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While getting past the COVID-19-related health dangers and the pandemic’s effect on Contra Costa County staff will again dominate the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors’ schedules well into 2021, new board Chairwoman Diane Burgis said there are plenty of other things on the new year’s agenda as well.
During the board’s Jan. 5 annual reorganization meeting, Burgis pledged an effort to analyze possible consolidation of the county’s fire districts, and expansion of the supervisors’ ongoing Northern Waterfront Economic Development Initiative to encourage and accommodate light- and heavy-industrial development, including high-tech, along Contra Costa’s waterfront from Rodeo east to Oakley.
“I want to up the bar, to bring it home, to see a lot more jobs come to our communities,” said Burgis, who on Tuesday succeeded Candace Andersen as the board chair. Supervisor Federal Glover became the board’s vice chair.
All three were officially sworn in to their new terms by Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord), checking in via internet from Washington, D.C.
Glover easily won re-election in a fall runoff. Burgis defeated a lone opponent by nearly a 2-to-1 margin in the March primary, while Andersen won almost unanimously after appearing on the March ballot unopposed.
“I want to up the bar, to bring it home, to see a lot more jobs come to our communities.”Supervisor Diane Burgis
Of course, 2020 was a tough year for almost everyone in Contra Costa County, and for DeSaulnier, who in March fell while jogging and broke ribs and developed pneumonia. COVID-19 not only affected the health of county residents — 347 people died among more than 43,000 total cases over the year — but also the county’s economy.
“It was a year unlike any other,” Andersen said. “But yesterday I saw a beautiful rainbow peeking through the mist, and it gives me hope for the new year.”
Supervisor John Gioia said that, despite many heroes emerging during the pandemic, that its financial and psychological impacts could last years. “I know we’re all up to the challenge to continue the work,” he said.
Supervisors thanked everyone from the county’s first-responders for their work on the front lines of the pandemic to all the county workers who adjusted to working from home (and made other sacrifices) to keep doing their jobs.
The supervisors will continue their work with a new county administrator, Monica Nino, who attended her first supervisors’ meeting Tuesday. She succeeds David Twa, who officially retired last month after 12 years as the county’s top administrator. Supervisor Karen Mitchoff joked that Twa — after his short time helping Nino ease into her new role and helping the county with post-census redistricting — will be sure to tune in to the supervisors’ meetings.
“You can’t not tune in to the greatest show on Earth,” Mitchoff said.
Burgis said she will introduce a few new wrinkles to the virtual meetings, including having various people pre-record the Pledge of Allegiance to play at each meeting. This new practice kicked off Tuesday with 101-year-old Mickey Ganitch of San Leandro, a World War II veteran and Pearl Harbor survivor, doing the honors.