Archive for December, 2012

Antioch Neighborhood Cleanup this Saturday, January 5

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Neighborhood Cleanup May 2012 Antioch Neighborhood Cleanup this Saturday, January 5

The Antioch Police Department is excited to announce the 41st installment of the Neighborhood Cleanup Program. This is a collaborative community effort which involves active participation from United Citizens for Better Neighborhoods (UCBN), community volunteers, and the Antioch Police Department Crime Prevention Commission; Neighborhood Watch Program, Target Volunteers, Volunteers in Police Service, community volunteers and the Public Works Department.

Collectively, “We”, everyone who works and/or lives in the City of Antioch, can make a difference and improve the quality of life. It’s our community and it’s our chance to make a difference.

The City of Antioch Neighborhood Cleanup program is not just for residential neighborhoods. It is a program that will change venues on a monthly basis and it will include business and commercial areas as well. Neighborhoods that are free of trash and refuse are inviting, and a clean community instills a sense of community pride.

The 41st Neighborhood Cleanup event will occur on Saturday, January 5th; from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Volunteers should report to Harbour Park located in the 3100 block of Ashburton Drive. There should be plenty of curbside parking adjacent to the park. Volunteers will receive instructions and the equipment necessary to accomplish the goal. The targeted area is within walking distance. Excluding inclement weather, future Neighborhood Cleanup events will be scheduled for the first Saturday of every month and the locations will be announced in advance.

If you have a suggestion for a future cleanup area, please inform the assigned Volunteer in Police Services (VIPS) or you can call (925) 779- 6878. If there is no answer please feel free to leave a message regarding your suggested cleanup area.

Remember, cleaning up your neighborhood can make life better for your family, your neighbors and your community!

CityCleanUp41 Antioch Neighborhood Cleanup this Saturday, January 5

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Watchdog: Council does end run around new state law on pensions

Monday, December 31st, 2012

“I’m only going to dread one day at a time.” – Charles Schulz

Watchdog Logo 300x95 Watchdog: Council does end run around new state law on pensionsFolks, this is my new philosophy for the coming year, because I live in Antioch and council decisions have had me pulling my hair out all last year and the prognosis for 2013 isn’t much better.

Council pulled an end run on December 27 at a special council meeting, just before AB340, California’s new voter approved law increasing retirement ages for new public employees (2.7% @ age 57 for Safety and 2% @ 62 for Miscellaneous) becomes effective on January 1. They did so by adopting an Urgency Ordinance for Public Peace, Health or Safety which needed to become effective by December 31, 1012.

The ordinance amended the signed September 1, 2012 contract agreement with police officers (3% at 55) and restored the more lucrative 3% at 50 pension formula for veteran police officers and a 2.7% @ 55 formula for miscellaneous employees. The ordinance required an affirmative 4/5th vote of Council to pass. The vote was 4-1 with Councilman Gary Agopian voting no.

The city’s rational for the ordinance was the need to implement a recruitment advantage in the marketplace in order to be able to recruit and retain Public Safety employees, both sworn and non-sworn. The Antioch Police Department now has 32 vacancies, with an anticipated minimum of 10 more within the next 12 months. Note, however, that the following agencies have 3% @ 55 retirement formulas: Tracy (Wade Harper’s former employer as it’s my understanding he just retired), Benicia, Brentwood, Fairfield, Hercules, Martinez, Pittsburg, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek. Frankly, I think the city’s argument doesn’t hold water.

Regrettably, no alternative options such as signing bonuses were offered as incentive alternatives. (In 2005 the City offered lateral police officers a signing bonus of $2,000, $1,000 at time of appointment, $1,000 at end of probation). Ironically, the city did hire two lateral officers in July, both of whom were prior Antioch Officers who had taken positions with a neighboring jurisdiction. Only one remains with the City, the other is returning to his prior position elsewhere. Additionally, in November the City had five candidates scheduled for interviews. All five canceled or did not show. On December 13th, two lateral officer candidates were interviewed but neither are expected to continue on in the recruitment process.

Frankly, I think it’s our high crime rate that scared them away, as well as lack of confidence in the City’s financial stability, a deciding factor for several candidates who turned down conditional offers of employment.

 

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Antioch boy seriously injures Oakley boy in dirt bike accident on Saturday

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

By Sergeant Robert Quintero, Antioch Police Patrol Bureau

A 15 year-old and a 9 year-old were riding separate dirt bike motorcycles in a dirt lot at the dead end of Drive-In Way, when they collided with each other on the afternoon of Saturday, December 29, 2012. Both riders were wearing appropriate protective gear and helmets at the time of the collision and there were adults on scene providing supervision.

