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Antioch Council to consider changing to district elections Tuesday in light of threatened lawsuit

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

One of the graphs in the attorney’s letter showing the distribution of votes by Latino residents of Antioch in the 2016 City Council election, supporting his argument of racially polarized voting in the city.

Attorney claims current system “dilutes the ability of Latinos to elect candidates of their choice”; offers Evidence of Racially Polarized Voting in Antioch

By Allen Payton

At their Tuesday night Jan. 23 meeting, the Antioch City Council will vote to give their intent to convert from at-large to district elections beginning this November. The action is in response to a letter from a Walnut Creek attorney Scott J. Rafferty threatening a lawsuit if the council doesn’t make the change.

The current system of at-large elections means each City Councilmember is elected by the registered voters of the entire City. District elections in Antioch will result in dividing the city into four equal sections by population, and only those who want to run to represent the specific district must live in that part of town. With Antioch having an elected mayor, that position will still be elected city wide.

According to the staff report, in his letter received on November 17, 2017 Rafferty “asserts that the City’s at-large electoral system dilutes the ability of Latinos (a protected class) to elect candidates of their choice or otherwise influence the outcome of Antioch council elections.” He thus asserts “that the City’s at-large council member electoral system violates the California Voting Rights Act” (CVRA).”

Rafferty, representing the Bay Area Voting Rights Initiative (BAVRI), explained the background for his letter, in which he wrote, “In 2001, the Legislature determined that the use of at-large elections (by cities and districts that are characterized by racially polarized voting) dilutes the influence of minority voting blocks.”

Yet, the City has elected Latinos to the Antioch City Council, for over 25 years, including former Mayor Mary Rocha, former Mayor Pro Tem Manny Soliz, former Councilman Ralph Hernandez and current Councilman Tony Tiscareno.

Offers Evidence of Racially Polarized Voting

However, Rafferty offered some statistics and graphs demonstrating how each candidate for Antioch Mayor and City Council in 2016 did better among voters of their same Race. His report states, “the 2016 election results shows [sic] that, with very few exceptions, every white candidate did better the fewer minority voters were in the precinct. Similarly, African American candidates fared far better in the communities with the largest number of black voters. The Latina candidate (referring to Rocha who unsuccessfully ran for re-election) had a marked advantage in the Latino precincts. At the precinct level, there is substantial evidence that Antioch voters disproportionately vote for candidates of their own race.”

Then Rafferty offered details about specific candidates, writing, “For every one percent black voters increased in a precinct, Lamar Thorpe’s margin increased .57%. In Latino precincts, Mary Rocha got .37% greater margin for each added one percent Latino voters. (Ken) Turnage’s lead in non-minority precincts increased .67% for each additional percentage of voters who were white.”

He provides further “Evidence of Racially Polarized Voting” in his letter, which can be viewed, here: Rafferty Letter re Antioch District Elections

Other Benefits of District Elections

Rafferty argues that even if there isn’t racially polarized voting, there are other benefits to district elections. “Single member districts reduce the cost of elections, both to candidates and to the city. Districting will substantially reduce the entry costs of running for office,” he writes.

Arguments Against Districting

Then he argues against district elections writing, “Districting sometimes reduces the electoral strength of the very groups that it is designed to help. If Latinos do vote as a bloc, and comprise 15% of voters, they may exercise…decisive influence in the election of every member. Relatively few cities that have converted to single member districts have seen a significant increase in minority office holders. The greatest risk is that there will be no qualified candidate willing to stand for election in a new district. In such a case, the remaining members appoint, which completely disenfranchises voters in the new ‘minority’ district.”

Rafferty further writes that, “Districting can also force the community to choose among incumbents or other well-qualified candidates, when all could have been elected in the at-large system. The transition sequence may also have adverse effects. In a staggered system, the incumbents serve out their term. In the first election, the districts with the largest minority populations generally choose district members first.” He cites Elections Code Section 10010(b) which states “sequence must consider purposes of CVRA and preference by members (residents?) of the districts.”

