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Watchdog concerned about Antioch Council’s request for union-only hiring on new housing project

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Watchdog Logo 300x95 Watchdog concerned about Antioch Councils request for union only hiring on new housing projectBy Barbara Zivica

In 2001 the Antioch City Council approved a final development plan, tentative map, and Mitigated Negative Declaration for a 16 unit single family development on a 5.56 acre site located on the north side of Oakley Road, approximately 875 feet east of Willow Avenue. A use permit to develop the project, known as the Oakley Knolls Subdivision, was conditionally approved in May of 2003.
Now Discovery Builders Inc. is requesting approval to build 31 homes on the acreage, a 100% increase over the initial plan proposal, and residents of the area are understandably irate.

In August the Planning Commission provided feedback to the applicant, expressing concern in regard to the higher density and small lot sizes. Council discussed the project at their September 23rd in which they were presented a petition by Antioch resident Duane Shoemake requesting the project retain the same density and lot size of the original approval.

Following discussion Mayor Harper, recently served with a recall petition, and council requested the project include the following:

Traffic study

Project Labor Agreement (PLA), local hires and the Helmets to Hardcaps Program

Confirmation the sewer pipe can accommodate the proposed 31 units

Community Facilities District for Police Services

Owner occupied requirement for the standard duration

Some setbacks to accommodate boat or RV parking

NOTE to City Manager and Council: According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, in 2013 the union membership rate was 11.3%, the same as in 2012. PLAs, which require union only workers and require all apprentices be hired from union apprenticeship programs (Helmets to Hardcaps) are discriminatory and drive up the cost of a project. In 2002 Council voted in support of a “Resolution of the Antioch City Council in opposition to city required project labor agreements and similar city imposed requirements. I suspect the council would have to rescind that Sense of Council Resolution in order to impose a PLA on this project. As for Helmets to Hardcaps, the non-union “merit” or open shop contractors association has a similar apprenticeship program.

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Publisher @ October 23, 2014

Antioch’s Mayor Harper responds to recall petition

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By Allen Payton

On Wednesday, October 22, 2014, within the seven days allowed, Antioch Mayor Wade Harper submitted his 200-word statement in response to the Notice of Intention to Circulate Recall Petition served to him at the Tuesday, October 14 Antioch City Council meeting, and officially submitted on Thursday, October 16 to the City Clerk.

Below is his statement. A copy of the actual response can be viewed by clicking Mayor’s Response to Recall Petition.10-22-14.

Mayor Harper’s Reponse to the Recall Petition

As your Mayor and a retired Police Lieutenant, reducing crime is my top priority. Our families deserve to feel safe, that’s why I led the effort to approve Measure C – so Antioch would have funds to hire more police officers. Our community united and we hired 10 new officers (Officers Mike Perez, Kyle Smith, J.B. Hulleman, Marcos Torres, Kenneth Krein, Scott Duggar, Amel Sachnic, TrakKeo-Vann, Ben Padilla and Matt Allendorph), with 4 more currently in the academy – a total of 14 new crime-fighting officers. The cost of this recall may be up to $198,994.50 which could fund another 2 officers to make our streets safer. Under my leadership, Antioch has secured another $625,000 to hire 5 additional officers. Under my leadership, our Police Department conducts weekly crime suppression operations – one of which resulted in 87 arrests in just a five-day period. Nothing is more important thatn keeping our neighborhoods and children safe. But to achieve that goal, it’s going to take all of us working together. It’s time to end the divisiveness. I respectfully ask the Antioch community to ban together, to reject this recall, so we can continue this fight together.

Wade Harper

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Publisher @ October 23, 2014

Antioch Council candidates share their backgrounds, views and plans

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By John Crowder

There are eight candidates who have qualified to run for two seats on the Antioch City Council this year. They are Steven Bado, Karl Dietzel, Diane Gibson-Gray, Jeffrey Hall-Cottrell, Lori Ogorchock, Anthony Segovia, Lamar Thorpe, and Tony Tiscareno.

Two candidates, Steven Bado and Jeffrey Hall-Cottrell, although qualified for the ballot, do not appear to be running campaigns. Neither has substantial information posted on-line, and neither has attended candidate forums nor group interviews with the local news media. However, Bado did submit his candidate statement and brief biography for this article.

Here is some basic information on each of the seven candidates, culled from interviews, email responses to questions, and their campaign websites.

