Highway 4 construction lane closures, Feb. 8-12, 2016

Posted in: News, Transportation | Comments (0)

State Route 4:

There will be highway lane closures in the westbound direction of State Route 4 between Railroad Avenue and Contra Loma on Monday through Friday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.

There will be highway lane closures in the westbound direction of State Route 4 between State Route 160 and Laurel Road on Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 pm to 4:00 am.

There will be highway lane closures in the westbound direction of State Route 4 between State Route 160 and Hillcrest Ave. on Wednesday and Thursday from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am and on Saturday morning from 12:00 am to 5:00 am.

There will be highway lane closures in the eastbound direction of State Route 4 between Bailey Road and Contra Loma on Monday through Friday from 4:30 am to 12:00 pm.

There will be highway lane closures in the eastbound direction of State Route 4 between Laurel Road and State Route 160 on Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am.

There will be highway lane closures in the eastbound direction of State Route 4 between A Street/Lone Tree Way and State Route 160 on Tuesday through Friday from 11:00 pm to 5:00 am.

State Route 160:

There will be lane closures in the northbound direction of State Route 160 between State Route 4/State Route 160 connector ramp and Main Street on Tuesday through Friday from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm.

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Publisher @ February 7, 2016

Payton Perspective: Council should approve Blackhawk-Nunn’s proposed gated housing community

Posted in: Opinion | Comments (2)

Payton Perspective logo 2015By Allen Payton, Publisher

Finally. Antioch has a gated, single-family home community being proposed for development. This is not just any gated community, but one by Blackhawk in partnership with the Nunns of Brentwood who built Apple Hill Estates and other projects in the city to our east.

While it’s not the same as Apple Hill or Blackhawk in the San Ramon Valley, at least it’s a gated community with some nice amenities and homes that are projected to sell in the $500,000 to $600,000 range, which will help improve home values throughout Antioch.

The project, known as the Vineyards at Sand Creek, two years in the planning stage, received a 5-1 vote by the Antioch Planning Commission recommending approval by the City Council.

It includes 641 homes on 4,200 to 5,160 square foot lots, which doesn’t fit within my previous stated desire for larger homes on larger lots in the Sand Creek Focus Area of the City’s General Plan, formerly known as Future Urban Area 1 or FUA-1. However, it makes sense, as that area is adjacent to what is proposed to be mixed use development, including high-density housing on the Brentwood side, and a BART  station.

It will replace the 640 homes lost when the land for the planned, gated Roddy Ranch community was allowed to be sold to the East Bay Regional Park District that would have helped pay for the roads and sewer lines in the Sand Creek Focus Area of the City’s General Plan.

While the lot sizes don’t fit within my previous stated desire for larger homes on larger lots in that part of Antioch, formerly known as Future Urban Area 1 or FUA-1. Plus, again, the homes will be in a gated community, which does fit within my previously stated desires for the area, along with upscale homes and senior communities.

Also, this project will provide the extension to the needed infrastructure to the entire focus area, specifically the sewer line and a section of Sand Creek Road. It is located across the street, of the planned extension of Hillcrest Avenue, from the previously approved Aviano Farms.

A little background for those concerned about all the new houses. When I was on the City Council from 1994-98 a total of 8,900 homes were planned for the area. Today that number is down to about 4,000 and possibly fewer, after learning in a recent discussion with representatives of Richland, which owns the land known as The Ranch, across Deer Valley Road from the Kaiser Medical Center, and was slated for 1,667 homes. They told me that number will be closer to 1,100 homes, instead. So, the total number of homes for the 2,700 acre Sand Creek Focus Area, inside the city limits and inside the Urban Limit Line, which cuts off 65% of land in the county from subdivision development (no more than one home per five acres), definitely fits within reason and the long-term plans for Antioch and East County.

Plus, an economic study has shown there is more than enough land in Antioch for commercial development and employment. Specifically, the proposed Resolution in the City Staff report states “in May 2015, the City hired EPS to prepare the ‘Implications for Economic Development of the Proposed General Plan Amendment for the Promenade/Vineyards at Sand Creek Project’ (the ‘Economic Study’). The Economic Study concluded that: (1) The City currently has workspace development capacity of approximately 23.3 million square feet; (2) On an aggregate basis, the City has substantial development capacity for job growth requiring office/commercial and business park/industrial space; (3) Comparison of available City employment areas indicates that there are areas that are better and will be more competitive in attracting economic development than the Sand Creek Focus Area; and (4) Overall, the proposed change in General Plan designation (from Business Park to Residential) will not negatively affect the City’s ability to attract new economic development.