He concludes that “Although the incumbents in Antioch are not closely clustered, none inhabits the high-minority area (assuming the registrar’s precinct racial data is accurate)” and that “It is extremely  likely that a formal analysis will confirm that Antioch experiences racially polarized voting, which dilutes the electoral influence of the city’s protected racial and language groups,  particularly Latinos.”

Could Affect Current Incumbents Up for Reelection This Year

The proposed resolution for the Council’s consideration states, “the adoption of a district-based elections system will not affect the terms of any sitting Council Member, each of whom will serve out his or her current term.” However, both Tiscareno and Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock are up for election in November. If they both reside in the same district, they would have to face each other in the election. But, if either of them live in the same district as either Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe or Councilwoman Monica Wilson, or both, they could not run this year, as there will be no election held in those districts. The other option for Tiscareno or Ogorchock is to move into one of the districts that are up for election.

Other cities in the county have been targets of similar threats from Rafferty and an attorney from Southern California, including Martinez and Concord. That latter city voted earlier this month to change to district elections, to also avoid a lawsuit.

The California Legislature in amendments to Elections Code Section 10010, has provided a method whereby a jurisdiction can quickly change to a by-district election system and avoid the high cost of litigation under the CVRA, known as a “safe harbor” from such lawsuits.

So, on January 9, 2018, the City Council met in Closed Session to consider the threatened CVRA litigation and, after weighing the legal implications and potential costs of such litigation, and without admitting the validity of the contentions raised in Rafferty’s letter, directed the City Attorney to move forward with the resolution of intent to transition from at-large to district-based elections. The action is in compliance with a 45-day deadline (and a 30-day extension) in order to take advantage of the “safe harbor” allowances under state law. Under this “safe harbor,” the City is required to hold five public hearings within an additional 90-day period. The hearings will offer Antioch residents the opportunity to make comments to the Council on the composition of the districts and to provide input regarding the content of the draft maps and the proposed sequence of elections. The final public hearing will be when the Council votes to consider an ordinance establishing district-based elections. The Council will decide at Tuesday’s meeting when they will hold those public hearings.

If the council approves the change to district elections the city will have to pay up to $30,000 to Rafferty for his fees and costs, as well as pay a demographer and possibly other consultants. Otherwise the City could face the “extraordinary cost” of defending against a CVRA lawsuit and risk “losing such a lawsuit which would require the City to pay the prevailing plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees.

Public Will Get To See Maps, First

However, the resolution includes a provision for the public to see the proposed map of the districts, first stating, “before the City Council’s consideration of an ordinance to establish district boundaries for a district-based electoral system, California Elections Code Section 10010 requires all of the following:

  1. Prior to drawing a draft map or maps of the proposed boundaries of the districts, the City shall hold at least two public hearings over a period of no more than 30 days, at which the public will be invited to provide input regarding the composition of the districts;
  2. After all draft maps are drawn, the City shall publish and make available for release at least one draft map and, if members of the City Council will be elected in their districts at different times to provide for staggered terms of office, the potential sequence of the elections shall also be published. The City Council shall also hold at least two additional hearings over a period of no more than 45 days, at which the public shall be invited to provide input regarding the content of the draft map or maps and the proposed sequence of elections, if applicable. The first version of a draft map shall be published at least seven days before consideration at a hearing. If a draft map is revised at or following a hearing, it shall be published and made available to the public for at least seven days before being adopted.”

The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 200 W. 2nd Street in historic, downtown Rivertown or can be viewed on local cable channel 24, or via the City’s website by clicking here.

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Publisher @ January 23, 2018

Second murder charge filed against driver in stolen vehicle crash in Antioch last Wednesday

Posted in: News, Police & Crime, District Attorney, Sheriff-Coroner | Comments (0)

Screenshot from ABC7 News of Camila and Lenexy Cardoza, the victims of a fatal stolen vehicle crash in Antioch, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018.

Second Cardoza daughter dies; Bail for suspect increased to $2,130,000

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office has filed an additional murder charge against 23-year-old Noe Saucedo of Pittsburg.

