Our Voice – Editorials – Martinez Tribune https://martineztribune.com The website of the Martinez Tribune. Fri, 27 Jan 2017 18:24:53 -0800 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3 Lessons at the City level … https://martineztribune.com/2017/01/27/lessons-at-the-city-level/ Fri, 27 Jan 2017 18:24:53 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=6423 By E. CLARK Martinez Tribune LAST WEEK’S (Jan. 18) City Council meeting was brutal, lasting till nearly 2 a.m. As the hours ticked on, I became so frustrated by what I perceived to be a total waste of time that I actually called out “Time?” after one man decided his alloted three minutes during public …

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By E. CLARK
Martinez Tribune

LAST WEEK’S (Jan. 18) City Council meeting was brutal, lasting till nearly 2 a.m. As the hours ticked on, I became so frustrated by what I perceived to be a total waste of time that I actually called out “Time?” after one man decided his alloted three minutes during public comment wasn’t quite enough.

Looking at the agenda again today, I see the actual language posted is: “In consideration of others wishing to speak, members of the public are kindly requested to limit their comments to three minutes on any one item.” Well, that’s nice, but not very effective if council wants to get through their agenda. It’s also not very clear. Does it mean Joe Schmoe can talk for three minutes about one topic, then skip on to another topic for three minutes? That language should probably be changed before some loudmouth challenges it.

I’ve also noticed that sometimes the mayor speaks up and tells people they’ve gone over their alloted time, but that “rule” isn’t always enforced. I understand the council wanting to be polite and not wanting to interrupt people but, gosh, why have a buzzer if we’re not going to hold people to their three minute allotment? Additionally, quieting some who go over their three minutes while allowing others to drone on can appear prejudice.

I have to admit imagining a big trap door behind the public lectern and when anyone decides to go over their three minutes, the mayor could pull a lever and send those folks straight to the basement. I think more people would run for mayor if they had that opportunity!

But seriously, council, why not enforce the three-minute “rule?”

MANY THANKS to State Farm Insurance Agent Matt Rinn, who so generously sponsored the Tribune Athlete of the Week this month. The Tribune has been looking forward to adding that feature to our paper for quite some time, and we sure appreciate Matt stepping forward and allowing us to do so. If you’re looking for a new agent or you’re in need of a new policy, call Matt at (925) 671-0222.

THE RUMORED sale of the Shell Martinez Refinery has some in town abuzz. According to the Reuters news agency, the German global bank and financial services company, Deutshe Bank, has been charged with finding a buyer for the refinery. Reuters said the reason for the move is Shell’s desire to shed lower-profit operations such as its Martinez outfit.

It’s too early to tell how a sale might affect our city and the 700-plus workers currently employed by the refinery. One can only hope whatever company takes over the property will manage it properly and continue to give back to the community as Shell has done, if even in a small way.

While an editorial in another publication is pushing the idea of the City purchasing the refinery, let’s get real – that is not going to happen. It’s a nice idea, but not a feasible one. If the City can’t afford Pine Meadow, they sure can’t afford the refinery, which would likely sell for well over $500 million. If it does sell, it’ll go to another company that performs operations similar to Shell, and the City will hopefully continue to collect approximately $400,000 a year in property tax revenue.

Honestly, I worry more about health and safety concerns when it comes to the refineries. I don’t want to meet with a large earthquake anywhere, but especially not in Martinez. I know Shell says its equipment, even those rusty looking pipes weaved throughout the entire facility, are up to code and retrofitted for earthquake safety, but I wouldn’t trust it come an 8.5 magnitude quake. Or even a 6 pointer, if it were centered underneath our city.

With little access out of downtown and no solid plan for emergency exit via the bay, we’d sure be in a fix if anything happened at the refinery. Let’s hope if it does sell, the new owner will do their best to ensure a safe operation.

PINE MEADOW Golf Course, oh boy. What an issue. The single-minded will of some to keep the private property designated as open space has caused an awful lot of heartache here in Martinez. It’s divided friends and neighbors, and confused an awful lot of us. As Harry Truman said, “Intense feeling too often obscures the truth.” An intense feeling and desire to keep that land green seemed to obscure the fact that the land belonged to somebody, and that somebody wasn’t “Friends of Pine Meadow.”

