Archive for July, 2018

Central & East County CEASEFIRE community forum to end gun violence, Saturday, Aug. 4 in Antioch

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Central & East Contra Costa County CEASEFIRE is a partnership among community members, law enforcement and service providers that works to reduce gun violence in our communities of ANTIOCH, BRENTWOOD, CONCORD, OAKLEY & PITTSBURG. Part of its strategy is to link people who are at risk to services that help them make smart decisions.

MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY, CLERGY AND STAKEHOLDERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO JOIN US AT THIS CEASEFIRE PRESENTATION & NIGHTWALK

DATE: SATURDAY, August 4, 2018 AT 6:00PM

LOCATION: RENEWED STRENGTH MINISTRIES, 2026 CAVALLO ROAD, ANTIOCH

**Join us after the presentation as we walk the streets of our community with the message to end gun violence**

If you would like to participate in the planning of CEASEFIRE events, please join us every Thursday evening at 6:30 pm at Renewed Strength Ministries – 2026 Cavallo Rd., Antioch.

For more information email – cwilkerson@ci.pittsburg.ca.us. Find out more on Facebook @CeasefireCentralEastCCC or Twitter: @eastcontracosta1.

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Antioch Police Department adds another officer to the force

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Antioch Police Chief Tammany Brooks administers the oath of office to new Officer Devon Wenger-Gomez as friends and family members look on, Monday, July 30, 2018. Photos by APD.

Chief Brooks and Officer Wenger-Gomez.

Posted on the Antioch Police Department Facebook page Monday, July 30, 2018:

“Today, we welcome lateral officer Devon Wenger-Gomez. Devon was born in Walnut Creek and grew up in the East Bay. He graduated from Freedom High School in 2010.

After graduation, Devon enlisted in the Army and was deployed to Afghanistan. When Devon returned from deployment, he served with the Fort Drum Special Reaction Team as an entry team member and sniper. To this day, Devon continues to serve our Country with the California National Guard.

Devon put himself through the Santa Rosa Junior College Police Academy and was hired by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office as a Deputy Sheriff.

Devon is grateful that he has transitioned to The Antioch Police Department and is excited to serve the community that he grew up in.

A fun fact about Devon is that he is a huge Star Wars “nerd” and has a Boba Fett tattoo. He loves going to Comic- Con with his family. Devon and his mom are both huge Star Wars fans and she’s the one who introduced him to a galaxy far, far away!”

That keeps the total number of sworn officers on the force at 95, because “We had an officer resign, last Friday, explained Antioch Police Chief Tammany Brooks.

That’s a net increase of six officers from the city’s Measure C half-cent sales tax which passed in 2013. A total of 22 additional officers were committed from the tax increase revenue, when there were 89 on the force and paid for by the city’s general fund budget.

“I’m hoping to make some good progress in the next few months, he continued. We have three graduating the academy in September, another one in November, and two laterals in the hiring process, right now. Plus, we have two that just started the police academy yesterday. But they won’t graduate until January of 2019.”

“Hiring is a true priority for me,” Brooks stated. “We just need to find someone not only capable of working at our pace, but willing as well.”

“It’s a hard sell to say come work for me, I can pay you the same as those other agencies, I’m just gonna work you twice as hard,” he said with a laugh. “But on the positive side, our department has a great reputation, the camaraderie is unmatched, and we really have the support of the vast majority of our community.”

“For me it’s about pride. I’m proud to be Antioch PD. Always have been. And always will be. And I try to instill that in our employees,” Brooks shared. “Getting young recruits like Wenger, who grew up and have family here, those are the ones who I see a great deal of success with, in the long run.”

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Three shot, one killed in Antioch early Monday morning

Monday, July 30th, 2018

Screenshot of Antioch Police Officers in the Applebee’s parking lot, early Monday morning, July 30, 2018, from a report by KTVU Fox2 News.

By Sergeant John Fortner #3264, Antioch Police Investigations Bureau – Violent Crimes Unit

On Monday, July 30, 2018 at 1:17 a.m., Antioch Police dispatch received several calls reporting multiple gunshots at a business complex located in the 2700 block of Hillcrest Avenue at Larkspur Drive. The shootout occurred in the parking lot of Applebee’s restaurant which closed at midnight. 

