Columns – Martinez Tribune https://martineztribune.com The website of the Martinez Tribune. Mon, 15 May 2017 16:31:36 -0700 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3 Part 5: Happy 100th Birthday City Hall Building! https://martineztribune.com/2017/05/15/part-5-happy-100th-birthday-city-hall-building/ Mon, 15 May 2017 16:31:36 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=7320 By KRISTIN HENDERSON Special to the Tribune Gentle Reader:  You have inspired me in this, the 100th year of 525 Henrietta Street to nominate, and hopefully list on the National Register of Historic Places, the City of Martinez Grammar School/City Hall. Is that not a nice birthday present?  In 1992, Page and Turnbull felt there was …

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By KRISTIN HENDERSON
Special to the Tribune

Gentle Reader:

 You have inspired me in this, the 100th year of 525 Henrietta Street to nominate, and hopefully list on the National Register of Historic Places, the City of Martinez Grammar School/City Hall. Is that not a nice birthday present?

 In 1992, Page and Turnbull felt there was enough architectural integrity to make the National Register. However, a Mr. Kite decided otherwise and so the building remains officially found to be not historic. However, buildings can be recorded as such for reasons having to do with inaccurate documentation, etc., and then found to be historic after all. The Borland Home is one example.

 This will be my biggest gamble to date. Anyone wishing to help with a National Register of Historic Places listing can email me. Exterior photography would be a good start and it has to be done how they want it. City Hall is a difficult building to get exterior shots as it is.

 But before we move on, let us remember:

  • Martinez City Hall was built in 1917 in Prairie School style as designed by Stone & Wright.
  • Prairie School is an authentic American architecture that celebrates the open spaces of the Midwest and resulted from the building opportunities the Great Chicago fire presented.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright is considered the father of Prairie School Architecture.
  • We did not go over this, but Page and Turnbull identified a “Sullivanesque” characteristic in City Hall’s architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright was mentored by Louis Sullivan who is known as the father of modernism and the father of sky scrapers. Sullivan is a major inspiration to the Prairie School of Architects.
  • Brick and terra cotta manufactured by Livermore Bricks.
  • Housed K-5 in about nine classrooms.
  • Bought and inhabited by the City of Martinez by 1955.
  • The 1989 earthquake caused consideration of the seismic health of 525 Henrietta.
  • Three sides of the building’s brick facade were almost removed but the town and the Design and Planning Commissions fought to keep the historic elements and won while overseeing a retrofit, expansion, and modernization of City Hall.
  • Mario Menesini exclaimed, “And I went to school here!” upon his son’s reelection to City Council in 2006.  

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Part 4: Happy Birthday Martinez City Hall! https://martineztribune.com/2017/05/05/part-4-happy-birthday-martinez-city-hall/ Fri, 05 May 2017 08:04:09 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=7268 By KRISTIN HENDERSON Special to the Tribune NOTE: The following is Part 4 of several installments on Martinez City Hall. Many thanks to retired Deputy City Clerk Mercy Cabral for setting me up with these records and lazerfiche. In 1950, the City of Martinez sold its 1912 City Hall that stood where now the creek …

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An old picture from the “Martinez Standard” newspaper of the 1912 City Hall, which sat about where the creek meets Main Street. (ON FILE)
An old picture from the “Martinez Standard” newspaper of the 1912 City Hall, which sat about where the creek meets Main Street. (ON FILE)

By KRISTIN HENDERSON
Special to the Tribune

NOTE: The following is Part 4 of several installments on Martinez City Hall.

Many thanks to retired Deputy City Clerk Mercy Cabral for setting me up with these records and lazerfiche.

In 1950, the City of Martinez sold its 1912 City Hall that stood where now the creek meets Main Street and took up temporary digs. Meanwhile, a State audit deemed the Grammar School building not up to modern standards for education, even though the 1917 school was in a U-shape plan to maximize ventilation and light, according to Post-Victorian edicts. It was designed for K-5 in nine or 10 classrooms in two projecting wings. It was erected with wood and in the auditorium, steel columns and beams. But when it came up for sale, the City vied with the Catholic Church for the purchase of the building.

Where the police and building departments are today were open but covered areas with skylights. There was a mezzanine on the east side above the  auditorium. There was a low wall with an iron fencing that met in the middle for the iron gate that let students into the front courtyard. Around 1928, two school rooms were added to the upper west corner of 525 Henrietta St. Photographs from this time also show play structures, trees, and shrubs in the courtyard.

When the City of Martinez took over the building, it began to partition the classrooms into offices, remove original wood work, and plaster walls. By the time of the 1993 fought-for historically-sensitive seismic upgrade, what was left of the interior integrity was found mostly in the Council Chambers and those two 1928 second story classrooms with their wood trim, black boarding, chair railings, etc. Council Chambers retains its original plaster, including capitals (those ornate square columns with pretty tops that stick out of the walls), box beam ceiling, and molding around the school stage.

A 1920 rendering of Martinez Grammar School. (ON FILE)
A 1920 rendering of Martinez Grammar School. (ON FILE)

The 1993 renovation said goodbye to the original stair case, fountain and greenery in the courtyard, a door to the Police Department, which is now bricked over, and a few other things. In their place came a seismically sound building, a 15 percent expansion of the second floor (the stuccoed parts up there), replacement of some historic elements; ADA compliant ramps, bathrooms, and elevator; first floor now all even level to match a courtyard raised above the 100 year flood plane, and better work spaces and work flow for City workers.

And yet, Mario Menesini could still exclaim, “I went to school here!” Check in next time when we wrap up City Hall in the birthday paper it deserves.

Plans for the 1993 remodel of Martinez City Hall. (ON FILE)
Plans for the 1993 remodel of Martinez City Hall. (ON FILE)

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The Architecture Around Us – Part 3: Architects Stone & Wright https://martineztribune.com/2017/04/28/part-3-architects-stone-wright/ Fri, 28 Apr 2017 15:47:05 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=7204 By KRISTIN HENDERSON Special to the Tribune NOTE: The following is Part 3 of several installments on Martinez City Hall. Sssshhhhhh!!! We are in the hallowed stacks of San Francisco Public Library’s 6th floor History Room. Here we find lots about our City Hall/Grammar School building’s architects: Stone & Wright. By 1915, Stone & Wright …

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A Stone and Wright design similar to that of the Martinez Grammar School (now known as City Hall). (THE ARCHITECT AND ENGINEER)
A Stone and Wright design similar to that of the Martinez Grammar School (now known as City Hall). (THE ARCHITECT AND ENGINEER)

By KRISTIN HENDERSON
Special to the Tribune

NOTE: The following is Part 3 of several installments on Martinez City Hall.

Sssshhhhhh!!! We are in the hallowed stacks of San Francisco Public Library’s 6th floor History Room. Here we find lots about our City Hall/Grammar School building’s architects: Stone & Wright. By 1915, Stone & Wright already had a general school design that looked exactly like ours and employed it in Richmond at the Grant School.

Stone & Wright established offices in Stockton and Oakland and designed elementary and high schools throughout Northern California. A partial list is on file with the Martinez Tribune. The Homestead School in San Mateo is a Spanish/Moorish revival style. The Jefferson School in Stockton, California, was designed with Federalist characteristics, as were Corning, California, High School and Lincoln School, Richmond. Stone & Wright also modernized older schools from Empire/Victorian styles to more modern constructs.

Stone & Wright designed other types of buildings such as Stockton’s Charles Belding Building, the ten-story Commercial & Savings Bank, and the Lyric Theater. In 1927, on his own, Louis S. Stone designed the Tudor/Jacobethean Revival Style – with Spanish Revival touches – now-demolished Kindergarten Building once at 921 Susana Street. Louis S. Stone’s father was a well known teacher in San Francisco. Early in Louis S. Stone’s career he designed Oakland High School, which was the largest and most updated school at the time on the West Coast.

