Park Middle, possibly other Antioch school teachers asked to promote state unions’ May 1st Day of Action

Posted in: News, Education | Comments (5)

One of the posters on the CTA website offered for the May 1st Day of Action.

Another poster on the CTA website offered for use on its May 1st Day of Action.

Teachers, students asked to wear red, put names on red strips of paper, make posters; district, principal unaware of effort

By Allen Payton

On Thursday, an Antioch resident concerned with “communist propaganda being pushed at school” informed the herald of an effort at Park Middle School entitled “‘Park Spartans Stand in Solidarity’ – May 1st” asking all staff and students to wear red that day, as part of “a movement to build a stronger union.” In addition, students are asked to make signs and posters during the “first week of our block schedule for testing, April 24 – 28,” which begins next Monday.

May 1st was the day chosen by the International Workers of the World and the Communist Party to protest for workers’ rights, starting in the late 1800’s and gaining prominence in the early 1900’s. The raised, clinched fist became the symbol of the movement. That symbol has since been adopted by other movements such as the black power and feminist movements.

Now it’s being used by the California Teachers Association (CTA), the state’s largest teachers’ union, which, via its website, is asking teachers and students to participate in their May 1st Statewide Day of Action to “Stand Up for Students.”

In an email message, the resident, who wished to remain anonymous wrote, “This memo [below] is circulating at Park Middle School. Why are public schools pushing political propaganda? Thought you may want to look into it” and forwarded the following message:

“Remember that on May 1st we are ‘Park Spartans Stand in Solidarity,’ so you can have your students make posters next week.

‘Park Spartans Stand in Solidarity’ – May 1st

This is a day where the Nation will create a movement to build a stronger union to strengthen free, safe, and quality public education for ALL students based on social, economic, and political justice.

  1. ALL staff and students should wear RED this day.
  2. Students will be writing their names on red strips of paper during their lunches on April 26th – 28th. They will be linked together. (PLEASE send any red construction paper you would like to donate to Shelly in room 602.)
  3. Share the information with your students, and they can make signs and posters. A great week to have your students do this is the first week of our block schedule for testing, April 24 – 28. Any posters you want hung up outside of the school, please send to me by the end of the day on Friday, April 28th. Also, if anyone wants to get here early on May 1st to hang up the posters, I would appreciate it.
  4. I have attached a scan of the Action page. At the bottom are different links. One includes different ideas and activities you can do.
  5. Please take the pledge to Stand for ALL Students: (copy and paste the website)”

Posters on the CTA website offered for use as part of the organization’s May 1st Day of Action.

In an email response to questions about the memo, the anonymous resident wrote, “It is my understanding that it is a District wide program and each school is encouraged to set up their own May Day celebration based on the CTA guide. As far as the email I provided, it was sent out to all Park Middle School employees and I have been told that many employees are upset that the District is pushing this propaganda on the students. I have also been told by a friend at Mno Grant Elementary School that they are setting up a similar program there.”

On the CTA’s web page promoting the activities for the Day of Action, it asks people to sign a pledge with the message, “Take the Pledge: A Call to Action for the Public Education ALL California’s Students Deserve.”

It includes non-controversial clauses about supporting “safe learning and teaching environments, and the right to attend school free of fear, bullying and discrimination” and “all students deserve a well-rounded education – ensuring that students and schools have access to multi-cultural education, art, music, theater, dance, physical education, and career-technical classes.”

But, the pledge also includes political positions of the teachers’ union, in the following clauses:

“WHEREAS, public schools should serve as centers of the community, not profit centers with taxpayer dollars diverted to private voucher schemes and unaccountable corporate charter schools; and

WHEREAS, California has always been a place for DREAMers and supports safe-haven schools and sanctuary cities that reflect and embrace the diversity of our students and their families, as well as the rich language and cultural assets they bring to our communities.”