When officers arrived at the complex they located two males down on the ground in the parking lot. An 18-year-old male victim sustained multiple gunshot wounds and succumbed to his injuries at the scene. The second male (16 years-old) was located a short distance away and he was also suffering from gunshot wounds. Officers began first aid as fire department paramedics were called to the scene. The surviving victim was stabilized and transported to a local area hospital where he was taken into surgery.

While officers were still at the scene they were advised that a shooting victim, a 17-year-old male, arrived at a local emergency room for treatment. Officers responded to the hospital and determined that this was an additional victim who was related to the shooting in the parking lot. No additional victims have come forward or have been identified at this time.

At this time, evidence suggests that the victims were involved in a confrontation with another group of unknown subjects in the parking lot when gunshots were fired.

The area was designated a crime scene and cordoned off. The Antioch Police Department’s Investigations Bureau was notified and responded to the scene. This incident is currently under investigation, and evidence is being collected.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department at (925)778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Environmental groups claim “major victory” with Antioch Council’s approval of 1,177-home development, deny deal was cut

Saturday, July 28th, 2018

Map of the area included in the environmental groups’ initiative showing projects already approved and The Ranch and Zeka Ranch projects they’ were working to stop.

Claim the two initiatives were the same; defend providing false information to voters; want council to adopt not “Let Antioch Voters Decide” their initiative

Following is an email message sent out Thursday by the Antioch Community to Save Sand Creek whose “Let Antioch Voters Decide: the Sand Creek Area Protection Initiative”, backed by environmental groups, was not placed on the November 2018 ballot by the Antioch City Council as the backers wanted. Instead, the council voted unanimously to adopt the competing initiative by Richland Communities which approved their 1,177-home development, known as “The Ranch” and postponed dealing with the environmental groups’ initiative for 30 days, delaying its appearance on the ballot until March 2020. (See related article).

Email message:

City Council Adopts Richland Developer Initiative, Orders 30-day Study on Our Let Antioch Voters Decide Initiative

Council Can Adopt Our Initiative on Tuesday August 28th (7pm; 200 H St)

This past Tuesday night, with many members of Antioch Community to Save Sand Creek, in attendance, the City Council adopted the initiative backed by Richland developers and ordered a 30-day study on ours.

What Does This Mean? 

In short, three things:

1) more than 1,200 acres of beautiful Antioch scenery, endangered species habitat and creek corridor west of Deer Valley Rd have increased protection,

2) ‘The Ranch’ project (about 1,200 units) is now approved, unless challenged in the next 30 days, and

3) Antioch voters will get to decide if they want any more development west of Deer Valley Rd besides the development envelope associated with ‘The Ranch’. 

This Is A Major Indirect Victory! But How, if the Developers Got Their Initiative Adopted? 

To understand that, first know that the developers would never have done their initiative if we had not drafted, filed, and collected signatures for our own initiative. 

Recognizing they had made a major blunder in not taking us seriously and realizing they had to make some major changes, they basically copied our initiative with one major change: allow an improved version of their project. 

They changed their project to reduce the number of units, provide a wide creek-corridor buffer around Sand Creek, leave the hills alone and buffer Empire Mine Rd so their project doesn’t lead to more development further west. 

So right now, an improved (as described above) ‘The Ranch’ project has been approved, and about 70% of the Sand Creek area west of Deer Valley Rd has development restricted on it. That includes the Zeka Ranch, which is more than 640 acres west of Empire Mine Rd that is surrounded on three sides by East Bay Regional Park District land, the southern hills and Sand Creek. 

What Happens With Our Initiative?  

On Tuesday the Council ordered a 30-day report, also known as a 9212 Report (from the Elections Code) on our Initiative. It’s a purely informational report that basically describes how our Initiative would affect the City’s General Plan, if at all.

Our Let Antioch Voters Decide: the Sand Creek Area Protection Initiative, will be taken up again by the City Council on Tuesday August 28th. 

