Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Pearl Harbor veterans to be honored in virtual “Eye of Diablo” Beacon-Lighting Ceremony December 7

Saturday, November 28th, 2020

Mount Diablo’s Beacon lights the nighttime sky on December 7. Copyright Stephen Joseph; used with permission.

Commemorative Pictorial Postmark Announced

By Laura Kindsvater, Communications Manager, Save Mount Diablo

This December 7th, National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, three local survivors of World War II’s “Day of Infamy”—the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941—will share their stories as part of a virtual ceremony filmed primarily atop Mount Diablo.

Sponsors of the yearly event, including local land trust Save Mount Diablo, California State Parks, Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors Chapter 5, and California State University– East Bay, are proud to present a virtual celebration this year beginning at 4:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Monday, December 7th.

In a 45-minute video, three local East Bay survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack will recount their experiences that fateful day. Speakers will then pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives and honor those yet living, “Lest We Forget” the tragedy that befell the country nearly six decades ago and the way we came together after the attack.

Three Pearl Harbor survivors and the crowd celebrating the Beacon being lit and looking up to the Summit of Mount Diablo from the California State University–East Bay Concord Campus on December 7, 2018. Photo by Richard Usinger.

“When that beacon light is turned on, that’s a tribute to those individuals who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor,” said Pearl Harbor survivor Earl “Chuck” Kohler from Concord.

Save Mount Diablo’s Executive Director Ted Clement noted, “This year it is especially important that we come together as a nation to honor National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and those who served. Reflecting on that day and the aftermath reminds us of the strength of our nation when we come together even amidst great adversity. Our December 7th virtual event will enable more people to come together on this important day.”

Eddie Guaracha, California State Parks Diablo Range District Superintendent, stated, “As we reflect on this historic event, it is not only critical to remember the many lives that were lost, but also to remember the selfless acts undertaken by many on this fateful day. This is the spirit of our country in critical times. It is an honor to represent California State Parks on this momentous occasion, and I hope we can all remember to radiate kindness toward one another, as we remember those who gave all on this day.”

“As we pass through difficult, often divisive times ourselves, the sacrifices borne by the American people following that fateful morning some 79 years ago should give us all an enormous sense of pride, and most importantly, hope for the future. Cal State East Bay is honored to once again participate in this annual act of remembrance,” said Robert Phelps, Director of the California State University–East Bay (Concord Campus).

The U.S. Postal Service, in commemoration of this year’s National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, is issuing a special pictorial postmark. The postmark can be obtained by following the instructions here.

Those interested in witnessing this year’s virtual Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Ceremony can find the video link on Save Mount Diablo’s home page at 4:30 PM on December 7th at www.savemountdiablo.org.

Background

Every year since 1964, the Pearl Harbor survivors and their families have memorialized Pearl Harbor Day by relighting the historic Beacon atop Mount Diablo’s summit.

The Beacon was originally lit by Charles Lindbergh in 1928 to assist in the early days of commercial aviation. The Beacon shone from the summit of Mount Diablo each night until December 8, 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

It was not relit until December 7, 1964, when Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of Pacific Forces during World War II, attended a ceremony on Mount Diablo’s summit in commemoration of the survivors of Pearl Harbor. He suggested that the Beacon be lit every December 7th to honor those who served and sacrificed.

Save Mount Diablo, California State Parks, the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors Chapter 5, California State University–East Bay (Concord Campus), and others organize the annual lighting ceremony of the Beacon every December 7th in honor of the National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

One of the bright lights provided to the San Francisco Bay Area during this pandemic is the Mount Diablo Beacon, which Save Mount Diablo staff and volunteers light every Sunday night after sunset so that the Beacon can shine brightly through the darkness until it is rested after sunrise on Monday.

Save Mount Diablo’s lighting of the Beacon every week is a way to thank our heroes in these troubling times, to help our communities come together, and to remind people to lift their eyes to the light and nature.

Save Mount Diablo began this weekly lighting of the Beacon on Sunday, April 12th, Easter Sunday. However, the Beacon will not be lit on Sunday, November 29th and Sunday, December 6th to build anticipation for and honor the coming National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. After the December 7th ceremonial lighting of the Beacon, Save Mount Diablo will resume the weekly lighting of the Beacon for as long as the pandemic rages here.

Commemorative Pictorial Postmark Announced

As a community service, the U.S. Postal Service™ offers pictorial postmarks to commemorate local events celebrated in communities throughout the nation.

