The Valley Sentinel_July/August 2020

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Alamo • Danville • Blackhawk • Diablo • San Ramon


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always for the community VOL 25 NO 4

July / August 2020


Danville Student Receives National Recognition A Danville student was named a National Youth and Young Adult Ambassador by the Campaign for TobaccoFree Kids for his leadership in fighting big tobacco. Akshaj Molukutla, 13, is from Danville, and has been involved in tobacco control and prevention for one year, including through local group CourAGE Contra Costa. As an Ambassador, Akshaj will build on his experience seeing the harms of tobacco in his community by expanding his advocacy skills. As part of the Ambassador program, the teens took part in a five-day online training session to hone their advocacy and communications skills.




This month The Museum of the San Ramon Valley celebrates the centennial of the 19th Amendment when women won the right to vote! The museum will be hosting two events to honor this. Please see the news on page two. The above image is called Awakening, by Henry Mayer, 1915.

Last Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) Marsh Habitat in Contra Costa County in Dire Need of Protection

Postmaster: Dated Material

By James M. Hale

Sentinel Newspapers, Inc. P.O. Box 1309 Danville, CA 94526 925-820-6047

The Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) or (Anas crecca carolinensis) is a locally common, widespread waterfowl species that breeds in the northern areas of North America, from Alaska and Canada down to California and the western Unites States. Unlike other dabbling ducks, it prefers the forested wetlands of Canada for nesting, rather than the imperiled prairie pothole region. It rarely nests in Contra Costa County, with only a few records in the literature. The few accounts are from McNabney marsh near Martinez. There is continued debate as to whether the North American Greenwinged Teal is conspecific with the Eurasion Teal (Anas crecca), a subspecies, or separate species.

The American Ornithological Society is reviewing the issue. Many authorities consider it to be a distinct species based on morphological, behavioral, and molecular evidence. The scientific name is from Latin, Anas, for duck, and carolinensis, for of Carolina. The subspecies crecca, is onomatopoeic, for the sound the male or drake makes when calling. The Green-winged Teal is the smallest North American dabbling duck. Sheltered northern boreal wetlands, such as Taiga bogs, and marshes with emergent vegetation like bulrushes, cattails and sedges are the preferred habitat. Nesting occurs on land, near water, and under vegetative cover. It feeds by dabbling

in water for pondweed, and the seeds, leaves, and shoots of aquatic vegetation, or grazing. Insects, mollusks, and crustaceans are also consumed. It is a highly gregarious species that will form large, post-breeding flocks. This strongly migratory species spends its winters much farther south of its breeding range, with huge numbers wintering in the

Marismas Nacionales-San Bias mangroves of western Mexico. The highly maneuverable, fast flight of the Green-winged Teal is characteristic of the species. Breeding males are colorful birds, with light gray backs, pale yellow rumps, and chestnut See HABITAT page 5

This Month’s Special Section:

Home & Garden

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July / August 2020

Virtual Events and News Bits Hearts Around Hartz Exhibition Available to View

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment: Women win the right to vote!

New exhibit has 17 heart sculptures in the downtown area

In 2020 we celebrate the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. It states: The rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex. On August 18,1920 the Tennessee legislature became the 36th and final state to ratify the 19th amendment. On August 26, 1920 the amendment was certified and added to the U.S. Constitution. The 19th amendment is sometimes called the Susan B Anthony amendment in honor of the suffragette leader. To celebrate this centennial the Museum of the San Ramon

The latest public art exhibit in the Town of Danville is now complete. All 17 hearts sculptures of the Hearts Around Hartz exhibition are now on display downtown. The outdoor exhibition will be on view through mid-October for all to enjoy. To see all of the locations, there is a downloadable map available on the Town’s website at heartsaroundhartz. Download the map and take a self-guided walking tour. Starting August 4, 2020 the Town can download a scavenger hunt on the Hearts Around Hartz webpage that will allow for a fun way to see all of the hearts. Complete the scavenger hunt, fill out the bottom portion of the map with your contact information and be entered into a drawing for a chance to win raffle prizes each week for the duration of the art exhibition. The heart sculptures are approximately four feet by four feet and each one is completely unique, painted or mosaicked by a different Bay Area artist. Heart art imagery ranges from landscape to floral to abstract to traditional to themes that are playful. With an array of styles, colors and subject matter represented, this outdoor exhibition is sure

to make all hearts beat a little faster. Most of the hearts have been sponsored, but for those interested, there is one left to sponsor. To sponsor the remaining heart, contact Cultural Arts and Marketing Supervisor Jessica Wallner at jwallner@ The outdoor exhibition closes in mid-October with an online auction from October 15–October 20, 2020. Come downtown, check out the hearts, then bid to take it home during the auction. All proceeds from the online auction will go back to the Town’s public art fund and used to create future public art exhibitions. For more information, contact Visual Arts Coordinator Marija Nelson Bleier at (925) 314-3460 or mbleier@danville.

California Symphony Announces Updated Fall 2020 Programming New series features four free virtual concerts and conversations with Music Director Donato Cabrera WALNUT CREEK, CA (July 22, 2020)—California Symphony, led by Music Director Donato Cabrera, announced today a revised program schedule for its 2020–21 season, which will expand public access to music while adhering to current state COVID-19 safety guidelines. In lieu of the previously scheduled live concerts in September and November, California Symphony will now present four FREE virtual concerts with donor support and a newly awarded grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Out of 846 nonprofits that received an NEA CARES ACT

Grant, California Symphony is the only nonprofit in Contra Costa County to receive this funding and is among only 2% of orchestras funded by this grant nationwide. Each hour-long presentation will feature fresh performances as well as conversations with Maestro Cabrera. The concert series, called Second Saturdays @ California Symphony, will run from September– December, with performances on September 12, October 10, November 14, and December 12 at 7:00 p.m. PST. Patrons See SYMPHONY page 5

Valley will be putting on two events: The first takes place every Saturday in August from 10–12 at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley. Outside the museum we will have an outdoor exhibit providing information about women’s suffrage with docents (in masks and social distancing) telling stories and answering questions. The second is an online program, Women Win the Vote in California on August 20 at 11:30–1:00. This program will feature a video of the current Women Win the Vote exhibit at the Museum. In addition a power

Danville Town Council Approves Update to Street Closures Weekend closure area to shorten following business owner feedback At a special meeting on July 29, 2020 on Zoom, the Danville Town Council voted to modify the area of the weekend closure of Hartz Avenue in the downtown. Council members received a briefing from Economic Development Manager Jill Bergman on how the closures are being received by the business community, nearly one month after the weekend change went into effect. Currently, Hartz Avenue is closed between Diablo Road and School Street from early Friday morning through Sunday evening. Bergman stated that she has heard from many of the business owners in the area who do not feel the weekend

Want to Help? Contact Tracing Volunteer Opportunities Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) is aggressively expanding its capacity to do contact-tracing investigations

closures are having the beneficial effect many were expecting, and called for the south end closure to be lifted between Prospect Avenue and School Street. Council members discussed the issue, then directed staff to shorten the closure area to the block of Hartz Avenue between Diablo Road and Prospect Avenue. The time period of the closure will remain the same. The new layout takes effect beginning July 31, 2020. Other areas closed off to create parklets for outdoor dining are unaffected by this change. For more information, contact Economic Development Manager Jill Bergman at (925) 314-3369 or jbergman@

point on the history of woman suffrage provided by exhibit organizer and museum curator Beverly Lane. This will be followed by a question and answer session. To attend this online program please visit our website at and go to the Events section. Click on Women Win the Vote in California and register. If you have any questions please feel free to call the museum at (925) 837-3750 The Museum of the San Ramon Valley is located at 205 Railroad Ave Danville CA 94526. We are presently closed.