In the end, it all came down to record keeping, or the lack thereof. The City really dropped the ball regarding the Pine Meadow open space designation, and for the past 10 years couldn’t give the property owner a clear understanding of how her land became open space. City staff also dropped the ball Jan. 18, when they only wrote one resolution – the one they recommended to council. Since it wasn’t the option the majority of council chose, we were all left to lolly-gag while they put something together. Let’s hope they learned a lesson.

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Flood waters engulf parts of Martinez https://martineztribune.com/2017/01/13/flood-waters-engulf-parts-of-martinez/ Fri, 13 Jan 2017 21:29:27 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=6315 By E. CLARK Martinez Tribune Tribune welcomes letters, columns and other contributions of all sorts. This page is for our readers – a place where you can voice your opinions, share your stories, and even publish your poems or artwork. All we ask is for contributors to keep opinions about the subjects and issues, and …

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By E. CLARK
Martinez Tribune

Tribune welcomes letters, columns and other contributions of all sorts. This page is for our readers – a place where you can voice your opinions, share your stories, and even publish your poems or artwork. All we ask is for contributors to keep opinions about the subjects and issues, and please refrain from criticizing people who may have differing opinions. Whether we like what others contribute or not, we can all take away something from the contents on this page. Sometimes, it may be strengthening our own stances; other times it may be opening ourselves up to other viewpoints. Hopefully, questions will be asked here that will spur further investigation and lead to positive change within our city. I like this quote by Thomas Jefferson: “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”

BOY, this rain sure has been something. There was quite a lot of excitement and worry around town on Tuesday night as the creek crept farther and farther up, threatening to spill over into neighboring businesses and homes.

My family and I walked around the downtown, surveying the situation. From our vantage point, the creek seemed highest around the bridge near Escobar Street and Alhambra Avenue. Rushing water was just a few feet below the top of the retaining wall next to Creek Monkey Tap House, with that section of Escobar completely blocked to traffic. An excavator or tractor-like heavy equipment was parked near the bridge, and there were city officials on site. This was around 9 p.m.

Around that same time, the 500 block of Main Street was flooding, in part due to traffic. There were a lot of rubbernecks out and about, and according to a post by Linda Meza on the Martinez Raves Facebook page, Leanne Peterson of the Main Street Martinez organization, along with Travis and Candice Gliatto,  Earl Dunivan and Bob Cellini, were all out directing traffic, trying to steer curious folks from driving near Main Street.

Later in the evening, some adventurous spirits even took to wakeboarding in front of the Amtrak station! There’s a funny video of that by Mac Thompson that we’ve shared to the Martinez Tribune Facebook page.

COULDN’T help but wonder as we watched Alhambra Creek rise this week, how the local beavers were faring. Thankfully, Heidi Perryman of the Martinez-based beaver organization, Worth a Dam, has been blogging about it at www.martinezbeavers.org.

Perryman said on the website the beavers “wisely thought to get outta town before all this flooding so they couldn’t be blamed.” She said rain doesn’t hurt the critters, and that she’s seen the local beavers swim “effortlessly upstream in a torrent.”

I hope they will all return, but as I said in this column last week, I also hope a solution is found to allow sufficient water flow through their dams so that southern areas of the creek can receive the much needed ebb and flow of ordinary tides.

STILL no word on what will ultimately happen to the Contra Costa County District Attorney, Mark Peterson, after he was found to be misusing campaign funds. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike the guy. We’ve met on a few occasions and he’s always been pleasant. And many in his office say he’s a skilled leader. It’s just an unfortunate situation for all involved that easily could have been avoided.

The Fair Political Practices Commission will meet Jan. 19 to revisit the case, as only three members were in attendance at their Dec. 15 meeting. It takes three votes to initiate action, and at the last meeting, the vote was 2-1 in favor of penalizing the DA. He’s already, in recompense, voluntarily paid the $45,000 fine the FPPC could impose. So at this point, frankly I’m unsure what other punishment could be administered. I guess we’ll know after Jan. 19.

We can be sure of one thing, though. If Peterson continues to carry out his duties till the next election and chooses to try for another term, whomever steps forward in the race for the DA’s seat will have some ammunition to use. There hasn’t been much interest in that post, however. Surely Peterson wouldn’t run again unopposed, would he?

