Will the Oakley City Council Fail Its Children?

            Will the City Council of Oakley continue to protect its children Tuesday night, April 11, 2023? A year ago, the council said to a McDonald’s drive-thru at Laurel Plaza. So, then there was an election during which two candidates now sitting on the dais received extraordinary contributions, including Matt Beinke, with Ohara Properties, from Oakley developers., Those developers demand completion of the drive-thru. So, no surprise in my mind that the issue has appeared twice recently. The last time it came up, the council put it off until the Contra Costa Superior Court Judge ruled on the lawsuit that Ohara Properties pushed onto the City of Oakley. The ruling date is April 17.

            So, now in a panic, some of those on the dais want us to decide the issue before April 17. If the council approves the drive-thru, then the lawsuit goes away. McDonald’s goes into Laurel Plaza no matter what the judge may think. Gee, I wonder what they know that we do not. We should hold everything over until the judge issues her ruling and decide how to proceed.

            The original purpose of returning it to the dais so soon was “the City can’t afford the legal fees.” Yes, we do have the sale of surplus property in the City, which will adequately fund a legal defense, which, in my perspective, would be the best path for the City to follow.

             However, people involved in bringing it to the dais again are stepping up, and the vote intends to give Matt Beinke another bite at the apple. Mr. Beinke REALLY WANTS THE DRIVE-THRU BUILT, no matter what. Mr. Palmquist and Mr. Hetrick, two superintendents, have declared the area of the drive-thru a danger to the health and well-being of the children of Oakley. Two superintendents of the Oakley Union School District (OUESD) have written that the drive-thru would be a structure that would threaten the safety and well-being of the elementary school children. The superintendents complied with California Education Code 44808, which dictates that they should ensure the safety of Oakley’s children outside the school when on public grounds in the vicinity of the school, which includes public streets. The legislature indicated that the superintendents, based on their education, experience, and training, have the expertise to determine unsafe conditions outside the school.

            A link to their letters and a link to CaEdCode 44808 are below.

The interlopers arriving in Oakley, Matt Beinke, who resides in Danville, and his experts, who, to the best of my knowledge, live outside of Oakley, have declared that the OUESD superintendents do not know anything about the community outside the schoolhouse doors, and then limited information about what is going on inside the schools. The demeaning and derisory remarks about the superintendents’ abilities are speculation. The implication is “they know what is best for Oakley, and the Oakley City Council should get out of their way.” Beinke and his experts have said at the council podium that they have not talked with school officials concerning the drive-thru and have no intention of asking for their input.

            In reviewing the CEQA documents, Beinke and his experts failed to allow for the variable of the school input and what they might relay. The intentional removal of consideration of the variable makes their studies unreliable and without validity. Thus they should not be considered in assessing permission to build the drive-thru.

            Derek Cole wrote a memo to attach to the agenda. It says council members should not rely on speculation when making a decision. Such memos are very unusual this late in the agenda review. I see it aimed at those who failed to learn more of what the superintendents had to offer in the best interests of OUESD.

            In recent years America has failed to protect elementary school children as they attended classes. Oakley residents can beging to change that situation by holding their City Council accountable for the safety of Oakley children. It is the American thing to do!!

            A link to Mr. Cole’s memo is below.

George Fuller, MPA, MA
     City Councilmember, City of Oakley, CA 

Oakley City Council Needs to Continue to Protect Oakley Children

Two superintendents of OUESD believe a McDonald’s drive-thru at Laurel Plaza is unsafe for students of Laurel Elementary School. I previously reported that one superintendent, Greg Hetrick (now retired), believed adding a drive-thru at McDonald’s would be unsafe for the school children. There is also a letter from the current superintendent of OUESD that finds the drive-thru at McDonald’s would be dangerous for the children of the school.

            Two people who the State of California credentials to provide a safe environment for children attending school. Two people who have worked with children most of their adult lives daily. Two people committed to education, training, and testing to become top administrators in their chosen profession. Both state that the McDonald’s drive-thru at Laurel Plaza is dangerous for children.

