Concord’s Birsan aims for county board, pushing issues around the homeless and housing

Concord’s Birsan aims for county board, pushing issues around the homeless and housing

Concord’s Birsan aims for county board, pushing issues around the homeless and housing
Edi Birsan

CONCORD, CA – Citing a desire to make an impact beyond Concord, City Councilmember Edi Birsan filed papers July 2 to run for the District 4 seat on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

“A lot of the things that I really want to do, there are limits from a city perspective,” Birsan said, naming housing, economic development and health services as key issues. “They affect all the cities, and this is a platform where I can make things better all around.

“Look, we can only do so much for homeless in our community,” he added. “The big lift is from the county side. After all, half the budget for the county is health services.”

Karen Mitchoff has held the county post since 2011, but Birsan said she told him she will not run in the June 2022 election. The district includes Concord, Clayton, Pleasant Hill and about three-quarters of Walnut Creek. However, redistricting based on the 2020 Census could change the boundaries.

“I can’t imagine that they would divide Concord. In fact, I’m not in favor of them dividing any city,” Birsan said, noting that he’s pushing that philosophy with his political connections.

Retail politics

Birsan lost in his first bid for the Concord council in 2010. He was elected in 2012 and reelected in 2016 and 2020 – running unopposed last November.

“I want to bring my style of ‘retail politics’ to the county and my idea of ‘Let’s meet with everybody at any time.’ Open door – just straight up. I know it’s complicated, but I think I’ve cut a certain style of political representation and I want to see how far that works,” he told the Pioneer in a phone interview while enroute to the A’s game on July 2.

He also thinks it’s important for Concord to have an advocate at the county level as the city redevelops the former Concord Naval Weapons Station in the coming years.

“I want to make sure we have a united front to get things in like the college district and the tournament fields we want to put up there,” he said.

After Birsan’s announcement on Facebook, many residents wrote words of encouragement.

“What I’ve noticed about you is you are for the people and always have time to meet with anyone that has new ideas or needs help or direction to make Concord a better place to live,” said Pat Baker Lechuga.

Arturo Fernandez called him “the county leader we deserve,” adding: “Hope we can get a somewhat comparable replacement on City Council, though.”

Bev Britton
Bev Britton
Copy Editor at The Concord Clayton Pioneer |

Bev Britton graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of North Dakota and moved to the Bay Area with her soon-to-be husband Jim in 1986. She was features editor at the Contra Costa Times in Walnut Creek before becoming managing editor of the Contra Costa Sun in Lafayette in 1995. She retired from newsrooms in 2001, but an ad for the Clayton Pioneer drew her back in. The family moved to Lake Wildwood in the Gold Country a few years ago - but working at the Pioneer keeps her in touch with her old neighborhoods in Concord and Clayton.