Antioch School Board Member throws another twist into local politics becoming 8th candidate to run for Mayor

Ellie Householder sitting with her dog and Nomination Papers in front of Antioch City Hall, Thursday, July 23, 2020. Photo from her Facebook page.

Householder launches campaign by challenging Wright with false statement about his lack of comment on Antioch Police Officer under investigation

Hack takes out papers to run for third term on Antioch School Board

By Allen Payton

Not even half-way through her term on the Antioch School Board, Trustee Ellie Householder has decided to throw her hat in the ring and become the eighth candidate to run for Mayor of Antioch, in the November election. She took out Nomination Papers for the city’s top office on Thursday, according to a report by City Clerk Arne Simonsen.

Antioch School Board Trustee Gary Hack. Photo from AUSD website.

In addition, according to the latest report by the Contra Costa Elections office, Antioch School District Trustee Gary Hack is the first candidate to take out Nomination Papers in Area 4, seeking his third term on the board. The retired Antioch teacher was first elected in 2010 placing first out of eight candidates. Hack lost his race for re-election in 2014, placing third behind Walter Ruehlig and Debra Vinson. He then made a successful comeback in 2016, that time placing third behind Crystal Sawyer-White and Diane Gibson-Gray.

Householder, listed formally as Elizabeth on her papers, is the youngest member of the school board to which she was elected in 2018, placing a distant second behind Trustee Mary Rocha, just after finishing college and while completing her master’s degree. If elected, she would also be the city’s youngest mayor in recent history.

On her personal Facebook page, Householder announced her campaign for mayor Thursday evening by writing:

“Congressman John Lewis once said: Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.

In that spirit, today, I pulled papers to run for Mayor of Antioch.

In December, our current mayor (who is trying to get re-elected) took THOUSANDS of dollars from the police union and we wonder why we still have a killer cop (Officer Mellone) in our community. To date, not the mayor or a single council member has said ANYTHING about this.

We deserve better.”

However, in June, Mayor Wright called for an investigation of Officer Michael Mellone by the Antioch Police Department who was hired while facing discipline by his previous employer, the San Francisco Police Department. According to a June 24 Herald article, “In response to a call by Antioch Mayor Sean Wright for an investigation into the hiring of Mellone, Antioch Police Chief Brooks said on Wednesday, ‘the investigation is still in progress.’” More recently, Brooks told the Herald an outside agency was brought in for the investigation and is reviewing over 1,800 pages of documents related to the case of the shooting death of a homeless man, Luís Góngora-Pat, by Mellone, while an SFPD Officer, and his sergeant, in April 2016.

According to several news reports, at the time Mellone was hired, again by the APD in August 2019 – he had previously worked for the department until 2012 – Mellone was facing discipline by the SFPD for escalating the situation and his use of non-lethal force by shooting a bean bag gun at a homeless man, Luís Demetrio Góngora-Pat, who then brandished a large kitchen knife at the officers, and was subsequently shot and killed by their service weapons. The two officers were cleared by both the SF District Attorney and SFPD Internal Affairs Division for their lethal use of force.

A 10-day suspension was recommended by the SFPD’s IAD, and the citizen-run Department of Police Accountability recommended that the (San Francisco) Police Commission suspend Mellone for 45 days. Neither occurred as he was hired by the Antioch Police Department before a final decision was made on any discipline, which could have been delayed further, if Mellone remained with the SFPD and chose to fight it. (A more thorough report by the Herald about the matter will be published once the investigation of Mellone is complete).

Householder joins seven others, including Wright, former Mayor Wade Harper, Councilwoman Monica Wilson and former Planning Commission Chairman Ken Turnage II, along with three others, including one candidate who ran for governor in 2014.

City Clerk Simonsen reported the following Antioch residents have taken out Nomination Papers as of 5 p.m. July 23rd or Qualified for the following offices:

CITY OFFICES

Mayor

Sean Wright (I) – Mayor of Antioch

Julio Mendez

Rakesh Kumar Christian – Qualified on 7/22/20 – candidate for Governor of California in 2014

Kenneth Turnage II – former Antioch Planning Commission Chairman

Monica Wilson – Antioch Councilwoman

Wade Harper – former Mayor of Antioch

Gabriel Makinano

Elizabeth Householder – Antioch School Board Trustee

—————

The Contra Costa Elections office provided the following information for candidates as of 3:59 PM on Thursday:

ANTIOCH SCHOOL BOARD

Area 4

Gary Hack – Antioch School Board Trustee

There were no additional candidates in the other races in Antioch who took out or filed Nomination Papers as of Thursday at 5:00 p.m. To see the latest list of all candidates visit the Election 2020 page on the Antioch Herald website. The list will be updated each day when additional registered Antioch voters take out or file their Nomination Papers. Filing closes on August 7 unless an incumbent chooses to not seek re-election, which only affects the races for mayor, city clerk and city treasurer.

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