            The “traffic experts” completing the traffic impact CEQA refused to talk with the school authorities. The reason was they were the experts, and they counted the cars traveling in the area. Based on the quick visits, they determined the drive-thru was safe because of their expertise. The “experts” further implied that school administrators could not determine safety. I believe it was an arrogant response to a dangerous, life-threatening situation.

            Below are links to the two letters:

George Fuller, MPA, MA
     City Councilmember, City of Oakley 

Oakley Police Officers Need Our Support – Now

Oakley Police Officers need the Council’s support – now. Item 7.1 on this Tuesday’s agenda (03-28-2023) is a work session to discuss enhancing the number of officers in the Oakley Police Department, contracting with the Brentwood Police Department for dispatch service, and ensuring that the Oakley officers do not become entangled with Mayor Thorpe’s (Antioch) political web. Mayor Thorpe has repeatedly stated his belief that all police officers are racist and must be oppressed and controlled. Oakley officers do not need that type of burden imposed by Mayor Thorpe. I am thankful that Councilmembers Meadows and Henderson agreed to discuss the subject from the council dais.

The number of Oakley officers is a concern. Historically there has been a consistent number of officers at home recovering from injuries. The ongoing percentage is approximately twenty-six percent. Our number of officers per one thousand residents is below the county and national average. (I campaigned to increase the number of officers when I ran for election in 2020.) The ongoing injuries situation, which one expects in police work, further reduces the number of officers available to respond to emergencies—increasing the deployment of officers, so the number of officers to cover for the injured officers makes sense to me.

I have negative experiences when I call the Sheriff’s dispatch for an Oakley officer to respond. The frustration has gone on for years. Other Oakley citizens inform me they have encountered the same. The result is the delay in the dispatch of Oakley officers in an emergency. I have heard many good reports regarding the Brentwood Police Department’s communication. It makes sense to me to enable our officers to connect to BPD in an emergency, enabling a faster response time.

Mayor Thorpe is a threat to the well-being of Oakley officers. Oakley officers do respond to mutual aid requests when needed in Antioch. Oakley officers have demonstrated they work well with Antioch officers. However, Mayor Thorpe has clearly stated all police officers are racist. He has said he has not allowed officers to use specific control holds, has a citizen’s commission to review officers’ performance, and eliminated what he perceives to be military-style equipment in Antioch. In short, he is vehemently anti-police.

I do not want an Oakley officer entangled in Mayor Thorpe’s racist web and suffering debilitating consequences. Below are links to news articles describing the governmental disarray that is taking place in Antioch because of Mayor Thorpe’s posture towards the police and Antioch citizens. I have reviewed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of Contra Costa County, which outlines mutual aid. A special note needs acknowledgment that Oakley officers are subject to the use of force policies of Oakley, and the Oakley Police Chief will review officer-involved shootings. (pg 11). Also, Oakley is not bound to respond to mutual aid requests from Antioch, especially if it is a detriment to the officers and the residents of Oakley. (pg 4). I believe the City of Antioch needs to acknowledge these provisions in writing in a separate MOU. Below is a link to a copy of the MOU.

I did discuss the issue during January 24, 2023, meeting. Below is a link to a video of the council session. Yes, it was distressing to see, by their body language, that Councilmembers Shaw and Williams found the suggestion of officer safety and well being bemusing and comical. Fortunately, Mayor Meadows and Councilmember view the subject as serious, so I am confident that three council members will have a mature, professional discussion of the items from the dais. Councilmembers Shaw and Williams published items (Nextdoor and Contra Costa Times) that I suggested Oakley officers not respond to Antioch mutual aid requests. Those statements are simply not true.

Also, Shaw and Williams indicated that officers go to a mutual aid response no matter what. That attitude is dangerous and reckless. Any officer responses need measured judgment, and the governmental structure of Oakley needs to be in concert with their actions. Seasoned officers do support that reckless abandon in responding to an officer needs help calls can have devastating consequences for all concerned.

