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Antioch Council to consider staff report on environmental groups’ Sand Creek initiative

Posted in: News, Politics & Elections, Growth & Development | Comments (0)

If adopted would cost $65.4 million in fees, and $2.4 million in future annual, net city tax revenue; prohibit any more homes in Sand Creek Focus Area, eliminating proposed gated, senior home community

By Allen Payton

At a previously scheduled, special meeting on Tuesday, August 21, the Antioch City Council will consider the staff report on the Let Antioch Voters Decide: The Sand Creek Area Protection Initiative, put forward by a variety of environmental groups in the county in coordination with Antioch residents. The initiative effort gathered enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. City Staff Report on Sand Creek Initiative

As a result, the council had three choices at their July 24th meeting, to either adopt the initiative, place it on the November 2018 ballot, or send it to staff to study for up to 30 days and return with a report. They chose the last option, with the result that if they don’t adopt the initiative, places it on the March 2020 ballot, at the soonest.

The council, instead chose to adopt the competing West Sand Creek Initiative, known as The Ranch Initiative, put forward by Richland Communities, which owns the land where the 1,177-home project was proposed. The council’s action approved the Development Agreement, which by law, goes into effect next Thursday, August 23, the 30-day mark following their vote on July 24. (See related article)

The council will have the option, at their next regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, August 28, to either adopt the environmental groups’ initiative (The Sand Creek Initiative), including those provisions which don’t conflict with The Ranch Initiative, or place it on the ballot in 2020 for the voters to decide. According to the report, “only those provisions (of the General Plan) outside of The Ranch Development Agreement area would be amended.”

Loss of 1,900 Units

The report states, “The Sand Creek Initiative imposes severe land use restrictions throughout the western portion of the Sand Creek Focus Area and also reduces the overall development capacity of the Sand Creek Focus Area from 4,000 units to 2,100 units. This change along with the differing language regarding constitutionality are the most prominent elements of The Sand Creek Initiative. If adopted, the Sand Creek Initiative would have a profound effect on the Sand Creek Focus Area and would halt all future residential development. Other non-residential uses may still be feasible.”

Loss of Fees and Future City Tax Revenue

In addition, adopting The Sand Creek Inititiative would have future, negative financial impacts on the city, with “a loss of 1,900 units and all of the associated costs and revenues” including, “property tax, sales tax, property transfer tax, property tax in lieu of vehicle license fee, and the Citywide Police Services Community Facilities District.”

“The effect of this action is a reduction in annual ongoing revenue of $3,160,315,” the report states. “The value of this revenue would be offset by the costs of $740,289 to provide increased services to the new development. In total, the net annual ongoing benefit (and net loss) would be $2,420,026 or $1,274 per unit.”

If The Sand Creek Initiative is adopted, it would also mean a loss of pass through and regional fees of $65,411,015 or $34,427 per unit, including $18 million less for Antioch schools and almost $36 million less for regional roads, according to the report.

The report further states that, “alternate sources or increased fees elsewhere may be required.”

Proposed Albers Ranch Site Plan located east of Deer Valley Road and south of Sand Creek.

Prohibits Senior Home Community

Furthermore, the report states, “The City of Antioch previously approved two residential projects in the Sand Creek Focus Area – Vineyards at Sand Creek with 641 units and Aviano with 533 units. With the recent approval of The Ranch with 1,177 units, the current number of approved units in the Sand Creek Focus Area is 2,351. Since The Sand Creek Initiative would limit the total number of residential units to 2,100, any future development anywhere in the Sand Creek Focus Area, including east of Deer Valley Road, would be absolutely prohibited.”

The result of that would mean the proposed 301-unit, gated, senior home community, known as The Olive Groves as well as Albers Ranch, planned for east of Deer Valley Road, south of the Kaiser medical center, Dozier-Libbey Medical High School and the actual Sand Creek, could not be built. (See related article). It is the only other project on the east side of Deer Valley Road currently proposed that has not been approved.

Proposed Zeka Ranch Site Plan located west of The Ranch project.

Also Reduces Zeka Ranch from 256 Units to 8

The report also addresses the effect on the proposed Zeka Ranch project, west of The Ranch and Empire Mine Road, stating, “The General Plan Land Use Designation for Zeka Ranch was approximately 40% Hillside and Estate Residential (256 acres) and 60% Open Space (384 acres). The Hillside Estate Housing designation in the General Plan Land Use Element allows development at a rate of one dwelling unit per gross developable acre…this would allow an absolute maximum of 256 single family homes on the Zeka Ranch property.”

