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Annual Tobacco Report Grades are Out: Pinole Receives "C," Hercules "F"

Pinole receives another "C" and Hercules a "F" in this year's State of Tobacco Control report.

The tobacco report grade issued by the American Lung Association has stayed the same for Pinole and Hercules over the last three years.
The tobacco report grade issued by the American Lung Association has stayed the same for Pinole and Hercules over the last three years.
By David Mills

The tobacco report grade issued by the American Lung Association has stayed the same for Pinole and Hercules over the last three years.

The report graded local governments in four key areas -- tobacco control and prevention spending, smoke-free air, cigarette tax and cessation coverage.

The report states the battle to reduce tobacco use in most states, including California, has "all but stalled."

Hercules received a total of zero points for a lack of smoke-free outdoors areas and housing, in addition to having no new policies for reducing the sales of tobacco products. The city was also given an "F" by the association in previous years.

Pinole received an overall score of 7 points: an "A" for its availability of smoke-free areas, "C" for smoke-free housing options and "D" for reducing sales of tobacco products.

In Contra Costa County, one city (Richmond) received an "A" across the board, as did the unincorporated regions. Three cities received a "B," four cities got a "C," three cities earned a "D" and eight cities were tagged with an "F."

Overall, the lung association says the country must "renew its commitment to eliminate tobacco-caused death and disease."

“Despite great strides in reducing smoking rates in America, tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and illness in the U.S.,” said Anita Lee, interim chief executive officer of the American Lung Association in California. “We must renew our commitment to stopping tobacco from robbing another generation of Americans of their health and future."

The reports notes California used to be a leader in tobacco control policies, but now the state is falling behind in these measures.

In this year's report, the number of California cities receiving an "A" rose while the number getting an "F" declined.

However, more than 60 percent of California's municipalities still received "F" grades.