Both riders went down but the 9 year-old was severely- injured. He sustained major head trauma and was rushed to SDMC by a parent. The 15 year-old had a complaint of pain only. The 9 year-old was flown to Children’s Hospital in Oakland after he was stabilized at Sutter Delta Medical Center and is in critical condition at the time of this writing. The collision is still being investigated and this is the only information being released at this time.

If you have any information regarding this investigation, you may call the Antioch Police Department at (925) 778-2441. You may also text an anonymous tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH.

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Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Schooner’s in Antioch

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

new years 2011 lobby flyer Celebrate New Years Eve at Schooners in Antioch

NEW YEARS EVE 2012 MENU with prices flyer Celebrate New Years Eve at Schooners in Antioch

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Antioch woman run over, killed by her own car on Friday

Friday, December 28th, 2012

By Sergeant T. Schnitzius, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Friday, December 28, 2012 at approximately 2:02 p.m., Antioch police were dispatched to a vehicle accident near 810 Wilbur Avenue. Upon arrival they found the victim had been run over by her own vehicle and was still pinned underneath.

The Contra Costa Fire Department (Con-Fire) responded and extricated the victim from the vehicle. The 60 year-old Antioch woman was pronounced deceased at the scene by Con-Fire shortly after extrication.

Our preliminary investigation indicates she was working under the vehicle when it slipped into gear and ran her over.

Anyone who may have witnessed the accident is encouraged to contact Officer Robert Solari at (925) 779-6900 Ext. 82372.

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Columnist: History repeats itself with council appointment

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

Watchdog Logo 300x95 Columnist: History repeats itself with council appointmentWatchdog by Barbara Zivica

“POLITICS: A STRIFE OF INTERESTS MASQUERADING AS A CONTEST OF PRINCIPLES.” – Ambrose Bierce.

A prime example is what occurred in 2008 and again this November 18th when a vacant seat became open on the Antioch City Council.

In 2008, when a seat opened up as a result of Jim Davis being elected Mayor, council make the decision to interview applicants for the position rather than appoint the next highest vote getter who was Arne Simonsen. After a three hour interview process with 13 applicants, the field was narrowed to four candidates – former Mayor Pro Tem and Councilman Manny Soliz, Jr., Supervisor Federal Glover’s former chief of staff Vincent Manuel, high school administrator Jason Miller and Martha Parsons, a Democrat fundraising consultant for Torlakson, DeSaulnier and Kalinowski. The council, of course, appointed Martha Parsons to fill the remaining two years of Mayor Jim Davis’ council term.

This year, Mayor Jim Davis decided not to run for re-election but for run for council instead and councilman Wade Harper decided to run for Mayor. Harper was elected Mayor and Mary Rocha was re-elected to Council, along newcomer Monica Wilson, Jim Davis coming in third, all of which resulted in a vacant council position (Harper’s council seat prior to becoming Mayor). This left council with the following options: leaving the seat vacant and letting voters decide in a future election, appoint the next highest vote getter (Davis), or solicit applications for the council vacancy, which is exactly what they did.

Applicants were asked to apply for the position by submitting a nomination paper with signatures of at least 20 but not more than 30 Antioch registered voters, write a 400 word statement of interest, and submit a Statement of Economic Interest.

Nine people applied including former Mayor Jim Davis, former Mayor Don Freitas, Soliz – again, District Representative for Supervisor Federal Glover and Antioch Planning Commissioner Vincent Manuel, attorney Robert Miller, Mental Health Advisor Debra Vinson, Chief Executive Officer of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce and chiropractor Sean Wright, bail agent Jonathan Hernandez and retired steelworker/political adviser and former Political Director for the Contra Costa Labor Council Tony Tiscareno, who was also Campaign Director for Democrat Jim Frazier during his run for State Assembly.

Guess I don’t need to tell you who council picked. Hint – his initials are T.T. (Tony, the tiger?. I guess we’ll find out).

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PG&E gives Antioch Christmas gift with $14,500 donation to help rebuild City Park playground

Thursday, December 27th, 2012
PGE City park playground donation 1024x768 PG&E gives Antioch Christmas gift with $14,500 donation to help rebuild City Park playground

PG&E representative Tom Guarino (center in orange), with local officials and community leaders, presents a check to Take Back Antioch Founder Brittney Gougeon for $12,500 to rebuild the playground equipment at Antioch’s City Park on Thursday, December 27, 2012.

