms as musical director. For tickets, call 925.943.SHOW or go to For the younger theater lovers, Fantasy Forum presents “The Princess and the Pauper” Oct. 13-15 at the Lesher Center for the Arts. The audience always plays an important part in Fantasy Forum productions, with some lucky young people even sitting on the stage. Come and help figure out just who is the princess and who is the pauper. Call 925. 943.SHOW or go to Sally Hogarty is well known around the Bay Area as a newspaper columnist, theatre critic and working actress. She is the editor of the Orinda News. Send comments to

A.C.T. opens 2016-’17 season with ‘history’ and drama With its witty echoes of Shakespearean drama, Mike Bartlett’s brilliant contemporary work “King Charles III” blurs the boundaries of truth and tragedy. In this speculative history, Queen Elizabeth is dead and Prince Charles ascends to the throne. “Charles” will be at the American Conservatory The-

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ater in San Francisco through Oct. 9. Flanked by wife Camilla and sons William and Harry, Charles challenges an uncompromising Parliament, but it is his daughter-in-law, Princess Kate, who shows the real ambition for the sceptered isle. Is Charles the man who would be king, or was he born to succeed only in name? Nominated for five 2016 Tony Awards, this imaginative glimpse of future history is a theatrical event of crowning achievement. “King Charles III” is a co-production with Seattle Repertory Theatre and the Shakespeare Theatre Company of Washington, D.C. It’s written by Bartlett and directed by David Muse.

STOPPARD RETURNS TO ACT WITH ‘PROBLEM’ Following a sold-out run at the National Theatre in London, Tom Stoppard’s new work “The Hard Problem” makes its West Coast premier at the American Conservatory Theater Oct. 19-Nov. 13. Razor-sharp psychology grad Hilary wins a prestigious brain research position that forces her to confront her lover (and academic advisor) in a fight to defend the soul, altruism and even God from modern science. But as she competes for funding against a

Ken Berne

William (Christopher McLinden) speaks to members of the press with Kate (Allison Jean White) and Charles (Robert Joy) by his side.

rival project racing to unlock the mathematical secrets behind stock market risk, Hilary realizes that her biggest threat is closer to home: her own genetic secret. “The Hard Problem” shows Stoppard at his best as he dives deep into this compelling conflict of mind vs. matter. The provocative drama of sex, science and supercomputing is Stoppard’s first play in a decade. This marks the 10th collaboration between Carey Perloff and Stoppard during her 24year tenure in San Francisco. Under the direction of Perloff, “The Hard Problem” features Brenda Meaney as Hilary, Anthony Fusco, Mike Ryan, Vandit Bhatt, Narea Kang, Dan Clegg, Stacy Ross, Safiya Fredericks and Carmen Steele. “A 50th anniversary celebration of ACT without Tom-

Stoppard would be unthinkable,” Perloff says. “And it’s particularly exciting to bring a brand-new Stoppard play to the Geary, a play that wrestles with faith, technology, altruism, brain science and the irrationality of love. Like many Stoppard plays, ‘The Hard Problem’ collides ideas and passion in surprising ways, as a young woman struggles to understand the life choices she has made.” At 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3, Stoppard will join Perloff at the Geary Theater for an intimate conversation where he will discuss his significant contribution to ACT. A limited number of general admission tickets will be available at The theater is at 415 Geary St., San Francisco. For tickets or more information, call 415.749.2228 or visit

September 23, 2016

CALENDAR Concord Pioneer •



Rotating lineup of food trucks. 5 – 9 p.m. 2151 Salvio Street.

Tuesdays Farmers’ Market

Tuesdays year round, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Todos Santos Plaza, downtown Concord.

Thursdays thru Oct. 27 Farmers’ Market

Market 4 – 8 p.m. Todos Santos Plaza, downtown Concord.

3rd Sundays Antique Faire

Antiques, collectibles, handmade arts and crafts. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Todos Santos Plaza, downtown Concord. Free admission.

Sept. 24 Hawaiian Fusion

Polynesian culture and Hawaiian-fusion buffet fundraiser sponsored by Concord Senior Center. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. 2727 Parkside Circle, Concord. $50. Contact Caryl Tynan at 671-3321.

Sept. 24 Native American Day Celebration

Author Dean McLeod talks about his research on one of the county’s first people, the Chupcan tribe. Sponsored by the Contra Costa County Historical Society. 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Willow Pass Community Center, 2748 E. Olivera Road, Concord. $10 suggested donation. Reservations requested: 229-1042 or

Sept. 24, Oct. 1 English Tutors Needed

Help local adults read, write and speak English. Diablo Valley Literacy Council teaches volunteers how to be a tutor. English need not be your first language. No teaching experience required. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 4000 Clayton Road, Concord. Nominal fee to cover the training and materials. Must attend both workshops. To register, call (925) 685-3881 or send email to

Sept. 29 Preventing Falls


Mount Diablo Interpretive Association programs listed are free with the exception of park entrance fee. Go to and click on Event Calendar for more information.