Again, a link is below to the video and my statements. (Councilmembers Shaw and Williams are sitting to the left as the viewed watches video.) There are links to Shaw and Williams publications also below.







George Fuller, MPA, MA
     City Councilmember, City of Oakley, CA 

An Opportunity to be Heard in Oakley

The discussion of the development of the acreage at the North end occurs at a Town Hall meeting on March 29, 2023, at 7:00 pm. The location is the Recreation Center, 1250 O’Hara Ave, Oakley. Bryan Montgomery, and prior councils working with him, designated the area as a Regional Park. There is no funding for such a park within the City budget. The purpose is to hear from the entire community about their thoughts on a Regional Park developed there or another location for a park expansion, i.e., Creekside Park, more suitable for expansion and use. (Creekside Park is in the Southeast portion of Oakley. The socio-economic level of the residents is below the remainder of the City. The area that is the most culturally inclusive in Oakley.)

The Oakley City Hall Family indicated that the use of the land needs a discussion on a City-wide basis. I have stated such from the dais. I encourage all Oakley people to step forward with their ideas for the future of Oakley and how the acreage can best serve all of the community residents. Yes, I have proposed questions regarding the situation that one may want to ponder. I have posted a link below to my ideas regarding the issue during the council meeting. Yes, two persons on the dais (Williams and Shaw) responded with venomous messages that I was calling for the complete abolishment of a regional park. The statement is simply not true.

Yes, to ensure that citizens are not misquoted or spuriously characterized if they disagree with others about the use of the land, I have requested that the meeting be recorded and memorialized. There is to be a recording of the session. I hope to see many there.


Grit is Needed in the Oakley City Council

McDonald’s at Laurel Plaza is on the Oakley City Hall agenda again. O’Hara Properties, operated by Matt Beinke, the developer pushing for a McDonald’s and developing a Quick Quack car wash on the property, is back at the City Council dais. The issue is should McDonald’s be allowed a drive-thru conditional use permit (CUP) to operate. Also, should Quick Quack Car Wash be permitted to begin operations on the site?

            Yes, there will be increased traffic created by the opening of the two businesses. The Council denied the original request approximately a year ago. Much of the concern was the safety of the children attending Laurel Elementary School having to walk and arrive at school negotiating the businesses in the process.

            The superintendent of the Oakley Union Elementary School District (OUESD) demonstrated grit when he wrote a letter to the Council indicating a threat to the safety of the children with the opening of the businesses. Traffic consultants hired by Beinke proclaimed their own perceived expert opinion, based on “counting cars,” and said there was no threat. The “experts” did not seek input from the school officials and discounted Hetrick’s letter. There is a link below to view his letter.

            I fear that there are now members of the dais who will say the traffic experts are correct. Greg Hetrick is “just one man” and should not be taken seriously in saying the additional businesses across from Laurel Elementary School is not safe for kids. In the process, they are degenerating a person who dedicated his life to elementary school children. In the process, he needed to obtain a Master’s degree in education, pass numerous state tests to gain a school administrator credential and build decades of experience in ensuring the safety of children. Minimalizing his input is “just not right.”

            It will take grit to vote against the businesses. Especially so for the two new members of the Council. Much money was dumped into the last election by Beinke. Saying no to him can leave discomfort in some people.

            I hope the OUESD Board of Trustees takes formal action addressing the issue at their next board meeting on April 5, 2023. Contacting the Board of Trustees now to encourage such action would be prudent, at least in my mind.

George Fuller, MPA, MA
     City Councilmember, City of Oakley, CA 

McDonalds and Quick Quack Car Wash are Back!

McDonalds and Quick Quack Car Wash are back on the City of Oakley City Council Agenda. Yes, most of the council members (not I) want to discuss whether financing the defense of the lawsuit O’Hara Properties filed against the City regarding McDonald’s and Quick Quack Car Wash can operate on Laurel Plaza (across from Laurel Elementary School). The City Council rejected a drive-thru for McDonald’s and did not grant a permit to operate the car wash. The reasons for the denials, among others, are that the safety of the children is in jeopardy with the drive-thru and the noise of the car is “too much” for the neighborhood.

