November 10th, 2012
Thank you to all of the people who turned out and voted in the election for a better future for Concord.
This has been a campaign season that has challenged some of us and together we can work to put all of
Concord working together to put behind us the conflicts of the past and concentrate on doing the work of
making our city the symbol of our name: working in Concord with one another for the good of all.
October 4th, 2012
I am very pleased to receive this endorsement. As someone who is running from the community and neighborhood side to receive the support of the local city paper is very special to me.
“The Concordian strongly endorses Edi Birsan for Concord City Council. Over the past five years that I have known Edi, it has always been in the context of service to others. Edi tirelessly is involved with projects that range from joining the graffiti clean up crews, food bank service, collecting thousands upon thousands of pounds of neighborhood excess fruit and vegetables for distribution to those less fortunate, to his tireless involvement at every city council meeting. He is fully up to date on the issues at hand and makes sure that his interactions with the public are of value to them.
Edi developed “The Pulse of Concord” monthly survey in order to gauge the views of the public of both the positives and negatives of life in Concord. From these responses he been proactive in bringing forth the issues to the city as well as sharing what he had learned with others more empowered to effect change.
Edi’s ability to deal with both politicians and the public, mostly through his own efforts, make him a valuable liaison between the two. In a time of a general public concern of the availability and trust of elected officials to listen and act on their behalf, Edi stands out as a leader. We need public servants to remember that they serve our community and to remain focused on our needs, rather than their own.”
September 30th, 2012
The Contra Costa Times Editorial board endorsed my run for City Council saying:
“It is time for responsible leadership Elect Birsan…”
Much of the Editorial was a recap of the situation with pensions and health care benefits including a swipe at one of the other candidates who rejected any changes in the status quo.
We have a difficult fiscal road ahead with tough negotiations and decisions to make. Though some choices: like ending the lifetime medical coverage for a city council after 5 years of service, or the Council’s pension and benefits package for a part time job seems rather easy to most of us, but it is fiercely defended by main opponents who refuse to release the small funds for removing furloughs in key front line crime and anti graffiti teams while maintaining millions in unfunded liability for their fellow councilmen.
Yes, it is time for responsible leadership.
September 23rd, 2012
The city has been imposing furlough days on the city workers, that are a series of 13 days of city closure with NO pay for all but the police officers. This pay and work cut has had a major impact on the services to the residents. On Friday 9/21 the union component group (Teamsters)of mostly park, engineering, police dispatchers and others of the front line employees gathered at the locked gates of the city work yard to protest the first furlough day of the fiscal year. They were also complaining of the lack of the use of the additional incomes from Measure Q (.5% sales tax) to remove the furlough days.
I joined them in support of their situation and spoke to the group of about 45 workers that Measure Q was suppose to help fight gangs, fix pot holes, support youth programs and promote safety (actually stated in the Measure Q ballot wording) and we must make it clear that:
1. When the Anti-Graffiti crew removes gang tags they are part of the anti-gang efforts.
The mark of OUR territory is clean walls, utility boxes/poles and facilities.
The gangbanger-taggers do not take furlough days and neither should we.
2. Police Dispatcher is a 24hour 7 day a week job and crime does not take a furlough day.
3. Picking up broken glass and cleaning our Parks is an everyday thing and failure to clean up on a Friday just means we have an unsafe park for the weekend. Park workers are safety folks.
I believe we need to end immediately the furlough days for these departments immediately and start a process to reinstate work for the rest of the workers. We expect and have gotten 110% from our city front line workers, we need to stop paying them 95%.
The Contra Costa Times covered the event:
September 16th, 2012
Bill Shinn – Concord Vice-Mayor, former mayor, and city councilman.
Of all the endorsements that have come in from individuals, I am most encouraged and proud to have received the endorsement of the Vice Mayor Bill Shinn. Bill has always been the heart and soul of the Concord Council and has been for me, the role model of a Mayor for Concord. I have often joked with him that he is the ‘face of Concord’. To which he has had a whole range of retorts that you can imagine.
During the turbulent time of the final stages of the Concord Naval Weapon Station Reuse plan, Bill ran a masterful set of Council meetings keeping just the perfect balance of calmness in dealing with crankiness and firm humor when confronted with downright rudeness that was most disarming and effective.
He is always approachable and had established the concept of city mayor open hours for people to talk to him each week. You could have a disagreement with him and not feel that you were talking to a brick wall or agree with him and not feel like a sycophant. He always was willing to give you positive advice, even when you were at your most feistiness.
I know that in the difficult times ahead he will be a valuable advisor and mentor that I can count on as well as the city.
