Archive for November, 2010

County Certifies Election

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Agopian, Motts Widened their Leads

County Clerk and Registrar of Voters Steve Weir has announced that the November election has been certified and provided the final numbers in the two close races in Antioch.

Gary Agopian came in second, winning one of the two seats up for grabs in the Antioch City Council race. His 7,795 votes beat third place finisher (and former Councilman) Arne Simonsen by 157 votes, who ended with 7,638. The first place finisher was Wade Harper, who had 9,228 votes (or 24 percent of the vote).

Councilman Reggie Moore lost his bid for re-election to a second term, coming in fourth with 18 percent of the vote. He was followed by Councilwoman Martha Parsons, who was appointed to the council two years ago and received just under 17 percent.

In the Antioch School Board race, Joy Motts won one of the two available seats, expanding her winning margin to 252 votes over John “Jack” Yeager. Motts had 6,525 votes to 6,273 for Yeager (Motts had led by only four votes on election night). Coming in first in the crowded, eight-candidate field is Gary Hack with 6,853 votes. Teri Lynn Shaw failed to win re-election to a second term, finishing fourth with 13 percent of the vote.

The City Council is expected to accept the election results and seat Agopian and Harper as new Council members at tonight’s meeting. Ceremonies begin at 6 p.m. in the council chambers, 300 H Street, Antioch.

For final details on all candidates and races in the county visit www.CoCoVote.us.

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Elections Department Still Counting 18,000 Ballots

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Final Results Expected Today 

As of 12:30 p.m. today “the county has 18,000 provisional ballots left to count, and Antioch will have a fair number of those,” said County Clerk/Registrar of Voters Steve Weir.

Weir was asked if the outstanding ballots could have an effect on the outcome of the City Council election, which currently shows a spread of 153 votes between second-place finisher Gary Agopian and third-place Arne Simonsen.

He replied, ”They can’t overcome that. Simonsen was doing better in the mail-in ballots. It will help whoever was doing better on Election Day.”

When asked if he would request a recount, Simonsen, who is vacationing in Scotland, gave this statement, “True that the race between Gary Agopian and I is probably the closest in the county. I trust the work of the County Elections office and will live with the results, as we accomplished the goal of replacing the two incumbents.”

He added, “I’d be shocked if the final results changed anything.”

Weir said, “We hope to have the final update posted this afternoon. So look for it.”

To see the election results, please visit www.CoCoVote.us.

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New Councilmen to Be Seated Tuesday Night

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Gary Agopian 200x300 New Councilmen to Be Seated Tuesday NightWade Harper 239x300 New Councilmen to Be Seated Tuesday Night

Members sworn in at 6 p.m.

Budget Study Session at 7:30 p.m.

By Allen Payton

The Antioch City Council will say farewell to outgoing Council Members Reggie Moore and Martha Parsons and give the Oath of Office to newly elected Council Members Wade Harper and Gary Agopian, during a special council meeting this Tuesday, Nov. 30. 

The council will first certify the election results from the County Clerk. In addition, as the top vote-getter in the election, earlier this month, Harper will be voted in as Mayor Pro Tem for the next two years. He will replace Councilwoman Mary Rocha in the role, although she will remain on the council.

The meeting will start one hour earlier than normal, at 6:00 p.m., to accommodate the ceremonies, followed by a closed session conference the city’s labor negotiator and the various employee groups.

At 7:30 p.m.the regular meeting will begin with only one agenda item, a study session on the city budget, allowing the new councilmen to hear from city staff and the public, and participate in the decisions of what cuts to make to balance the budget for the next two years.

According to Councilman Brian Kalinowski, the city only has to cover an approximate $2.2 million shortfall, as almost $1.6 million in additional revenues and savings were realized by the city as of the end of the last fiscal year, which ended in June.

The staff report by City Finance Director Dawn Merchant states: “The City realized more fund balance than projected at June 30, 2010 due to several factors:

· Approximately $200,000 more in sales tax revenue than projected

· Approximately $150,000 more in miscellaneous revenues than projected

· Approximately $230,000 in Police Department salary, overtime and part time help savings

· Approximately $650,000 in Public Works salary and contractual services savings

· Approximately $338,000 in Legislative & Administrative salary and contractual services savings

The additional fund balance has boosted the June 30, 2011 projected fund balance above 10% and helped eliminate the negative fund balance projected for June 30, 2012 presented in the adopted budget.”

However, in order to fill some or all of the current 22 vacant sworn police officer positions, the council will have to find other savings and make other cuts to the budget and/or consider another tax increase, such as the temporary parcel tax proposed by a citizens’ group known as the Friday Morning Breakfast Club, during a possible special election next spring.

