County Democrats and Republicans urge more cooperation from PG&E in its landscape clearing program

County Democrats and Republicans encourage PG&E cooperationHell has frozen over. Contra Costa Democrats and Republicans will hold a joint news conference Wednesday to encourage PG&E to work more closely with local governments in managing its landscape removal program. The event takes place May 14, at 2:30 pm, at the Len Hester Park, 1039 Hampton Dr in Concord (Bancroft & Hookston near the Iron Horse Trail).

In a joint statement obtained by Halfway To Concord, Chuck Carpenter and Becky Kohlberg, the Central Committee chairpersons respectively for the County Democratic and Republican parties, encourage PG&E to work more closely with local county and city governments and residents as PG&E works to improve pipeline safety by the clearing of trees, scrubs, and other obstacles from the pipeline’s proximity.

The PG&E program to remove trees obstruct access to gas pipelines began earlier in the year for its Pipeline Pathway project, but is currently on hold as conflicts between residents, cities, and PG&E tree removal raised opposition.

‘We are grateful for PG&E’ efforts to improve their ability to maintain, inspect and safely operate their pipeline systems in Contra Costa,’ said Democratic Central Committee Chairman Chuck Carpenter. ‘We expect the company to plan and work closely with residents, City Councils, and other government entities to carry out their effort in a way that benefits our residents and all concerned.’

‘We expect PG&E to establish a comprehensive communication plan, follow local government regulations and permitting processes and compensate cities and/or residents for the work done and landscaping removed from each site,’ added Becky Kolberg, Chair of the Republican Central Committee. ‘And we expect PG&E to return all sites to an appearance acceptable by each city.’

At the urging of Concord City Councilmenber Edi Birsan, both political parties have passed resolutions calling upon PG&E to work with local governments and their regulations to quickly complete the work and make every effort to upgrade pipeline access and safety while maintaining the beauty of each site.

In a statement made to NBC News Bay Area on April 23, PG&E spokesperson Debbie repeated PG&E’s desire to work with cities and residents. “We realize we could have done a better job communicating,” Felix said. “We are sitting down with every city. For the time being, we have paused this program. Until we have an agreement in place with each city, we are not removing any trees under this program.”

See the Resolutions by the Contra Costa Democratic and Republican Parties below.

Resolution by the Democratic Party of Contra Costa County

San Francisco East Bay municipalities, landowners, and residents are deeply concerned by the Pacific, Gas, and Electric (P,G & E) plan to clear-cut thousands of local trees on a 20 foot wide path through our communities along the routes of P,G & E gas pipelines.  Now, therefore, the Democratic Party of Contra Costa County urges P,G & E:

(1) To listen to and improve communications with stakeholders;

(2) To include all stakeholders in the process;

(3) To enhance on-ground inspections;  

(4) To comply with city and county tree, shrub and greenery regulations even if P,G & E believes that it is not required to do so;

(5) To work with local governments and residents to make tree-by-tree assessments and to develop compensation and mitigation measures that consider the impact of tree cutting on our environmental quality and our neighborhood property values;

(6) To make reasonable mitigation efforts – such as trimming rather than removing trees, installing in-ground barriers, or moving the pipeline;  and

(7) To clear-cut our greenery ONLY as a last resort, after all stakeholders agree that it is necessary.

Respectfully submitted,

The Democratic Party of Contra Costa County

May 12, 2014

Whereas Pacific Gas and Electric has undertaken to remove trees, shrubs, and other landscaping above and along the routes of its gas pipelines in order to ensure access to those pipelines and;

Whereas the cities, property owners, and residents Contra Costa Cities are concerned about the appearance of their properties and streets as well as pipeline safety;

We, the Contra Costa Republican Party, urge PG&E and its subcontractors to:

1.) Establish and maintain a comprehensive communication plan with all stakeholders within the County before starting or resuming work within each city or unincorporated area;

2.) include the following information in their communication plan:

The schedule, scale, scope, and timeline, including start and completion dates, of the work to be completed;

An agreed upon assessment of the work to be completed, including efforts to mitigate complete removal of landscaping and appropriate, adequate, agreed upon compensation or replacement of removed or altered landscaping;

2.) Comply with all city and county regulations and permitting processes, even if PG&E and its subcontractors believe they are not required to do so legally;

3.) Refrain from physically removing any trees, shrubs or other landscaping until reaching an agreement with each city and property owner on the above plan.