Those who wish to obtain the postmark may submit a mail order request. Requests must be postmarked no later than 30 days following the requested pictorial postmark date.

All requests must include a stamped envelope or postcard bearing at least the minimum First-Class Mail® postage. Items submitted for postmark may not include postage issued after the date of the requested postmark. Such items will be returned unserviced.

Customers wishing to obtain a postmark must affix stamps to any envelope or postcard of their choice, address the envelope or postcard to themselves or others, insert a card of postcard thickness in envelopes for sturdiness, and tuck in the flap. Place the envelope or postcard in a larger envelope and address it to: Pictorial Postmarks, followed by the Name of the Station, Address, City, State, ZIP+4® Code, as listed next to the postmark.

Customers can also send stamped envelopes and postcards without addresses for postmark, as long as they supply a larger envelope with adequate postage and their return address. After applying the pictorial postmark, the Postal Service returns the items (with or without addresses) under addressed protective cover.

About Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors

It is the mission of the SDPHS to create programs that inspire youth and adults to learn and document the history of the beginning of WWII and the days that followed from people who experienced it and from their ancestors. Learn more at www.sdphs.org.

About Save Mount Diablo

SMD is a nationally accredited, nonprofit land trust founded in 1971 with a mission to preserve Mount Diablo’s peaks, surrounding foothills, and watersheds through land acquisition and preservation strategies designed to protect the mountain’s natural beauty, biological diversity, and historic and agricultural heritage; enhance our area’s quality of life; and provide recreational opportunities consistent with the protection of natural resources. Learn more at www.savemountdiablo.org.

About California State Parks

To provide for the health, inspiration, and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Learn more at www.parks.ca.gov.

About California State University–East Bay

Cal State East Bay welcomes and supports a diverse student body with academically rich, culturally relevant learning experiences that prepare students to apply their education to meaningful lifework, and to be socially responsible contributors to society. Through its educational programs and activities, the university strives to meet the educational needs and to contribute to the vitality of the East Bay, the state, the nation, and global communities. Learn more at www.csueastbay.edu.

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President Trump issues Thanksgiving 2020 Proclamation honoring 400th Anniversary of Pilgrims’ arrival

Thursday, November 26th, 2020

PROCLAMATIONS

The White House

Proclamation on Thanksgiving Day, 2020

Issued on: November 25, 2020

On Thanksgiving Day, we thank God for the abundant blessings in our lives.  As we gather with family and friends to celebrate this season of generosity, hope, and gratitude, we commemorate America’s founding traditions of faith, family, and friendship, and give thanks for the principles of freedom, liberty, and democracy that make our country exceptional in the history of the world.

This November marks 400 years since the Mayflower and its passengers faced the unknown and set sail across the Atlantic Ocean.  Propelled by hope for a brighter future, these intrepid men and women endured two long months at sea, tired and hungry, to arrive in a new world full of potential.  In the winter weather that greeted their arrival, they lost nearly half of their fellow travelers to exposure, disease, and starvation.  Despite unimaginable hardships, these first Americans nevertheless remained firm in their faith and unwavering in their commitment to their dreams.  They forged friendships with the Wampanoag Tribe, fostered a spirit of common purpose among themselves, and trusted in God to provide for them.  The following year, they celebrated a successful harvest alongside their Native American neighbors — the first Thanksgiving.  This seminal event in the history of our Nation is a continual reminder of the power of faith, love, perseverance, prayer, and fellowship.

The Mayflower’s arrival to the New World in 1620 also marks the arrival of the first seeds of democracy to our land.  Absent the rule of a monarch in an uncharted wilderness, these early settlers resolved to create their own government through what is known as the Mayflower Compact.  Defined by majority rule through elected leaders responsible for creating “just and equal laws,” the Mayflower Compact represents the first chapter in the long tradition of self-determination and rule of law in America.  One hundred and fifty-six years later, our Nation’s Founding Fathers resolved to break free from England, building upon the Mayflower Compact to establish an enduring government whose authority came solely “from the consent of the governed.”

