Catellus demands investigation; Concord postpones selection of Master Developer for CNWS

Catellus Development has demanded a full investigation into alleged City of Concord violations in the Master Developer Selection process for the Concord Naval Weapons Station redevelopment project.


We told you so

catellus-rendering*1200xx6002-3376-328-0In a letter to Valerie Barnone, Concord City Manager, Catellus Development has demanded a full investigation into purported City of Concord violations in the Master Developer Selection process for Concord Naval Weapons Station redevelopment project. The City of Concord has published a press release stating it has postponed its plan to announce its selection on September 29.

See the letter from Catellus below, followed by the letter announcing postponement of the September 29 City Council agenda item by City of Concord

Catellus Development demands investigation of Concord CNWS Master Developer Selection Process


Concord postpones selection of Master Developer for CNWS

CONCORD, CA – (Sept. 25, 2015) The September 29 Concord City Council meeting, during which councilmembers were to discuss the selection of the Master Developer for the Concord Naval Weapons Station (CNWS), has been cancelled.

The City of Concord, acting as the Local Reuse Authority (LRA) for the CNWS, initiated a process in January 2014 to identify a Master Developer for Phase 1 of the Concord Naval Weapons Station Project. The City’s process has been successful; as the LRA enters the final phases of selecting a Master Developer, two of the most qualified master development companies in the nation, Lennar Urban and Catellus Development Company, are competing to be selected by the Concord LRA board.

On Thursday, Sept. 24, Concord City Manager Valerie Barone received a letter from Catellus raising concerns about the City’s master developer selection process.

In order to serve the best interests of the public and the City, and to preserve the integrity of the LRA’s selection process, Barone has postponed the Sept. 29 public hearing.

The City needs time to evaluate the concerns raised in the Catellus letter. This results in the previously announced and advertised public meeting of the LRA Board for Sept. 29 being cancelled. The length of the hearing’s postponement is not currently known. The City will announce and notice the hearing once it is rescheduled.

About the project
The redevelopment of the 5,046 acre CNWS site represents one of the largest mixed-use, transit-oriented community development opportunities in Northern California. The City started planning for the reuse of the site with the community in 2006. After an initial community visioning session and numerous workshops, the LRA appointed a 20-member Community Advisory Committee, which met for two years. During that time, the committee worked with staff to develop two alternative plans for the base, which were sent forward to the LRA.

In 2009, the LRA adopted the Clustered Villages alternative, which calls for residential, commercial and office use around the North Concord BART station with greenways and parks separating neighborhood villages. Approximately 69 percent of the property is open space and recreational facilities. The eastern section of the property is proposed to be transferred to the East Bay Regional Park District.

Over the next two years, extensive work was done to refine the selected alternative and bring the plan into compliance with the requirements of numerous state and federal agencies. In 2012, the City Council officially adopted the Concord Reuse Project Area Plan, based on the Clustered Villages alternative.

The property is still owned by the Navy with the first parcels of land expected to transfer in spring of 2016. After the Phase 1 parcels are transferred, it will take another year or more for the necessary specific planning/design work to be completed and infrastructure to be built, including water, power and main roadways.

After the site is improved, the master developer will seek various specialty developers for the housing, retail, office, commercial and sports venues planned for the property. The process of building out the project will take several decades. For more information, visit

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Editor’s note: The letters from Catellus to City Manager Valerie Barone are attached to this press release.

Michael Wright
Former Executive Director for the LRA
(510) 847-4262,


Concord Council member Edi Birsan touts District elections and direct election of Mayor

Concord Council member Edi Birsan touts District elections and direct election of Mayor


Edi Birsan is often on the outside looking in with his four other colleagues on the Concord City Council. As the only member of that group who was elected without the blessings of the local Police Officers Association (POA) and Garbage Company, he has struggled to find a second on most of his proposals before the governing group that rules there.

Concord Council member Edi Birsan touts District elections and direct election of Mayor

A typical example of this is the direct election of Mayor of Concord. In Birsan’s mind with the growing population and greater responsibilities of the post, this job should be determined by a vote of the people.

A directly elected mayor would give more prestige to that individual and tend to diminish the authority of the City Manager. What effect this would have would be determined on who are the individuals involved.