Phil Simmons January 22, 2014 at 02:11 PM
We might have gotten an "F", here in Hercules, but hey, we have a great cigarette store in town to help with bringing in the taxes.
Selina Williams January 22, 2014 at 02:37 PM
SMEH! What and embarrassment. I couldn't believe the look on peoples faces when I asked if Sycamore North would be a smoke free building. This is the only place I have lived in the last 15 years that allows smoking in multi-unit buildings and anywhere else you want! Public policy in Hercules, so behind the times, ugh! So apathetic, it hurts. Another pet peeve, 40 MPH on San Pablo, adjacent to a "pedestrian friendly" in a new "urbanist" neighborhood. Clueless.
Selina Williams January 22, 2014 at 02:38 PM
Traffic in Hercules, also and F!
Susan D.Keeffe January 23, 2014 at 10:26 AM
What an embarrassment for Hercules! Sycamore North won't be smoke free?? what about City Hall and the Senior Center - they don't allow smoking so didn't they count? What about all the urrent senior housing? We do have a tobacconist store and it seems to do a good business! We do need the business revenue but it would be nice if it was a healthy food store instead!
CHACHA January 23, 2014 at 02:05 PM
Richmond gets an "A" for tobacco (lol) but thx to Chevron there, we all suffer in West CCC w/the highest pollution-levels in the Bay Area which affects all of us n our children w/related health issues ie allergies, cancers, etc Not to mention we're surrounded by these big-oil toxic-gas refineries" in Richmond, Hercules/Rodeo n Martinez, who need to be more responsible n "curbed-in w/more restrictive legislation" as well as start contributing more to "paying-back" for these health-related issues/problems w/in our cities/communities!!!
Susan D.Keeffe January 23, 2014 at 02:21 PM
Cha cha Have you considered - without Chevron Richmond would be in big trouble financially. And, it was there first. The closest analogy I can think of is its like "biting the hand that feeds you".
CHACHA January 23, 2014 at 03:30 PM
Ms Keefe, you sound like either a Chevron/Big-Oil lobbiest, employee or a typical right-wing politican! , Your poor excuse/reasoning is unacceptable, given Chevrons "POOR D/F" grade/track-record w/ numerous "on-going" safety/health problems, violations, issues that Chevron Richmond/Corp has continued to ignor, address or remedy that has directly affected both their employees, but more so the entire county/community. Fyi, Chevron was just found "guilty again" re the above w/their latest big Chevron Richmond refinery fire last year, and has been fined and warned "again n again" by both local/state and federal agencies!
Susan D.Keeffe January 23, 2014 at 04:51 PM
Ha ha! That was so funny! Thanks for the laugh. You batted it "out of the ballpark " 100% WRONG! On all counts - literally! It was actually kind of amazing. Thanks for reminding me why I stopped blogging !
Susan D.Keeffe January 23, 2014 at 04:58 PM
As for Chevron, I asked a simple question which you failed to answer. And please spell my name right. And do more research on its history and Richmond 's history, the Richmond Museum is a great starting place, then get the tax revenue info from the City or from public records from the Assessor's Office. Then, carefully this time , reread my post,
Giorgio C. January 23, 2014 at 11:32 PM
It's sad that the poor have to rely on those that also pollute their environment and expose them to safety risks, that the hand that feeds them also poisons them. From a recent CC Times article, "Chevron repeatedly ignored warnings from its own staff that corroded pipes posed a risk." Poor people, including many minorities (blacks and Latinos) should be grateful for any revenue to their community, even if it potentially places them in harm's way? What Chevron did was wrong, a sign of greed. The people in Richmond deserve, and will now have, a more responsible oil refinery, one that is managed with the citizens in mind. This is not happening out of the kindness of Chevron's heart. It is happening because the authorities have intervened.
CHACHA January 24, 2014 at 01:53 AM
Kudo's Giorgio C, yes the authorities did in fact get involved due to Cheveron's numerous ongoing irresponsible, negligent-acts/findings with disregard for the public and employees health, safety an welfare, along with heavy pressure/help from "media and public-outcry" Chevron will pay a few small-medium fine(s) along w/some improvements/upgrades to their Richmond facilities and operations which were long-overdue anyway! As for people like Ms Okeefe who are entitled to their opinions, w/ or w/o her "last laugh and hand-biting" statements, we all can be blessed if she keeps her word to "exit the blogging-arena" w/her narrow-minded, short-sighted irresponsible, and hypercritical nonsense!
Giorgio C. January 24, 2014 at 06:49 AM
Let's not forget worker safety, that as an employer, Chevron endangered the lives of 12 employees as reported here <http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_21291089/investigators-raise-alarm-about-chevron-pipe-maintenance-record>. Previously, Chevron was fined a whopping $350 for the death of an employee as reported here. Yes, $350. <http://articles.latimes.com/2012/apr/14/local/la-me-oil-death-20120412>
Susan D.Keeffe January 24, 2014 at 11:17 AM
I totally agree re safety. For all of us. My comment had nothing to do with that. I was addressing the fact that Richmond without Chevron would be in big trouble financially. In fact., we all would be in trouble without the oil industry because our lives are so dependent on it. Do you drive a car it use heat in your home? Even hydroelectric power uses oil. There is a finite amount of oil, shale, natural gas and coal. When it runs out civilization as we know it will fail unless we develop alternative power sources . In the meantime, whining about the hand that feeds us isn't solving the problem . Safety is important and my understanding is. Chevron's record is about average for the industry - and we are a stuck with the industry at least for now.
Susan D.Keeffe January 24, 2014 at 11:21 AM
Cha Cha, If you want to insult me and make it personal even though you did not understand my post, please get my name right.
Phil Simmons January 24, 2014 at 12:28 PM
The biggest way to reduce our dependency on oil, foreign and domestic, is to reduce our consumption. Walkable, urban communities, with local jobs, and local services will do more than any other solution. Communities should not focus on public transportation and mass transit. That is merely a stop gap that continues to support commuting long distances and wasteful consumption. Communities need to focus on creating live/work environments that creates the opportunity for large percentages of people to work within walking distance to home or even work from home when possible. It is not an easy task and even if everyone worked in this direction it would take decades perhaps centuries. But it is the solution. In Hercules that would mean working to insure that development creates mixed use communities with a demand for commercial and retail space within neighborhoods. It's not about the ITC. It's about the development zoning. The world and in particular the United States needs to come to grips with its wasteful social structure and learn to create new efficient communities. Eventually Chevron would be reduced to a much smaller company and eventually Richmond could reclaim the Bay as a natural resource worth protecting and using for higher human ideals. A side benefit is that walkable communities would also serve as a daily reminder to those that smoke that they should quit. Because it is harder to walk to work when your sucking cigarette fumes.
Selina Williams January 26, 2014 at 10:55 PM
It is my contention that oil refining should not continue in area's that have dense populations, adjacent to vital resources such as the Carqinez strait and SF Bay, a Marine sanctuary. Chevron was not here first. The Carquinez people were here first. Anyway, who cares who was here first, this is now. Lets be present and go forward no backward. Without Chevron, Richmond could develop other industries and flourish like its neighbors. Oil refining may be its history but it need not be its future. Many towns on the east coast cleaned up and changed industries. With suburban sprawl, things need to change. These are no longer "company towns". With heavier, dirtier crude being refined in more densely populated area's expanding refineries allowing them to continue to go unregulated is suicide (or murder). Its not about whether or not we use gas/energy. Its about the lack of enforcement (defunding of regulatory agencies) and exemptions to regulation. It's about the big polluters walking away with billions, at the peril of small communities that receive pittance in return. Who trusts the oil, gas and chemical industries to do the right thing? They are in it for the $$$ period. How much is our health worth? We need these corporations like BP and Chevron held responsible for their blatant abuses of the Clean air and water act in a significant way. Polluting the environment should not be a calculated cost of doing business. We are currently a net producer of oil and gas. We are destroying our land, water and air to supply others (china) with crap we don't even use here. As far as Alternative energy goes, Oil and gas and the Koch brothers are doing everything in their power to make sure that does not happen. Look at WESPAC. The WESPAC plan is to create a depot for and store tar sands in old tanks in the heart of the community of Pittsburg. Threatening the health and safety of the citizens there, the Carquinez strait and the Bay, for refining and export! What does it mean for Chevron (that poisoned villages in Ecuador, is that average?) to be average in an industry that created dead zones for hundreds of miles in the Gulf of Mexico, devastated the Niger Delta, spilled oil in the sea in Alaskan, runs exploding oil trains, can't detect 80% of its own pipeline spills, the abuses are endless. We need this like a hole in the head.
Phil Simmons January 27, 2014 at 12:12 AM
@Selina, You are of course right. But being right will not make it happen. I would like to think that political pressure will accomplish the task you refer too. We (society) have to create an environment that will change people's perception of their needs. Unfortunately there are too many people that do not accept your premise. Growing healthy communities that do not need oil or at least not as much oil will pave the road to your wishes. Not only by reducing demand but by having communities that will not allow environmental destruction to be caused by their neighbors.


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