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Community leader endorses Antwon Webster in Antioch City Council District 3 race

Saturday, September 19th, 2020

Former Chair of Economic Development Commission Keith Archuleta says, “He is what Antioch needs.”

Keith Archuleta.

Dear Editor:

Antioch is a great place to live. It is a beautiful city full of parks and playgrounds; a city growing in rich diversity and talent.

And, like most communities throughout our country simultaneously struggling with this health crisis, a downturn in the retail economy, and rising income inequality for working families, we are facing complex challenges.

Now is the time for leadership that recognizes the assets we already have in this community. Now is the time for leadership that is inspirational and forward thinking. Now is the time for leadership that unites us to work together as one community to address our many challenges.

After many conversations with Antwon Webster, I have concluded that he has the ideas, experience, expertise, and compassion needed to provide the leadership we need on the Antioch City Council.

In listening to the needs of residents and business owners, Antwon has developed goals in three priority areas; goals which I strongly support:

  • Decreasing crime by continuing to hire an adequate level of law enforcement for the size of our city and supporting our community policing efforts, as we strengthen positive relationships with neighborhoods and provide more activities for our youth.
  • Facilitating smart economic development through accessing entrepreneurship and business development training and capital to support the growth and stability of our local industry and small businesses. In order to get commuters off the roads and working closer to home, we need more local jobs, increased work-based learning and internships for youth through school-business partnerships, and effective job training programs to ensure the readiness of our local workforce.
  • Fostering transparent government through increased clarity about decision-making and resident education on how our tax dollars are spent.

Antwon Webster.

In addition, Antwon’s understanding, creativity and compassion will help our city address the needs of our unhoused resident population. Homelessness is a complex societal problem and government alone cannot solve it. Working to develop creative alternatives and developing concrete actions are what is needed; not merely scapegoating this vulnerable population.

The County and our private sector must share the responsibility for developing an effective unhoused resident program. And we must support and partner with our local non-profit organizations who are already striving to provide needed wrap-around services, such as food, job training, and other assistance to meet the needs of our homeless families and children.

As a military veteran and project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Antwon has demonstrated the leadership skills, project management experience, and land use expertise to provide effective and dependable leadership on the Antioch City Council.

Moreover, his concern for this community is genuine. Since moving to Antioch, he has been a public servant leader, demonstrating his commitment as a member of the Antioch Board of Administrative Appeals, where he reviews municipal code violations. He is also an active member of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis and Lions clubs, the Antioch Historical Society, and other community-serving organizations. He is about people, not politics.

That’s why I am endorsing Antwon Webster for Antioch City Council, District 3.

He is what Antioch needs; he will bring our city together; and he will move Antioch forward.

Vote Antwon Webster for Antioch City Council, District 3.

Check him out at antwonwebster.com.

Respectfully,

Keith Archuleta

Antioch resident, Former Chair, Antioch Economic Development Commission

Antwon Webster Letter of Endorsement KArchuleta

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Wright announces local Amazon Distribution Center will bring new jobs this November for Antioch residents

Saturday, September 19th, 2020

Courtesy of Wright for Mayor campaign.

By Dr. Sean Wright, Antioch Mayor

Just announced … Amazon will be the first tenant of the Oakley Logistics Center, on the border of Antioch and Oakley.  (See related article) Proud to have served on the Dupont Community Advisory Panel with Oakley Mayor Kevin Romick and others. We helped oversee the clean-up and marketing of the site with the former Dupont owners. I am excited to see more local jobs created for our residents, with the new Amazon Distribution Center planning on opening this November in preparation for the holiday season. I am already working with the new property owners on potential Antioch sites for expansion. Will keep you updated on dates for hiring in our community.

P.S. Please share with individuals you know who are looking for local jobs.

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Antioch teen in critical condition after being hit by car Friday evening

Saturday, September 19th, 2020

By Sergeant Ted Chang #4362, Antioch Police Traffic Unit

On Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 at approximately 6:17 PM, dispatch received numerous calls of a vehicle versus pedestrian collision on W. 10th Street at Auto Center Drive. Police and medical personnel responded immediately and located a 16-year-old Antioch resident nonresponsive and suffering major injuries. He was immediately air-lifted to an area trauma center where he underwent surgery and is currently listed in critical condition.