The website also provides a variety of posters that can be used, including one that shows two hands in a handshake with the words “The Union Makes Us Strong.” Others promote the LGBTQ agenda with the new symbol that includes male, female and transgender.

A message left for Park Middle School Principal John Jimno seeking comment about the activities at the school proposed for next week was not returned.

An email was sent to Board President Walter Ruehlig, who is out of town on vacation, all board members and Superintendent Stephanie Anello asking if they were aware of this, if it was a district-wide effort and if they supported it.

Anello responded, “I am looking into this and will get back to you. I was unaware that this went out, etc. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.”

Board Vice President Debra Vinson said “I hadn’t heard of it. That’s news to me” and that there are “so many things that we need to reel in.”

In a later email message from Anello, she said Jimno was not aware of the memo, either and that he would be contacting the teacher who sent it.

“I was unaware of the email as was Mr. Jimno as he was out of the office yesterday,” Anello wrote. “According to Mr. Jimno, nothing has gone out to students or their families about this. CTA and its membership certainly have a right to free speech and expression that would include their ability to wear red and make posters and comments on the issues and to encourage their membership to do so. However, there is no legal basis for taking class time to direct students (or non-CTA staff) to do so as it is not part of a district approved curriculum. Mr. Jimno has already reached out to the teacher who sent the email and she will send out clarification letting teachers know.

“Thank you for bringing this to my attention,” she concluded.

Communist poster

On the website it provides background about the first International May Day.

“In his preface to the fourth German edition of the Communist Manifesto, which he wrote on May 1, 1890, Engels, reviewing the history of the international proletarian organizations, calls attention to the significance of the first International May Day:

As I write these lines, the proletariat of Europe and America is holding a review of its forces; it is mobilized for the first time as One army, under One Bag, and fighting One immediate aim: an eight-hour working day, established by legal enactment…. The spectacle we are now witnessing will make the capitalists and landowners of all lands realize that today the proletarians of all lands are, in very truth, united. If only Marx were with me to see it with his own eyes!

The significance of simultaneous international proletarian demonstrations was appealing more and more to the imagination and revolutionary instincts of the workers throughout the world, and every year witnessed greater masses participating in the demonstrations.”

Soviet Propaganda poster from the 70’s stating “We are in solidarity with you, Vietnam!”

On the same website the French Marxist, communist activist, essayist, and journalist, Boris Souvarine is quoted from his work entitled, The Call, published in 1920 about the Communist roots of May Day celebrations.

“Since the foundation of the Communist International, containing all the revolutionary forces of the world proletariat, the international manifestation of May Day has taken on a character of working-class solidarity which it never possessed before,” Souvarine wrote.

“Previously, when the Second International had resolved to choose the first day of May as the occasion to affirm the universal fraternity of the workers, the annual demonstration of the exploited of every country was a luminous symbol. But the Second International shed itself of its revolutionary spirit, and sunk more and more in opportunism, whilst the general strike of the May Day also lost its revolutionary spirit, for which was substituted an overweening concern for the ‘practical.’ And during the war when, more than ever, the solidarity of the proletariat was a pressing necessity, when Imperialism intensified the oppression and the exploitation of the producing class, the International backed out, and its weakening parties traitorously renounced the traditional celebration of May Day.”

On the CTA website, it explains why it chose May 1st and that it’s part of a national effort in coordination with the National Education Association (NEA), the national teachers’ union. They want parents and community members to support the effort at local schools, as well.

“Why May 1?

May 1st has been historically linked to international worker’ rights. On May 1, 1886, the U.S. Federation of Organized Trade and Labor Unions (including immigrant workers) ruled that an 8-hour work day, would be a full and legal work day. NEA and the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS) are also holding a national day of action on May 1. May 1, or May Day, continues to be a national day of action to raise awareness about immigration rights and the need to keep families together as they fight for a better life.  

How can I get involved?