B.J.S. Cahill, A.I.A., wrote in the July 1915 The Architect and Engineer “Recent School Buildings designed by Stone & Wright.” In 1915, before Martinez Grammar School/City Hall was yet built, Cahill had many poignant things to say about the evolution of schools and I will leave the article at the Martinez Tribune for those interested. He said of Stone & Wright’s San Mateo and Richmond schools:

These schools are both one story high and entirely without corridors, hallways, basements, or attics. The class rooms are connected by covered courts or porches open to the air on the side and serving as play grounds in wet weather. … The central pavilions contain the assembly halls, which are supplemented with mezzanines for offices. … These halls can be connected with the school or separated for civic gatherings, at will.

Portentous words for a school that would become a city’s civic center. Tune in next time when we investigate that very transformation.

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Park It: Earth Day celebrations https://martineztribune.com/2017/04/21/park-it-earth-day-celebrations/ Fri, 21 Apr 2017 17:04:51 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=7143 By NED MacKAY Special to the Tribune Earth Day, an annual re-dedication to environmental preservation and protection, first celebrated in 1970, will be marked again this year by special events in several East Bay Regional Parks. At Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont, “reduce, reuse and recycle” will be the orders of the day in …

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By NED MacKAY
Special to the Tribune

Earth Day, an annual re-dedication to environmental preservation and protection, first celebrated in 1970, will be marked again this year by special events in several East Bay Regional Parks.

At Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont, “reduce, reuse and recycle” will be the orders of the day in family-friendly, naturalist-led programs between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22. Visitors can create their own litterbug craft, view an environmental puppet show, and play recycling games.

Activities will all be at the Coyote Hills Visitor Center, which is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. Coyote Hills has a parking fee of $5 per vehicle; the programs are free of charge. For information, call (510) 544-3220.

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Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda will also honor Earth Day during Family Nature Fun Hour from 2 to 3 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, April 22 and 23. You can make your own artistic creations using recycled materials, under the guidance of the interpretive staff.

Crab Cove is at the end of McKay Avenue off Alameda’s Central Avenue. A parking fee of $5 per vehicle in the small lot may apply Memorial Day through Labor Day. The programs are free.

Crab Cove staff also will participate in Alameda’s Earth Day event, which is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 22 at Washington Park next to Crown Beach. There will be activities and giveaways with environmental themes, plus food and beverages available for purchase.

Come to Crab Cove from 8:30 to 10 a.m. before the Washington Park event for a volunteer beach and pond cleanup. The cleanup is for ages four and older, students earn community service hours. Registration is required for the cleanup program. Call 888-327-2757, select option 2, and refer to program 16061.

***

Earth Day will be celebrated in two other regional parks – Point Pinole in Richmond and Diablo Foothills in Walnut Creek – with volunteer work from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 22. Volunteers will remove invasive plants and help to create healthy habitat.  An adult should accompany any children under 16 years old.

Registration is required for these events. For registration and information, call 888-327-2757 and select option 2. For Pt. Pinole, refer to program number 16431; for Diablo Foothills refer to 16432.

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Though not keyed directly to the Earth Day theme, Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley has two nature programs on Saturday, April 22.

The first is “Reading the Deer Jaw,” from 1 to 2 p.m., led by naturalist Anthony Fisher. Anthony has a collection of jaws he will use to show how to gauge a deer’s age at death, and other animal facts. Next is “Weaving Nature’s Web” from 2 to 3 p.m. Interpretive student aide Brianna Contaxis-Tucker will lead a matching game that shows the interrelationships of the animal world and who eats whom.

Both programs are free. Meet at Tilden’s Environmental Education Center, which is at the north end of Central Park Drive. For information, call (510) 544-2233.

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A stroll and a story are on the agenda from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday, April 24 at Martinez Regional Shoreline. Naturalist Virginia Delgado will lead a walk from the boardwalk to a sandy beach, exploring salt marsh wildlife along the way and ending with a story.

The program is for ages 2 and older, accompanied by an adult. Meet at the parking lot off North Court Street in Martinez. For information, call (510) 544-2750.

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Spiders are the stars of a program from 2-3 p.m. Sunday, April 23 at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley. You can learn about the park’s eight-leggers and join in some arachnid activities.

Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off Oakley’s Main Street. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.

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Happy 100th birthday Martinez City Hall! https://martineztribune.com/2017/04/14/happy-100th-birthday-martinez-city-hall/ Fri, 14 Apr 2017 10:50:55 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=7107 By KRISTIN HENDERSON Special to the Tribune NOTE: The following is Part 1 of several installments on Martinez City Hall. The building where we visit the police department, pay our water bills, submit our building plans, and attend public meetings began its life in 1917 as a Grammar School. I still remember Mario Menesini – …

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525 Henrietta St., Martinez.  (San Francisco Public Library History Room Architect and Engineer 1917)
525 Henrietta St., Martinez.
(San Francisco Public Library History Room Architect and Engineer 1917)

By KRISTIN HENDERSON
Special to the Tribune

NOTE: The following is Part 1 of several installments on Martinez City Hall.

The building where we visit the police department, pay our water bills, submit our building plans, and attend public meetings began its life in 1917 as a Grammar School. I still remember Mario Menesini – upon Mike Menesini’s 2006 re-election – exclaiming from a City Council audience that he went to school in the very building in which we were standing. In 1994, according to the Martinez Historical Society, Nancy Hobert wrote the history of the Martinez Grammar School for the newspaper. This history was handed out during a Martinez Home Tour  and reads:

The newly renovated Martinez City Hall is now open for business at 525 Henrietta Street. When the City Council reconvenes it will be in what was originally the gymnasium for the Martinez Grammar School. Martinez Grammar School was located between Castro and Alhambra on the east and west and Mellus and Jones on the north and south. Plaza de Ignacio Martinez, located in the middle of the block, was used as a playground.

The school was built in stages. The first building, which is now the Boys and Girls Club, was then a two story building, dedicated the week of Sept. 13, 1909. As the population of Martinez grew, so did the demand for classroom space, and on May 16, 1916, the School Board minutes stated: “At various meetings the matter of an additional school was discussed.” The Stockton architectural firm of Stone & Wright was hired that night to design a new school house. Plans called for $45,000-$50,000 to construct the building.

The $49,000 building was completed by Aug. 24, 1917, and was first occupied on Sept. 4, 1917. “The many who have inspected the building, which has every modern convenience in the way of lighting, heating and ventilation, say that it is by far one of the finest school buildings ever erected in this section of the state. … There were numerous changes made in the wall studding, sheeting, brick work across the back, scenery for the assembly hall stage, concrete court, cement sidewalks, curbs and gutters and iron fencing across the front which were not provided for in the plans, but to provide for omissions or mistakes in the plans only $70 was expended, which is an enviable record for a job of that size and cost. …” (Daily Gazette, Aug. 30, 1917)

The Field Act was passed in 1938 and all school buildings were surveyed by the State Dept. of Architects. Buildings that did not comply were put on a schedule of upgrading. An official of the School Planning Division of the Department of Education toured the building in October 1952 and sent a devastating letter listing the multitude of items that needed to be upgraded. A group of concerned citizens requested the School Board to abandon the building on Henrietta Street in January of 1953. Throughout the first six months of 1953, the issues were debated, and in May 1953, a cost summary was made to repair the building. The work included structural, roof, door and sash repairs; adding fire escapes; painting, electrical, plumbing and heating work. The cost, including architectural and engineering fees of $16,467, was $214,069. The Board issued a position paper on other reasons besides cost why the building should not be considered for repair under any conditions. The reasons list[ed] were poor design, undesirable location, inadequate site, mental health of teachers, outside noise, more money spent would make it more permanent and “would not allow the children to enjoy the same educational facilities the children in Montecito and John Muir experience.” The decision was to construct wings of seven or eight classrooms at Montecito and John Muir, and consider a small primary school downtown when the District could afford it.