However, some of the land in the Zeka Ranch is not on hillsides and the proposed project includes between 320 and 400 units, which was reduced from the original plan for over 1,100 homes. (See related article).

The report concludes, that, “with the passage of The Ranch Initiative, the development potential of Zeka Ranch was reduced to one unit per eighty acres, which results in a maximum development potential of eight homes. The Sand Creek Initiative applies an identical density and would result in a maximum of eight homes as well.”

Takings Provisions Allow Legal Challenges

However, both initiatives have provisions which allow for a challenge by a landowner who believes their rights were violated due to a “taking” of their property.

The report states that, “Under State and Federal laws, a government agency may not simply ‘take’ a person’s private property and the down-zoning of property has been, and may be, interpreted by courts to constitute a form of unlawful ‘taking’. Presumably, a landowner would need to prove with substantial evidence that the initiative had the unintended effect of unconstitutionally taking their property through the diminishment of development rights, etc.”

The difference between the initiatives is who gets to decide what constitutes a “taking”.

The report states, “Whereas, The Ranch initiative allowed the City Council to determine the validity of a takings grievance and take proper steps towards restitution, The Sand Creek Initiative would require that courts determine that the terms of the initiative violate the law. The Sand Creek Initiative would impose a higher and costlier standard to resolve a takings dispute, should one arise.”

The council meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 200 W. Third Street. It can also be viewed via livestream on the city’s website at www.ci.antioch.ca.us/CityGov/citycouncilmeetings.htm. Since it’s a special meeting, it will not be televised live on local cable access channels.

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Publisher @ August 16, 2018

County Supervisors honor 2018 Veterans Initiative in the Arts ABOUTFACE Program

Posted in: Community, Military & Veterans, Supervisors | Comments (0)

 

“I had a complete meltdown with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). I thought I was losing my mind. I’d never been out of control before, and it was hard to admit I needed help, but I wanted my old self back. I’ve gotten that and more. I’m strong. I’m healthy. I have tools, I have knowledge, and I have strength and courage to deal with it. I’m doing just fine.” RON WHITCOMB SGT US ARMY 1968 – 1969 SQUAD LEADER, VIETNAM

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors recognized the 2018 Veterans Initiative in the Arts ABOUTFACE Program at their meeting on August 14th.  The ABOUTFACE: Self-Understanding through Self-Portraits Workshops (ABOUTFACE) offered visual arts activities that helped motivate veterans and their families to explore self-understanding, to think creatively, to be innovative and to improve their quality of life.

The teaching team of the recent ABOUTFACE, which consisted of:  Coordinator, Ryan Berg (U.S. Marine Corps Veteran); Facilitator, Felisa Gaffney, Ph.D., (U.S. Air Force – Retired); and Artist, Victoria Bianco, Ph.D., were honored by the board.

The 2018 ABOUTFACE participants in the six workshops were from across the County and represented a cross section of military service and age groups.  All of the participants said they would recommend ABOUTFACE to other veterans and over half said they are looking forward to exhibiting their self-portraits for the public to see and understand.

The Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County (AC5) worked with the County Veterans Service Department, the County Office of Communications & Media and the County Library to help select locations, distribute project information and to identify potential participants.  AC5 Commissioner Anderson was the Project Director, and the other AC5 Commissioners all contributed to the success of this outstanding program.  AC5 would like to thank the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors and the California Arts Commission for the funding that made this program possible.

To learn more about this program or to interview the honorees making a difference for veterans, please contact Roger Renn, AC5 Executive Director, at (925) 646-2278.

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Publisher @ August 16, 2018

Space still available for Paint Night fundraiser in Rivertown Saturday, Aug. 18

Posted in: Community, Arts & Entertainment, Rivertown | Comments (0)

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Publisher @ August 16, 2018

Two former Antioch mayors among six candidates running for two seats on Antioch School Board

Posted in: News, Politics & Elections, Education | Comments (0)

Former Antioch Mayor Jim Davis who filed papers to run, Wednesday in a photo from Facebook, Dr. Clyde Lewis, Jr. in a photo from his LinkedIn page, and Janice Lipnisky from her Facebook page. No photo or contact information for Candida Gonzalez-Amigo could be found prior to publication time. Photos of the other three candidates were posted with a previous article. See link in first paragraph.