Share your thoughts. Email admin@martineztribune.com.

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DA, weed, Pine Meadow, marijuana & beavers – oh my! https://martineztribune.com/2017/01/06/da-weed-pine-meadow-marijuana-beavers-oh-my/ https://martineztribune.com/2017/01/06/da-weed-pine-meadow-marijuana-beavers-oh-my/#comments Fri, 06 Jan 2017 18:44:17 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=6265 UPDATE: The FPPC will meet Jan. 19 to re-visit possibly imposing a $45,000 fine on Contra Costa County District Attorney, Mark Peterson. By E. CLARK Martinez Tribune Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson is still in hot water over the misuse of $66,373 in campaign funds, but that water isn’t exactly at a rolling …

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UPDATE: The FPPC will meet Jan. 19 to re-visit possibly imposing a $45,000 fine on Contra Costa County District Attorney, Mark Peterson.

By E. CLARK
Martinez Tribune

Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson is still in hot water over the misuse of $66,373 in campaign funds, but that water isn’t exactly at a rolling boil.

Only three of five commissioners were present at the Dec. 15, 2016, meeting of the Fair Political Practices Commission. A vote was taken on the matter of whether to approve an agreement with Peterson accepting his apology and imposing a $45,000 fine – which Peterson has already paid voluntarily. The vote was 2-1 in favor with three votes necessary, so the item is being held till the next meeting Jan. 19, 2017.

I’m still at a loss as to why the well-paid DA would use campaign funds for things like lunches and movie tickets. He said in a statement that he “considered the money a loan,” and that he kept track of the expenses with the intention of paying them back over time. But isn’t that what credit cards are for? I guess his method spared any added interest!

I’m also surprised by the silence surrounding the DA’s transgressions. One would think Martinez residents would push back against Peterson’s blatant disregard of the state’s Political Reform Act. It is a law, and he’s at the head of an agency charged with the task of upholding the law. Yet only Bill Schilz of Martinez has publicly come forward with a letter to the editor regarding the DA’s infractions.

Maybe folks aren’t speaking out because Peterson is a nice guy who appears to be on the up and up. Or maybe it’s because the money was supposedly spent on cell phone bills and Chinese food. If the credit card statements included Ashley Madison affair accounts or casino cash withdrawals, maybe we’d all be a little more incensed?

The public isn’t the only body staying mum on the issue. I haven’t heard a peep from the Board of Supervisors on this issue. Why? They oversee our County agencies, and one would think each member would take a public stand on this. I guess it’s easier staying quiet and out of the fray, but I’d like to think we’re electing people with backbone. Perhaps that isn’t the case? …

***

Oh, boy. Another “Pine Meadows” is afoot with the ballot initiative detailed on page one of this edition.

I’m going to express my opinion here, and I know it may not be a popular one with the “Friends” groups, but that’s what this page is for. If you have a rebuttal, an explanation, a clarification or a public plea, I encourage you to write to admin@martineztribune.com, and I’ll publish your responses here in future editions.

I believe there’s a war on private property in and around Martinez, and that war needs to end pronto. Our City Council and Planning Commission allowed it to start by delaying the sale and/or development of the former Pine Meadow Golf Course, and now a certain faction of citizens believe it’s their right to tell private property owners what they can and cannot do with their properties.

Somebody somewhere  in a position of power should have stood up long ago and referenced the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause, which states private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.

Now, I know there are proponents of this latest ballot initiative that’ll spout pie-in-the-sky budget figures, including monies the City will again tell them are unavailable for use. They’ll say they “want the best” for the property owners and all involved. They may even mean it, and I believe some of them do. But it’s time to look these folks in the eyes and tell them what they’re doing – and that is spending gross amounts of City time and funds combating issues in ways that are productive to no one.

It is a good and noble cause to wish to preserve open space and save lands for public use. For that, we should commend the “Friends” groups. But to delay or prevent the sale or use of private property and expect the property owners to bear the brunt is not only wrong, but also illegal. Yes, it may be expensive and difficult to litigate, but the Pine Meadow issue is still afloat, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the City of Martinez is the subject of a major lawsuit for keeping the Dean family in the lurch for so long. About seven years and over 70 public meetings, if memory serves right. That’s ludicrous!

