Divided Antioch Council votes 3-2 for map using Highway 4 to divide city into four election districts

Working Draft 1 council district elections map with new district numbers adopted at the Antioch Council meeting on Tuesday, May 8, 2018.

Tiscareno votes with “mi gente”, chooses the “diamond encrusted” choice

By Allen Payton

In a surprise move, Antioch Council Member Tony Tiscareno changed his expected direction from supporting the Quadrats C map for dividing the City into district elections and went with the Working Draft 1 map, pleasing what he referred to as “mi gente” meaning, my people. He was joined on the split vote by Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe and Council Member Monica Wilson in approving the map. Mayor Sean Wright and Council Member Lori Ogorchock wanting the other map, voted no.

The council then voted 4-1 with Ogorchock voting no, to finalize their previous approval of changing to district elections, on the second reading.

Most people who spoke on the matter were in favor of the Working Draft 1 map, again and most were also Hispanic, one speaking in Spanish and using an interpreter. They argued for having one representative for the north side of the freeway who lived there. They stated there hasn’t been an elected council member from their area since the 1980’s.

The attorney who started it all by threatening the City with a lawsuit said, “This isn’t about racism. It is about race. There is a significantly different group of people north of the Four. There are blacks and Latinos in other parts of the city. But, this is about under representation of minorities.”

Orgorchock asked for a stay until 2022, saying “The Census is going to be held in 2021. So, we’re going to have to redistrict at that time. Some of these maps won’t mean anything at that time.”

But, Tiscareno responded with “I’m not going to support a stay at this particular point, because we have to move on with the process. I’m not happy with the way this process came about. Whatever map we choose…it doesn’t represent the 2018 (population) numbers.”

Interim City Attorney Derek Cole told the council “Districts 1 and 4 have two-year terms, initially and 2 and 3 have four-year terms.”

Thorpe spoke next, saying “Alright, let’s convince Councilman Tiscareno…Working Draft,” to applause from the audience.  “The fact of the matter is, this is where we’re at, so we just got to finish the job.” He then asked Cole his views on the public sentiment on the maps.

Cole spoke of Working Draft 1. “The testimony the Council has received is overwhelming that that is a community of interest. I think both maps are Constitutionally valid and meet all legal requirements. If you had the diamond encrusted version…legally speaking that’s Working Draft 1. There has been testimony supporting Quadrants C. Legally speaking we’re only dealing with ensuring there is no racially polarized voting. We’re not obligated to geographic regions that might be underrepresented. Do you want a road dividing a community? A side of the tracks? Both maps meet legal standards. But, if there is a Lexus or Porsche version…that’s Working Draft 1.”

Thorpe then asked City Manager Ron Bernal about results of a recent City survey.

Bernal responded, saying “the survey results were broken up between north Antioch, southeast Antioch, and…west Antioch. Their viewpoints are distinctly different…whether they feel they are being represented well by the council.”

Thorpe then said, “so, the people north of the freeway feel they’re being represented differently than people on the south side.

Bernal – working Draft 1 is set up to more closely represent those views.

Thorpe – Whether there was a freeway or not that wouldn’t affect those opinions. The Quadrants are the ones that drive the division through these communities. When you dig down…through the Census Tracts you see that. Working Draft 1 has a representative for each of the regions of the City. If we do go with Quadrants, I will continue to do my darned good job to represent the people of north Antioch.

No one has been up here trying to figure out where someone lives. We have worked to keep that out of the process. We’ll let the voters decide what happens with two of us.”

Wilson spoke next, saying, “I keep coming back to…two speakers said it, today. If you go with Quadrants C…there will be a great possibility that your representative won’t live north of the freeway. I think it’s very important we look at the representatives within those quadrants. I just want to make sure we have equitable representation. Yes, we’re working of 2010 statistics, and we’ll have to go through this again in 2021. No lines are etched in stone. We can always move those. I’m still very much in favor of Working Draft 1.

Thorpe – So, the 2010 Census is…just over 100,000. Will we see drastic changes in where the lines will be, he asked the consultant?

Consultant Karin MacDonald of Q2 that drew the maps for the council, responded by saying, “I think that depends on what you wanted to do. There is no law…that says you must start with the districts drawn in the last process.”

Thorpe then stated, “So, we can start with a completely new…or go with what we have and try to adjust the lines accordingly.

Ogorchock – From what I’ve heard there is equal views on both sides. I can’t accept the freeway to divide the city, again. It’s been there. But it’s very divisive. As for representation, I always feel two heads are better than one. It will be better to have two represent downtown Antioch. I am in support of Quadrants C. The…council needs to go with their heart and what’s best for the City.

Thorpe – when I asked for the feedback we’ve gotten…

Cole – What I recall was that a large amount, the majority of the comments we received online was what was then Working Draft 1. Quadrants C emerged. There was a Change.org petition. I think there was support for Quadrants C. The majority of comments online and here have been in favor of Working Draft 1.

Wright spoke next, stating “When it comes to representation…in a city of 114,000 you have less than 200 people who have weighed in, and less than that. I could be wrong, there’s more than 100. It’s hard to base a decision on 114,000 people. That being said, I want this done, tonight. I want to get our staff back focused on benefiting our community. Whatever is decided, I’d like to see it chosen tonight and moved forward.”