Contra Costa County COVID-19 Update as of 7/17/20

Donating Protective Equipment and Supplies for Healthcare Providers Contra Costa Health Services is now accepting donations of protective equipment and supplies for use by healthcare

Eviction Protection & Rent Freeze Continues, COVID-19 News. Contra Costa County’s Board of Supervisors has passed an ordinance that continues eviction protection for residential tenants & small businesses through September 30, 2020. It also continues a freeze on certain residential rent increases through September 30, 2020. See contracosta. View/67698/. Check the County website for answers to FAQs, renter and landlord forms, and a list of resources: www. California has issued new guidance for reopening of schools. For schools in counties like Contra Costa that is currently on the state’s watch list, the school year needs to start with virtual or distance learning for now. Visit to learn more. California also announced statewide closures to slow the spread of COVID-19 this week. Please see how this affects some Contra Costa businesses: For the updated Social Distancing Order, current data, and information, including what’s open and resources like how to cope with stress and find support, please visit

See HELP page 3

See COVID-19 page 3

to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Having sufficient contact tracing is one the County’s five indicators for relaxing the current shelter-inplace rules. https://www.coronavirus.

July / August 2020

San Ramon Chamber Now Accepting 2020 Community Award Nominations SAN RAMON, CA—July 22, 2020—The San Ramon Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for its 2020 Community Awards. Community members are encouraged to nominate deserving people for five awards: Citizen of the Year, Business (or Business Person) of the Year, Educator of the Year, Employee of the Year and Green Company/Individual of the Year Award. “The Business and Community Awards event is an opportunity to thank and give appreciation to individuals who have made a significant difference and contribution in our community,” said Stewart Bambino, San Ramon Chamber of Commerce President/ CEO. “Enjoy good virtual entertainment and honor those around us who help to make San Ramon an exceptional place to live and work.” Anyone may submit nominations for these

awards. The Nomination form and information regarding the criteria for each award category are posted on the San Ramon Chamber website, Nominations are due September 1, 2020. Forms may be faxed to (925) 242-0603; mailed to the San Ramon Chamber of Commerce, 2410 Camino Ramon, Suite 125, Bishop Ranch 6, San Ramon, CA, 94583; or e-mailed to kathy. Awards will be presented at the San Ramon Chamber of Commerce Community Virtual Awards celebration to be held Thursday, December 3, 2020 at AMOS Productions. Gala tickets will be sold online through the Chamber of Commerce, for a small voluntary donation fee. The San Ramon Chamber presented six Community Awards last year: 2019 Citizen of the Year Award: Rachel Hurd,

San Ramon Valley Unified School District School Board Member, Executive Director of Leadership San Ramon Valley, Past President of the Dougherty Valley/San Ramon Valley Rotary Club 2019 Business Person of the Year: Ann Lucena, CEO, San Ramon Regional Medical Center 2019 Employee of the Year: Theresa Peterson, Associate Engineer, City of San Ramon 2019 Educator of the Year: Jonathan Parks, San Ramon Valley Unified School District 2019 Volunteer of the Year: Norma Gonzalez, San Ramon Insurance Agency 2019 Ambassador of the Year: Kim Falahati, Family Matters Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Contact the Chamber office for more information at (925) 242-0600.

Joan Grimes Named President of the Rotary Club of Alamo ALAMO, CA—July 13, 2020—Joan Grimes has been elected president of the Rotary Club of Alamo for the 2017– 2018 Rotary Year, effective July 1. She succeeds Peter Waldrom who served as the 2019–2020 Club President. Joan joined The Rotary Club of Alamo in early 2016. She is an attorney specializing in Estate Planning and Bankruptcy Law. Her offices are in Walnut Creek and Brentwood. Joan grew up and still resides in Lafayette. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from U.C. Berkeley and her Law Degree from Cal Western School of Law. Joan stated “the club has many great projects planned for the year including a Rotary District Grant in excess of $50,000 to purchase for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the Pittsburg, Concord and Richmond RotaCare Free Medical clinics.” Over 29 Rotary clubs in the area have contributed to the Grant. The Rotary Club of Alamo was one of the founding clubs for the RotaCare Clinic in Pittsburg that has had over 13,000 patient visits since opening in 2011. In addition to the District Grant, Alamo Rotary will also continue their work with the Interact Club at Monte Vista and will be

continuing their service to the community through monthly clean up projects. It also sponsors the Annual Christmas Tree lighting in Alamo and the Annual Easter Egg Hunt and Family Fun Days at Livorna Park. The Club also announced officers for 2020–2021, including Joan; Jack Thompson, treasurer; Karen McPherson, secretary; Beth Randall, 2021–2022 presidentelect and youth services director; and Peter Waldron, immediate past president. Other directors include Steve Larmore, community service; Greg Schuyler, foundation; Dana Wellington, membership and retention; Steve Polcyn, international service; Steve Collins, programs; Brad Gai and Bill Randall, at-large directors. The Rotary Club of Alamo was founded on May 7, 1971

and will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2021. The Club has 45 members. The Club is currently meeting on Wednesdays at 12:15 p.m. via Zoom Video Conferencing. If interested in participating you can find the link on the Rotary Club of Alamo’s Facebook page. Rotary is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and helps build goodwill and peace in the world. Approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 35,000+ clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas.

Community Input We at The Valley Sentinel welcome comments and suggestions from the community at large. We love hearing from you! However, consideration is only given to those who provide their name, address, and phone number. Two-way communication is essential for growth and understanding. Write to us at P.O. Box 1309, Danville CA, 94526, email to, or call us at 925-8206047. Thank You! —Denise Rousset, Publisher


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Donate/Deliver Meals Vulnerable seniors are at greatest risk amid COVID-19. Let’s help keep them safe and cared for. Contact your local Meals on Wheels organization, visit www.