Oct. 16 The California Tarantula

Meet and hold a tarantula while you learn about the life cycle of these harmless and fascinating creatures. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Summit Museum.

Oct. 29 Halloween Trek

A talk and trek in search of creepy, crawling creatures that live on Mount Diablo. 5 – 7:30 p.m. Meet at Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center. Reservations required:

Save Mount Diablo programs listed are free unless otherwise noted. Go to and click on Activities/Guided Hikes for more information. 947-3535.

Sept. 25 Mount Diablo Challenge

Family-friendly, 11.2-mile, timed bike ride. Registration 7 a.m. Monte Vista High School, 3131 Stone Valley Road, Danville. $100. Contact Karen at


Thru Sept. 24 “The Improvised Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”

Murder, mystery and mayhem abound in this hysterical homage to the master sleuth. 8:15 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $20. 943-7469.

Thru Sept. 25 “Fiddler on the Roof”

Rich in historical and ethnic detail. California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. $10-$25. 427-1611.

Thru Oct. 1 “The Last Romance”

A heartwarming story about getting a second chance at love at any age. Presented by Onstage Theatre. Martinez Campbell Theatre, 636 Ward St., Martinez. $10-$18. 518-3277.

Thru Oct. 8 “It Shoulda Been You”

Hilarious and heartwarming musical that is a culture clash for the ages. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $37-$63.

Workshop hosted by Concord Senior Center. 9:30 – 11 a.m. 2727 Parkside Circle, Concord. $3. Registration required: concor- Sept. 23 – 24 “Dance Series 01” Contact Dario Sanchez at 671-3017. Presented by Smuin Ballet. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $57-$73. 943-7469. Oct. 15

Concord Museum and Event Center

Docent-led walk through of restoration progress on former Masonic Temple. 1, 2 and 3 p.m. 1928 Clayton Road, Concord. Free; donations requested.

Oct. 15 Orchid Show and Sale

Ribbon judging, sale of orchids and supplies, workshops, repotting service, raffle. Presented by Diablo View Orchid Society. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Willow Pass Recreation Center, 2748 E. Olivera Road, Concord. $5.

Oct. 15 – 16 Icing with the Stars

Contra Costa Cake and Sugar Art Society’s annual show. Open to anyone interested in entering or attending. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. First Lutheran Church, 4000 Concord Blvd., Concord. $5; $8 both days.


Saturdays thru Sept. 24 Farmers’ Market

8 a.m. – 12 p.m. 6095 Main St., Clayton.

Sept. 24 – 25 Skip Ipsen Memorial Bocce Tournament

Inaugural open bocce tournament in memory of Skip Ipsen. Sponsored by Clayton Business and Community Association. 12 – 6 p.m. Ipsen Family Bocce Park, 6000 Main St., Clayton. $400 per team.

Sept. 30 – Oct. 2 Oktoberfest

Sponsored by the Clayton Business and Community Association. Music by The Internationals, biergarten, food, arts and crafts, carnival. 6 – 10 p.m. Fri., carnival only; 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Sat.; 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sun. Downtown Clayton. Free admission.

Oct. 3 November Ballot Measures

Kay James from the League of Women Voters speaks about the pros and cons of several upcoming propositions. Sponsored by Clayton Library and Clayton American Association of University Women. 7 p.m. Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road, Clayton. Free. Call 672-3411 for more information.

Oct. 13 - 29 “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”

Presented by Clayton Theatre Company. Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., Clayton. $20-$25.


Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve programs are available for registration through Parking fees may apply. For additional information, contact Black Diamond Visitor Center at (510) 544-2750 or

Thru November Hazel-Atlas Mine Tours

Learn about the mining history and geology at Black Diamond Mines. Guided, 90-minute tour; Saturdays and Sundays. Must be age 7 or older with parent. $5. For reservation and ticket information, go to

Oct. 16 In Search of the Nortonville Ghost

Find out who or what terrified miners in the 1870s. 4 - 6:30 p.m. Meet at Black Diamond Mines Upper Parking Lot.

Sept. 24 - 25 “Now and Then”

Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra performs. 2 p.m. Sept. 24, El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $7 - $15. Sept. 25, Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $10-$30. 943-7469.

Sept. 25 “Let’s Hang On”

Frankie Valli tribute. 3 p.m. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $25-$27.

Oct.1 Magic and Comedy

Ryan Kane performs. 8 p.m. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $20.

Oct. 1 “PaPa’S BaG: A James Brown Experience”

Enjoy the electrifying performance of a music icon. 8 p.m. California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. $17-$20. 427-1611.

Oct. 7 – 30 “The Fantasticks”

A timeless, romantic tale of a boy, a girl and their fathers’ schemes to get the two married. Presented by OMG, I Love That Show! Productions. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $39. 943-7469.

Oct. 7 – Nov. 5 “1776”

The most fascinating leaders in American history come to life in a musical about the birth of a nation. Performed by the Contra Costa Musical Theatre. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $50-$55.