By Allen Payton

Former Antioch mayors Jim Davis and Mary Rocha, and four other candidates, have filed papers to run for the two seats on the Antioch School Board in the November election.  Both incumbents, Walter Ruehlig and Debra Vinson, chose to not run for reelection and instead will be challenging Jeff Belle for county school board. (See related article).

The four other candidates for Antioch School Board include 2018 Dozier Libbey Medical High School graduate and Antioch Youth of the Year Shagoofa Khan, who is running a joint campaign with former Antioch Measure C Citizens’ Oversight Committee Vice Chair Ellie Householder; education administrator Dr. Clyde H. Lewis, Jr., business owner Janice E. Lipnisky, who is a parent of a special needs student, and Candida Gonzalez-Amigo whose ballot designation includes financial representative.

Rocha has served in local office, both on the school board and on the city council for a total of 32 years, including four as Mayor of Antioch from 1996-2000. She lost her run for reelection to the city council in 2016.

Davis, who served on the council from 1998-2012, and mayor for his final four years, was the final candidate to file his papers and did so on Wednesday. That was the deadline which had been extended five days since at least one of the incumbents didn’t file for reelection.

In his campaign statement he said, “as of 2017, Antioch schools met basic, state literacy standards of only 22.35% and basic math standards of 14.19%.  That’s unacceptable. We owe our students better. How can we properly prepare them for a positive future if we continue business as usual?”

Davis further stated that school safety and financial responsibility and accountability are his top two priorities, to ensure Antioch students get a better education.

Householder worked for two years as a Research Analyst contractor for the school district on their Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). She is beginning a master’s degree program in Public Policy, this fall. Khan is a college student and works in sales according to her ballot designation.

Lewis earned a master’s degree in educational administration, and his doctorate in education leadership. He currently works as the Director for Workforce Development at Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency (BOSS). He has two children in district schools. In his ballot statement, he wrote, I believe that Antioch schools must provide the best for our children, support our dedicated teachers and staff, and create graduates ready for college or careers. We must push our schools to provide better choices for parents, and to reach for higher standards. Quality schools are essential to maintaining a wonderful community.

Lipnisky initially pulled papers to run for city council, but changed her mind as she cares more about education and children’s issues, having dealt with the district regarding her son’s educational needs. She is the 2018 Ms. Antioch Plus Size and volunteers with the Junior Giants  youth baseball program in Antioch.

Candida-Gonzalez has served on the PTSA’s and School Site Councils for both Dallas Ranch Middle and Deer Valley High Schools and applied for the appointment to the board in 2016 which was given to Alonzo Terry, to replace Trustee Claire Smith who had resigned.

Please check back later for updates to this report.

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Publisher @ August 15, 2018

Supervisors censure County Assessor Gus Kramer for sexual misconduct; he might sue

Posted in: News, Contra Costa County, Supervisors | Comments (0)

Kramer, Board Chair Gioia unable to attend meeting

By Daniel Borsuk

Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer was censured on sexual misconduct charges by the County Board of Supervisors on a 4-0 vote Tuesday, paving the way for a potential lawsuit by the longtime elected official. Board Vice Chair John Gioia was absent at the meeting because he was touring the tar sands of British Columbia as part of a joint tour for serving as a Board Director on both the California Air Resources Board and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

Elected to the county assessor post since 1994, Kramer was represented by his attorney Bruce Zelis of Walnut Creek. He warned supervisors before taking action that the assessor had sought a continuance on the board censure item because of Kramer’s inability to attend the meeting and because of questions that arose about whether the supervisors had violated the Ralph M. Brown Act, the state public meeting law.

Kramer’s attorney also questioned whether the board can discipline an elected official for actions he allegedly committed three years ago and there have been no similar charges leveled against him since then.

Zelis also questioned whether the board can discipline a countywide elected official, which conflicts with the board’s resolution recommendation that states:

“There are six county departments that are managed by elected department heads: the Assessor, Auditor, Clerk-Recorder, District Attorney, Sheriff, and Treasurer-Tax Collector. These elected officials are responsible for managing the county employees who work in their departments. The Board of Supervisors does not have the power to discipline elected officials when their conduct fails to meet the standards of behavior expected of all other county department heads.”

Obviously, supervisors went against the resolution recommendation and moved to censure the county assessor, who last year earned $221,946.80 before benefits.