They will have two options: 1) Adopt it, or 2) put it on the 2020 ballot. 

Since the Richland initiative has a built-in development agreement that takes effect after 30 days, and it was adopted on Tuesday, the Council adopting our Initiative on August 28th wouldn’t affect the approval of ‘The Ranch’.
We want them to adopt our Let Antioch Voters Decide Initiative. It would save the City the expense of having to put it on the ballot and add protections to the Sand Creek Area.

Addressing Council’s Criticism of Antioch Community to Save Sand Creek Member Organizations  
During the discussion of our Initiative by the Council on Tuesday there was a lot of criticism lobbed at Antioch Community to Save Sand Creek members, specifically Save Mount Diablo. Much was made of Councilmembers’ experience that signature gatherers told Antioch residents that there could be 4,000-8,000+ houses approved in the Sand Creek area, and in some cases 50,000 new houses in Antioch overall. The Council thought these were false and misleading claims. There was also criticism related to a member organization, Greenbelt Alliance, not sending a representative to the meeting that night. 

We want to address these claims directly. The below paragraph is from our Frequently Asked Questions sheet, which from the very beginning we made available digitally and in hard-copy. 

Amount of Possible Housing Stated To Public – 4,000-8,000 Units

Before our Initiative, more recent planning attempts and the City’s current General Plan suggested 4,000 units in the Sand Creek Area. But, for each project so far, the city council has amended the General Plan to allow even more houses. The Sand Creek Focus Area includes 2,783 acres. The approved Aviano and Promenade projects east of Deer Valley Rd include 1,183 houses on 281 acres east of Kaiser. There are two other active development applications: At the time, ‘The Ranch’ proposed 1,307 on 552 acres.  ‘Olive Grove’ east of Deer Valley Rd proposes 301 units on 97 acres. In total that’s 2,791 units on 930 acres, just a third of the total acreage. If the city continued to ignore the General Plan at the same pace, that equals 8,352 units on 2,783 acres. So we used a range of 4,000 units suggested in the General Plan and 8,000, suggested by what’s actually taking place.

Paid Signature Gatherers – 50,000 Houses?

As for the 50,000 house claim, Tuesday was the first we’ve heard of it. This is a good point to bring up the fact that about 85% of the official signatures we collected to qualify our Initiative for the ballot were collected by volunteers and staff from member organizations. They were informed about 4,000-8,000 range and communicated this to the public. Towards the end of the signature drive, it became necessary to use paid signature gatherers to get over the last signature hurdle. It’s possible that some of these individuals inflated numbers in the hopes it would yield more signatures, but we hope this was not the case.
Richland’s 50+ Paid Signature Gatherers Confused The Situation

We noted that on Tuesday the Council publicly criticized what they called the misleading claims of some of our signature gatherers, while saying nothing about the Richland initiative, which unlike us, relied entirely on paid signature gatherers. We agree that we witnessed paid signature gatherers saying whatever they thought would get someone to stop and sign. 

Deal Between Save Mount Diablo and Richland?

One Councilmember suggested there was a deal between Save Mount Diablo and Richland. In fact, the Let Antioch Voters Decide initiative is sponsored by a coalition of organizations and individuals. Save Mount Diablo is one member of the coalition, but certainly a significant one.  We have had discussions, tours and all kinds of conversations with Richland for over 3 years before we drafted our initiative, in hopes they would make their project better. By the same token, we’ve had conversations about the same issues with every city council member.  In our opinion, they didn’t make their project better and so we drafted our initiative.
After our initiative was filed we continued meeting with Richland (and separately with every city council member), hoping at the simplest to keep them from going nuclear on our volunteer signature gatherers for as long as possible.  Our efforts are always toward the best conservation outcome we can achieve. During the signature drive, we submitted comments on Richland’s The Ranch project Environmental Impact Report—and the city slowed down the environmental review. When Richland began qualifying a competing initiative, they clearly copied much of the substance of our own initiative, hoping we would not oppose theirs. They also changed their project, making it smaller and including many of the suggestions the public and Save Mount Diablo had made over the previous 3 years. That made things a lot more complicated.
We had plenty of discussions with Richland, but the only deal we had was that neither of us would legally challenge the others’ initiative. Each initiative sponsor would continue pursuing their initiative’s qualification and attempts at getting the City Council to adopt our measures.