Readers, don’t you find it disconcerting to think that some random person or group of people can suddenly have the right to alter the use of your private property, simply by convincing enough registered voters – usually in hasty conversations in grocery store parking lots – to side with them and that their opinions of what should be done with your land are valid? That’s downright scary! And it’s happening right now, right here in Martinez. And pretty soon, it won’t just be happening to the Dean family or the owners of DeNova Homes.

Now, I’m not a policy maker by any stretch, but if something like this latest initiative were to actually be put to a vote, it should include some kind of language stating the new land uses would only take effect after the current properties are sold. Meaning current property owners’ land uses would be “grandfathered” in, and their land wouldn’t suddenly be under the control of others and for public use. The buyers, however, would enter into those sales knowing full well the allowable uses of the property. That seems fair, doesn’t it?

Again, I love open space, and I’m thankful for all that we have here in Martinez. It’s a major part of what makes Martinez pleasant and beautiful. But the Constitution takes property rights pretty seriously, and we should too. There’s also a lot to be said about being good to others and not infringing upon others’ rights to seek happiness and, under the confines of the law, do what they please with their own property.

***

Marijuana smells awful, and poses public health and safety issues such as impaired driving. I’m wondering how long it’ll take before support groups like “Mothers Against Marijuana” will form, if they haven’t already.

It will be interesting to note, a few years down the line as the data becomes available, how many lives are lost on public roadways due to intoxicated drivers. Not drunk drivers, but high drivers (my apologies for not knowing a better term).

The nation has spent decades and millions of dollars educating the public about the dangers of drunk driving. Will we have to start all over again with marijuana education? I believe so.

Call me uptight or too conservative or whatever you will, but I believe passing Prop 64 was a mistake we may eventually regret.

I think the suggestion made by Councilwoman Noralea Gipner at the last City Council meeting regarding the allowance of a dispensary in Martinez is a bad idea. Having a dispensary here will not stop those wishing to grow marijuana locally. It might, in fact, encourage them, having a nearby supply outlet. And anyway, those that need weed for medical or other purposes can have it delivered to their door within the hour. I say NO to a Martinez dispensary. And you know what they say about putting the genie back in the bottle…. We really don’t need that here, do we?

I’m appalled enough at the amount of people I’ve seen drunkenly stumble from one bar to the next only to then get behind the wheel of a car in a foolish attempt to drive themselves home. It happens frequently on the streets of downtown Martinez. Don’t believe me? Tailgate downtown for a few hours and keep your eyes out. I usually notice it while on late-night walks with the dog. Disturbing.

***

I have one more likely unpopular opinion to share with you this week. And again, I hope you’ll write in and give me the ol’ one-two should you feel I’ve got it wrong. But with the resurgence of the beavers, the upper regions of the creek have become utter cesspools.

When the poor critters had died off and disappeared and the city removed the clever “Beaver Deceiver” that allowed limited water flow through their dams, the creek was clean and running, albeit very shallow at times. Several species of fish were seen migrating upstream, and that awful pungent smell that once again permeates the creek was gone for a time.

I love wildlife and understand beavers are a keystone species that have helped return many other fading species to the lower regions of the creek, but  their dams are wreaking havoc on everything to the south. Surely there’s a solution that will keep the tides flowing and cleaning out the waterway south of their dams. It just needs to be bigger than the Beaver Deceiver. Any suggestions?

Email letters, columns and other contributions to admin@martineztribune.com.

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Mapping a plan to combat homelessness https://martineztribune.com/2016/07/15/mapping-a-plan-to-combat-homelessness/ Fri, 15 Jul 2016 18:37:33 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=4678 All of the 19 cities in Contra Costa County have unique attributes that set their downtowns apart from one another. Concord has Todos Santos Plaza; Pleasant Hill has Crescent Drive. Clayton has Concerts in the Grove. Martinez has a historic and quaint downtown adjacent to the waterfront with a cluster of government buildings that loom …

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All of the 19 cities in Contra Costa County have unique attributes that set their downtowns apart from one another.

Concord has Todos Santos Plaza; Pleasant Hill has Crescent Drive. Clayton has Concerts in the Grove. Martinez has a historic and quaint downtown adjacent to the waterfront with a cluster of government buildings that loom above all others.