4.) Work expeditiously once work has started to complete the work in a timely agreed upon timeframe;

5.) Make every effort to make reasonable alternative mitigation efforts, such as in-ground barriers or moving the pipeline, other than cutting and or removing trees, shrubs and other landscaping.

The Contra Costa Republican Party

Signed by:
Becky Kolberg, Chairman

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Contra Costa GOP Picnic, Jul 30 at Rossmoor

Contra Costa Republican Party, CCRP, roosmoor, swinging blue starsThe Contra Costa Republican Party Picnic is scheduled for Jul 30, at the Rossmoor Picnic Area, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. $30 per person includes Fuddruckers 1/3 lb hamburgers or veggie burger, grilled on the spot! salad, chips, cookie, and your choice of soda or bottled water. The swingin’ Blue Stars will perform. Beer, wine, soda, and additional water available for purchase. Continue reading “Contra Costa GOP Picnic, Jul 30 at Rossmoor”

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Dropped from CCRP mail list: My day is ruined!

The Contra Costa Republican Party is an incompetent organization whose only strength is violation of its bylaws for the benefit of Tom Del Beccaro and his followers

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Today I received a message that said, “This email is to confirm that you have been unsubscribed from the Contra Costa Republican Party (CCRP) email list”. My what a tragedy. Continue reading “Dropped from CCRP mail list: My day is ruined!”

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County GOP elects new chair during contentious meeting

Kolberg’s election ensures the CCRP’s status quo and represents continuity with its past policies and practices (amply chronicled in these pages).

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At its March 18th meeting the Contra Costa Republican Party (CCRP) central committee elected Becky Kolberg as its new chairman to replace former Chairman Greg Poulos who resigned in January. With an 18-6 vote margin over Alamo’s Joe Rubay, Kolberg’s election ensures the CCRP’s status quo and represents continuity with its past policies and practices (amply chronicled in these pages).

While Rubay enjoys broad support among area Republicans and was expected to bring a fresh perspective and new direction to the party, Kolberg’s election indicates that the county’s GOP organization remains firmly in the grip of the cozy cabal that has controlled it for years.

This June Contra Costa Republicans will elect central committee members for the 2011-2012 two-year term that commences in January 2011, when a new CCRP leadership team will be elected by the newly-elected committee.

In January area Republicans may wish tune back in. Until then, the only thing on is Romper Room re-runs. Move along, now.

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Nowhere to go but UP: Contra Costa GOP to Elect New Chairman

It’s fair to say that, where the CCRP is concerned, there’s nowhere to go but up, since it’s tough to fathom how things could get any worse.

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At its March 18th meeting the Contra Costa Republican Party (CCRP) is scheduled to elect a new chairman following the resignation of Greg Poulos. The chairman will be elected by majority vote of current Committee members. UPDATE —Location of meeting, which begins at 7:00 p.m., is Vista Room Rossmoor Hillside Club house.

It is no secret that during the past several years, under the county chairmanships of Tom Del Beccaro and his hand-picked successor Greg Poulos, the CCRP has been roiled in political infighting and dissension, the very portrait of a dysfunctional organization. The chairmanships of both Del Beccaro and Poulos were characterized by political intrigue and divisiveness, with the chairman actively fueling “us vs. them” unrest and distrust between “good” pro-chairman and “bad” anti-chairman camps pitted against one another. This counterproductive atmosphere has become entrenched in the organization and must change before CCRP members will be capable of focusing on the job at hand.

