Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Council chooses “Opportunity Lives Here” branding campaign to promote Antioch

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

Slide from City of Antioch branding campaign presentation by Evivva Brands 9/11/18.

At Tuesday’s Antioch City Council meeting Evviva Brands, the City’s Brand Agency of Record, presented rationales and creative expressions for three powerful, compelling brand campaigns to position the City around the idea of “opportunity.”  (See the full PowerPoint presentation, here – Antioch_Branding_Campaign_Presentation_9_11_18-final)

Dr. David Kippen, Evviva Brands’ CEO and chief strategist, reiterated some of the reasons opportunity had been recommended to the Council at the prior Council meeting. “The story of Antioch is the story of California. The story of California is opportunity. And Antioch is one of the last places in the Bay Area—the heart of the Golden State—that offers opportunity to all.”

Graphic by Evviva Brands.

Senior Copywriter Marin Van Young outlined that “each idea consists of a tagline, which will ultimately be part of the new logo. I’ll also read an anthem or a credo, which is the thought behind the idea. Then we’ll show you how the idea plays out in various executions—with some short copy, as a BART poster, on the antiochca.gov website, as a billboard, and as a street banner or banner series.”

However, she cautioned, “what you’re not going to see is finished ads. We’re using stock imagery, which can feel staged, and sometimes we’ve pulled a screen grab from a website, or an image from Antioch’s Instagram, which can be low-res and a little too gritty. What we’d like to do tonight is get a gut check on what’s working. And if something has gone way off the rails, we definitely want to know that too, so we can correct it moving forward.”

She added, “I also want to take a moment to reiterate the create challenges on this project. We want to express why people should come to Antioch. But we also need to express why people should stay in Antioch. And thirdly, we want to get Antioch to explore Antioch. We need to remind people—or educate them in the first place—of what the City has to offer its residents.”

The City Council deliberated over the three concepts presented and selected concept one, Opportunity Lives Here.

Economic Development Director Kwame Reed stated, “It was important for the Council and community to see and hear the amount of time and care being placed on this effort by the Evviva Brands team.” He added, “Several members of the public approached me after the meeting to express their positive feelings towards the overall presentation and message.”

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Antioch Council decides on “Opportunity” theme for City’s branding effort

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

Graphics from the slides in Evviva Brands’ presentation to the Antioch City Council on Aug. 14, 2018.

“There’s a lot of hope with good things to come…Antioch is where it’s happening. Opportunity is right here… It may be the last place in the Bay Area that has opportunity for everyone.” branding consultant David Kippen

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday, August 14, 2018, the Antioch City Council heard a report about the city’s branding effort by consultant David Kippen of Evviva Brands in which they agreed the theme will be “opportunity”. Brand & Messaging Update_ 14 Aug 18

During his presentation, Kippen shared with the council about his team’s four-month “discovery phase”, as Economic Development Director Kwame Reed described it, during Reed’s first time at a council meeting in his new position.

“First off…this is a report on a work in progress…a gut check to see if this feels right to you. We’re looking for a big, broad message,” Kippen said. “When we talk about a brand, it’s really a simple thing. It has three parts. It’s a noun. A name. There’s a monetary part, an underlying value. The third part is action…where we find value in Antioch, how we want people to act, think and believe about Antioch.”

“We audited city messaging going back several months…to understand as a baseline what came before us,” he explained about their discovery process. “We interviewed city leadership, city staff, city leaders, a variety of community leaders. We conducted a variety of listening sessions. We participated in ride-alongs with police. We had one staff member stay in a variety of Air BnB’s throughout Antioch.”

“Where do we find themes and consensus?” Kippen asked. “When we first came to the city…it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Antioch does seem to be a city divided. There are some doing quite well, and there are others who are working hard to get by. Some angry people, here. Some optimistic people, here. There are a lot of divisions. A lot of frustration.”

However, he then said, “By in large, most the people we talked to want to get past that. We want to move on. It’s part of what Antioch is but it’s not what we want to be known for. People want it to be better. We see better massively overweighing” the focus on the negative.

“Without the city doing anything it will get better…with an expanding economy for 10 years in a row,” Kippen pointed out. “This city is doing a lot. Police and code enforcement are having an effect. Very recently crime was the primary worry, today it seems to be blight. It’s moved from security and fear to blight.”

“There are projects getting done across the city. Some big, Smith’s Landing and BART. Some are much smaller,” he explained.

“There’s a lot of hope with good things to come,” Kippen stated.

“Is there something that ties everything together?” he asked. “It’s opportunity.”

“It’s such a common word. It’s powerful word. It’s an important word and it has a lot of resonance with residents in Antioch,” Kippen said. “It means you have a chance. It means you can do something. It doesn’t mean you have to cure cancer. But it does mean you can do something.”