Oct. 8 “Elect to Laugh”

Political comedy for people who don’t like politics with Will Durst. 8 p.m. California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. $20-$25. 427-1611.

Oct. 9 “Fireworks and Fantasy”

Presented by the Diablo Symphony Orchestra. 2 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $35. 943-7469.

Oct. 9 “Harana: A Cultural Journey”

A showcase of the Philippine evolution of music through songs, movement and drama. 8 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $25-$50. 943-7469.

Oct. 13 – 15 “The Princess and the Pauper”

The audience plays an important part in this real life shell game. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $14. 943-7469.

Oct. 14 Comedy

Friday night live from the Pitt Stop hosted by comedian Mario Hodge. 8 p.m. California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. $20-$25. 427-1611.

Oct. 15 “The Wonder of Elvis – The Tribute”

Exciting, one-man show starring Rob Ely. 3 and 7:30 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $45. 943-7469.

Page 19

Oct. 21 – Nov. 19 “Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery”

Comedic genius Ken Ludwig transforms the classic into a murderously funny adventure. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $33-$60.


Oct. 21 – Nov. 6 “Hairspray”

Piled high with laughter, romance and deliriously tuneful songs. Diablo Valley College, 321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill. $11$21.


2nd and 4th Sundays Pancake Breakfast

Veterans of Foreign Wars serve breakfast to the public: Eggs, pancakes, sausage, beverage. 8 – 11 a.m. VFW Post 1525, 2290 Willow Pass Road, Concord. $5, $3 children under 12.

Sept. 24 Black Tie Event

Music, dinner, auction benefiting Pillars of Hope. 5:30 – 10 p.m. Oakhurst Country Club, 1001 Peacock Creek Drive, Clayton. $100.

Sept. 24 Red, White and Brew

Wine and craft beer tasting sponsored by Contra Costa Blue Star Moms. 1 – 3:30 p.m. Concord Police Association, 5060 Avila Road, Concord. $35 per person or two for $60.

Oct. 7 “Lights, Camera…Auction!”

Concert, dinner, live and silent auction. Proceeds benefit CVCHS Instrumental Music Program. 6 - 10 p.m. Perera Pavilion, 320 Civic Drive, Pleasant Hill. $50 per person; $450 per 10-person table.

Oct. 8 Afternoon Tea Party

Sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1525 Auxiliary. 2 – 4 p.m. Oak Park Christian Center, 2073 Oak Park Blvd., Pleasant Hill. $25. Email for tickets and additional information.

Oct. 15 Craft Fair/Oktoberfest

Handmade crafts, family fun, raffle. Proceeds benefit Dana Estates Neighborhood Alliance. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Dana Plaza, 4115 Concord Blvd., Concord. Free admission.

Oct. 21 Golf Tournament

Golf, dinner, raffle, awards. Proceeds benefit St. Agnes Catholic School’s Development Fund. 10 a.m. check in. Boundary Oak Golf Course, 3800 Valley Vista Road, Walnut Creek. $175 individual; $650 foursome. For more information, call Dave Lucas at 787-8360.

Oct. 23 Native Plant Sale Extravaganza

Seven nurseries, including Markham Arboretum, help you purchase hard-to-find native plants. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Markham, 1202 La Vista Ave., Concord.

Oct. 23 Sunday Supper

Supper and silent auction. Proceeds benefit Clayton Valley Village. 5 – 9 p.m. La Veranda, 6201 Center St., Clayton. $45. Reservations only by Oct. 18. 672-3672.


The Concord Library is at 2900 Salvio St. Programs are free unless otherwise noted. See full schedule of events at or 6465455.

Sept. 22: Concord Library Refresh Celebration, 5 p.m. Sept. 23 – 25: Book Sale, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Fri. and Sat.; 1 – 3 p.m. Sun. Sept. 26: STEAM, 7 p.m. Registration required. Sept. 29: Master Gardeners, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 3: Movie Monday, 7 p.m. Oct. 6: Origami, 4 p.m. Oct. 10: Tarantula! 7 p.m. Oct. 11: Crafty Tuesday, 4 p.m. Registration required. Oct. 13: Art Appreciation/Jose Guadalupe Posada, 6 p.m. Oct. 15: Day of the Dead Altar Building, 1 p.m. Oct. 22: Nicho Workshop, 1 p.m. Registration required.

The Clayton Library is at 6125 Clayton Road. Programs are free unless otherwise noted. See full schedule of events at or call 673-0659.

Sept. 26, Oct. 10: Clayton Knits, 1:30 p.m. Sept. 28: Contra Costa County’s Community Warning System, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 29: Hooray for Fish, 4 p.m. Sept. 29 – Oct. 26: Guess the Weight of the Library Pumpkin Oct. 1 – Nov. 16: Clayton Reads, “The Language of Flowers” Oct. 3: November Ballot Measures, 7 p.m. Oct. 5: The Paper Airplane Guy, 7 p.m. Oct. 10: Clayton Library Book Club, 7 p.m. Oct. 14 – 16: Used Book Sale, 4 – 7 p.m. Fri.; 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sat.; 12 – 4 p.m. Sun. Oct. 17: Star Party with Mount Diablo Astronomical Society, 7 p.m.