Greenbelt Alliance

And finally, regarding the absence of a Greenbelt Alliance representative at the meeting on Tuesday, Greenbelt Alliance is a highly valued partner. The East Bay Field Representative position is currently vacant. Greenbelt Alliance is facing a very high workload with less staff than they normally would have available. Having communicated directly with Greenbelt Alliance, we can confirm that their absence on Tuesday was simply a bandwidth issue and in no way related to any disagreement or controversy related to the Initiative.
Moving On

We hope this puts to rest any questions, concerns or accusations that the Council or anyone in the Antioch community has regarding Antioch Community to Save Sand Creek member organizations, specifically Greenbelt Alliance and Save Mount Diablo. We look forward to constructive relationships in the future with not just the City Council, but all people in Antioch. After all, we still have work to do next month.

Our Next Step Is…Ask Council to Adopt Our Initiative on Tuesday August 28 (7pm; 200 H St)

Please come to the meeting, fill out a speaker card and ask the Council to adopt the ‘Let Antioch Voters Decide: Sand Creek Area Protection Initiative’. If you can’t be there in person, call or email the City Council (list below) and ask them to adopt the Let Antioch Voters Decide Initiative.

Hundreds of volunteers and thousands of Antioch residents who signed helped us get this far. Let’s make the next step a reality!

Antioch City Council Contact Info:
Mayor Sean Wright
(925) 757-3309 – swright@ci.antioch.ca.us
Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe
(925) 978-4663 – lthorpe@ci.antioch.ca.us
Council Member Lori Ogorchock
(925) 628-7764 – logorchock@ci.antioch.ca.us
Council Member Monica E. Wilson
(925) 628-0749 – mwilson@ci.antioch.ca.us
Council Member Tony G. Tiscareno
(925) 234-3639 – ttiscareno@ci.antioch.ca.us 
THANK YOU!!!

Who We Are

A coalition of Antioch residents and environmental groups, including Save Mount Diablo, California Native Plant Society, Greenbelt Alliance and Sierra Club. We want to keep our community informed about what’s going on. You can unsubscribe from these messages at any time (below). But if you want to influence things and take action, you should join us. Thanks!

— End of email message.

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Antioch Council adopts developer’s initiative approving 1,177-home project in Sand Creek area

Thursday, July 26th, 2018

Map of area covered by the Richland Communities’ alternative initiative, and The Ranch 1,177-home project.

Sends environmental group’s initiative to staff to study for 30 days

By Alexandra Riva

During their meeting on Tuesday, July 24, the Antioch City Council adopted the initiative sponsored by Richland Communities, approving their 1,177-home project in the Sand Creek area, while sending the competing Let The Voters Decide initiative, sponsored by environmental groups, to city staff to study for 30 days.  City staff report on West Sand Creek initiative 072418

The council had three options for each initiative that had garnered enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. They could have either adopted one or both of them, sent them to the November ballot, or send them to staff to study for 30 days and return with a report. Then within 10 days they would still have the options of adopting or sending to the ballot. City staff report on Let Antioch Voters Decide initiative 072418

The first initiative discussed was for ‘The Ranch’ project in the Sand Creek area, that scales back the proposed project by 10% from 1,307 to 1,177 homes and requires the developer to donate $1.2 million to Deer Valley High School for their sports programs. The item was passed unanimously by the council.

Discussed second was an initiative to restrict development in portions of the area which, with five affirmative votes by the council, was sent to staff who must return with a report at a special meeting on August 21. They will then decide at their regular meeting on August 28 whether to adopt it or send it to the ballot for the March 2020 election. Richland’s development agreement will be effective on August 23, 30 days after Tuesday night’s council action. So, if the council adopts the other initiative, although it has conflicting language, it will have no effect on and cannot stop The Ranch project from being built.

Both initiatives restricted development on neighboring Zeka Ranch project, which included between 300-400 homes on 200 of their 640 acres. That has been the target of the environmental groups since the beginning of the planning for the Sand Creek Focus Area, formerly known as Future Urban Area-1.