CTA is asking our local chapters and members to hold actions with parents and community members at their local school sites. Actions may include “walk-ins” with parents and community members, unveiling new safe zone policies and safe zone resolutions, taking the pledge, hosting community meetings, and more. Please join our Facebook group and fill out our form to let us know how you are participating.”

However, nothing could be found on the NEA’s website regarding a national day of action on May 1st. 

Nothing could be found on the NEA’s website regarding a national day of action on May 1st. However, on the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools’ website, their May 1st day of action is entitled “Build Schools Not Walls” and is about opposing President Trump’s proposed wall on the border with Mexico and education for illegal immigrant students.

That website states, “Every community deserves quality public schools where immigrants are welcome and kids & families are safe, respected, and loved.”

Further, it states, “Join millions nationwide on May 1st, 2017:

Demand an end to mass deportation and threats to immigrant communities

Demand our schools be safe spaces free from the threats of ICE raids, racism, and bullying

Demand that billions not be spent on a wall, but on strengthening public schools to educate all our children regardless of immigration status.”

However, the AROS website only shows a few sites throughout the U.S. participating in their Day of Action and the only one in California is in Los Angeles.

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Publisher @ April 21, 2017

Celebrate Earth Day by helping keep Antioch beautiful, Saturday, April 22

Posted in: Community, Delta & Environment | Comments (1)

Annual Keep Antioch Beautiful Clean-Up Event

Earth Day is a big deal in Antioch.  The Annual Keep Antioch Beautiful Clean-Up Day brings families, students, and community groups together for a city-wide litter pick-up and garbage haul that contributes toward a clean community.  This year’s cleanup is on Saturday, April 22, 2017 from 8:30am to 11:00am.  There are five locations to volunteer, but you only need to pick one:

– Antioch High School

– Antioch Community Park at Jensen Family Grove

– Hillcrest Park at Larkspur Drive entrance

– Prewett Park at the Grand Plaza/Water Park

– Somersville Towne Center near Starbucks

There is a thank you BBQ after the clean-up at the Prewett Park Grand Plaza for all workers and volunteers.

Cash prizes are awarded to the schools that have the most number of volunteers participating in the clean-up.  To raise money for your school, individuals only need to write the name of the school on the registration and waiver forms.  High schools, middle schools, and elementary schools all qualify for the cash awards, and there is money for first, second, and third place participation.

Volunteers can show up the morning of the event to register and complete the event waiver form.

Advance registration is available at

Community volunteers started this event eight years ago, working side by side with the City of Antioch to keep our community litter free.  Sponsorships and monetary donations are always needed and can be sent to Leo Fontana LAF “Keep Antioch Beautiful,” 2730 Lone Tree Way, Suite #4, Antioch, CA 94509. All donations are tax deductible. For more information call the Environmental Resource Line at 925-779-6137.

For more information or to register your group visit

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Publisher @ April 21, 2017

Get your tickets now for the Antioch Historical Society BBQ & Beerfest, Sunday, May 7

Posted in: Community, History | Comments (0)

Download the ticket form, here: BBQ-Beerfest2017

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Publisher @ April 21, 2017

Pet Adoption Weekend and Pet Wash Fundraiser at Pet Food Express in Antioch, April 22 & 23

Posted in: Community, Pets & Animals | Comments (0)

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Publisher @ April 19, 2017

Sheriff’s Detectives seek additional child molestation victims of Richmond man

Posted in: News, Police & Crime | Comments (1)

JB Yancy

The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff is seeking additional possible victims in a child molestation case. Earlier this year, Detectives arrested 26-year-old JB Yancy following a three-month long investigation.

Alleged acts of molestation against a minor victim in North Richmond were brought to the attention of the Office of the Sheriff in late 2016. Detectives launched an investigation and confirmed the allegations. An arrest warrant was issued for Yancy.

Yancy was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on multiple counts of child molestation. He is currently being held in lieu of $1,000,000 bail.