On a positive note this would make the Mayor a more stable long term figure that could allow that person to take a more active role in regional government. This would be especially true if the Mayor were a full time employee of the city and have the necessary time to spend on the job.

This attribute of having a having a mayor active in regional affairs has been missing in recent years where others such as Julie Pierce in Clayton and Amy Worth of Orinda have filled important posts in ABAG and the MTC partially because they had fewer responsibilities than the Mayor of Concord has.

On the minus side this set-up with the elected mayor could take power away from other elected officials on the City Council and focus more attention on head honcho. However, a directly elected mayor is one of several options open to Concord where the people who enter politics are often different from other places.

Concord’s City Council, while being against making any changes in the Charter, did experiment the last couple years installing Tim Grayson for a two year term as opposed to the previous rotation of City council every 12 months to the top spot. Edi Birsan pushed for this change even though it likely precluded him from ever being named mayor while the present members sit on the City Council

Concord Mayor Tim Grayson-state-of-cityBy and large, naming someone as Mayor for two years has been considered a success. Tim Grayson has shown excellent leadership and has brought continuity to the post by serving consecutive terms. However, these powers were bestowed on him by appointment rather than a vote of the people, which the populist Edi Birsan desires.

If such a change were to be made, it would probably be best to do other things at the same time. Among  these alternatives are:

  • Increasing the City Council from five to seven members including  direct election of the mayor. This makes some sense because Concord’s population has continued to grow with more people living there resulting from the Concord Naval Weapons Station development.   The X-factor of this is if the mayor would be full time and be paid because of the extra time involved.
  • Keeping the current membership of the City Council at five and just make the mayor’s job separate from the others with an election every two or four years. This would tend to increase the power of the Mayor at the expense of the City Manager which could have positive and negative effects. In other cities that have adapted a similar system, when the two key people don’t get along, the city Manager is usually the first person to go.
  • Another idea is not to have a direct election of mayor but rather have the top vote getter every two years serve in that capacity. Such a solution is simple but seems to work a little better with seven members of the City Council rather than five because being #1 means a little more with three of four people being elected every two years.
  • Changing the way city council members are chosen from at large to separate districts. Breaking down a City councilperson’s constituency to a smaller group is typically used in larger cities such as San Francisco. Under such a system members are more accountable to citizens in their neighborhood. This is why district elections are usually favored by Progressives because they believe it will bring a more diverse group of public servants into public office.

Having city council members elected on a district basis, when implemented in other places, has tended to politicize these offices into becoming Democrat versus Republican contests. Such an effect would tend to change the non-partisan environment which pervades in Concord.

Few people, regardless of political party, want the same type of gridlock that exists in other levels of government from Sacramento to Washington D.C., be present in their local community.

Another alternative to be considered is to do nothing. Since local government by and large has been successfully operated in Concord from the era of former City Manager Ed James to the present, why change a good thing? While other neighboring cities in the county including Walnut Creek, Antioch, and Richmond have struggled with their finances, Concord has been over the years very successful in keeping their fiscal house in order.

“If it ain’t broken, why fix it” argument is definitely a strong one especially in an era of government overreach and incompetence. Sometimes, less is more

Changing the dynamics of how Concord is currently being run would likely result in those who have asserted power and influence in the recent past to be opposed to tinkering with the present system. Don’t expect change soon.

Who if anyone should determine if Concord or any other  place  have a directly elected Mayor, additional members on their city Council, and/or have those individuals elected on a district or at large basis, is a good question.

My recommendation is, with the imminent expansion of the Concord Naval Weapons Station development, it would be a good idea to let the voters weigh in on their thoughts on these matters. During a general election when it would not cost much to place a questionnaire on the ballot , so why not let the people determine if they want to make any changes of how they elect their officials?

This populist suggestion will be countered by opponents complaining about the cost of putting the subject before voters on the ballot would be more expensive than commissioning an opinion poll. While such an argument is not without merit, I believe it is always better in a democracy to ere on the side of too much public input rather than not enough.

One thing is for certain. Talking about the subject does no harm.