This year, as our Nation continues to combat the coronavirus pandemic, we have once again joined together to overcome the challenges facing us.  In the midst of suffering and loss, we are witnessing the remarkable courage and boundless generosity of the American people as they come to the aid of those in need, reflecting the spirit of those first settlers who worked together to meet the needs of their community.  First responders, medical professionals, essential workers, neighbors, and countless other patriots have served and sacrificed for their fellow Americans, and the prayers of our people have once again lifted up our Nation, providing comfort, healing, and strength during times of uncertainty.  Despite unprecedented challenges, we have not faltered in the face of adversity.  To the contrary, we have leveraged our strengths to make significant breakthroughs that will end this crisis, rebuilding our stockpiles, revamping our manufacturing capabilities, and developing groundbreaking therapeutics and life-saving vaccines on record-shattering timeframes.

During this season of gratitude, we also acknowledge those who cannot be with their families.  This includes the brave American patriots of our Armed Forces who selflessly defend our sacred liberty at home and abroad.  And we pause to remember the sacrifices of our law enforcement personnel and first responders.  We are deeply grateful for all those who remain on watch over the holidays and keep us safe as we celebrate and give thanks for the blessings in our lives.

This Thanksgiving, we reaffirm our everlasting gratitude for all that we enjoy, and we commemorate the legacy of generosity bestowed upon us by our forbearers.  Although challenges remain, we will never yield in our quest to live up to the promise of our heritage.  As we gather with our loved ones, we resolve with abiding faith and patriotism to celebrate the joys of freedom and cherish the hope and peace of a brighter future ahead.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 26, 2020, as a National Day of Thanksgiving.  I encourage all Americans to gather, in homes and places of worship, to offer a prayer of thanks to God for our many blessings.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.

 

DONALD J. TRUMP

 

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Interest in possible recount for close Antioch elections faces high cost, but can be shared by multiple candidates

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

Posada increases her lead in Treasurer’s race to 20 votes

By Allen Payton

Discussions about a possible recount for the close races in the Antioch elections, including for City Treasurer, City Clerk and District 1 City Council hit somewhat of a brick wall, due to the cost.

Current City Treasurer Jim Davis, who was trailing by just 16 votes behind challenger Lauren Posada, told the Herald, last week that a recount requires a $25,000 deposit.

Asked to confirm that amount, how recounts work and if multiple candidates asked for a recount or if there was one for all races in Antioch could they share the costs, Contra Costa County Assistant Registrar of Voters Scott Konopasek said, “The $25,000 is what I’ve been putting out there. The deposit is a one-time cost and if multiple people ask for a recount, they can share that cost.”

“For Antioch, we would have to find 45,000 cards out of 2.7 million cards, spread out over 3,500 boxes,” he explained. “So, we can do it. We just don’t know how long it will take. That’s why we have to charge so much.”

“The beauty of doing a citywide recount is they don’t have to pick this precinct or that precinct. We will count all the precincts since we’ll have all the cards,” Konopasek further explained.

“Anything we don’t consume in labor costs will be refunded back,” he added.

Konopasek also confirmed that “if there is a change in who wins, the person who requested it gets a full refund.”

However, the only race that has a possibility of a change in winner is the treasurer’s race and $25,000 is more than both candidates spent on their campaigns, combined.

UPDATE: When asked what is the deadline for requesting a recount, Konopasek said, it’s five business days after certification. That clock begins ticking after the council accepts the results, which is expected at their Dec. 8th meeting. So, the final day to request a recount should be Tuesday, Dec. 15.

According to the Semi-Official Elections Update #5 posted today at 2:48 p.m., it shows Posada has increased her lead to 20 votes, with 21,136 to Davis’ 21,116 votes.

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CHP to begin four-day Thanksgiving Maximum Enforcement Period Wednesday night

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

By Jamie Coffee, Information Officer II, California Highway Patrol

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – As Californians plan for the Thanksgiving holiday during the ongoing pandemic, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) reminds everyone the rules of driving safety are just as crucial as ever.

To encourage safe travel, the CHP will enact a Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) beginning at 6:01 p.m. on Wednesday, November 25, and continuing through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 29.  During the MEP, CHP officers will be actively looking for unsafe driving practices as well as helping motorists in need.

“This year has presented us with many unforeseen challenges, but safety is still our priority,” CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said.  “If you choose to travel this Thanksgiving weekend, our goal is to help motorists arrive at their destination without incident.”

