Archive for May, 2018

Editorial: Graves is the clear choice for Contra Costa District Attorney

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

Paul Graves

By Allen Payton, Publisher & Editor

In the race for District Attorney there is one candidate who has the experience to be the top prosecutor we need in Contra Costa County. That’s Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Graves.

Unlike his current boss, Interim D.A. Diana Becton, who was appointed on a 3-2 vote of the Board of Supervisors, last year, Graves has 22 years of experience prosecuting crime in our county. She has never prosecuted a single case. Yes, Becton served for 30 years as a judge, but that’s not the same thing.

Also, Graves was the first candidate to declare and was willing to run against his former boss, Mark Peterson, who had not yet resigned following a controversy regarding lack of disclosure of loans to himself from his campaign funds.

Becton only entered the appointment process after Peterson’s resignation, which doesn’t show me a serious interest or commitment to the position.

Although accused of being part of the problem, Graves was not part of Peterson’s inner circle. He’s running to restore integrity to the office. Becton on the other hand, admitted to plagiarizing large portions of her application for the position. Yet, three supervisors still voted to appoint her.

The third candidate in the race, businessman and attorney Lawrence Strauss, is opposed to the death penalty – even for cop killers. That to me is an immediate disqualification. If you’re going to be the top prosecutor in the county, you need to be willing to follow and enforce all laws in our state, whether you agree with them or not.

Another thing to look at is who is backing the candidates. Graves has the support of all the Deputy District Attorneys, as well as all of the police officer associations, in the county. Those who enforce the law know Graves is the one candidate who will do the same.

Becton’s backers include the ultraliberal, former San Francisco D.A. and now U.S. Senator Kamala Harris and worse, the soft-on-crime billionaire George Soros. Why are they interfering in our county’s law enforcement? Do we really want to model our D.A.’s office after San Francisco’s? Of course not.

Worst of all, Becton is missing too many days from the office for a job that pays her more than $250,000 per year.

We need a prosecutor who will restore leadership and integrity to the Contra Costa D.A.’s office. Voting for Paul Graves will accomplish that.

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OPINION: Latest vile anti-Semite running for Congress is from Contra Costa County

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

By Ron Nehring

Originally published on Flash Report. Republished with permission

It’s happened before: Some vile racist or anti-Semite runs for an office they have no chance of winning in the hopes of drawing attention to themselves, or their cause. This is exactly what happened earlier this year when Holocaust denier Arthur Jones ran for Congress as a Republican in the heavily Democratic 3rd Congressional District of Illinois. He has been denounced by the Republican Party but will still appear on the November ballot as a result of winning the uncontested GOP primary in the district.

Well, now we have another one of these guys. This time it’s here in California. Today’s vile anti-Semite is John Fitzgerald, who is running for Congress in the heavily Democratic 11th Congressional District in Contra Costa County. The district, in which Hillary Clinton won 71.% of the vote in 2016, is currently represented by Democrat Mark DeSaulnier.

John Fitzgerald is using is campaign website to peddle anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and falsehoods. Image source: Facebook. Below are Screen shots from John Fitzgerald’s campaign website, taken May 26, 2018 at 3:24 PM PT. 

Fitzgerald has zero chance of winning this seat, yet he currently has the official endorsement of the California Republican Party by virtue of being the only Republican running for the office. Under rules adopted by the party following the passage of California’s deeply flawed top-two primary system, the party endorsement goes to any Republican running for state legislature or Congress when they are the only party member running. The Board of Directors may take an affirmative step to reverse the endorsement, which of course should happen immediately.

In a post on his campaign website that went up on May 23rd, Fitzgerald peddles numerous anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. He asserts as “truth” that Jews “played a prominent role in the African slave trade,” linking to an article that further peddles this conspiracy theory. He goes on at length peddling numerous other anti-Semitic claims and theories. I won’t link to his website or post because I have no interest in driving up his search results, but you can Google this guy yourself.

So, what should be done about this?

First and foremost, absolutely no one should vote for this guy. Unfortunately, the state party website lists Fitzgerald as the endorsed party candidate, and since many Republicans rely on the site for guidance when voting, combined with his being the only Republican candidate, he will get an unfortunate number of votes. But certainly all that should come to a screeching halt now.