Steven Bado Antioch Council candidates share their backgrounds, views and plansSteven Bado is age 40 and has lived in Antioch for 37 years. He has been the General Sales Manager for Dublin Honda since 2003. Before that he worked for four years as an independent contractor with Explorer Van Corp. Bado is a graduate of the NADA Dealer Academy and Antioch High School.

In his candidate statement, he states:

I am real excited about running for City Council..I take pride in our city. I am tired of telling people where I live and there response is O” I want to turn Antioch around for all the different generations that are living here.

I have been helping the younger generations by getting them a Job at Dublin Honda were I am currently employed as the General Sales Manager. I want to see all of the kids succeed in their life and follow their dreams. Everyone needs a little help now and then and that’s why I want to be on the City Council

I want to make a difference in our city by supporting our Police Department, finding good after school programs for the kids. I want to make sure that when the older generation goes out that they fill safe and comfortable.

I take pride in my community and will listen to the residents of Antioch for suggestions on what they would like to see happen in there City and what challenges they have been facing.

I know I would do a great job for you. I am a very energetic man and want to see some great changes for Antioch.”

Karl Dietzel red shirt 225x300 Antioch Council candidates share their backgrounds, views and plans

Karl Dietzel

Karl Dietzel has long been a presence at Antioch city council meetings, where he has proven to be unafraid to voice his opinion. The 65-year-old, first generation immigrant from Germany has been living in Antioch since December, 1989.

For several years Dietzel has attended all city council meetings, and some committee and community meetings as well. He said he first got started contributing to Antioch when he helped a friend paint over graffiti.

Addressing his run for city council, Dietzel said, “I can’t sit on the sidelines anymore.” He spoke about living in a small house on a side street between Sycamore and Mahogany. Addressing the crime the area has become notorious for, he said, “There was always something on Sycamore, but Dogwood Way (where Dietzel resides) was not involved. Now we have almost daily shootings, trash, very few owner occupied homes, drugs, break-ins, loud music, yelling and screaming, and speeding cars.”

Dietzel went on to say, “Our neighboring cities keep growing, building, and luring good name businesses.” He said other nearby cities also maintain their streets and have good landscaping and parks, but this is not the case in Antioch. Here, he said, “crime is out of control, businesses are leaving, city property is not maintained, we are falling apart.”

Dietzel said, “I would like to help and push for a better Antioch, building needed infrastructure for economic growth.” He said he wants to make Antioch safer, and clearly increase the quality of life for residents.

Dietzel makes a point that he is, “not connected to anybody; not to builders, investors, fire or police organizations, unions, apartment property owners, simply to no one.” Because he is not beholden to any special interests, Dietzel says that, if elected, he will, “serve the people alone.”

Dietzel refuses to make campaign promises, noting that, if elected, “I am only one of five” city council members. Regardless, he has an extensive list of goals for the city.

With respect to community safety, Dietzel calls for full staffing of Code Enforcement and Community Service Officers. He wants to see a workload study done for the Antioch Police Department, in order to ensure resources are properly allocated, and calls for the installation of a system that would allow the police to pinpoint areas where gunfire occurs. He advocates for the “latest and best tools / training for our safety department,” and wants to reclaim the police substation at the Lone Tree Community Center from political parties. He also wants to reactivate the rental inspection program.

Dietzel believes that steps need to be taken to ensure good governance. In that regard, he calls for a two-term limit for elected officials, and for council members to provide detailed monthly expenditure lists to the public. He wants such expenditures to be voted on by the city council. He thinks there should be better follow-up of resident inquiries at city council meetings, that more public input needs to be solicited, and that a “code of conduct” should be established for the city council to answer inquiries from citizens. Dietzel wants to go back to a 40-hour work week for all city employees, and says that City Hall and the Police Department need to be open to residents from 8:00 to 5:00, Monday through Friday.

With respect to fiscal responsibility, Dietzel calls for an end to the taxpayer subsidies depleting Antioch revenues by the privatization of Prewett Water Park, the Lone Tree Golf Course, and the animal shelter. He believes that a collection department needs to be hired in order to bring in uncollected fees currently on the books. He doesn’t want to see any more raises for any city employee until, “our budget is solid and healthy.”

Dietzel sees the creation of jobs in the city as a priority. To spur economic growth, he advocates the hiring of “a sharp economic development director.” He further believes that all contracts let by the city should be awarded to local businesses, “no matter what.”