During the next 18 months, correspondence flew between the School District, appraisers and title companies. Monsignor William M. Burke of St. Catherine’s Church, and the City of Martinez were both interested in purchasing the brick school building. The trustees of the Catholic Church finally withdrew their request for consideration in March 1955. Superintendent Willard B. Knowles wrote to the City Council offering the property to the city for $5,000 down and $5,000 a year for seven years, for a total of $40,000. The offer was accepted.

School board trustees at that time were President Charles Laird, Emory Taylor, Kermit Coon, Phyllis Wainwright, and Lester Small. City Council members were Mayor Jack Fries, George Freschi, Thomas Francis McMahon, Robert Williamson, and William R. Zufall.

No doubt Martinez Historical Society has hard copies.

Martinez City Hall, 525 Henrietta St., has undergone three significant changes to its architecture and uses. We are going to examine these changes over a few installments of this column and in reverse chronological order. So, why does City Hall look the way it does now?

As a reaction to the 1989 earthquake, the City of Martinez – under the aegis of then City Manager Jim Jakel – planned to remove the brick from three facades of City Hall. On July 26, 1990, the Design Review Committee relayed poignant misgivings about these alterations (click here to see original document). On June 27, 1992, Planning Commission Chair Gus Kramer, wrote a letter to the City expressing the Commission’s “serious concern” over the removal of this brick. In a rare commentary on local government setting an example for its citizens, the Commission wrote:

The Planning Commission wishes to express its serious concerns with this “emergency” project and the process used to approve it. In addition, the Commission wants to provide the City Council with the comments of the Design Review Committee. To our knowledge, these comments have not been provided to the Council by the Director of Public Services.

The Commission feels that the brick removal will make the City Hall unattractive and set an undesirable precedent. How can the Commission hold private applicants to a high standard of design when the City does not hold itself to the same standard? What can the Commission say to an owner of an historic brick building in the downtown area who proposes brick removal rather than restoration?

This project was referred to the Design Review Committee for review of exterior colors only. The Committee members were so opposed to the proposal that they refused to rate the project. The Committee members asked to review other options. Although the City secured opinions from two engineering firms, no architectural firm was employed. No other options have been presented to the Design Review Committee.

We believe that the emergency has been largely eliminated by the exterior scaffolding. We request that the Mayor and Council delay the project and appoint a subcommittee to meet with the three architects who serve on the Planning Commission and the Design Review Committee. The subcommittee would provide the Public Services Director with direction in investigating further alternatives.

Ultimately, City Hall’s brick facades and terra-cotta were saved, although many other alterations occurred. Some of the Arts and Crafts-period architectural terra-cotta was in the way of the renovations, so they were hung inside City Hall. Thanks to a Tile Heritage Foundation Grant received in 2008, research revealed that the brick maker (Livermore) was also the terra-cotta maker.

I am considering nominating Martinez’s 1917 City Hall/Grammar School to the National Register of Historic Places. However, because of the many rehabilitations that have changed the character-defining features of what was originally a type of utilitarian “Prairie School” style architecture, I am seeking outside advice before I undertake such an expensive and monumental task.

Stay tuned to next week when we meet Frank Lloyd Wright.

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The Architecture Around Us: Who cares about an old jail? https://martineztribune.com/2017/04/07/the-architecture-around-us-who-cares-about-an-old-jail/ Fri, 07 Apr 2017 08:01:34 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=7017 By KRISTIN HENDERSON Special to the Tribune Historic architecture does more than indicate time passed. Downtown Martinez’s identity springs from its buildings and the dialogue between them that creates a skyline like the scales of a George Gershwin tune. Obliterate the Old Jail, and Contra Costa’s best governmental historic resource is rendered non-historic. The silver-columned …

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By KRISTIN HENDERSON
Special to the Tribune

Historic architecture does more than indicate time passed. Downtown Martinez’s identity springs from its buildings and the dialogue between them that creates a skyline like the scales of a George Gershwin tune.

Obliterate the Old Jail, and Contra Costa’s best governmental historic resource is rendered non-historic. The silver-columned Court House (now Finance Building) is not a stand alone historic building. The Old Jail and the Court House are the two buildings that comprise the National Register of Historic Places “Court House Block” at 625 Court Street (open this link for the nomination). You can get a hard copy from the Contra Costa Historical Society who was paid by the County to produce such a document.  You may read the nomination to find out more about the imported, artisan cut, rusticated granite blocks and the Neo-Greco design which established a formal and high quality authoritarian presence in the County in 1901.

The Court House Block is nominated as one unit because it is one unit. The Old Jail was first planned to be the fourth floor of the Court House and it was found the engineering did not work, so the Old Jail was built beside the Court House. The Court House is undergoing rehabilitation. There were 88 architectural diagrams produced for it. Happy to see the Court House’s character-defining features reconditioned.

The Old Jail and its Court House played a pivotal role in the political development of the County seat and the architectural development of Martinez. The Court House Block is the king pin of Martinez’s entire historic fabric. Without these two monumental buildings, the historic context of Court Street, Martinez, and the County Seat is lost. More of the Old Jail’s value may be found in the 80 something boxes of human interest material labeled “Sheriff Veale” at Contra Costa Historical Society.

That is the value of the Old Jail and that is why we care. The Court House Block with the Old Jail is a portrait of humanity’s progressing intellectual sophistication on a local level. Never mind what the Old Jail and Court House’s beauty and meaning does for the property values and views around it.

The newly organized Architectural Preservation Foundation of Contra Costa County has for now saved the Old Jail. The County has given this fledgling group but two years to find a way to put the Old Jail to good use. Please help them; please become a part of historic Martinez. They may be reached at: 929 Willow St., Martinez, CA 94553; (925) 352-3334; SaveTheCountyJail@gmail.com.

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Homily on the Woman at the Well https://martineztribune.com/2017/03/24/homily-on-the-woman-at-the-well/ Fri, 24 Mar 2017 14:32:55 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=6885 By NOE TUASON Special to the Tribune NOTE: This is a Homily at Mass celebrated on the third Sunday of Lent on the Gospel about the Samaritan woman (Jn 4:5-42), preached by Deacon Noe Tuazon from the Diocese of Oakland. The Gospel today is the story of the woman at the well.  She was not …

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By NOE TUASON
Special to the Tribune

NOTE: This is a Homily at Mass celebrated on the third Sunday of Lent on the Gospel about the Samaritan woman (Jn 4:5-42), preached by Deacon Noe Tuazon from the Diocese of Oakland.

The Gospel today is the story of the woman at the well.  She was not only a woman, who was basically treated as lower in rank than the men, but also a sinner. But, more so than a woman and a sinner, she was a Samaritan. She represents those who were treated as strangers or foreigners, marginalized, despised, discriminated against in Jewish society during Jesus times.  Jesus reached out to them.

Today, the woman at the well represents as well, those who are treated as strangers and foreigners in our country – marginalized, discriminated against, despised, forced to live in the shadows. They are the new Samaritans.

Today I would like to talk about these new Samaritans. Some of you may not agree about this. It is alright to disagree as long as we don’t find ourselves disagreeable.  What I will talk about is not a political but a moral issue, a social justice issue. I would like to talk to you about the undocumented immigrants in our midst.

They face the “go back to your country” slurs. They live in fear. They don’t call the police when there’s a break in. They think twice before they bring a sick child to the emergency room. They work in menial jobs that few people want: dishwashers, waiting on tables in small restaurants, or in the farms.

While the majority were born in Mexico, almost half are from other countries: China, India, the Philippines, Central and South American countries. And a relatively smaller percentage are white.  There is a growing sense of fear in their communities due to the increasing number of raids of the Immigration and Customs agents, or ICE.  Because of fear, many are having mental health issues including the children. The Catholic Charities of the East Bay reported, that in one community, more than half the children were afraid to go to school.

