Monday, July 25, 2016

Wolk wins praise for 26 years of solving problems

By Ryan McCarthy

From page A1 | July 22, 2016

FAIRFIELD — State Sen. Lois Wolk, praised Thursday for work that ranged from securing $4.2 million for the Fairfield Cordelia Library to saving lives by helping fix the blood alley that was Highway 12, said her job allowed her to do what she most enjoys – solving problems.

“I’m a jigsaw puzzle fan,” said Wolk, D-Davis.

She spoke at the Solano Economic Development Corporation breakfast after 12 elected officials – including the seven mayors of Solano County – recounted how Wolk served the region during her 26 years as a public official.

Fairfield Mayor Harry Price, the final speaker before Wolk, noted the money she got for the local library and said he and the state senator are from Pennsylvania.

“Public education is really important to us,” Price said.

Dubbed the first stop on her farewell tour as Wolk ends a career that began in 1990 with election to the Davis City Council, Rep. Mike Thompson began the tributes during the event at the Hilton Garden Inn.

He joked about Wolk representing the “People’s Republic of Davis” and called local government “tough service” that’s more demanding than legislative work in Sacramento or Washington, D.C.

You hear at the grocery store from constituents who want to know why a pothole hasn’t been fixed, said Thompson, D-St. Helena.

“I’m glad you’re my state senator,” he told Wolk.

Solano County Supervisor Jim Spering spoke about how Wolk always returned phone calls. Supervisor Skip Thomson called her a “true advocate for the Delta.” Supervisor John Vasquez described Wolk as “a tough negotiator.”

Osby Davis, mayor of Vallejo, recalled that after the city filed for bankruptcy in 2008 that Wolk helped exempt Vallejo from losing $8 million in revenue to the state.

Wolk responded to his request for help, the mayor said, even though Vallejo was not in the legislative district she represented.

“If it’s right, it’s right,” Davis said.

“You’re the kind of public servant all of us should strive to be,” he told Wolk.

Vacaville Mayor Len Augustine said Wolk “always came to the rescue of our city.”

Dixon Mayor Jack Batchelor Jr. recounted how the city in April discovered an attempt to divert a vendor’s $1.3 million electronic fund transfer into a fraudulently held bank account – and Wolk’s legislative assistance to Dixon to deal with the situation.

“You saved our bacon many, many times,” Batchelor told Wolk.

Assemblyman Bill Dodd, D-Napa, spoke about Wolk’s having “an uncanny ability to create warm partnerships in the state Legislature.”

“We’re going to miss her leadership,” said Dodd, who seeks election Nov. 8 as the new state senator representing the 3rd District as Wolk terms out of office.
 

Wolk said at the end of the event that she’s been asked if she’ll miss the around-the-clock world of serving as a lawmaker in Sacramento.

“I honestly don’t know,” she said.

“That doesn’t frighten me,” Wolk said. “I’m looking forward to that.”

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or rmccarthy@dailyrepublic.net.

Wolk feted for service to Solano County

Wolk feted for service to Solano County
 
By Kimberly K. Fu, kfu@thereporter.com, @ReporterKimFu on Twitter
Posted: 07/21/16, 6:41 PM PDT | Updated: 3 days ago
Kimberly K. Fu — The Reporter Surrounded by the mayors of Solano’s seven cities, Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Solano, thanks leaders for their partnership, the community for their trust and her staff for their dedication.
 
