Posted in: Delta & Environment, News | Comments (0)
All Hands on Deck! Stop the Tunnels!
Secretary Jewell from the Department of the Interior coming to the Delta; our side must be heard.
From Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta
Secretary Sally Jewell from the U.S. Department of the Interior will be at the Byron Pumping Plant Tuesday, March 11 at noon getting a tour of pumps that have contributed to the problems of the drought. Our side must be heard. Meet us at the entrance of the Byron Pumping Plant at 11:30AM with your sign!
We will Facebook/Tweet exact address Monday evening. You can call 209-479-2053 to meet us Tuesday a.m.
Bring shade and water!
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For more information visit www.restorethedelta.org
Copyright © 2014 Restore the Delta, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is: Restore the Delta 10100 Trinity Parkway, Suite 120 Stockton, CA 95219
Publisher @ March 10, 2014
Posted in: Education | Comments (0)
A special convening of the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) Board of Trustees will occur on Wednesday, March 19 according to a letter received on Friday by leaders of the charter conversion movement for Dozier-Libbey Medical High School. The letter was signed by Associate Superintendent Timothy Forrester, and acknowledged receipt of the teachers’ petition to convert to an independent public charter school. The school board meeting, scheduled for 6:00 p.m. in the multi-purpose room of John Muir Elementary School at 615 Greystone Drive in Antioch, will include both a public hearing and a final decision on the charter petition.
Since filing their petition on February 24, teachers have worked feverishly to get their message to the community as to why conversion to a public charter school would be in the best interest of the students at this nationally-recognized pathway high school.
While the conversion enjoys the unanimous support of the school’s tenured teachers, efforts to get parents more involved and informed have been hamstrung by legal action from the school district.
Teachers are hopeful that the majority of Dozier-Libbey parents will attend the upcoming Parent-Teacher-Student Association (PTSA) meeting on campus tomorrow night, March 11, at 7:00pm, where parents will have the opportunity to speak with teachers regarding the conversion. A second public forum for all concerned parents and community members has been scheduled for 6:00 p.m. at the Antioch Community Center, 4703 Lone Tree Way, on Thursday, March 13.
Although restricted from utilizing school resources, including parent communication networks, Dozier-Libbey staff have been communicating the ongoing conversion process to students and parents via social media. An informational page with daily updates has been established at Facebook.com/dozierlibbey. It is here that questions from the community are being addressed publicly, and a copy of the 121-page petition for charter conversion, signed by the school’s faculty, is available for download.
For more information contact Jeff Weber, (925) 348-6618 or email@example.com
Publisher @ March 10, 2014
Posted in: Education | Comments (2)
By John Crowder
Following numerous complaints about violence, profanity, disrespect, and threatening behavior instigated by a group of out-of-control students at Black Diamond Middle School (BDMS) over the past few months, Antioch Superintendent of Education Dr. Don Gill contacted Dr. John Bernard, a longtime educator and consultant, and asked him to conduct a thorough investigation of the troubled school. Bernard presented a report on his findings at the February 26thmeeting of the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) Board of Trustees.
During his wide-ranging presentation, Bernard essentially confirmed the complaints the Board has been hearing during the public comments section of their meetings over the last few months, complaints that had come from both parents of students at the school and school staff…and added a few additional problem areas that had not previously been identified during the public outcry. Bernard also provided recommendations to the Board regarding actions that could be taken to alleviate the problems.
Bernard prefaced his remarks by outlining the process he had undertaken to conduct his investigation. He noted that there may be other areas of concern, but the ones that he spoke to were those that he had been able to see firsthand, or had discussed with concerned parties at the school. He then went on to describe problems with the physical condition of the school, stating that it was in need of painting and a “thorough cleaning.” He also said that the procedures under which the custodial staff were operating were inadequate.
Student behavior was a particular area of concern, according to Bernard. He confirmed that there were “between fifteen and fifty students who continually challenge adult authority.” Bernard had several recommendations for dealing with this issue, which appeared to be the catalyst for the complaints the Board had been receiving. He called for the identification of these students, and their removal from the rest of the student body.
“They should start school at a different time, have lunch at a different time,” he said.
He also called for the establishment of a school-wide discipline policy. “That means consistency across the board,” he stated.
Bernard also addressed the administration at the school.
“Everything needs to change,” he said, “some classes have a disproportionate number of disruptive students.”