On Friday the DA’s Office filed formal charges against Saucedo. He was charged with murder, felony evading, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of heroin.

Saucedo remains in custody at the Martinez Detention Facility. He is being held in lieu of $2,130,000 bail.

We are saddened to report that 2-year-old Camila Cardoza was officially pronounced deceased at the hospital. Camila was a passenger, along with her sister Lenexy, in a vehicle that was struck by a stolen pick-up truck driven by Noe Saucedo on Wednesday on Somersville Road in Antioch. Lenexy was killed in the collision.

The investigation into the collision is ongoing by the Contra Costa County D.A.’s Office, California Highway Patrol, Antioch Police Department and the Office of the Sheriff per the officer-involved protocol. Investigators are trying to determine why suspect Saucedo stole the Ford F-250 pick-up truck in Pittsburg, why he accelerated away from a Deputy Sheriff who was following him, and why he ran through a red light at the intersection of Somersville Road and the eastbound Highway 4 off-ramp before colliding into another vehicle. In addition, tests are being conducted to determine if Saucedo was impaired in any way.

Anyone with any information on this incident or who may have witnessed it is asked to contact the Office of the Sheriff Investigation Division at (925) 313-2600. For any tips, please email: tips@so.cccounty.us or call 866-846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.

For further news about this case on ABC7 News, click here.

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Publisher @ January 22, 2018

East County March for Equality & Unification in Antioch Saturday, Jan. 27

Posted in: Community | Comments (0)

On Saturday, January 27, 2018, there will be an East County March for Equality and Unification. Starting at 10 AM at the Somersville Towne Center mall, 2550 Somersville Road in Antioch, community members will gather and proceed down Delta Fair Blvd.  The march will end at Los Medanos College, culminating with a rally that ends at 1:00 PM. During the rally, there will be multiple speakers from various faith groups and civic groups.

This march is a positive event to foster equality for all and unification across the diverse makeup of the East County communities. The march, crossing between the two cities of Antioch and Pittsburg, signifies a connection between all the communities within East County. We are stronger together than apart.

The march is sponsored by the East County Branch of the NAACP, Indivisible East Contra Costa County, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Contra Costa County and Todos Unidos.

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Publisher @ January 21, 2018

Murder, other charges filed against driver of stolen vehicle in Wednesday crash in Antioch

Posted in: News, Police & Crime, District Attorney, Sheriff-Coroner | Comments (1)

Bail set at $1,130,000 for Pittsburg resident Noe Saucedo

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

Noe Saucedo arrest photo. By Contra Costa County Sheriff

Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office this afternoon filed formal charges against Noe Saucedo, the suspect who drove a stolen pick-up truck on Wednesday that crashed into another vehicle on Somersville Road in Antioch. He is being charged with murder, felony evading, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of hero-in. 23-year-old Saucedo of Pittsburg remains in custody at the Martinez Detention Facility. He is being held in lieu of $1,130,000 bail.

The investigation into the collision is ongoing by the Contra Costa County D.A.’s Office, California Highway Patrol, Antioch Police Department and the Office of the Sheriff per the officer-involved protocol. Investigators are trying to determine why suspect Saucedo stole the Ford F-250 pick-up truck in Pittsburg, why he accelerated away from a Deputy Sheriff who was following him, and why he ran through a red light at the intersection of Somersville Road and the eastbound Highway 4 off-ramp before colliding into another vehicle. In addition, tests are being conducted to determine if Saucedo was impaired in any way.

Yesterday, the four-year-old girl who was killed in the vehicle collision was identified as Lenexy Cordoza. Her two-year-old sister and mother remain at the hospital.

“Clearly, suspect Saucedo took a series of actions that led to this tragedy,” said Contra Costa Sheriff David Livingston. “We are saddened by the loss of life and offer our deepest sympathies to the family.”

Anyone with any information on this incident or who may have witnessed it is asked to contact the Office of the Sheriff at (925) 646-2441. For any tips, please email: tips@so.cccounty.us or call 866-846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.