Thanksgiving weekend is traditionally one of the busiest travel times of the year.  Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic may be a bit lighter, but this is not an invitation to speed to your destination.  The rules of the road still apply, and motorists should avoid driving tired, impaired, or distracted.  Additionally, in an effort to reduce COVID-19 transmission, Governor Gavin Newsom has instituted a limited stay at home order from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and a travel advisory, encouraging people to only go about essential activities during those hours and to self-quarantine for 14 days if they are arriving from another state or country.

Those who must be on the road, remember to buckle up.  Proper seat belt use is the single most effective way to save a life in the event of a crash.  When you are traveling for the holiday, or any time of the year, make sure everyone in the vehicle is safely secured before even starting the car, and that includes children being in the correct child safety seats.

During the 2019 Thanksgiving MEP, 42 people died on California roadways.  Of the 27 who died within CHP jurisdiction, 11 were not wearing seat belts.  The CHP also made 867 arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.

 

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Married Tulare couple found guilty for 2019 fatal road rage murder of Oakland man in Antioch

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

Suspects Tearri Richard and Lakia Poles. Photos by APD

Started at Pittsburg gas station

By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Office of the District Attorney, Contra Costa County

Yesterday, Monday, Nov. 23, 2020 a Contra Costa County jury returned a guilty verdict against defendants Tearri Richard and Lakia Poles, both 26-year-old residents of Tulare, California, for the murder of Raul Garcia during a road rage incident, last year. Richard faces a sentence of life without the possibility of parole and Poles faces 25 years to life. (See related article)

On September 1, 2019, the victim, Raul Garcia, of Oakland, and the defendants got into a verbal altercation in Pittsburg at the Chevron gas station at 1235 California Avenue after Poles’ car nearly hit the victim’s car. Poles, enraged at the victim, called her husband Richard to come to the scene. Richard proceeded to arrive at the scene, threatened to shoot and kill Garcia – he said he would “spray them all” and “we’re going to get you.”

Poles followed the victim’s car onto state Highway 4 eastbound as the victim desperately tried to elude her by driving aggressively back on to state Highway 4 westbound and then through city streets in Antioch. As the victim tried to flee from Poles, Poles was on the phone with her husband to keep him updated on their location. Richard in turn located the victim’s car and shot three bullets at Garcia’s vehicle on Putnam Street near Rio Grande Drive. One bullet struck Garcia in the back.

The case was investigated by the Antioch Police Department. Deputy District Attorney Aron DeFerrari prosecuted the case on behalf of the People. DDA DeFerrari is assigned to our Homicide Unit.

“We would like to thank the jurors who made sure justice was done in these difficult times,” stated DDA DeFerrari. “We would also like to commend the Antioch police department on an outstanding investigation, they went above and beyond in making sure Raul Garcia’s killers were brought to justice.”

Case information: People v. Tearri Richard and Lakia Poles, Docket Number 05-200114-7

 

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New Mexican restaurant to open in Antioch’s historic, downtown Rivertown

Monday, November 23rd, 2020

Humberto Madrigal owner of La Plazuela inside his San Pablo location. Screenshot of YouTube video on April 14, 2014.

In the former Southern Café and Bases Loaded location; the plan is to open Dec. 31.

By Allen Payton

A new Mexican restaurant will be opening in Antioch’s historic, downtown Rivertown, soon. In the former Southern Café and Bases Loaded Location at 400 G street, owner Humberto Madrigal will be opening La Plazuela Restaurant and Bar, the second of two locations.

According to a 2014 interview on YouTube, his first location is in San Pablo and Madrigal has owned it since 2004. He has been involved in the community of San Pablo, including serving for eight years as the head of the merchants’ association.

Madrigal grew up in Mexico and owns a home with land in San Pablo, where he has cows, chickens, goats and a stallion named “Guapo”, like he had in his home country. Madrigal started working at a Mexican restaurant in Berkeley, as well as in construction.

The restaurant offers traditional Mexican cuisine and includes a variety of seafood dishes, as well. See the menu for La Plazuela’s San Pablo location by clicking, here. At the Antioch location “the menu will be 90% the same,” Madrigal shared. “But we’ll also offer fresh tortillas and different kinds of soup.”

“We won’t have regular entertainment, just for special occasions, like Mother’s Day,” he continued. “It’s going to be a family style restaurant.”

Asked when he plans to open, Madrigal said, “Due to COVID-19 it’s kind of difficult, right now. But we’re planning to open the last day of the year to start fresh, next year.”

They’ll offer take-out orders and outdoor dining, for now.

“We have a nice patio with a stereo bar,” he added.