Other ideas promoted by Dietzel include establishing a database on rental units, locating rental property owners, turning on the electricity and water at a residence only with the permission of the owner, and better maintenance and upkeep of city property. He calls for finishing the boat launch area, and opening up the fenced-in park at the old boat launch area.

Dietzel encourages voters to speak with him at the city council meetings.

Diane Gibson Gray 235x300 Antioch Council candidates share their backgrounds, views and plans

Diane Gibson-Gray

Diane Gibson-Gray was elected to the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) board as a trustee in 2008. She is currently serving her second term on the board. She notes that AUSD is he second largest employer in the city of Antioch, with a budget of $130 million, over 1,800 employees, 19,000 students, and 23 school sites.

In addition to her six years on the school board, she has been the Executive Director for the Arts & Cultural Foundation of Antioch for 10 years. In that role, she plans exhibits at the Lynn House Gallery, manages the free Saturday Summer Concerts, and works with local nonprofit organizations to support community and cultural events.

Gibson-Gray also spent 28 years in the telecommunications industry. She had a diverse career, working in Customer Service, Marketing, and Government Affairs. Her last position in the industry was Regional Director of Customer Care. She retired from the industry in 2004.

Other local service she has been involved with includes the Keep Antioch Beautiful event, Coastal Cleanup Day, 4th of July 2012, and Antioch PD Neighborhood Cleanup. She has also served as a Chamber of Commerce board member.

Gibson-Gray’s top priorities are public safety, fiscal responsibility, and economic development. With respect to public safety, she advocates utilizing, “current Police Department and Code Enforcement staffing to provide the best coverage possible throughout the city.” On fiscal responsibility, she says her goal would be to, “contain costs using available funding wisely.” She also calls for increasing city services by bringing back the 40-hour work week for city staff.

Addressing economic development, Gibson-Gray says, because of current transportation improvements, “Now is the time for discussions with potential new business entities.” She also says that, “In today’s challenging economic climate, we must work smarter and make better use of limited resources. My diverse background has provided me with the skills needed to navigate the current local and state economic crises, hire successful district leaders and create an environment of open communications and collaborative relationships.” She goes on to say that, as an AUSD board member, she has, “been a voice for financial accountability, increased investment in the classroom, and school site safety.”

Lori O 240x300 Antioch Council candidates share their backgrounds, views and plans

Lori Ogorchock

Lori Ogorchock is a former Walnut Creek Reserve Police Officer, worked for the California State Automobile Association for 19 years, and currently works as a Realtor, a job she has had for 10 years.

Ogorchock also has extensive community service experience. She is the Director for the Delta Association of Realtors, and a member of their local government relations sub-committee. She is currently the Member and Club Service Chair of the Delta-Antioch Rotary. In the past, she has been involved with Soroptomist International, the Antioch City Park Design Committee, and the Keller Williams Leadership Council.

Ogorchock boasts extensive volunteer work with Antioch’s youth, having been involved with the Delta Peanut League, Antioch Little League, Antioch Babe Ruth, Antioch Youth Football League, was on the Sutter School Elementary School Site Council, and is a catechism teacher at Holy Rosary Church.

Ogorchock’s main goal for Antioch is to put community safety first. She says, “I will ensure Measure C funds are used as promised for police, plain and simple.” Other goals she has are downtown revitalization, reasonable taxation of businesses, and economic growth. With respect to redevelopment, she said, “Our seniors deserve the best treatment, building condos where there should be a park is just foolishness.” She calls for the simplification of taxes, and fairness in taxation, and believes that community safety combined with business friendly attitudes will stimulate the local economy.

Segovia 182x300 Antioch Council candidates share their backgrounds, views and plans

Anthony Segovia

Anthony Segovia is the youngest candidate for Antioch city council, at 27-years old. While admitting he doesn’t have the experience that some of his competitors do, he none-the-less says he will bring new ideas to the council. His slogan on his campaign signs reads, “Out with the old, in with the new.”

Segovia says his educational and work background are precisely what Antioch needs now. “Having a degree in broadcast journalism and being a financial analyst, I have what it takes to assess Antioch’s financial situation and hear the citizen’s concerns,” he says.

Segovia said his top priority is crime prevention. Therefore, his main goal is to hire more police officers. He also advocates hiring more Community Service Officers.