Those children are especially vulnerable. Those who were born here are U.S. citizens. If their parents are deported, who would care for them? And some of the older children and adults were brought here very young. They know of no other country except the U.S.

Certainly, undocumented immigrants have violated immigration laws. But most have been driven here by severe poverty in their own country where earning a living wage for survival is impossible. Is it a crime to be poor? Is it a crime to want to better the lives for their family? Coming to America is fraught  with danger. Many never make it.  Some are murdered. Young women are raped. But the lure of a better life for their family is very strong.

Outside of violating immigration laws, most undocumented immigrants are law abiding people. They pay their taxes. They are not a drain to society. They make contribution to social security through their employer, and yet, they cannot expect any benefit when they are too old to work.  I have a friend who has been here for over 30 years. She ran away from an abusive husband. She came here to try to help her children back in the Philippines. She is old and diabetic. But, she cannot stop working. There is no retirement for her. If she stops working, she will not have any money for herself and for her children. I suspect she will continue working until she drops dead.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (or USCCB) says that in Catholic Catechism, the government has two duties. The first duty is to welcome the foreigner out of charity and respect for the human person. Persons have the right to immigrate and thus government must accommodate this right to the greatest extent possible, especially financially blessed nations: (Catholic Catechism, 2241).  The second duty is to secure one’s border and enforce the law for the sake of the common good. Just so we are clear, I don’t think the Church is advocating an open border.  It is making a plea for social justice.

Indeed we must secure our borders and enforce our laws, but we are, first and foremost, people of faith. We must understand and respect the rights of people to try to come to the U.S., and we must understand and respect the rights of the undocumented immigrants. They should not be treated like criminals. They have the right to remain silent when interrogated, right to an attorney, and right not to be searched without a search warrant, and a right to be treated with dignity. A Hispanic priest in our diocese said that among Latinos, to be called and treated like a criminal is a terrible thing. A criminal is one who has committed a crime like stealing or breaking in; assault, rape or murder.

What can we do as people of God? First, educate ourselves about our Catholic position on immigration reform.  Go to the USCCB website and read “The Catholic Position On Immigration Reform.”  Two, go to the Diocese of Oakland website and read Bishop Michael Barbers statement regarding President Trump’s executive orders on immigrants and refugees.  I would like to quote a portion of it:

“‘The Catholic Church’ … stands with the immigrant, refugee, and migrant community. We oppose actions that promote fear and hostility towards people of all faiths and nationalities. We remain committed to our mission of welcoming the stranger through legal services, refugee resettlement, education, and community outreach. …

“Our country has welcomed people fleeing religious or political persecution, war, poverty or violence since its founding. The spirit and tenacity of our shared immigrant ancestry has shaped and defined our nation. As a faith community, the Catholic Church is an immigrant church with a long history of embracing newcomers and caring for migrants.

We know the stories of persecution, violence, and oppression that drive people – including children – from their homelands seeking safe haven in the United States. Despite the rhetoric of fear, we believe that people of good will and conscience understand that for many this is a life or death situation, and (we) choose to be on the side of life.”

As Jesus reached out to the Samaritan woman, we should reach out to undocumented immigrants. I have here a few cards, in English and Spanish, which states their rights. If you know anyone who is undocumented, get a card from me, make copies and give it to him or her. If you know that he or she needs a lawyer, tell him or her to go to the Catholic Charities of the East Bay website and call their immigration legal services. The phone number of the lawyers are also posted on our bulletin board.  It is wise to keep that number in our wallet.

As you leave the church after Mass, please remember what Jesus said. I was thirsty and you gave me water to drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me. If you ask “when did we give you water to drink, Lord? When did we welcome you?” Jesus answers, “Whatsoever you did to the least of my people, you did unto me.” God bless you all.

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Message from the Chief: Update on police activity, homelessness https://martineztribune.com/2017/03/23/message-from-the-chief-update-on-police-activity-homelessness/ https://martineztribune.com/2017/03/23/message-from-the-chief-update-on-police-activity-homelessness/#comments Thu, 23 Mar 2017 20:27:09 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=6834 By MANJIT SAPPAL Martinez Police Chief We sent out information on auto thefts in the last newsletter. I wanted to remind everyone to take the suggested steps to help prevent vehicle theft. I thought I would also provide an update on our approach to homelessness. We have been working on a collaborative effort with the …

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By MANJIT SAPPAL
Martinez Police Chief

We sent out information on auto thefts in the last newsletter. I wanted to remind everyone to take the suggested steps to help prevent vehicle theft.

I thought I would also provide an update on our approach to homelessness. We have been working on a collaborative effort with the Contra Costa County Division of Health, Housing, and Homelessness (CH3) and the Pleasant Hill Police Department. CH3 is transforming their approach to homelessness by coordinating the entry into services for homeless individuals. In an effort to continue working on the homeless problem, we will be contracting with the County for services in providing outreach to our homeless population. The outreach will be conducted by a CORE (Coordinated Outreach, Referral, and Engagement) Team of two trained individuals to provide outreach in Martinez for 20 hours per week. The City of Pleasant Hill will also be contracting for services for 20 hours per week and as a group, we will be working together in order to have a meaningful impact on this complex problem.

The CORE Team will have the responsibility for helping people connect with a case worker to get assistance and the CORE Team will also be able to get people to a CARE Center, where they can find refuge, shelter, safety, and substance addiction assistance. There is a CARE center in Concord that is operational and it serves as a mechanism for providing services. Much of how homelessness is being addressed in the County is changing and we are on the front lines of that effort by working in partnership with CH3, as well as with the City of Pleasant Hill, in addressing this problem in Martinez.

We recently assigned an officer to work on the homelessness problem and he will be the liaison with the CORE Team. We anticipate that the initiative will begin by early April 2017.

As for a snapshot of monthly activity this month, here are a few highlights:

• Officer Lincoln was dispatched to 901 Arnold Drive (Public Storage) to assist the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department (CCCSO) with a burglary investigation. During the investigation, Officer Lincoln contacted the male subject who had a misdemeanor out of county warrant for his arrest. The subject was cited and released at the scene for warrant, and was later subsequently arrested by CCCSO for burglary.

• Officer Miller was dispatched to 1600 Court St. (Martinez Jr. High) for a report of a student who made suicidal threats. Officer Miller contacted a student who was identified as transgender. The student was placed on a mental health evaluation and transported to the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center by Consolidated Fire.

• East Bay Regional Park Police contacted MPD requesting aid to search for a suspect who fled from them on a stolen motorcycle. The suspect fled in the area of Briones Road and Reliez Valley Road. A perimeter was set and Officer Lincoln began a track with his K9 partner, Jago. A short time later, Officer Estanol and Officer Montano located and detained the subject in the 2600 block of Reliez Valley Road. He was released to the custody of the EBPD.

• Officer Vasquez was dispatched to Mountain Mike’s Pizza for a possible drunk driver. The reporting party stated that a driver of a silver Hyundai was swerving all over the roadway and was last seen pulling into the parking lot. Dispatch identified the registered owner of the vehicle who was found to be the driver. Officer Vasquez contacted the driver at Mountain Mike’s and arrested her for driving under the influence. She was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility (MDF).

• Officer Winslett was dispatched to 3334 Alhambra Ave. (Safeway) for a report of a female subject creating a disturbance in the store. Officer Winslett arrived and contacted the subject and learned she had two felony warrants for her arrest out of Sacramento County. The subject was arrested and booked into the Martinez Detention facility without incident.

• Officer Montano contacted a male subject walking on the train tracks near Center Avenue. The railroad dispatch was contacted and all train traffic was temporarily halted. The subject was cited and released for obstructing a train.