Concord nears selection of master developer for Concord Naval Weapons Station

Concord City Council nears the selection of either Lennar Urban or Catellus Development for Master Developer of the Concord Naval Weapons Station site


When one first meets Steve Buster, he seems to be the friend you never had but always wanted. Smart, articulate, engaging, and sincere, the Vice-President of Catellus is in charge of his company winning the Master Developer contract on the Concord Naval Weapons Project.

Steve Buster
Steve Buster is Vice-President of Catellus Development, one of the finalists for Master Developer of the Concord Naval Weapons Project.
Steve Buster is Vice-President of Catellus Development, one of the finalists for Master Developer of the Concord Naval Weapons Project.[/caption]Well versed on Catellus’s Bay Area work from Fremont to Alameda, Buster’s enthusiasm is infectious.

Prior to hosting The Concord City Council at their large Mueller Development in Austin Texas, Buster and his colleague Sean Whiskeman escorted me around their new construction site on the old Alameda Naval Air Base. From the public area which included a statue of local Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Stargell to their single family residences (where vehicles are parked in the back), the project seems to be progressing very well. As evidence of this, home prices are considerably higher in the current Phase II offerings at Alameda Landing.

While this project is impressive, it is dwarfed by what will be built on the Concord Naval Weapons site where some 28,000 people are supposed to reside in the near future. Catellus is one of two finalists, including Lennar-Urban, competing for the coveted Master Developer slot that is expected to be voted on by the Concord City Council later on this summer.

In describing his company Buster expounds about Catullus’s philosophy “The structure is a true public/private partnership that aligns the interests of Catellus, the City and the community”. He goes on to say, “This unique deal structure is the reason why Catellus projects continue to progress while other development projects remain idle. Decisions are made in collaboration with the City and community. Together, the parties decide on the project’s priorities and how to make the project balance financially.”

Catullus Development was the Master Developer for Alameda Landing
Catullus Development was selected as the Master Developer for Alameda Landing. CLICK TO SEE listing of other Catellus Development projects.
At first glance, Buster’s presentation is pleasing to the ear but this must be taken in context with the work to be done in the next 30 years at the former Weapons Depot. This is a major undertaking well beyond anything Buster’s firm has done in the past. In choosing between Catellus and Lennar, Concord’s City Council faces the difficult task of trying to see which company will do the best job over the long haul.

Catellus was started in 1980 to manage the real estate holdings held by the Union Pacific Railroad after their merger/takeover of the Southern Pacific. This privately held company was sold to ProLogis in 2005 for 5.3 billion. Prior to the sale Catellus sold their heralded Mission Bay Project near AT&T Park in San Francisco to Farallon Properties well before its completion in order to use this capital in other ventures.

After ProLogis purchased Catellus, they continued this trend selling off parts of their assets they previously developed. In 2010 they sold off part of what remained of Catellus plus their name to TPG Capital for a little over half a billion. This was their third change of ownership in 10 years.

Since then Catellus has operated as a solely owned subsidiary of TPG which is known for taking the chain PetSmart public and help providing capital for its expansion. TPG specializes in coming to the rescue of depressed corporations and turning them around. Once they have established their ventures in the black side of the Ledger, TPG often spins them off, going public or private as the case might be.

Taking the history of the final two bidders into account, the Concord City Council has to ask which developer will be the best for the job especially considering that those who they presently deal with are unlikely to be around when the development is constructed and completed.

See the City of Concord staff recommendation to City Council of Catellus and Lennar as finalists for Master Developer. Note the questions and color-coded responses from the respective competing developers.

City of Concord Recommends Catellus Development and Lennar Urban as Finalists for CNWS by Bill Gram-Reefer

There are so many factors to consider. Catellus, as it is constituted today is a developer whose prime interest is to get the project going and breaking ground ASAP. In effect they play the role of General Contractor using vendors to do most of the work involved with this process.

Kofi Bonner
Kofi Bonner is regional Vice President of Lennar Urban, a finalist for Master Developer for the Concord Naval Weapons Station project
In contrast Lennar is a more vertically structured company. Outside of being a developer, they also have holdings of being a major home builder, Mortgage Company, a title insurance concern, solar energy, and other interests related to the construction of their properties. What the Concord City Council must determine is whether they are more comfortable with the Lennar business model or Catellus’s more narrowly focused approach

In trying to convince the Concord’s City Council to hire them, Catellus proudly expounds that they are not a home builder thus can show more versatility in choosing vendors. Lennar counters this notion showing how they have effectively used other builders along with their own people in current and past projects.

