Archive for April, 2014

Watchdog: Antioch residents hoodwinked on use of Measure C funds

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Watchdog-LogoBy Barbara Zivica

Residents still don’t seem to comprehend that monies derived from the passage of Measure C, the half cent sales tax, are dedicated to the City of Antioch’s General Fund and can be used for any legal purpose.

Apparently, residents didn’t do their homework and were hoodwinked by the flood of mailers stating that passage of the ballot measure would enable the city to hire 22 more police officers. Now residents are asking “Where are they?”

The City Finance Director recently gave the council a budget presentation in which she hedged on the number of officers that might be hired with Measure C funds. The problem is projected revenues will be inadequate to meet projected expenditures like the hiring of more police officers.

The real problem folks is overly generous labor agreements. In fact there’s about $500,000 in pay raises/benefits for the current 82 sworn officers coming up in July that the City is going to use Measure C money to pay for rather than General Fund money. Fooled again.

Don’t be surprised if council members soon start trying to gather support for another tax measure, government’s easy solution to address overspending which results in budget deficits.

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Oakley man shot in Antioch, Sunday night

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

By Sergeant Dimitri Barakos #2176, Antioch Police Community Policing Bureau

On Sunday night, April 27, 2014 at approximately 11:04 P.M., Antioch Police Officers responded to a call of a shooting at Dogwood Way and Mahogany Way. Upon arrival, Officers located a 28-year-old adult male from Oakley, suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot wound. The victim stated that he was walking in the area when an unknown gunman shot him for an unknown reason.

Officers and medical personnel provided medical aid to the victim, who was taken to a local hospital for medical treatment. The victim is expected to survive. The case is still under investigation.

Any further information will be provided by the Investigations Bureau at 925.779.6926. You may also text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Vandals hit cars and homes with rocks in Antioch, last Friday

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

By Corporal J McMurry, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

Beginning on Friday, April 25, 2014 at 1:33 A.M., Antioch Police dispatch received numerous calls of vandalism to vehicles and homes concentrated in and around the above areas. Additional reports have been made from other areas of the city.

Unknown suspects traveled through various neighborhoods, including Mira Vista Hills, Black Diamond Estates and Diamond Ridge, and threw “river rocks” through the glass of vehicles and some homes.

As of noon Friday, police officers had responded to approximately 25 calls related to this incident. Additional reports continue to be made to dispatch and via the on-line reporting system.

All of the incidents appear to have taken place during the night. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Antioch PD non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. They may also text an anonymous tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word Antioch in the body of the text.

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Last chance to enter your exhibit in the Contra Costa County Fair

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Enter on-line by May 1 – it’s fun and easy!

Want to enter something in this year’s Contra Costa County Fair? Imagine the thrill of winning a blue ribbon at the Fair for a special talent. Think you own the best pig, bake the most delicious apple pie, make a beautiful quilt, or have an uncanny knack for making crafts? Be sure to enter the Contra Costa County Fair’s competitive exhibits – and join the thousands of Contra Costa County residents who enter exhibits each year in the Fair. There are hundreds of categories and specialty contests for adults and children.

Now is the time to complete the paperwork for those entries. The Contra Costa County Fair’s Exhibit Handbook, which includes all the information you need to enter exhibits, is now available on the Fair’s website at www.ContraCostaFair.com. On-line entries are currently being accepted. Simply log-on to the Fair’s website at www.ContraCostaFair.com to complete the entry process.

The Fair is accepting on-line entries until May 1. Visit the Fair’s website from now until May 1 at midnight to complete the process.

This year’s Contra Costa County Fair is May 29 – June 1. For information, visit www.ContraCostaFair.com or call the Fair Office at (925) 757-4400. If you’re interested in receiving a copy of the Fair’s free electronic newsletter, visit the Fair’s website to sign up.