The CCRP is currently in debt and the organization’s financial management and reporting called into question. In response to concerns regarding the CCRP’s financial condition and job performance of Treasurer Darcy Linn, a financial oversight subcommittee was formed. This committee, chaired by Joe Rubay (candidate for Chairman) first convened last year to review CCRP finances and make recommendations regarding its accounting and financial reporting practices to ensure legal compliance and achieve sustained solvency. Rubay anticipates that the subcommittee’s report will be released to the committee in the next few weeks.

In addition to the CCRP’s financial woes, it has lacked the strong leadership necessary to transform committee members – a diverse group of opinionated, often outspoken individuals – into a functional team. The committee is composed of the full gambit of Republican viewpoints from traditional “country club” Republicans, social conservatives, libertarian-leaning individualists, TEA party tax fighters, anti-war Constitutionalists – and everything in between. Some of the members were first elected to the committee for the 2009-10 term, while others have held committee seats for decades. While this leadership challenge has been compared to herding cats, the situation shows promise given the strong appetite – among local Republicans and conservative grassroots observers as well as the state party – for positive change.

It’s fair to say that, where the CCRP is concerned, there’s nowhere to go but up, since it’s tough to fathom how things could get any worse. One hopes that the incoming chairman will be a change agent and set his or her sights high in order to capitalize on the growing anti-tax, anti-Big Brother momentum sweeping the nation. To that end, the following suggestions are offered to the incoming CCRP chairman, whoever s/he may be, on behalf of Republicans throughout the East Bay:

Tip #1: K.I.S.S.
The successful chairman will understand that the committee must do a few things and do them well. The #1 job of the central committee is to manage elections by doing 5 things:

– Register Republicans to vote
– Organize Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts
– Develop precinct organizations
– Local fundraising
– Recruit, develop and elect candidates into local office

It’s not rocket science but it does require focus and discipline. Anything that diverts energy and attention from these tasks must be avoided.

Tip #2: Demonstrate Integrity and Ethics
General Norm Schwarzkopf observed, “Leadership is a combination of strategy and character. If you must be without one, be without the strategy.”

During much of the past year the CCRP was in turmoil over the flagrant and repeated violations of organizational bylaws by committee leaders. This recent controversy started at the CCRP’s biennial organizational meeting in January 2009, at which former CCRP chairman and current state GOP vice-chairman Tom Del Beccaro presided as temporary chair. At that meeting Greg Poulos and Darcy Linn – neither of whom were elected to the CCRP on the June 2008 ballot – were nonetheless appointed to the committee and elected as Chairman and Treasurer, respectively, in direct violation of committee rules. The move, clumsily orchestrated by Del Beccaro with the assistance of CRP operative Steve Franks, was intended to maintain Poulos and Linn in their key leadership roles and hence maintain Del Beccaro’s influence over the CCRP and its treasury.

If you’re envisioning marionettes on a string right about now, you’ve got the picture.

When these illegal actions were challenged by CCRP whistleblower Ken Hambrick at the February 2009 CRP convention credentials committee, consistent with the remedial procedures established by the state party, the protest was summarily (and predictably) dismissed by good ol’ boy politics. It’s clearly verboten for anyone to question the actions of a highly-placed CRP official, no matter how outrageous his misconduct may be. (Full disclosure alert: I was present at the February hearing as Ken’s assistant and supporter in blowing the whistle on Poulos and Linn.)

Hambrick Letter to CRP Credentials Committee 022009

Rather than admitting wrongdoing and remedying the situation, Poulos ignored justified concerns of committee members and, inevitably, was unable to gain cooperation of the committee. Chairman Poulos undermined his own success because he was unable to earn the credibility and trust essential to leadership. As a result, even today the CCRP lives with the Poulos/Del Beccaro legacy – mired in debt and bogged down in infighting, distrust and procedural disputes. Anyone attending CCRP meetings can attest to the unpleasant, tense atmosphere and counterproductive groupthink mentality that plagues the group.

Getting the CCRP’s financial house in order – and out of debt – definitely is on the short list of action items for the new chair to address within the first 60 days. Replacing the CCRP Treasurer might be a good place to start.