HELP from page 2

providers throughout the county. Please check their website for acceptable donations and donation locations: www.coronavirus.

Make Homemade Facemasks For At-Risk Community Members Help sew masks or donate materials through The Free Masketeers. For more information on how to get involved, visit The Free Masketeers ( view/the-free-masketeers/ home).

Donate Supplies For Seniors And Homeless VESTIA is a non-profit organization that works directly with the Contra Costa County’s Employment & Human Services Department (EHSD) to provide supplemental support to individuals and families receiving benefits. Hygiene kits (travel sized “convenience kits”), socks, and snack kits are some of the most requested items by homeless and senior clients who have trouble accessing supplies. Items can be ordered online and ship directly to VESTIA’s office. For VESTIA’s office address or to donate directly to VESTIA, visit

Volunteer At Local Food Banks Food banks are in great need of volunteers to help pack and sort food. They are taking precautions to prioritize volunteer safety. Visit California Association of Food Banks at

COVID-19 from page 2

cover face in public, 2) keep distance, 3) wash hands, 4) stay home if you are sick. Stay home, if possible, and go virtual with gatherings. Thank you. We ALL have to do our part to beat COVID-19. Let’s see how we can impact the numbers and slow the spread. Please stay safe. Stay calm. Stay healthy. Be kind to yourself and others. We’re in this together. To connect with someone if you need resources or are in crisis, please call 211 or 800-833-2900 or text HOPE to 20121. #StayHomeSaveLives #CoCoStrong We know we are facing a new normal. With an increase in the numbers of positive cases, hospitalizations & deaths from COVID-19 in our County, please take simple steps to protect yourself, your loved ones, & those around you. Taking these simple actions can only help. Let’s save lives, slow the spread of the virus, and get back on track to reopening. Powerful actions each of us can take: 1)

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July / August 2020

Briones Regional Park By Beverly Lane, President, East Bay Regional Park District Board of Directors

For peace and quiet, natural beauty, panoramic views, abundant wildlife and healthy outdoor exercise, one of your best bets is an East Bay regional park. Briones Regional Park in central Contra Costa County is a good example. Although Briones is surrounded by the communities of Martinez, Pleasant Hill, Lafayette and Orinda, its location and topography create the sense that you are many miles removed from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Stand on a hilltop there, and you’ll see mostly open space in every direction. At 6,256 acres, Briones is one of the largest regional parks. And 67 miles of trails offer opportunities ranging from easy strolls to challenging treks for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. Wildlife in the park includes birds of prey, coyote, deer and mountain lions. Before the arrival of Europeans, the area was hunting

and gathering ground for Native Americans whose villages were on the shores of Carquinez Strait. The park’s name derives from Felipe and Maria Briones, who obtained a Mexican land grant and established a rancho in the area. After passing through several ownerships in subsequent years, including water companies and Contra Costa County, the core acreage was transferred to the regional park district in 1964. Land acquisitions since then have expanded the park to its present size. Briones is a favorite of hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers. The park’s largest entrance is on Bear Creek Road about five miles east of the intersection with Camino Pablo/San Pablo Dam Road in Orinda. Other access points are: • The pear orchard entrance off Alhambra Valley Road near Martinez. • Briones Road entrance, also off Alhambra Valley Road near the intersection with Reliez Valley Road. Drive to the top of the hill. • Alhambra Creek staging area off Reliez Valley Road near Martinez. • Reliez Valley staging area on Reliez Valley Road near

Give Back To Your East Bay Regional Parks!

Purchase a Regional Parks Foundation membership, and the funds will support educational programs and stewardship projects in the East Bay Regional Parks. As a thank you, you’ll receive: Free Parking, Free Swimming, Annual Dog Pass (up to 3 dogs), Camping Discounts and more… Memberships are available at select Regional Parks and Bay Area REI stores – and you can use your REI membership dividend to purchase! Or visit to purchase online.

Gloria Terrace in Pleasant Hill (limited parking). • Lafayette Ridge staging area on Pleasant Hill Road just north of Highway 24, next to Springhill Elementary School and across from Acalanes High School. • The Buckeye entrance at the end of Springhill Road, also off Pleasant Hill Road near the high school (limited parking). Highest point in the park is Briones Peak at 1,483 feet. But one of the best viewpoints is nearby on the Table Top Trail at the junction with the Spengler Trail. From there you can see the Diablo Valley, Mt. Diablo, the town of Martinez, the Delta, and even the Sierra Nevada crest on a clear day. There’s another great view from atop Mott Peak, named for a former Park District general manager who later became head of the National Park Service. A unique feature at Briones is the Briones Archery Club range, which is open to the public during general park hours. For information on the club, visit Briones Regional Park has facilities for overnight group

camping and reservable group picnic areas. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, these and similar sites throughout the regional parks are not currently available. The Park District plans to resume normal operations, including reservations, as soon as it is deemed safe to do so by county health departments and the state of California. Meanwhile, park trails are open, with virus-related precautions in place. Some toilets are open, but drinking fountains have been turned

off, so visitors should bring their own water. People should hike or ride with members of their own households, not with large unrelated groups. Maintain social distance, and carry masks to wear when distancing is not possible on narrow trails. A Briones Regional Park brochure, which includes a trail map, can be downloaded from the Park District website, Look also for “COVID-19 Park & Trail Updates” at the top of the home page.

East Bay Regional Park District Survey and back to resuming as normal a Restoration and Public Access Other News by Ned MacKay

During the coronavirus pandemic, the East Bay Regional Park District has experienced what the district describes as an unprecedented surge in visitor attendance, as people head to the parks for healthy exercise and relief from stress. According to findings of a recent survey, 96 percent of the respondents stated that it has been important to keep regional parks and trails open during the pandemic. Ninety percent believed that having access to the parks and trails has been important to their health and wellbeing. And 94 percent believed the parks will play an equal or greater role in their lives when the pandemic is over. Now, the district is conducting an online survey along the same lines, and would like to hear from as many people as possible. The purpose is to assist the district in developing ways to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic, both while it is still a threat and afterwards, when the coronavirus has been controlled and people can get

life as possible. If you’d like to participate in the survey, go to the park district website, www. At the top of the home page is a slide display that changes every few seconds. When “Covid19 Park U Community Survey” appears, click on it. The survey is available in both English and Spanish. Here’s more good news: The Senate and House of Representatives have both just approved the Great American Outdoors Act, which mandates permanent funding of $900 million annually for the national Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The bill now goes to President Donald Trump, who has said he will sign it. The LWCF receives its money from royalties paid by energy companies drilling for oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf. Over the past 50 years, the program has provided more than $16 million in funding for various parks and trails in the East Bay Regional Park District, most recently for the $750,000 Bay Point

Project, awarded in 2017. In general LWCF funds are used to expand public lands, safeguard natural areas and protect cultural heritage sites nationwide. In advocating full permanent funding of LWCF, the district has had the support of the East Bay’s entire Congressional delegation. The park district’s virtual nature programs continue, with all kinds of information and activities on video at, thanks to the district’s naturalist corps. From art to zoology, you can view it all by clicking on “Digital Learning” when it appears on the serial slide show, or by clicking on the “Digital Learning” display near the bottom of the home page. And when you are actually out in the parks, please don’t forget to bring along a face mask to wear when social distancing is difficult on narrow trails. The more we make a habit of mask wearing, the safer we will be and the sooner we’ll all get through the pandemic. Thanks to everyone for cooperating.