The project will also be required to create an assessment district to pay for police, with each home paying an annual fee, as the Aviano Farms project was required to do.

Finally, the fact that Blackhawk wants to build in Antioch says a lot and sends a message to the greater Bay Area that our city is coming back and on the road to economic recovery and hopefully, a safer one, as well.

However, as I stated in my column, last month, this should be the last project proposed for the Sand Creek Focus Area, approved by the Planning Commission and City Council, until a final plan for the area is put in place, which isn’t expected to be completed until later this year.

While we still have a long way to go to improve our city, the homes, if approved won’t be under construction for another few years. By then things can and should not only be better for the new homebuyers, but for those of us who live here, now, as well.

The Antioch City Council meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 8 in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, between West 2nd and 3rd Streets at H Street.

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Publisher @ February 7, 2016

Antioch man arrested for murder after shooting Pittsburg man who stole his van, Friday night

Posted in: Police & Crime | Comments (2)

By Acting Lieutenant Tom Fuhrmann, Antioch Police Investigations Bureau

On Friday, February 5, 2016 at approximately 8:31 p.m. Antioch Police Officers were dispatched to 20 E. 18th Street on the reports of shots fired in the Rite Aid parking lot . Upon arrival Officers located 37 year old Leo Lopez of Antioch. Lopez advised he was just the victim of a carjacking at gunpoint and his white van was gone. Almost simultaneously the Antioch Police Department began receiving calls of a white van that had crashed into a parked car and came to rest in the front yard of a residence on W. 17th Street, west of A Street. Officers responded to that scene as well. On 17th Street they found Lopez’s van had crashed and the driver, a 27 year old male out of Pittsburg, had sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was deceased.

Upon further investigation it was learned that Lopez had parked in the Rite Aid lot and was sitting in his van while using his phone. While sitting in his van a subject unknown to him opened the door and got in and attempted to rob him at gunpoint. Lopez fled from the van and the unknown subject drove off in Lopez’s van. As the van was driving away, Lopez produced his own firearm and fired multiple shots into his own van.

Lopez was subsequently arrested and will be booked into the Contra Costa County Jail for murder.

This case is still under investigation. No further information will be released at this time. Anybody having information related to this incident is encouraged to contact Detective Dee at (925) 779-6884. You may also text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH.

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Publisher @ February 6, 2016

Pacheco casino contributes $145,100 to Antioch card room initiative, Tiburon-based committee spends $89,000 on consultants, signature gathering

Posted in: Politics & Elections | Comments (0)

By Allen Payton

The committee formed to place an initiative to limit card rooms, on the June Primary Election ballot in Antioch, has raised $145,100 and spent $89,718.23 as of December 31, 2015. All of the funds were contributed by the California Grand Casino in Pacheco.

Known as the Antioch Coalition Against the Expansion of Gambling, the committee is based in Tiburon, California at the office of its Treasurer, attorney David M. Fried, according to the required financial report submitted on Monday, February 1st.

However, the proponents are Antioch Economic Development Commission Member Lamar Thorpe and his wife Patrice Guillory, and LaTonya Harman, all Antioch residents. Thorpe unsuccessfully ran for the Antioch City Council in 2014 and according to his Facebook page appears he might be considering another run, this year with the comment “2016 is here… another election year. Decisions, decisions…” ending in a smiley face emoji with a wink.

The three filed a “Notice of Intent to Circulate Petition” with the statement:

“We are proposing the Citizens Initiative Against Gambling Expansion in order to Preserve, maintain and protect the City and the People of Antioch by requiring a public vote before there is an expansion of gambling, to ensure card rooms do not expand into larger Casinos without voter approval and to clarify and strengthen the laws governing card rooms and their location.”

However, in January, 2015, the Antioch City Council had already voted to decrease the number of card room licenses allowed in the city from five to two, and currently there is only one in operation. That one has six tables for card games. Other forms of gambling, such as slot machines and roulette tables, are not allowed. In addition, there’s generally a state moratorium on new card rooms in the state through January, 2020, but does allow for up to a 25% expansion in the number of gambling tables, hours of operation, etc., if approved by the City Council.