Another priority of Segovia’s would be to encourage business development by making Antioch more business friendly. He advocates bringing back festivals and other events to revitalize the downtown.

Lamar Thorpe tells a compelling story of overcoming serious adversity. Thorpe said that he was born in prison to a mother addicted to heroin in 1981, placed in foster care, and raised by a family who emigrated to the U.S. from Mexico. He says that he was placed in Special Education in 5th grade, and graduated from high school not knowing how to read or write.

Lamar Thorpe 240x300 Antioch Council candidates share their backgrounds, views and plans

Lamar Thorpe

Thorpe currently works on the executive team of the San Jose-Evergreen Community College District as Chief Advancement Officer.

Thorpe’s priorities as a council member for Antioch would be job growth, community safety, and citizen engagement.

Thorpe says that, “Antioch suffers from a severe jobs and housing imbalance.” To remedy this, he would, “incentive job growth, cultivate new sectors, promote smarter growth, and address local workforce and community needs.”

Thorpe connects community safety to jobs as well. “The facts are clear,” he states, “as the unemployment rate increases, so does crime.” Thorpe advocates ensuring Measure C funds go directly to hiring new police officers, community service officers, and code enforcement officers. He also calls for, “addressing the needs of our youth, young adults, and the broader community through public-private partnerships.” In addition, he wants to, “work with county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to ensure our police officers receive the tools and resources to conduct crime suppression operations.”

With respect to citizen engagement, Thorpe says, “In Antioch leaders need to talk less and listen more. As a civic and higher education leader, I have always valued civic engagement as a process where constituents are able to speak and influence the decision making process.”

Thorpe currently sits on Antioch’s Economic Development Commission.

Tony Tiscareno 287x300 Antioch Council candidates share their backgrounds, views and plans

Tony Tiscareno

Tony Tiscareno is currently an appointed incumbent on the Antioch City Council. He also works as a Realtor with Keller Williams. A resident of Antioch for 45 years, and a 1975 graduate of Antioch High School, he worked at U.S. Steel for 33 years, served as both Vice President and President of United Steelworkers Local 1440, and was Political Director of the Contra Costa Labor Council from 2007-2011. He’s also been a small business owner.

When asked why he is running for city council, Tiscareno said, “As a 45-year resident of Antioch, I am passionate about the city I grew up in. This is where I attended school, married, raised my children, and where I want to spend the rest of my life. I believe I have the leadership skills needed to be a productive council member and my experience working with organizations, community and elected officials allows me to be that leader.”

Asked about his priorities, Tiscareno said, “We have many challenges to overcome before we can become the great city I know we can be. Getting a handle on crime is my priority and I have the leadership skills to work with our police, city, and our citizens to reduce crime. I am very proud to be the “ONLY” candidate endorsed by our police officers because they believe I have the wherewithal as a leader to accomplish this goal. I will continue to support hiring more police officers and code enforcement and will actively participate and promote our neighborhood watch and cleanups. Working with businesses to bring jobs to our city is a priority and I will continue to do so. I also want to provide resources for our youth through our recreation department.”

Tiscareno also addressed his accomplishments as a sitting council member. “Since public safety is my priority, I have worked on bringing resources to help hire police, including a $600,000 COPS grant that will bring in six more police officers and supporting Measure C where 100% of those funds will go to police and code enforcement. I’m working with businesses to help reduce crime such as the LOOKING OUT FOR YOU program with our waste/recycle collectors. Because of my leadership and passion to reduce crime, I am very honored to be the “ONLY candidate endorsed by our police officers.”

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Publisher @ October 23, 2014

Antioch City Council candidate Thorpe continues to deny sex charges

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

Lamar Thorpe Antioch City Council candidate Thorpe continues to deny sex charges

Lamar Thorpe

By John Crowder

Lamar Thorpe, a candidate for the Antioch city council, continues to refute charges that came to light earlier this month that he was found guilty of disorderly conduct for “lewd and indecent behavior” by Student Judicial Services (SJS) at George Washington University (GW). The charges stemmed from an incident that took place in September, 2006, according to a University Police Department (UPD) Incident Report that was obtained by the GW Hatchet. Thorpe was a 25-year-old senior and serving as student body president at GW, at the time.

As a result of the SJS hearing, he was placed on one year of disciplinary probation. During that time, Thorpe continued at the university, obtaining a Master’s Degree in Women’s Studies and serving as a Presidential Fellow.