July / August 2020


California Students Named National Youth Ambassadors by Campaign For Tobacco-free Kids Students are leading the charge to ban flavored tobacco products WASHINGTON, D.C.— Twenty-five California students have been named as National Youth and Young Adult Ambassadors by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids for demonstrating leadership in fighting tobacco use in their communities. These young leaders were among 133 youth and young adults from 33 states who participated in the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ Digital Advocacy Symposium, a five-day online training session focused on building advocacy, communications and leadership skills. The Youth and Young Adult Ambassadors will work with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to advocate for effective policies to reduce youth tobacco use at the federal, state and local levels. These policies include ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes that are addicting a new generation of kids. “We are thrilled to welcome this new class of Youth and Young Adult Ambassadors, whose passion and leadership will help us create the first

SYMPHONY from page 2

can tune in via Walnut Creek’s local public access TV channel or on YouTube. “During these last months, we’ve experienced so much change to classical musicmaking. As we look toward next season, more than anything we want to share music with as many people as possible,” said Cabrera. “The first part of our 2020–21 season will focus on music written for soloists and small ensembles. This is a unique opportunity for audiences to engage with California Symphony in a different format and I can’t wait to share these presentations.” “California Symphony is committed to bringing exceptional and accessible musical experiences to audiences not only in Walnut Creek but throughout the Bay Area and

tobacco-free generation,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for TobaccoFree Kids. “Young people are critical voices in the fight against tobacco because they speak from experience about how they are targeted by the tobacco industry. Policy makers should listen and support strong policies to protect our kids, including a prohibition on all flavored tobacco products.” While the United States has greatly reduced youth smoking, use of e-cigarettes among young people has skyrocketed in recent years. From 2017 to 2019, e-cigarette use more than doubled among high school students (to 27.5%) and tripled among middle school students (to 10.5%), according to the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey. More than 5.3 million kids used e-cigarettes 2019—an increase of more than 3 million in two years. Sweet flavors like gummy bear, mint and mango have fueled the popularity of e-cigarettes among kids. Other flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars,

beyond,” said Lisa Dell, California Symphony Executive Director. “Virtual programming allows us to expand public access to the arts. The team at California Symphony has been hard at work to create engaging concerts that can be performed and enjoyed safely.” Programming for the four virtual concerts will be revealed LIVE on California Symphony’s Facebook Page at californiasymphony on Wednesday, August 19 at 1:00 p.m. PST. Details about presentations offered in the second half of the 2020–21 season will be announced at a later date. The programming originally slated for 2020–21 has been postponed to the 2021–22 season. About California Symphony The California Symphony, celebrating its 34th season in

are also popular among youth. The tobacco industry has a long history of targeting kids, Black Americans and other groups with marketing for menthol cigarettes and other flavored products, with devastating consequences. More than half of all youth smokers today— including seven out of ten Black youth smokers—smoke menthol cigarettes. The California Senate recently passed a bill to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes. The bill is currently pending in the State Assembly. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing approximately 480,000 people and costing about $170 billion in health care bills each year. In California, 2.0 percent of high school students smoke traditional cigarettes, while 10.9 percent use e-cigarettes. Tobacco use claims 40,000 lives in California each year. The Youth and Young Adult Ambassadors were selected through a competitive

2020/21 and its eighth season under the leadership of Music Director Donato Cabrera, is distinguished by its vibrant concert programs that combine classics alongside American repertoire and works by living composers, and for bringing music to people in new and unconventional settings. The orchestra includes musicians who perform with the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Ballet, and others, and is based in Walnut Creek at the Lesher Center for the Arts with additional recent performances around the region in Napa Valley, Concord, Oakland, and Berkeley. Outside the concert hall, the Symphony actively supports music education as a driver for social change through its El Sistema-inspired Sound Minds program at Downer Elementary School in San Pablo, CA, which brings intensive music instruction and academic enrichment to schoolchildren in an area where 94% of students qualify for the federal free or reduced price lunch program, at no cost to the students who participate. The Orchestra also hosts the highly competitive Young American Composer-in-Residence program and its current

application process and participated in the Digital Advocacy Symposium to become powerful advocates for change. In addition to gaining advocacy and communications skills, these young leaders learned about how tobacco use is a social justice issue because of tobacco-related health disparities due to the tobacco industry’s longtime targeting of minority populations. CONTACT: Gwendolyn Tom, GTom@MessagePartnersPR. com; (925) 698-5161 About The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids—The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is the leading advocacy organization working to reduce tobacco use and its deadly consequences in the United States and around the world. Through strategic communications and policy advocacy campaigns, TobaccoFree Kids promotes the adoption of proven solutions that are most effective at reducing tobacco use and save the most lives. Learn more at

composer, Viet Cuong (2020– 23). California Symphony has launched the careers of some of today’s most well-known artists, including violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, cellists Alisa Weilerstein and Joshua Roman, pianist Kirill Gerstein and composers such as Mason Bates, Christopher Theofanidis, and Kevin Puts. For more information, please visit

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HABITAT from page 1

brown heads, with hunter green eye patches. The whiteedged, bright green, wing speculum is highly visible when in flight or at rest. It is this speculum for which the bird is named. Female Green-winged Teal are light, mottled brown in coloration, and resemble the plumage of female Mallards. Nonbreeding drakes in eclipse plumage look like the females. Green-winged Teal are noisy ducks. Males have a clear whistle, while females have a feeble quack. Green-winged Teal are amongst the earliest spring migrators. Unlike other dabbling ducks, the Green-winged Teal breeds most abundantly. Nesting varies geographically, ranging from April through July. Five to as many as fifteen eggs are laid, with incubation from twenty-one to twentythree days. The nestlings fledge in about thirty-five days. Green-winged Teal become sexually mature during their first winter, and are capable of breeding the next spring. Males leave the females during incubation for safe waters to molt. Females molt on the breeding grounds. Humans, skunks, foxes, raccoons, crows, ravens, and magpies are the common predators of Green-winged Teal. There seems to be little concern for Green-winged Teal populations in North America. However, the few remaining marshes in Contra Costa County are in dire need of protection. James M. Hale is a wildlife biologist, ethnobiologist, and ecological consultant based in Contra Costa County. Please visit his website at