Surrounded by local, state and national leaders Thursday in Fairfield, Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Solano, was toasted again and again during the first stop on what’s being called her “Farewell Tour.”
Leaders at the Solano Economic Development Corporation gathering touted her integrity and her willingness and availability to help and called her a champion of the people.
“This is a pretty special person in my mind,” advised Congressman Mike Thompson. “We were both elected at the same time.”
He was elected into Congress, he joked, while she was elected to serve the “Republic of Davis.”
Describing Wolk as doing marvelous work, Thompson thanked the senator for her service.
“She’s for her constituents and she’s always been,” he said. “She’s made sure that the people ... get their money’s worth. She works tirelessly for that.”
Her successful end of life bill, work on improving traffic-heavy roadways such as Highway 12 and dedication to water issues all are proof of her amazing abilities, he said, and she will never be forgotten.
“I know that Lois will always be on call,” Thompson said. “She’s checking out but she’s not leaving.”
Wolk, who has been in public service for decades, is serving her final term in office. She was a high school teacher before entering politics, serving as a Davis city councilwoman and two terms as that city’s mayor. From 2002-2008, she served as representative for the Eighth Assembly District and was elected to the Senate in 2008.
Assemblyman Bill Dodd, D-Solano, praised Wolk for her leadership and ability to get things done.
“She’s just done a phenomenal job,” he said. “What a class act.”
Solano County Supervisor Jim Spering, on behalf of the Solano Transportation Authority, thanked Wolk for her efforts in making Highway 12 safer.
“I can’t tell you how many lives you’ve saved,” he said. “Solano County has absolutely been blessed to have Lois Wolk. She’s dedicated to her constituents. ... She has been a champion (of the people) and made a difference in saving lives.”
Supervisor Skip Thomson called Wolk a true advocate for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta while Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis said she’s a person to emulate.
“You are the kind of public servant that all of us should strive to be,” Davis emphasized, citing her honesty, integrity and commitment to all people.
For her part, Wolk expressed gratitude to county leaders for their partnership.
“You’ve allowed me to do what I love the most,” she said. “Solving problems.”
She called her staff a blessing and attributed her success in getting things done to strong local ties.
In closing, she thanked those present for making her 14 years of service to Solano very good years.
“It’s been, in my perspective, a great ride,” she said.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Solano EDC breakfast highlights link between public safety and economic vitality


Solano EDC breakfast highlights link between public safety and economic vitality


By Dom Pruett, DPruett@TheReporter.Com, @dompruett on Twitter

Posted: 06/17/16, 5:52 PM PDT | Updated: 2 days ago

Local Law Enforcement Officers, Government Elected Officials, and various other community stakeholders joined representatives from the Solano Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Friday morning over breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fairfield to discuss the correlation between public safety and economic vitality.

“Solano County is known as a large village, and we need to work together,” Solano EDC President Sandy Person explained. “We can always do better; this needs to be our top priority.”

Police Foundation President Jim Bueermann gave the opening presentation in which he addressed ways to improve current policing amidst a growing state of distrust and animosity among some citizens toward law enforcement officers.

Buerrmann discussed the sweeping proposal that would require all officers to wear a body camera while on duty, as well as virtual reality training — installed to let officers gain a different perspective on police interaction.

“I’m an old white guy, so I don’t know what it’s like to be a 20-year-old African American,” Bueerrman said, which returned some sporadic laughter from the audience. “Police others the way you would want to be policed.”

Though Bueerrmann later admitted he didn’t believe his message resonated with many of the officers there in person, he was clear and uncompromising in conveying his belief that departments across the country need a change in culture.

“We’re not going to advance policing in this country if we continue the way we have,” he said.

To Bueerrmann, a change in culture will only come from officers acquiring a better understanding of how to police minorities and the mentally ill.

“Whether you like to admit it or not, you are social workers,” he told the law enforcement officers.

Lastly, Bueerrmann mentioned the connection between education and crime. “How many educated and successful people do you know who have been arrested?”

His three major points: prevention, intervention and suppression revealed that only through social change will communities become strengthened, and in turn, alter the current perception of police.

Vacaville Police Chief John Carli, who was in attendance, agreed with Buerrmann’s message.

“Policing in the community is not about arresting people,” he said. “Education is the driving force. It makes kids more successful.”

Carli explained, “It’s planting the seed for the tree you may never sit under.”

California Director of the Council for a Strong America Barrie Becker followed Bueerrmann and expanded on the significance of education’s role in reducing crime.

“Education leads to less crime,” Becker said while presenting slides with statistics to back her claims. Becker added that when law enforcement officers, business leaders, and retired senior military personnel are among some of the many who have already joined her in fighting crime through investment in children.

