Guest Commentary: The real reason behind Antioch’s Measure E? Greed

By Linda King

This commentary is written with the intention of explaining the real reason behind Measure E on the June 7th ballot in Antioch.

It’s not about the City Council “failing” the citizens of Antioch but more about the intention of the California Grand Casino in Pacheco.  Will Wilkinson, the owner of the Grand, has been successful in previous attempts at “stealing” gaming licenses in Pacheco, San Ramon and Point Molate in Richmond. This is his fourth attempt to “steal” a gaming license and he is using the voters in Antioch to do this. Will stays in the shadows and uses people like Lamar Thorpe to do his dirty work for him; capitalizing on Thorpe’s “political agenda” and his sense of “entitlement” that he should be on the City Council.

The Council has already reduced the number of card rooms in Antioch from five to two. The language in Measure E has already been adopted, except for the unnecessary, costly requirement to have an election whenever there’s a proposed card room amendment. Measure E will prevent the previously approved second one from reopening and offering a fine dining restaurant in the downtown area.

The measure will also ensure Wilkinson’s success in “stealing’’ the remaining gaming license in Antioch and keeping the current owners from selling it along with Kelly’s Restaurant and Card Room on O Street. Al and Estelle Cianfichi, the long standing owners, have been in business in Antioch for over 35 years. They successfully owned and operated two businesses in Martinez and then used the proceeds from their sale and invested them into Kelly’s, over the years.

Al is now 85 years old and a disabled American Veteran from the Korean War 3rd Army Infantry Division Charlie Company. He is the recipient of the Silver, Bronze and Army Infantry medals that were awarded to him at the Antioch VFW Hall in the 1980’s.  Al is the only surviving officer from the battle of Pork Chop Hill in Korea and was injured while carrying another soldier to safety. They were both blown off a cliff from a mortar that went off near them and they fell more than 20 feet, yet survived. Al is a true American hero and has given his lower legs to his country which have been amputated. He is also paralyzed from the neck down and will be spending his remaining days in a hospital bed.

What service did Will Wilkinson from the California Grand perform for the U.S.A? He is from an Eastern European country that does not believe in our democracy or what America truly stands for.  He has un-American values and deplorable business practices, and he is now trying to use the good citizens of Antioch – using the political process for his own personal gain by eliminating his competition. If Measure E passes, it will maximize his profits in Pacheco and take away jobs in Antioch and income for the City of Antioch. It will also keep Al from being able to sell Kelly’s and live the rest of his life in comfort and peace. Is this how we reward our veterans for their service to our country, who have given life and limb so that we can remain a free country?

Wilkinson should focus on his own problems at his “Mega Casino” and not bully the City Council and citizens of Antioch over a six-table card room. The California Grand has invested over $310,000 to pass Measure E and take a disabled war veteran’s retirement away from him without giving it a second thought. What kind of individual does that? Clearly someone who does not hold our values dear and only cares about his own financial gain. He wants Antioch residents to have to travel to Pacheco to play cards and spend their money there, instead of here. Let’s keep “Greedy Will” in Pacheco where he belongs and out of Antioch.

Please vote NO on Measure E. Let’s keep Antioch under local control.

King is Chair of Antioch Friends for Local Control, organized to defeat Measure E

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7 Comments to “Guest Commentary: The real reason behind Antioch’s Measure E? Greed”

  1. Karl dietzel says:

    Great write up Linda, thanks.

    There is a lot of confusion about measure e, but I hope
    Your letter will explain a lot to antioch voters.

    Vote NO on E

  2. Loretta Sweatt says:

    Well said letter! I voted no on E! I hope everyone else does too!

  3. thank you, i will vote no on measure E. i support the vet’s who fight for our country.

  4. Avery Ray Colter says:

    I’m not sure which faction to suspect more at this point: the one which seeks to give the builders of churches, already exempt from the taxes everyone else pays, the power to select even more points on the map than they already command in Antioch and automatically compel government to restrict particular businesses for their peculiar sake; or the one which has now descended into Slav-bashing missives in contending that the owner of a restaurant with a card room will never be able to sell it. I’ve never been to Kelly’s, so tell me, would the dismantling of the card room destroy the kitchen or the dining area? Why is selling it as simply a fine dining restaurant in a prime Rivertown location not an option for these owners? In the end I may lean toward a no vote, for this reason: Wilkinson is being painted as having “un-American” values, and what that verbiage insinuates is well-known, but really, attempting to buy elections and promote gambling are two of the most capitalist things in recorded history. Trump doesn’t have real estate in Las Vegas and Atlantic City for nothing after all!

    • Linda K King says:

      In response to your post I would like to clarify a few points. Kelly’s has been a well known fine dining restaurant since the 1980’s along with the bar and card room. Eliminating the card room would then make the re-opening of Kelly’s restaurant financially unwise since it is very expensive to own and operate a restaurant. The main part of the business is the restaurant then bar and lastly the card room.

      Kelly’s has been a landmark in Antioch since the 1940’s when it was first built. These old historical buildings are expensive to maintain needing constant upkeep. The food costs alone are expensive because of the high quality we are known for. I’m sorry that you have not experienced our “table side” flambe steak Diane or banana flambe dessert. If you had then you would appreciate all that Kelly’s had to offer it’s patrons. I hope that you will re-consider your position.

      • Avery Ray Colter says:

        I will reiterate that I AM leaning toward what you advocate, which is a no vote on E, but I appreciate the explanation of the Kelly’s owners’ situation and the need to preserve vintage buildings.

        • Linda K King says:

          Thank you for your response to my post. I hope that I can show you the character Kelly’s is trying to preserve it the building in the near future. I am looking forward to opening up again with the fine dining that we are known for.

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