Frazier donates final $2,000 to achieve $25,000 goal

By Allen Payton, Publisher

Antioch received Christmas gifts from PG&E and Assemblyman Jim Fraizer, today through donations to help rebuild City Park playground equipment, following the fire damage by arson, back in September. As of today, all the funds have been raised to pay the $25,000 deductible.

At a brief ceremony at the park, this morning, attended by community leaders, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) Company’s East Bay Senior Government Relations Representative Tom Guarino presented a check to Take Back Antioch Founder Brittney Gougeon and local officials, for $12,500. Then before the ceremony was over, PG&E Government Affairs representative Tom Guarino committed another $2,000 and Assemblyman Jim Frazier, committed the final $2,000 to reach the $25,000 goal.

Immediately upon hearing about the fire damage, Take Back Antioch took the lead in raising the needed funds, through a Facebook message, a fundraiser at Uno Chicago Grill and other efforts.

“This is huge for the community. There really have been so many families affected by this, and when PG&E contacted me about the donation, I was sincerely speechless,” Gougeon said. “I could not be more thankful for PG&E’s outpouring of support through a matching donation for our fundraiser to rebuild City Park.”

That’s the deductible amount the city has to pay before the insurance pool will meet the other $125,000 for the total $150,000 estimated replacement price.

Part of the play structure was burned on September 17. Two Antioch teens have been arrested for arson in the case.

“This senseless act of arson and vandalism does not help the community,” Frazier said.

In addition to Frazier and Gougeon, in attendance were Mayor Pro Tem Mary Rocha, Council members Gary Agopian, Monica Wilson and Tony Tiscareno, as well as Antioch Chamber CEO Dr. Sean Wright.

“A lot of leaders have stepped up when we needed them,” said Rocha. “This park has a lot of history with the stone walls built during WWII. The neighborhood…in the past couldn’t even come to the park.”

Six years after being constructed by a team of volunteers from PG&E and the Antioch community, a local playground was destroyed by arsonists. Today, PG&E announced that it will contribute a $12,500 matching grant to local community organization Take Back Antioch (TBA) to supplement its fundraising efforts to rebuild the park.

“This area of the park was built by the community,” Agopian stated. “Now, in spite of the arson and the violence done to this park, we’re going to do it, again.”

“We have excellent citizens in Antioch,” said Tiscareno. “This park is where I grew up at. Now to have my grandkids to come play here and to see the playground burned down is just heart breaking.”

“This shows great pride in our community,” Wilson shared. “Thanks to Brittany who didn’t wait to be asked to help. We are proud of living here.”

“It was more than just burning down of a playground. It was burning down of something the community built,” Wright said.

Along with many other community volunteers, Wright and his children helped paint the playground.

“This isn’t the only thing that PGE does for our community,” he added. Then listed a few other things PG&E has done for Antioch.

Guarino said “Because our Gateway Generating Station is in Antioch we’re going to throw in another $2,000.” That brought PG&E’s total contribution to $14,500.

“How much is left?” Agopian asked.

The answer was $2,000 and Assemblyman Frazier committed to make up the difference.
So now all the funds needed have been raised to cover the $25,000 deductible.

The total cost is $150,000 according to Community Development Director Ron Bernal. Now that the deductible has been raised the insurance company will provide the $125,000 balance, bids will be let, the contractor hired and the work can begin.

“Organizations like Taking Back Antioch are inspiring examples how neighbors can come together to make a real difference in their communities,” said Ezra Garrett, vice president, community relations, PG&E. “PG&E is proud to partner with Brittney Gougeon and Taking Back Antioch to help rebuild City Park and once again make it a safe place for families to gather and play.”

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/ and www.pgecurrents.com.

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Modified holiday BART schedule on Pittsburg/Bay Point Line between Christmas, New Year

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

In anticipation of light ridership during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, BART typically modifies its schedule by selectively reducing service where lower ridership is expected.

Accordingly, BART will trim peak-commute weekday Pittsburg/Bay Point trains that usually run in the early morning hours and in the mid-afternoon. Instead of running trains five minutes apart on the Pittsburg/Bay Point (Yellow) line, trains will run every 10 to 15 minutes. This modified commute-time schedule will be in place from Monday, December 24, through Friday, December 28, as well as on Monday, December 31, 2012.

Check BART’s real-time departures throughout the day for trains in service, or on your mobile device at BART’s mobile website.

BART to extend hours, provide special service on evening of New Year’s Eve

For the evening of New Year’s Eve, BART will extend its hours until 3 a.m. and provide special service. Read more about the New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day service.

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