Another point of contention between the two competing developers is their ability to deal with the military. Catellus touts their experience in Alameda and with the Mueller Project in Austin being indicative of what they can do. In reality this body of work has been dwarfed by Lennar who has done projects throughout the Country and locally with the Navy’s Treasure Island properties and Hunter’s Point in San Francisco.

Which of these companies can best deal with Uncle Sam is open to conjecture though it is likely they can both handle this aspect of the job.

A major difference in dealing with the final stages of competing for the Concord Naval Weapons Station contract is the approach of the two firms. Steve Buster of Catellus as a younger person talks with the catch phrases of consultants who work for ABAG or the MTC. The words “Walkable, Sustainable, Eco-friendly and Green” frequently come up in his presentations to potential clients.

In contrast to Buster there is the more experienced Regional VP Kofi Bonner of Lennar’s San Francisco Office. Bonner, who has held a wide range of executive positions including City Manager of Oakland and Vice President of the Cleveland Browns (when his friend Carman Policy was running the club) acts like he has been there before because he has.

Bonner, whose confidence can sometimes be confused as arrogance, appears like he is sitting on a full house in a poker game while his foes are still trying to pair up their cards. Kofi, who has been with Lennar for eight years, is well connected politically as indicated by his long time friendship with ex San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.

Lennar is currently working on local projects like The San Francisco Shipyards, Treasure island, and the former El Toro military base in Southern California and a large development in Las Vegas to name a few. They have been in business for over 60 years and are listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Lenore Urban is lead developer of the San Francisco Shipyard development project.
Lennar Urban is lead developer of the San Francisco Shipyard development project. CLICK ON IMAGE to view interact time website.

Bonner hopes to gain the Concord Naval Weapons contract soon because his firm would be negotiating with the same Navy group that they have dealt with successfully on other recent projects in San Francisco. There is concern on his part that with a new American President being elected in 2016, a new set of appointees will be put in place to oversee the project. Bonner thinks this transfer of power will delay gaining approvals no matter who wins the master developer contract.

All of the differences between Lennar and Catellus (including the size of the companies), along with their competing visions of how the Naval Weapons Station development ought to be developed, continues to occupy the minds of the Concord City Council members. Councilman Ron Leone, is ineligible to participate in this decision making process because he lives within 500 feet of the base.

Concord City Council must determine:

  • “What if” should the economy go sour? If so, who would best keep the project afloat in hard times?
  • Which company is likely to be stable for next 25 years?
  • What business model will best deal with City staff and local contractors?
  • Who can cut the best deal with the Navy?
  • Which company will build the highest quality product that will not end up some day as Section 8 Housing?

The biggest elephant in the room is whether Lennar or Catellus will offer the best monetary compensation to the City? No matter which vendor they select, Concord will likely receive what amounts to a signing bonus from the winning bidder.

Different promises have been made. Depending on how successful the project is will determine the city’s final take. Also to be considered is the City Council’s desire to subsidize their annual budget woes while at the same time building a quality product future generations can be proud of.

All of these factors come into play as the City Council is wooed by Steve Buster and Kofi Bonner. Both organizations are putting on a full court press with their final sales pitches as decision time is near. At stake is up to 3 billion dollars of work and the future of a City that prides itself “where families come first.”


Pulse of Concord: Fall 2014 Concord Survey Summary

Fall 2014 Concord Survey Summary concerning term limits, police, homeless, and development


In a summary of the Fall 2014 Concord Survey, there was no significant difference between the Concord residents and non-residents. Total under 200. To participate in the Winter 2014=>15 survey go to

1. Our representatives in the state legislature are going a good job for the City of Concord.
The same question was asked in the Summer of 2013 and this is the comparison
2013 / 2014
Agree Strongly 6.5% / 6.1%
Agree Somewhat 13.9% / 21.5%
Disagree Somewhat 20.9% / 11.7 %
Disagree Strongly 29.6% / 27.0%
There has been a shift to the positive
The proportion of Strongly Disagree corresponds roughly to the 29% of the electorate in Concord that are Republicans and having a Democrat in both the Senate and the Assembly, though I do not have the respondents broken down by party affiliation.