He noted that many policies were inconsistent, including those relating to dress, cell phones, disrespect, and threatening behavior. He recommended the continuing assignment of site support personnel and assistant vice-principals, but noted that additional developmental training should take place for administrative staff.
In addressing the situation with regard to the teaching staff, Bernard noted that there were fourteen teachers who were brand new to BDMS this year. He recommended that teachers be provided with training on classroom management and working with unmotivated students. Bernard also found that there was a greater than average level of absenteeism among the teaching staff at this site, which meant an increase in substitute teachers, who often “had no lesson plan available.”
Bernard also spoke about several other areas in which he found problems, including a lack of communication with parents, site safety, on-campus suspension, tardiness, uniforms, and cafeteria issues. He concluded by urging the Board to implement needed recommendations, monitor their effectiveness, and conduct another review within the next four to five months.
Following the presentation made by Bernard, the AUSD Superintendent, Gill, again addressed the board. “Some of these recommendations Bernard mentioned are already in place,” he said. He went on to inform the Board that up to two positions for “opportunity school” teachers had been posted and applicants were already available for interview.
In other news, two speakers addressed the recent petition by teachers from Dozier Libbey Medical High School to convert the school to a charter school. Both expressed concern about the move, which teachers at the school made because of what they characterized as philosophical differences with AUSD with respect to their original mission. Almost all (88%) of the teachers at the school signed the petition, and the Board must now respond with a hearing on the matter within a month.
Publisher @ March 10, 2014
Posted in: Delta & Environment, News | Comments (1)
By John Crowder
On Thursday, March 6th, Antioch was the scene of the latest attack on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), otherwise known as the Twin Tunnels Project. Restore the Delta, which describes itself as “a grassroots campaign of residents and organizations committed to restoring the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta” hosted the “Water Quality Impact Forum.”
The event, held at the Lone Tree Golf & Event Center was well attended, not only by concerned Antioch residents, but by several local politicians, including State Assemblyman Jim Frazier, County Supervisor Mary Piepho, and members of both the Antioch City Council and the Antioch School Board.
The first presentation on the agenda was given by Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta. She provided an overview of the BDCP, focusing on the proposal “to build two giant tunnels to funnel water from the Sacramento River out of the Bay Area.”
She was followed by Melinda Terry, Executive Director, North Delta Water Agency, who spoke on “significant and unavoidable impacts of BDCP.”
The two speakers outlined a host of problems they claimed would occur if the tunnel project were permitted to go forward. Chief among these were a decline in water quality in the Delta.
“Water quality will unavoidably decline,” stated Terry.
She cited an increase in salinity in Antioch’s water supply, including a 51% increase in bromide levels and an increase in chloride. Other concerns included a potential decline in the fish population, and significant costs for the project that would be passed on to local residents.
“We would be hit with higher water rates,” said Terry. “A rate increase of $200 per year over 40 years by urban water rate payers [is projected.]”
Following Terry’s presentation, Frazier, who represents Antioch, began by noting that, “I absolutely oppose the twin tunnels and the BDCP plan.”
He went on to say that the plan would have a “devastating effect” on Antioch. Frazier then spoke about Assembly Bill 1671, which he introduced last month, and would require “legislative approval prior to the construction of any tunnel or water conveyance system through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.”
“I’m committed to working with each and every one of you to preserve the Delta and our way of life,” he concluded.
Piepho was the last speaker on the agenda, and she reinforced the comments made by Frazier.
“We need legislative oversight,” she said, “otherwise it would just be the governor and Southern California water interests making decisions.”
She went on to characterize the tunnel proposal as “a failed, flawed plan.”
Piepho stated that the project was of particular concern to Antioch residents because, “in Antioch 100% of the drinking water comes from this river right out here,” and “BDCP significantly degrades water quality in the Delta.” She concluded by stating, “It’s a job killer, it’s a cancer causer, it’s bad news.”
Following the meeting residents lined up to take bumper stickers and yard signs that were on hand for them to use to exhibit their opposition to the twin tunnels project. To learn more about the arguments put forward by those against the tunnels, visit www.restorethedelta.org. Arguments in support of the project can also be found online. State agencies involved with water policy have established www.baydeltaconservationplan.com to make their case for the BDCP.
Publisher @ March 10, 2014
Posted in: Education, Opinion | Comments (0)
By Barbara Zivica
On February 20th, 20 members of Dozier-Libbey Medical High School’s faculty met with a charter conversion consultant and a representative from Clayton Valley Charter High School. Following a lengthy discussion the group unanimously decided to file a petition with the Antioch Unified School District 30 days before the last March school board meeting requesting to convert to an independent public charter high school. (A charter school is a school which receives public funding but operates independently).
