Six candidates vying to become new county supervisor for Blackhawk, Diablo

Mary Piepho retiring after 12 years on county board

In the race to succeed the retiring Contra Costa County supervisor who represents Blackhawk and Diablo, a crowded field of candidates is proposing similar objectives but with different areas of emphasis.

Mary Piepho is retiring after 12 years serving as the district's supervisor, clearing the way for the six candidates vying to fill the supervisor seat for District 3, which includes most of Antioch, Oakley and Brentwood as well as Discovery Bay, Diablo and Blackhawk.

Although many of Piepho's potential successors agree on some of the district's core issues -- Delta waterway protection, public safety coverage and resource allocation -- each come from different backgrounds and are choosing to underscore particular issues.

Competing on the June 7 ballot are Doug Hardcastle, Steve Barr and Monica Wilson, who are from the Oakley, Brentwood and Antioch city councils, respectively. Antioch Mayor Wade Harper, Odessa Lefrancois and Diane Burgis are also running for the District 3 seat.

Burgis, who holds leadership roles on the Friends of the Marsh Creek Watershed and the East Bay Regional Parks District's board, was the candidate that received an endorsement from the retiring Piepho.

Burgis explained that she was encouraged to run for the seat by Piepho, who Burgis said has long been a companion in championing protection of the Delta.

Burgis said Piepho has been a good leader who saw that the candidate would be able to continue the supervisor's tradition of fiscal accountability. But she expressed an awareness of the need for improvement in certain areas, such as public safety.

"We're seeing a really alarming situation coming out here in east county, particularly with the recent shootings on the freeway," Burgis said, referencing the string of around 25 shootings that have occurred since November on East Bay highways.

But Hardcastle, the Oakley councilman, is skeptical of Burgis, a former Oakley councilwoman.

"If Burgis were to be elected, it would be more of (Piepho)," Hardcastle said.

That means leaving issues like a lack of funding for fire agencies in the county unresolved for years, he said.

"Safety should be our No. 1 priority," Hardcastle said. "We need to get more fire stations opened up out here."

"You have to look at it like it's going to be my house that catches on fire ... and I want a safety net here for our families," he added.

Hardcastle clarified that his vision for bolstering public safety services is not through raising taxes, but through a reorganization of finances that adheres to his proclaimed fiscal conservative values.

Barr, the Brentwood councilman, is particularly highlighting fiscal stewardship in his bid. Barr said his track record in Brentwood spoke to his commitment to budgetary responsibility.

Under his guidance and that of his peers, the city has held a strong reserve fund even through the recent downturn in the economy, he said. Brentwood also did not reduce funding to police services, Barr added.

"The next county supervisor needs to be someone who can make difficult decisions that maintain a good financial footing," Barr said.

Barr and Hardcastle both stressed the importance of their backgrounds as small business owners.

Meanwhile, Lefrancois emphasized a background that includes more than 20 years of experience in various roles in the U.S. Navy.

She said this makes her acutely receptive to veteran's issues, which she said are often brought up only when politicians are campaigning.

"And after elections, you don't hear back from them," she said. "(The district's) residents want politicians to be accountable."

Lefrancois, who now is employed as a county health worker, has been involved with various community groups such as local faith organizations and the East County NAACP.

As a supervisor, Lefrancois said her main focus would be staying active in the county and keeping in touch with the concerns of all of its residents.

"I want to represent everybody, not just one sector," she said.

Wilson, the Antioch councilwoman, similarly spoke about community engagement goals. Part of that, she said, is ensuring residents in eastern Contra Costa County have access to services.

"As populations migrated east, the resources didn't come with them," Wilson said. "We have to make sure that our voice is heard ... that (this part of) the county has a fair share of resources."

Wilson, who has seats on various local and regional commissions, said she would work to achieve improvements in affordable housing, health care and youth programs.

She also underscored the importance of bringing jobs to the region.

"We need to support current industry while looking at attracting new, compatible industries," she said.

Harper, another Antioch candidate and the city's mayor, requested an email interview last week but did not respond to questions sent to him.

Harper, who also has 24 years of law enforcement experience, is running for supervisor with aspirations to properly staff police and fire departments, to protect water rights and to build "collaborate community partnerships," according to a county document featuring the candidates.

In other county races, Supervisor Candace Andersen, who represents the rest of the San Ramon Valley, is running unopposed for the District 2 seat.

Four-term incumbent Federal Glover, who represents District 5 on the Board of Supervisors, is being challenged by four candidates. His district includes the cities of Hercules, Martinez, Pittsburg and portions of Pinole and Antioch as well as Bay Point, Rodeo, Pacheco, Crockett and other unincorporated communities.

— Bay City News Service

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9 people like this
Posted by Herman Glates
a resident of Danville
on May 25, 2016 at 6:58 am

Herman Glates is a registered user.

Wilson says, as populations migrated east, the resources didn't come with them. We have to make sure that this part of the county has a fair share of resources.

I’m not sure what resources she’s talking about. But whenever someone uses the words fair share, it usually means taking wealth from people who earned it and giving it to those who did not.

1 person likes this
Posted by Shirley
a resident of San Ramon
on May 25, 2016 at 9:48 am

In listening to Doug Hardcastle at a function we both attended I thought that if he represented my district he'd certainly have my vote. Such a sensible man who envisions strengthening public safety services, not through raising taxes, but by reorganizing existing finances.

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