To view or download a copy of the City Council meeting agenda, visit:

http://www.ci.antioch.ca.us/CityGov/agendas/CityCouncil/2010/agendas/113010/113010.pdf

The staff report on the budget can be found under item 7 or at: http://www.ci.antioch.ca.us/CityGov/agendas/CityCouncil/2010/agendas/113010/07.pdf and http://www.ci.antioch.ca.us/CityGov/agendas/CityCouncil/2010/agendas/113010/07A.pdf

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New Councilmen to Be Seated Tuesday Night

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

 New members sworn in at 6 p.m.

Budget Study Session begins at 7:30 p.m.

By Allen Payton

The Antioch City Council will say farewell to outgoing Council Members Reggie Moore and Martha Parsons and give the Oath of Office to newly elected Council Members Wade Harper and Gary Agopian, during a special council meeting this Tuesday, Nov. 30.

The council will first certify the election results from the County Clerk. In addition, as the top vote-getter in the election, earlier this month, Harper will be voted in as Mayor Pro Tem for the next two years. He will replace Councilwoman Mary Rocha in the role, although she will remain on the council.

The meeting will start one hour earlier than normal, at 6:00 p.m., to accommodate the ceremonies, followed by a closed session conference the city’s labor negotiator and the various employee groups.

At 7:30 p.m. the regular meeting will begin with only one agenda item, a study session on the city budget, allowing the new councilmen to hear from city staff and the public, and participate in the decisions of what cuts to make to balance the budget for the next two years.

According to Councilman Brian Kalinowski, the city only has to cover an approximate $2.2 million shortfall, as almost $1.6 million in additional revenues and savings were realized by the city as of the end of the last fiscal year, which ended in June.

The staff report by City Finance Director Dawn Merchant states: “The City realized more fund balance than projected at June 30, 2010 due to several factors:

· Approximately $200,000 more in sales tax revenue than projected

· Approximately $150,000 more in miscellaneous revenues than projected

· Approximately $230,000 in Police Department salary, overtime and part time help savings

· Approximately $650,000 in Public Works salary and contractual services savings

· Approximately $338,000 in Legislative & Administrative salary and contractual services savings

The additional fund balance has boosted the June 30, 2011 projected fund balance above 10% and helped eliminate the negative fund balance projected for June 30, 2012 presented in the adopted budget.”

However, in order to fill some or all of the current 22 vacant sworn police officer positions, the council will have to find other savings and make other cuts to the budget and/or consider another tax increase, such as the temporary parcel tax proposed by a citizens’ group known as the Friday Morning Breakfast Club, during a possible special election next spring.

To view or download a copy of the City Council meeting agenda, visit:

http://www.ci.antioch.ca.us/CityGov/agendas/CityCouncil/2010/agendas/113010/113010.pdf

The staff report on the budget can be found under item 7 or at: http://www.ci.antioch.ca.us/CityGov/agendas/CityCouncil/2010/agendas/113010/07.pdf and http://www.ci.antioch.ca.us/CityGov/agendas/CityCouncil/2010/agendas/113010/07A.pdf

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Trade Show and Mixer

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

The Antioch Chamber of Commerce presents the Chairman’s Mixer and Trade Show on Tuesday, Dec. 7 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Antioch Community Center, 4703 Lone Tree Way (next to the Prewett Water Park).

The free event is open to the public and will include tours of the Antioch Community Center, trade show vendors, the Summerset Big Band, fun, food and giveaway prizes. Bring your business cards and prepare to network. Feel free to bring a giveaway gift and further promote your business.

Trade show tables include two chairs (first come, first serve basis) and cost $100 each; $50 for nonprofit groups (four tables only). Call now to secure your table with payment: 925 757-1800.

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New NAACP East County Branch Officers Elected

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

By Allen Payton

The East County Branch of the NAACP announced the election of new officers and directors for the 2011 year. The election was held on Thursday evening, November 18, 2010.

The new President of the branch will be Odessa McGahee of Pittsburg. Also elected to the following posts were Idowu Akinleye, First Vice President; David Watts, Second Vice President and Victoria Adams, Treasurer. No one ran for the Secretary of the organization, so that position remains open.

In addition, members elected to the Executive Committee are Marietta Beals, Frances Greene, Willie Mims, Raymond Odienlami, Joseph Adebayo, Betty Burns, Yvonne Beals, Joe Burns, Charles Glasper, Jr., Curlie Jackson, Jessica Alexander, Frankie Robinson, Tique Caul, Dewitt Bussey, III, Cherice Gilliam and Cheryl Cooper. According to current branch president, Joseph Adebayo, the new officers will be inducted at the regular monthly meeting in January.