I suspect what led to this decision was that the AUSD had been diluting the curriculum at Dozier-Libbey with courses unrelated to its original mission, eliminated the school’s “No D Policy” and allowed students to opt out of some courses. The diverging philosophies between the AUSD and faculty were hindering teachers from carrying out the innovative programs and curricula they built and which made the school a nationally-recognized model.
The reason for the rush to file the petition without including parents, classified staff and the principal was due to concern that, if word got out, the school would have no protection from district-directed personnel changes prior to the petition being filed.
Several public information sessions will be scheduled in the very near future as well as an online forum where parents, students and community members can share input and post questions.
Publisher @ March 7, 2014
Posted in: Police & Crime | Comments (1)
By Sergeant Mike Hulsey, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau
On Monda, March 3, 2014 at approximately 6:47 PMAntioch police officers responded to the 900 block of West 10th Street on a report of an auto vs. pedestrian collision. The victim, a 48-year-old Antioch man, had just walked away from a store and was crossing the street in the crosswalk when he was struck by a vehicle. The driver of the responsible vehicle fled the scene and was not located. The suspect vehicle is described as a silver mini-van (with front end damage) that was last seen east bound on West 10th Street. No suspect information is available at this time. The victim was transported to a local hospital with serious, but non-life threatening injuries.
Anyone with information regarding this accident is urged to contact the Antioch Police Department at (925) 778-2441.
Publisher @ March 4, 2014
Posted in: Police & Crime | Comments (0)
By Corporal J. McMurry, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau
On Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 12:32 AM, Antioch policeofficers responded to the 911 call of a vehicle that had crashed through a fence at a residence in the 4500 block of Elkhorn Way and had landed in a swimming pool and submerged with three occupants trapped inside.
Officers arrived and learned all three occupants had exited the vehicle and climbed out of the pool. One 17-year-old male was contacted at the scene but the other two occupants had fled the scene on foot. The 17-year-old had minor injuries that were treated at the scene by paramedics.
Approximately 25-minutes later, officers located two males, 18-year-old David Martinez and a 16-year-old, walking on Lone Tree Way near the Antioch Community Center. Both males were soaking wet from head to toe. Evidence located at the crash site assisted officers in determining that the two males were the two other occupants that had fled the scene after the crash.
Martinez was determined to be the driver of the vehicle and he was later booked into county jail. Speed and alcohol are suspected as being factors and the case is still under investigation. None of the occupants of the damaged home including the 39-year-old owner, or surrounding neighbors, were injured during the incident.
Anyone with information related to this case is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text an anonymous tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word Antioch in the body of the text.
Publisher @ March 4, 2014
Posted in: Opinion | Comments (1)
By Barbara Zivica
In addition to having the highest number of Section 8 housing choice vouchers (HCV) in Contra Costa County, we now have the highest number of unsheltered homeless in the county. That’s why I was floored when I read Antioch’s plan to address the problem e.g. establishing a Suburban Poverty Task Force and creating a voucher donation program though local businesses and PayPal.
Sean Wright, the altruistic CEO of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, who recently touted KIVA, a micro loan program to give borrowers in Kenya and the United States limited access to capital through interest-free loans, is quoted as saying “We need to empower people to change their own lives by teaching them to fish rather than creating dependency”.
Informing the homeless about available resources for addiction counseling, job training and temporary shelter is one thing, but handing out voucher donations, will only encourage more homeless people to relocate to Antioch. Regrettably, handouts such as unlimited welfare benefits or food stamps create dependency, they don’t “teach people to fish.”
Although Antioch has a law allowing it to fine private property owners for cleanup and ongoing inspection fees which Ryan Graham, Antioch’s deputy economic development director, states often compels the owners to break up homeless encampments, it is rarely enforced and doesn’t address homeless encampments on public property which are left to local law enforcement officers to deal with.
What is needed in this instance is proactive enforcement. Back in the days when the police department was located on 10 Street, there was a homeless population who used to camp in the city park on the corner of 10 and A Street. The Police Department at that time was so persistent in running them out, that one day a bunch of the homeless jumped aboard a boxcar and rode it out of town, never to come back. That’s the kind of persistence I’m talking about – not handing out vouchers which will only encourage the homeless to hang around for the “freebies.”
Publisher @ February 28, 2014