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Dozier-Libbey parents write about concerns, support for independent charter conversion

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

This February 23, teachers (88% of the teaching staff) from Dozier-Libbey Medical High School submitted a petition to the Antioch Unified School District to convert that school from one under AUSD control to an independent charter school. Since that time, AUSD administrative personnel have been working to prevent this change. They have frequently employed misleading statements in order to bolster their position. They have recruited school district personnel to speak against the teachers, and for the alternative “dependent charter” they created in order to keep Dozier-Libbey under their control. We, the undersigned, all parents of current Dozier-Libbey students, are writing to express our support for the dedicated staff at Dozier-Libbey in their efforts to convert the school to an independent charter.

As parents, we are concerned with the quality of the education that our children receive. This is our sole concern, not the politics of the issue. We want our children to have a rigorous educational experience, one that will prepare them in such a way that they will have a wide range of options available to them upon graduation from high school.

Dozier-Libbey was created as a college preparatory school with a medical theme focus. Students apply to Dozier-Libbey because they have a desire to learn and want to succeed at a high level. They make the decision to tackle the rigorous and challenging curriculum that Dozier-Libbey provides. That curriculum was established by the teachers of Dozier-Libbey. Indeed, some of the courses were developed solely by the teaching staff. We support the independent charter because we want to see these innovative programs continue for the benefit of our students, and for those who, in the future, will follow them.

As parents, we are concerned that the school that our children attend has all of the resources needed in order for them to have the greatest possible chance of success. As Mr. Jeff Weber stated in a recent newspaper article, Dozier-Libbey has not been treated equitably with respect to the resources that have been provided to like-size schools within the AUSD system. Dozier-Libbey is the only high school in the AUSD system that must make do with a part-time librarian. Under the independent charter proposed by the teachers, they would be able to employ a full-time librarian. The school only has one person dedicated to school safety, and only one administrator assigned. When the administrator is called away to District business, which happens frequently, teachers must use time that should be devoted to teaching in order to cover her responsibilities. Dozier-Libbey also has the highest student-to-clerical ratio in the district and only a part-time employee handling the career center. It is, quite frankly, astonishing that the teachers at Dozier-Libbey have been able to accomplish all they have in spite of these, and other, inequities. We support the independent charter because it will allow for direct funding of the school that will provide needed resources for student success.

As parents, we want to be involved in the education of our children. Under the independent charter, Dozier-Libbey would be headed by a board of directors which will be made up of parents of Dozier-Libbey students as well as other community members who have experience in areas such as education, fund-raising or accounting. For parents to have a direct voice in the direction that the school will take is an exciting opportunity that many of us wish to take advantage of. In contrast, while the AUSD has stated that they are the ones who will listen to parental input they immediately discredited themselves by appointing a new principal for their dependent charter without a single community meeting. We support the independent charter because it will allow for meaningful parental involvement in the school, leaving the Dozier-Libbey teachers free to do what they do best – educating our students for college and careers by living the Dozier-Libbey vision: “Every student valued, every student challenged, every student prepared to succeed in a changing world”.

In summary, there are many parents who support the teachers converting Dozier-Libbey to an independent charter school because it will so clearly benefit the students. At the end of the day, that is what matters, not politics, but the quality of education that our children will be able to receive.

Lara Lindeman, Jeanne Stuart-Chilcote, Angela L. , Lisa Backlund, Julie C., Robin M., Michelle Adams, Silvia Huerta, Duane & April Padilla, Lori Bonwell , Carol Monaco, Anna Morris, Janet McDaid, Jean Ruelas, Christine Loomis, Arthur & Ifeoma Metu

 

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Antioch crime statistics show mixed results

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

By John Crowder

Crime statistics for the city of Antioch during the first quarter of 2014 showed mixed results, with the total number of crimes reported rising from 1,243 in the same quarter last year to 1,278 from January to March of the current year. This represents an increase of 2.8% in total crimes reported.

Antioch Chief of Police Allan Cantando gave a presentation on crime statistics to the Antioch City Council at their meeting on Tuesday, April 22.

