Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Antioch School Board to hold special meeting to discuss school safety plans

Saturday, February 15th, 2020

By Allen Payton

In response to the recent shooting death of a student at Deer Valley High School following a basketball game against Antioch High on Jan. 31, the Antioch School Board will be holding a special meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss comprehensive school safety plans.

According to Trustees Crystal Sawyer-White, the week following the shooting she and fellow Trustee Ellie Householder made the request for the item to be placed on the agenda, for the board’s regular meeting this past Wednesday. However that didn’t happen, and instead it was decided at the board meeting to discuss the issue during the special meeting this next Tuesday.

The public will have the opportunity to speak on the matter. The meeting will be held Antioch High School’s Beede Auditorium, 700 West 18th Street, Antioch. Or it can be viewed on the school district’s YouTube channel.

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Deer Valley boys’ basketball undefeated season ends with a loss on last second shot by Heritage

Friday, February 14th, 2020

Deer Valley’s #50 drives in for a layup for the Wolverines’ during their game against the Heritage High Patriots on Thurs., Feb. 12, 2020. Photos by Jamauri Bowles.

End season in first place in BVAL; playoffs begin next week

By Jamauri Bowless

Deer Valley’s #23 goes up to block a shot.

The Deer Valley High boys’ varsity basketball team ended their undefeated in league season with a to Heritage 42-40 on a game-winning shot with under three seconds left in the game. The Wolverines finished 17-9 overall, with a 9-1 league record.

The end the season in first place, trailed by Pittsburg, Liberty and Heritage tied for second with 5-5 records in league play, Antioch ended in third place with a 4-6 record, and in last place is Freedom with a record of 2-8.

Assistant Coach Quincy Smith said the team will find out seeding this Sunday when the North Coast Section (NCS) Division 1 playoff schedule is released.

Please check back with the Antioch Herald for more details.

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Car crash in Antioch Thursday afternoon results in driver detained by police, taken to hospital

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

Photo by Jeff Strawther.

By Allen Payton

A single vehicle crash in the 1300 block of San Jose Drive in Antioch, about 2:00 p.m. Thursday afternoon resulted in a man being detained by police and then transported to the hospital.

“They took the driver away in an ambulance, after they had him in the police car,” said resident Jeff Strawther who was driving by the scene of the accident on his way home from work. “He was pretty resistant.”

“Don’t drink and drive! Especially at 2:00 in the afternoon….praise God no one was seriously hurt in this accident,” he posted on his Facebook page.

A call has been placed to Antioch Police for more details and to confirm if it was DUI related. Please check back later for updates to this report.

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Antioch council adopts new policy to allow flying of LGBTQ, other flags besides U.S., state, city and military flags

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

The LGBTQ rainbow flag flies at Antioch City Hall in June 2019 following council approval. Antioch Herald file photo.

But not just any other flag

By Allen Payton

In response to the controversy surrounding the council approving and the city displaying the LGBTQ rainbow “Pride” flag last June, the Antioch City Council directed staff to develop a flag policy. The council adopted it unanimously at their meeting on Tuesday night, Feb. 11. The policy allows other flags to be displayed at city hall in addition to the U.S., state, armed forces and city flags. (See related article).

The staff report included the following explanation for the policy: City of Antioch Flag Policy ACC021120

“The purpose of this policy is to establish that the flag of the United States of America (the ‘American Flag’), the California state flag (the ‘State Flag’), United States Armed Forces flags (‘Military Flags’), City of Antioch flag (‘Antioch Flag’), and other flags approved by an adopted resolution of the City Council (‘Other Approved Flags’) are welcome and authorized for display at Antioch City Hall and/or other City facilities.”

Dr. Jeffrey Klingler was the only member of the public to speak on the item.

“Well, I’m glad to see the city is considering a flag policy,” he said. “Nonetheless, I am adamantly opposed to non-government flags. The city…should not be in the business of endorsing non-government flags. They are just as likely to alienate…members of the community. Therefore, I suggest article three be replaced with a simple policy that the city only fly the federal, state and city flags.”

