Archive for November, 2014

Final election results leaves results of all races affecting Antioch, the same, Measure O expands victory

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014
Following are the final, certified election results from the Contra Costa County Elections Office,
as of  5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 25, 2014.

There were a total of 258,996 ballots cast out of 527,521 registered voters in the county for a
49.1% voter turnout. For more details visit www.cocovote.us.

Antioch City Council
LORI OGORCHOCK 6,410  23.34%
TONY G TISCARENO (I) 6,041 21.99%
DIANE GIBSON-GRAY 5,594  20.37%
LAMAR THORPE 4,829  17.58%
ANTHONY SEGOVIA 2,040  7.43%
KARL DIETZEL 886  3.32%
JEFFREY HALL-COTTRELL 832  3.03%
STEVEN BADO 684  2.49%
WRITE-IN 151 0.55%
Total 27,467

Antioch School Board
WALTER RUEHLIG 8,095  29.93%
DEBRA VINSON 7,736  28.60%
JOY MOTTS (I) 5,692  21.05%
GARY A. HACK (I) 5,385 19.91%
WRITE-IN  137  0.51%
Total  27,046

Measure O
Yes 8,736  51.62%
No 8,189  48.38%
Total  16,925

County Board of Education – Area 5
JEFF BELLE 14,343 50.38%
CYNTHIA TEVES RUEHLIG 13,900 48.82%
WRITE-IN 229  0.81%
Total  28,472

County Board of Education – Area 4
MIKE MAXWELL 23,309  52.38%
RICHARD ASADOORIAN (I) 20,962 47.11%
WRITE-IN 228 0.51%
Total 44,499

East Bay Regional Parks District – Ward 7
DIANE BURGIS 35,461 56.33%
MARK FOLEY 27,182  43.18%
WRITE-IN 313 0.50%
Total 62,956
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Payton Perspective: 33% pay raise for County Supervisors needs to be reversed, can work part-time

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Payton Perspective logoBy Allen Payton, Publisher

Four members of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, including Federal Glover and Mary Piepho, who each represent portions of Antioch, voted to give themselves a 33% pay raise, on October 28. Their pay, in January, will increase from an already generous $97,476 to more than $129,000 per year. They also tied their future salary increases to what judges in the county get paid. Plus, their action will also increase their pensions.

The question is, why do the Supervisors feel they need a full-time salary for what’s supposed to be a part-time position? They have full-time, professional staff to run the day-to-day operation of the county, namely the County Administrator and his department heads, and all their staff, much like a Council-Manager city. (See county organizational chart, here). Plus, there are the county-wide elected officeholders who run their own departments, including the District Attorney, Sheriff, Treasurer-Tax Collector, Clerk-Recorder, Auditor-Controller, and Assessor, although their budgets are approved by the Supervisors.

But, unlike city governments, in California, a county is actually an administrative division of state government, and has the responsibility for implementing and refining the local application of state law and policy. They don’t make their own laws, as cities do. As a result, the county only has discretionary control over about 15% of its budget.

Plus, the Supervisors only govern the unincorporated areas of the county. Most of the residents in the county live within the boundaries of the 19 cities. Of the 1,049,025 county residents, as of the 2010 Census, 889,740 lived within city boundaries, and only 159,285 lived outside. That’s all the people the five Supervisors actually have to serve, directly. While that’s 30% more than the county’s largest city, Concord, none of their council members are full-time, nor earn anywhere near the Supervisors’ current salaries or benefits.

Supervisors are elected to be policy makers, not full-time officeholders, and merely have to give direction to their staff to implement their policies.

In addition, each Supervisor has their own office and paid staff to be available to county residents and business owners, to deal with their concerns and problems they may have with the county government.

According to their own webpage, following are their “Duties and Responsibilities”

As defined by general law, the duties of the Board of Supervisors include:

  • Appointing most County department heads, except elected officials, and providing for the appointment of all other County employees
  • Providing for the compensation of all County officials and employees
  • Creating officers, boards and commissions as needed, appointing members and fixing the terms of office
  • Awarding all contracts except those that are within the authority delegated to the County Purchasing Agent
  • Adopting an annual budget
  • Sponsoring an annual audit made of all County accounts, books, and records
  • Supervising the operations of departments and exercising executive and administrative authority through the County government and County Administrator
  • Serving as the appellate body for Planning and Zoning issues
  • Serving as the County Board of Equalization (the Board has created an Assessment Appeals Board to perform this function)

They meet as a Board, once a week, on Tuesdays. They choose to hold their meetings during the day, instead of at night, which is unfortunate for their constituents who have day-time jobs. But, that’s another issue I’ll save for another time.