Since Contra Costa became a county, Martinez has been the county seat, and host to all that designation brings. It includes the Board of Supervisors, Sheriff, District Attorney, Superior Courts, County hospital and welfare services.

This brings employees, attorneys, jurors, defendants and the general public from all over the East Bay into downtown Martinez. It also brings in those released from jail, released mentally ill patients, and individuals seeking welfare services and support.

This has created a huge challenge for the Martinez Police Department, Public Works and the businesses in the downtown.

But about 12 years ago, a gentleman by the name of Doug Stewart appeared on the scene and offered his help to the city in stemming our problem of homelessness.

Doug had started to seek out solutions to the homeless issues in Pacheco, as a member of the Pacheco Municipal Advisory Council, by going out at night and finding the homeless in his community and getting them help.

He would provide blankets, socks, personal hygiene kits and rides to BART or a bus. Thus was born the Pacheco Homeless Outreach.

Doug expanded the operation into Martinez and we immediately saw the benefit. To help defray costs, the city granted Doug a small amount of money which eventually turned into a budget line item of $30,000 per year. The organization became Pacheco/Martinez Homeless Outreach.

Soon, the communities of Richmond and Concord saw the good work that Doug and his volunteer crew was accomplishing and they contracted for his services. The organization then became Contra Costa Homeless Outreach.

For years, they went out almost every night of the week seeking out the homeless and getting them what they needed – clean and dry socks, a blanket, a ride to a shelter.

For a multitude of reasons, including financial and personal, Doug decided to retire from this line of work and shut the organization down. All operations ceased June 30, leaving a gaping hole in homeless services in Contra Costa County.

As a result, I recently met with Martinez Police Chief Manjit Sappal, City Manager Brad Kilger, Bill Schilz and Doug. We wanted to hear from Doug and Bill what we would expect to find in the Martinez homeless community – where the encampments are, who are the regulars he deals with, what challenges they had, and what Doug and Bill thought needed to be done.

Out of that meeting we have mapped some initial strategy on how to move forward, and to not only continue, but to improve, the services that Contra Costa Homeless Outreach has been providing the homeless, and therefore, the entire Martinez community.

And since homelessness is not just a Martinez problem, we will be contacting other cities to see if they will have an interest in working with us.

Through the generosity of Tesoro and a grant of $90,000 over three years, combined with the money already allocated in the Police Department, we will be able to get started.

Rob Schroder is the mayor of the City of Martinez. Email him at rschroder@cityofmartinez.org.

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And the clever campaigning award goes to … https://martineztribune.com/2016/07/08/and-the-clever-campaigning-award-goes-to/ Fri, 08 Jul 2016 17:44:03 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=4635 Martinez City Council candidate John Stevens surprised parade goers Monday with fortune cookies. The fortunes? “JOHN STEVENS will be your next Martinez City Council Member.” Clever! Main Street Martinez rules forbade candidates from riding in the parade with election banners, but it looks like Stevens found a great way to make a memorable impression on …

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IMG_0947 (4)Martinez City Council candidate John Stevens surprised parade goers Monday with fortune cookies. The fortunes? “JOHN STEVENS will be your next Martinez City Council Member.” Clever!

Main Street Martinez rules forbade candidates from riding in the parade with election banners, but it looks like Stevens found a great way to make a memorable impression on Independence Day.

Stevens, Noralee Gipner and incumbent Mark Ross are the only candidates, thus far, to either declare or express interest in candidacy for the post. Two seats are up for grabs as Ross’s present term expires this November, and Councilwoman Anamarie Avila Farias continues her bid for a seat on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

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Delicious grapes, but a sour creek … https://martineztribune.com/2015/10/02/delicious-grapes-but-a-sour-creek/ Fri, 02 Oct 2015 18:10:33 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=1734 By E. CLARK Martinez Tribune RAIN AT LAST! Here’s hoping we’ll receive regular rain this winter, without the deluge forecasters are predicting due to El Niño. I’m looking forward to the rains moving water through the creek. As of late, it’s been quite a tepid stew of garbage and other pollution. Anyone walking along the …

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By E. CLARK
Martinez Tribune

RAIN AT LAST! Here’s hoping we’ll receive regular rain this winter, without the deluge forecasters are predicting due to El Niño.