He then suggested “closing a couple of potential loopholes. Once a flag is approved, is a flag, by default always approved? Can a flag be flown for an indeterminant 31-day intervals? How often can an organization’s flag be flown on a city flagpole? Once a year or once a month?” he asked.

“Keep the city’s flagpoles as sources of unity,” Klingler concluded.

The new policy states, “The display of flags represents the City of Antioch’s official sentiments and the City may choose what it desires to publish and endorse on its flagpoles, provided it is consistent with the law. The City shall display commemorative flags only if authorized by the City Council as an expression of the City’s official sentiments. Any such authorization shall be given at a duly noticed meeting of the City Council. The City’s flagpoles are to be used exclusively by the City, where the City Council may display a commemorative flag as a form of government speech and expression. The City’s flagpoles are not intended to serve as a forum for free expression by the public.”

But not just any other flag will be allowed to fly at City Hall or on city property. The policy focuses on the council “considering public requests to display flags celebrating the efforts of nationally recognized civil rights movements that strive for equal rights and equal protection under the law for groups that have historically endured and sought to overcome unlawful and unjust discrimination within our country.”

The new policy requires public requests to display other flags, that they want flown for no more than 31 days at a time, be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office at least 45 days prior to the requested date of the flag raising and display. Those requesting the display of a flag provide it to the city.

Without discussion Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock made the motion to approve the policy with Councilman Lamar Thorpe seconding the motion and the council voted unanimously to adopt the flag policy.

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Sheriff’s Office seeks witnesses in Tuesday vehicle rollover ejection crash on Kirker Pass Road

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

Emergency responders at the scene of the rollover crash on Kirker Pass Road, Tues., Feb. 11, 2020. Screenshots from Bay News Video by Art Ray.

Domestic violence related; suspect arrested

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

On Tuesday, February 11, 2020, at about 3:24 PM, the California Highway Patrol received a call of a rollover vehicle accident in the area of Kirker Pass Road and Hess Road near Concord.

During the initial CHP investigation, it was discovered that the cause of the accident was apparently domestic-related. The Office of the Sheriff responded to the location and started an investigation.

Deputy Sheriffs found the incident involved a woman and a man who were in a previous relationship. The woman and two others were driving in a tan colored 2004 Chevy Tahoe SUV. The suspect, who was in a white colored 2015 Mercedes Benz, followed behind and later pulled in front of the victim’s car causing her to lose control and flip over an embankment.

The driver of the Chevy Tahoe, who was ejected from the vehicle according to ConFire personnel, was taken to a local hospital and is said to be in critical condition. According to the CHP many vehicles pulled over and passersby helped turn the vehicle onto its side. One of the other occupants, a little girl, was treated and released from the hospital. The last occupant of the SUV was uninjured.

The driver of the other vehicle was later arrested by Deputy Sheriffs. He is identified as 28-year-old Alejandro Arriaga of Concord. He was later booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on three felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one felony count of child cruelty. Arriaga is being held in lieu of $190,000 bail.

Anyone with any information on this case or who might have witnessed it is asked to contact detectives at (925) 313-2600. Tips could be emailed to: or call (866) 846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.


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Supervisors approve acquisition of City of Antioch property for $1 for proposed homeless center

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

Parcel map and aerial photo of Antioch land the County has agreed to purchase. 02-11-20

Recognize African American Mental Health Awareness Week

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors took a major step forward in tackling East County’s unyielding homeless problem in approving the acquisition of a 4.79-acre vacant parcel of property on Delta Fair Boulevard in Antioch for a proposed homeless navigation facility.

At their meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 11 County Supervisors voted 4-0 to buy the property adjacent to the county’s Children and Family Services Center in Antioch and Los Medanos College in Pittsburg.

The land runs along the southern line of Delta Fair Boulevard, known as Assessor’s Parcel No. 074-080-034. (See parcel map above)

Supervisors agreed to buy the future site of the homeless navigation center for $1.00 from the City of Antioch. Supervisors approved the land acquisition on a consent action. Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill was absent during the meeting.