The Supervisors may have chosen to work their positions on a full-time basis, but it’s not necessary.

There are three examples I can think of regarding Supervisors who understood that fact. When Mark DeSaulnier was on the Board of Supervisors, he also owned, operated and worked at his restaurant, T.R.’s Bar & Grill in Concord. When Bob Schroder was a Supervisor, he also worked at his insurance business in Walnut Creek. When Tom Powers was a Supervisor, he was also a lawyer and Realtor in the county.

The only current member of the Board of Supervisors who has a potential other career, is John Gioia, who is a licensed attorney. But, he stopped practicing when he was elected to the Board – by choice.

The current members of the Board need to remember they don’t need to work their positions on a full-time basis and should rescind their recent, ridiculous 33% pay raise.

They should follow the lead of the newest member of the Board, Supervisor Candace Andersen, who not only voted against the raise, stated she will only accept the same average 4% raise the rest of the county staff received. I applaud her actions. That will still give them a salary of over $101,000 per year, which is very good for a position that doesn’t require a college degree, as neither Glover nor Piepho have.

Referendum under way

There is currently a referendum effort by county employees, including their main union, Local 1 and the Deputy Sheriffs Association, to place the raise on the ballot and reverse the decision of the four Supervisors. For those who agree it should be rescinded, you can learn more by visiting www.cocodsa.org/referendum, attend one of their meetings this week or next, sign the petition, and even get your own petition to gather signatures, to help place it on the ballot.

This is one time the people need to rise up and send our elected representatives a strong message that what they did was wrong and needs to be reversed.

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Latest election results leave all races affecting Antioch, the same

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014
Following are the election results from the Contra Costa County Elections Office, as of 
5:00 p.m.on Friday, November 21, 2014.

The next and final update is expected on November 25.

There were 253,847 ballots cast out of 527,521 registered voters in the county for a
48.12% voter turnout.

For complete election results in the county, click here.

Antioch City Council
LORI OGORCHOCK 6,280  23.40%
TONY G TISCARENO (I) 5,933 22.11%
DIANE GIBSON-GRAY 5,462  20.35%
LAMAR THORPE 4,687  17.47%
ANTHONY SEGOVIA 1,978  7.37%
KARL DIETZEL 872  3.25%
JEFFREY HALL-COTTRELL 804  3.00%
STEVEN BADO 671  2.50%
WRITE-IN 148 0.55%
Total 26,835

Antioch School Board
WALTER RUEHLIG 7,937  29.98%
DEBRA VINSON 7,524  28.42%
JOY MOTTS (I) 5,590  21.11%
GARY A. HACK (I) 5,290 19.98%
WRITE-IN  136  0.51%
Total  26,477

Measure O
Yes 8,496  51.53%
No 7,990  48.47%
Total  16,486

County Board of Education – Area 5
JEFF BELLE 13,983 50.28%
CYNTHIA TEVES RUEHLIG 13,612  48.94%
WRITE-IN 217  0.78%
Total  27,812

County Board of Education – Area 4
MIKE MAXWELL 23,041  52.41%
RICHARD ASADOORIAN (I) 20,697 47.08%
WRITE-IN 225 0.51%
Total 43,963

East Bay Regional Parks District – Ward 7
DIANE BURGIS 34,693 56.33%
MARK FOLEY 26,586  43.17%
WRITE-IN 306 0.50%
Total 61,585
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Ruehlig says thank you for election, offers his thoughts, approach to serving

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

Editor:

I am truly humbled by the vote of confidence for my rejoining the Antioch School Board. The public charge brings great gravity and I promise my all to meet expectations. As for those who didn’t vote for me, I respect your exercising the ballot box.

Communication motivates me, be it listening, talking or writing. Trust that you won’t be kept in the dark guessing what’s happening in our schools and whether a spade is being called a spade. I value straightforwardness and have always answered every constituent e-mail and phone message. That practice and an open door remains.

Balance and inclusiveness will be prized. That means dialogue and partnership with yeasayers and naysayers, liberals and conservatives, blacks and whites, Common Core enthusiasts and detractors, students, teachers and parents. We will choose bridges over moats.