• Officer Miller was dispatched to the 700 block of Alhambra Avenue for a report of a male subject yelling obscenities and throwing items. Officer Miller contacted the subject, whom he knew from prior police contact, and the subject was displaying signs of alcohol intoxication. Officer Miller contacted the reporting party who stated the subject threw food at her, yelled obscenities, and approached the reporting party aggressively. The reporting party locked herself in her car while the subject banged on the window and yelled at her. The subject was subsequently arrested for Public Intoxication and Assault. He was booked into MDF.

• Officers Winslett and Voyvodich were dispatched to the area of the 1400 block of Stonecreek Court for a report of a subject parked on the street all day. Officer Winslett arrived and contacted a subject in the vehicle who appeared to have been sleeping there. During the contact the subject became uncooperative and drove away. Officer Winslett conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle for displaying improper DMV registration documentation. During the contact, the driver again became angry at the officers and attempted to leave the vehicle after being told to stay in the driver seat. The driver refused the orders of the officers, got out of the car, and reached into the back seat. Officers Voyvodich and Winslett then arrested him for obstructing an officer in the performance of his duties; he was booked into MDF.

• Sgt. Salamid, while on foot patrol in the 600 block of Ward Street, contacted a subject who was yelling obscenities at nearby citizens. The subject displayed obvious signs of alcohol intoxication and had two bottles of bourbon in his possession. Officer Miller arrived and the subject was subsequently arrested for Public Intoxication. He was booked into MDF.

• Officer Montano was dispatched to the 300 block of Ilene Street for a report of a female patient threatening staff. Officer Montano contacted a female subject and after evaluating her, transported her to the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center for a mental health evaluation.

• At 1120 hours, Officers Winslett and Buda were dispatched to a residence in the 100 block of Morello Heights Drive for a report of possible drug activity outside the residence. The reporting party also indicated there was an increase in foot traffic in and around the residence throughout the day. Officers arrived and contacted a male and female outside. When speaking with them, the subjects went into the garage of the residence and did not return. Both subjects are known to the officers and are on active probation in Contra Costa County with a search clause.

At about the same time, a 911 call was placed to dispatch stating a woman had just been shot at Rite Aid on Arnold Drive. Sgt. Salamid, Officer Carney, and Officer Montano quickly arrived at Rite Aid, but discovered the call was false. MPD was able to track the telephone number of the false 911 call to a female associated with the Morello Heights residence. That female is known to officers and has been contacted, as well as arrested at the Morello Heights residence. Officers Winslett, Carney, Estanol, Miller, Montano, Sergeants Salamid and Ferrer, as well as Detective Williamson arrived and attempted to conduct a probation search at the residence, but the occupants refused entry. Entry was ultimately made and 14 subjects were detained in the house. A records check of two of the subjects revealed they had felony warrants for their arrest. Another subject was displaying pronounced symptoms of drug intoxication. All three subjects were subsequently arrested and booked in MDF without incident.

• Martinez Code Enforcement was contacted and responded to a home based on observations of officers. After a preliminary survey, the residence was red tagged as uninhabitable.

• Officer Ramos contacted a subject at Quik Stop at 3700 Alhambra Ave. The subject had a cite-release misdemeanor warrant for his arrest resulting in being cited at the scene.

• Officers were dispatched to the 800 block of Arnold Drive for a subject under the influence, yelling and throwing items. Officer Carney contacted the subject, a transient, who was intoxicated. He was booked into MDF.

• Officer Tozier arrested a subject on an outstanding warrant in front of Ferry Street Station.

• Cpl. Baillie conducted a traffic stop in the 800 block of Alhambra Avenue and arrested the passenger, who is seven months pregnant, for being under the influence of a controlled substance.

• Officer Tozier conducted a traffic stop near Alhambra Avenue and Main Street and arrested a subject for driving under the influence of a controlled substance and delaying an officer.

• Officers were dispatched to Launderland, 3206 Alhambra Ave., for the report of a subject asking for socks and talking to herself. Officer Russell contacted the subject and found she was in possession of .5 grams of meth. She was cite released from the scene.

• Sergeant Gaul was on foot patrol at Mt. View Park. He contacted a subject sleeping in the bathroom and found that the subject was on probation for theft with a search clause. A search revealed he was in possession of .5 grams of heroin and syringes. He was cite released from the scene.

• Officer Tozier was dispatched to Morello Heights Circle for a subject entering a house that was previously red tagged by Code Enforcement. He contacted a subject in the driveway of the residence and found the subject had a felony warrant for his arrest. He was booked into MDF.

• Officer Tozier conducted a traffic stop at Jones and Pine Street. He contacted the driver and determined that he was driving under the influence. He was arrested and booked into MDF.

• Officers responded to the 600 block of Main Street for a theft of a hand truck. The suspect fled the scene and Sergeant Gaul located her several blocks away. He contacted her and she was arrested for theft and cite released from the scene.

• Officers were dispatched to the marina for a reckless driver. Officer Miller contacted a subject who was driving a 1997 Honda Accord – the car was determined to be an unreported stolen out of Pleasant Hill. The subject was also in possession of stolen property from numerous victims. He was booked into MDF for auto theft, possession of stolen property, and violating probation.

• Officers Lincoln and Voyvodich responded to the 600 block of Alhambra Way for a vehicle theft. A 2016 cargo trailer was stolen from the MUSD lot sometime over the weekend. It was later located in the parking lot of the Sportsmen’s Club on Embarcadero. A 1986 Toyota 4Runner was also stolen from the lot. There are no suspects.

• Officer Breinig contacted two subjects in the 100 block of Morello Heights Circle. Officer Breinig arrested one of them for an outstanding warrant and the other for occupying a red tagged residence. They were both booked into MDF.

• Officer Breinig was dispatched to the 400 block of Jones Street for a subject on the roof. Officer Breinig responded to find the subject still on the roof. The subject was arrested for prowling and was booked into MDF.

• Officer Miller was dispatched to the 4200 block of South Castro Street for an abandoned stolen vehicle. Officer Miller arrived and located a 1992 GMC truck which had been reported stolen by the City of Richmond Police Department. The vehicle was recovered and towed.

• Officer Montano was dispatched to the area of Alhambra Avenue at F Street for a report of a subject laying near the bus stop bleeding. Officer Montano contacted the subject and determined he was too intoxicated to care for his own safety. Due to his injuries and level of intoxication, he was not fit for booking into MDF. He was subsequently transported by ambulance to the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center for medical evaluation. A case report was authored and a request for prosecution was forwarded to the District Attorney’s office.

• Officer Miller was dispatched to the 700 block of Escobar Street for a report of a theft in progress. Officer Miller arrived after the suspect had fled the scene and he learned that the unknown subject tried to steal beer and was confronted by the store clerk who had armed himself with a Taser. A struggle ensued and the unknown suspect fled only to return a short time later armed with a screw driver challenging the store clerk to a fight. The suspect fled the area prior to Officer Miller arriving, but store video surveillance of the subject allowed Officer Winslett to locate him in the parking area of the Amtrak Station. He was subsequently arrested for 422.6 PC (Civil Rights Violation) and 417 PC (Exhibit a Deadly Weapon). He was booked into MDF.

• Officer Lincoln was conducting a Vehicle Suppression Enforcement (VSET) patrol while attempting a vehicle stop of a motorcycle on Pacheco Boulevard near Shell Avenue. The motorcycle failed to yield and led Officer Lincoln and Sgt. Gaul on a slow speed pursuit onto south bound I-680 and eastbound SR4. Speeds of the pursuit ranged from 45-60 MPH and there was light to moderate traffic. Pleasant Hill Police Department patrol units and CHP units joined the pursuit as it approached Loveridge Road. The rider stopped the motorcycle after it experienced mechanical issues and attempted to run away. PHPD officers tackled him and placed him in custody. Officer Lincoln subsequently arrested the subject for evading, driving under the influence, resisting an officer, and a probation violation; he was booked into MDF.