Second, the state party Board of Directors, which is entirely composed of good people I know personally, needs to reverse Fitzgerald’s default endorsement.

And third, Republicans should speak out against Fitzgerald and candidacy for his blatant anti-Semitism. Let’s not wait and see if this gets traction and only then condemn this vile individual who has soiled the good name of our party – we should affirmatively reject both his candidacy and his ideas because they offend our principles.

The Republican Party was founded on the most noble of causes – the abolition of slavery. Just over 100 years later, people of both parties came together in support of the civil rights movement and the abolition of segregation. Racism and anti-Semitism have no place in our country, and good people of both parties have the responsibility to condemn it regardless of the source.

Editor’s Note: The 11th Congressional District includes portions of Antioch.

Nehring is the former Chairman of the California Republican Party.

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Antioch High Classes of 1987 & 1988 to hold 30 Year Reunion in October

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

ANTIOCH HIGH SCHOOL ~ CLASS OF 1987 & CLASS OF 1988

30 YEAR CLASS REUNION
Saturday, October 13, 2018 6:00pm-Midnight

Hilton Concord, 1970 Diamond Blvd, Concord, CA

Reservations are $95.00/person

CLASS of ‘87 make checks payable to:  AHS Class of 87 & mail to
Lisa Culcasi, PO Box 4695, Antioch, CA 94531

CLASS of ’88 make checks payable to:  AHS 1988 Reunion & mail to

Carolyn Riva, 595 Plymouth Ct., Brentwood, CA 94513

Please include your full name, (maiden name), guest’s full name, and all contact information

Facebook:  30 Year Reunion – Class of ’87 & ’88

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Billionaire Soros backs plagiarist in Contra Costa DA’s race: candidate of ‘integrity’

Sunday, May 27th, 2018

By Randy DeSotoWestern JournalRepublished with permission

Originally published May 24, 2018 at 12:20 pm

Soros. Photo from ff.org

Billionaire George Soros is backing an admitted plagiarist in a district attorney’s race in northern California, funding campaign literature that describes her as a candidate of “integrity.” Hers is just one of multiple DA races in which Soros is trying influence the election’s outcome.

The Los Angeles Times reported Soros has dropped over $2.7 million in California DA races this election cycle, and since 2014 has spent more than $16 million in 17 county races in other states. His chosen candidates have won 13 of them.

“Wealthy donors are spending millions of dollars to back would-be prosecutors who want to reduce incarceration, crack down on police misconduct and revamp a bail system they contend unfairly imprisons poor people before trial,” according to The Times.

Soros has waded into the Contra Costa County DA’s race to the tune of $275,000 backing interim Democrat DA Diana Becton.

In addition to supporting Becton, the self-described philanthropist has intervened in the DA contests in San Diego County spending $1.5 million, according to San Diego Tribune, and Sacramento County with another $375,000, The Sacramento Bee is reporting.

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Becton, 66, was chosen as Contra Costa County’s interim DA last September among five applicants to the position, in a narrow 3-2 vote by the county’s board of supervisors.

The choice by the board of supervisors came despite the revelation that the former judge plagiarized significant portions of her application and unlike other candidates, including Contra Costa County District Attorneys’ Association endorsed Paul Graves, has no prosecutorial experience.

Becton is the county’s first female and African American district attorney, which Soros made a top selling point in a recent mailer sent to voters throughout the county ahead of the June 5 election to decide who will take up the seat for a full term.

The piece describes Becton as someone with “experience, integrity, and progressive values.”

The East Bay Times reported in Becton’s plagiarized application to become interim DA that she “took more than 100 words from a widely publicized letter written by U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, regarding criminal justice reform.”

She also cut and pasted portions from neighboring Alameda County’s District Attorney’s website regarding the issue of community development.

Do you think Soros is seeking to undermine traditional American values?

Other text came word-for-word from a March 1994 issue of Harvard Business Review. Even a direct quote from Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” Speech made it into her application, which read, “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was an heir.”