“It’s also quintessentially California. The California Dream…you can reinvent yourself, you can make something of yourself,” he added. “And Antioch is where it’s happening. Opportunity is right here.  It’s been fundamental to Antioch since day one, before statehood.”

“It may be the last place in the Bay Area that has opportunity for everyone,” Kippen stated.

“It starts back…with John Marsh. A Harvard-trained doctor,” he continued. “He’s also the guy who sold the Smith brothers the plot of land. That’s what is celebrated at the bottom of F Street. That’s where the Smith brothers managed to get the first shipload of people to settle here.”

“In 1859, it was coal. In 1863, it was copper. In 1864, it was lumber. In 1870, it was newspapers and In 1876, it was railways,” Kippen shared. “But it didn’t stop there. We have vineyards in Antioch. That’s remarkable. Or a greenfield property. Start a media company. I didn’t say a cheap home. Opportunity isn’t about being a bedroom community.”

He also mentioned a list of thing that are “in our way.”

“What we also heard was ‘Please, please, please don’t put lipstick on a pig. Don’t try to song and dance your way out of the challenges.’ The challenges start with bad press, real things. Negative coverage,” Kippen explained. “Fortunately, the trendlines in media tend to be slightly improving, where positive sentiment is running ahead of negative sentiment. But the press we’ve had is real. Crumbling infrastructure, bad roads, blight and crime. People wanted to know who to blame.”

“Opportunity is a chance not a gift. It’s not free. It’s not easy. It’s work,” Kippen explained.

What To Do, he asked and shared next.

“As far as the media standpoint, part of the effort has to be to get Antioch to come to Antioch. Whether it has to be getting 94531 to come to 94509 or vice versa…we need to knit the two back together. It’s going to require a lot of work.

He spoke of the need to include, “influence leaders in Antioch who drive the good in Antioch.”

“We’re thinking of the product…the packaging and the promotion,” Kippen shared. “Our focus is from a product stand point, how do we talk about opportunity. Antioch’s opportunity. How do we explain that? How do we get Antioch engaged with Antioch? How do we talk about Antioch to the rest of the Bay Area? How do we do a good job of not sweeping things under the carpet, but…looking at things that are already in the vision strategy? What are simple fixes? What can we do on a low-cost basis?”

Looking at the different locations in Antioch, clearly they’re going to need different messaging,” Kippen concluded.

Council Member Tony Tiscareno was the first to speak on the matter.

“I was intrigued by your perception of uniting the two Antiochs,” he said. “I love that idea. What do you think about splitting our city into four different sectors, now? I’m just curious of your mindset…of putting the two cities together…trying to bring in some from the ’31 area code to the ’09 area code? Was this a pre-districting mindset?”

Kippen replied, “The idea of opportunity ladders up the economic scale. You hired us, but we are trying to work for the entire city. Without respect to districts, that’s what we should land on. With respect to the districts, that strikes us as a fundamentally political effort. We’re talking about the economic aspect. It’s less about erasing lines within Antioch…than it is about macroeconomics in which a rising tide raises all boats.”

Tiscareno then said, “I still think we’re one city. We just happened to grow over the last 20 years. We just happened to get another ZIP Code.”

“Everyone felt that the heart of Antioch is the downtown,” Kippen shared. “There was a strong consensus that Antioch is one place and people have strong fidelity to that one place.”

Council Member Monica Wilson then had “A couple questions…about press and promotion. That’s a very important piece of your overall presentation.”

Kippen responded, “The difference between our firm and a public relations firm as far as a crisis response. We are in the business of saying we want the city to unite. We’re working on is putting together an editorial calendar… getting them all aligned on messaging standpoint.”

Wilson then said, “Maybe it’s just me. I thought we were going to get more actionable stuff. An outline of a gameplan of what the next steps could be.”

“The last page of the presentation is an outline of what we will be presenting to you,” Kippen said. “We wanted to get you a report on the general theme of opportunity.”

Mayor Sean Wright liked the idea of opportunity as the theme.

“I want to thank you for coming and your presentation. I do like that direction. I do like the idea that Antioch is opportunity,” he said. Something we can market from a branding standpoint to businesses that we want to come, to people who want” to come. I would just ask council’s input… so David can have direction.”

Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe was next to respond to Kippen’s presentation.

“You know I didn’t vote for this,” he state. “But I do like opportunity. It speaks to your point of why people come here. I think you brought up some very good points. Some of the information you received was similar to the two polls we did with input from 2,000 people. It’s in line with what you’re doing as far as branding. I love the idea, the concept of opportunity.”