“This is a real hot item,” commented Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg, who represents District 5 where the proposed Antioch homeless center site is located. “We have tracked this project for a number of years and now we are getting close to seeing shovels in the ground.”

“The county is working collaboratively with the city and state to develop additional resources for individuals and families experiencing homelessness,” said District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood. “I expect we’ll add significant capacity to Continuum of Care. The conveyance of this parcel provides a lot of flexibility.”

“While this is not a housing development, the plan is to place a CARE center there for people needing shelter,” explained Contra Costa County Homeless Services Director Lavonna Martin. The proposed Antioch center will be modeled after those now available for persons needing housing assistance in Concord and Richmond.

So far Martin is unaware of any public complaints about the proposed homeless navigation center in Antioch because up to now the project’s 2018 award of a $7.9 million in California Homeless Emergency AID Block Grant Fund made it exempt from public review.

As a result, it is presently unknown if there any public opposition to the CARE center at the proposed Delta Fair Boulevard site.

“The city council hasn’t voted on it, yet,” said Antioch City Manager Ron Bernal.

A shelter for women and children had been proposed for the site, in the past. But, that project never materialized due to a lack of funding. This will allow the county to move forward with a project on the same site that will serve the homeless in Antioch and East County.

Approve Donation of County Land for Rodeo YMCA

In another consent real estate item, Supervisors approved the donation of an improved parcel of county property at 200 Lake Ave. in Rodeo to the Young Men’s Christian Association of the East Bay.

Since 1990, the county has leased the property the to the YMCA of the East Bay for $100 a month for children’s services. The county has declared the property surplus property and no longer requires the property for county purposes. The property is in need for repairs and is expected to cost the county in excess of $500,000. The board action essentially gets the county off the hook in being responsible for maintaining the property and for making necessary repairs.

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors recognized African American Mental Health Awareness Week Feb. 16 through 22 and Miles Hall Remembrance Day February 15, 2020 at their meeting on Tuesday. The supervisors’ resolution recognizes the need in the African American community to support the recovery process of peers, clients, consumers and family members struggling with challenges of mental health and substance use issues through the delivery of culturally responsive services. On Feb 22, a Mental Health Black History event will be held at Solomon Temple Church. Photo by Daniel Borsuk.

CALeVIP Program Gets Green Light

In other business, the supervisors flashed the green light for the Contra Costa County Conservation and Development Department to proceed to work with the Contra Costa Transportation Authority and other partners in the California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project or CALeVIP. CALeVIP is focused on the expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure in the state.

According to state statistics, Contra Costa County currently has 151 charging stations with about 400 EV ports. By the year 2025, some 3,500 EV ports will be needed to meet the increased demand of electric vehicle owners.

Approve Public Protection Committee 2019 Report

On a consent item, supervisors approved 12 crime items that will be focused on by the Public Protection Committee that meets nine times during 2020.

Topics that the Public Protection Committee will study are:

Opportunities to Improve Coordination of Response to Disasters and Other Public Emergencies: Welfare Fraud Investigation and Prosecution; Multi-Language Capability of the Telephone Emergency Notification System; County Support and Coordination of Non-Profit Organizations to Provide Re-entry Services; Implementation of AB 109 Public Safety Realignment and Appointment Recommendations to the Community Corrections Partnership; Inmate Welfare Fund/Telecommunications/Visitation Issues; Racial Justice Task Force Project Review of Juvenile Fees Assessed by the Probation Department; County Law Enforcement Participation and Interaction with Federal Immigration Authorities; Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council; Review of Banning Gun Shows at the County Fairgrounds, Review of Adult Criminal Justice Fees; and Racial Equity Action Plan.

Discovery Bay Resident Appointed to County Planning Commission

Discovery Bay resident Bob Mankin was appointed to complete the unfinished term of Contra Costa County Planning Commissioner Duane Steele, also of Discovery Bay, who had resigned.

