community

Mental health team will now handle some 911 calls in Contra Costa County

Mental health emergencies account for more than 1 in 10 of the 911 medical calls in Contra Costa County. A new program will now address those calls with crisis teams that include behavioral health professionals. This week, Contra Costa Health Services unveiled the Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime program, which will get clinicians involved in accessing medical calls and determining when a crisis response team is needed. The county is now hiring for the A3 pilot program, with plans to have the…

Richmond renames South Street to honor environmental activist Ethel Dotson

On Friday, South Street will be renamed in honor of late environmental justice advocate and community warrior Ethel Dotson, who also was known for her dedication to Richmond’s Black cultural history.  The effort to rename the street, which runs from Carlson Boulevard to Wall Avenue, was spearheaded by Pullman Neighborhood Council President Naomi Williams, who says she wanted to pay tribute to Dotson on the street Dotson lived on and invested in.  By all accounts, Dotson was a force to…

Richmond city attorney resigns; mayor blames RPA

Richmond City Attorney Teresa Stricker has resigned, Mayor Tom Butt announced Thursday in his newsletter. The announcement comes after months of Butt lambasting the attorney and city manager for their purported role in investigating him over allegations that his architecture firm accepted city work, which would be a conflict of interest for the mayor. Butt has denied the accusation, which hasn’t been made publicly, and claimed that Stricker and City Manager Laura Snideman have used city money to investigate him,…

El Cerrito and other Contra Costa libraries could see upgrades and expanded hours

Claudia Vela studies at the El Cerrito Library every morning. The 38-year-old graphic design student at Berkeley City College has a 1-year-old son — the library gives her a quiet place to get her work done.  But Vela wishes the library, which opens at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, opened earlier.  “I get a lot more done here,” she said.  Vela may get her wish under the Contra Costa County Library’s plan to keep libraries open for 56 hours…

Trick-or-treat returns to the East Bay, with Covid risk sharply reduced but not gone

Robin Donovan’s 13-year-old son didn’t get to trick-or-treat last year because of the pandemic. Instead, he and some friends shared a big bag of candy in the family’s El Cerrito backyard. Donovan’s son wasn’t alone.  “Normally we got a lot of trick-or-treaters, hundreds in the past. Last year we didn’t have any,” Donovan said. “When I talked to people last year, nobody was planning to send their kids trick-or-treating.”  Donovan’s son, 12 at the time, was old enough to understand…

Deadline quickly approaching for Richmond residents to fill out 2021 Community Survey

Richmond residents have until Monday to fill out the 2021 Community Survey, which gauges life, work and play in the city. The survey has been conducted every two years since 2007. It takes about 20 minutes to complete and asks residents to rate their satisfaction with education, infrastructure, safety, transportation, and the city’s overall economic health. It is offered in both English and Spanish and is available online through the city’s website. “I think it’s always important to fill out…

Big jury award could open door to another cannabis dispensary in Richmond

A court case last month possibly set the stage for a new cannabis dispensary in Richmond, the resurrection of an old fight to keep it out — or both.  Two Richmond dispensary owners were ordered to pay $5 million in damages for conspiring against a rival owner. On Sept. 23, a Contra Costa County jury found that William Koziol and Darrin Parle, who operate the Green Remedy Collective, had prevented a prospective dispensary, Richmond Compassionate Care Collective, from establishing a…

‘To a lot of us, Mayor Butt represents politics as usual’: Richmond reacts to Butt’s decision to leave public life

There was a time when most Richmond voters would have been disappointed by Mayor Tom Butt’s decision to make this term his last in public office. That was before they elected a slate of progressives whose majority on the City Council drowns out many of Butt’s opinions and initiatives.  “To a lot of us, Mayor Butt represents politics as usual: Connected to the big businesses, protecting big developers, and against progressive taxation and social policy,” said resident  Benjamin Mertz. “Richmond…

Richmond needs your help in drawing up new city council district lines

Richmond will be using the recently released 2020 U.S. census data to redraw the city’s political boundaries and is inviting residents to help.  Three public workshops already have been held online and two more are scheduled in January and February. But anyone who wants to participate can submit maps and suggestions by email.  The census triggers a redrawing of political boundaries across the country every 10 years. In Richmond, City Council representation likely will be reconfigured as a result. The…