I stand on the shoulders of my predecessors and know that much good has happened in our district, on my watch, I hope, and on others. It is imperative, though, to call out not only the good, but the bad and the ugly. We don’t want to dwell on negatives, but we are not about denial.

After the year-end holidays, I will be kicking off a monthly community-wide coffee meeting for input. I’ll also be looking into starting a web site as a community sounding board on current issues and ideas for best practices on pressing subjects like campus safety, increasing parental involvement, rebuilding our reserves, addressing the achievement gap and raising overall test scores,

I’ve been asked what it feels like to rejoin the A.U.S.D. after a two year hiatus. Obviously, sobering, as these turbulent times present formidable challenges, Invigorating, as well, as the batteries are super-charged and having had distance from the District proved enlightening, Much the same, I imagine, as someone reentering school after work or military experience. I come now with newfound degrees of appreciation and, hopefully, wisdom. There are no surprises for me about the economic, labor, legal, bureaucratic, societal and demographic components entangled in all we do. For better or for worse. it’s not just about the kids.

I have always believed that good leadership stirs. It is all too tempting to fall into the cozy and comfortable and become part of the ‘Club’. My break has redoubled my resolve to keep professional distance and to work even harder at being a necessary gadfly. You can get along without always going along.

Like with parenting, our foremost objective as a Trustee is not to be friends, but to do our stewarding job. Granted, we don’t profit anybody by being in-your-face confrontational. Congenial can coexist with needed tough love. Part of that is asking the hard questions. Civility, respect and support are expected, and, when due, we lavish praise generously; but, when appropriate, we also prod and poke and hold toes to the fire.

As adults we can afford taking a little heat if it means we are holding ourselves accountable for the good of our kids. After all, we owe the future generation the best possible educational system that we can deliver.

Walter Ruehlig

Antioch School Board Trustee-Elect

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Planning consultant says Antioch’s crime, schools, homeless are deterrents to employers locating here

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

By John Crowder

A second meeting regarding was held in the Council Chambers at City Hall on Wednesday, November 19, regarding the Downtown Specific Plan and City-wide General Plan Land Use and Zoning Ordinance Update. The session included a joint meeting of the Antioch Planning and Economic Development Commissions. Besides the community members in the audience, the meeting was also attended by Mayor Wade Harper, City Manager Steve Duran, and Councilwoman-elect Lori Ogorchock.

After a couple of comments from the public, consultant Dick Loewke once again gave a presentation, this time detailing opportunities and constraints to development in the city.

Loewke began by identifying land resources that he said were either not utilized, or, in the case of the fairgrounds, were underutilized. He listed a number of parcels that he said could be developed.

Loewke then listed numerous constraints to development. The first of these, he stated as, “The high level of actual crime and perceived crime risk are viewed as substantial obstacles to investment in Antioch, both Downtown and City-wide, and as contributing directly to a reduced quality of life.” He contrasted this perception with that of downtown areas in neighboring cities, which are viewed as having a, “relative absence of crime.” He also noted, later in his presentation, that Antioch’s crime rates are substantially higher than its neighbors, with the violent crime rate being five times higher in Antioch than it is in Brentwood, Oakley, or Pittsburg.

Another major impediment to development was the perception of the Antioch public schools. Loewke said that, “Employers and employees with children who can afford to do so tend to look outside of Antioch in order to gain access to better performing public schools.” He qualified his remarks, however, by saying that this is a result of, “perception,” and that, “What AUSD schools are doing is excellent.”

Loewke mentioned several other constraints, including the large number of homeless people in the downtown area, the lack of places downtown where people would normally gather to socialize (i.e., restaurants and coffee shops), the lack of themed festivals and public events, current zoning regulations which prevent good businesses from moving downtown, and congestion on highway 4. He also noted that only 10% of Antioch’s employed residents work within the city.

Even given the numerous constraints identified by Loewke, he said there existed opportunities as well. He said that Antioch might be able to take advantage of a demand for medical office and service industrial space. Downtown, Loewke said that Antioch could accommodate additional small office users and artisan retailers.

Following the presentation, both the public, and members of the two commissions present, commented on what they had heard. Some of the ideas presented included the creation of a youth center, to include computers and wi-fi access, and a River Walk. Many of those speaking opposed bringing additional housing projects to Antioch as a solution to revitalizing the economy.