On the positive side, total violent crime (homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) decreased by 11.6%. All areas showed a reduction except rape, which increased by 200%. Chief Cantando explained that the increase in rape was attributable to redefining the crime, which resulted in incidents now being reportable which previously were not. According to the police report, total violent crimes for the quarter numbered 199. Cantando noted that the police had been focusing their efforts on reducing crimes against persons.

The increase in the number of crimes committed in Antioch was primarily attributable to an increase in property crimes. There were 1079 incidents of property crime (burglary, theft, and auto theft) during the first quarter, compared with 1018 in the first quarter of last year. Most of the increase was attributable to auto theft, which rose from 209 to 269 incidents, an increase of 28.7%. The statistics for burglary and theft almost offset each other, with burglaries rising by 11 and thefts falling by 10.

Police response time continued to improve. Cantando pointed to a decrease in Priority 1 response time, measuring the time elapsed from this type of call being received to police arriving on-scene. For the first quarter, response time averaged 10 minutes, 12 seconds, as compared to a response time of 10 minutes, 30 seconds for the year 2013 and 11 minutes, 4 seconds during 2012.

Cantando also provided the Council an update with respect to the number of sworn positions in the department. He provided statistics showing that 86 full-time positions are currently filled. However, 6 of those are in FTO, and another 8 are out on injury. This leaves Antioch with 72 sworn positions on full-duty.

In related news, speakers continue to come forward during the public comments periods of Council meetings to decry the criminal activity they say is taking place openly in and around Deer Valley Plaza. This has been particularly concerning because of the proximity of the shopping center to Deer Valley High School.

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Tentative ruling in Dozier-Libbey case favors teachers

Monday, April 28th, 2014

By John Crowder

Judge Laurel Brady has issued a tentative ruling in a case filed by the petitioner teachers of Dozier-Libbey Medical High School (DLMHS) against the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD). In it, she grants the injunction requested by teachers at the school to prevent AUSD, et. al, “from converting anything related to Dozier-Libbey Medical School to the Dozier-Libbey Medical School, a dependent charter school, during the pendency of the action.” A final ruling on the matter is expected this Friday.

AUSD personnel, in response to a majority of the teachers at DLMHS (88% of the certificated teaching staff) filing a petition to convert the school to a charter school, filed a petition with the AUSD School Board (Board) of their own. In it, they proposed what they referred to as a “dependent charter school” that would remain under the control of the district. Subsequently, the Board denied the teacher’s petition for a conversion charter school, and approved the district proposed dependent charter school at a packed meeting on March 19th.

One of the key issues in the case is whether or not the AUSD’s proposal was a start-up charter school, as district personnel claimed, or if it was in actuality a conversion of an existing school. This is an important issue to be decided, as the legal requirements differ when converting a school to a charter as opposed to starting a charter school. For example, the signature requirements differ between the two scenarios. In a conversion of an existing school to a charter school, a petition is required to have signatures of 50% of the existing teaching staff. As noted earlier, the conversion petition submitted by the teachers had signatures from 88% of the current teaching staff, while the petition submitted by the district does not have signatures of any current DLMHS teachers.

In her tentative ruling, Judge Brady stated, “Plaintiffs [DLMHS teachers] have shown that the Defendants [AUSD personnel] have performed a de facto conversion of DLMHS.”

In the analysis provided with her decision, Judge Brady notes that one of the factors that must be evaluated by the court with respect to whether a preliminary injunction should issue is the likelihood the plaintiff will prevail on the merits at trial. Judge Brady concludes that, “Because Plaintiffs’ underlying action is likely to succeed…Plaintiffs’ Application for an Injunction is granted.”

The complete text of the tentative ruling issued by Judge Brady can be found online at the Contra Costa Superior Court website. The case number is MSN14-0453, Dozier-Libbey vs. AUSD.

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5th Annual Keep Antioch Beautiful Day citywide clean up this Saturday

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Keep Antioch Beautiful Earth Day 2014

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