Tiscareno then said, “Opportunity in my mind is creating positivity with whatever we’re going to do as a city. I like that concept. What are we going to do with that opportunity? I think you’re get more dialogue and feedback. I want to be able to look at these opportunities and dream…and what we’re going to do in the next few years to eliminate the perception out there. I hate that word. But, if we can eliminate that type of language…through opportunities and ideas, I think you’re going to get a lot of feedback. I’m just waiting to see what the next step is before I give more input.

Council Member Lori Ogorchock then shared her thoughts on the matter.

“Reading what’s in our way, I agree,” she said. “I truly don’t want to miss this opportunity. I’m encouraging you to keep going in the direction you’re going. I don’t see the bad press any more. I think it is the right opportunity, right now. I’d like to see the two ZIP Codes come together. I think you’re going to have some difficulties with districting the way the districts were split down the middle of the freeway.”

Wilson reiterated, “I think we’re all in agreement with opportunity. I love opportunity.”

“It’s very important to us, we think this is the idea,” Kippen said. “We’re going to make recommendations to staff about spending some money, clearly marketing this.”

He spoke of the city’s revised vision plan. “We’re going to build off of that.”

Wilson then said, “It’s a wait and see for me.”

Wright concluded the agenda item by stating, “I appreciate with what you’ve done in here of not only opportunities in the future, but opportunities in the past.”

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Antioch city manager announces hiring of new economic development director

Monday, June 18th, 2018

Kwame Reed from his LinkedIn profile.

Antioch City Manager Ron Bernal announced the hiring of Kwame Reed as Antioch’s new Economic Development Director. Currently the Senior Analyst for Economic Development in Brentwood, California, Reed will start his new role with Antioch on July 2, 2018.

Reed brings over 20 years of professional experience in local and regional government agencies, with roles that include planning, redevelopment, affordable housing, project management and economic development. He is the 2018-19 Chairman of the East Bay Economic Development Alliance.

“Quality jobs, redeveloping underperforming properties and a vibrant downtown are important to our community, said City Manager Ron Bernal stated. “This newly created position shows just how serious the City Council is about economic development. Kwame is familiar with our region and its unique opportunities and challenges. His strong interpersonal skills will be key to retaining and attracting businesses and employers. Kwame and our Economic Development Project Manager Lizeht Zepeda will make a powerhouse team.”

His starting salary will be $140,448, according to Nickie Mastay, Antioch’s Administrative Services Director.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Reed has served in his current position since 2004. During part of that time, from 2008 to 2013, he owned a portrait photography business. Prior to his time with Brentwood, Reed worked for the City of Oakley as an associate planner from 2002-2004, a planner for the San Joaquin County Regional Rail Commission/ACE Train from 1999-2002 and a planner for the San Joaquin Council of Governments where he got his start in 1995.

He graduated in 1995 with a degree City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Reed has been married for 21 years, is the father of three, two boys age 19 and 14, and a daughter who is 12. He enjoys watching them play golf and basketball.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Antioch’s Somersville Towne Center area designated a Federal Opportunity Zone for special investment

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

Somersville Towne Center mall area in Antioch. Photo courtesy of ABC7 News.

Part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017

By Dan Borsuk

In a potential bid to receive federal Treasury Department aid for economically stagnating pockets of the county, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors added the Somersville Towne Center mall area, Rodeo and tracts in the North Richmond area to the Federal Opportunity Zone program on Tuesday. Without hearing comments from the public, the supervisors unanimously voted to add the three census tracts to the county’s recommendation to the new Federal Opportunity Zone program.

Opportunity Zones are a new community development program established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities nationwide. The program provides a tax incentive for investors to re-invest their unrealized capital gains into Opportunity Funds that are dedicated to investing into Opportunity Zones designated by the governors of every U.S. state and territory. (Read more about how the Opportunity Zones program works, as well as its history and community of supporters.)

Prior to the board’s action, the Contra Costa County Conservation and Development Department said the state had identified 11 tracts in the county that qualified for the Federal Opportunity Zone Program.  Those tracts either have poverty rates of more than 20 percent or median incomes below 80 percent of state or metropolitan areas.  Those areas include the cities of Richmond, San Pablo, Pittsburg, Concord, Antioch and the unincorporated areas of Bay Point and North Richmond.

The county had a deadline of Thursday, March 15 to submit its Opportunity Zone recommendation to the state.

However, there is the possibility the Federal Opportunity Zone Program may not kick into effect in either Contra Costa County or in the Golden State, said Amalia Cunningham of the Contra Costa County Conservation and Development Department.