Becker discussed in particular the obstacles children from low-income and dysfunctional families face, and added that a quick survey on any prison’s inmate population would reveal that the vast majority read at an elementary school level. In theory, the more children flourish in school, the less likely they will end up behind bars.

“It’s a huge indicator,” Buerrmann remarked about education following the event.

However, it takes everyone to make it possible.

“Police and schools can’t do it on their own,” he said.

Program: Youth development critical for community safety, well-being

Program: Youth development critical for community safety, well-being
By Todd R. Hansen From page A3 | June 18, 2016

FAIRFIELD — No one uttered the words “economic development” or “economic vitality” at an Solano Economic Development Corporation breakfast event Friday publicized about the connection between having safe communities and both of those things.

What was discussed is how investing in society’s youth – and investing early – helps to curb crime and many of the other problems that drain economic resources, and helps develop the kind of workforce businesses will need.

Barrie Becker, California director of the Council for a Strong America and special projects director for Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California, said that research shows when high school graduation rates rise by 10 percent, murders and aggravated assaults go down by 20 percent.

In Solano County, that would mean five fewer murders and 222 fewer assaults, Becker said.

Becker also noted that nine out of 10 juveniles who are in detention centers had been suspended or expelled from school at some point, and that one-third of all dropouts leave school by the ninth grade.

In Solano County, the suspension and expulsion rate is 7.3 percent of all students, according statistics provided by Becker. The county’s dropout rate has gone down in recent years and is actually better than the state average.

At the same time, research shows that 63 percent of future jobs in the United States will require some education beyond high school. In other words, communities need to find a way not only to keep students in high school, but beyond.

One way that is having success, and something Solano County schools are implementing is to have work-connected academies at the high schools. Participating students appear to be more engaged, the research shows, and the skills employers need are being taught.

Becker said her organization lobbies for resources as the state and federal levels by using evidence- and research-based information to stop children from being victims. Some of the most effective tools are preschool and after-school programs.

She also noted a statement from an educator who had helped turn a troubled high school around by saying “it is better to have a caring adult than a computer for every child.”

Becker’s presentation followed one by Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation, who within his examination about the need to change how community policing is implemented, said the fundamental truth connected to virtually all crime is family stability.

Vallejo police Chief Andrew Bidou and former Fairfield chief Walt Tibbet are executive fellows with the organization.

If children are raised in a house with drug and alcohol issues, it is more likely they will have drug and alcohol problems. If they are raised in an abusive house, there is a greater likelihood they will be abusers.

And where those problems exist, Bueermann said, so does crime. He presented a series of overlays that show the connection of law enforcement calls for social issues and where crimes are committed or criminals are arrested.

Bueermann said youth development is critical for stemming crime.

“This tells us where we have to put our resources. We do not have to put them everywhere,” Bueermann said.

The former police chief of Redlands also noted the need for police agencies to change how they relate to the public, and change their policing tactics.

“There is a disconnect with how police perceive themselves, and how the people they protect perceive them,” Bueermann said.

Technology will be a driving force in this evolution, noting that body and other surveillance cameras are essential, and that it will not be long before drones become a central part of policing tactics.

He said the use of virtual reality so officers can get a personal sense of what it is like to be a person with a mental illness, such schizophrenia, who then encounters an officer, is important. It can even help officers understand how minorities view their encounters with police.

Bueermann, who is white, emphasized that he will never know what it is like to be a young black man, but he can better understand how that young man perceives the police.

“It allows you to become somebody else,” he said. “It may change how you interact with people.”

Bueermann also noted the days of just throwing people in jail are over, and that prevention and intervention are essential elements. He said police officers must be better equipped to deal with people with mental illness, the homeless and others for whom prison may not be the best solution.

If nothing else, he said, escalating costs of incarceration are going to force change.
Bueermann said to succeed, change must be embraced, not fought. He included a quote about change by Nelson Mandela to emphasize the point.

“It always seems impossible until it is done,” Mandela said.