The funds spent by the committee have gone to pay $29,000 to Mosher/Whitehurst, a San Francisco-based campaign consulting firm, and Tulare, California-based Olson & Associates, another campaign consulting firm with a specialty in qualifying initiatives for the ballot. That company paid individuals who gathered over 9,000 signatures at grocery stores throughout Antioch.

Since enough signatures of registered Antioch voters were gathered, the initiative qualifies for the June Primary Election ballot. The City Council, at their Tuesday night regular meeting, will have the opportunity to either adopt the proposed ordinance, or let it go to the ballot. If the measure goes to the ballot, it will cost the city’s General Fund between $132,771 and $177,028, according to Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen. It has already cost the city over $3,000 in payment to the County Elections Department to verify the signatures.

To view the committee’s entire financial report, click here: Form 460 – Antioch Coalition Against Gambling Expansion 7-1 to 12-31-15

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Publisher @ February 6, 2016

A Valentine’s Day gift from the Antioch Herald – Get a free I Love Antioch bumper sticker!

Posted in: Community | Comments (0)

I Love Antioch sticker

We, at the Antioch Herald, love Antioch and once again, we’re looking for others who feel the same. So, in February, the first 100 readers who either stop by our office at 101 H Street, Waldie Plaza, Suite 3 in the old Casino Building in historic, downtown Rivertown or email us at info@antiochherald.com, to get your free I    Antioch bumper/window sticker for your car, home or business.

So, who loves Antioch, like we do? Stop by and say “Hi” and “I love Antioch,” today and get your free sticker. We’re not always in. So be sure to leave a note with your name, number and the words “I love Antioch” under our door, if we aren’t.

Then show your love for our city – the oldest city in the county – all year!

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Publisher @ February 5, 2016

Man dies while in custody, following struggle with, arrest by Antioch Police, early Friday; DA to investigate

Posted in: Police & Crime | Comments (0)

By Acting Lieutenant Tom Fuhrmann, Antioch Police Investigations Bureau

On Wednesday, February 3, 2016 at approximately 8:20 PM a 37-year-old male walked out of an area hospital against doctor’s orders after being admitted the day before. The hospital notified the Antioch Police Department. Officers responded and searched for the subject who was wanted on a parolee at large warrant and has a long history of violent crimes and drug offenses. The male was not located at that time.

On Friday, February 05, 2016 at approximately 3:12 AM an officer checking an occupied vehicle at the east end of E. 6th Street at McElheny Road found the parolee and a friend sleeping in the vehicle. While attempting to take the parolee into custody he fought violently with officers. Once the officers were able to restrain him, an ambulance was summoned to the scene to treat him for injuries sustained during the fight with officers. As the ambulance arrived the subject began having some sort of medical distress and life saving measures were taken. The 37-year-old male was transported to an area hospital and later pronounced deceased.

The friend in the vehicle did not get involved in the confrontation and is cooperating with the police. The involved officers sustained only minor injuries.

Because this is considered an in custody death, the county protocol was invoked. The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, the Contra Costa County Crime Lab and the Antioch Police Department will be conducting an investigation into the facts surrounding this incident. No further information will be released at this time regarding the investigation.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call Detective Vanderpool with the Antioch Police Department at (925) 779-6988. You may also text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH.

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Publisher @ February 5, 2016

Pick the winning score for the Super Bowl and win $1,000 at Tailgaters, Sunday

Posted in: Dining, Sports | Comments (0)

Tailgaters Super Bowl Big Game Challenge

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Publisher @ February 5, 2016

Shopping cart ordinance, card room initiative, first gated community, honor for city’s first African American resident, on Council agenda, Tuesday

Posted in: News | Comments (0)

By Allen Payton

As part of February’s Black History Month, the Antioch City Council will recognize the first African American to live in Antioch, back in the 1800’s, Thomas Gaines.