Zelis refused to comment further with the Contra Costa Herald about the Brown Act violation allegations or other issues about Kramer’s case, but Board Chair Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill said there were no Brown Act violations when she and vice chair Gioia consulted over the proposed Kramer censure resolution prior to the meeting.

“We did not confer with our colleagues,” Mitchoff said.

This may not be the end of line for County Assessor Kramer case. The Contra Costa County Civil Grand Jury will now be handed the case to determine if the allegations involving the assessor and two female employees merit additional investigation.

Supervisors acted on a 2018 outside independent attorney investigation on two charges of sexual harassment dating back to 2015 by two initially unidentified Assessor Department female employees, one of whom has since been identified as associate assessor Margaret Eychner, a resident of Walnut Creek.

“The investigator found that, prior to mid-2015 it is more likely than not that Mr. Kramer made certain comments and engaged in conduct that two individuals who worked in his department considered to be offensive and inappropriate in the workplace.” a board report stated.

In the board’s resolution, the supervisors found “there was sufficient evidence to prove Assessor Kramer had engaged in the following conduct in 2014 and 2015:

  • Kramer frequently visited the complainant’s cubicle on the first floor and the complainant frequently visited Mr. Kramer’s office during 2014 and up to March 2015.  During these visits they discussed work related and nonwork-related matters.
  • On one occasion Mr. Kramer told her that he had given a vibrator to a woman (not a county employee) as a gift. She thought that this was inappropriate and offensive.
  • Mr. Kramer sent her two text messages in 2014 that she believed suggested a romantic/sexual interest in her. She considered the texts to be inappropriate an unwelcome.
  • In May 2014, he offered her a rose, which she interpreted to be a romantic gesture.
  • As to the second employee/witness, there was sufficient evidence to indicate that Mr. Kramer made a comment in her presence in 2008 and told a story in her presence in 2013 concerning his social interactions with women that she thought were inappropriate and offensive; and that on one occasion in 2015 he made a comment to her that she believed was intended to be sexually suggestive and considered inappropriate, offensive and unwelcome.”

The independent attorney investigator found that evidence did not show Assessor Kramer, who earned $221,946.80 in salary only in 2017, had retaliated against the two employees or had acted to “negatively impact their careers.”  In addition, the investigator’s evidence did show the assessor stopped making inappropriate and offense comments of a sexual nature to both employees after he learned of their complaints in 2015.  No further harassment complaints from the two employees or other employees have been lodged against the Assessor Kramer since June 2015.

“This is not a witch hunt and perhaps there wasn’t any retaliation,” said Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville, “but you have to remember the county had to pay $1 million in a sexual related case involving the assessor in 2009.”  Andersen was referring to a $1 million settlement paid to Assessor department employee Bernice Peoples in 2009 that Kramer had sexually retaliated against her.

“I want all our employees to feel safe and comfortable,” said Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood after voting in favor of the censure resolution.

Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg did not comment on this item.

Sandy Hook Promise Impresses Supervisors

A Contra Costa County Office of Education presentation on the nationally acclaimed Sandy Hood Promise, a non-profit organization designed to prevent gun violence on K-12 school campuses, won endorsements from all four supervisors in attendance.  Supervisors plan to place a resolution of endorsement on its next board meeting agenda slated for Sept. 11.

Sandy Hook Promise and the county office of education and eventually 18 public K12 school districts in the county are expected to work with the no-cost program that Sandy Hook Promise Vice President of Field Operations Paula Fynboh says is based on a heavy emphasis on student mental wellness.

“You brought us a great gift,” remarked Supervisor Burgis.  “You have my personal support.”

County Real Estate Fraud Unit Reviewed 71 Cases in 2017/2018

Supervisors also approved without comment the District Attorney Office’s annual real estate fraud report for the 2017/2018 fiscal year during which time the Real Estate Fraud Unit reviewed 71 real estate fraud cases, an increase from 64 cases that were reviewed during the 2016/2017 fiscal year.

“Within the last year, our office has secured felony convictions in 3 different cases and has conducted preliminary hearings against another 7 defendants in complex white-collar fraud cases, involving over 2 million dollars in stolen assets,” wrote Deputy District Attorney Adam Wilks, who leads the Special Operations-Real Estate Fraud.