Community News & Information Danville • Blackhawk Alamo • Diablo • San Ramon Publisher/Editor—Denise Rousset Chief Financial Officer—Jeff Gummere Auto—David & Judy Colman

925-820-6047 P.O Box 1309 Danville, CA 94526

Home & Garden page 6


July / August 2020

PPE for Buildings

Why Gardening is Good for Seniors

By Steven Wynn

As the nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare providers, first responders, and others has grabbed headlines for months, another desperate shortage of protective equipment has plagued America’s buildings and stymied efforts to upgrade heating and air-conditioning systems (HVAC). Think of air filters as the masks a building wears, to prevent it from spreading contaminated air. Any air filter “mask” less than a CDC-recommended rating of MERV-13 is simply too porous to block coronavirus in the air. California currently requires a minimum of MERV-13 filtration for new construction and most alterations. However, the vast majority of existing buildings currently use MERV-8 or less—ineffective in stopping coronavirus. Multiply this problem across the nation, and you understand why there is a massive gap between supply and demand. When asked in July about the possibility of an urgent, nationwide effort to upgrade air filters on air-handling systems, Rob Castor, vice president of sales for air filter manufacturer AAF International, told Fortune

Magazine: “There’s no way. It’s not going to happen.” With PPE—masks, face shields, gowns, gloves—there has at least been halting progress by states to coordinate bulk purchasing and increases in production. Remember the early days every-state-for-itself bidding wars for PPE? That appears to be where we’re headed with air filters and other virus-fighting technologies, like bipolar ionization and UV-C lights. When an East Bay city recently asked our firm to lead an investigation of the kinds of improvements needed to reduce potential COVID transmission in the city’s buildings, we accepted the call to action, with a note of caution—there is no magic bullet that makes buildings safe without social distancing. The first line of defense has to be the protocols we’re all adapting to—wearing masks, keeping a minimum of six feet apart, symptom screening, and contact tracing. The primary goal of upgrading air filters and other technologies is to reduce the likelihood that an exposure in one room is spread and amplified by the air-handling

By Mary Brook, Senior Living advisor

system throughout the building. And since the primary exposure risk is a function of the amount of virus particles in the air over a period of time, we’re diluting contaminants in the indoor air by increasing the amount of fresh air pumped into buildings. In key areas, like lobbies, we deploy UV-C lights or bipolar ionization, technologies that render the virus inactive. Last, we look to reduce spread through hand contact by making fixtures touchless, like faucets. It’s too soon to say how architecture will be transformed

Creating and transforming spaces great and small. We’re here to help with your remodel, addition, outdoor room, or new home. Schedule a free consultation today.

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as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but history shows that past epidemics prompted innovations that are still with us today. Elizabeth Yuko writes for Architectural Digest that the white subway tile that remains popular in kitchen and bathroom design today was initially installed in hospitals in the late 19th century as people were beginning to understand how infectious diseases spread. “Workers could immediately spot any dirt or grime, and easily wipe it clean.” She continues, “Childs Restaurant, an early American chain, adopted white subway tiles to conjure the sterile environment of a hospital and make people feel safe eating there at a time when foodborne diseases like typhoid, botulism, and trichinosis were a major public health concern.” In another echo of the past, we’re receiving calls from clients for outdoor rooms and open-air cabanas. The word “shelter” is derived from the word “shield”—we’re used to thinking of our buildings as shelters from the elements, but increasingly, we’re retreating to the outdoors to shield us from the virus. This is nothing new —according to Yuko, screened “sleeping porches” were once common in Victorian homes and in dry climates as a “cure” for the tuberculosis epidemics that raged through the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Jacob Voorthuis, Professor of Philosophy in Architecture in the Netherlands, writes of architecture as a “Beautiful Necessity.” In challenging times like these, we appreciate more than ever the role that buildings play in nurturing good health, for body and soul.

Gardening is one of the many life enriching activities that provides health benefits every day. It can give seniors a sense of purpose and meaning in daily life. Gardening is a sensory experience that enables seniors to use their senses in the garden. They see the plants, feel the sunshine on their face, work in the dirt with their hands and hear all the sounds of nature when they are working in the garden. Research shows gardening helps seniors with a feeling of accomplishment and achievement. 3 Reasons Seniors Should Garden 1. Gardening provides a sense of purpose. Waking up in the morning with a reason to get dressed is one of the many challenges seniors face as they age. Gardening provides a reason to get out of bed in the morning and go to the garden to pull some weeds or water the plants. 2. Gardening is a great form of outdoor exercise. While in the garden bending up and down and using fingers and hands to plant the seeds, one gets the exercise and movement that is sorely needed. Staying indoors is never the best way to spend time. The body needs natural vitamin D that the sun provides. Now more than ever it’s important to get outside because of the COVID-19 restrictions. 3. One can feel a sense of accomplishment and contentment when taking care of a garden. Watching the plants grow from a seed to a fully developed flower or vegetable is a happy and satisfying feeling. Gardening is a simple pleasure providing seniors with the opportunity to nurture and care for something they can eat themselves or share with others. The beauty of flowers and the joy of homegrown fruits and vegetables has benefits that stretch beyond the moment…like the gift that keeps on giving.

Home & Garden

July / August 2020


page 7

Sustainable Contra Costa Home Seminars Smart Homeowner Seminar with Marin Clean Energy Wednesday, August 12; 7:00–8:30 PM As we are spending more time at home this year, you may be doing home projects and renovations. Now more than ever, it’s time to learn how to make your home smart by increasing efficiency and utility savings. Tina Neuhausel, President and Co-Founder of Sustainable Contra Costa, will share tips for making your home smart so you can save water, energy and money. She will also share her experience with a recent home renovation and energy upgrades. Colleen Noland, Sustainable Contra Costa’s Community Organizer, will also share the Cleaner Contra Costa Challenge. This initiative is a free online platform allowing Contra Costa residents to take climate action with others in their communities.

A representative from Marin Clean Energy (MCE) will also share how you can save energy through their many local energy savings programs. They will explain how they work in four Bay Area counties through local energy projects, workforce development, and targeted community programs. In addition, they will share how you can power your home with renewable energy options, without investing in solar panels! Join us for this FREE live webinar.