1st, 2nd and 4th Tuesdays Concord City Council

6:30 p.m., Council Chamber, Concord Civic Center, 1950 Parkside Dr.

1st and 3rd Wednesdays Concord Planning Commission

7 p.m. Council Chamber, Concord Civic Center, 1950 Parkside Dr.

Page 20

Concord Pioneer •

September 23, 2016

Neo-Western‘Hell or High Water’ possible Oscar contender Each scene with Bridges and Birmingham feels like we are sitting alongside two men who have been friends for decades. Half of their dialogue is completely unrelated to the plot, yet it’s fascinating just the same. Even the bit players have some of the best lines in the movie. From a flirtatious waitress to a frustrated cowhand, the characters ring true. Cinematographer Giles Nuttgens impeccably captures



The Western is a dying genre. Apart from the occasional remake like “3:10 to Yuma” or “True Grit,” years can pass between fresh Westerns. For every “Django Unchained,” we get failures such as “Jonah Hex,” “Wild Wild West” and the horrific “Lone Ranger.” For the most part, NeoWesterns have taken over. “Brokeback Mountain,” “No Country for Old Men” and “The Hateful Eight” are all Oscar-nominated Neo-Westerns. It is a safe bet to add David McKenzie’s new film, “Hell or High Water,” to that list. Jeff Bridges was born for the role of soon-to-be-retired Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton. Every gruff, garbled insult directed at Hamilton’s patient

A gruff ranger (Jeff Bridges) and his patient partner (Gil Birmingham) provide un-PC hilarity in ‘Hell or High Water.’

partner Albert (Gil Birmingham) is a treasure trove of unPC hilarity. Albert takes it – throwing it back occasionally – because soon Marcus will be relegated to drinking beer on the porch. The last thing either of them wants is a major case in their sleepy town of Rome, Texas. And the last thing that brothers Tanner (Ben Foster) and Toby Howard (Chris Pine) want is to bring any attention to their bank robbing scheme. By only stealing the small bills from different branches of the same company, they know it won’t bring any federal heat. Foster plays Tanner with reckless yet focused abandon,

while Pine’s Toby is all business. Both men are driven to complete their task quickly, which ups the suspense by adding in a ticking clock. The men have decidedly put family above all else, including their own lives. McKenzie and writer Taylor Sheridan (“Sicario”) are masters at back-and-forth dialogue. At the beginning, it seems unnecessary for the characters to just sit and talk. However, as the plot unfolds and we realize the end game, the conversations become welcome relief to the tension. Foster and Pine nail the brotherly dynamic, as if they had actually grown up together.

the feel of a small Texas town. The dust and grit come right through the screen. Every place the characters go – banks, diners, the family ranch – feels like the middle of nowhere. By the time the climax hits, we know where each character is likely headed. However, we have grown so fond of them that there is absolute dread regarding any possible adverse outcome.

Few films can keep the tension high right up until the credits begin to roll. Kudos to McKenzie for creating not only a fabulous Neo-Western, but the best movie of 2016 thus far. A

Max Porter’s brilliant and wildly creative debut novel, “Grief is the Thing With Feathers,” is nothing if not a walk on the dark side. Porter has created the ultimate unreliable narrator. Mainly this takes shape as three points of view: an unnamed Dad, who is struggling with the freakish reality of the sudden and tragic death of his wife; his two unnamed Boys; and Crow. The last is a bird equally Greek Chorus, tormentor

and comic relief who provides support to the broken family as they come to terms with their loss. Grief is an experience that is strange, bewildering and completely extraordinary. It’s difficult to make sense of it. In this context, if someone you know and love can suddenly disappear, then why not accept Crow as comforter and catalyst for emotional healing? Crow might as easily be Dancing Bear or Coach or Priest. Crow is kind yet dangerous. He speaks in a prose poem that doesn’t make sense until the reader relinquishes the need for sense: “Very romantic, how we first met. Badly behaved. Trip trap. Two-bed upstairs flat, slitlevel, slight barbed-error, snuck in easy through the wall and up the attic bedroom to see those cotton boys silently sleeping, intoxicating hum of innocent children, lint, flack, gack-pack-nack, the whole place was heavy mourning, every surface dead Mum, every crayon, tractor, coat, welly, covered in a film of grief.” It makes no sense, but it is strangely persuasive. Dad is dealing with a lost wife, two small sons, bottomless grief and a book deadline because life must go on. His book-in-progress is called “Ted Hughes’ Crow on the Couch: A Wild Analysis.” Perhaps this is why Crow shows up as grief personified. In any case, Crow makes appearances as copy editor and critic, as well as grief counselor. Reality is a fluid concept, alternating between a father worrying about his motherless sons and the intrusion of a feathered protagonist. However, as the Who remind us, “The Kids are Alright.” The Boys live in a world where they create stories to shore up their experience: “Dad and Crow were fighting in the living room. Door closed. There was a low droning cawera skraa, caw, cawera skraa and Dad saying Stop it, Stop it, caw, craw, and the hocking retching, spitting, bad language, cronks, barks, sobs, a weird gamelan jam of broken father sounds and violent bird calls, thumps and shrieks and twinging rips. Crow emerged, ruffled, wideeyed. He gently closed the door behind him and joined us at the kitchen table. We coloured in zoo pictures with our felt-tipped pens and Crow went over the lines.” The narrative makes all the sense in the world, in context. It is all about life imitating art. This is a dazzling debut novel that any lover of language will savor.