• Officer Breinig responded to 700 Main St. for a subject causing a problem inside Starbucks. He contacted the subject and arrested him for public intoxication. He was booked into MDF.

• Commander Roth conducted a traffic stop at Soto and Castro St. Officer Brinser responded and arrested the driver for driving under the influence. He was released from the PD.

• Sergeant Salamid was on foot patrol in the 600 block of Main St. when he viewed a heated verbal argument between two adult subjects. Sergeant Salamid contacted the two subjects and determined the male subject had a misdemeanor warrant for his arrest. A search of the suspect revealed he had .3 grams of Heroin in his possession and a glass smoking pipe. He was subsequently arrested for the warrant and the possession of drugs along with drug paraphernalia.

• Officer Montano was dispatched to the area of Ferry St. and Main St. for a report of a vehicle collision with a pedestrian. Officer Montano arrived and determined the vehicle collided with a subject in a wheel chair. The victim was transported to the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center with minor injuries.

• Officer Vasquez contacted a woman in the 1600 block of Estudillo Street who was known to Officer Vasquez as having a warrant for her arrest. She was arrested for the warrant, determined to be under the influence of a controlled substance, and in possession of drug paraphernalia; she was booked into county jail.

• Officers responded to Skyline Dr. to investigate a suspicious person driving in the area then going to resident’s doors asking for help because his battery was dead. Officer Vasquez contacted the individual and determined he was under the influence of a controlled substance as well as in possession of drug paraphernalia. He was arrested and booked into county jail.

• Corporal Mayberry was on foot patrol at Amtrak when he contacted an individual from Walnut Creek sleeping by the doorway. It was revealed the individual was wanted for a $30,000.00 no cite misdemeanor warrant for being under the influence of a controlled substance; he was arrested and booked into MDF.

• Officers were dispatched to 124 Morello Heights Circle for possible MMC violations to this red tagged residence (it was previously red tagged pursuant to an investigation by PD and Code Enforcement). Corporal Mayberry located an associated vehicle leaving the area. He stopped the vehicle and contacted two people in the car. One of them was arrested for a felony no bail warrant for a probation violation out of Sonoma County. The other person was arrested for four misdemeanor warrants for numerous drug and restraining order violations. Both were booked into MDF. One of the suspects was also in possession of stolen property from numerous public storage facilities in Contra Costa County. CCCSO detectives were notified and will take possession of all property and interview the suspect at MDF.

• Officers responded to the report of an arson in the 100 block of Midhill Drive – a vehicle was set on fire in the driveway of a home. Arson investigators believed an accelerant was used. No one was injured and the investigation is continuing.

• Officers were dispatched to the intersection of Marina Vista and Mococo Rd for an injury traffic collision. One of the drivers fled the scene on foot, but responding officers apprehended him approximately one-half mile away. An infield show up was conducted and all witnesses confirmed he was the driver. The vehicle driven by the suspect was reported stolen to Napa County S.O. on January 26, 2017. The suspect was at fault in the collision and collided with two other vehicles. Two occupants of one vehicle were transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The suspect was booked into MDF for injury hit and run as well as the possession of a stolen vehicle.

• Officer Tozier investigated a report of two juvenile students who had a BB gun rifle on campus during a school dance at Alhambra High School. It was reported after the dance by a concerned citizen who heard one of the students talking about it to a friend. The students were contacted and admitted to hiding in some bushes with the rifle and pointing it at students. They stated it was not loaded and they never intended to discharge the weapon. An investigation was initiated; the parents of the children were contacted and the school will be notified of the incident first thing Monday morning for follow up.

• Corporal Mayberry contacted an individual standing in the Franklin Canyon Park and Ride parking lot. The individual had a $2,500.00 misdemeanor warrant out of Alameda county for drug violations – he was arrested and booked into MDF.

• Sergeant Gaul was conducting foot patrol in the downtown area. He located a subject passed out on the sidewalk behind the Gordon Center, 600 Court St. He contacted the individual, from Lafayette, who was extremely intoxicated. He was arrested for public intoxication and violating probation. He is currently on probation for DUI and is not to consume any alcohol; he was booked into MDF.

• Officer Lincoln initiated an enforcement stop of a vehicle at the intersection of Pacheco Blvd and Arthur Rd. The driver was found to be in possession of 1.0 gram of meth. He was cite released from the scene. • Officer Lincoln, while on the above arrest, witnessed a person known to him drive by. Officer Lincoln knew the driver had a suspended license for DUI; he was stopped and cited for this.

• Officer Leong was dispatched to the 1600 block of Estudillo St. for a suspicious black BMW. He contacted the occupants of the car. He arrested one occupant for possession of a controlled substance for sale and the second occupant for a misdemeanor warrant. Both subjects were booked into MDF.

• Officer Tozier was dispatched to Walmart for a victim of a possible battery. Dispatched learned that the reporting party had a felony warrant out of Kern County; the suspect was arrested per the warrant and booked into MDF.

• Officer Breinig was dispatched to the 400 block of Lassen for a female who was drunk and reportedly out of control. He contacted the suspect and arrested her for public intoxication. She was booked into MDF.

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Mayor Schroder on differences between Alhambra Highlands, Pine Meadow https://martineztribune.com/2017/02/17/mayor-schroder-on-differences-between-alhambra-highlands-pine-meadow/ https://martineztribune.com/2017/02/17/mayor-schroder-on-differences-between-alhambra-highlands-pine-meadow/#comments Fri, 17 Feb 2017 18:24:26 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=6576 By ROB SCHRODER Mayor of Martinez NOTE: The following is an excerpt of Martinez Mayor Rob Schroder’s State of the City Address, presented Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. For the last several years, California, the Bay Area and Contra Costa County have been in the midst of a housing crisis. Rents have been skyrocketing, home prices …

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By ROB SCHRODER
Mayor of Martinez

NOTE: The following is an excerpt of Martinez Mayor Rob Schroder’s State of the City Address, presented Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017.

For the last several years, California, the Bay Area and Contra Costa County have been in the midst of a housing crisis. Rents have been skyrocketing, home prices steadily increasing and the stock of affordable housing is dwindling. Our children cannot afford to live where they grew up. There is no easy answer to this escalating problem, but stopping all future development is not a solution.

I am a commissioner on the Contra Costa Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). It is the mission of all LAFCOs in California to guide the orderly growth of cities and to guide future development away from prime agricultural and open space lands. After almost two years of public testimony, study and deliberations, a prime agricultural and open space policy was adopted by the commission. Through this process we were able to identify prime agricultural lands based on the type and quality of soils.

Identifying prime open space is not as easy, but can be determined. Is prime open space merely a vacant piece of property? What about ridgelines, views, natural terrain, native plant and animal species? Is a former golf course that has been graded, fertilized, sprayed with pesticides and herbicides, and planted with non-native plants and tree species considered prime opens space? My answer is absolutely not.

Infill development and reuse of brownfields are valuable ways to reduce urban sprawl, protect prime agricultural and open space lands, and provide much needed housing. Development of the former Pine Meadow Golf Course property is infill development. It is completely surrounded by single family homes and its development will offset destruction of corn fields and cherry orchards in Brentwood and prime open space in other areas of Martinez and Contra Costa County.

In the mid 2000s the Martinez Parks and Open Space Masterplan was reviewed and updated after careful review by the Parks & Recreation Commission and the City Council. During that process, the Pine Meadow Golf Course site was identified as the only large piece of vacant land that could be purchased and developed into a new park. Both the Parks & Recreation Commission and the City Council unanimously decided not to purchase any more land for parks and to dedicate available funding for the improvement of existing parks.