Both of the issues were hotly debated at the meeting by members of the public who packed the council chambers, for a standing room only audience.

A presentation made by Craig Christina, Richland’s vice president, urged the council to approve the development plan for ‘The Ranch’ project, based on the fact that this would ensure balanced development of the West Sand Creek area. Additionally, he explained that the development of ‘The Ranch’ would create hundreds of local construction jobs and would create a surplus of funds, around half a million dollars or more, for the city.

Many members of the public agreed with what he had to say, including representatives of construction trades unions, the Antioch Chamber of Commerce and the Delta Association of Realtors, citing a need for more housing options in Antioch and how this project will help the city grow, and create local jobs.

However, others asked to have both initiatives sent to staff to study for 30 days, to avoid having them on the November 2018 ballot. One of those was Louisa Zee Kao, president of the Zeka Group, which bought their land located to the west of old Empire Mine Road and The Ranch project, in 1992, saying they had spent millions of dollars and worked with the city in the years, since.

Lawyers representing The Zeka Group has submitted a letter challenging the legality of both initiatives, pointing out flaws in each, to the city and each council member on Monday. Andrew Bassak of the Mannat law firm in San Francisco, spoke to the council expressing his client’s concerns. In addition, former Antioch Council Member and Herald publisher Allen Payton challenged the council about the private property rights of Mrs. Zee Kao. Manatt Letter to Council

In response, Council Member Tony Tiscareno asked Acting City Attorney Derek Cole about the impact on The Zeka Ranch if they adopted Richland’s initiative.

Cole explained that the initiative has a takings exemption clause, stating that if one of the four neighboring property owners feels their property has been devalued, thus taken, they have the opportunity to challenge that and the council will decide. The other initiative has a similar clause, but that one leaves it up to a judge to decide. That satisfied the councilman’s concerns.

Antioch Mayor Sean Wright expressed sentiments about the voting process and how long this issue has been up for debate.

“This has been a frustrating process,” he said. “I think this process stinks. We talk about it going to the voters and that’s where it’s gone. What I’ve learned through this is that ultimately a referendum can stop anything and it’s frustrating. How many times do we have to vote about this land?”

In response to the impending approval of the development plan, which would result in 1,177 more homes for the city, Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe expressed discontent with the decision.

“I’ve been kind of turned off by all of this…One of the things that I think my friends in the environmental community have always made an issue of are concerns about the environmental sensitivities on [the] property,” he said. “I’ve found it disingenuous the way signatures have been gathered to make this ranch project the focal point, when that was never the intent. And I also found it disheartening that in my discussions leading up to this with Save Mount Diablo, that they didn’t come up here and share their vantage point.”

The leaders of the environmental groups’ initiative, including Seth Adams of Save Mount Diablo, were not in attendance at the meeting, leading some to speculate that a deal had been cut between Richland and the environmental groups. Thorpe specifically mentioned their absence in his comments.

The “Let Antioch Voters Decide” initiative to restrict development in the Sand Creek area west of Deer Valley Road and make the city’s Urban Limit Line permanent. If the council adopted that initiative, it would essentially undo the development of ‘The Ranch’, which had just been approved in the meeting. It was decided that would be sent back to staff for review for 30 days.

One of the three local proponents of that initiative, Michael Amorosa was in attendance at the meeting, but did not speak on either issue.

Many community members against the urban development of the Sand Creek area still came out to share their disapproval and asked the council to adopt the initiative to restrict development.

“We are very proud that together with hundreds of supporters in Antioch and our allies at Greenbelt Alliance, California Native Plant Society, and Sierra Club, we are able to form the Antioch community to save Sand Creek and collect nearly ten thousand signatures, almost 6,000 of which were officially submitted to the city and county to qualify our ‘Let Antioch Voters Decide: Sand Creek Area Protection Initiative’ for the ballot,” said Juan Pablo Galvan, from Save Mount Diablo.

Further, Galvan asserted that by rejecting the development plan, and adopting their initiative, Antioch’s natural resources and scenery would be protected, as well as reducing traffic in the area.