“I’m not for districting. I don’t think it’s a good thing,” he reiterated. “What people are saying is we want someone who will fight for us. We’ve spent more money on north of Antioch than anywhere else. We are focusing our attention on the parks north of Antioch. We’ve spent more money on the roads in downtown Antioch. So, the concept that there’s underrepresentation… I know that we don’t necessary live there. When I’m deciding who to vote for, I don’t look up their address. Someone who is elected from Lake Alhambra won’t know what it’s like to live in Sycamore. They’re just not.”

“So, how do we create districts that create less division in our community,” Wright continued. Referring to the Quadrants C map he said, “there are solid lines You have A Street and Lone Tree and Putnam that are solid lines that put people in different areas. There are pockets of poverty north of the freeway and south, as well. Moving toward districts we are accomplishing much of what is asked for.”

“Quadrants give southeast two representatives, north two representatives,” he concluded.

Tiscareno, who asked to speak last, said “I have to do this for the betterment of what Antioch looks like at this particular point. First, it was about race. Now it’s about numbers and how we can represent the entire city equally. Neither map does that as far as I’m concerned. It’s going to be a boondoggle out there. After…the 2020 Census you’re going to have to change the maps. We’re doing new developments in southeast Antioch, so the 2020 maps will have to look like what Quadrants C looks like anyway. The majority of the folks in favor of Working Draft 1, they’re “mi gente” they’re my people. I feel like I’m doing contrary when I’m talking about the other map. But, that’s not what I’m doing. First, we are Latinos, but we are Antioch citizens.”

“I’m going to make a conscious decision,” he said. “This will be a temporary map. Any map we go with we’re going to have to have a couple council members run against each other. I respect the other council members up here. But, when it comes to elections we’re opponents. It doesn’t matter who’s sitting next to me during election time. They’re my opponent.”

Another thing that frustrates me, we have a community of 114,000 people here, but nobody comes to the council,” Tiscareno continued. “But, you guys are speaking out and I respect you for that…people fighting for their cause. It’s something I used to do.”

He then made a motion, “I’m not doing it to please anybody. This is going to change in 2020. I probably won’t be part of that process, but that’s OK.”

“I move that we approve Working Draft 1,” Tiscareno said, to cheers from the audience. Thorpe offered the second and it passed on a 3-2 vote.

“Si se puede,” was the chant from some of those in the audience.

Numbering the Districts, Chooses Which Will Run for Two-Year Terms in 2020

The council then had to assign numbers to the districts to determine which ones were up for election in 2020 for two-year terms, initially and which would be for four-year terms. Then, in 2022 the two with two-year terms in 2020 will then be up for election again, for four-year terms.

Ogorchock suggested having one in the north and one in the south for two-year terms. She made that motion which was followed by Thorpe’s second.

The map has letters delineating the districts. The council’s decision made the district north of the freeway, labeled B as District 1; district C is now District 2, district D is now District 3 and district A is now District 4. So, the districts that will be up for election for two-year terms in 2020 will be the very north and very south districts, numbers 1 and 4.

Tiscareno lives in District 2, Wilson in District 4 and both Thorpe and Ogorchock live in District 3. No current council member lives in District 1 and the Mayor will continue to run and be elected citywide.

There was no discussion by the council on the matter and the motion passed unanimously.

 

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Working Draft 1 map


6 Comments to “Divided Antioch Council votes 3-2 for map using Highway 4 to divide city into four election districts”

  1. Julio says:

    I predict Tony sells his home in district 2 and moves into district one. One thing he has said over and over was he disliked the DIVIDE Hiway 4 did to Antioch. But he voted to perpetuate just that divide.

    District 1 is going to see this is not what they wished for. They have succeeded in becoming Antioch 1, an orphan while the rest of us will be the real city of Antioch. They would have much better results with 2 districts rather than one and even last night were told this would not result in what they had been wishing for.

    One of the most awful council meetings I have watched and maybe my last.

  2. Foolio says:

    Julio,

    You don’t make any sense when you say ” There will be District 1, and the REAL Antioch” District 4 is the same as 1. It doesn’t split an area, like 2 and 3.

  3. Julio says:

    What I meant is now the city is definitely split into 2 Antioch’s which we tried to avoid. District 1 is one Antioch and districts two, three and four are now another Antioch. I had a person tell me yesterday he would be forgetting all about anything below the free way including Lowes and that area. He is willing to drive east to the other Lowe’s.

    This district thing is not a good thing for this city. Too bad.

    • Foolio says:

      That’s nonsense. If people want to waste gas, that is their issue. District’s are giving every area, equal representation. Antioch was just behind, in the way the city was ran.

  4. Julio says:

    Fool-io is appropriate. Antioch is behind in the way it was run? We do have some problems but nothing that districting will solve. It will only exacerbate isolating District 1.

    • Foolio says:

      District 1 is no more, or less isolated than any other District. That is just your messsed up way of thinking. Everywhere will be District out eventually. You been learn to accept it.

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