Jeff Mellinger is a screen writer and film buff. He holds a BA in Film Studies and an MFA in film production. He lives in Concord. Email comments to

Porter’s ‘Grief ’ strives to make sense of death





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September 23, 2016

Concord Pioneer •

Page 21

Solo Opera, KidFest leaders win county arts awards TAMARA STEINER Concord Pioneer

Sylvia Amorino and Jay Bedecarré have spent many years involved in the local arts and cultural scene, and each was honored this month by the Arts & Cultural Commission of Contra Costa County with an Arts Recognition award. In 1996, the commission began “honoring those who have made a significant artistic or philanthropic contribution to Contra Costa’s arts and culture.” This is the 19th year the Arts Recognition Awards have honored worthy individuals and

Photo courtesy Solo Opera

SYLVIA AMORINO founded Solo Opera 16 years ago and during the ensuing years has brought opera to audiences around the Bay Area. She is being spotlighted for her tireless efforts with a 2016 Arts Recognition Award from the Arts & Culture Committee of Contra Costa County. This is the 19th year AC5 has honored “those who have made a significant artistic or philanthropic contribution to Contra Costa’s Arts and Culture.”

organizations (no awards were presented in 2009). Amorino has had a 35-year career as a voice teacher and performer in the Bay Area and founded Solo Opera 16 years ago. The Concord-based organization has produced 15 operas at the Lesher Center for the Arts and around the Bay Area. Besides being artistic director, she wears many hats for Solo Opera. She runs day-to-day operations for the company, stage directs and produces every show and, in her spare time, does publicity, marketing and fundraising. And Amorino does all this as a volunteer. She feels it’s important that Solo Opera continues to be a professional business that pays its singers and production personnel. In nominating her for the award, Carlyn Obringer says of Amorino, “Her passion for the arts is unstoppable. With many local groups closing up shop, Sylvia and Solo Opera continue to fight on to preserve the arts and classical music in Contra Costa.” In 2014, she created Storybook Opera “to bring opera to youth and help inspire a new generation of music lovers.” Over the past three years, Storybook has presented “Hansel and Gretel,” “Chip and His Dog” and “The Computer Kid’s Magic Night.” Casts have featured adult, teen and child performers. Solo Opera will produce the holiday opera “The Gift of the Magi” next year, based on the short story by O. Henry.

wining the county award since his mentor, Pavilion general manager John Toffoli Jr., was an inaugural AC5 recipient in 1996. The San Francisco native was marketing director at the Pavilion for its first 12 seasons, advertising and marketing nearly 800 events. In collaboration with Toffoli, Bedecarré helped the Pavilion present worldrenowned artists in every musical genre from opera, symphony, ballet, modern dance and musical theater to rock, jazz, country, pop, R&B and folk music. He was lauded by the city when he left the staff as “the man who made the Concord Pavilion known to the world.” He purchased a local advertising agency in 1987 and continued to market Pavilion events until 2002. In 2010, when the city of Concord said Bay Area KidFest

Photo courtesy Bay Area Festivals

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could no longer be held at Todos Santos Plaza for financial and logistical reasons, Bedecarré moved the family-friendly event to his nearby alma mater, Mt. Diablo High School. KidFest has been held for the past seven Memorial Day weekends on the school site. One of the major attractions of KidFest is the community stage, where up to two dozen local groups perform annually. Bedecarré took over KidFest from long-time producer Beth Clark in 2009, after the city of Concord and Clark had co-produced the event for 20 years. He formed a company, Bay Area Festivals, and now also presents camp and school fairs, the Bay Area Kids’ Book Fair, Super Holiday Boutiques (Dec. 4 this year at Centre Concord) and other events around the Bay Area.

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Concord Pioneer •

September 23, 2016

Crossroads Covenant Church celebrates 40 years of ministry STEVE STEWART Special to the Pioneer

In June 1976, a home bible study group of 12 men and women held a worship service in the Farm Bureau Hall. 125 people attended that first service.