The third and final Hatchet article on the matter, dated August 17, 2007, all of which are still online, stated the following:

A female sophomore accused Thorpe and then-Vice President of Student Activities Richard Fowler of forcing her to perform oral sex and drink excessively in September 2006, a University Police Department Incident Report states. The report, which was filed on April 22, classifies the alleged offense as first-degree sexual abuse. Both Thorpe and Fowler have repeatedly said they are unaware of the alleged incident and of a case before SJS.

Thorpe…lost an appeal to overturn the disorderly conduct charge, according to SJS records. A sanction letter states that his punishment is one year of disciplinary probation until May 2008.

Based upon various standards and guidelines as established by campus organizations, departments, administrators, and/or faculty, conditions of your probation may include exclusion from co-curricular activities,” the letter states. “Violations of the terms of Disciplinary Probation or any other violations of this ‘Code’ during the period of probation may result in suspension or expulsion from the University.”

…“Thorpe was 25 and the other three students were 19 at the time the complaint was reported to UPD, according to the Incident Report.”

The complete Gazette article can be viewed by clicking here.

Thorpe failed to respond to multiple attempts by Herald staff to contact him about this article. However, in a statement he released earlier this month on his personal Facebook page, Thorpe said, “In short, this student article, which was published nearly 10-years ago, is not true. Please remember that what you are reading is neither a news article nor a publication of George Washington University. The GW Hatchet is a student run publication nothing more, nothing less.” Thorpe also said that the “student online” newspaper, because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), is severely limited in its ability to make a full and accurate account. Later in the statement, he refers to the charges as “hearsay from almost 10 years ago.”

His complete statement can be viewed below.

Lamar Thorpe statement Antioch City Council candidate Thorpe continues to deny sex charges

The implication by Thorpe that the story lacked journalistic integrity, however, is disputed both by David Ceasar, the author of the articles regarding Thorpe, and by current editor-in-chief of the 110-year-old paper, Brianna Gurciullo.

Everything we reported was accurate,” said Gurciullo, “you’ll notice there were no corrections to the story.”

Gurciullo went on to describe a particularly stringent verification process for the story about Thorpe. She said it involved sourcing things multiple times, dozens of interviews, and triple-checking everything. She said the paper’s staff had copies of the UPD incident report, information from Student Judicial Services, and a statement from a witness other than the alleged victim who filed the report. She also said that all interviews were recorded, and that their attorney reviewed the article prior to publication.

Gurciullo also said that the article was posted online because the story broke in the summer. According to Gurciullo, the paper appears in print only during the academic year, but articles are posted on-line year round.

Thorpe, however, continues to stand by his story.

I appealed the decision, I won and on July 1, 2008, my student judicial record was expunged,” he said.

The Herald contacted GW in an attempt to verify the facts of the case, but was met with resistance from the university. Kurtis Hiatt, Associate Director of Media Relations for GW, responded by email, “In accordance with the federal privacy law and university policy on the privacy of student education records, the George Washington University does not confirm whether a disciplinary record exists or comment, discuss, or disclose information in relation to any current or former student’s disciplinary record with the University.”

Past Denials

Thorpe also denied the charges in 2010, while a candidate for the House of Delegates in Maryland. According to a news article on The Examiner website, he posted a video on YouTube (which has since been removed) in which “Thorpe attempted to blame the confusion over this topic on his opponents in the race.” The complete Examiner article can be viewed by clicking here

In another news article posted on the website for The Gazette in Gaithersburg, Maryland, also during his 2010 campaign, it states Thorpe “accused his political opponents of ‘misinforming the public by using a 2007 student article that maliciously stated false claims about me.’” and that he “could not recall the precise nature of the disorderly conduct charge and declined to discuss the matter further.”

The complete Gazette article can be viewed by clicking here.

Thorpe is one of eight candidates running for two seats on the Antioch City Council in the November election.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Publisher @ October 23, 2014

Parks Director Beverly Lane endorses Burgis

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

Dear Editor:

When you vote, be sure to support Diane Burgis who is running for East Bay Regional Parks Director District in Brentwood, Byron, Discovery Bay, Oakley, Antioch, Pittsburg, Bay Point, Martinez, Crockett, Hercules and Pinole. Diane brings new energy, a knowledge of environmental education, and great experience working with Boards and Councils.

She is executive director of Friends of Marsh Creek and has a devotion to open space and parks which in unrivaled in this election. Both retiring Director Ted Radke and Congressman George Miller support her.