“Private Investment Opportunity Zones would be eligible for lower federal capital gain tax,” Cunningham informed supervisors. “This is the only identified incentive.  There is no dedicated funding for the program nor has the state announced it will participate by lowering state capital gains tax for investment in Opportunity Zones.”

District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood recommended that the area around the Somersville Towne Center in Antioch be added to the county Opportunity Zone Program based on a decline in economic activity in the area.

“We will be working with the city of Antioch on this proposal to include the Somersville area in the county Opportunity Zone proposal to the state,” said Cunningham.

The recommendation to add Rodeo came from District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg and District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond recommended several tracts in North Richmond.

If the federal requirements are not enough to potentially squash the program, bureaucratic oversight might kill the program.  Cunningham told supervisors the county is under a tight deadline to submit an application, along with public comments.

“States have been given an abbreviated timeline from the federal government to submit their tracts.  The state’s draft list was made public on March 2 and local agencies comments are due by March 15,” she said.

Supervisor Mitchoff Faces June 5 Opponent

Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Concord will face clinical psychologist Harmesh Kumar, 59, in a June 5 election for the District 4 board seat.

Kumar, who had unsuccessfully run for the Concord City Council in 2012 and recently withdrew plans to run for governor, said he wants to serve on the board of supervisors because “I want the people to win.”  He told the Contra Costa Herald the existing board of supervisors are “against the poor.”  He said Mitchoff and other supervisors represent the interests of the bureaucrats, not those of the people.

“I’m looking forward to a spirited debate on the issues facing District 4,” Mitchoff briefly told the Herald about her opponent and upcoming reelection.

Mitchoff has served on the board of supervisors since January 2011.

District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond, who is also up for reelection, but will not face an opponent since no one filed papers to run against the attorney on the filing deadline, Friday, March, 9.

Supervisors endorsed on a 5-0 consent action, state Senator Mike McGuire’s (D-North Bay) Senate Bill 833 that would create a red alert emergency system to issue and coordinate alerts following an evacuation order and requires the red alert system to incorporate a variety of notification resources.

Senator McGuire authored the bill in the aftermath of the massive wildfires that killed 40 persons, destroyed 6,000 houses and charred 170,000 acres in Lake, Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

Anti-Smoking Ordinance Passes

Supervisors also unanimously approved without public comment an ordinance banning smoking in approximately 10,000 dwelling units in unincorporated Contra Costa County.  The ordinance will go into effect July 1, 2019 when county health officials are expected to have completed an education program informing landlords and tenants about the anti-smoking law.

Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill and the Alameda County Emergency Operations Center were selected by the supervisors in a consent action item as alternative temporary county seats for Contra Costa County “in the event of war or enemy caused disaster or the imminence of such disasters.”

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Antioch Council approves creating new Economic Development Director position

Monday, November 27th, 2017

To help grow local economy, attract new businesses and jobs; will also serve as City’s public information officer

By Allen Payton

At their meeting on November 14, the Antioch City Council unanimously approved creating and filling the position of Economic Development Director, as the city has had in the past, who will work to attract new businesses and jobs to Antioch and help grow our local economy.

According to the staff report, the salary range (without benefits) is $127,392 – $154,836 and the total annual cost range for funding the position is $234,425 – $279,277. Staff “recommended that a budget for four months of cost be appropriated in the FY2017/18 General Fund budget and a full year of cost in the FY2018/19 General Fund budget.” ACC Mtg 11-14-17 agenda item on Econ Dev Dir

The staff report further included the following about the new position which his expected to be filled by March 1, 2018:

“At the June 27, 2017 City Council Meeting, during the discussion about approving and adopting a two-year operating budget for the fiscal years 2017-2019, Council Members stated that they supported a six-month timeframe for Council to consider funding for an Economic Development Director in an effort to market the City to increase revenue and job growth.

The Economic Development Director plans, directs, manages, and oversees the activities designed to promote community vitality and encourage efforts to expand the local economy and coordinates assigned activities with other departments and outside agencies.

Some of the duties of the Economic Development Director are:

  • Act as a catalyst to introduce new business to Antioch.
  • Negotiate development agreements related to economic development activities.
  • Coordinate consultants and City staff in securing funding for economic development projects and activities.
  • Attend and participate in professional group meetings; maintain awareness of new trends and developments in the fields of redevelopment and economic development; incorporate new developments as appropriate.
  • Develop a marketing plan.
  • Coordinate information activities on City programs and oversee a public information program.
  • Respond to and resolve difficult and sensitive citizen inquiries and complaints.”

The council voted unanimously to create the position and begin the search process to find the best applicant. That person will have “A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in public administration, business administration, planning, economics, or a related field” and Six years of increasingly responsible economic development experience including three years of management and administrative responsibility.”

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