Apparently, people on the council dais believe the expense of defending the lawsuit and protecting the children of the school and surrounding neighbors is too daunting to City Finances, and the City should capitulate to O’Hara Properties’ demands. Now would be the time to contact Oakley City Council members to voice your thoughts regarding abandoning the defense of those Oakley citizens concerned.

A side note of the last Council meeting (February 28, 20230 was Councilmember Williams asked the City Council to consider giving themselves a raise. Councilmember Shaw seconded it. I am not a big fan of council raises, especially when also saying the City cannot afford the defense of a lawsuit against Oakley residents. Below is a link to the request of Councilmember Williams.


George Fuller, MPA, MA
     City Councilmember, City of Oakley, CA

“Mary Jane” is on the Train and Trying to Step Off in Oakley

Mr. John A. Continente, Jr., has applied to open a cannabis manufacturing and distribution business in Oakley. The intended location for the cannabis business is 112 Shady Lane. I requested a “call forward” by the City Council, bypassing the Planning Commission in this particular business and bringing the matter directly to the council dais for approval (or disapproval).

            I will recommend that the council send the matter of cannabis operations to the voters of Oakley. The issue is complicated. I have previously mentioned that the Rotary Club of Oakley recently visited Antioch’s Cannabis Distributor, CoCo Farms. (A link to the picture of their visit is below.) Three Oakley council members are also members of the Rotary Club of Oakley (Meadows, Henderson, and Shaw). Also, the Oakley City Manager, Joshua McMurray, is a Rotary Club of Oakey member. The best way to ensure there is no bias from city officials regarding the distribution of cannabis in Oakley is to allow the voters to decide the issue.

            A further complication is Mr. Continente owns Hook, Link, and Sinker on Main St in Oakley. Mr. Continente employs Councilmember Henderson to manage the store. The Hook, Line, and Sinker does sell firearms at the store. Suppose Mr. Continente is allowed to operate a cannabis operation in Oakley. In that case, he will involve himself in drug sales and distribution in Oakley and also involves himself in firearms sales in Oakley. The thought of the combination of the businesses does make me “queasy.”

            The proposed name of the business is Continente Cannabis Production Co.

            Now would be the time to contact council members on the dais, encouraging them to “call cannabis forward” to the council dais for consideration. In the process, ask the council members to place the distribution of cannabis in Oakley in front of the voters.

George Fuller, MPA, MA
     City Councilmember, City of Oakley, CA 

Is “Mary Jane” Coming to Oakley?

Below is a link to a Los Angeles Times article concerning the dangers of the Cannabis Industry as it operates in California. As I stated when I reported the Rotary Club of Oakley’s visit to the Antioch cannabis dispensary, CoCo Farms, I am opposed to the cannabis industry gaining a foothold in Oakley.


George Fuller, MPA, MA

City Councilmember, City of Oakley, CA

Is “Mary Jane” a Potentially Viable Resident for Oakley?

During the last election cycle, I mentioned a FB post of the Rotary Club of Oakley’s visit to CoCo Farms in Antioch. I did not believe it would be advantageous for the cannabis industry to become involved with Oakley, which the City proclaims is a “good place for families.”

Below is a copy of a news article from the Los Angeles Times on 01-20-2023, which explains some of the controversies surrounding the cannabis industry in California.