In all, at least seven portions of her application were plagiarized from others’ words, which were chronicled in an anonymous letter sent to multiple media outlets.

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Last September, Becton described her actions to the board of supervisors as a “mistake,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“I drew liberally from all kinds of sources because I wanted to lift certain issues up,” she said. “I recognize that I should have used quotation marks when I used words of other people, and I didn’t do that. I own the mistake.”

“That is the same kind of leadership and transparency and accountability that I will bring to the district attorney’s office,” Becton added.

The editorial board for the East Bay Times backed Graves over Becton earlier this month, citing her plagiarism, in part.

“It’s the sort of plagiarism that’s unacceptable from a high school student, much less the county’s most powerful law enforcement official. But, to this day, Becton still doesn’t fully comprehend what she did wrong,” the editors wrote.

Her “mistake” is surprising, given her experience as a judge, and being a law school and college gradate. The proper citation of sources is central to the legal craft.

Aron DeFerrari — president of Contra Costa County District Attorneys’ Association — told The Western Journal he thought Becton would no longer be under consideration for the position after admitting to plagiarism.

“There is no way they can appoint somebody who plagiarized her application,” he recalled thinking at the time.

His group had endorsed Graves for the appointment and is supporting his candidacy in the election.

Graves, a Republican, is a current Contra Costa County prosecutor, who oversaw the Homicide Unit and now oversees the Family Violence Unit.

“The biggest compliment you can pay a prosecutor is to call him a grinder,” said Deferrari, who serves with Graves in the DA’s office. “Paul is a straight up grinder. There is a reason for that. This job is important. This job takes a lot of time and effort. You don’t do this job well between 8:30 to five, four or five days a week.”

“Paul Graves has demonstrated that commitment to victims of crime and he’s done so for the last 22 years,” DeFerrari added. “He is the only candidate in this election that has done that. It’s how he has earned the respect and support of every law enforcement agency in this County.”

According to his website, Graves is endorsed by over a dozen police officers’ organizations, as well as a plethora of local officials, from city council members to multiple judges.

Paul Graves Speaks Out Against George Soros Trying to Buy Contra Costa District Attorney’s Race http://eastcountytoday.net/paul-graves-speaks-out-against-george-soros-trying-to-buy-contra-costa-district-attorneys-race/ …

eastcountytoday.net (@eastcountytoday) 11:22 AM – May 9, 2018

Becton puts Sen. Harris at the top of her endorsements list followed by various Democratic members of Congress, mayors, government and non-government labor unions, and city council members, but support from the law enforcement community is all but absent.

DeFerrari told The Journal there is a reason law enforcement groups are backing Graves over Becton.

“Her actions and her lack of commitment to this job, from the moment she submitted her application to the place we are standing today, have not earned our respect as criminal prosecutors,” said DeFarrari. “This job requires absolute commitment to fighting for victims of crime each and every day and not just Monday through Friday.”

A review of Becton’s calendar obtained by a public records request by a Graves supporter shows the interim DA spent a substantial amount of time away from the office during her first six months in office, particularly for someone with no prosecutorial experience.

Just weeks after being sworn in as DA in late September, Becton traveled to Atlanta for a National Association of Women Judges convention, missing three work days.

She then traveled from there to Virginia for the Women in Power and Politics event the following week. In late October, the former judge went to an event at Stanford University. In November, Becton was out of the office for two days to participate in a “Fair and Just Prosecution” event focused on rolling back the “tough on crime” approach to law enforcement.

In a statement endorsing Becton, the Soros aligned Real Justice PAC indicated this will be top priority of the candidate.

“If elected she will make history as the prosecutor who took on mass incarceration by pushing through much needed bail reform, restorative justice programs, and an end to racial disparities in charging and sentencing,” said the group’s co-founder Shaun King.

The DA took vacation from Nov. 23 – 30, as well as Dec. 26 and Dec. 29 to Jan. 2, 2018, missing another six work days.

A review of the key card access to the Contra Costa Country DA office, also obtained through a public records request, showed that Becton did not come to her office a single weekend during her first six months in office from Oct. 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018.