2. The police are doing a good job in keeping the city safe.
Some 60.6% agree (21.8% strongly) and 25.5% disagree (6.1% Strongly).
There has been a shift to the positive over the same response in the Summer of 2013 with the negatives staying about the same but a greater number of the neutrals moving to agree somewhat. Statistically the city is pretty safe though going through a spike in car thefts and 40% of our crimes are related to Domestic Violence and the city leading the charge on a Family Justice system that may address that in the long run.

3. When considering who to vote for in a City Council race, I am very influenced by the ballot pamphlet candidate statements.
Some 42.3% agree and equal number disagree. Interestingly enough the one candidate that did not put in a Ballot Statement (Hogoboom) got 438 more votes than Lynch who did shell out $1,500 for the ballot statement. This could relate to Hogoboom’s placement at the top of the ballot sheet in a low turnout election. In 2010, Poston also had no ballot statement and finished dead last.

4. The number of homeless and street beggars in Concord has increased significantly over the past six months.
15.8% Agree Strongly
26.7 Agree Somewhat
18.8 Disagree Somewhat
6.1 Disagree Completely
32.7 Neutral

There should be a new homeless count coming up in January. As an aside the Concord Small Business Association has made clearing out homeless camps and reducing homeless a high priority.

5. People are influenced to vote for candidates with large signs.
11.0% Agree Strongly
30.1 Agree Somewhat
14.1 Disagree Somewhat
23.9 Disagree Strongly

Well the correlation between the use of large signs and winning in the last election is close to 100%.
The causal relationship is what keeps the controversy alive.

6. The City of Concord is business friendly
13.4% Agree Strongly
34.2 Agree Somewhat
15.9 Disagree Somewhat
17.7 Disagree Strongly
18.9 In between/undecided

With the entire City Council bringing up the importance of supporting economic development and new business, it is interesting to see what develops. The question remains what do people perceive as the make up of what is business friendly or not? And how does that perception match to reality. A future set of questions?

7. The Concord City Council is doing a good job.
13.4% Agree Strongly
25.6 Agree Somewhat
26.8 Disagree Somewhat
15.2 Disagree Completely
18.9 Undecided

Well in the election, the incumbents were overwhelmingly returned.

8. There should be term limits on City Council.
39.0% Agree Strongly
25.6 Agree Somewhat
11.0 Disagree Somewhat
12.2 Disagree Completely
12.2 Undecided

With 23.2% opposed to Term Limits and 64.6% in favor it is interesting to point out that there has been a shift to compared to two years ago when this was first asked the results were :
No: 14.3%
Yes 8 years: 63.9%
Yes 12 years: 14.3%
Yes 16 years: 3.4%
No opinion 4%

Still the idea of Term Limits is popular in Concord municipal elections. There are some cities that have them and it would be interesting for a Masters Thesis to have someone evaluate what has been the effect: does it help or hurt a city; does it allow for greater numbers of trained leaders or does it artificially keep that level lower than beneficial; does it shift more power to consultants, lobbyist and staff as was attributed to the State Legislature? Elections were suppose to be the term limits, but the re-election power of incumbents locally is undeniable so is term limits a matter of attraction to those frustrated with the status quo?

9. Developers have too much influence on the Council.
38.7% Agree Strongly
22.7 Agree Somewhat
4.3 Disagree Somewhat
4.9 Disagree Completely
29.5 Undecided

The nature of that influence is a matter for detail. One thing that is rather interesting is that biggest local developer (Seeno) was excluded from the final bid list on the Master Developer for the Weapon Station.

10. The Concord Police Officers’ Union has too much influence on the Council.
40.2% Agree Strongly
23.2 Agree Somewhat
6.1 Disagree Somewhat
2.4 Disagree Completely
28.1 Undecided

As the single largest regular expenditure force in Council Elections through direct mail, large signage, joint tactics and strategy available by having the same consultant for their candidates and the union and having an influence over the electorate by their endorsements, what would you expect to happen? Then think about question 9 and what happens when the same consultant works with the developer or there is an alliance between the two groups?