Because real estate fraud is a sophisticated crime targeting especially senior citizens, Wilks wrote: “Within the last year, the Real Estate Fraud Unit restored title to the home of an elderly woman after the home was fraudulently slated for foreclosure auction.  This unit is currently working with federal prosecutors to help elderly victims of a foreclosure scam in operating around the Bay Area.”

Wilks reported that in the 2016/2017 fiscal year the Real Estate Fraud Unit tracked international cases as far away as Nigeria.  “These investigations involve rental fraud, forgery, embezzlement, foreclosure consultancy fraud, short sale fraud and elder abuse,” he reported.

Established in July 1996 by the board of supervisors, the DA’s Real Estate Fraud Prosecution unit is staffed with one deputy district attorney, one senior inspector and one legal assistant.  Last fiscal year, the unit spent $399,705 for salaries, benefits, travel and necessary services.

Resolution Boosts Two County Airports Economic Assets 

Supervisors unanimously gave the county’s two airports – Buchanan Field Airport in Concord and Byron Airport – an economic boost in the form of a resolution recognizing the contributions of the two airports to the aeronautical community and economic growth of the county.

The resolution materializes when the airports, especially Buchanan Field Airport, has drawn increased development interest.  The City of Concord has made overtures to annex the airfield, but Board Chair Mitchoff, whose District 4 covers the Concord air field, said, “There is no way, no how that the city of Concord will annex the air field. It is an economic asset for the county.” Both airports are self-sufficient and do not need to use county general fund money to cover expenses. Instead both airports are moneymakers contributing about $2.77 million to the county general fund, $1.2 million to local schools, and $273,216 to other public entities from associated possessory interest and sales tax.

The supervisors’ resolution boasts how the two airports provides a base of operation to over 600 aircraft, generated about $106 million in total direct and indirect annual economic output in 2016, which includes the creation of 828 jobs, $8 million in state and local revenue and $10.2 million in federal tax revenue.

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Publisher @ August 15, 2018

End of Summer Hawai’ian Luau at Lone Tree Golf & Event Center

Posted in: Dining | Comments (0)

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Publisher @ August 15, 2018

Antioch Council decides on “Opportunity” theme for City’s branding effort

Posted in: News, Business, Community, Economy | Comments (0)

Graphics from the slides in Evviva Brands’ presentation to the Antioch City Council on Aug. 14, 2018.

“There’s a lot of hope with good things to come…Antioch is where it’s happening. Opportunity is right here… It may be the last place in the Bay Area that has opportunity for everyone.” branding consultant David Kippen

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday, August 14, 2018, the Antioch City Council heard a report about the city’s branding effort by consultant David Kippen of Evviva Brands in which they agreed the theme will be “opportunity”. Brand & Messaging Update_ 14 Aug 18

During his presentation, Kippen shared with the council about his team’s four-month “discovery phase”, as Economic Development Director Kwame Reed described it, during Reed’s first time at a council meeting in his new position.

“First off…this is a report on a work in progress…a gut check to see if this feels right to you. We’re looking for a big, broad message,” Kippen said. “When we talk about a brand, it’s really a simple thing. It has three parts. It’s a noun. A name. There’s a monetary part, an underlying value. The third part is action…where we find value in Antioch, how we want people to act, think and believe about Antioch.”

“We audited city messaging going back several months…to understand as a baseline what came before us,” he explained about their discovery process. “We interviewed city leadership, city staff, city leaders, a variety of community leaders. We conducted a variety of listening sessions. We participated in ride-alongs with police. We had one staff member stay in a variety of Air BnB’s throughout Antioch.”

“Where do we find themes and consensus?” Kippen asked. “When we first came to the city…it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Antioch does seem to be a city divided. There are some doing quite well, and there are others who are working hard to get by. Some angry people, here. Some optimistic people, here. There are a lot of divisions. A lot of frustration.”

However, he then said, “By in large, most the people we talked to want to get past that. We want to move on. It’s part of what Antioch is but it’s not what we want to be known for. People want it to be better. We see better massively overweighing” the focus on the negative.

“Without the city doing anything it will get better…with an expanding economy for 10 years in a row,” Kippen pointed out. “This city is doing a lot. Police and code enforcement are having an effect. Very recently crime was the primary worry, today it seems to be blight. It’s moved from security and fear to blight.”

“There are projects getting done across the city. Some big, Smith’s Landing and BART. Some are much smaller,” he explained.