The driver of the involved vehicle remained on scene and was cooperating with the investigation. Drugs and alcohol due not appear to be a factor in this collision. The Traffic Unit responded and took over the investigation.

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

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Innovative, collaborative project launching in Antioch to uplift lives of homeless in Contra Costa

Saturday, September 19th, 2020

Photo courtesy of White Pony Express.

SHARE Community and White Pony Express are pleased to announce that on September 29, 2020, the “Oasis Project,” designed to brighten and uplift the lives of unsheltered neighbors in our community, will be launched in Antioch, CA.  Among other services, Oasis will include a 2-unit Mobile Shower, and a Clothing & Care Closet, which will be stocked with high quality clothes that guests can choose from. To celebrate the opening of Oasis, a short ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at Golden Hills Community Church’s Community Outreach Center, located at 525 E. 18th Street in Antioch.

Initially, Oasis will be stationed at the Community Outreach Center and operated on Tuesdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.  The Mobile Shower, which is ADA certified, will be the only operating shower unit for the unhoused in East Contra Costa County.  It will be free for the public to use with no questions asked.  Also, there will be no charge for any of the other services offered by Oasis.

Even though several partners are involved, the project is called “Oasis” to give it a unified identity.  During its operation, Oasis will include:

  • Mobile showers with bathrooms, organized by SHARE, that any guest is free to use.
  • A “Clothing & Care Closet” operated by White Pony Express (WPE) that will provide clothes that guests can select from free of charge.
  • Medical referral services provided by Contra Costa Health Services’ Coordinated Outreach Referral and Engagement team (C.O.R.E.), and
  • Free haircuts offered by licensed hair stylists.

“The opening of the Oasis Project on September 29 has been a dream of mine for a long time, and it makes me extremely happy that the project is now ready to begin elevating the lives of our unsheltered neighbors,” remarked Ricka Davis-Sheard, Co-Founder of SHARE Community.  “We have been working closely with the nonprofit LavaMaex in preparation for our launch, who has helped us with everything from in-depth training to troubleshooting issues with our Shower unit.  We have learned from an agency that has been around for years and which consistently provides a high level of care for their guests.”

Prior to its acquisition by SHARE, the Mobile Shower had been owned by WPE.  WPE volunteer Peter Brooks spent over two years diligently looking for a place to set up and operate the Mobile Shower, and in the process contacted numerous groups.

Finally, Brooks met Davis-Sheard at SHARE and was immediately impressed by her earnestness to help the unsheltered.  Says Brooks, “Ricka was the light at the end of the tunnel of my long search.  She saw the Mobile Shower as a perfect fit for the work SHARE wanted to do in East County.  What she had in mind was exactly what WPE had in mind.”

As the project evolved, Brooks suggested that the group of services offered with the Mobile Shower be called the Oasis Project.  “My hope is that the whole experience, for people in the ‘desert’ of hard urban homelessness, will be like travelers in the Sahara finding relief in an oasis.”

WPE operates the White Pony General Store which distributes high quality clothing, shoes, books, and games to those in need.  “For Oasis, our General Store will operate a well-organized, inviting ‘Clothing & Care Closet’ so that guests can make selections based on their unique tastes and needs,” says Eve Birge, Executive Director of WPE.  “The Closet will have items like shirts, jeans, jackets, shoes, undergarments, and other items useful to our unhoused neighbors.  WPE will treat those who visit Oasis as our special guests and support them with love and dignity, offering only our best.”

Concludes Davis-Sheard, “We want people to emerge from Oasis looking brand-new and transformed.”

The hope is that if Oasis is successful at its initial location, it can move to other locations across the County to serve the needs of the unhoused population.

About SHARE Community

SHARE Community was co-founded by Ricka Davis-Sheard and Vincent Vidriales in 2019.  Its mission is to share hope, abundance, resources and encouragement with members of the community and the organizations who serve them by creating ways for people to work together toward positive change.  In addition to mobile showers,

SHARE Community serves East Contra Costa County through its community programs Adopt-a-Block and Adopt-a-Senior-Home. These programs provide much needed care and attention to underserved neighborhoods and seniors.