Based on that masterplan, the voters of Martinez voted to approve a $30 million Parks and Library bond measure known as Measure H. The library improvement project was completed several years ago and all but the improvements at Waterfront Park and a few smaller sites have been completed.

It is time to move on from Pine Meadow and for each and every one of us to put our energy and resources into saving some real prime open space, Alhambra Highlands. This property is situated on the ridgelines adjacent to Mt. Wanda and runs south to the higher portions of Virginia Hills. This property has majestic views of Mt. Diablo and the Carquinez Straits and is heavily forested with native oaks and wildlife. It is currently zoned for housing, however the city is currently in negotiations with the owners to purchase the property to be held in perpetuity as open space.

Let’s stop the arguing and accusations and work together to find solutions through communication and compromise.

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Chief’s Message: February report focuses on vehicle thefts https://martineztribune.com/2017/02/10/chiefs-message-february-report-focuses-on-vehicle-thefts/ Fri, 10 Feb 2017 17:58:50 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=6537 By MANJIT SAPPAL Martinez Chief of Police I wanted to focus this newsletter on the increase in auto thefts we have seen over the last few months. One of the most commonly stolen vehicles has been the Ford F series trucks, both the F-250 and the F-350. It appears that thieves are able to pry …

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Martinez Chief of Police Manjit Sappal. (COURTESY / On File)
Martinez Chief of Police Manjit Sappal. (COURTESY / On File)

By MANJIT SAPPAL
Martinez Chief of Police

I wanted to focus this newsletter on the increase in auto thefts we have seen over the last few months. One of the most commonly stolen vehicles has been the Ford F series trucks, both the F-250 and the F-350. It appears that thieves are able to pry open the door locks to gain entry and punch the ignition fairly easily. In some of the newer models, they are able to bypass the computer through the ignition switch to get the car started.

We need help in impacting the thefts with prevention measures. Here are some tips on preventing auto thefts:

Easy tips:

• Lock your door.

• Don’t leave car keys in your car.

• Close all of your windows and park in a well-lit area.

• Don’t leave valuables in plain view – this attracts thieves who may very well decide to take the whole car to transport the valuables to another location.

• Don’t leave your car running unattended. (Even if just momentarily.)

Next Level tips:

• Get an alarm – isn’t it annoying when a car alarm is going off? Well, thieves feel the same way. They do not want the attention.

• Steering wheel or brake pedal locks – these devices are easy to use and make it more difficult for people to steal your car.

Going beyond the basics tips:

Vehicle immobilizers can be an excellent way of protecting your vehicle:

• Using a fuse cutoff switch.

• Kill switches that cut off fuel or electrical, so the car cannot be started.

• Smart Keys with computer chips that must be present to start the car.

• Starter, ignition, and fuel disablers.

• Adding a tracking system that emits a signal to the police monitoring service when the vehicle is stolen.

Irrespective of what you drive, think about waking up one morning to find your car stolen! Now, you have no car, you have no idea when you will get it back, if ever, and you have to take time to deal with making a police report as well as working with your insurance company.

Taking a few simple steps can make the difference between being a victim or not. Some of the prevention items listed are easy to do like getting a steering wheel lock or an alarm. Others, such as the fuse cut-offs or starter and ignition disablers are more difficult – they require someone with mechanical know how, but in the end, it may be worth looking into so you don’t find yourself stranded without a car.

Just to give you an idea of what happens when you call the police after your car is stolen, here is a brief outline:

An officer will respond to document the theft. Once we obtain your license plate or VIN we put the information into the Statewide Stolen Vehicle System (SVS). In the event an officer stops a car or checks the license plate, the officer will be alerted that the car is stolen. The officers will stop the car and it is fairly common for suspects to flee resulting in a pursuit. We always balance the need to pursue against the danger it creates to the public and if a suspect is driving with disregard for public safety, we may be forced to terminate the pursuit. If they stop, then we investigate and arrest for the possession of stolen property or auto theft, depending on the circumstances.

When a car is recovered from being stolen, you will be notified. The chances of seeing a car thief in action is rare. In fact, you can check the World Wide Web for information and videos of people that steal cars and based on their level of expertise, unless you know exactly what to watch for, you cannot tell they are stealing a car. It is common for people to use shaved keys (keys that have been filed down to work in the ignition of certain vehicles) and it is not readily apparent they are getting into a car that does not belong to them.

The important thing to remember is that most suspects are looking for the least risk with the greatest reward, so they will not break into a car that may take too much time and effort. Any measures that you can take to prevent the theft can go a long way to protecting your property. It is also extremely important to make sure that you call about any suspicious people or cars in your neighborhood. Many auto thieves are coming into Martinez from other cities and they will drive around neighborhoods looking for cars to steal. If you see a car driving through the neighborhood that you do not recognize or it is driving slowly and appears to be eyeing cars or homes, call our Dispatch Center at (925) 372-3414.

Get a description of the car, a license plate if possible, any description of the occupants, the direction they are traveling, and what actions they were involved in that appear suspicious or criminal.

Please pass this information along to your neighbors, friends, and community – let’s work together to keep our community safe! Don’t forget to call our Dispatch Center (925-372-3440) in the event you see any suspicious behavior in your neighborhood.

As for a snapshot of monthly activity this month, here are a few highlights:

• Officer Carney took a stolen vehicle report that occurred in the 1700 block of Center Avenue. The vehicle was a 1968 Gray GMC Sierra.

• Officer Montano responded to the 500 block of Center Avenue for a petty theft that just occurred. The suspect was last seen near the John Muir Inn. Officer Montano located the suspect and arrested him for the theft. He was cited and released at the scene.

• Officer Lekse responded to Walgreens for a theft that had just occurred. The suspect fled in a green 4-door sedan south on Alhambra Avenue. Officer Montano saw the car just south of Highway 4 and attempted to catch up with the car. She lost sight of the car at Taylor Boulevard and Alhambra Avenue. The theft was of electronics.

• Officer Tozier located a 1992 Toyota Corolla at the transit station (Blum and Pacheco) that was reported stolen to Bart PD (Pittsburg Station). The owner was contacted and they responded to take possession on the vehicle. No evidence was located.

• Officer Lekse contacted a subject in the Home Depot parking lot and found them in possession of approximately 5 grams of heroin. The subject was cited and released from the scene.

• Corporal Mayberry observed a wanted female subject walking in the 700 block of Main Street. The subject had two (2) outstanding warrants and was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility.

• A resident called and reported he saw a female in his secured vehicle parked in the 700 block of Shell Avenue. The female fled on foot and he followed her to Shell Avenue at Martinez Avenue. Officers arrived on scene and ultimately arrested the female subject. She was arrested for a warrant and attempted vehicle theft. She was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility.

• Pittsburg PD requested assistance to locate a suicidal subject possibly in our city. The subject was involved in some type of domestic disturbance at his residence. During the dispute, he placed a handgun to his head and threatened to kill himself. He fled the residence in his vehicle and several hours later, Pittsburg PD advised his cellphone “pinged” in the 900 block of Howe Road.

Ofc. Montano located the vehicle driving in the 700 block of Arnold Drive. While waiting for backup, the subject drove into the Walmart shopping center parking lot. Officers conducted a high risk stop, but the subject refused to exit his vehicle.

The stop progressed into standoff with an armed barricaded subject. Dispatch was instructed to call Walmart and Home Depot and have the stores locked down. Dispatch was also instructed to contact the Patrol Commander for a possible tactical call out and response. Ofc. Montano negotiated with the subject for approximately five minutes and he agreed to exit the vehicle. He was detained without incident and placed on a 72-hour evaluation hold. The gun was not located on the person or in the vehicle. Outstanding work by all personnel!

• Officer Lekse responded to the Franklin Canyon Park and Ride for an auto burglary. The vehicle had been burglarized and point of entry was a window smash resulting in the loss of a purse.