“There’s a lot of hope with good things to come,” Kippen stated.

“Is there something that ties everything together?” he asked. “It’s opportunity.”

“It’s such a common word. It’s powerful word. It’s an important word and it has a lot of resonance with residents in Antioch,” Kippen said. “It means you have a chance. It means you can do something. It doesn’t mean you have to cure cancer. But it does mean you can do something.”

“It’s also quintessentially California. The California Dream…you can reinvent yourself, you can make something of yourself,” he added. “And Antioch is where it’s happening. Opportunity is right here.  It’s been fundamental to Antioch since day one, before statehood.”

“It may be the last place in the Bay Area that has opportunity for everyone,” Kippen stated.

“It starts back…with John Marsh. A Harvard-trained doctor,” he continued. “He’s also the guy who sold the Smith brothers the plot of land. That’s what is celebrated at the bottom of F Street. That’s where the Smith brothers managed to get the first shipload of people to settle here.”

“In 1859, it was coal. In 1863, it was copper. In 1864, it was lumber. In 1870, it was newspapers and In 1876, it was railways,” Kippen shared. “But it didn’t stop there. We have vineyards in Antioch. That’s remarkable. Or a greenfield property. Start a media company. I didn’t say a cheap home. Opportunity isn’t about being a bedroom community.”

He also mentioned a list of thing that are “in our way.”

“What we also heard was ‘Please, please, please don’t put lipstick on a pig. Don’t try to song and dance your way out of the challenges.’ The challenges start with bad press, real things. Negative coverage,” Kippen explained. “Fortunately, the trendlines in media tend to be slightly improving, where positive sentiment is running ahead of negative sentiment. But the press we’ve had is real. Crumbling infrastructure, bad roads, blight and crime. People wanted to know who to blame.”

“Opportunity is a chance not a gift. It’s not free. It’s not easy. It’s work,” Kippen explained.

What To Do, he asked and shared next.

“As far as the media standpoint, part of the effort has to be to get Antioch to come to Antioch. Whether it has to be getting 94531 to come to 94509 or vice versa…we need to knit the two back together. It’s going to require a lot of work.

He spoke of the need to include, “influence leaders in Antioch who drive the good in Antioch.”

“We’re thinking of the product…the packaging and the promotion,” Kippen shared. “Our focus is from a product stand point, how do we talk about opportunity. Antioch’s opportunity. How do we explain that? How do we get Antioch engaged with Antioch? How do we talk about Antioch to the rest of the Bay Area? How do we do a good job of not sweeping things under the carpet, but…looking at things that are already in the vision strategy? What are simple fixes? What can we do on a low-cost basis?”

Looking at the different locations in Antioch, clearly they’re going to need different messaging,” Kippen concluded.

Council Member Tony Tiscareno was the first to speak on the matter.

“I was intrigued by your perception of uniting the two Antiochs,” he said. “I love that idea. What do you think about splitting our city into four different sectors, now? I’m just curious of your mindset…of putting the two cities together…trying to bring in some from the ’31 area code to the ’09 area code? Was this a pre-districting mindset?”

Kippen replied, “The idea of opportunity ladders up the economic scale. You hired us, but we are trying to work for the entire city. Without respect to districts, that’s what we should land on. With respect to the districts, that strikes us as a fundamentally political effort. We’re talking about the economic aspect. It’s less about erasing lines within Antioch…than it is about macroeconomics in which a rising tide raises all boats.”

Tiscareno then said, “I still think we’re one city. We just happened to grow over the last 20 years. We just happened to get another ZIP Code.”

“Everyone felt that the heart of Antioch is the downtown,” Kippen shared. “There was a strong consensus that Antioch is one place and people have strong fidelity to that one place.”

Council Member Monica Wilson then had “A couple questions…about press and promotion. That’s a very important piece of your overall presentation.”

Kippen responded, “The difference between our firm and a public relations firm as far as a crisis response. We are in the business of saying we want the city to unite. We’re working on is putting together an editorial calendar… getting them all aligned on messaging standpoint.”

Wilson then said, “Maybe it’s just me. I thought we were going to get more actionable stuff. An outline of a gameplan of what the next steps could be.”

“The last page of the presentation is an outline of what we will be presenting to you,” Kippen said. “We wanted to get you a report on the general theme of opportunity.”

Mayor Sean Wright liked the idea of opportunity as the theme.