Reach Todd R. Hansen at 427-6932 or thansen@dailyrepublic.net.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Area chiefs add voices to national policing efforts

Fairfield

Area chiefs add voices to national policing efforts

By From page A1 | June 12, 2016
FAIRFIELD — The Vallejo police chief and a former Fairfield chief have added their voices and experience to a national group looking at the future of law enforcement.

Vallejo chief Andrew Bidou and Walter Tibbet, the former police chief in Fairfield, are executive fellows with the Police Foundation, a private, nonprofit organization formed in 1970 through a grant by the Ford Foundation.

“Our mission is the advancement of policing through innovation and science,” said Jim Bueermann, president of the foundation and a 33-year veteran of law enforcement, including 13 as chief in Redlands. He became president of the foundation in September 2012, about a year after he had retired.

Bueermann, who is scheduled to speak at an Economic Development Corporation event Friday in Fairfield, said the fellows at the foundation are advisers who provide a bridge between the research and science and the practical world of applying that work by law enforcement agencies.

Tibbet was approached in 2014 about joining the group because of his youth outreach efforts, and specifically successes he had on school campuses.

“The foundation found out about (the Public Safety Academy) and contacted me and we talked about that and the executive fellowship program,” said Tibbet, who spent five years as the Fairfield chief and four as the chief in Alameda. His career extended 43 years, the majority of which was in San Jose.

The academy is a program at the Fairfield-Suisun School District for students who have career interests in law enforcement or other emergency services. It was part of Tibbet’s youth outreach efforts.

He calls those efforts a fundamental part of community policing.

“The issues of we find today with all the crime and violence can all be traced back to the failure with youth, to the number of kids who are falling through the cracks,” Tibbet said.


While he deals with a variety of topics from around the country as part of the foundation, youth outreach remains a big part of what his experience brings to the table.

Bidou is a 27-year law enforcement veteran who has been the chief of the Vallejo Police Department for nearly two years. He learned about the foundation’s work and applied for a position.

Among the efforts Bidou has been involved in is one of the biggest facing law enforcement across the country: community trust and the disconnect with police forces.

An 8-minute YouTube video, posted on the Vallejo police website as well as the Police Foundation site, discusses what Bidou and his staff have done to try to reconnect with city residents.

The video describes the problems the Police Department was facing and the steps they are taking to try to reconnect with the residents – everything from having a greater presence at community events, hosting open houses and using its cadet program to recruit officers out of the Vallejo area.

“One of the best things that has come out of (being part of the foundation) is we participate in monthly issues on things that impact law enforcement,” Bidou said.

“It keeps me contemporary, current and I hope to apply what I learn (locally),” the chief said.
Bueermann said he personally selects all fellows at the foundation, which includes the executive fellows comprised of former or current police chiefs, sheriffs and other top staffers.

There is also a group of line officers, with the highest rank among them being lieutenant.

Additionally, there are the international fellows and the research fellows, Bueermann said.

The foundation looks at everything from tactical strategies to organizational models and investigating critical response incidents such as the 2013 Christopher Dorner case, in which the former Los Angeles police officer hunted down and killed four people, including two police officers and the daughter of a former police captain.

The highly publicized manhunt, which included Dorner’s manifesto of his intent and the information he sent to CNN before starting his killing spree, also including police officers firing at unrelated
people after their vehicles were mistaken for the Dorner’s truck.

The foundation was contracted to look at the case, review how the police departments responded, and the ultimate effect. Bueermann said the report is expected to be released in the near future.

However, one of the primary focuses of the foundation is to use research and science to improve policing. He said while the foundation involves agencies as large as New York City police and as small as a rural sheriff’s office, the research is applicable.

“It looks different when it is applied in a city or rural environment . . . but conceptually it is the same,” Bueermann said.

As an example is the “broken window” theory, which basically started in New York. A window at a warehouse was broken out. It was obviously not a high police priority, but the window did not get fixed, either. Then another window was broken and eventually, Bueermann contends, the area was viewed as being unimportant and became a home to larger crimes.

“The idea is if you allow the little things to go unabated, they become bigger things,” Bueermann said.

