Lawsuit slams toll authority for $3 bridge toll....

SAN FRANCISCO — A taxpayers association, on behalf of three plaintiffs from Vallejo, Vacaville and Lodi, is challenging a recently approved $3 bridge toll increase in state court — a move that could potentially delay or eliminate the measure. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed the suit Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court against the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA). It challenges the notion that Regional Measure 3, which voters approved last month, is a “fee” requiring only a simple majority to pass, rather than a “tax,” which requires two-thirds voter approval. The suit asks that the toll be invalidated. To read the rest of the article, click here. 

A Look at the June 2018 race for Contra Costa DA

MARTINEZ — As Contra Costa approaches the one-year mark since then-District Attorney Mark Peterson resigned amid an illegal spending scandal that resulted in criminal charges, voters will soon be asked to pick the county’s next top law enforcement official. Local elections rarely get widespread attention, but no state elected official holds more unilateral power than a DA. The DA has the ability to take away a person’s freedom and determine the fates of thousands of people who are charged with crimes. They also hold significant influence over the direction of not just local law enforcement but the whole criminal justice system. In this June 5 election, there are three candidates: Diana Becton, the retired judge appointed to replace the former DA, Paul Graves, a senior deputy district attorney who oversees the county’s sexual assault and family violence unit, and Lawrence Strauss, a local defense attorney and former prosecutor. To read the entire article by East Bay Times, click here. 

Editorial: Pick the prosecutor, not the plagiarist...

Nearly nine months after the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors selected a plagiarist as county district attorney, voters will get a chance to reconsider the pick. They should end more than a year of turmoil by electing Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Graves, the only candidate with meaningful experience as a prosecutor, to lead the DA’s office. To read the entire article by the East Bay Times Editorial Board, click here. 

Experts concerned Contra Costa sheriff tipping off ICE by posting release dates of detained immigrants

RICHMOND — The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office has started publishing the release dates of inmates on its website, including undocumented immigrants, using a loophole experts feel is an indirect communication with ICE. The state’s sanctuary laws usually aim to prevent a local law enforcement agency from notifying Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of an inmate’s release date. The sheriff’s office only started publishing inmates’ release dates on its website in mid-February. “They found a loophole. They are being very clever,” said Peter Scheer, board member and open government lawyer with the First Amendment Coalition. “They are exploiting an exception in the law that was put there to avoid withholding of information that would normally be public under the Public Records Act.” To read the entire article by East Bay Times, click here.