I am an EBRPD Board member whose Ward extends east to Round Valley and north through Concord who would love to welcome a new Board member with Diane’s dedication to public service.

Vote for Diane Burgis for EBRPD Director of Ward 7 on your November 4 ballot.

Thank you,

Beverly Lane

Director, EBRPD Ward 6 in Contra Costa County

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Publisher @ October 23, 2014

Walter Ruehlig offers an approach for kids who are acting out after school

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

Dear Editor:

Student, staff and public safety is vital. Start with the parents. Face it, we are going around in circles if we don’t get their support. Reach out by home visits, phone calls, e-mails, evening assemblies.

Then implement a two-pronged approach of serious consequence mixed with serious rehabilitation, One without the other guarantees a revolving door. Yes, meter out the rules, but, being constructive, identify student offenders who are failing (which, I promise you, most of the acting-out kids will be). With parental support, put the kids in a period eight and nine tutoring and credit recovery class. Connect to individual needs: counselors, social workers, psychologists or simply adult mentors.

Now our at-risk kids are no longer out on the streets but raising their academics and getting guidance. Have guest speakers from the community talk on life skills and the consequences of wise and unwise life decisions. If they become repeat offenders, move students away from their buddies to an all-day credit-recovery site. No games or free pass, but tough love and a helping hand.

Walter Ruehlig, Antioch

Ruehlig is a candidate for the Antioch School Board in the November election.

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Publisher @ October 23, 2014

County School Board candidates offer details on backgrounds, top priorities

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

By John Crowder

Four candidates are vying for two seats, each of which includes parts of Antioch, on the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) board. Richard Asadoorian, the incumbent serving Area 4, is being challenged by Mike Maxwell. Cynthia Ruehlig, the incumbent serving Area 5, is being challenged by Jeff Belle. Three of the candidates, Asadoorian, Maxwell, and Ruehlig, provided the Herald with answers to questions in which they outlined their backgrounds, experience, positions, and what they consider the most important issues in the current election. Belle, who has been dealing with allegations regarding a criminal past, and recent news articles alleging he falsified his education and medical credentials, did not respond.

Career History

Richard Asadoorian County School Board candidates offer details on backgrounds, top priorities

Richard Asadoorian

Richard Asadoorian was a classroom teacher, counselor, high school principal, director of Summer Youth Employment Training Program, restaurant owner, church youth director, served in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Coast Guard, was a domestic violence counselor for three years, and trained and was a Court Appointed Special Advocate (abused and abandoned children).

Mike Maxwell is currently Vice President of Sales for TaylorMade Water Systems/Waterlogic. He has been working for the firm since 2005. He was also the CEO for San Francisco Giants – Baseball Camps from 1996 to 2004. From 1993 to 2002 he worked for the Mt. Diablo Region YMCA as Membership, Program, and Executive Director(s). From 1984 to 1993 he was Leadership/Student Activities Director, and worked as a coach in football, baseball, golf, tennis and basketball for Monte Vista High School in Danville.

Cynthia Ruehlig is currently a Senior Level Clerk with Contra Costa County, a position she has held for 17 years. Prior to that she worked for the Central Contra Costa County Sanitary District as a Risk Management Technician. She was also a franchise owner of Teves Dry Cleaning and Steam Laundry, and worked as a computer teacher for Global Computers Corporation.

Education History

Mike Maxwell 300x285 County School Board candidates offer details on backgrounds, top priorities

Mike & Shari Maxwell

Richard Asadoorian has both a BA and MA from California State University, Fresno.

Mike Maxwell graduated from Monte Vista High School in 1981, and then attended Diablo Valley College and San Francisco State University, where he received a BA in Speech Communications in 1987.

Cynthia Ruehlig holds a BA in English from St. Scholastica’s College, Manila, and attended California State University, East Bay, obtaining a certificate in Nonprofit Management.

Why Running?

Richard Asadoorian said he was running, “to continue my service in the County Office of Education by representing the 220,000 people in Area 4 as well as Contra Costa County as a whole. To complete my election term as a delegate assembly person to the California School Boards Association and the executive committee of the California County Boards of Education. To advocate for the best legislation to serve the 173,000 students and 18 school districts in the county.”

