(Document) Proposed county rules for wineries

The proposed new language in the San Joaquin County wine ordinance is out for review, and it will be interested to see how everybody from small-winery owners to neighbors to grape growers to other farmers to people who like to taste wine will react.  And if any of you all want to do it here, too, have at it.

And here’s the text of the proposed changes:  Draft Winery Ordinance 4.1.14

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Jail crowding and a letter to the Board

Capacity and crowding at the San Joaquin County Jail came up several times at  last night’s candidate forum with Sheriff Steve Moore and Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Pat Withrow, who have different ideas about what should be done.

Withrow has been pushing for adding modular facilities and more-immediate changes to bring more inmates at the minimum security Honor Farm. It will likely continue to be a campaign issue, and Withrow says more about it on his website.

Moore says he doesn’t think the modular plan is even feasible. During the forum, he mentioned a letter he sent to the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors after the state denied the county $33 million to build a new facility. In the letter, Moore mentions pending state legislation that could free up $1.2 billion for San Joaquin and other counties looking to build new facilities.  The letter also lists some of the ways — double bunking, a revamped pre-trial assessment for release and security upgrades at the Honor Farm — could alleviate crowding sooner.

Here is that letter to the Board of Supervisors.

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(Video) County farming advocates to celebrate 100 years

The San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation posted on Facebook that it’s getting ready to celebrate its 100-years anniversary. The organization lobbies on behalf of the county’s $2.9 billion agricultural industry.

The group posted a video with a succession of clips of farmers talking about the industry, its past and its future.

Among them is county Supervisors Ken Vogel, himself a walnut and cherry grower.  “Young farmers coming into this industry can’t be the farmers their fathers and grandfathers were,” he said in one clip.

In a series of farmers talking about regulation, he says: “Most of the things that come down are not designed to make farming easier, they seem to be designed to make farming higher.”

Outgoing Agricultural Commissioner Scott Hudson talked about he’s seen: “Just the mandates in our office have increased over the years.”

Somebody I don’t recognize comes up later in the video talking about DDT, a pesticide that has been banned for most uses since 1972.

“DDT: Good spray. Aww Sh….  It would last 30 days. You know, and like nowadays that stuff lasts for one week and it’s gone. It dissipates too quick.”

The group says it plans to celebrate its anniversary in April. Here’s the preview video:

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Political connections link fight for Stockton council to other county races

In his column today, Record columnist Michael Fitzgerald asked the question: Who is Allen Sawyer?  It follows this news that City Councilman Elbert Holman listed notorious criminals he pursued as a lawman in the ballot statement  he is using to pitch himself to voters in his re-election bid. One of the names on Holman’s list is Sawyer, a political consultant working with Rick Grewal, who is challenging Holman.

Sawyer was convicted of a crime following a federal investigation that spread to former Sheriff Baxter Dunn and others in what was one of the biggest political scandals in San Joaquin County, so far, this century. Sawyer was convicted and served time. But a subsequent U.S. Supreme Court decision changed the law, and Sawyer was able to get his conviction set aside, his fine returned and  a legal writ issued by the court meant to correct an error. The details are in the column and the story.

The city council race,  and the fight over the ballot designation naming Sawyer  isn’t happening in a vacuum, and it has connections to other elections happening in the county this year.

Grewal isn’t Sawyer’s only client. He’s consulting for Sheriff’s Sergeant Pat Withrow in a run to be the next sheriff and for City Councilman Paul Canepa in his run for the District 2 seat on the county Board of Supervisors.  Canepa is running against City Councilwoman Kathy Miller, who is working with Jeff Acquistapace, who is also Holman’s political consultant.

There’s a link in the District 4 county race, too. Lodi attorney Doug Goss was set to run for the open seat, but decided against it. Instead, he endorsed Wine & Roses Hotel Restaurant Spa owner Russ Munson, who is running against former County Administrator Manuel Lopez and Ripon Mayor Chuck Winn.  Goss represented Sawyer in his bid for exoneration. And Acquistapace is consulting for Winn, as well as Tori Verber-Salazar, who is running for district attorney, and Jay Wilverding, who is running opposed unopposed to remain auditor-controller.