Several of the speakers were in favor of the creation of an event plaza, as opposed to construction of additional housing, downtown. Lee Ballesteros, representing Citizens for Responsible Antioch Waterfront Development, spoke about a proposal her group had submitted to the city advocating just such an idea. “Our vision for Downtown is for an active, vibrant, event plaza, as opposed to selling it and putting up homes. Events and quality of life is something that is very important to people,” she said.

Kerry Motts, Vice Chair of the Planning Commission, agreed with Ballesteros. He referenced the Todos Santos Plaza in Concord as illustrative of what Antioch could accomplish.

The planning process is expected to continue for another 16 months, according to Loewke. The slide presentation from the November 19 meeting can be found on the City of Antioch website, under the tabs for ‘community’ and ‘downtown-plan.’

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10th Annual Local Artist Collection in Antioch November and December

Friday, November 21st, 2014
By Vicki Dendy

By Vicki Dendy

The Arts & Cultural Foundation of Antioch is proud to present The 10th Annual Local Artist Collection, featuring 35+ local artists at the Lynn House Gallery from November 22nd – December 13th. The exhibit is a diverse, non-themed mixed media exhibit of artworks featuring paintings, photographs and more. In its 10th year, the show is a local favorite and provides the community an opportunity to view and purchase local art during the holiday season.

The Contra Costa Open Studio event will be held Saturday & Sunday, November 22nd & 23rd (same day as the Local Artist Exhibit opening and artist reception). ACFA will be promoting their event and they will be promoting ours. It will be a great artistic weekend for participating artists and artist supporters. Our hours for the weekend will be 11-5 PM both Saturday and Sunday. This is a great opportunity for those artists who do not have a studio to be part of the annual tour.

ACFA will still celebrate the opening of the Local Artist Collection exhibit with our standard artist reception from 2-4 PM on Saturday, November 22nd. This is the chance for artists to bring their friends and family and meet other participating artists.Participating artists are: Amy Schmidt, Angela Denise Allen Simms, Betty Espindola, Beverly Knight, Beverly Turner, Carol Jurczak, Dan Kennedy, Easy Gonzalez, Gloria Cannon, Joel Summerhill, Julia Starr, Kay Kirby, Michele Eakin, Paul Schorr, Shirley DiMercurio, Richard Meyer, Sandy Gangwer, Anna Chunn, Ron Kronewitter, Sherry Cullison, Milian Correa, Richard Edwin Meyer, Jessica Boriack, Arturo Garcia, Clyde Cox, D.D. Chabot, Mary Negrete, Prudence Capelle, Elizabeth Westfall, Michele Brady, Adele Boyer, Karen Nelson Kelly and Paul Yang.

The Lynn House Gallery is located at 809 West First, in downtown Antioch. For more information, visit http://art4antioch.org/Local-Artist-Collection.asp, or contact Diane Gibson-Gray at the Arts & Cultural Foundationat (925) 325-9897 or e-mail Diane@art4antioch.org

The Lynn House Gallery is located at 809 W. 1st Street in Antioch (across from the Amtrak Train Station) and is open Wednesdays and Saturdays during exhibits from 1-4 PM.

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Artists open East County studios to public, November 22 and 23

Friday, November 21st, 2014
Delta Blue by Robin Mayoff

Delta Blue by Robin Mayoff

Adamina by Rosalinda Grejsen

Adamina by Rosalinda Grejsen

Local artists welcome the public into their studios and galleries the weekend of November 22 and 23 during the popular Contra Costa Open Studios event. Visitors are invited to meet the artists, enjoy a wide variety of original fine art and shop for unique, creative gifts. Many of the artists will be demonstrating their techniques and some will offer hands-on art activities.

Five studio groups and two galleries are participating, with locations in Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley and Discovery Bay. The Lynn House Gallery will be open special hours, November 22 and 23, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., to showcase its 10th Annual Local Artist Collection. The public can meet those artists at a free reception Saturday, November 22, 2 to 4 p.m. at the Lynn House Gallery, 809 West First Street in downtown Antioch.

Each location will have its own unique personality, so visitors are encouraged to plan a fun weekend of studio-hopping. All locations will be open Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For a complete guide to the artists and a studio map visit www.contracostaopenstudios.com.

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Antioch Council eliminates “furlough Fridays,” gives management staff, others 13% pay raise

Friday, November 21st, 2014

By John Crowder

The elimination of “furlough Fridays” by the Antioch City Council at their November 13, 2014 meeting, the first meeting held since the passage of Measure O in the November 4 election, has left some residents who worked in support of the measure feeling betrayed and deceived.