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Publisher @ January 19, 2018

Nominations now open for annual community awards at Antioch Chamber of Commerce Inaugural Gala March 9

Posted in: Business, Community, People, Youth | Comments (0)

The Antioch Chamber of Commerce annually celebrates the best of Antioch for their contributions in developing the social and economic well-being of our community.

Friday, March 9, 2018

6:00 PM Hors d’Oeurvres

Silent Auction

7:00 PM Dinner

7:45 Program Begins

Lone Tree Golf Course & Event Center

4800 Golf Course Road, Antioch CA 94531

Cost Per Person: $75 per Person or

Cost Per Table: $700 for a table of eight.

Dress: Cocktail Attire

The Chamber is pleased to open nominations for 2017 in the following categories:

Youth of the Year Download Youth of the Year Nomination Form

Non-profit of the Year Download Non-profit of the Year Nomination Form

Citizen of the Year – Most Impact Download Citizen of the Year – Most Impact – Nomination Form

Citizen of the Year – Lifetime Achievement Download Citizen of the Year – Lifetime Achievement – Nomination Form

Small Business of the Year Download Small Business of the Year Nomination Form

Large Business of the Year Download Large Business of the Year Nomination Form

Green Business of the Year – this will be the first year for this award, and the winner will be selected and presented by Delta Diablo Sanitation District Download Green Business of the Year Nomination Form Nomination forms must be completed and received by the Antioch Chamber of Commerce no later than Friday, January 26, 2018. Please complete these forms and fax to 925.757.5286.  You can also send by email to frontdeskadmin@antiochchamber.com

Or mail it to:

The Antioch Chamber of Commerce, 101 H Street, Unit 4, Antioch CA 94509

 

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Publisher @ January 18, 2018

Work to be done on Kirker Pass Road Jan. 24 & 25

Posted in: News, Transportation | Comments (0)

The Contra Costa County Public Works Department will perform roadwork on Kirker Pass Road at the intersection of Hess Road (south) on Wednesday and Thursday, January 24 and 25, 2018, weather permitting, to replace the center-divide crash cushion system. 

Traffic will be controlled with temporary single-lane closures reducing the two lanes to a single lane in both directions.  Turning left from Kirker Pass Road (southbound) onto Hess Road will not be permitted during the work.  The lane closures will occur between the hours of 9:00 am – 3:00 pm.  Changeable message sign boards and other construction signs will be placed in advance of the work.      

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Publisher @ January 18, 2018

CHP Motorcycle Officer injured by DUI driver on Monday recovering from surgery on legs

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

Pittsburg woman arrested on multiple counts

Officer Martin Lendway following surgery on his legs. Photo by CHP-Contra Costa

By CHP – Contra Costa

In a post on the CHP – Contra Costa Facebook page on Wednesday it states, “Officer Martin Lendway is a true CHP MOTOR with Blue & Gold running through his veins!! He had successful surgery on both legs and has started his long road to recovery. We truly appreciate everyone’s warm wishes and thoughts & prayers. We are grateful for such a supportive community.”  In a previous post on Tuesday, it states, “THOUGHTS & PRAYERS FOR A SPEEDY RECOVERY Join us in our thoughts and prayers as Officer Lendway goes into surgery today for his injuries and wishing him a safe & speedy recovery. Thank you for all your support, we greatly appreciate it.”

On Monday, January 15, 2018 at about 6:15pm, a Contra Costa CHP Motorcycle Officer, Officer Lendway #19914, was on scene assisting citizens involved in a non-injury two vehicle traffic collision at SR-4 eastbound and Port Chicago Highway.

Officer Lendway assisted the vehicles involved (a black 2013 Ford F-150 and a silver 2014 Lexus ES350) off the roadway and to the center median area where information could be exchanged. Officer Lendway then parked his CHP Motorcycle behind the vehicles with its rear emergency red and blue lights activated to warn traffic and then walked up to help the motorists.