Mankin was recommended by Supervisor Burgis to complete former commissioner Steele’s term of office on June 20, 2021.

The commission meets regularly twice a month and pays each of the five appointed commissioners $50 per meeting plus mileage. There is a $300 a month cap stipend per commissioner.

View the complete Board of Supervisors meeting agenda, here.

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Contra Costa’s green future? Sierra Club to hold Green New Deal Town Hall Feb 21 in Antioch

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

The Green New Deal is a proposed package of legislation first introduced in Congress by freshman Member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey. It has aroused support and controversy in equal measures.  The legislative proposal is their comprehensive approach to address claims of climate change and has become a central discussion point in the 2020 election. It is being championed by self-described democratic socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, one of the front runners in the Democratic presidential primary race.

The two bills that make up the package are House Resolution 109 and Senate Resolution 59. In the Senate, Markey introduced the bill and it was defeated with no votes in favor and 57 votes against, and 43 Senators voting present in protest to there not being any debate or expert testimony. The House bill has not yet received a vote. However, the House Select Committee on Climate Crisis was created to study the list of proposals contained in the legislation.

But what does it mean for Contra Costa County?

The Sierra Club, one of America’s leading environmental protection organizations, is hosting a Town Hall in Antioch to discuss the plan and how Contra Costa communities will benefit and be impacted.

The event will take place on Friday, February 21st from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm at the Antioch Community Center, 4703 Lone Tree Way, Antioch.

Featured speakers include Dr. Mark Stemen, professor of geography, planning, and civics from California State University, Chico. Stemen is a noted authority and a highly entertaining speaker who is much in demand.

Also speaking will be youth leaders from the Sunrise Movement of Northern California. The Sunrise Movement is at the vanguard of environmental activism, their tactics of organizing have demanded attention from both elected officials and the public.

In addition, Deirdre Des Jardins, principal with California Water Research, will discuss water challenges for the Delta Region. From the Sierra Club, Helen Fitzmaurice will speak about the importance and ways to educate schools and students on climate change. Public officials and candidates have also been invited.

In response to the proposed legislation it was announced on Wednesday, Feb. 12 that a new website was launched to expose the dangers of the Green New Deal by America Rising Squared, which, according to their website, is an organization “dedicated to promoting the principles of freedom, limited government, free enterprise, and a strong national security, and pushing back against big government liberal policies and the special interests that support them.”

The Green New Deal Town Hall in Antioch promises to be a stimulating and exciting discussion of Contra Costa County’s future.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.


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Antioch Council approves $50,000 in Civic Enhancement Grants for community organizations

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 11 the Antioch City Council approved allocating $50,000 in Civic Enhancement Grants to community organizations that coordinate events and activities, and provide other benefits for the city.

City staff administers the grant program and the Parks and Recreation Commission reviews the applications and provides a recommendation to City Council for final approval.

A total of $77,800 for 11 requests were made by the various organizations and the commission recommended the council approve nine of the requests.

But, before they could, a bit of musical chairs was played by three council members who had to recuse themselves from voting on various grants due to conflicts of interest.

Councilwoman Monica Wilson said she would be recusing herself because of a conflict of interest on one of the funding items.

“As the president of Celebrate Antioch Foundation I will recuse myself,” said Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts.

Celebrate Antioch Foundation runs the annual Holiday DeLites Parade and Celebration, the Independence Day Parade, Fireworks and Celebration, and other events in Rivertown, and received $20,000 of the $50,000 in grants.

“If we recuse ourselves, do we stay or leave the room?” asked Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock.

“What if I just abstain?” Motts asked.

“You are recusing yourself and not abstaining,” said City Attorney Thomas Smith.

“Whatever you say,” responded Motts, as she left the dais and the room for the vote.

Then Wilson and Motts returned and Ogorchock recused herself from voting on the funds for the Veterans Memorial Banner Program, which she has been instrumental in creating and implementing, and received a $5,000 grant.

All the following items were adopted on unanimous votes of those council members in attendance for each vote:

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