Placed on the Consent Calendar at the meeting were three resolutions which, together, eliminated the furloughs negotiated with city employees and, in addition, provided them with 3% raises. The furloughs had been put in place while Antioch struggled to stave off bankruptcy during the housing crisis when property tax revenues plummeted. While the furloughs were in effect, many city employees worked a four-day, 36 hour work week, rather than a 40 hour work week, amounting to a 10% savings in salary expense for the city. Management employees continued to work 40 hours, but still had their wages cut 10%.

The first of the resolutions, Item 2G on the agenda, was to approve the Benefit Document between the city of Antioch and the Management Bargaining Unit. Item 2H was for approval of the Amended Benefit Document between the city and the Confidential Employees Bargaining Unit. Item 2I rescinded a resolution from 2010 regarding salary differentials.

A handful of residents had asked that the three items, G, H, and I, be pulled from the Consent Calendar in order to give them an opportunity to comment on the proposed actions. Some also spoke in opposition to the resolutions in the earlier public comments portion of the meeting.

Public Comments

Rich Buongiorno, who has been leading the effort to recall Mayor Wade Harper, said that the elimination of ‘furlough Fridays’ increased expenses at a time when the city was just made aware that they would be losing over $800,000 per year in revenue. This was due to the fact that the Brentwood City Council had just voted to end their contract with Antioch to provide them with police dispatch services.

Council Member-elect Lori Ogorchock also expressed concern about the elimination of ‘furlough Friday’s.’ She said the $400,000 in increased expenses that would result could be better used to hire more police and code enforcement officers. “Let’s get crime under control,” she said. She said that city offices could be kept open five days per week in other ways (by redistributing work hours). “I respectfully request that you hold off on the vote until I am seated,” she said.

Sandra McKee said, “I think building up our police department and getting a better handle on crime is much more important,” and that this was her intention when she voted for Measure C and Prop. O.

Robin Agopian, the widow of former Councilman Gary Agopian, said that, as a matter of fairness, newly elected councilwoman Lori Ogorchock should be seated prior to voting on the issues before them.

Mark Jordan said he wanted to postpone the votes because he doesn’t believe the public has enough information. Referring to Measure O, he said, “Not a penny of that money has come in yet.”

Former Councilman Manny Soliz also wanted to postpone the votes on the resolutions from both a budgetary and a philosophical standpoint. He expressed concern about the impending termination of the police dispatch contract between Antioch and Brentwood. “We’re going to have a hole in our budget, where there had been some funds coming in…which we’re not going to have any longer,” he said. On a philosophical basis, Soliz said, “Measure O was presented as a measure to try to address neighborhood improvement, and blighted properties.” He said that supporters of Measure O would see this action as a diversion of funds, and, “it seems to me just a little bit disingenuous.”

With the conclusion of public comments on G, Mayor Harper asked City Manager Steve Duran to speak to the issue.

“The council gave a clear direction to get people off furlough as soon as we reasonably could,” he said. “The Council approved spending priorities for Measure O on September 23rd, 2014.”

He then listed those priorities (See Antioch Herald article on September 23 council meeting, here.)

“The stated priorities of the council, before the election, did include getting off the furlough,” Duran said. “In terms of keeping your word, I just think people need to understand that’s what your word was.”

He continued, “Come January, we’ll now have had the employees on furlough for five-and-a-half years since they took a ten percent cut.” He also said that the $1.277 million in additional property tax revenue triggered contract language providing that, “the management bargaining unit was entitled to get off furlough right then, and they’ve agreed to delay that until…January 11th.” In closing, Duran said, “We can’t not do the trigger, because that’s a binding contract. And, second, the money is there, and the reasons the triggers hit is because the money’s there.”

Asked by Duran to comment, Michelle Fitzer, Administrative Services Director, addressed the idea that the Council delay the decision by saying “once the bargaining unit takes action to ratify a tentative agreement, the governing body has to take action within 30 days of that, and we do not have 30 days to wait to December 16th.” She continued, “If we do not take action, the council places the city in liability for a PERB charge of unfair labor practices.”

Following Fitzer’s statement, Harper asked for Council comments. Council Member Tony Tiscareno gave a defense of the vote he was about to make.