Detectives believe there may be additional victims and would like to talk to anyone with any information. Yancy has resided in Vallejo, Richmond, and Fairfield. He approached his victim in a public place.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Sexual Assault Unit of the Investigation Division at (925) 313-2625. For any tips, please email: or call 866-846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.

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Publisher @ April 19, 2017

Writer shares comments to Antioch council on city’s $150 million in unfunded liabilities

Posted in: Opinion, Opinion, Letters to the Editor | Comments (11)

Dear Editor:

Following are the comments I made to the Antioch City Council during the budget session on Tuesday, April 11, 2017.

As to the Budget Staff Report to the City Council from Director Merchant dated 11 April 2017: City Unfunded Employee Retirement at PERS

  1. Agenda Item 1 page 1 / The actual unfunded CalPERS amount is somewhere between $150,000,000.00 and $160,000,000.00.  One hundred and forty million is a low-end number.
  2. Page 2 / Measure C will sunset and will not be renewed by the voters.  The mismanagement and lack of performance will cause it to fail.  I would not vote for a renewal and would work to defeat a renewal.
  3. Page 3 / Transfers from Water and Sewer, if as stated the City is doing a new study please know that if the City of Antioch attempts to transfer funds for Police Services I will immediately file suit to stop the transfer.  The City of Antioch must stop the shell game with transfers.
  4. Page 3 / Memorandum concerning salary increases.  This never should have been approved and needs to immediately be addressed by opening renegotiation with Police and other employees.
  5. Page 4 / Contract Code Enforcement / Fines should be equal to have this break even.  There should not be a $175,000.00 deficit.
  6. Page 4 / Golf Course / The entire golf course and facility is most likely not worth more than 5 million dollars in the open market.  In fact, the value may be as low as 3 million.  But the total amount owed to the City is not in any way sufficient to affect the budget shortfalls that we are looking at in 2018 to 2021.
  7. Page 6 / Measure C /See information in item 2 above.
  8. Page 7 / Measure O/  The City still fails to collect all the money due.  We just took in three new management accounts and none of the properties were registered with the City.  From the consumer side view this is a near failure on the part of the City.
  9. Page 8 / June 30 2019 Proposed Budget.  Director Merchant states correctly that nearly 3.5Million Dollars of expenditure increase is due to Salary and CalPERS.  Looking at anything else will not correct, fix or effect the road to Municipal Bankruptcy.
  10. Page 9 / Employees need to pay 50% or more of any fees paid to CalPERS.  Additionally, the City must terminate “Defined Retirement Benefit” and move to “Defined Retirement Contribution”.

The City of Antioch has 24 months until massive negative spending begins.  Bankruptcy is no more than 24 months from that time.  You can no longer kick the can down the road.

Mark Jordan


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Publisher @ April 19, 2017

Embezzlement, DUI, trespassing among Antioch Police calls for March 30 – April 5, 2017

Posted in: News, Police & Crime | Comments (0)

Following are the Antioch Police Department calls for service highlights as published in City Manager Ron Bernal’s Weekly Report dated April, 2017 and provided by Interim Chief of Police Tammany Brooks.

Calls for Service Summary

Time Period:  03/30/17 00:00:00 – 04/05/17 23:59:59

Number of Calls for Service: 1,735

Number of Case Reports: 260

Number of Arrests: 77

Felony: 26

Misdemeanor: 51

Arrests with DUI charge: 3

The data is based upon unaudited CAD/RMS data at time of report generation.