Tip #3: Build Effective Relationships
Opportunities are ripe for Republicans to actively seek and develop alliances with non-Republican groups that share some common values, including TEA Party activists, independent voters, libertarians, taxpayer groups, Campaign for Liberty supporters and even disillusioned Democrats. It is apparent that Republicans have failed in building alliances with non-Republicans that share beliefs in wide swaths of the GOP agenda. The CCRP chairman can start by listening, genuinely seeking to understand and keeping an open mind to others’ ideas and perspectives – and urging CCRP members to do likewise.

With luck the incoming CCRP chairman will understand the importance of building strong relationships with a diverse spectrum of individuals throughout the county. The 2010 and 2012 elections are critical for the GOP; in blue-state Contra Costa the only way the GOP can win is by providing responsive solutions to voter worries about rising unemployment, higher taxes, increasing government regulation, growing government debt, continuing government budget deficits and underperforming schools and public agencies. All voters that share these concerns – regardless of political affiliation – should be considered the GOP’s target market.

Tip #4: Man Up: Maintain Your Independence
The incoming CCRP chair will do well to assert his/her independence from outside influences, particularly those of Del Beccaro who resides in Contra Costa and whose toxic, misanthropic influence has greatly contributed to the current mess.

Parting advice to the new chairman:
Put your own political ambitions aside and just get the job done. Focus on building a solid committee team, developing and nurturing a broad network of alliances and continuously improving organizational performance.

If you fail, at least you did so on your own terms and can rest in the knowledge that you gave it your best shot. If you succeed, the CRP bigwigs will beat a path to your door. So, what’s to lose?

Remember that there are thousands of Contra Costa voters rooting for you to succeed. We want Contra Costa to have a strong, vital Republican Party. We yearn to be a part of a first-rate organization. We’re eager to work for GOP victories in 2010 and 2012. Please won’t you clean up the current mess? If you do, we’ll be there – with our hands ready to work and our wallets open.

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Rats jump local GOP sinking ship

Poulos and Del Beccaro’s resignation come as the CCRP’s ad hoc financial investigation committee nears the release of its report.

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Contra Costa Rerpublican Party Central (CCRP) Committee chairman Greg Poulos, has announced his resignation. Poulos follows the resignation of disgraced former chair and vice-chair Tom Del Beccaro, who also serves as Vice Chair of the California Republican Party, whose leadership is currently mired in sexual scandal.

Poulus was unelected, but was appointed as a member and chairman of the committee by Del Beccaro and was seen as Del Beccaro’s sock puppet. Poulos and his dwindling supporters typically characterized any opposition to the Central Committee’s incompetence, lack of transparency and financial ruin, as attempts to destroy the party.

Poulos and Del Beccaro’s resignation come as the CCRP’s ad hoc financial investigation committee nears the release of its report.

Knowledgeable sources suggest CCRP member Gene Kreps, recovering from knee surgery, would be in line to take over the chairmanship. Del Beccaro supporters Patty O’Day and Treasurer Darci Linn may also be considered.

Questions remain concerning culpability for the organization’s longstanding debt.

POULOS RESIGNATION LETTER

Becky Kolberg
Secretary
Contra Costa County Republican Party

Dear Becky:

I write this notice to formally resign my positions as Chair of the Contra Costa County Republican Party and central Committee member, effective immediately.

I joined this Party to make a difference in my community–to spread the word about conservative values and ideals, to help get Republicans elected, and to make our county and our state a better place to live, work, and raise our families. It has been a pleasure working alongside my fellow Republicans. I am proud to call many of these folks my friends. We have put in a lot of time and hard work together, and, despite the occasional challenges and clashes of local politics, we have accomplished much.

But the position of Chair has come to require more time than I am able to give. Going into the 2010 elections, Contra Costa will need a Chair able to devote even more time than usual to advancing the agenda of the Central Committee and doing our part to secure local and statewide victory at the ballot box.

After my resignation, I look forward to returning my energies full time to my family and business, and serving the efforts of the conservative movement and the Republican Party as I am able.

Therefore, I humbly submit my resignation, and wish the party continued success in the future.

Sincerely,

Greg Poulos
Chairman
Contra Costa Republican Party

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