Shortly after its first service, the church moved to temporary quarters on West Street and became part of the National Covenant ministries. 59 members signed the charter and 163 attended services on Sept. 26, 1976. They started looking for a permanent home. The prop-

erty at the crossroads of Concord Blvd. and Kirker Pass Rd. was available and on the advice of the leadership of the Evangelical Covenant Church, the church made an offer. After three months of negotiation, the sale price was set and with just twelve hours to spare, the remaining funds were wired to Crossroads by a farmer businessman from Minnesota. “You convinced me this is God’s will. We can’t lose the property.” His banker thought he was crazy. In 1980, the small church had plans to build a $785,000 multipurpose building, but couldn’t obtain the financing. So, in the spirit of “The Little Engine That Could,” the congrega-

tion became its own general contractor, constructing the facility for $365,000 with investment from its parent National Covenant Properties and much volunteer labor. A Christian education

still 125 members strong and many other organizations meet at the facility. Crossroads’ vision for the years ahead is “Igniting and advancing personal relationship with Jesus, leaving a legacy of disciples in our wake.” Crossroads Covenant Church in Concord welcomes all who wish to attend one or both celebrations of their 40 years. On Sept. 25, at 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning services will be with former pastor Kenneth P. Carlson and on Oct. 2 at 10:30 a.m. with former pastor Gregory E. Asiwing was added in 1994. Over the years, many makoupoulos. members have gone on to Crossroads Covenant Church is serve in the pastorate across the United States and as mis- at 5353 Concord Blvd., Concord. sionaries outside of the For more information, go to crosscountry. The congregation is

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a single layer. Cover with foil and roast at 400°F for 40 to 45 minutes. Grill: Mix trimmed sprouts with oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Place on a piece of foil and wrap like a package. Toss

longevity. It’s important to keep current with your colonoscopies along with mammograms or prostate checks. The recommended age to have a first colonoscopy is 50. I waited until I was 65, and now I am paying the price. I put it off because I assumed it would be painful and icky. Well, you’re pretty much stuck at home during the prep and it can be icky. But the exam itself is a breeze. They put you into what is called “twilight” sleep, and it’s over before you know it. Older seniors should know the routine, but I worry about the “young” seniors. When you turn 50, you don’t appreciate being called a senior. So people tend to avoid anything remotely

“seniorish.” But don’t wait. If you fall into this category, bite the bullet and schedule an exam. According to “Age is the No. 1 risk factor for colorectal cancer. More than 90 percent of those diagnosed with this disease are 50 or older, and the average age of diagnosis is 64. By the time colorectal cancer is diagnosed, it has probably been growing for several years. Research indicates that by age 50, one in four persons have developed polyps. In the United States, 50,000 people die from colorectal cancer every year, and it is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.” Those are sobering statistics. Research shows that ingest-

EASY ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS 1 pound small Brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved 2 tablespoons olive oil ½ small white onion, sliced thinly Preheat oven to 400°F. Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Add a half tablespoon of minced garlic if desired. Cover with foil. Roast for about 35-40 minutes.

Kick colon cancer to the curb with early detection

ing calcium, vitamin D, folate or multivitamins may reduce the risk of developing this disease. However, the best way to prevent full-blown colorectal cancer is early detection. Pick up the phone and call your provider to make an appointment. The call may be one of the most important ones you’ll ever make.

Christine Kogut is a marketing director for the Concord Senior Citizens Club. She has lived in the area for 40 years and formerly worked for the Contra Costa Times. To find out more about the Concord Senior Center, call 925.671.3320 or see the city’s website at

Doors can open up your home to stunning views September 23, 2016



I recently reread one of my favorite books, “A Room with a View” by E. M. Forster. If you like romantic, witty, wellwritten novels, I recommend this lovely slice of life. The book ends with Lucy Honeychurch and George looking out the window in the pension where they first met, taking in the view of Florence and relishing the moment of complete happiness. Yes, a room with a view certainly is special – from a


Concord Pioneer •

grand view of Mt. Diablo from your kitchen window, to a meandering view of the Carquinez Strait from your great room or an intimate view of your backyard garden or swimming pool. Blocking them is shameful, so here are a few doors to consider to let the light in and enjoy your perfect view. If you’re looking for a door opening that literally transfigures from a wall of glass to openness, look into “nano” door manufacturers. Some manufacturers call them “scenic doors,” which is exactly their purpose. When closed, the individual doors look like framed (or frameless) glass doors. But they open in a zig-zag pattern and collapse onto each other to opposing sides, leaving an opening as large as the doors you have installed. A variation to this design are sliding doors that vanish into opposing

The right kind of doors can open a whole wall, creating a beautiful room with a view

walls, just like pocket doors. When open, nano doors literally remove an entire wall in your home – erasing any divisions between inside and out. French and sliding doors

are most common for that happy balance of bringing the indoors out and outdoors in. Some French doors can provide you with an opening up to 14 feet wide, and a slider can