Sustainability LIVE: Enhance Your Backyard Habitat with Natives Wednesday, August 26; 7:00–8:30 PM Join us for this online FREE live broadcast every month as we interview special guests, share the latest tips and provide the inspiration, education, and

camaraderie that will help us all live resilient lives in times of uncertainty. Episode 5: You don’t have to move to live in a better place! Wouldn’t you like to be spending the extra time you have at home these days in a beautiful garden—a garden that is inviting to you and your family, attracts butterflies and bees, and provides food for a robust population of songbirds? Join Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour Coordinator Kathy Kramer and garden designer Kelly Marshall to learn how and why you can create a Homegrown National Park in your own garden, where the little things that run the world (and are at the heart of the food web), can thrive, much to your enjoyment! (Read this article ahead of time to get the most out of this program: The Chickadees Guide to Gardening: In Your Garden, Choose Plants That Help the Environment.)

This broadcast will be created using Zoom, and simultaneously live-streamed on our YouTube channel. You can join the “studio audience” and be part of the questions and

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discussion at the end of each program. Please be aware that the program will be recorded for viewing later. No personal participant information will be shared publicly.


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Senior Living page 8

July / August 2020

Care Giving In the Time Of COVID By Tami Anastasia, M.A.

Who would have thought, in the Spring of 2020 that all our lives would change in such dramatic ways? For caregivers of loved ones living with dementia, life had already changed dramatically. But now, COVID has made caregiving even more demanding, difficult and challenging. In addition, COVID has brought to the surface a lot of underlying feelings and emotions. For example, many caregivers are feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed. Others are feeling a profound sense of loss and sadness as they watch their love one decline before their eyes. And, others are sharing the despair they feel not being able to visit their love one in a care community.

Either way, COVID has altered our daily routines which in turn has made our lives more complex and complicated. Whether you are caring for a loved one at home with dementia, or your loved one is residing in a care community, below are some COVID C.A.R.E.© strategies to help you survive these unsettling and unprecedented times. C.A.R.E.© is an acronym that provides caregivers with practical strategies during the time of COVID. C: Comfort: Find ways to comfort yourself. When we’re consumed with caregiving, there is a tendency for us to forget to do things that are comforting, nurturing and grounding. Make a conscious effort to take a daily 10-minute

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time out and do something that is comforting or nurturing, such as, gardening, journaling, meditating, listening to music, praying, drawing, hiking. Taking a daily 10-minute time out also reminds you to make yourself a priority. A: Activities: Engage your loved one in meaningful activities. Think of activities in terms of “helper” activities, such as, folding, cleaning, stacking, or “problem solving” activities, such as, fixing something, solving a puzzle, seek and find words, or “fun/leisure/entertainment” activities, such as watching movies, eating ice cream, going for scenic drives or “physical” activities such as, dancing together, chair exercises, going for walks. Do activities that give you and your loved one a sense of purpose and value, a sense of connectedness and make your loved one feel important and special. Keep in mind, you may need to modify or simplify the activities according to your loved one’s cognitive and physical abilities. R: Routine & Rituals: Establish a consistent routine and new rituals. For most of us, our routine prior to COVID has been altered and we’ve been in limbo wondering what is going to happen. As time has passed, it’s become more and more clear that our lives are not going to go back to the way it was prior to COVID. The key

Join us for a series of complimentary educational webinars designed for seniors and their family care partners. All programs are offered via Zoom so that you can enjoy learning from the comfort and safety of your home. Each presentation is live, and you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions of our panelists. AUG 5

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is replacing the activities you can’t do with new activities you can or are doing and to get on a consistent schedule. Get up and go to bed, eat your meals, and plan activities around the same time every day so there are things for you and your loved one to look forward to. Those activities could be rituals such as designating certain times and days of the week that you and your love one work on puzzles or play games, or go for walks, sing songs together, or watch movies, or do arts and crafts. For those of you who can’t visit your loved one in a care community, you might designate certain times and days of the week you call, send cards, or schedule window visits so you can tell your loved one “you love them”, “you miss them” and “you’re thinking of them.” Establishing a consistent routine and creating new rituals provides meaning, value, purpose, structure and normalcy to our day which is very important right now. E: Establish a Support Network and an Emergency Plan: Create a support network so you have people to share your thoughts, feelings, concerns and frustrations with. Your support network could consist of family and friends, joining a support group, spiritual guide/ leader/community, licensed therapist, counselor, MD, or hiring companion care or home care assistance. As the saying goes, we are all in this together and we all need someone to

talk to. And, make talking to your support network part of your weekly/daily schedule. And, establish an emergency plan. What emergency plan do you have in place if something should happen to you or your loved one? Develop a ‘plan’, write it down, share it with others. At the very least, get medical/life alert for you and your loved one. And, if you haven’t already done it, now is the time to get your medical and legal documents in order. During a time of crisis and uncertainty, it is even more important to focus on what you CAN do for your yourself and your loved one. C.A.R.E.© for yourself and your loved one takes some thinking and planning but it can have a positive impact on both of you. Tami Anastasia, M.A. is the founder of TAMS Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support. She has a private counseling practice and provides in person or phone support, guidance and care strategies for families caring for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Tami also facilitates three Alzheimer’s Support Groups and conducts Monthly Dementia Caregiver Workshops with ElderConsult Geriatric Medicine as well as One-toOne Consultation sessions via video conference. Contact Tami at (408) 377-4716, or email her at tamswellness@gmail. com, or on her website: www.

Taking Action to Protect America’s Nursing Home Residents Against COVID-19 By Seema Verma Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service

Nursing homes have become ground zero in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, with outbreaks causing high rates of illness and death among vulnerable residents living together in close quarters. That’s why the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has taken a series of aggressive actions over the last several months to protect nurs-

ing home residents against the spread of this new coronavirus. We understand how terrifying these outbreaks are for nursing home residents and their families, and how essential it is for them to know what is going on inside nursing homes. So, we acted accordingly. Beginning in May, CMS required nursing homes that participate in Medicare and Medicaid to inform residents, their families, and their representatives within 12 hours of when a single confirmed COVID-19 case is reported, or when three or more residents or staffers develop

respiratory symptoms within 72 hours of each other. Residents, families, and their representatives also must be given weekly updates or be told by the end of the next day each time a subsequent COVID-19 case is confirmed and/or three or more residents or staffers develop respiratory symptoms within 72 hours of each other. Nursing homes also must include information about what actions they’re taking to prevent or reduce the risk of transmission, and inform See NURSING HOME page 9

July / August 2020


page 9

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A Teachable Moment By Robert Cucchiaro

the peak—the market closed down 34% at 2237. • A 34% decline from a previous all-time high in 33 days is without historical precedent. • This decline was immediately followed by the best 50 days in the history of the American stock market. On February 19 of this year, the S&P 500-Stock Index recorded a new all-time closing high at 3,386. Immediately thereafter, the following events occurred over the coming 4 months leading us to today: • Led by fear and uncertainty around Covid 19, the US stock market fell from the all-time high to close in bear market territory in just 16 days. On March 23—just 33 days after

• After the deepest, fastest economic contraction in history, and the largest, fastest increase in unemployment, there came on Friday, June 5 the government’s monthly unemployment report. The consensus estimate was that the economy would have lost 7.5 million jobs. In the event, it gained 2.5 million. • Then on June 11, reacting to a flareup in reported virus

cases, the market went down almost 6%, with the Volatility Index soaring close to 50% on one day. Against that backdrop, I ask you to think about all of the economists and market strategists at financial institutions who wrote their 2020 forecasts and predictions at the beginning of this year. How many do you think predicted any of this or even a fraction of these events? The answer I can assure you is none. Which of course leads me to my points, which are the following: • The short to intermediate term course of the economy and of the markets is always unknowable, and that therefore it is impossible to make intelligent investment policy

react in stressful times like this.