I’m looking forward to the rains moving water through the creek. As of late, it’s been quite a tepid stew of garbage and other pollution. Anyone walking along the creek in recent months can testify of the pungent smell the once pristine waterway now emits.

A visitor to the Tribune said this week that it’s no wonder the beavers are dying – one only has to look at the water to know little could thrive there save bacteria and other such muck. I happen to think he’s right.

The turtles are hanging on, however. Whenever I’m in and out of the Tribune offices, I always check the creek on both sides, and never fail to see turtles in the water off the south side of Ward Street.

We need more Mario Menesinis, eh? Folks dedicated to keeping the creek clean, and educating others about the importance of our waterways.

KUDOS to the kids getting involved in helping victims of the Middletown fire. Those Marazzani kids are something else, aren’t they? Just a few weeks ago the Tribune highlighted the work of Isabella Marazzani, who along with her mother and members of Girl Scout Troop 30365, were organizing a girl empowerment workshop. Now Isabella’s big sister, Alicia, is making the news for her charity work. Bravo to these kids, and to their parents.

I FORGOT to add an event to our calendar this week. Don’t forget to add this event to yours.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is hosting Festa Italiana Oct. 10, celebrating the grape harvest. Festivities will take place from 3:30-6:30 p.m. at Viano Winery, 150 Morello Ave., Martinez. Tickets are $40, and reservations are encouraged on or before Oct. 5. Call Gayle Miner at (925) 349-6795, Joy Barden at (925) 935-7118, Marlene Maksel at (925) 689-5439 or Marilyn Thelen at (925) 228-2600 to purchase tickets.

I will not be there myself (I do not imbibe), but this sounds like a nice local event for those who do.

I know there’ll be a raffle at the event, and a nice Italian dinner.

I can’t help but think of Lucy and Ethel of the “I Love Lucy” television show, stomping grapes. I don’t think that sort of activity will go down at Festa Italiana, but hey, you never know … .

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Martini Happy Hour, graffiti & prayers … https://martineztribune.com/2015/09/17/martini-happy-hour-graffiti-prayers/ Fri, 18 Sep 2015 01:47:25 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=1507 MANY THANKS go out to the Martinez Chamber of Commerce for allowing the Martinez Tribune to host this year’s Martini Happy Hour, held last Friday evening in our soon-to-be lobby at 725 Ward St., Suite G. Lots of Martizians stopped by for hors d’oeuvres, drinks and good company. Thank you to all those who stopped …

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Martini Happy Hour at the Martinez Tribune, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. (ERIN CLARK / Martinez Tribune)
Martini Happy Hour at the Martinez Tribune, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. (ERIN CLARK / Martinez Tribune)

MANY THANKS go out to the Martinez Chamber of Commerce for allowing the Martinez Tribune to host this year’s Martini Happy Hour, held last Friday evening in our soon-to-be lobby at 725 Ward St., Suite G. Lots of Martizians stopped by for hors d’oeuvres, drinks and good company. Thank you to all those who stopped by.

Particular thanks go out to Rachel Unpingco and Joyce Deaver, both of the Chamber, for all their hard work putting together plans for the evening, and to B Jaxon and Cathy Riggs of “I’ve Been Framed” for providing martini art at the event. Jaxon also provided music for the event, which really set the tone to kick off Martinez Martini Month.

If you haven’t yet purchased tickets for the Martini Gala, what are you waiting for? Information and tickets for the fun, formal gala are available at www.martinezmartini.com. Proceeds help the Chamber host other community-centered events.

SAD NEWS came last week with the passing of former Martinez Police Department Interim Chief Ed Duncan.

Duncan stopped by the Tribune just a week before he passed away. He picked up a paper and chatted with staff about the new police chief, and how pleased he was about the selection, having worked with Chief Manjit Sappal in the past.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Duncan’s family and friends.

GRAFFITI has long been a problem in the Bay Area, and particularly problematic to downtown property owners. The Tribune fell victim to it on Sept. 11, and unfortunately, the “artist’s” canvas was inside a property, on newly sanded brick and timber.

