It took a while to get there – nearly two and a half hours – but the CSD Board, along with vigorous input from the community, hammered out the details during the Feb. 4 regular CSD board meeting.
CSD President Ray Tetrault was pleased with the collaborative effort. “I thought it went very well, and I thought I pulled off something I didn’t think I could,” said Tetrault, referring to the agreement reached with the community. “The audience kept the discussion on point and fairly simple and did a great job.”
Sheriff Warren Rupf submitted a proposal late last year to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors outlining how he believed the police department could best utilize the P-6 zone dollars, which are earmarked for enhanced police services in certain areas of Discovery Bay. Supervisor Mary Piepho in turn asked for residents’ input as to how the community would like to see those dollars – nearly $500,000 annually – spent.
The sheriff’s original proposal called for the deployment of two new resident deputies for a total of 80 hours per week (the town current employs one full-time deputy, who also patrols Knightsen and Bethel Island), a standard deputy vehicle with the town’s name on it, a crime specialist and community surveillance cameras.
The public consensus was similar, with a few alterations. Residents suggested that the $40,000 previously earmarked for the surveillance cameras be placed instead toward a youth-oriented program such as the anti-drug D.A.R.E. program.
But the bigger issues involved the creation of an oversight committee to monitor and direct the P-6 dollars, along with ideas for who would sit on that panel. Suggestions for the committee included P-6 zone residents who pay into the fund, members of Discovery Bay at large, or a combination of both, including members of the CSD Board.
“Perhaps the CSD should not be involved (in the oversight committee),” said Director Shannon Murphy-Teixeira, who also lives in a P-6 zone. “I have yet to hear anyone from the community asking for our help.”
The creation of a contract with the sheriff to guarantee a certain level of service within the P-6 zones was also discussed. “If we can’t get a contract before we release even a nickel of that money (to the sheriff), that’s insane,” said resident Bob Mankin, who lives in a P-6 zone. “It’s a county fund; let the county appoint the committee.”
But some residents warned against giving too much power to an oversight committee. “Any committee that seeks to micromanage the sheriff is, I think, inappropriate,” said resident Jeff Barber. “The committee issue needs to be thought about. If the county or our board (CSD) is going to create a committee based solely on how much tax you pay, it will create a split in this community.”
Resident Brian Dawson echoed the sentiment. “This should not be about dividing the community,” he said. “We are one town and that’s all we are. But I do believe that this (the oversight committee) is a matter for the Board of Supervisors.”
Director David Piepho, whose wife is county supervisor, abstained from the final vote regarding the approval of the community letter. He said that who sits on the oversight committee will ultimately be up to the Board of Supervisors.
“I think an oversight committee is a great idea,” said Piepho. “What we’re asking for is an outlining of a plan (to send to the Board of Supervisors). It doesn’t have to be perfect; just a basic understanding that will help us facilitate getting the deputies on the street. I think this is a great first step.”
Once the Board of Supervisors reviews the CSD letter and approves a P-6 plan, deputies could be deployed to Discovery Bay within a matter of weeks. The Board of Supervisors is expected to review the CSD letter at its next regularly scheduled meeting, on Feb. 17.
Clarification Posted Feb. 23, 2009
A recent story in the Discovery Bay Press dealing with the formation of a P-6 zone oversight committee included a quote from CSD Director Shannon Murphy-Teixeira: “Perhaps the CSD should not be involved (in the oversight committee) … I have yet to hear anyone from the community asking for our help.” Murphy-Teixeira’s comment about the community was a reference to P-6 zone residents, not the community of Discovery Bay as a whole.