  • 4/5/17 at 4:56 pm, Wal-Mart loss prevention called APD dispatch and advised they had an employee, 19-year-old Kamya Gray in custody for embezzling $1200 from the store. An officer was dispatched to the store and learned that Gray was a cashier at the Wal-Mart and had stole $1200 from her register over a 4-day period. Gray also admitted to the officer that she stole the money. Gray was arrested for embezzlement and later booked into the County Jail.
  • 04/05/2017 at 7:27am, citizens in the area of Park Middle School called 911 regarding a possible student in the neighborhood with a mask over his face and holding an air soft gun in his hand. Officers responded to the area and located a 14-year-old student with a BB gun in his hand. He also had a bandana around his neck. The juvenile was detained without incident and eventually charged with an Antioch Municipal Code violation. He was released to school staff after our investigation was complete.
  • 4/2/17 at 10:30 pm, officers responded to the 7-Eleven at 3701 Sunset Lane for a report of an intoxicated subject passed out in the back seat of a vehicle. Officers contacted 19-year-old Osna Sharifi. Sharifi displayed objective symptoms of being under the influence of alcohol and was intoxicated to the point she could not care for herself.  In plain view on the front driver seat was a loaded handgun.  Sharifi was arrested for public intoxication and possession of a loaded firearm in public. Sharifi was booked into County Jail.
  • 4/1/17 at 11:03 am, officers were dispatched to Cortez Ct. and Buchanan Rd. for a vehicle collision. Upon arrival officers contacted 39-year-old Lionel White standing next to his vehicle. It was discovered White had collided into a parked car.  White displayed signs of alcohol intoxication.  After a series of field sobriety tests, White was arrested for DUI.  White was booked at the Antioch Jail and submitted to a breath test and then transported to County Jail.
  • 3/31/17 at 7:54 pm, officers were dispatched to a report of a non-injury traffic collision on A St. Upon arrival they contacted 30-year-old Luis Martinez who had collided into three parked cars. Martinez’s steering wheel separated from the vehicle and he hit a fourth car.  Martinez displayed signs of alcohol intoxication and admitted he had been drinking.  After administering field sobriety tests Martinez was arrested for DUI and sent to County Jail.
  • 03/31/2017 at 12:17 pm, a Chase Bank employee from the Delta Fair Blvd. branch called dispatch reporting a subject in the bank attempting to pass a fraudulent check. Officers arrived within a few minutes and contacted 46-year-old Regina Stokes who was waiting at the teller window. Officers spoke with the owner of Uncle Wang’s Chinese Restaurant in Pittsburg who advised the business was burglarized last night and company checks were stolen. Stokes was arrested for passing a fraudulent check and booked in the County Jail.
  • 3/30/17 at 5:40 pm, officers were dispatched to Tailgaters Sports Bar for the report of a male being verbally abusive towards the staff. Upon arrival, they located, 28-year-old Jon Bella inside the establishment at the pool tables. Bella was initially calm and willingly complied with officer’s request to go outside. Once outside Bella became upset that he was being asked to leave the bar, stating that this is where he hangs out and that nobody can tell him he has to leave. Officers advised Bella that he was no longer welcome at the bar tonight. Bella attempted to re-gain access to the bar on three different occasions. Bella was advised he would be placed under arrest if he attempted to re-enter the bar which he did. The manager of Tailgaters signed a Citizen’s Arrest form, and Bella was placed under arrest for trespassing. Bella booked into County Jail for likely to continue.


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Publisher @ April 19, 2017

Writer concerned about Antioch budget deficits, says no more taxes

Posted in: Opinion, Opinion, Letters to the Editor | Comments (0)

Dear Editor:

I saw a report in the Antioch Herald about future deficits in the city budget. The source of the problem is obvious. In general, public employee pay, medical benefits, and retirement have all escalated much faster than for comparable jobs in the private sector. This is a Statewide problem and must be addressed at every level of government. More tax is not the way to solve this problem.

I think it is time to take drastic steps. Do a better job of informing the citizens of Antioch that we have a problem. Only a few people will see a newspaper story. Put an insert in with the water bills. Contact every club, church and groups of every kind. Ask the Chamber of Commerce to request every business to post a prominent notice in their place of business. Refuse union demands for more and more. Stop thinking of more tax. Live within the current income.

If it takes bankruptcy to wake people up, then the City should start planning for a bankruptcy in a few years. Make every effort to balance the budget and if that fails then declare bankruptcy.

Joseph Ramus


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Publisher @ April 19, 2017