11. Project labor agreements are good for the city.
12.9% Agree Strongly
20.3 Agree Somewhat
9.8 Disagree Somewhat
13.5 Disagree Completely
24.5 Undecided
19.0 What is a Project Labor Agreement (PLA)?

PLA’s come in many different forms and labels, but the main features that they cover are:
1. Union Wage and Benefit rates
2. Local Hire
3. No Strike provisions
4. Agreed dispute resolution methods
5. A high performance apprentice training program
6. Veteran priority in hiring hall call ups

To the extent Pulse of Concord reflects, suggests or implies a viewpoint, it is not intended or represented to be the viewpoint of the Concord City Council, the City of Concord, or City staff or officials (Living, Dead or Undecided). Nor was this survey or the results created, distributed, tabulated, evaluated or analyzed by the Concord City Council, the City of Concord, or its staff or officials. Finally any placement of shoe leather in one’s mouth is most likely the fault of Edi Ersalesi Birsan – or whatever other variation on that theme may be in vogue.


Challengers to Incumbents in Concord City Council election express their views

Running for the three Concord City Council slots against incumbents Laura Hoffmeister, Tim Grayson, and Ron Leone is no easy task. Each of them is well known and established in the community which makes it difficult to defeat any or all of them.

Despite these long odds Brent Trublood, Harmesh Kumar, Terry Kremin, Adam Foster and Patrick Hogoboom, are giving it the old college try. Another candidate Nick Lynch has not appeared at any of the election forums nor has been available for comment.

Harmesh Kumar is a candidate for Concord City Council in November 2014
Harmesh Kumar is a candidate for Concord City Council in November 2014
Harmesh Kumar is a candidate for Concord City Council in November 2014[/caption]What makes their quest for holding public office so interesting is why these individuals decided to invest their time and money to enter public service. For these candidates we have:

Harmesh Kumar: A clinical-psychologist who operates multiple residential care facilities around the state for the severely mentally ill Dr. Kumar wants to run for city council “To better serve the community I love.”  He takes pride that “I have not received endorsements from major special interest groups including real estate developers, public employee unions and national political parties not familiar with local issues.” He adds “My special interests are the people of Concord”.

Terry Kremin: A teacher by trade Kremin thinks “We need more people in politics instead of just connected ones” Taking this populist view further he states, “ We would like a proactive council instead of one that only reacts.” Kremin says, “We need to get the big money out of our government,” and bring back the positive image of Concord to encourage job creation.  In addition as a holder of a PHD in Behavioral Neuroscience he would like to improve the efficiency of city employees and questions if 12 hour shifts worked by police officers “can bring on fatigue that is a disaster waiting to happen.”

Adam Foster is a candidate for Concord City Council in the November 2014 election
Adam Foster is a candidate for Concord City Council in the November 2014 election
Adam Foster: In his professional life working as a Planner for the city of Lafayette he seeks the City Council post in order to “help make Concord a safer community that attracts and retains families” To do this the self proclaimed millennial wants to encourage forward looking city planning which decreases traffic, promotes use of alternative energy sources, encourages walk able streets and bicycle use. Foster believes “we need to do a better job of creating and implementing a vision that will further the long range success of our city.”

Patrick Hogoboom: After a negative experience with the City Council which he says took away his rights as a veteran of the arms forces to cultivate needed outdoor medical marijuana plants Hogaboom is running for office to bring attentions to his concerns about this issue. As a self proclaimed novice in politics he offers “a new perspective to the post including listening to the people, balancing the budget and protecting personal freedoms.” Hogoboom believes the “incumbents on the City Council need to take a break in holding office to reflect upon what they are doing.”

Brent Trublood: A teacher in the Mt. Diablo School system who has been active in their union and the local Democratic Party, he wants to “make education a top priority for Concord.” He believes current office holders on the City Council are “Missing opportunities for Concord.” Elaborating on this Trublood says they “should focus more on removing the structural deficit and providing a plan within five years to have expenses equal revenue.” He also wants to streamline the building permit process to encourage business development. He is concerned about “an inordinate amount of influence when it comes to the City Council, such as developers, major franchises and large businesses.”