Tiscareno said, “the last three, four months I’ve been out there talking to the citizens, knocking on doors and asking them, what they expect from us, and what their issues are. And yes, they were frustrated with the crime, but for the most part in their neighborhoods they were very happy where they lived, they felt safe in their community, that particular area. But one of the things they kept mentioning was that, you know, our streets can be repaired, we need to make sure that we have availability within our services so we can be serviced. And I heard that quite a bit. So one of the things I promised not only our staff was, I promised our community that we were going to be a full service city.”

Mayor Pro Tem Mary Rocha said that in light of the information provided by Fitzer regarding a potential unfair labor practices challenge, it was important to take action. She also said, “You have to remember, we asked these employees to take time off…they gave a lot, in order for us to keep the doors open.” She also noted, “We couldn’t afford bankruptcy…the employees were the ones who saved us.” She concluded, “I feel comfortable, knowing the money was there.”

In response to a question from Wilson, Fitzer responded, “In the management benefit agreement, there was trigger language. When the property tax in particular came in, in July, at over a million dollars more than was anticipated, we reached…the trigger.” She also addressed the question of whether or not the trigger had expired. She said, “under the labor laws, the contract provisions remain in effect until a new contract is negotiated or imposed…” She continued, “if the city had tried to argue that the trigger had expired, the employee group could then have come back and argued, well then the furlough language expired as well, because they’re tied together.”

Mayor Harper said, “I think we need to realize, that the employees saved us from bankruptcy years ago.” He spoke about them sacrificing for five and a half years. “Now that we have the money, we can’t say, we have it, but we’re not giving it to you.” He also reiterated the previous comments about being a full service city. He concluded, “I believe the employees saved us, I believe we have to do right by the employees.” He also noted, “We didn’t just hear about this trigger today,” and spoke about closed session meetings, where he said, “we’ve talked about this trigger, over and over.”

Following Harper’s statement, the council voted 4-0 in favor of Item G, and speakers came forward to address Item H.

Jordan returned to the microphone to say, “While you have been informed of the information regarding the trigger and the reinstatement of the employees, and that should occur, from the perspective of the public, this is being dropped very quickly. He added, “the communication that we’re receiving at our end, relative to the trigger, why it’s occurring, the contractual obligations, I don’t believe was communicated well, to us.” Soliz also spoke again, saying what they were doing, “sends the wrong message to the public.” He wondered if the outcome of the Measure O vote would have been different, “if people had understood that the funds were going to be going to something other than neighborhood improvement, and police infrastructure.”

Ken Turnage said, “I just don’t understand, exactly, what is going on here.” “You folks have had to know for a while, this was going to happen right about now. Why wasn’t it said before the election?” “He said the perception was, “like having a blanket pulled over your head.” “The perception is, we were deceived,” he concluded.

After public comments, Harper asked Duran to repeat the information from September 23, and Duran again listed all the priorities, including ending the furloughs.

Each of the council members then made statements emphasizing that the money for getting the employees back to a 40 hour work week was coming from property tax, and had nothing to do with Measure O. Tiscareno said, “This is, to me, a positive thing for the city of Antioch.” Rocha, referring to city employees said, “It’s true, they did help us.”

Item H was then passed, 4-0, and public comments for Item I began.

Marty Fernandez, visibly upset by the proceedings, said, “This has been very interesting. You’re right. A lot of people busted their butts to get Measure O passed. And this just isn’t right.” “There comes a time when you have to stop. I don’t agree with these secret negotiations for the contracts. This has to be done in public.” He went on to complain that, “You have city workers negotiating with city workers. They stand to gain, everybody gains.”

After Fernandez spoke, the council voted and passed item I, also on a 4-0 vote.

Following a short break, Dawn Merchant, Antioch’s Finance Director, spoke on budget matters which, according to staff and council member statements, related directly to the contentious votes just taken.

Merchant said that, while they had been projecting a 5% increase in property tax, they had actually received a 17.81% increase. She said this was the first year Antioch has received an increase in property tax since 2008.

We’re requesting the budget to be amended” by about $1.3 million, she said. She also spoke about annexation money coming in of about $300,000, and over $100,000 for state mandated reimbursements.

Following Merchant’s presentation, Rocha lamented the fact that many who complained about the furlough vote were no longer in the audience, as she felt the presentation by Merchant explained that the money for ending the furloughs was coming from increased property tax revenue, not Measure O funds

The next city council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 25, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 3rd & H Streets in downtown Antioch. It can also be viewed online via live streaming video at www.ci.antioch.ca.us/CityGov/citycouncilmeetings.htm.

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