Terry Karp, the first owner of the building and Bases Loaded, said he sold the building a few years ago to Phillip Belle, the owner of Southern Café, who in turn sold it to Madrigal, last month.

“Can’t wait to go there,” Karp said about La Plazuela.

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Meet your beat! Antioch Police add new K9 Unit

Monday, November 23rd, 2020

Antioch Police Department’s newest K9 Unit, a Belgian Malinois named Nox. Photo by APD.

By Antioch Police Department

You all may have seen our “Meet your Beat” posts where we introduce you all to our officers within the Police Department, so we thought we would do the same and introduce you to our newest 4-legged officer as well!!

Welcome K9 Nox to the Antioch Police Department’s K9 Unit! Nox is a two-and-a-half-year-old Belgian Malinois that comes to us from the Netherlands. Nox just completed his training and today is his first day on the street! Nox will be with his new human partner and while also working patrol, he is Antioch PD’s first K9 that is trained in firearms detection work as well! We are excited to have him and wish him a long, healthy career!

Fun fact:

Nox likes toys……..like he really, really, really likes toys. So much so, you’re probably going to need to trick him with a second toy in order to get the first toy away from him.

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Antioch Mayor-elect Thorpe introduces his transition advisory team of councilmembers, commissioners, staff, residents

Saturday, November 21st, 2020

Antioch Mayor-elect Lamar Thorpe (at podium) is joined by some of his Transition Team members, including Councilwoman Monica Wilson, Parks & Recreation Commission Chair Marie Arce, Con Johnson, Antioch School Board Trustee-elect Antonio Hernandez, Nichole Gardner, Harry Thurston and Antioch School Board Trustee Ellie Householder at the start of the press conference on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020.

“The Antioch of yesteryear is over” – Lamar Thorpe

Tells police officers their union leader and political consultant “gotta go”

Offers additional comments not included during press conference

Questions to City Attorney on possible open meeting law violations and conflict of interest for him

By Allen Payton

In a unique move, Antioch Mayor-elect Lamar Thorpe was joined by several members of what he’s labeling his transition team, during a press conference held Friday afternoon, Nov. 20, and announced how each of them and others will help advise him in eight priority areas. The presentation was streamed via Facebook Live on a special page Thorpe set up for the event.

Re-elected Councilwoman Monica Wilson started things off by saying, “thank you for those who are out here watching us…and those watching via live social media.  I’m excited to continue representing our community and thankful for the overwhelming support of the vote of confidence shown for my work. It is critical that we come together and understand what the future holds for us.”

“I’m delighted to introduce Mayor-elect Thorpe,” she concluded.

Thorpe said the team members are “representing the grand diversity of our community.”

“Some have asked why a transition team, because we haven’t done that in our city, ever. Because anything less would fall short of the significance of our city and the symbolism of November 3rd, when our City’s residents spoke loudly and clearly, the Antioch of yester-year is over,” he explained.

“Antioch is Contra Costa County’s second largest city and growing. 115,000 plus people call it home,” Thorpe stated. “It is on track to be home to the third largest indoor cannabis cultivation firm in our country.  Out of the 482 cities, Antioch sits atop 50th of the largest cities of California.”

“Antioch is a serious city filled with serious opportunities to raise our profile to match that of our residents,” he said. “Right here alone, in South East Antioch, over 50% of the adult population have earned bachelor’s degree or above. 30% have earned an advanced degree. And the medium household income soars above $100,000 plus a year.

In prepared remarks which he didn’t share live, Thorpe wrote, “Traditionally, a transition in Antioch looks like this, the city manager calls you into a conference room in City Hall to tell you about the budget. He or she then goes on to learn about your priorities and how those priorities may or may not fit into the legislative process. While some elected officials have appreciated this tradition, I do not, and reject it 100%. Today, is about our collective agenda that will be developed through a community led transition team.”

“Some have argued the city was divided. It was not,” he continued in his public comments. “In fact, it was maturing because people have different points of views. That creates conflict. But at the end of the day they come to resolution. They cared about our city, those with different perspectives, so much so that they worked quietly to shape and develop the direction of our city. We cannot deny that some were made to feel their point of view did not matter.”

“Today, I am joined by different cross sections of our community that will work collaboratively to develop and shape an agenda for our city’s future regardless of social, economic background, race, gender, so on. They will all make all of us feel valued in our community,” Thorpe shared. “And so today belongs to all of us. The doors of City Hall are open and the journey toward our collective vision has begun.”

