Todos Santos celebration
kicks off holiday season


By Tamara Steiner on December 11, 2017

Local real estate agent Amber Hom and her staff provided hot cocoa and warm smiles at the Tree Lighting Dec. 2 in Todos Santos Plaza. This was the first year Hom did the cocoa table to raise money for Sweet Beginnings Family Resource Center which helps families keep their children out of the foster care system. Hom was deeply affected by the shooting at Olympic High School last month – one of the bullets came through her office wall. The Traditional Tree Lighting celebration kicked off with Santa’s arrival by fire engine, red lights flashing and sirens blaring. This year, the festivities were dedicated to the memory of Bruce Mertz who passed away in October. Known as Mr. Christmas, Mertz would spend all year designing and updating his do-it-yourself masterpieces in his garage, using everything from old PVC pipes to K-Mart frying pans to create reindeer that pranced, jingle bells that spun and a Santa that waved from the rooftop. Mertz’ family members were on hand to pull the switch to light up the city’s official tree. (Photo by Tamara Steiner.)

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Veranda opens with high end retail, restaurants and IMAX

By John T. Miller on December 11, 2017

Shopping in Concord just went a bit more upscale as The Veranda, the highly anticipated new shopping center on Diamond Blvd., celebrated the grand opening at a ribbon cutting last week. With fireworks and a VIP reception in the soon-to-be opened IMAX movie theater lobby, the opening represented the city’s drive to become a major shopping destination in the East Bay. Newly minted Concord mayor Edi Birsan was on hand to share in the excitement. He welcomed The Veranda to Concord noting that it “is moving Concord forward with innovative shopping and entertainment experiences.” [click to continue…]

Birsan takes the helm, faces challenging year

By Tamara Steiner on December 11, 2017

In a unanimous decision at its regular meeting on Dec. 2, the City Council elected Edi Birsan mayor and Carlyn Obringer vice-mayor. Birsan and Obringer will serve for one year. Earlier this year, the Council voted to change the term from two years to one.

As outgoing mayor Laura Hoffmeister passed the gavel to her successor, Birsan presented her with a pink version of his signature fedora which she tipped to Birsan. It was a good-natured ribbing, in contrast to their sometimes contentious exchanges over procedural issues. [click to continue…]

A wrap up of 2017 headline stories

By Bev Britton on December 11, 2017

Housing issues dominated headlines in 2017, as Concord officials struggled with how to deal with rising rents while also focusing on several developments.
Major projects include the complicated reuse project at the former Concord Naval Weapons Station, the 375,000 sq. ft. Veranda shopping and entertainment complex at the former Chevron site and several downtown sites. [click to continue…]

Birsan’s journey to the mayor’s gavel

By Edi Birsan on December 11, 2017

When asked about my path to becoming mayor the night I was sworn in, I had to think that there was no path – there are many paths.

Mine started with a background that burned into me a fundamental persistence and focus on goals with the full expectation of challenges: setbacks, rocky times and down-right spasms of betrayal-induced depression and clawing back stubbornness. And then came puberty. [click to continue…]