Reach Todd R. Hansen at 427-6932 or thansen@dailyrepublic.net.

More information

  • The Solano Economic Development Corporation is hosting a breakfast Friday featuring Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation, and Barrie Becker, California director of the Council for a Strong America and special projects director for Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California.
  • The theme of the event is Safe Communities = Economic Vitality.
  • Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. The program starts at 8 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn Fairfield, 2200 Gateway Court.
  • To sign up or for more information, contact Pat Uhrich at 864-1855 or at pat@solanoedc.org.

Solano EDC breakfast to discuss public safety

By Reporter Staff
The next breakfast of the Solano Economic Development Corporation will cover public safety and feature two nationally known speakers.

The breakfast is Friday at the Hilton Garden Inn, 2200 Gateway Court in Fairfield.

The morning begins at 7:30 a.m. with registration and networking, followed by breakfast and the program from 8 to 9 a.m.

Jim Bueermann is the president of the Police Foundation, a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting innovation and improvement in policing through its research, technical assistance, training, professional services, and communication programs.

Barrie Becker serves at the California Director of the Council for a Strong America and as Special Projects Director for Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, California. She has been with the organization since 2003. Prior to joining CSA, Barrie served as executive director of Legal Community Against
Violence.

Together they will bring knowledge, insight and experiences to address the issue of crime and public safety. This is a great opportunity to listen to leaders in the field discussing ideas that can be used in Solano County.

To attend, $27 for Solano EDC members and $37 for non-members.

To register, call 864-185 or email pat@solanoedc.org.

Make checks payable to Solano EDC, 360 Campus Lane, Suite 102, Fairfield, CA 94534.

Notify the Solano EDC of cancellations, no shows will be billed.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Vallejo City Council authorizes negotiations with car manufacturer

Vallejo City Council authorizes negotiations with car manufacturer

Electric car company Faraday Future’s plan to open a manufacturing plant in Vallejo has picked up a boost from the city council.

Councilmembers unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday night authorizing a six-month exclusive negotiating agreement with FF LLC, a special-purpose entity, established by Faraday Future, for the express purpose of purchasing 157 acres of land on the north side of Mare Island.

The company intends to open a second production facility, house business and administrative offices, and offer a pick-up location for customers on Mare Island.

“We love the location,” said Dag Reckhorn, vice president of Global Manufacturing for Faraday Future. “We want to bring to the city of Vallejo, quality long-term jobs to the community.”

The company will create hundreds of million investment dollars for the city, Reckhorn added.

Kathleen Diohep, the city’s economic development manager, said the site can become a “catalyst investment” for Vallejo, drawing in more businesses.

“Jobs are one of our highest priorities for this site,” Diohep said.

She added that the city doesn’t have the resources to invest in infrastructure for the site.

None of the councilmembers asked any questions or offered any responses during the meeting. They swiftly approved the resolution after about 20 individuals addressed the council.

Several speakers expressed cautious optimism for the proposed project, while others expressed concern about the logistics of how the facility will transport items to and from Mare Island.

During the upcoming negotiations, Faraday Future and the city will refine the project concept to address the scale of buildings, number of jobs created and timing of construction, according to a city staff report. The negotiation period also includes two 90-day extensions.

Both the city and Faraday Future confirmed the site would require significant work to prepare it for use.

“Faraday Future recognizes that the site requires backbone infrastructure, demolition of existing buildings, and other site work to address the geotechnical conditions that are estimated to exceed $50 million,” city officials said in a staff report.

If a final agreement is reached, the city is expected to hand over the site to the company “as is,” due to the amount of work needed to rehab the site, according to the same staff report.

The company will supply a $200,000 fee to the city, along with paying for Vallejo’s legal and consultant fees associated with the project. That fee is expected to be at least $372,000, staff said.

The city council is expected to consider a disposition and development agreement in November of this year.

The company’s 3-million-square-foot, $1 billion North Las Vegas manufacturing facility is projected to start producing vehicles in a couple of years.

Contact John Glidden at 707-553-6832.