The 8 Priorities and Team Members to Work on Them

“The purpose of this transition advisory team is simple: explore and debate ideas that will serve as the foundation of our legislative priorities for the next four years, as we work to maintain a balanced budget, increase community safety, promote economic growth, protect our natural environment and build a sustainable city with a high quality of life,” Thorpe announced.

“I have asked a few of our fellow citizens to help me in that process,” he said. “The transition advisory team will focus on the eight following areas:

Neighborhood Safety and Blight

“I have asked longtime resident Harry Thurston to lead the development of these ideas,” Thorpe stated. “Harry has served on the Antioch Crime Prevention Commission, the Contra Costa County Advisory Board on Public Safety Realignment, and the Contra Costa County Sustainability Commission. He will be joined by District 2, Councilmember-Elect Mike Barbanica. Mike is currently a local business owner and a retired police lieutenant. I know Mike will become an invaluable colleague on the Antioch City Council. Beyond this transition work, Mike and I will be working together on issues of blight, police reform and city beautification. In my short time knowing Mike, I can already see we are going to have a productive and meaningful working relationship.”

“I’m delighted to know Mike and work together with him,” Thorpe added.

Homelessness

“You can’t have a conversation about homelessness in Antioch without the name of Nichole Gardner. In just a few short years Nichole has taken city hall by storm which is not always a pleasant experience. She will be joined by Councilwoman-elect Monica Wilson and Monica will bring her expertise in human trafficking and mental health. I am delighted to announce she will be leading that transition work. She will be joined by Councilwoman-re-elect Monica Wilson. And Monica will bring her expertise in human trafficking and mental health; and Antioch resident Ricka Davis-Sheard of Health Right 360’s Reentry Network and Co-Founder of SHARE COMMUNITY. They will also be joined by Nattie Flores…a community member who has had personal experience with homelessness.”

Gardner then spoke reading from prepared remarks thanking Thorpe and sharing about a man and daughter who she had worked with in the past to help homeless in our community, who informed her that morning that they had become homeless.

She spoke about “residents and business owners who are affected by the homeless issue. Now, we all know that homelessness is a complicated issue. But we also know that simply depending on the county as we have in the past over the years has gotten us nowhere. I believe county has let Antioch homeless people down. Although we need to work with the county, it’s time for Antioch people to do something different to help all residents affected by homelessness and that is exactly what I have faith that our new mayor and council will do. I look forward to the opportunity and I’m so excited about the future of Antioch.”

Police Reform

“The next issue is police reform which has been a hot topic issue in Antioch before the campaign and during the campaign,” Thorpe stated.

He introduced “Co-chair Con Johnson a retired San Francisco Police Department Captain and our current City Attorney Thomas Lloyd Smith to work on this important endeavor.”

Johnson quoted Robert Pill who was the father of modern policing from England who said, “’The police is the community, and the community is the police.’ That rings true today. We have to work together in order to create a community that is safe. I am honored…to be part of this team, here. I look forward to the future in sharing my expertise, knowledge and skills.”

Climate Change, Environmental and Smart Growth

Liz Kain will lead this effort, Thorp shared. “She’s no stranger to the city council. She was an instrumental activist in the Let Antioch Voters Decide initiative. She will be joined, of course, by another Antioch resident and Antioch city employee, Environmental Coordinator Julie Haas and environmental activist, and I will go out on a limb, here and say City Clerk-Elect Ellie Householder. She is ahead by 34 votes and we’re excited.”

“I’ve asked City Clerk-elect Householder to sit on that because I know the environment is something she’s passionate about,” he added.

Householder then offered her remarks saying, “to me climate change, climate action and climate justice is the number one issue facing our society and world today. I don’t have a science background but what I do have is a policy background. Tides are rising including along the San Joaquin Delta in our downtown.

The next generation of leaders. They’re the ones who are going to have to pay for the mistakes that we’re doing right now.”

“Those are the top priorities we are going to start moving on, today,” Thorpe stated.

Recreational and Youth, Programming Services

Thorpe said the area will be “led by our Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Marie Arce” who will be “joined by the city’s Tasha Johnson. I’ve had other parents reach out to me about this particular area and share their ideas.

Arce said, “I’m really excited to be here and be part this wonderful team…to do a better job for the youth in our community. I look forward to working with Mayor Elect Thorpe.”

