Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

A PCCD board meeting held during spring break included really good news for the funding of retiree benefits, as well as the approval of $1.36 million for the new Laney Tower elevators.   Pictured: New designs for CoAs revamped aviation facility, which were approved by the board. (Source: AE3 Partners)
'Really good news' for retiree benefits, Laney Tower elevators set for replacement, and more at 3/26 meeting for PCCD trustees
Desmond Meagley, Staff Writer • April 7, 2024
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In this monthly column, I chat with folks from the Peralta community and ask ten questions aiming to make everyone more relatable to each other. (Graphic by Randi Cross/The Citizen)
Tea with Tamara: Drew Burgess, art faculty at College of Alameda
Tamara Copes, Columnist • February 21, 2024
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Peralta district switches assignments for new security vendors as contract with Alameda County Sheriff’s Office expires

The role for Marina Security Services is greatly expanded

In a year-end crunch to implement its new security plan, the Peralta Community College District discovered that two of the three new vendors could not be fully vetted in time to take over responsibilities from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) on January 1. 

As a result, increased responsibilities have been awarded to Marina Security Services (MSS), the one vendor that successfully met all the criteria, according to Mark Johnson, executive director of the Peralta Department of Marketing, Communications & Public Relations. In a phone call with The Citizen, Johnson emphasized this is an interim arrangement while vetting is completed for the other two security vendors: Community Ready Corps (CRC) and Zulu Community Protection (ZCP). 

The original safety plan called for CRC to provide security services for Laney College. ZCP was assigned to the Merritt and College of Alameda campuses. The role for MSS was limited to dispatching and protection of the district offices. Berkeley City College has an existing contract with A1 Protective Services. 

Under the interim arrangement, MSS will provide security services for Laney, Merritt , and College of Alameda in addition to its original district and dispatch assignment. Johnson did not indicate how long this arrangement will remain in place or the additional compensation being provided to MSS for its expanded role. MSS’s original contract, approved by the Peralta Board of Trustees at its December 14 meeting, was for $1.6 million. The total annual cost for the security plan approved by the board was $6.2 million compared to $3.8 million Peralta paid ACSO for its services. The board voted unanimously on June 23 to end their contact with ACSO.

As previously reported by The Citizen, neither CRC nor ZCP appear to hold private patrol operator (PPO) licenses based on a search of the California license database. According to the California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS), a PPO license is required to do business as a security firm in California. Both MSS and A1 hold PPO licenses, according to the state database. 

In a December 14 email to The Citizen, Robert Dabney, the owner and CEO of ZCP, explained his company was in the process of “formalizing (a PPO license holder) as a subcontractor so that we are in alignment with Peralta’s needs.” Dabney has not responded to subsequent emails and phone calls from The Citizen

At the December 14 board meeting, Interim Chancellor Carla Walter informed the trustees that, in addition to confirming each of the security vendors had the necessary licenses, the district would make sure they were covered in such areas as workers’ compensation and insurance. It is currently unclear when district officials uncovered shortcomings for CRC and ZCP and the new interim plan was developed.

The Citizen made a public records request in November to the district around the request for proposal process, submissions received and bids but district officials did not respond within the 10-day period.

A district-wide forum to discuss the new safety/security plan was scheduled for December 21 but was abruptly cancelled the day before it was to take place. At that time, Johnson said the event will be rescheduled for January, but a date has not yet been announced. 

About the Contributor
David Rowe, Associate Editor
After a 40 year career in advertising, David is considering journalism as his “second act” and preparing himself for that new profession by taking classes at Laney. During his days in advertising, Rowe headed up the media departments for a number of leading ad agencies in San Francisco and Salt Lake City. In this capacity, he was responsible for the planning and placement of tens of millions of dollars of paid media. A high point of his career was placing Intel’s first Super Bowl TV ad in 1997. Rowe has a lifelong interest in journalism dating back to high school in San Jose where he started an underground newspaper called, appropriately enough, The Del Mar Free Press. The school administration threatened to suspend him, so Rowe, with the help of his attorney father, sued the school district in Federal Court and won and injunction. Ultimately, the case was decided in his favor and California state law regarding the rights of high school students was re-written as a result. Rowe is a political junkie who enjoys watching all the Sunday morning news programs and is actively involved in the Joe Biden presidential campaign this year.
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  • J

    JohnJan 8, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    Thanks to the citizen for keeping us updated with all the latest

  • L

    Lorriann RajiJan 7, 2021 at 9:31 pm

    This is very upsetting to me and my students. We all want the Alameda County Sheriff’s back on campus.
    Safety is vital to the colleges survival and mine.

  • N

    Not nearly enoughJan 6, 2021 at 2:27 am

    Not good enough.

    If the Peralta Board of Trustees, Chancellors’ Office, RFP respondents, and/or activists were involved in pursuing a corrupt deal to award contracts to unqualified organizations as a political kickback, a delay to allow the vendors to retroactively become licensed security providers is not a resolution but complicity in the fraud.

    Revoke the contracts for Zulu Community Protection and Community Ready Corps, reinstate ACSO, and launch an investigation to get to the bottom of this fiasco and understand how two vendors with little to no history or qualifications were awarded multi-million dollar deals.

    Corruption stinks. But it’s the cover up whose tentacles will drag down everyone from top to bottom. Whistleblowers are the only ones who will come out of this looking good.