• Stated another way: every truly successful investor I’ve ever known was acting continuously on a long-term plan. Every failed investor I’ve known continually reacted to sudden and terrifying market shocks.

• I continue to believe that the equity market can’t be consistently forecast, much less timed, and that the only certain way of capturing equities’ superior long-term returns is to sit through their occasionally steep but historically temporary declines.

• Thus I’ve found that longterm investing success is only incidentally a function of the economy and the markets. It is a direct function of how the investor reacts—or, more properly, how he/she refuses to react. • My clients are long-term, goal-focused equity investors, acting on a plan with patience and discipline. The smaller part of what I do for clients is the crafting of that plan. The much larger part is helping them not to over-

If you are more interested in having a written financial & investment plan than you are in trying to predict the future or time the market, please give us a call at 925-927-1900 or email me at Robert Cucchiaro is a Certified Financial Planner and owner of Summit Wealth & Retirement, a financial planning firm that has been serving Danville for over 30 years. Visit us at www. summitwealthandretirement. com


NURSING HOME from page 8

residents and their families about how those actions will change normal operations in the nursing home. But we didn’t stop there. We also developed a system so the public could quickly and easily access data reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the prevalence of COVID-19 at every CMS-certified nursing home in the country. This information is now publicly available in a searchable database that allows people to look up individual nursing homes and see how many COVID-19 cases and deaths, among both residents and staffers, have been reported there. This new system of national reporting for nursing homes is unprecedented. The data can be found at our Nursing Home Compare website. (See the “Spotlight” section for the link.) CMS will update the data weekly and take enforcement action against nursing homes that do not report the required information. About 15,400 nursing homes nationwide are certified to accept people enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid. The Nursing Home Compare website features a Five-Star Quality Rating System to rate nursing homes, with one star indicating the lowest overall quality of care and five stars indicating the highest. Early analysis of reported COVID-19 data shows that facilities with a one-star health inspection rating were more likely to have larger numbers of COVID-19 cases than facilities with a fivestar health inspection rating.

based on a relatively nearterm outlook.

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In March, CMS and the states suspended standard inspections of nursing homes and began looking specifically for violations of infection control and prevention rules. We also provided a focused infectioncontrol survey tool for nursing homes to do self-assessments to ensure they were taking necessary steps to protect their residents against COVID-19. CMS is providing additional support and technical assistance to low-performing nursing homes through its Quality Improvement Organizations. QIOs are composed of health quality experts and clinicians with experience in helping healthcare providers to improve the quality of care for people with Medicare. CMS directed QIOs to focus their efforts on providing education and training to all nursing homes in the country. Finally, CMS recently provided state and local officials with recommendations on phased re-openings of nursing homes in their areas, including when and under what circumstances to allow visitors.

Visits from family and friends are generally restricted at nursing homes now to help control and prevent the spread of the virus, except in compassionate care situations. We understand how hard it is to be separated from loved ones, especially elders, for so long. But as nursing homes meet certain criteria, they may be in a position to allow visitors again. Our guidelines recommend that visitation be allowed in Phase 3 with screening and additional precautions, including social distancing and hand hygiene (e.g., use of alcohol-based hand rub upon entry). We also recommend that all visitors wear a cloth face covering or facemask for the duration of their visit. You can read more about the reopening guidelines here: document/qso-20-30-nh.pdf-0 Be assured that CMS will use every tool at its disposal to protect the health and safety of America’s nursing home residents.

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AUTO March 2009 July / August 2020

2020 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring By David and Judy Colman

You have to love the utter practicality of this Hatchback Civic. We recently received a set of 4 new tires which needed transportation to a local tire store for mounting. We looked at the tires, looked at the interior space available in the Honda and did a mental computation. With the rear seats folded down, We reckoned that all 4 should fit inside the Civic provided the rear seats were folded flat. The plan worked out to a tee. All four tires plus two occupants up front made the CivicTouring an ideal delivery wagon. If you plan on carrying such sizeable loads of any description, this Honda makes a great alternative to the cumbersome, tippy SUVs that are all the rage today. Unlike SUVs that barely make driving tolerable, this compact sedan actually makes driving fun. With the exception of the race ready Civic Type R, the Honda we tested represents the top of the Civic line. Models

available start with the LX ($21,750), Sport ($22,850), EX ($24,250), EXL ($25,450) and our test Sport Touring ($28,850). The only addition to our hatchback’s base price was a Delivery Fee of $930, making the total delivered price $29,780. In addition to a long list of standard features, the Sport Touring echelon adds these refinements missing on lesser Civics: under body spoiler kit, center mounted dual exhausts, rain sensing wipers, 540-watt audio system, dual mode paddle shifters, and LED headlights with automatic on/ off actuation. Our test Honda’s seats were leather trimmed, likewise the steering wheel and shift knob. The exterior of the Sport Touring is distinguished from lesser Civics by its piano black grill, black mesh fascia inserts and 18 x 8J alloy rims shod with Continental Sport Contact all season rubber (235/45R18).

Although our test Civic was fitted with a CVT automatic transmission, you can up your driving fun and involvement by ordering yours with an available 6-speed manual. The 6-speed also saves 67lbs. of curb weight over the CVT. The Sport’s 1.5 liter, 4-cylinder turbocharged motor makes 180hp and 162lb.-ft. of torque. If you opt for the manual gearbox, torque output of the engine jumps to 177lb.ft. Honda sees no need to encapsulate their handsome power plant with a molded dust cover, so you can see and service everything in the engine bay without having to remove any beauty screens. Since the turbo makes its peak horsepower at a rather lofty 6,000rpm, it proved handy to regulate its output with the paddle shifts. If you plant the console mounted stick in the “S” setting, the paddles allow you to assume control of your shift points. We especially appreciated the fact that in “S” mode the transmission did not automatically upshift to the next higher gear without authorization from the driver. Despite the fact that the Civic carries 60.7% of its 3,012lbs. of curb weight on the front wheels, its handling never feels nose heavy, nor does it push its nose when you accelerate through a turn. The suspension system of the Civic Sport is well suited to aggressive backroad motoring, thanks to MacPherson struts up front and multi-link

independent architecture in back. The addition of a sturdy 25.5mm tubular front sway bar and a solid 16.5mm rear bar ensure stable compliance during directional changes. We really appreciated the quick steering response provided by the 11.12:1 steering ratio Honda selected for this model, a responsiveness that is magnified by the ultra-sporty 2.11 turns required to move the steering wheel from lock to lock. After a prolonged period of Dark Age obtuse infotainment system programming, Honda now offers one of the most logical, easy-to-use systems available today from any brand. We were able to select and install favorites on the standard (3-month free) SiriusXM list in a matter of seconds, a supposedly simple task that has caused us much grief in other vehicles. The Sport Touring model offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, as well as the full suite of Honda