Other candidates expressed similar sentiments about special interests including the infuence  of public employee unions and the powerful Concord Police Officers Association (POA) a 145 member group that makes large contributions to local political campaigns including  City Council races. This is especially relevant with expiring labor contracts next year for these groups.

Terry Kremin is a candidate for Concord City Council in November, 2014
Terry Kremin is a candidate for Concord City Council in November, 2014
Terry Kremin sums this up in saying, “I fully support the police and their work, but we also need realistic bargaining that takes into account what average pay rates are in our area.” Kumar feels “It is time for us to reevaluate our priorities in regards to keeping our community safe. Law enforcement receives almost 60% of our annual budget.” He believes “social, youth, and family oriented program based law enforcement will lead to lower costs in the long run.”

Unlike the other candidates Patrick Hogaboom wants to, “fire the police chief and clean house there and bring that expense down to about 40% of the annual budget.”  Taking a more even handed look at law enforcement Adam Foster proposes to “approach the police budget with an open mind” and “drastically increase the city’s investment in crime prevention through environmental design.”

Brent Trublood is a candidate for Concord City Council in November 2014
Brent Trublood is a candidate for Concord City Council in November 2014
Brent Trublood has a wish list which would “deploy more officers to the field and use these officers to eliminate much of the overtime that is now being paid.” He also would like to hire more civilian staff to replace work being done by higher paid uniformed employees. In addition Trublood is a proponent of re-opening sub stations in high crime areas to improve law enforcement performance.

All of the five challengers are concerned about unfunded pension, medical, and infrastructure work that the City has not kept up with in recent years because of budget constraints. While they have showed determination to fix these problems, no specific plans have been offered to rectify the situation.

In that regard every candidate with the exception of Patrick Hogoboom supports the 9 year extension of the Measure Q Sales Tax measure on this November’s ballot.

The marijuana legalization crusader feels that when Measure Q was originally put before voters it was done with the understanding that it would be only for five years. Hogoboom feels “this deal was binding and the politicians should keep their word and not extend it.” He prefers passing a measure X that would deal solely with eliminating pension and medical benefit debts the city currently has on the books.

When all of the positions of those running against “the Big 3” group of incumbents are taken into account, what they are all basically saying is that new leadership is necessary for the City Council who they feel has become stale and stagnant with their years of service on that body. Where the challengers mostly differ with current office holders is on implementation and priorities for setting public policy.

There is no doubt that everyone competing in the Concord City Council race including the 3 incumbents can agree on the contents of Dr. Kumar’s campaign posters that asks everyone who lives in Concord  to vote for “A better life” for their families. The question is how to get there.


Concord City Council votes to extend Measure Q sales tax

Last night, the Concord City Council approved placing the City of Concord Essential Services Measure, also known as the Measure Q Continuation Measure, on the Nov. 4, 2014 ballot to protect and maintain local city services.

Concord City Council

Measure Q was adopted by Concord voters in 2010 to protect and maintain vital services. Funding from Measure Q has helped the City stay solvent, maintain services and begin rebuilding its urgent reserve funds during one of the worst economic times of our day. Measure Q is scheduled to expire soon.

If enacted, the Measure Q Continuation Measure could generate funds to maintain city services that residents have identified as important, including 9-1-1 emergency response, neighborhood police patrols, gang prevention programs, street and pothole repair efforts, and youth and senior programs.

valerie_barone_concord_unfunded_liabilities“Sacramento has taken more than $78 million from the City of Concord over the past 20 years. The slow economic recovery has forced the City to cut its workforce by 25 percent, defer road maintenance, reduce programs and outsource services,” said City Manager Valerie Barone. “Our City needs locally-controlled funds for local projects and services, with money that can’t be taken by the State.”

As with Measure Q, a Continuation Measure will require independent citizen oversight, mandatory financial audits, and yearly reports to the community to ensure the funds are spent as promised. Additionally, there would be no increase in the sales tax rate residents currently pay.

For more information, visit