Page 23

open to 16 feet wide. A pivot door is just what you think it is – a door that pivots on an off-center support. The design and layout of

your residence will dictate what door, or series of doors, will work best, as well as the budget you assign to this project. While these fantastic door systems sound amazingly chic, sometimes you don’t have the space or the need for an overthe-top door installation. Often, a picture-perfect window, or series of windows, is more than adequate to open up a living space that is in dire need of a focal point. When taking on a structural change, such as a new door or window, always work with a contractor to optimize the size and quantity of your new decorative accent. Who knows what secret view may be hiding behind a plain interior wall, just waiting to be seen. Jennifer Leischer is the owner of J. Designs Interior Design based in Clayton. Contact her with questions, comments and suggestions at

Take steps to keep pets safe in inclement weather



As the season changes and the frost of winter slowly creeps in, it’s time to think of how to “winterize” our pets. It’s just as important to shield pets from cold weather as it is to protect them from hot weather – even during mild California winters. The best strategy is to keep pets indoors during inclement weather. When you do venture outdoors, keep dogs on-leash. Snow and rain can wipe away familiar scents, causing a dog to become lost or disoriented. A fur coat isn’t enough protection from the cold, especially if the pet is short-coated, a puppy or a senior. Your pet might be more comfortable in winter-wear, like a sweater, jacket or booties. Look for coats or sweaters that cover from neck to tail and aren’t

restrictive or uncomfortable. When indoors, be sure pets have a warm, draft-free spot to rest in with lots of soft, cozy bedding. Wrapping a pet in an electric blanket all day might sound like a good idea, but leaving an animal alone with an electric item is a recipe for disaster. Warming pads, like SnuggleSafe, can be heated in the microwave and stay warm for 12 hours. When it’s cold or rainy, pets may resist going to the bathroom outside. Work with her to keep her comfortable. A jacket or rain slicker might help, or hold an umbrella over her to keep her dry. Chilly kitties will look for any warm place to curl up outside, including under the hoods of cars – where they run the risk of serious injury. Bang loudly on the hood of your car before entering. Any slumbering felines will be frightened by the noise and escape before you start the car.

Never leave a pet unattended in a car on a cold day. The winter weather turns a car into a rolling refrigerator. If it’s cold outside, leave animals warm and safe at home. When coming in from a winter walk or play session, dry pets off thoroughly and take extra care to wipe legs, paws and stomach. Pets living in or visiting snowy climates can pick up salt, antifreeze or other dangerous chemicals on their pads, making them sick if they lick them. Pets should not be kept outside during the winter. However, if you absolutely must leave them outdoors for a limited amount of time, create a shelter that is dry, clean and well-insulated as well as protecting them from the wind and elements. Check water bowls to ensure they have plenty of fresh (not frozen) H2O. Animals with fragile immune systems – kittens,

Ricky and Moe are this month’s ARF adoption stars

puppies and senior pets – might be more susceptible to illness during this time. If you suspect an animal has a cold weather-related illness, take them to see the vet right away. Elena Bicker is the Executive Director of Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. She can be reached at (925) 2561ARF (1273)


• 4803 Keller Ridge Dr., Clayton

Call for info

2 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom, 1252 sq. ft.

Listing agent: Matt Mazzei


• 229 El Pueblo Pl., Clayton

Rent $3,950/mo.

5 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 2643 sq. ft.

Listing agent: Matt Mazzei

• Vacant Land — 14.25 acres in Brentwood

Call for price

Listing agent: Matt Mazzei

PENDING: Buyer Representation

• 1614 Lipton St. Antioch


4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1707 sq. ft.


2-year-old Ricky is a sweet, social, spunky young lad that loves walks and opportunities to follow his nose. He would enjoy joining you on social activities to meet new friends and climb into their laps for a quick ‘hello”. We recommend Ricky take a Basic Manners class where he can learn polite ways of seeking creature comforts in life. He currently weighs 25 pounds. The adoption fee for dogs is $250 and includes a discount


on the first six-week session of cue Foundation, 2890 Mitchell a manners class. Drive, Walnut Creek, during adoption hours: Noon to 6 pm 16-week-old Moe is a won- Wednesday & Thursday, Noon derful kitten looking for a lov- to 7 pm Friday, and Noon to 6 ing home. He just needs a pm Saturday & Sunday. quick second to warm up and then adores playing with a Would you like to be part of the wand toy and gentle pets to the heroic team that saves the lives of head and neck. She is suitable rescued dogs and cats? Can you for a first time cat guardian. share your talents to connect people The adoption fee for kit- and animals? ARF volunteers are tens less than 6 months $125. making a difference! For more information see our website, Meet your forever friend at, or call (925) 256Tony La Russa’s Animal Res- 1ARF.

Agent: Rula Masannat

• 767 Glacier Way, Fairfield


3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 17233 sq. ft.