Council is asked to approve a proposed resolution to declare February 9, 2016 as “Thomas Gaines Day” in Antioch

The resolution states “In the 1860’s an emancipated slave named Thomas Gaines came to Antioch and worked as a laborer on the Antioch docks; and…was the only African American resident of Antioch between 1860 and the 1940’s; and…He lived in a red brick shack on the waterfront in the back of the Antioch Lumber Company; and…On February 28, 1875, Thomas Gaines became a member of the First Congregational Church by profession of faith; and…Thomas Gaines was highly regarded around town for his noble work and his caring attention towards others – he regularly walked women and children home from church for safety…”

According to the First Congregational Church of Antioch’s 150th anniversary website page, from last year, Gaines “was the only African-American allowed to live in Antioch, and he lived in a red brick shack on the waterfront in back of the Antioch Lumber Company. The shack was formerly part of the Joost Distillery.”

City’s First Gated Community

Also on the agenda for council approval will be the Vineyards at Sand Creek, a proposed 641-home, gated community on the most southeastern side of Antioch, by Blackhawk-Nunn. The partnership is the same one that built the Apple Hill Estates development, Brentwood’s first gated community. The new homes are projected to be in the $500,000 to $600,000 range and will each pay an annual fee for more police. If approved, the project will be the first gated, single-family home community in Antioch.

Shopping Cart Ordinance

The Council will also consider a new shopping cart ordinance that “requires that all operators of business that offer shopping carts install an identification plaque that identifies the cart owner and states that it is unlawful to remove the cart from the premises…and contain the telephone number and address of cart owner.”

It also allows a City official who discovers a cart two options. They can either inform the cart owner and “notify them of the location of the shopping cart” and give “three business days to retrieve the cart.” Or, “the City official could impound the cart, contact the owner” and give them three business days to retrieve it from the City.

If they don’t retrieve it within that time, then the business “will be subject to impound and storage fees.” The fine is to be determined, later, to give businesses “an education period while the program begins.”

The ordinance further states “Repeat offenders who have three violations in a six-month period, may also be subject to a $50 fine for each occurrence.”

The proposed ordinance is modeled after one adopted by the City of Oakley.

Card Room Initiative

A privately funded initiative to limit the number of card rooms in Antioch to two and expansion of the current one, and require voter approval for any changes, has obtained the necessary votes to be placed on the ballot. The City Council can decide to either pass it, at Tuesday’s meeting, or allow it to go to the June ballot. However, if it goes to the ballot, the initiative will cost the City’s General Fund between $132,771 and $177,028, according to City Clerk Arne Simonsen.

The effort is being funded by the California Grand Casino in Pacheco to limit competition and led by Antioch residents Lamar Thorpe, a member of the Antioch Economic Development Commission and unsuccessful candidate for the Antioch City Council in 2012, and his wife Patrice Guillory.

The Council previously voted to reduce the number of allowable card rooms in Antioch from five to two, but currently there is only one operating in town.

The city staff report on the item reads as follows:

It is our understanding that the initiative is sponsored/supported by the card room industry and certainly has the intended purpose of: 1) maintaining the status quo for the existing one card room; and 2) making it difficult to allow new or enlarged card rooms. These two factors would benefit the existing local card room as well as other existing card rooms within the trade area, which includes Pacheco and Livermore.

The limitation of card rooms to the status quo may be something that a majority of voters would support. There was widespread community opposition to a proposed Indian Casino in town several years ago and the idea was dropped.

Additionally, there is no apparent organized opposition to the initiative, but the initiative supporters could be expected to campaign in support of it. Thus with expected vigorous campaigning for the measure and little or no expected opposition, the measure could easily pass (only a majority vote is required).

These factors argue in favor of having the Council simply adopt the ordinance without amendment Reconfigured Ordinance, 1 Attachment #4. State law speaks in terms of the Council “adopting” such measures, so there is no introduction with reading waived step in the process, as would be typical.

However, adopting the ordinance would eliminate the City’s option in the future of trying to attract, or acting on an application, for a new or enlarged card room. If the City Council wishes to keep open the option of entertaining a new or larger card room in the future, and believes that such option is worth the expense of the election, then the Council should reject the idea of adopting the ordinance and it should call the election.

Also, it should be noted that if Council adopts the ordinance, it cannot be amended in the future without approval of the voters. The same rule applies if the measure is submitted to the voters and passes, i.e. the City Council cannot subsequently amend it without further voter approval.

The Antioch City Council meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, located between West 2nd and 3rd Streets at H Street in downtown. It can be viewed on Comcast local cable channel 24 or AT&T Uverse channel 99, or via live stream on the Council meeting page on the City’s website.

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Publisher @ February 5, 2016