CHP Officer Martin Lendway and friend. Photo by CHP-Contra Costa

Officer Lendway stood next to the Lexus while helping the motorist, which was parked just in front of the Ford F-150. Meanwhile, the driver of a black 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer was driving off the roadway and within the center median passing all traffic, and approaching Officer Lendway’s parked motorcycle. But the driver of the Chevrolet continued and collided into the CHP motorcycle, launching it to the right into the lanes of traffic. The driver continued and drove the Chevrolet directly into the back of the parked Ford F-150, catapulting it forward into Officer Lendway and the Lexus. The Ford partially landed on top of Officer Lendway, causing major injuries. Then in an attempt to avoid the CHP motorcycle that was launched into the lanes of traffic, a blue 2005 Subaru Legacy and a silver 2001 Dodge Ram both swerved to avoid it and collided with each other. Six vehicles in total were involved.

CHP personnel and emergency personnel quickly arrived on scene and began treating Officer Lendway for his injuries. He was then transported to a local Hospital for major injuries but thankfully non-life threatening.

The female driver of the 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer, Tammy Peggy Louise Walker of Pittsburg, DOB 10-29-1965, was investigated by CHP Officers while on scene for DUI and subsequently arrested for suspicion of FELONY DUI causing great bodily injury to another person while driving under the influence. Walker was taken to a local hospital, treated and released. Then Walker was taken to the Martinez Detention Facility where she was booked for the following charges;

-2 counts of FELONY DUI causing great bodily injury to another person while driving under the influence

Tammy Peggy Louise Walker arrest photo. Courtesy of KRON4

-Vehicular reckless driving causing bodily injury

-Assault on a peace officer causing great bodily injury

-Driving on a SUSPENDED driver license for a PRIOR DUI conviction and causing great bodily injury to another person

Alcohol and DUI driving are factors in this collision. It is still under investigation. And if there are more people that witnessed this collision or the events leading up to it or the Chevrolet Trailblazer just prior to the collision, please contact Contra Costa CHP in Martinez, (925) 646-4980, Thank you and thank you to those citizens that stopped and help render aid to Officer Lendway.

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Publisher @ January 18, 2018

UPDATE: Pittsburg man arrested, 4-year-old girl dies from stolen vehicle collision in Antioch Wednesday

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

The two pickup trucks involved in a fatal collision in Antioch on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. Screenshot of video by S.J. Guerrero from Facebook, courtesy of ABC7 News.

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

Noe Saucedo arrest photo. By Contra Costa County Sheriff

The suspect who drove a stolen vehicle that collided into another vehicle on Somersville Road in Antioch was arrested. He was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility after being interviewed by detectives. (See news footage of the scene on the ABC7 website, here.)

He is identified as 23-year-old Noe Saucedo of Pittsburg. He was booked on one count of murder and two counts of felony evading. He is being held in lieu of $1,050,000 bail.

This afternoon a 4-year-old girl who was injured in the collision was pronounced deceased at the hospital. She is not being identified.

The investigation into this collision is ongoing. Earlier, the countywide officer-involved protocol was invoked. The investigation is being handled by the D.A.’s Office, Office of the Sheriff, California Highway Patrol, and Antioch PD.

At about 12:47 this afternoon, the Office of the Sheriff received information of a stolen vehicle in Pittsburg. A Deputy Sheriff spotted the stolen vehicle, a Ford F-250 pickup truck on Bailey Road. The Deputy followed the vehicle as it headed eastbound on Highway 4. The Deputy did not activate the emergency lights on his vehicle.

As the suspect took the Somersville Road exit, he immediately accelerated at a high rate of speed. The Deputy then activated the emergency lights on his vehicle. Moments later, the suspect vehicle went through a red light at Somersville Road and collided into a Ford F-150 that was heading southbound.

Three people, including two children, were injured in the F-150. A 2-year-old and her mother remain in the hospital.

Anyone with any information on this incident is asked to contact the Office of the Sheriff at (925) 646-2441. For any tips, please email: tips@so.cccounty.us or call 866-846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.

 

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Publisher @ January 17, 2018