“I want to thank you for coming and your presentation. I do like that direction. I do like the idea that Antioch is opportunity,” he said. Something we can market from a branding standpoint to businesses that we want to come, to people who want” to come. I would just ask council’s input… so David can have direction.”

Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe was next to respond to Kippen’s presentation.

“You know I didn’t vote for this,” he state. “But I do like opportunity. It speaks to your point of why people come here. I think you brought up some very good points. Some of the information you received was similar to the two polls we did with input from 2,000 people. It’s in line with what you’re doing as far as branding. I love the idea, the concept of opportunity.”

Tiscareno then said, “Opportunity in my mind is creating positivity with whatever we’re going to do as a city. I like that concept. What are we going to do with that opportunity? I think you’re get more dialogue and feedback. I want to be able to look at these opportunities and dream…and what we’re going to do in the next few years to eliminate the perception out there. I hate that word. But, if we can eliminate that type of language…through opportunities and ideas, I think you’re going to get a lot of feedback. I’m just waiting to see what the next step is before I give more input.

Council Member Lori Ogorchock then shared her thoughts on the matter.

“Reading what’s in our way, I agree,” she said. “I truly don’t want to miss this opportunity. I’m encouraging you to keep going in the direction you’re going. I don’t see the bad press any more. I think it is the right opportunity, right now. I’d like to see the two ZIP Codes come together. I think you’re going to have some difficulties with districting the way the districts were split down the middle of the freeway.”

Wilson reiterated, “I think we’re all in agreement with opportunity. I love opportunity.”

“It’s very important to us, we think this is the idea,” Kippen said. “We’re going to make recommendations to staff about spending some money, clearly marketing this.”

He spoke of the city’s revised vision plan. “We’re going to build off of that.”

Wilson then said, “It’s a wait and see for me.”

Wright concluded the agenda item by stating, “I appreciate with what you’ve done in here of not only opportunities in the future, but opportunities in the past.”

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Publisher @ August 14, 2018

Antioch Council approves appointment process for new City Treasurer, hires recruiting firm for new City Attorney

Posted in: News | Comments (0)

City Treasurer application process begins Wed., Aug. 15

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday, August 14, 2018, the Antioch City Council approved the process for appointing someone to replace former City Treasurer Donna Conley for the remainder of her term.

Conley resigned her elected, part-time, paid position at the end of July as she and her husband, former Councilman and Planning Commissioner Jim, moved out of state. Her term runs through December 2020. The council decided to open the appointment process using a letter of interest, resume and nomination paper with 20-30 signatures of registered Antioch voters. Applicants will have the opportunity for a five-minute presentation to the council during their meeting on Sept. 11, 2018, at which time they will vote to fill the vacancy. It is the same process used to fill by appointment the vacancy in the City Clerk’s position in 2011, when Jolene Martin retired.

If the council doesn’t take action within 60 days, by default, a special election would be called, Interim City Attorney Derek Cole explained. The cost of a special election would be $260,000.

Thorpe said “It is too late for the November election. Prior to the meeting, we had a discussion about this. I think we had a public comment. The city clerk said “no we couldn’t have it on the November ballot.”

“Part of it is the administrative inertia. Candidly I just wasn’t able to put the staff report together until this meeting,” Cole stated. “Probably on a dead rush we might have been able to call a special election. Deadlines for candidates and initiatives are different.”

However, City Clerk Arne Simonsen disputed that.

“The process is similar to a regular election,” he said. “No action could be taken until the resignation took effect. The same period applies when you have a special election. We probably wouldn’t be having an election until January. It didn’t fit into the calendar. There’s no way it could be on (the November ballot).”

Thorpe said, “I just heard two completely different things and I’m blown away. But, I’m supportive of an appointment.”

Ogorchock pushed to have an applicant’s resume included with their letter of interest with a 400-word limit. The rest of the council agreed.

Simonsen said, “information will be available at the City Clerk’s office beginning Wednesday morning”, August 15.

City Attorney Recruiting Firm Hired

The council also voted to hire a recruiting firm to fill the position of a full-time city attorney on a 5-0 vote. Cole works for the city on a contract basis from his law firm on a part-time basis. Following the recruitment process, the council will vote to hire a permanent replacement for former City Attorney Bill Galstan. The cost will be $26,400 for the cost of the consulting firm’s work. It is one of only two positions the council hires directly, the other is city manager.

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Publisher @ August 14, 2018