Agent: Kyle Garcia

Matt Mazzei, Jr.,

Paula & Rod Johnstone

Rula Masannat

BRE# 01881269

DRE# 00797857

DRE# 01923757

Broker Associate

Broker/Owner 925-766-6745

Paula 925-381-8810 Rod 925-286-5765 Clayton residents since 1959

925-693-0757 (Main)


Sales Agent 415-310-2905

6160 Center St. Suite #C, Clayton

925-693-0752 (Fax)

Page 24

Concord Pioneer •

September 23, 2016

Trees in Clayton’s Grove excellent shade options If you enjoyed any time at the Grove Park in downtown Clayton this summer, maybe for a kids’ play date or one of the locally famous summer concerts, you may have noticed how nicely the shade trees are growing. The canopy-style trees planted throughout the picnic table areas, and the roundheaded trees lining the borders at the playground and along Main Street have all grown steadily. Chinese Evergreen Elm and Golden Rain trees surround the picnic tables. Both trees are highly valuable to Clayton gardens and landscapes, providing vertical interest, wind protection and shade. The Chinese Evergreen Elm is also known as Ulmus parvifolia Drake. This exceptional shade tree has a weeping growth habit. Finely toothed leaves are medium green in

color and turn yellow in the autumn. The Chinese Evergreen Elm will lose its leaves if temperatures dip below 30 degrees, but they are fast to regrow. The tree ranges 30-40

feet tall and wide, so consider mature growth when planting. Golden Rain trees have the recognizable, papery seed pods that appear during the summer months. These seed

pods are valued by florists and designers, as they make great additions to arrangements. The Golden Rain tree can be found in nurseries under the name Koelreuteria paniculata. This tree grows with moderate speed. It has wellbehaved roots, which makes it ideal for patio areas and walkways. In spring, yellow flower panicles dangle from the open branch habit. The Golden Rain will reach 20-25 feet tall and almost as wide. The leaves are fern-like and blueish green. Before the leaves fall in autumn, they change to gold – adding more appeal to this beloved shade tree. The rounded trees bordering the playground and Main Street are a combination of pink blooming Crape Myrtle and Chinese Pistache trees. Chinese Pistache trees are a Clayton favorite, and can be found planted along our


combination to help you choose the right accessories to harmonize your look. There are friendly colors directly to the left and right of the original color you picked. Analogous colors can do wonders to your wardrobe because they complement each other. Group your clothes according to colors by stashing them in piles of black, red, yellow, blue, etc. Stand before a goodsized mirror as you drape each piece of clothing around your body. It is best to perform the assessment with someone who can give you an honest opinion. The process will help you pick colors that flatter and

make you look healthy, while also identifying non-complementing colors that make you look aged and tired. The color category will help you build a wardrobe that look best on you. Take a piece from each color group and add a piece from one of the piles. Match them against your skin to determine if the combination suits you differently. If you’re satisfied with how you look in certain colors and

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

VISIT THE GROVE, Clayton’s town center park, for some great ideas for fast growing, sun-loving shade trees for local gardens.

streets and landscapes. This round-headed tree is valued for its exceptional fall color. Look for the selection of Chinese Pistache called Keith Davy. This male doesn’t produce berries. Chinese Pistache trees are the swan of the landscape. While young, this tree can look awkward. But as it matures, the Chinese Pistache becomes spectacular and can reach 2530 feet tall and wide. They will need occasional thinning to expose the beautiful structure. Crape Myrtle trees are the best summer-blooming trees around town The flowers are panicle shaped in pinks, red, lavender and white. This family of ornamental trees thrives in our hot weather and clay soil. Many selections of Crape Myrtle display vivid fall colors. Mature heights and width depend of selection. You can

combinations, have it captured in photo so you can take it along on your next shopping trip. Here are some other color tips: Color tends to be at play when it’s nearest the face. If you love a particular color that doesn’t suit your hairstyle or eye color, try wearing it away from these parts – such as a handbag or shoes. You may have a favorite dress, but it doesn’t enhance your appearance. Combine it



expect anywhere from 10 feet to 20 feet tall, so do some research before planting. Keep these trees in mind as the fall planting season is quickly approaching. Visit the Grove Park and see these fabulous tree selections for yourself. It’s great to get a feel for a tree’s mass before you add it to your landscape. Nicole is the Garden Girl at R&M Pool, Patio, Gifts and Garden. You can contact her with questions or comments by email at

Flip through color wheel to enhance your wardrobe It can be amazing when someone wears two opposite colors that look good combined. Chances are, the wearer knows her undertone and she can play with the color wheel adeptly. The color wheel is an illustrative organization of color hues showing the relationship between primary, secondary and complementary colors. There’s an invisible line that splits the wheel in half to indicate the warm and cool sides. If you pick any color and trace your finger to its direct opposite on the wheel, you will get two complementary colors: a warm and a cool color. If the colors complement on the


wheel, they are most likely to look great in clothing. To determine the most flattering look for you, place the color on the wheel that works best for your skin tone near your face. It will set the color

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The fall/winter show for Etcetera Women’s Clothing and J. Hilburn Custom Clothing for Men will be in Clayton Oct. 9-14. Contact me for your personal appointment.

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