However, Graves was in the office over a dozen weekend days. Paul Thompson, a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles County, noted it is common for prosecutors to work weekends in the lead up to a trial.

“If we’re in trial, which happens for the typical trial attorney 6-15 weeks out of the year…weekly work hours double, meaning that we’re working nights and weekends,” he said.

Scott Alonso, the Public Information Officer for the Contra Costa County DA’s office told The Western Journal just because Becton is not physically in the office, it does not mean she is not working.

“She works long hours inside the office and outside the office,” he said. “With this type of work, she’s on call 24-7. She’s in constant daily communication with her attorneys and with members of her leadership team.”

DeFerrari fears Becton is more interested in the position than the work it entails.

“You want somebody who wants to do the job,” he said, “not just somebody who wants to have the job.”

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Chase Bank branch on Delta Fair Blvd in Antioch robbed Tuesday afternoon

Friday, May 25th, 2018

Chase Bank branch on Delta Fair Blvd. in Antioch. Photo from Google Maps.

By Corporal Steve McElroy, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at approximately 3:36 PM, Antioch PD responded to the Chase Bank located at 3206 Delta Fair Blvd. on the report of a bank robbery.

Bank employees reported a male in his 40’s, with a medium build approached one of the tellers inside the bank. When the teller attempted to provide service to him, he demanded that the teller hand over the money she had and threatened that he was armed with a gun. No gun was ever seen, and the suspect fled the bank on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH.

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Meals on Wheels seeks volunteers in Antioch, East County

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

 

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Letters: Former Antioch Mayor and School Board Member Rocha wants reconsideration of approval for East Bay Tech charter academies

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

Dear Editor:

At the Antioch Unified School Board of Education meeting held on May 9th, against the advice of staff and legal counsel, AUSD Board Members Crystal Sawyer-White, Debra Vinson, and Walter Ruehlig voted to approve East Bay Tech High School Charter (EBTHS) and East Bay Tech Middle School Charter (EBTMS) with the following conditions: “Delegate the Superintendent to negotiate the MOU that addresses the Findings of Facts included in Resolution No. 2017-18-9, including the revised budget, SPED and operations, by June 18th”.  Despite legal counsel concerns and Board Member Gibson-Gray pointing out that there was nothing in the motion to deny the charter if they did not meet the conditions the approval still stands. The motion was passed 3-2, with Hack and Gibson-Gray voting against it.

The EBTHS and EBTMS Charters are based on the Clayton Valley Charter High School (CVCHS) which has recently made headlines, “Contra Costa County Office of Education To Conduct Forensic Financial Audit of Clayton Charter High School After Sudden Departure of Administrators” (Claycord May 17, 2018).

One of the lead petitioners, Meagan Moilanen, is currently on staff of CVCHS and during the May 9th meeting spoke glowingly about the successes at CVCHS and they would be bringing that success model to the Antioch Charters.  This is very concerning and until the investigation is completed, Antioch Unified School District needs to put a stop to both charters.

Unfortunately, only AUSD Board Members who voted to approve the charters may request that the item be brought back to the board for discussion or a revote. For the sake of our students and community, I feel that action needs to be taken quickly.

Please contact the AUSD Board Members below to encourage them to reconsider their vote while the Contra Costa County Office of Education conducts a Forensic Financial Audit of CVCHS and the actions of their Administrators and Board Members.

crystalsawyerwhite@antioch.k12.ca.us
debravinson@gmail.com
walter.ruehlig@gmail.com

Thank you.

Mary Helen Rocha

Past AUSD Trustee, Antioch Mayor and City Council Member

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Southern Cafe to be featured on Food Network TV show Friday, May 25

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018


The Oakland location for Southern Café will be featured on the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives TV show on the Food Network, this Friday, May 25 at 9:00 p.m. Check your local listings to tune and watch, as host Guy Fieri talks with owner Phillip Bell and staff, and samples their menu items.  Southern Café’s oxtails recipe is featured on the Food Network’s website, here.

Southern Café’s Antioch location is at 400 G Street in historic, downtown Rivertown where you can enjoy their same, tasty recipes. For more information visit their website at www.southerncafe2000.com.

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