Sensing safety oversight (adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation), In a time when eating in your car has become more practicable than ever, we should mention the Touring’s brilliant adaptability to our brave new world of dining. The front center console with armrest is a marvel of engineering. You can slide the armrest section fore and aft. In the forward position it covers dual beverage holders. When slid to the rear, the armrest exposes the cup holders but covers a deep storage compartment. This multiplicity of choices made the Civic a great place to lunch, and my wife and I enjoyed two A&W takeout meals in our Honda during just one week. This top line version of the Civic is an ingenious device. For an all-in price under $30,000, you have yourself a delivery van, a backroad charger, and a comfy dining room all rolled into one vehicle that now looks better than ever. 2020 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring Engine: 1.5 liter inline 4, direct injection, turbocharged Horsepower: 180hp@6000rpm Torque: 162lb.-ft. Fuel Consumption: 29mpg city/35mpg highway Price as Tested: $29,780 Hypes: space intelligent, responsive drivetrain Gripes: I’d buy the 6-speed manual Star Rating: 10 stars out of 10

July / August 2020

Working Towards Change By Candace Andersen, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors

Over the last month, since the tragic killing of George Floyd, many of my constituents and residents throughout the rest of Contra Costa County have contacted my office to share their concerns over recent events related to law enforcement and race that have transpired across our nation. The message of these phone calls and emails has ranged from advocating for the reduction of the County Sheriff’s budget and reforming police tactics to fixing racial disparities apparent in many aspects of our society. Black lives matter in Contra Costa County. Addressing the current disparities is not something we are now talking about because of recent protests, it is something we have been working on for many years. Recent events have increased opportunities for honest and open dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders, and we believe we can work towards even more practical and sustainable solutions. We will continue to pursue racial equality in our criminal justice system, in our hiring practices, and in our provision of services. We currently do these things, not just to pay lip service, but it is something we believe in and have been working on and will continue to address across our county system. The work of the Racial Justice Oversight Body, Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council, Hiring Outreach Oversight Committee, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Council, are just a few of our existing boards and committees working to improve how people of all races are treated and provided services in our community. The Racial Justice Oversight Body (RJOB) is a 17-member board that was created in 2016

after unanimous approval from the Board of Supervisors. It is tasked with the periodic review and reporting of racial and ethnic disparities in the local criminal and juvenile justice systems, as well as the ongoing support and monitoring of efforts to implement recommendations to reduce the disparities. The RJOB also researches consensus measures within the County and plans and oversees implementation of the measures once identified, then reports back to the Board of Supervisors on progress made and other developments. Late last month, the County Board of Supervisors announced it was seeking applicants who may be interested in serving on its 18-member Racial Justice Oversight Body (RJOB) as a Community Representative with prior personal criminal or juvenile justice system involvement. Application forms can be obtained from the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors by calling (925) 335-1900 or by visiting the County webpage at www.contracosta. Completed applications should be emailed to ClerkoftheBoard@cob. Applications can also be mailed to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, Room 106, County Administration Building, 651 Pine Street, Martinez, CA 94553. Applications are due by July 21st. The Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council, www. Juvenile-Justice-CoordinatingCouncil, focuses on programs for at-risk youth with the goal of early intervention and supporting and approaches demonstrated to be effective in reducing juvenile crime. Their most recent Annual Plan can be found here. The Hiring Outreach Oversight Committee, 4425/Hiring-OutreachOversight-Committee, was established by the Board of Supervisors to review the statistical data of minorities and females in the County’s workforce and make recommendations to target outreach and recruitment in those communities where

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the County workforce is not reflective of the diversity of the County. Each year Department Heads create a plan to address any lack of diversity within their division. The Advisory Council on Equal Employment O p p o r t u n i t i e s, w w w. Advisory-Council-on-EqualEmployment-Opp, reviews the Equal Employment Opportunities Program and recommends actions to facilitate attainment of the County’s goal for equal employment opportunities. When it comes to the Sheriff and his relation to the Board of Supervisors, it is important to note that the Sheriff is an elected official, and therefore does not work at the direction of the County Board of Supervisors. However, the majority of the Board of Supervisors are in agreement with him in his approach to law enforcement. To understand his stance on issues, review the Sheriff’s webpage on Principled Policing to learn the types of training that our Sheriff’s Deputies go through and where the Sheriff stands on community policing, www. principled_policing.htm. The Board of Supervisors approves the Sheriff’s yearly budget. It should be noted that

THE VALLEY SENTINEL we spend far more on social services than we do on policing. Per the FY 19–20 County Budget, Contra Costa County spends 57% of the General Fund budget on Health & Human Services, up 2% from the year before. The Sheriff’s portion is 19.8%. We’ve known in our County for some time that when someone is having Mental Health crisis and police are called, it is necessary to have someone who is appropriately trained respond. Some of the programming that we have created to de-escalate crisis events are Mental Health Evaluation Teams, one each located in the three different regions of the county. These teams are made up of a mental health clinician and police officer who receive additional training to respond to crisis situations. Additionally, we have three Mobile Crisis Response Teams, consisting of licensed mental health clinicians, community and family support workers, and a family nurse practitioner available to respond to families in crisis. While we have a variety of resources available throughout our County, we also recognize that we still have gaps in our systems of care usually due to funding limitations. However, we are

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constantly looking at grant opportunities and various Evidence Based Programs to add to our county services to address the gaps in our systems, as well as reassessing our systems to ensure efficiency and broad reaching impact to our most vulnerable populations. There are a great many volunteer opportunities in our county to participate for the betterment of the community. I encourage you to look at the advisory body page on our website to see if there is something of interest to you. Change will happen when we have both community and government investment. As always, feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts or concerns at 925-957-8860. My office is here to serve the residents of Contra Costa County District 2, which includes San Ramon, Danville, Alamo, Walnut Creek, Saranap, Parkmead, Lafayette, Moraga, Canyon and Orinda. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can provide you with additional information on this topic or on other County issues. I can be reached by email at SupervisorAndersen@ or by phone at 925-957-8860.

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July / August 2020

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