Tiscareno spoke out against the initiative to restrict development in the Sand Creek area, after public comment ended.

“I am, to be honest with you, most angry about this particular one,” he said. “And, it’s not the citizens of Antioch, I truly believe that they are trying to do good things and try to preserve some of the beautiful hills out there but what I’ve heard and what I’ve experienced in the last several months has really disturbed me.”

Tiscareno continued, “…I did come across some of the petitioners. Some of them were good, but a lot of them were misinforming the public. I personally was approached and asked, ‘do you want to see 50 thousand homes built in the city of Antioch’ and I asked them were they got the information.”

He went on to explain that none of the petitioners he encountered could tell him where they got their information, but simply urged him to sign the petition. But, Tiscareno then clarified that not all of the petitioners he spoke with did this.

Council Members Monica Wilson and Ogorchock also shared similar stories, commenting that they had heard that anywhere between four to fifty thousand homes were to be developed in the Sand Creek area, which is false. Ogorchock then called some of the efforts to thwart development by the petitioners ‘deceiving’.

Ultimately, the major decision at the meeting was to go the adoption of ‘The Ranch’ initiative and approval of their project, and to prevent the environmental groups’ initiative from appearing on the November 2018 ballot. It will return to the council for their August 21 and 28 meetings for a final decision.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Antioch Council places sales tax increase on November ballot, would permanently double to one cent

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

Council wants to split revenue with 80% going for police services

By Alexandra Riva

At their meeting Tuesday, July 24, the Antioch City Council voted to place a ballot measure that would extend and double the transaction and use tax, or sales tax permanently from a half-cent to one cent. With the five affirmative votes, residents will now have the opportunity to vote on the measure as it will appear on their ballots in November. 1 Cent Sales Tax Ballot Measure Staff Report

As it stands, the fiscal impact of Measure C’s one-half cent sales tax measure, which generates $6.7 million in revenue. Most of this revenue is currently being spent on the Antioch Police Department. Through the extension and increase, the measure could have the potential to generate $14 million in revenue for the City’s General Fund, each year. 1 Cent Sales Tax Draft Spending Priorities

Unlike Measure C, with its seven-year sunset clause, resulting in the sales tax expiring in April 2020, the one-cent sales tax measure if passed, would be permanent. It could only be removed by another vote of the people.

The drafted version of the measure allocates 60% of revenue for the maintenance of public safety, 20% for youth services, and the remaining 20% for supporting quality of life and fiscal stability and accountability.

During the meeting the council discussed changing these amounts from percentages of 60-20-20 to an 80-10-10 allocation. This 80-10-10 split was advocated for by both Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, who included it in her motion, and Mayor Sean Wright during his comments. However, it is not part of the actual ballot language and future councils will not be bound by those amounts and can spend the funds in any way they deem necessary.

Ogorchock wasn’t happy that it was the first time she and the rest of the council had a chance to consider the ballot measure.

The proposal was the result of an ad hoc committee consisting of Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe and Councilwoman Monica Wilson, and input from the public, including phone and online surveys, and the city’s “Join the Conversation campaign” on the city’s website and Facebook page.

“I want to thank my colleagues for going on this adventure, which we’ve been on for almost a year-and-a-half… in gathering data,” Thorpe said. Over 2,000 individual residents gave input on their priorities during the effort, he mentioned.

He responded to Ogorchock’s concern by saying “we did get an update from our pollster, back in January… we conducted this poll recently and it was concluded a couple weeks ago. So, it wasn’t that we were trying to hide anything.”

“It is a recommendation based on the data we collected,” Thorpe added.

Councilman Tony Tiscareno said he supported the measure because he wanted to hire more police officers, “which we can’t do with Measure C.”

Wright argued for the increase, comparing Antioch to Brentwood, responding to concerns of why the neighboring city doesn’t do like they do in Brentwood. “The people of Brentwood have taxed themselves” an extra $3,000 per year per home to pay for city services, he said.

“We have an opportunity, tonight to tax ourselves… to drive Antioch to be the city we want it to be,” Wright added.