 

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More jail on the campaign trail

Pat Withrow highlighted the high recidivism rate for parolees at a press conference yesterday in Lodi. Withrow, a San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Sergeant is running against incumbent Sheriff Steve Moore.

Parolees are some of the inmates at the jail who get released early because of overcrowding. The full jail as been an issue in the county for decades, and it has been central in this year’s race for sheriff, too. Withrow is pitching a plan to add prefabricated jail facilities to house inmate as needed, a move he says would be both quicker and cheaper than a county plan to build a new medium-security facility to replace the low-security Honor Farm. Moore said the money isn’t there for the Withrow proposal and that the Honor Farm replacement does make it possible to house another 100 inmates.

Withrow was not alone at the Tuesday press conference. He was joined by San Joaquin County Supervisor Carlos Villapudua, who said his Stockton-centered district has seen the effects of recidivism.

“I have been searching for a strategy that will help turn this around,” Villapudua said. “Our current sheriff has no plan to add capacity.”

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(Video) Elections office

Here’s some video shot from the first day of the filing period for the June primary. Auditor-Controller Jay Wilverding was there when I showed up at the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voter’s office, so he’s featured in the form-filling action shots, captured from multiple angles.

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Head Start document dump

This past week, The Record has had two stories about the Head Start program in San Joaquin County. The first followed up on what is known about an investigation into management at the Head Start Child Development Council Inc., which contracts with San Joaquin County government to provide services. The county receives a federal grant for those services.

Hours before that story was published, the federal office overseeing Head Start announced the county would have to compete with any other interested contenders if it wishes to continue receiving those grants.

The supporting documents from those stories can help show a more detailed picture of oversight of the Head Start and Early Head Start programs.

This document is a summary written by county staff to the Board of Supervisors last December, outlining the conclusions of an investigation stemming from complaints from current and former employees of the Child Development Council.

The federal Office of Head Start does its own oversight.

Here are a couple of documents from the last triennial review of the program in San Joaquin County. The first is an overview of the findings from those reviews. The second shows the scores tallied from classroom visits that were a part of that reviews. (For the most part, the higher the score, the better.  A notable exception is the “negative climate” score. The local program has a low score in this category. That is a good thing.)

But the low scores in the “instructional support” are lower than the feds want them to be. That is clear in this letter the Office of Head Start sent to the Board of Supervisors earlier this week.

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Lessons from neighbor about Head Start

When federal officials announced this week that San Joaquin County might have to reapply to keep receiving grant money used to run the local Head Start and Early Head Start programs, it was the third time the federal Office of Head Start had designated grant recipients across the country for  “recompetition.”

Basically, it means those organizations need to reapply if they want to keep getting money for the program.

I was curious what might be in store for San Joaquin County, so I called up Contra Costa County, which was in the first round of “recompetitions,” along with Los Angeles County and numerous other places in the country.

“We were the first cohort, so we were the Guinea pigs,” said Camilla Rand, director of Contra Costa County Community Services Bureau. It was a blow to staff morale, and it was scary for parents, she said.

Re-applying for the grant was a difficult process, both large and repetitive. But it required knowing a lot about the Head Start program, which was the case for Contra Costa, she said.

When it was over, the county retained 85 percent of the grant it had been receiving before. The rest went to another applicant. And the transition did not disrupt the services received by the children, she said.

San Joaquin County officials said on Thursday they would likely call Contra Costa to learn about the neighboring county’s experience with this. Rand said she’d be happy to take that call.

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Campaign stories online

Campaigning for the District 2 seat for the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors has been happening online for awhile, now. I’ve been posting videos and such here, or linking to them through Twitter and Facebook.

Kathy Miller has posted a couple of biographical videos, so far. Paul Canepa’s campaign recently posted part of his origin story on its Facebook page, reminding folks he’s part of the family behind Canepa Carwash, a Stockton staple since the 1950s.

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(Video) What is the ’80s, Alex?

That’s the question to the answer: The era Kathy Miller appeared on the Jeopardy television game show.

That answer is clear in latest biographical video posted online in her campaign for a seat on the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.

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    Zachary Johnson

    Zachary Johnson has been with The Record since 2005, when he began as an intern fresh out of grad school. He stayed on at the paper and covered education for the next two years. Now he covers, among other things, San Joaquin County Government and ... Read Full
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