September 7th, 2012
The Concord Naval Weapons Station Neighborhood Alliance endorsed my run for City Council and there is now a nice large banner on Clayton Road by Denkinger showing that support. In a race where some of the other candidates are being backed by big developers it is a good reminder that I am running with community support, neighborhood support and local folks from small business to a network of volunteers throughout the city. Thanks.
September 5th, 2012
Concord is in trouble. The disclosures of the lifetime Medical benefits in the Mt. Diablo Health Care District (MDHCD), brings to focus substantially greater problems in the City of Concord. The current policy of the City Council is that if you serve 5 years on the Council and take the medical package you will get lifetime medical. It is an out of line perk for a part time political post as well as exposing the City to massive amounts of unfunded liability. This must be stopped plain and simple.
Additionally it should be noted that currently no part-time employee of the City is given medical coverage…EXCEPT for the City Council. This is an unacceptable conflict in policy. We must remove the perk in simple fairness (even at a reasonable swap in salary compensation).
We must stay clear of the spiral of medical costs and the liabilities that come with such long-term commitments for short-term service.
June 10th, 2012
The City has attempted to shut down a Sunday Farmers’ Market at Concord High School -a distant neighborhood from Downtown where a rival company operates on Tuesdays and Thursdays, without trying to work with the community people to make it happen. This is not the way we want government in this city to work. I will be asking for an Emergency Waiver at the next City Council meeting to allow the Market to go on through the summer while the bureaucratic protocols and gray areas are resolved.
Just got home with about 400 signatures and a ton of emails of very activated neighbors. I will be sending out petition forms to everyone so they can walk their neighborhoods tonight and tomorrow. I have asked for a lot of support for people to come down and have a show of strength at the City Council (please leave the vegetables and fruit at home).
If you want to get involved, write to me at:
April 8th, 2012
April Issue of Concordian
Title: Edi Birsan’s Political Birthday Party Marks a New Begining
The Political Birthday Party extravaganza of Ed Birsan (City Council Runner Up in the 2010 election) was held at the Kasper’s home in what was called by Chuck Carpenter: “the wonderful outdoor living room”. Over 75 folks came out from all segments of Concord: neighborhood partnerships leaders from Sun Terrace to the Monument, past senior club presidents, youthful volunteers, Republicans, Democrats including a County Chairman, as well a host of friends and new supporters. Called the political birthday party because it celebrated the first political event in 1965 that Ed Birsan had attended. The party featured Jim Ocean on the Guitar with an array of his own special brand of songs. Along with the theme of supporting local business and jobs there were Concord made products from those that helped sponsor the party including wines from Concord’s own commercial winery: Sterling Albert, two local wine hobbyist, Alpine bakery with a display of extraordinary cookies in the shape and writing of campaign signs and their marvelous pastries, Bentelino’s Deli platters as well as local made beer.
A short speech on the importance of the coming election emphasizing the importance of raising the community voice to put away the backroom politics of division and focus on our needs was enthusiastically received.
Aspects of the party including listening to suggestions for campaign slogans for his current run for Concord City Council, as well as trivia card questions on Concord and Birsan. For example where is 4th Street? And is it true that East Street is West of West Street? : There is no 4th Street and yes East and West Street are ill named relative to each other. We also learned that Birsan’s (an Ellis Island Special-made up name) mother was Greek Orthodox and married a Catholic, a Baptist and a Jew, and Ed was sent to an Episcopalian Church to get religion. He also was born as Ersalesi (Italian origin) and changed his name legally at 18 to Birsan to honor his Step Dad.
At the end of the too few hours of the party, some 32 bottles of wine had been consumed along with half a keg of beer, 4 feet of Alpine pastries and 10 pounds of salmon and shrimp platters in a successful good time had by all… present. Alas poor Mr. John Hemm and spouse arrived the next day at 2PM having missed the festivities by a day mix up, but not to worry, the success guarantees other opportunities will arrive with the summer campaign season. For more info: go to www.EdBirsan.com or Edi Birsan on Facebook.
March 5th, 2012
The party at the end of February was a great success measured by just all means. The most important is that people had fun and told everyone else they knew that they had fun. We raised a bunch of money, we talked about some issues, people learned some background on their city (such as there is no 4th Street or that Black Bart the notorious Stagecoach robber taught elementary school here). We also learned some things about me, such that my mother was a Greek Orthodox who married a Protestant a Catholic and a Jew and I was baptised in the Greek Orthodox Church but sent to an Episcopalian Church and confirmed there despite the pastor being a fanatic Mets fan and me rooting for the Yankees at the time.
I want to thank all the community leaders that showed up with their support from Sun Terrace to the borders of Clayton and from the Monument to the leadership of the Democratic Party in Contra Costa, as well as the whole range of people from all political spectrums that were united in supporting a campaign that puts the neighborhoods first and the residents as a priority over special interests and traditional influence peddling.
Thanks again folks and see you in the neighborhood.