The council’s unanimous vote only places the measure on the November ballot for the voters to decide, and nothing more.

Of those who offered public comment on the issue, most seemed to support the implementation of an increased tax rate for an extended period of time and urged the council to place the measure on the ballot.

Calls were made for the potential funds generated from the measure to be allocated to the police department and public safety. Additionally, funding from this measure, intended to improve the quality of life of residents, particularly Antioch youth, was another concern among the members of the public, who spoke

Samson Knight, an Antioch resident, expressed his support for the measure with particular interest in funding for quality of life services.

“I think that these quality of life services, especially youth programs, would be a great boon to our city. I think the proportional gain of resources for these programs would be much greater than an equivalent amount given to such a large financial entity such as APD,” said Knight.

Funding for the Antioch police department, as a result of this measure in its current state, was around $7 million, which has allowed the city to hire a net seven additional officers, and did tremendous good for the city, according to some speakers. One such community member was Steve Aiello, president of the Antioch Police Officers’ Association, who spoke in support of the measure.

“As you can see, the issue of public safety is directly related to the quality of life…It is important to note that even though we have made great strides in hiring officers, we still need more,” said Aiello.

However, other speakers were not happy with the proposed tax increase.

“I don’t even really understand this,” said Beverly Knight, Samson’s mother. “I know that the residents of Antioch don’t have a problem with continuing with Measure C. They want a fully staffed police department. We need people to feel safe to come out of their homes…when using the parks. We want a fully funded police department before we mess with Measure C. That’s what people voted for.”

To date, the city has added a net seven police officers out of the 22 promised by the then-mayor and council in 2013, if Measure C passed.

Although it’s a tax increase the council gave it the title of “City of Antioch Quality of Life Measure.”

The ballot language adopted will read, “To maintain Antioch’s fiscal stability and police patrols, 911 emergency response, youth violence prevention programs; ensuring water quality and safety; repairing streets; cleaning up parks/illegal dumping; restoring youth after-school/summer programs; and other essential services; shall the measure be adopted approving an ordinance to renew the sales tax at the one-cent rate, raising approximately $14,000,000 annually until ended by voters, requiring independent annual financial audits and all expenditures available for public review?”

The election will be held on Tuesday, November 6.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Report: Antioch ranks 20th out of the 100 most dangerous cities in California

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

Antioch ranks 21st for murders; Richmond ranks 6th overall, 5th for murders; Pittsburg ranks 59th overall, 13th for murders; Concord ranks 82nd overall, 87th for murders

By Michael McKneely

California is a large and diverse state. The landscape, social climate, and opportunities in one city may be entirely different than in another. Significant differences also exist in violent crime rates. Certain cities are more dangerous than others due to a variety of factors, such as economic opportunity, education, alcohol and drug use, availability of social and family services, gang activity, and much more.

In the most dangerous cities, you are more likely to become a victim of a violent crime. You also may be more likely to face accusations of committing an offense.

According to the FBI, since 2016, out of all 461 individual municipalities in California, four cities in Contra Costa County made the list of the 100 most dangerous cities within the state with a population of at least 50,000 residents. Antioch ranks 20th overall and 21st for murders; Richmond ranks 6th overall and 5th for murders; Pittsburg ranks 59th overall and 13th for murders; and Concord ranks 82nd overall and 87th for murders.

Antioch had a violent crime volume of 678 per 100,000 people, as a result of eight homicides, 49.1 rapes, 261.4 robberies, and 359.5 aggravated assaults per 100,000 residents.

Richmond, a city of only 110,868 people, had a violent crime volume of 919.1 per 100,000 people. This number is made up of 18.9 homicides, 64.9 rapes, 328.2 robberies, and 506.9 aggravated assaults per 100,000 individuals.

Pittsburg had 9.9 homicides per 100,000 people in 2016 – a higher rate than many other cities of a similar size. The city had 59.4 rapes, 164.2 robberies, and 159.9 aggravated assaults per 100,000 individuals. The overall violent crime volume was 393.4 per 100,000 residents.