The Tribune’s CEO is on a mission to fix up several properties downtown, and had just paid many thousands of dollars to restore the inside of a building on Ferry Street when the tagger (or taggers) trespassed. One of the people coming to work on the building that evening spotted a white or Hispanic male, approximately 5 feet, 9 inches, running from the building with camera in hand. Apparently, this person thought his work worth documenting. I disagree.

Meantime, Martinez police are extending extra patrols around the building, and we have staff keeping watch. We appreciate any information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the costly damage.

THANK YOU for reading the Tribune. We are growing rapidly, and will soon expand the number of pages we publish. If you like what we’re doing and want to support our efforts, please subscribe and advertise. Call or come in, or visit https://martineztribune.com/subscribe.

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A quick quake, the Campbell and other musings https://martineztribune.com/2015/08/21/a-quick-quake-the-campbell-and-other-musings/ Fri, 21 Aug 2015 18:03:34 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=1205 By E. CLARK Martinez Tribune THIS WEEK started with a jolt, literally. The 4.0 that struck Piedmont early Monday morning was nothing Bay Area natives would bat an eyelash at, but quakes are still a new and fascinating phenomenon to this native Arizonan. Monday’s quake was the first one I’ve actually heard coming. Strange. Did …

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By E. CLARK
Martinez Tribune

THIS WEEK started with a jolt, literally. The 4.0 that struck Piedmont early Monday morning was nothing Bay Area natives would bat an eyelash at, but quakes are still a new and fascinating phenomenon to this native Arizonan.

Monday’s quake was the first one I’ve actually heard coming. Strange.

Did anyone feel a second jolt Thursday morning? Apparently there was a 1.8 in Pleasant Hill, but I can’t imagine that’s what I felt. Can one even detect a 1.8?

I was sitting in our office building at 725 Ward St. Thursday morning – again, around 7 a.m. – when something banged into our building. It felt very similar to Monday’s quake. I immediately took to Twitter and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) website, but nothing popped up immediately. I even went outside to make sure our building hadn’t been struck by a wayward vehicle.

One of these days I’ll get used to these tremors, but hopefully not too accustomed. A small dose of fear is a good thing when it comes to potential natural disasters. Let’s all remember to keep extra water and food on hand, to pay attention to how we situate furniture and other decor within our offices and homes, and have an emergency back-up plan the whole family is aware of should any emergency come to pass.

CAMPBELL THEATER’S lease, was renewed at Wednesday’s City Council meeting, as well as the sublease for OnStage Repertory Theatre.

I wasn’t surprised – it was on the Consent Calendar, after all – but apparently some were concerned the lease for OnStage wouldn’t be renewed due to murmurings on social media.

There’s no shortage of pot-stirrers in Martinez, as many of us have experienced first hand, and hackles were again raised over flippant Facebook comments. The atmosphere at City Hall Wednesday night was that of many arts enthusiasts ready to take a stand and fight for their stage – a healthy reaction to a possible threat, but an unnecessary one. Council unanimously agreed to renew OnStage’s sublease, so a positive outcome for all.

Several council members did, however, express their displeasure at having to renew another lease on the Campbell Theater property instead of looking at a purchase, but as Mayor Schroder and City Manager Rob Braulik pointed out, the property owners aren’t ready to sell – in part, Mayor Schroder said, because the property carries with it a family legacy, with the patriarch of said family having passed away not so long ago.

Sometimes, no matter how much you discuss, mull over, stamp your feet or holler, you can’t make the impossible possible. Hopefully, one day the city will be able to more permanently invest in a property that will help harbor the arts in Martinez, but for now, a lease will have to suffice.

SPEAKING OF City Council, did anyone notice the new iPads Mayor Schroder and Councilwoman AnaMarie Avila Farias were sporting? I did, and thought, “Ooo, twinsies,” but it was revealed toward the end of the meeting the tablets are part of a new initiative City Manager Braulik is implementing to help the City go green.

Braulik sure is a go-getter, isn’t he? That’s my impression, anyway. He stopped by the Tribune offices for about an hour after we requested to interview him. Nice guy, and seems to be highly proficient at city management. For the first time since I came to Martinez, I feel there’s hope for the city to really improve, in large part to Braulik’s stalwart position.

By the way, is it just me, or does our new city manager look like Dr. Oz?

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