• Ofc. Sanders responded to the John Muir Inn for a possible carjacking. Ofc. Sanders learned that the victim was driving the suspect’s car and the suspect became upset with the victim. The suspect pointed a gun at the victim’s head and told him to get out of the car. The suspect got in the driver’s seat and fled the area.

• Ofc. Voyvodich contacted a subject passed out at the bus stop at the corner of Alhambra Avenue and F Street. Ofc. Voyvodich determined the subject was too intoxicated to care for his own safety and was not suitable to be booked into the Martinez Detention Facility. The subject was transported to the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center for extreme intoxication.

• Ofc. Ramos contacted an intoxicated female in the 600 block of Castro Street. Ofc. Ramos determined the subject was too intoxicated to be booked into the Martinez Detention Facility. She was transported to the Contra Costa County Regional Medical Center (CCRMC) by ambulance.

• Ofc. Leong responded to Amtrak for a subject causing a disturbance. He contacted the subject who had a felony warrant for his arrest. He was arrested and booked into the Martinez Detention Facility.

• Sgt. Salamid contacted a subject who was yelling and panhandling at the Amtrak Station. The subject was recently released from county hospital.

Amtrak personnel purchased the subject a train ticket to Fairfield. Sgt. Salamid left the area and the subject remained at Amtrak. Approximately five minutes later, officers were again dispatched to the Amtrak because the subject was involved in a physical fight with another Amtrak patron.

The subject was contacted again and ultimately arrested for Battery. He was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility.

• Ofc. Carney was dispatched to a residence in the 100 block of Alhambra Hills Drive for a report of mail theft that was witnessed by a local resident. There is video surveillance of the theft, but no suspect identification could be made. The involved vehicle was a small silver sport utility.

• Ofc. Sanders contacted a subject known to him in the area of 1111 Ferry Street. A search of the subject revealed methamphetamine and burglary tools. The subject was transported to MPD where he was booked and released.

• Ofc. Poertner was dispatched to the parking lot of Home Depot for a report of a white male adult yelling and running toward cars in the lot. Ofc. Poertner contacted a known subject, who also matched the description provided by the reporting party. Ofc. Poertner determined the subject was intoxicated and unable to care for his own safety. The subject was arrested and booked into the Martinez Detention Facility without incident.

• Officers were dispatched to Tower Mart, 3012 Howe Road, for a suspicious vehicle. A passenger inside the vehicle was found to have two felony warrants. There was a no bail warrant for burglary out of San Francisco County and a no bail warrant for violating probation out of San Mateo County. She was arrested and booked into MDF.

• Sergeant Gaul observed a subject driving near the area of Pacheco Boulevard and Blum Road. He had prior knowledge the subject was wanted for a felony, $60,000 warrant for drug possession. When Sergeant Gaul began to follow him, he sped away at a high rate of speed. Sergeant Gaul pursued the vehicle into Concord and the pursuit concluded when the subject was involved in a solo traffic collision. Also in the vehicle was a female who Sergeant Gaul knew had a $60,000 warrant for drugs, as well. She was arrested without incident. Both were booked into MDF.

• Officer Voyvodich received a LoJack hit to his patrol car. LoJack is a tracking system that can be purchased by a vehicle owner that notifies the police where the stolen car is. Officer Voyvodich used the system to track a 1997 Chevrolet Tahoe to the 2100 block of Northwood Drive in Concord.

The vehicle was reported stolen to Antioch PD that day. He arrested the subject without incident and booked him into MDF for possession of stolen property.

• Dispatch advised patrol that Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office (CCCSO) was in pursuit of a vehicle near Kaiser. Deputies were pursuing the driver and they had knowledge he was on probation and was in possession of a firearm. Officers responded and the vehicle was found abandoned in the 1500 block of Ashwood Drive. Officer Lincoln and K9 Jago tracked to the 1600 block of Ashwood Drive and located the subject. No firearm was found.

• Ofc. Voyvodich reported moderate flooding at the Martinez Marina. King Tide was expected at 11:06 a.m. Corp yard was contacted and barricades and signs were placed.

• Officers and Corp. Yard responding to various locations regarding flooding, mud, and trees that had fallen during a series of major storms in the area.

• Sgt. Salamid was on foot in the 700 block of Main Street when he saw a female defecating in a parking area. Sgt. Salamid contacted and cited her for misdemeanor 372 PC (Public Nuisance) after she cleaned up the feces.

• Officers were dispatched to Highland Avenue for a report of a male subject with a knife. Ofc. Ramos and Sgt. Salamid arrived and contacted the male who was displaying pronounced signs of methamphetamine use. Ofc. Ramos subsequently arrested him for 11550(a) H&S (Under the influence of Controlled Substance) and booked into the Martinez Detention Facility.

• Ofc. Winslett was dispatched to a major injury accident at the intersection of Midhill at Heavenly Drive. The accident was between a motorcycle and a pickup truck. The motorcyclist injured his left arm and sustained possible back injuries. He was transported to a local hospital.

• A resident reported an unoccupied black Isuzu Rodeo parked with a smashed window. Ofc. Brinser responded and his investigation found the vehicle was reported stolen out of Pleasant Hill on Jan. 11, 2017. There is no evidence or suspect leads at this time.

• Amtrak reported a disturbance in the station. Officers responded and contacted the subject creating the disturbance. The subject was wanted by parole and was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility for parole warrant.

• Ofc. Sanders responded to Whiskey Lane for a subject causing a disturbance. He contacted the subject and determined the subject was too intoxicated to care for himself. The subject was arrested and booked into the Martinez Detention Facility.

Ofc. Leong responded to the 1400 block of Willow Street for a verbal altercation between mother and son. As Ofc. Leong arrived on scene he saw the son break the windshield of his mother’s car with a rock. The son was arrested and booked into MDF for 594 PC (Vandalism).

• MPD officers were advised of a 2003 Ford F-350 that was just stolen from the 600 block of Bertola Street. Officer Sanders located the truck getting onto westbound Highway 4 from Alhambra Avenue. Officer Poertner was able to catch up with Officer Sanders just as they encountered a heavy down pour.

Officer Poertner’s unit started to hydroplane and he lost control of the vehicle and hit the “K” rail just west of Franklin Canyon and the unit left the highway. Officer Poertner and Logan were uninjured and the car suffered minor damage (CHP took a report on the collision). Officer Sanders followed the truck onto westbound 80 and the driver drove down the on-ramp (the wrong way) at San Pablo Road and Officer Sanders lost site of the truck. MPD units were never in pursuit and Officer Sanders was following the truck at freeway speeds.

• Officer Sanders responded to a residence in the 200 block of Tuolume Avenue for an altercation between a male and female. Upon his arrival, the male had left the residence and the female stated her ex-boyfriend slapped her several times. MPD units conducted an area check for a male, but were unable to locate him.

• Officers responded to the 1100 block of Pine Street regarding a couple that was walking when the female’s brother approached them from behind and attacked his sister’s boyfriend with a knife. He then fled the area. The male was cut two or three times on his left arm and left shoulder. He was transported to the hospital where he was treated for his injuries and released. An area check was conducted for the suspect, but officers were met with negative results. Investigation continuing.

• Ofc. Russell was dispatched to 855 Howe Road (M&S Landscaping) for the report of a commercial burglary that occurred sometime during the night, resulting in several thousand dollars in landscaping equipment being stolen. Additionally, two (2) Ford F-250 pickup trucks were stolen. The trucks had M&S decals printed on them. There is no suspect information at this time. Both vehicles were entered into the Stolen Vehicle System.

• Ofc. Miller was dispatched to a business in the 900 block of Howe Road for the report of a commercial burglary. Ofc. Miller determined two (2) commercial vehicles had been tampered with but no property was taken. There is no suspect information at this time.

The post Chief’s Message: February report focuses on vehicle thefts appeared first on Martinez Tribune.

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