For more information about SHARE, visit: www.thesharecommunity.com

About White Pony Express   

White Pony Express, headquartered in Pleasant Hill, CA and founded by Dr. Carol Weyland Conner in 2013, operates a Food Rescue Program which picks up quality surplus food every day from supermarkets, restaurants, and farmers markets and then delivers that food—free of charge—to shelters and churches that feed the hungry.  Since its founding in 2013, WPE has delivered over twelve and a half million pounds of fresh food.  WPE also has a General Store that has distributed over 500,000 items of high-quality clothing, toys, and books free to the underserved.

For more information on WPE, visit www.whiteponyexpress.org

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City of Antioch launches COVID-19 small business grant program

Friday, September 18th, 2020

By Rolando A. Bonilla, Public Information Officer, City of Antioch

Today, Friday, September 18, 2020, the City of Antioch announced the launch of their COVID-19 small business grant program The program will allow up to 60 Antioch small businesses the opportunity to apply for $5,000 grants.

“As a city, we want to do everything possible to support our business community, as they are the heart of the economy,” said Kwame Reed, Economic Development Director, City of Antioch. “Although we know that COVID-19 has created much uncertainty in the economy, as a city, we will do what we can do to bring a level of stability to our businesses.”

In order to qualify for the program, businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a physical location within the City of Antioch
  • Have a current Antioch business license for one year prior to January 1, 2020
  • Have no more than 25 employees
  • Must demonstrate they were unable to operate due the Shelter in Place Orders or sales were down more than 25% from the previous quarter or the same quarter last year

Specific details about the grant are available online at antiochbusinessgrant.com. Applications will only be accepted between September 28th and October 9th. The selection process will consist of an initial screening of applicants based on criteria, followed by a lottery should the number of qualified applicants exceed the amount of funding available.

About the City of Antioch: Antioch is located on the banks of the San Joaquin River in Northern California, just off of Highway 4 in Contra Costa County. With a population of over 100,000 people, Antioch has become the heart of Eastern Contra Costa County, offering a variety of employment, shopping, and vast recreational activities. The pace of development in Antioch has spurred activity for financial and insurance institutions, contractors, and other service-oriented businesses. Increased development has increased employment in schools, hospitals, and other local service sectors. Antioch is poised to capitalize on its location, skilled workforce, and fiscal strength. For more information: www.antiochca.gov.

 

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Antioch resident files complaint with Attorney General against council candidate Gardner for using homeless non-profit to campaign

Thursday, September 17th, 2020

Antioch resident files complaint with Attorney General against candidate Nichole Gardner of using non-profit to campaign

Complaint filed with FPPC against Lamar Thorpe over flier proves baseless

Screenshot of Nichole Gardner’s campaign post on her non-profit Facebook page submitted with the complaint.

By Allen Payton

A press release was received by the Herald Thursday evening that, “Complaints have been filed against Nichole Gardner, candidate for District 3 Antioch City Council and Lamar Thorpe, candidate for Mayor of Antioch, for their failure to follow the law when it comes to their respective campaigns.” The complaints were filed by Antioch resident Nicole Cedano-White. Complaint to Attorney General re NGardner

The press release continues with, “Gardner, Director of Facing Homelessness in Antioch, is accused of using her 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization to promote and raise money for her political campaign for City Council. Numerous screen shots of Gardner’s nonprofit Facebook posts have been forwarded in a formal complaint to the California Attorney General’s Office for review of these actions. There is also concern of possible ‘co-mingling’ of funds between the nonprofit organization Gardner runs and her political campaign. Complaint to AG re NGardner Documentation

“Ms. Gardner knows the rules and the law specifically states that charity 501(C)(3) organizations are prohibited from being involved in political campaigns of any kind,” said Nicole Cedano, a longtime resident of Antioch. “I can appreciate her desire to help the homeless, but what she’s doing is jeopardizing her ability to continue the nonprofit’s work.”