Ensuring Social Justice for Oakley PD Officers

  I received a request from Allen Payton of the Antioch Herald concerning Mayor Lamar Thorpe’s, of Antioch, marginalizing police officers. Below is my response.
     Dear Mr. Payton,
	Before going any further, I need to say that I find the East Contra Costa County NAACP a viable organization that has worked extensively for inclusive communities and continues to create homogeneous communities in East Contra Costa County that are diverse and diverse. I am completing my membership application request to become a member of the association.
	I did attend the Martin Luther King, Jr’s prayer breakfast, sponsored by the East Contra Costa County NAACP. I received an invite from Odessa Lefrancois, installed as President of the group during the meal. I am grateful that Ms. Lefrancois extended the invitation.
	I represented the proclamation that the City Council of Oakley extended honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I did so at the behest of Ms. Lefrancois. The proclamation was the first to honor Dr. King by the City of Oakley City Council. The reception of the proclamation of those attending the breakfast was commendatory.
	Mayor Thorpe followed my presentation. Mayor Thorpe’s first words were, “Some cities just give proclamations; in Antioch, we do something about it.” The statement intended to insult Oakley’s proclamation. It was evident in Mayor Thorpe’s mind that the Oakley City Council gives a token acknowledgment of Dr. King’s legacy but fails to address systemic racism in Oakley. Yes, Mayor Thorpe’s rhetoric and hostile discourse is not valid.
	Mayor Thorpe said he has solved racism in Antioch by “reining in the police.” Mayor Thorpe stated, “we have banned certain control holds that the police can use." “We deny the police the use of military-grade equipment.” “We have created a police oversight commission.” Mayor Thorpe was indicating he had placed the yoke of oppression on Antioch’s police officers and implemented what seemed an era of tyranny towards Antioch officers. Mayor Thorpe said that his efforts have resulted in a fifty percent decrease in murders in Antioch. Antioch residents do not suffer injustices from the police because of his actions. 
	Mayor Thorpe continued that there were three Black council members on the Antioch City Council. Consequently, Mayor Thorpe could implement his agenda, which favored Black lives in Antioch. Also, those who attempted to recall him from the council would experience consequences for trying to do so. In short, Mayor Thorpe marginalized Antioch Police Officers as a violent, out-of-control, racist organization, and he was protecting Antioch from the police.
	Initially, Mayor Thorpe experienced polite applause for his statements. At the end of his lengthy monologue, he received no applause.
	My immediate concern was the well-being of Oakley Police Officers. Oakley officers respond to mutual aid requests from the Antioch Police Officers when the Antioch officers confront an emergency that strains their safety resources. Mayor Thorpe’s statements indicate that he would have no qualms demonizing an Oakley officer for responding to a situation where lives were at risk. The threat to the Oakley officer, and the officer’s family, would be catastrophic. Mayor Thorpe’s outlandish statements are obviously politically motivated, and I believe he would use an Oakley officer as a pawn to advance his political agenda. 
	I believe it is incumbent on the Oakley City Council to determine the threat to Oakley officers and take precautionary measures to protect them as they respond to mutual aid requests in Antioch. I am grateful that the Oakley City Council agreed (except perhaps one member who has publicly commented on my statements) to discuss the issue and reconcile any dangers to Oakley officers.
	The  Oakley police department offers extensive training on professional responses to critical safety issues and contains them with the least amount of force necessary to control the situation. The City of Oakley takes a course of providing adequate funding for the police department to be able to deliver professional police services properly. Oakley officers are aware of systemic racism, even in Oakley, and how to respond to such demagoguery, ensuring the well-being of all members of the Oakley inclusive community.
	An example of Oakley’s professionalism occurred the night of January 15, 2023, the night before the NAACP breakfast; officers responded to a man with a gun in Oakley. Upon arrival, the suspect pointed a gun at the officer. The officer retreated, and the Oakley officers contained the area and called for a mental health team to respond to the location. The mental health team responded by convincing the suspect to surrender their weapon. The officers afforded the health services the suspect so urgently required. That is an example of the” true grit professional police services” Oakley officers deliver. I will not allow those services to be “trashed” by Mayor Thorpe.
	I do not want to see an Oakley officer end their career by saving the life of an Antioch officer or Antioch resident and suffer a catastrophic tyrannical political outburst from the Mayor of Antioch, Lamar Thorpe.
	I previously mentioned to you that Mayor Thorpe made similar comments at the Contra Costa County Mayor's Conference meeting in Hercules, on January 5, 2023.
	Hopefully, the above answers your request.

With best regards,
George Fuller, MPA, MA

George Fuller, MPA, MA
     City Councilmember, City of Oakley, CA