Formed in 1955, the NAACP East County Branch is a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and works for equality and civil rights. Monthly meetings are held the third Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the Rivertown Resource Center, 301 West 10th Street, Antioch. For more information visit www.NAACPEastCounty.org or call the branch office at 753-5089.

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Two Antioch residents shot

Friday, November 26th, 2010

A 26-year-old male and a 16-year-old female were shot in an apartment at 2405 Peppertree Court on Nov. 26 just after 2:30 a.m., according to police. The male victim was shot in the face, and the female suffered two shots to an arm and leg. Both were treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a local hospital.

Police are following up on leads to determine the circumstances of the shooting. Anyone with information is asked to call Antioch police at 925-584-5246.

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Learning academies are a hit

Friday, November 26th, 2010

A contingent of Antioch leaders, representing our school, city council, business and community sectors, recently returned from a grant-funded trip to Nashville, Tennessee to see first-hand a city that has come together full-bore for career-based education. Our delegation, which included Superintendent of Schools Dr. Donald Gill and Mayor Jim Davis, toured some of Nashville’s academies and heard details of a successful blueprint from a Mayor who walks the reform talk. He stressed that a city really has three main priorities; education, safety and economic vitality and that engaging youth can affect all three. Good schools keep kids off the streets. They help real estate prices. They attract businesses, industry and the well to do.

The take away was two-fold; we realized that in many ways we are already doing things in Antioch that are ahead of the pack regionally and nationally. We also realized, though, that we can push yet further and broader. Nashville’s model is intriguing and provocative. They have a ‘wall to wall’ concept. There’s is a city-wide alliance of school, council and business partners. They offer no opt out as every student has to elect a pathway. Lest you consider that restricting, consider that this City-County of 600,000 offers an astonishing 49 academy choices. There is, then, literally a seat at the table for every student. The proof, as always, is in the pudding. Strikingly, Nashville test scores, graduation rates, college admissions and attendance all confirm a positive direction.

Obviously, Antioch is not the size of Nashville. We have unique needs and different funding mechanisms than they. Nevertheless, the trip stirred ideas. We here have, of course, come along ways on our current path of what is now called linked education and was, in previous incarnations, called vocational education, career tech and alternate pathways. We have medical, law and criminal justice, performing arts, EDGE (Environmental Design for Green Energy), business and space and science academies.

The exciting thing with these theme-based schools is that we have gone beyond just throwing into the elective mix some vocational class. Firstly, the curriculum at our Academies is rigorous. We are University of California, A-G requirement, driven. Our goal is to prepare all of our students to have the option of either transitioning to college or to entering workforce training.

Also, our curriculum is integrated. For example, a Law and Criminal Justice Academy student might study “To Kill a Mockingbird” in literature; write legal briefs or essays in composition; discuss or debate constitutional law in history; and use algebraic formulas to determine a driver’s speed by the brake marks.

Originally, our intention was to build out to where 50% of our student body could elect academies. Nashville has us thinking, though. It’s a heady venture we’ve been on with the sky the limit. Attendance is up at our academies; the Dozier Libbey Medical Academy hit 820 API last year; and the Delta Performing Arts Academy shot up an incredible 78 points. An emphasis on unstinting expectations, targeted interests and smaller learning environments is working. Of course, this is part of an overall reform movement which emphasizes parent involvement, teacher morale, aggressive staff recruitment, standardized curriculum objectives, early-on interventions, best teaching practices, teacher mentoring, pacing guides and periodic data-driven assessments,

Rigor, relevance and relationship is, after all, the paradigm of the future. This is the information age and critical thinking and collaboration skills are crucial objectives if we are to not lose out to our global competitors. We have been losing ground for decades as places like South Korea, Singapore and Finland outpace us. Thirty percent of our kids drop out. We score 17th for industrialized nations in math-science scores and ninth in overall college readiness. For those lamenting the good old days, remember that even in the ’30s and ’40s 70% of our kids didn’t graduate; in the ’60s our educational crisis bannered ‘Why Johnny Can’t Read?’; in the ’90s a Presidential Commission called us a ‘Nation at Risk’. The problems have been there; it is just higher stakes now.

This is certainly a race we can’t afford to lose – not in Antioch and not in America. The agricultural and factory-based educational system developed in the Henry Ford days, where 10-15% of the students (generally white, male and middle class) were educated for business leadership, the rest for basic citizenship, won’t work in this global, tech-driven economy. It takes a new seed to raise a new crop. Linked education has shown that it can play a major role in that break-through promise. As a unified community, committed to our youth, we can make this happen. Antioch can have parents knocking on the door to get in to our community. We can blossom into a true destination point.

Walter Ruehlig

Vice President, AUSD Board of Trustees

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