The press release also reads, “The official complaint to the Attorney General also asks that office to investigate the use of the nonprofit’s automobile paid for with donations from citizens – to make certain it is not being used in campaign activities and door to door canvassing for Gardner’s campaign.”

When reached for comment, Gardner said she hadn’t known or received anything about the complaint when first contacted by the Herald. After reading the material provided to her, she responded, “We have not been contacted by the FPPC or the Attorney General’s Office. Nothing that this says is accurate.”

When challenged on that statement and asked if she was referring to the posts of her campaign promotions on her non-profit organization’s Facebook page, Gardner responded, “Thank you for reaching out. I will keep my statement as it is.”

The Herald will reach out to the Attorney General’s office on Friday for further information.

Copy of flier from Lamar Thorpe provided to FPPC clearly shows disclaimer language that isn’t legally required. (Yellow arrow added)

Complaint Against Thorpe Proves Baseless

The press release also reads, “The complaint against Thorpe is specific to the brochure he is leaving on voters’ doorsteps entitled ‘Leadership that Listens.’ The campaign brochure does not have the legal identification required by the FPPC of who ‘Paid for’ the design, printing and distribution of the piece. That complaint was filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), the organization that monitors whether a candidate or campaign is following required State regulations.”

“Mr. Thorpe apparently doesn’t ‘listen’ like his brochure claims – at least he doesn’t listen to what is required by law – because we have no idea who actually paid for his promotional material,” Cedano said. “I’m sure the FPPC will review and get to the bottom of this.”

“For the time being, I suggest Mr. Thorpe ceases all distribution of this legally questionable brochure – so as to not deceive voters and to keep within campaign rules and regulations,” she concluded.

Flier that Thorpe claims was provided to FPPC with the complaint against him.

When reached for comment Thorpe said, “The flier was scanned deliberately without the disclaimer. I shared a copy with the FPPC showing the disclaimer and they just responded with, ‘thank you.’”

That echoed the email he sent to the FPPC on Monday, Sept. 14 which reads, “Looks like the person who submitted the complaint left of (sic) the disclaimer when they scanned it. Don’t know if it was deliberate or not but here is my brochure and it clearly has the disclaimer on it.”

A copy of the flier provided by Thorpe to the FPPC and the Herald clearly shows a line at the bottom of one of the pages that reads, “Paid for by Lamar Thorpe for Mayor 2020.” But it also includes an incorrect reference to the FPPC, with the words “PFFC Pending”, referring to the campaign identification number issued by the Secretary of State. A variety of candidates in Antioch and Brentwood have been waiting several weeks to receive their ID numbers, which is unusual, and is most likely due to state employees working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FPPC provided Thorpe with a link to the rules for campaign committee disclosure for a variety of media. For fliers the rules read, “’Paid for by committee name’ and committee ID number are recommended but not legally required.” FPPC 2020_Disclaimers_1_Final_V.2

“It’s political silly season and people are going to do desperate things,” Thorpe added. “I’m going to keep focusing on talking to voters.”

Thorpe also provided the Herald the email he received from the FPPC and a copy of his flier he claims was submitted with the complaint by Cedano-White. That shows the portion of the page of the flier containing the campaign committee disclaimer was cut off.

Efforts to reach Cedano-White asking her whether or not she scanned the entire page of Thorpe’s flier, and if she didn’t why, were unsuccessful prior to publication time. Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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State grants $21.5 million for County to buy Pittsburg motel for homeless transitional care center

Thursday, September 17th, 2020

Gov Newsom speaks at Motel 6 in Pittsburg to announce the state’s new Homekey program on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Screenshot from press conference video.

Motel 6 to be repurposed through a California Homekey Grant; site of Gov. Newsom’s press conference about Project Roomkey in June

A 174-room motel in Pittsburg now sheltering homeless Contra Costa residents at high risk from COVID-19 will become a permanent service hub to help county residents transition into stable living situations, thanks to a $21.5 million state grant.

Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) rented rooms at the Motel 6 at 2101 Loveridge Road in Pittsburg to provide temporary housing through the state’s Project Roomkey program, which funded hotel rooms for residents who could not effectively isolate themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic because they had lost their housing. Gov. Newsom held a press conference at the motel about the program on June 30th. (See related article)

Homekey, the state’s follow-up program, will commit $17.4 million toward the county’s purchase and renovation of the motel, for a cost of $100,000 per room. The state will provide another $4.17 million toward staffing and operating the former motel as temporary housing for county residents experiencing homelessness, with on-site healthcare and behavioral health services, meals and assistance connecting with the services they need to regain housing.

“We are proud to partner with California in our work to provide safe, sustainable services for vulnerable members of our community,” said Candace Andersen, chair of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

There were only 20 shelter beds available in East County for more than 500 people living outside there in January 2020, most in Antioch and Pittsburg. The county’s most recent homeless point-in-time count showed that 33 percent of residents living outside in Contra Costa were in East County, compared to 27 percent recorded there during the 2019 count.

CCHS will add the new East County CARE Center and interim housing program to its network of homeless service centers, shelters and outreach programs, helping to address an acute shortage of those services in the area.

“This is a great start toward the building services and resources East County needs to address homelessness,” said Contra Costa Supervisor Federal Glover, whose district includes the site. “There is a critical need for this project in our community.”

The grant includes funding for case management, housing navigation services, meals and a robust peer support program, among other services.

“The funding allows us to accelerate our efforts to provide shelter for people living without housing in the eastern region of our county,” said Lavonna Martin, CCHS’s Director of Heath, Housing and Homeless Services. “This project creates a new interim housing option that allows for a greater degree of privacy and flexibility in household configurations we can serve, with the critical services and supports they need to regain permanent housing.”

Motel 6 was one of four in Contra Costa contracted to shelter vulnerable residents who had no housing early in the COVID-19 pandemic, partially funded by California’s Project Roomkey. CCHS is now renting 494 rooms at these motels to house people experiencing homelessness, including more than 200 people at Motel 6 who will continue to receive services and progress toward self-sufficiency under Homekey.

Visit cchealth.org/h3 for recent data about homelessness in Contra Costa County. Annual point-in-time count information is available in the Data Reports section.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

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Contra Costa Community College District Chancellor search narrowed to one finalist

Thursday, September 17th, 2020

Former LMC President Dr. Raúl Rodríguez withdraws from consideration; public forums via Zoom begin today

By Timothy Leong, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa Community College District

MARTINEZ, California – The Contra Costa Community College District (District) Governing Board has decided to move forward with only one finalist, Dr. Bryan Reece, for the next permanent Chancellor opportunity. The other finalist, Dr. Raúl Rodríguez, withdrew from the process after accepting an offer to extend his contract as Hartnell College’s interim President/Superintendent last night. The Governing Board agreed to complete the search process out of respect for all the hard work done over the past several months by the selection committee and community.

Public forums for Dr. Reece will be conducted via Zoom and recorded at each college and the District Office on Thursday, September 17, 2020, beginning at 12:30 p.m. The public forums will last approximately 45 minutes each, and are open to the community, students, faculty and staff. A detailed public forum schedule, links to the public forums, and information on how to submit a question to be asked will be available on the District website at www.4cd.edu.

For those who are unable to join the September 17 public forums, links to all 4 recorded Zoom sessions will be made available on the District website. A comment box has also been created to submit your input that will be shared with the Governing Board for their consideration.

Following the public forums, the Governing Board will conduct a final interview with Dr. Reece in closed session on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, and is expected to announce a decision soon thereafter. If the Governing Board decides to offer the permanent chancellor opportunity to Dr. Reece, contract negotiations will begin. At their regularly scheduled public meeting on Wednesday, October 14, 2020, the Governing Board will vote on the final contract and employ the District’s next permanent chancellor.

The Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) is one of the largest multi-college community college districts in California. The CCCCD serves a population of 1,019,640 people, and its boundaries encompass all but 48 of the 734-square-mile land area of Contra Costa County. The District is home to Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, as well as educational centers in Brentwood and San Ramon. The District headquarters is located in downtown Martinez.

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