Economic Growth and Downtown Revitalization

“I’ve asked outgoing Councilmember Joy Motts to help me on that effort,” Thorpe shared. “She was not able to join us, here, today.”

City-School District Relations

The school district and the city have not had a great relationship for a long time,” Thorpe stated. “So, I see great promise with newly elected school board members, Dr. Clyde Lewis and Antonio Hernandez and have asked them both…to work with me…to continue to lead us in the right direction

Hernandez then shared his thoughts, saying, “I’m really excited about these partnerships that are forming. Because school and our youth they are the future of our city. With over 70% of our students in this district being on free and reduced lunch the school district alone will not be able to solve all the challenges that affect education. That’s why it’s important to have strong partnerships and great teams like the people you see behind me.”

He spoke of equity. We need to be talking about the way how we can bridge the gap in achievement for our Black, Latinx, homeless and foster youth students of our community. Again, I can’t say it enough that I’m very excited about the team I have behind me and it’s that factor that’s going to help our youth become the future leaders of our community.”

He then offered his message in Spanish.

“Muchas gracias,” Thorpe said to him.

“The last one is, and these are just the eight priorities for now and are certainly not the only priorities,” he stated, and the spoke of COVID-19 and the city’s response to i.

Government Efficiency & Streamlining

“I will be working on that with City Manager Ron Bernal, Ellie Householder and Assistant City Manager (Rosanna Bayon Moore),” Thorpe stated.

“These aren’t silos,” he continued. “There’s cross pollenization…in these working groups so we’re thinking about these issues. These are working groups and we want to make sure we are not just talking to ourselves. There’s a lot to do.”

“I will end this. There are more bridges that need to be built, and more residents to engage and relationships that need to be prepared after a grueling campaign season. I’m not naïve to that. I recognize that,” Thorpe stated. “But at the end of the day the people have spoken and they have spoken clearly. This has never been about me. It’s been about us. As your mayor I will work to ensure everyone feels equally connected to our city.”

“I will end with, I think all of us, I’m sure there is none of us here who doesn’t have great admiration for the men and women who put on uniforms to protect our community. So, I offer them a round of applause for the work you do, day in and day out.”

Thorpe Challenges Antioch Police Officers to Choose New Leaders

“But I want to speak at this time directly to the men and women of our police department. It is clear, you need to send a resounding message to your police union representatives,” Thorpe said. “That is, it is time for new leadership that is aligned with the values of the people of Antioch.”

“Thank you very much everyone for taking the time to visit with us, today to talk about this transition,” Thorpe concluded with his public remarks.

Asked if the working groups will be ad hoc committees, Thorp responded, “they’re advisory teams.”

Asked if they will be working in private or take public Thorpe responded, “If the work group wants to have their meeting on Facebook Live. They’re not committees. They’re not meant to be forever. They’re to gather expertise that we know exists here, in Antioch. We have talent right here in this city.”

Meetings Will Be Private, But Members Will Accept Public Input

Asked if there will be a list of transition team members with their contact information so residents can give their input, Thorpe responded that they will.

Asked about parks, specifically about the complete Prewett Park Plan from 1992, if there will be an effort to complete it, including the new library, and if they will work on finding a funding source, such as an assessment or fee on new homes, like all the existing homes paid Mello-Roos, Thorpe responded, “I don’t want to get into the details, I’m sure Marie will put that on her list.”

Thorpe Sends Additional Message to Antioch Police Officers and Leader, Says He and Their Political Consultant “Gotta Go”

In prepared remarks Thorpe didn’t offer during the press conference but shared later with the Herald, he wrote “We are going to do police reform with or without you. I still believe we can achieve this with our police union representatives at the table but not under the current circumstances. Our officers, like the people of Antioch, deserve an opportunity to be represented by new leadership and an opportunity to sever ties with Mary Jo Rossi the union’s political consultant who has only served to destroy relationships Antioch. She’s gotta go along with Corporal Steve Aiello so that we can begin working towards positive change.”

Questions to City Attorney on Possible Open Meeting Law Violations and His Potential Conflict of Interest

A phone call to City Attorney Smith, late afternoon Friday,  asking about any possible violations of the Brown Act, the California Open Meeting Law, with three council members serving on the committees that will have “cross pollenization” as Thorpe stated, and about Smith’s role with police reform and any potential conflict of interest, was  not responded to. Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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