Mike Maxwell said he was running for the following reasons:

  • It’s time we put the needs of the kids first, teachers and staff a close second

  • We need more folks fiscally responsible

  • The families and employees need a voice at the county level

  • Change is good

Cynthia Ruehlig said, “I grew up in the Philippines under Martial Law. The concept of People Power unfolded and became a reality before my eyes. The experience of the People Power revolution made me aware of the importance of the democratic process. It has molded my conviction that if you want something done – do it yourself.” She went on to say, “I believe I have the knowledge, experience, and constitution needed to become a good trustee for the County Board of Education. The CCCBOE, as an appellate body, must, at all times, maintain neutrality and uphold the intent of the law. It must adhere to its complementary role to the Office of the County Superintendent in order to ensure efficient operation of the County Office of Education.

Cynthia Ruehlig 208x300 County School Board candidates offer details on backgrounds, top priorities

Cynthia Ruehlig

Top Priorities

Richard Asadoorian said his top priorities are “to ensure that the best educational practices are being delivered to our students, to offer full transparency in board dealings, to assist districts in conducting their fiscal duties, and to be visible to my constituents.”

Mike Maxwell said his top priorities are the same as the reasons he is running for office.

Cynthia Ruehlig said her top priorities are to maintain fiscal solvency, promote transparency and accessibility, provide career oriented education and improve academic performance. She also said she wants to maintain neutrality, uphold the California Education Code, and ensure fairness in all adjudicative decisions.

Previous Accomplishments

Richard Asadoorian lists his accomplishments as being a member of the Antioch Economic Commission, and his service on the Board policy committee. Asadoorian sings the National Anthem for many civic and school functions, and is a Neighborhood Watch Captain.

Mike Maxwell listed his previous accomplishments as:

  • Developed Monte Vista High School Leadership into a self-sufficient and fiscally contributing portion of the operation of he school

  • CASC Leadership Program of the Year, MVHS, 1984

  • Brought YMCA programs to 600+ students annually at 8 high schools

  • Past President, Rotary Club of Pleasant Hill

Cynthia Ruehlig listed her previous accomplishments as:

  • Trustee, Contra Costa County Board of Education

  • Cofounder and Nonprofit Administrator – Antioch Music Foundation

  • Advisory Board Member – Fil-Am Society of St. Ignatius

  • Past Member – Contra Costa County Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Council

  • Past Chief Shop Steward – AFSCME Local 2700

  • Past Member – Conciliation Forums of Oakland

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Publisher @ October 23, 2014

Assemblyman Jim Frazier Joins Bay Area BikeMobile in Antioch Thursday

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Antioch High School Bike Club Hosts Free Community Cycling Festival

On Thursday, October 23, the Antioch High School Bike Club (ABC) and Street Smarts 511 will host Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D – Oakley) and the Bay Area BikeMobile at a free cycling festival at the Antioch High Main Quad, 700 West 18th Street, Antioch. The event is scheduled for 3 to 5 p.m. with a range of activities including free bicycle repairs (courtesy of the Bay Area BikeMobile), a BMX stunt show, door prizes and free giveaways.

This is an important community program that empowers individuals to practice safe and ecofriendly transportation options,” said Assemblymember Frazier. “BikeMobile has shown overwhelming dedication to utilizing transportation resources in regions where they are most needed, and I applaud Antioch youth for the positive contributions they are making to the local area through their public service.”

The Bay Area’s newest BikeMobile is on the move, out to fix bicycles in all corners of the San Francisco Bay Area. The repair shop on wheels is tuning up bikes free of charge for trips to school, to work and around the neighborhood. And the service goes way beyond fixing a flat — they help youths repair their bikes and keep them in good repair, teach mechanics and how to ride safely, and provide free refurbished bicycles and accessories when available.

Our goal is to get people riding again and more confident about how to do repairs,” said Tommy Bensko of Local Motion, the company implementing the Bay Area BikeMobile program through June 2015.

The Bay Area BikeMobile launched in March 2014 with the help of a $480,000 grant from the Spare the Air Youth program, which is funded by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) with funds from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program. Since March, the Bay Area BikeMobile has repaired thousands of bicycles at dozens of events throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. To see where the Bay Area BikeMobile will be in coming months and/or to schedule a visit, go to

For more information about the Spare the Air Youth Program, a partnership between MTC and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, visit MTC is the regional transportation planning, coordinating and financing agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is the regional agency responsible for protecting air quality in the nine-county Bay Area.

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Publisher @ October 23, 2014