Concord reported 0.8 homicides, 23.9 rapes, 122.4 robberies, and 197.1 aggravated assaults per 100,000 people. This amounted to a violent crime volume of 344.1 offenses per 100,000 individuals.

Crime Statistics: Volume vs. Rate

One of the ways the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reports on crime around the country is to provide the crime volume for certain locations. This is neither the specific number of offenses that occurred in a specific period of time nor the crime rate. Instead, crime volume is a simplified indicator of how frequently a crime occurs.

In regard to murder and non-negligent manslaughter (homicide), robbery, rape, and aggravated assault, the crime volume indicates the number of known victims. For example, Los Angeles had a volume of 58.5 rapes per 100,000 inhabitants. This means there were 58.5 known victims of rape for every 100,000 people.

The crime rate would be the number of reported crimes standardized by population. To determine the crime rate, you divide a city’s population by 100,000 to obtain X. You then divide the number of offenses by X. This gives you the city’s crime rate per 100,000 residents for a specific offense. For example, Los Angeles had a population of 4,007,905. Divide the population by 100,000, and X equals 40.079. Divide the volume of homicides in Los Angeles, 293, by 40.079, and the homicide rate is 7.31 per 100,000 residents.

It is also notable that if a city has less than 100,000 residents, the numbers still reflect a rate of incidents per 100,000 individuals. This has been calculated to maintain consistency and allow for comparison of overall crime rates. All of the cities on this list have at least 50,000 residents. This allows for more uniform comparison of crime rates.

Most Dangerous Cities in California and Contra Costa County

The following California cities considered in this study are the most dangerous when comparing total crime rate per 100,000 residents:

  1. Oakland, 2. Stockton; 3. San Bernardino, 4. Compton, 5. Modesto, 6. Richmond, 7. Vallejo, 8. Santa Cruz, 9. Redding, 10. Madera, 11. Huntington Park, 12. Inglewood, 13. Hawthorne, 14. Hemet, 15. Los Angeles, 16. Sacramento, 17. San Francisco, 18. South Gate, 19. Lancaster, 20. Antioch, 59. Pittsburg, 82. Concord.

To view the crime map in Richmond, visit https://www.crimemapping.com/map/agency/310. To see crime maps, statistics and calls for service for Antioch, visit http://www.ci.antioch.ca.us/CityGov/Police/crime-maps/. Details on Pittsburg crime statistics can be seen here, http://www.ci.pittsburg.ca.us/index.aspx?page=746. To visit the Concord Police Department webpage click here, http://www.cityofconcord.org/page.asp?pid=1026. To see more details for each city on the list, visit www.fresnocriminalattorney.com/most-dangerous-cities-california.

McKneely is a criminal defense lawyer in Fresno, California.

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Letter writer has concerns about Antioch’s branding effort, proposed tax increase

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

Dear Editor:

Tell me again what your plan is?

A big chunk of money has been spent to hire professionals to come up with a plan to improve the image of Antioch as a place people want to work and live.   Why then would the city council work against itself by opening up the city for the sale and distribution of marijuana and byproducts?

All the talk of how it will revitalize economic development and stimulate the economy seems to makes dollar sense.  But somewhere along the line common sense has been pushed aside.  So far, all the city has in place is a licensing tax.  They haven’t come up with a business tax yet, so no one has an idea just how much revenue can or will be generated.

The council is considering increasing the tax on Measure C.  If it stays as it was originally created that would be a good thing.  To tack on other departments or uses would be a misuse of funds.

Everyone has known from the beginning Measure C would sunset.  That clause was put in to get people to vote for it.  To sweeten the pot, the council created an oversight committee.  Having a citizen watchdog committee reassured voters that the money would be spent as it was intended.  Why would you dilute funds intended for the police department while at the same time creating a situation that will require even more enforcement personnel in the future?

Bottomline:

Many people spoke out at council meetings against what they perceive as a mistake in the marketing of their city.  They felt disappointed, powerless and very angry.  Maybe it’s time to take a deep breath and see if the council can deliver.  If they truly believe that they’re going to generate lots of money from these new business ventures, then divert the new tax money to those programs.

Barbara Herendeen

Antioch

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